Saturday, July 16, 2011

#212: First Place Pirates

---SSL Broadcast #50---

"First Place Pirates."

I haven't said this in July since I was a junior in college (in case you were wondering how old I am).

The starting pitching of this crew is the surprise of the baseball season, but only Paul Maholm and Jeff Karstens appear to be the real deal. Their ERAs and their WHIPs are virtually aligned statistically, and Maholm especially is no stranger to 200 innings pitched. They should remain stable. James McDonald hasn't been able to get any consistency going, and Charlie Morton allows too many runners and is already experiencing arm fatigue despite pitching fewer than 100 innings. Kevin Correia, the 11-game winner, is the wild card. His ERA is slightly higher (4.01) than his WHIP would indicate (1.28), so he might actually improve a bit, as WHIP is the superior indicator.

That said, Correia completely tradeable at this point. The major shortcoming of Pirate management in the last decade-plus in trade situations is that they either get rid of a player when his stock is low or they're dumping salary. Packaging Correia with either Matt Diaz or Garrett Jones and maybe a AA prospect could land a middle of the lineup bat and allow for the return of Ross Ohlendorf (who is due for some good fortune after posting a 1-11 record despite an ERA around 4 (Correia is 11-7 this year with an almost identical ERA). It would also free up a spot on the 25-man roster to keep both outfielders Alex Presley and Jose Tabata when he returns.

Disagree if you will, but I think we can all agree that this is a wonderful debate to be having in mid-July.

- Obviously, Pirates.

- Steelers linebacker James Harrison airs his dirty laundry in the press this week.

- The Pittsburgh Power is eliminated from post-season contention by Cleveland.

- A suggestion or two of how to handle collegiate athletics.



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