Last year around this time, I dreamt of a trade between the Pirates and the Texas Rangers involving a what seemed to be over-the-hill Michael Young. Obviously the trade didn't happen and, good for the Rangers, Young has a .854 OPS and a 2.4 WAR in 2011.
New year, new trade proposal surely not to happen.
I'm nervous about the Pirates' pitching. They pitched over their heads for most of the year. Charlie Morton had off-season hip surgery. Jeff Karstens is very hittable. Kevin Correia is a year older. None of the AAA guys (Lincoln, Locke, Owens, etc.) distinguished themselves.
So, since the Yankees over the weekend acquired Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, they now have 7 or 8 starting pitchers. Most rotations only use 5. So, someone may be expendable. Perhaps a young talent like Phil Hughes, but that is unlikely. How about the underachieving AJ Burnett who is scheduled to make $16.5 million each of the next two years? From what I have heard on various sports shows, it may take very little to acquire Burnett. Why not? The Yankees would probably even throw in some of the cash to get a medium-level prospect. The Pirates are very deep in the outfield in the minor leagues, so that is where I would start.
One other option they could go for is the Free Agent route. Roy Oswalt is still out there. He has been hurt some over the past few years. Why not sign him to an $8-10 million one-year contract and, if the Pirates are out of it by the trade deadline, flip him for prospects.
After last year's first half, I am encouraged that the Pirates are heading in the right direction. I would hate to see the pitching hold them back this year. Speaking of Pirates' pitching, I'm excited to make a trip (or two) to Altoona to see two of the top 10 right-handed pitchers (in all the minor leagues) - Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole.
This ties 2011's year-opening streak of blogs. Stay tuned tomorrow to see if the streak is broken.