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The Pittsburgh Pirates Payroll In 2016 + Roster That Could Have Been

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Jason Rollison (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – piratesbreakdown.com) 

After a second consecutive exit from the playoffs by way of the wild card game, the Pittsburgh Pirates promised a bigger payroll this season, but could they have done better?

In December, Neal Huntington and Frank Connelly both hinted the Pirates target payroll would be approximately $105 million for opening day.  As it stands, the Pirates opening day payroll was about $100 million.

That wouldn’t be so bad if the team’s pitching staff wasn’t off to a rough start, the first base platoon partner wasn’t gone after two weeks, and the Cubs weren’t the center of the baseball universe at the moment.  The saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20,” but we consider what could have been if the Pirates had spent their money a little differently.

Let’s start with the breakdown of the opening day payroll broken down by position: (Note: Only players included on opening day 25-man roster/DL are included below.)

The rules for this little experiment are simple.  We cannot exceed $105 million, and our payroll has to include 28 players due to Jared Hughes, Elias Diaz, and Jung-Ho Kang starting the season on the major league disabled list. 

If we choose any players the Pirates did not sign, we will assume the Pirates could have signed said player(s) to the same terms.  Knowing what we know now, here’s a look at what the Pirates roster could have been.

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Is Matt Joyce The Answer To The Pirates’ 4th Outfielder Spot?

Matt Joyce had a down year in 2015, but his history as a starter in the outfield could make him the Pirates’ best fourth outfielder option come Opening Day.

Matt Joyce had a down year in 2015, but his history as a starter in the outfield could make him the Pirates’ best fourth outfielder option come Opening Day.

Jason Rollison (Featured Baseball Website Writer – piratesbreakdown.com) 

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The final signing of the Pirates’ off-season might have happened last week when the team signed outfielder Matt Joyce to a minor league contract.

The move wasn’t a major one, but it may have filled one final need the Pirates had before heading into spring training: the fourth outfielder position.

He’ll be competing with Sean Rodriguez, Jason Rogers, Mike Morse, and Jake Goebbert for playing time, and to be the primary outfielder off the bench come Opening Day. Out of the available choices, is Joyce the best option the Pirates have for that role?

I’d argue yes. As a fourth outfielder, a player is the first option off the bench to give either Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, or Gregory Polanco a day off, and would also be used as a pinch-hitter and possibly a late game defensive replacement.

Joyce has by far the most major league experience in the outfield (5163.0 innings) compared to the next closest in Morse (3061.2) and Rodriguez (662.1).

He also has a higher career WAR at 9.0, the next closest being Rodriguez at 7.3. He’s the only one of the group to be an All-Star may be arguably the best overall offensive player of the group (Morse has more power, but has fallen off since his career 2012 campaign).

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WTF Pittsburgh? Are You Contenders Or Are You At The Kids Table?

This club has improved a great deal over the last 8 years, and they are in great His strategic moves over the next 12 months will determine if that means a playoff round win.

This Pirates club has made themselves relevant in the NL for the last 3 years with appearing in the Wild Card game – and pushing the Cards to the brink of elimination in 2014.  However this organization has looked petty in looking too much to the bottom line so far this offseason.  They have lost 4 players from the 98 win team of 2015 – and only have Jon Niese and Juan Nicasio as guys that help the MLB squad in 2016.  They still have 3 months to go, but thus far the winter has been a tire fire.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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What the hell are the Pirates doing this offseason?!!  I mean I have tonnes of respect for Neil Huntington – however the brass has made some highly questionable moves to save some money.

The Pittsburgh window to win is 2 – 3 more years, yet it almost looks likes the management is throwing a preemptive strike to blow the club up.

Okay, I may be overstating the facts a little here – as there is still well over 3 months before the club even hits Spring Training.

The club first non-tendered Pedro Alvarez – rather than head to the last year of Arbitration with him.  He would have made in the neighborhood of $10 MIL in 2016 – I get that, but losing a 25 – 30 HR out of your lineup will be tough to adjust for. Read the rest of this entry

How All Of The A’s Hitters Were Acquired: 2014 Roster Tree Shows Incredible Beane Trading Record

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How All Of The Athletics Hitters Were Acquired:

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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Truthfully this blog took me forever to do the research for, simply because the A’s GM Billy Beane has been so proactive at the trading helm.

From flipping Mark Mulder several years ago which fetched Dan Haren as part of the haul, to the massive deal with Dan Haren sent to the D’Backs, he added enough depth to pull off several other moves.

Yes, along the way he may have been burned by Colorado for Carlos Gonzalez, but in a the Dbacks deal still is paying off.

The Roster deals include several Oakland draft picks being flipped for current A’s.

Nick Swisher was traded for Gio Gonzalez, who in turn the club can thank for the Catching tandem of Derek Norris and John Jaso as assets received from Swisher initially.

Jaso was brought back in a 3 way deal from Washington, where the A’s sent the SP back to the team they traded Gio Gonzalez for.

Ryan Sweeney (another player brought in for the Swisher) was packaged with Andrew Bailey to obtain Josh Reddick. Read the rest of this entry

How All Of The San Diego Padres Hitters Were Acquired: (2014 Roster Tree)

Headley led the NL with 115 RBI in 2012 amongst 31 HRs, he will need to put up monster numbers for the Padres to compete with the LA Dodgers going forward.  Headley caaptured a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger in 2012. He ended up finishing 5th in NL MVP voting.  He hit 23 HRs and 73 RBI in just 75 Games after the 2012 ALL-Star Game.. Chase Headley actually fared well at Petco Park in 2012 - with a 3 Slash Line of .272/.357/.812.  He added 13 HRs and 51 RBI.  He could potentially hit a few more out with the fences drawn in.

As a 2nd RD draft pick (2005) of the franchise, Chase Headley has pretty much been disappointment over the .last 2 seasons after setting the world on fire for the 2nd half of 2012.  Headley led the NL with 115 RBI in 2012 amongst 31 HRs, Headley also captured a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger in 2012. He ended up finishing 5th in NL MVP voting. He hit 23 HRs and 73 RBI in just 75 Games after the 2012 ALL-Star Game.. Chase Headley actually fared well at Petco Park in 2012 – with a 3 Slash Line of .272/.357/.812. He added 13 HRs and 51 RBI.  In 600 AB during 2013, the man only had an OPS of .747 – with 13 HRs.  2014 has been worse, with a .620 OPS, .204 BA – with just 6 HRs in 211 AB.  The franchise has been criticized for not capitalizing on his 2012 year via a trade.  At least they never gave him a huge extension.

How All Of The Padres Hitters Were Acquired:

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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Omar Minaya, A.J. Hinch and Fred Uhlman Jr. took over the “office of the GM” on June 22nd, when the Padres fired Josh Byrnes from his post.

In order to see if the canning was valid, one has to search through the transactions the man did under is tenure at the helm.

Some of the current squad was brought in by Byrnes (hired in Oct of 2011, after Jed Hoyer left to take the GM position with the Chicago Cubs. although through the course of the Roster Tree, you will see some of the players go back to the Kevin Towers era.

Crazy enough is that Byrnes was fired by Towers current team (ARI) as the GM in July of 2010.

Towers is also responsible for some of the assembled roster in 2014 for San Diego.  KT is one of several possible replacements candidates for the vacant SD GM job.

It is a franchise that has made several ‘suspect’ trades over the last 10 years, and the drafting record hasn’t netted them the kind of ‘blue chippers’ to sustain a lengthy period of success despite drafting high a lot of years.

San Diego’s club in 2014 is injury prone, hitters and pitchers alike, and are headed for a brutal campaign, already at 35 – 47 heading into games June.30, 2014. 

They are already 8.5 games behind the playoff bar. and 11 out of the NL West.

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