2013 MLB Winter Meetings: 5 Players the Pittsburgh Pirates Shouldn’t Touch
2013 MLB Winter Meetings: 5 Players the Pittsburgh Pirates Shouldn't Touch
The season that the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates had was one to remember. Who can forget that image of Pirates’ closer Jason Grilli jumping on catcher Russell Martin after a dramatic play at the plate to end the longest losing streak in North American sports history. If you’re a serious baseball fan, you also won’t soon forget the chants of “Cueto” that caused the Cincinnati Reds' pitcher Johnny Cueto to drop the ball and then surrender a home run to Russell Martin in the NL Wild Card game.
The Pittsburgh Pirates gave their fans something to cheer about this past season. The team has a very bright future with young stars like Starling Marte, Gerrit Cole, and NL MVP Andrew McCutchen. However, these players can’t just carry the team themselves. They are going to need some help heading into next season.
The Pirates lost some of the key players from their playoff run such as Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau to free agency and possibly the heart of their pitching staff A.J. Burnett to retirement. Who are the Pirates going to get to replace these players?
The upper management has already stated that the Pirates are looking to expand on their payroll from last season. That is a very good sign, especially from a small market team like the Pirates.
Before you go out and make your wish list of players you would like to see the Pittsburgh Pirates go and get this offseason, I will give you my list of five guys the Pirates need to stay away from before the season starts. These guys are either free-agents or have been linked to the Pirates via trade. These players I feel are either past their primes, too much of a risk, or would cost the Pirates too much of their young talent for not enough of a return.
Many of you may disagree with some of these players, but I feel that it would be in the best interest of the whole Pittsburgh Pirates organization if they just did not touch any one of these guys. Trust me Pirates’ fans, there are better players out there to get than these guys or at least better options for the Pirates overall.
5. Lance Berkman
One of the more shocking rumors about who the Pirates were looking to acquire this offseason included a player that has burned them many times in the past. The Pirates got to see a ton of Lance Berkman while he played for the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals. Berkman was one of the best power hitters that the Pirates would have to face every season. In a recent article by Travis Sawchik in the Tribune-Review, he stated that the Pirates called Berkman to see if he would be interested in joining team in 2014. From all indications from the article, Berkman is looking to finally hang it up. This is probably a very good thing for the Pirates. I doubt that Berkman would be like Derek Bell and go all “Operation Shutdown” on the Pirates. However, I feel that his body would just do that to Berkman and the Pirates due to his age. Berkman was a great player and had a great career in MLB, but it is not the right place or time for Pittsburgh to take a risk on an older veteran like Berkman.
4. Rafael Furcal
The Pittsburgh Pirates have had an issue at shortstop pretty much since Jack Wilson was traded to the Seattle Mariners. Last season, the Pirates platooned the position to Clint Barmes and Jordy Mercer. Barmes was the man with the great defensive skills and Mercer was the better offensive threat of the two players. The Pirates did not offer Barmes a new contract which leaves them with just Mercer at shortstop for the time being. Sources have reported that the Pirates maybe interested in acquiring Rafael Furcal to fill the spot left by Barmes. This deal would have been great about five or six years ago. Last season, Furcal missed last season due to Tommy John surgery. Is this really the guy you want to play the most important infield position? To me, I just cannot see one logical reason why you would invest money in someone who is a huge injury risk. If other teams in MLB think Furcal is damaged goods, then it may be a sign to not take a risk on someone like him this offseason.
3. David Price
With the possible retirement of A.J. Burnett, many people around baseball and the Pirates fan base feel that the team needs to go out and get a top notch pitcher for this staff. One of the names that has been thrown around the trading block for everyone is David Price. Pirates’ management listen up: Don’t touch this guy! I know I can hear Pirates fans out there now screaming, “He can be another ace for our staff! Why wouldn’t you want him?” I agree; Price would be a very nice piece for the Pirates to bring in, but the Tampa Bay Rays are not a stupid organization. They will not be parting from Price without getting some pretty good players in return. If the Pirates were to try to make a deal for Price, the asking "price" for him would more than likely be Jameson Taillon, Gregory Polanco, Tyler Glasnow or a combination of the three. Do you really want to sell the farm for a guy you would only have for no more than two years? It is just not the right move. It may look good from a distance, but when you look closer at a possible deal like that it just cannot be done.
2. Giancarlo Stanton
During this past season’s trading deadline, one of the biggest names associated with trades and the Pittsburgh Pirates was Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins. He has everything the Pirates needed: he is a young, power-hitting outfielder. Instead, the Pirates traded for Marlon Byrd, which worked out well for all sides involved. Stanton’s name has been brought up again in trade rumors this offseason. I know that this is the type of player that the Pirates really want to have in their lineup, but I have to say the Pirates really need to stay away from him. This may sound crazy, but this would be a bad trade for the small-market Pirates. Yes, they would get Stanton for a few years, but once he hit arbitration he would be getting a ton more money than the Pirates could probably afford. Also, if the Marlins are going to trade Stanton they are going to want some really nice players/prospects in return. The Pirates just cannot get rid of Taillon, Polanco or both to gain Stanton.
1. Chase Headley
This is one trade rumor that has to be No. 1 because it does not make sense at all! Some reports are going around that Chase Headley may be on the market. The San Diego Padres third basemen would be a nice fit on a team that needs a power hitting third baseman. The Pirates already have one in Pedro Alvarez. Oh yeah, many people are saying that Alvarez should just be moved over to play first base and be done with it. I hate when people say this. First base is not the right field of tee-ball and little league. You can’t just send someone to first base to hide them and still have their bat in the lineup. Alvarez is just really starting to learn how to play the position; do you really want Alvarez to learn something new and not focus on his hitting? That is exactly what would happen if this deal went through. Please Neal Huntington, I beg of you: Do not pull the trigger on this trade!