Results tagged ‘ right field ’
Garrett Jones has a different role going into the 2011 season. After starting 106 games at first base, 46 in right field for the Bucs last season, he will be platooning in right field with Matt Diaz.
“I guess you can say it is kind of a demotion for me, not being in the lineup every day,” Jones said. “It is just going to be who is hitting, and maybe, for now, there isn’t an everyday guy out there, but it is my goal to make my way back into being that everyday guy. The way you do that is that you hit and you make them put you in there. That’s the ultimate challenge for me and, really, it is up to me to have it not be a choice for them. The way I do that is hit.”
“I’m going to try to work my way into being in there every day,” Jones said. “All I can do is do my part and play hard. All I can worry about is doing my job, helping this team win. If that is a lefty-righty thing, that is what it is.”
Despite getting less playing time this season, Jones work ethic has not changed.
“Garrett said he is willing to do whatever he needs to do because he wants to play,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “He knows, right now, he is going to be our right fielder against right-handed pitching, that is his role. But, there is always a chance to be more depending on how some other things go.”
- Ross Ohlendorf and Joel Hanrahan filed for salary arbitration on Friday. They are the only two Pirates to file, just 119 players in major league baseball.
- Garrett Jones arrived at mini camp on Thursday (he was late due to a family wedding in Mexico) noticeably thinner and “a little bit faster, too.” Jones weighed 255 last season and is said to have dropped 10 pounds. This offseason Jones has been diligently working with a speed enhancement and velocity trainer.
- Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch addressed the possible future of five players as spring training approaches us.
Jose Ascanio missed the entire 2010 season due to an injury but has pitched well during the Venezuelan Winter League. Most likely, his role in 2011 will be as a reliever.
Kevin Hart missed the entire 2010 season as well, he underwent labrum surgery after a disastrous spring training. Hart is currently healthy and threw during Pirates mini camp. His role in 2011 would most likely be as a reliever, until he can prove himself as a starter.
Charlie Morton had a horrible first two months of the season, picking up nine losses and then was optioned to Triple-A Indy. He pitched much better toward the end of the season but the Pirates are still unsure whether he is mentally tough enough. Morton will be competing for the fifth spot in the rotation during spring training.
Chris Resop is one of the leading candidates in the Pirates ‘pen. After being claimed off waivers in August, he allowed four earned runs and struck out 24 in 19 innings.
John Bowker will be competing for a spot as an extra outfielder along with Alex Presley, Steve Pearce, Cory Wimberly and Ryan Doumit (Garrett Jones and Matt Diaz will split the majority of the playing time in right field this season). Bowker was acquired in July by the San Franscio Giants and batted hit .232 in 26 games with the Pirates.
As Pirates’ beat reporter Jenifer Langosch points out in her latest article, A look at Pirates catchers, this is how Ryan Doumit will fit in with the Bucs during the 2011 season.
- $11 is due to catchers Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit, but it doesn’t look as unbalanced as it seems (The estimated payroll for 2011 is in the low to mid $50 M range). $3 M was sent along with Chris Snyder in the trade with Arizona, so once subtracted, the Bucs will owe him a reasonable $2.75 M for this season. Doumit will make $5.1 million in 2011.
- Doumit, if not traded, will serve as a backup catcher. General Manager Neal Huntington has said that Chris Snyder will be the Bucs primary catcher even if Doumit out plays him in Spring Training. Snyder is a huge defensive upgrade over Doumit, allowing only nine passed balls in 2010. Snyder also lead all catchers with a .999 fielding percentage since 2007, at the time of the trade.
- Don’t expect to see Doumit only one day a week (what normal backup catchers play). The Pirates believe Doumit will not battle as many injuries with less time behind the plate. He will play some time in right field and is an option at first base –if he improves on his defense at that position. Doumit can be a threat off the bench. The switch hitter batted .251 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs in 124 games last season.
- It appears there are no serious suitors for Ryan Doumit, but if he doesn’t make it to opening day with the Pirates, Jason Jaramillo could serve as a backup catcher. There is a chance, if Manager Clint Hurdle wants to use Doumit primarily as a pinch-hitter, that the Bucs could have three catchers on the 25-man roster. If not, Jaramillo will be the everyday catcher at Triple-A Indy.
With a start of a new year, it’s a clean slate for the Bucs, who endured 105 losses. The new season is right around the corner: Only 41 days until Pitchers and catchers report and 88 until opening day.
Here is a list of 11 things to look forward to in 2011:
11) Interleague series against the Boston Red Sox at PNC Park – Some of the die hard Pirates fans may not like the idea of facing the potent lineup of the Red Sox, but baseball fans in general will enjoy seeing the All-star lineups. Stars like Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett (the list goes on and on) will be in Pittsburgh –a glimpse of a possible 2011 playoff contender.
10) The new offseason acquisitions and how they impact the ball club – The Pirates made several signings this offseason in hopes to improve the team in 2011. Lyle Overbay will be the new everyday first baseman and Matt Diaz will platoon in right field with Garrett Jones.
Other signings include: Third baseman Andy Marte, short stop Josh Rodriguez, center fielder Corey Wimberly, left handers Scott Olsen, Kevin Correia and Aaron Thompson.
9) A better pitching rotation – The Pirates starters went 34-84 with a 5.28 ERA last season. The Bucs are hoping Ross Ohlendorf, and Paul Maholm will perform much better in 2011. New Pirate Kevin Correia also helps to improve the staff and James McDonald, who had great success since being acquired by the Dodgers, will round out the top four. Scott Olsen, Charlie Morton and Brad Lincoln will be fighting for the fifth spot.
8) Number one draft pick- The Pirates lost 105 games last season, sealing the first pick in the 2011 draft. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is considered to the be the top talent. He finished 2010 at Rice University batting .394 with 26 home runs and 85 runs batted in.
7) Young prospects making their way through the system – Players like Tony Sanchez, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer and Andrew Lambo (to name a few) are getting closer to making their major league debuts while adding more young talent to the Pirates ball club.
6) Glimpes of solid arms in late 2011 – Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson and Daniel Moskos (reliever) could make their debuts as early as July. Bryan Morris and Jeff Locke are also two more starters that will make a impact on the Pirates rotation but it’s more likely to be in 2012.
5) Debuts of young aces- Jameson Tallion and Stetson Allie will be making their Pirates debut at Low-A West Virginia in 2011.
Tallion was selected second overall by the Bucs in the 2010 draft. The 6’7, 230 pound right hander’s fastball already reaches 94-99 on the gun and has “explosive movement” according to scouts. Tallion also has a plus curve (81-85) and breaking ball (84-88).
Allie has an even stronger arm. The 6’4, 225 pound right-hander throws both a two-seamer and four-seamer fastball that clocks regularly at 98. He also has an above average slider (87-91) and a change, with very good sink at 85-87.
4) Clint Hurdle managing the Bucs – Hurdle is exactly what the young Pirates need in a new skipper. He is very charismatic and passionate about baseball, smart, motivational and has past success in managing a young team. Hurdle is aware of the changes ahead and has said, “I’m all in.”
3) Ending the 18 year consecutive losing streak? -While it may be a long shot –the Pirates would need to have a 24 game improvement to finish .500– it still is possible. Example: The 2007 Tampa Bay Rays went 66-96, in 2008 they finished 97-65 –a 31 game improvement as well as a American League Championship title. The1991 Braves went 94-68 after finishing 65-97 in 1990. Tough, but not impossible.
2) The young Bucs continue to improve – Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker (all under 25) will continue to get better and better with more major league experience. Tabata and Walker finished their rookie seasons better than expected. Tabata had 121 hits in 102 games, Walker with 126 in 110 games. Both hit most of the season over .300 and finished .299 and .296 respectively. McCutchen in his first full major league season continued to be a hitting and running machine. He finished .286 while adding 94 runs, 16 home runs, 56 RBIs and 33 stolen bases.
1) Pedro Alvarez to become a superstar- Pedro finished his rookie campaign with a .256 average, 16 home runs and 64 RBI’s. If Alvarez’s month of September is a glimpse of what’s to come (.306 avg, 10 doubles, six home runs and 27 RBI in 29 games) Pirates fans should be excited for years to come. He has an ability to change the game with one swing –the three-run walk-off bomb against the Rockies made highlights and one of MLB Network’s top moments of the season. There’s no doubt he is a superstar in the making.
The Pirates officially announce a two-year deal with outfielder Matt Diaz. The news of the agreement came a week ago, during the winter meetings. The contract is reported to be worth $4.2 million ($2M in 2010 and 2012 plus a $250,000 signing bonus). Diaz has a career .335 batting average and .533 slugging percentage against left-handers over eight major league seasons.
Diaz will platoon in right with Garrett Jones (.282 hitter against right-handers). Ryan Doumit and John Bowker are also back-up options for the Bucs.
Diaz says he is excited to join the Pirates:
On why the Pirates were the right choice:
“Really Clint Hurdle. Met with him at the winter meetings. I talked to him once on the phone before that. He and Neal Huntington came In and gave a great presentation on where the organization is heading. So that was very important for me to go back and ask them for a second year to be a part of it. I think we are going to surprise some people. I really think by 2012, you’re really going to see this young core of players really mesh together and really make a run at this thing.”
Diaz, who has known Andrew McCutchen since he was in 8th grade, said, “He is the most underrated superstar in baseball.”
On what he thinks about playing at PNC Park: “I like hitting the ball to right center and I like the way the ball carries here. Hopefully it will be a friendly park for me to hit in, a friendly park for me to play defense in and hopefully produce some runs so we can win some games.”
On his dream of playing in a world series: “I know people in Pittsburgh nation will laugh, but, hopefully in the next couple of years we can do that.”
Other News and Notes:
- The Pirates two-year deal with pitcher Kevin Correia should be finalized later this week. In order for him to be put on the 40-man roster, the Bucs must remove someone, as it is full.
- Rob Biertempfel of the Trib reports: The Pirates are stepping up efforts to trade Ryan Doumit, who’s bumped down now to a $5.1 M bench player, backup catcher.
- According to Jesse Behr of Baseball Prospectus, he is “Hearing whispers of a Ryan Doumit-for-Marco Scutaro deal”. Scutaro in 2010 with the Red Sox hit 11 home runs, 56 RBI with a .275 average.
After day one of the Winter Meetings, General Manager spoke to Pittsburgh Media on busy day:
On progress from day one: “Much like the first day of the Winter Meetings –always a lot of conversations. Some lead to dead ends. Some lead to fruition. A lot of dialogue.”
On whether the Pirates would be open to giving up prospects for a trade: I think we’re open to the right deal. In a perfect world, we’d love to hold every prospect that we have, but we know to get good players that are the right fit, it’s going to take some players in return.”
On trading Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek: “We like both guys a lot. We think both are capable of closing at the Major League level, and we’re looking for value in return.”
On what Ryan Doumit’s role would be for next season: “As we sit here right now, Ryan will be our right fielder with some time behind homeplate to supplement Chris Snyder. Sitting here right now, Ryan is going to play a lot. It’s up to him to play well and to continue to play, but sitting here, that’s the plan.”
On whether Ryan Doumit could be a part of the platoon situation in right field: “If there is a right-handed complement to be had… we have Steve Pearce internally that we feel comfortable with. But we continue to explore the trade market as well as the free agent market to see what else is out there. Sometimes clubs in our market have to be creative to maximize the roster and maximize the production of the roster. ‘Platoon’ seems to be a negative word. But the reality is that if it helps us put quality production on the field, it’s something that we’ve got be open to.”
On which position has the most options, first base or right field: “There’s options at both. There are some established Major League veterans out there. There are some players that are available in a trade. We’ve got two guys that we feel comfortable with, so it would have to be a situation of trying to find an upgrade if that is possible out there.”
On whether the Pirates have made a decision on who will be the Bucs closer: “The tough part is that it’s not going to be a Spring Training competition. So if we do decide on one – and there have been multiple conversations that Clint [Hurdle] and I have had and we’ve got to continue to have – we have to decide before Spring Training. In early conversations, we’re open to moving both guys depending on situations and how they match up. But it is an ongoing dialogue internally as to whether we’ll settle on one or go with both.”
On whether the Rule 5 draft has good players: “No.”
On whether the players who were non-tendered are still of interest to the Pirates: “Yeah. We’ve made contact on a good number of players and continue to be open to find different ways to help our club continue to move forward.”