Bucco Nation Q & A

By Jason Shetler

Here are some of your Pirates questions for the first Q & A of the offseason. 

Assuming Neil Walker is gone, do the Pirates fill the second base role from within, or will they shop around? – Seth from Pittsburgh, PA

The Pirates will most likely go outside the organization if they decide to replace Walker at second base. Alen Hanson won’t begin 2016 in Pittsburgh because of Super 2 status, so it should be a stopgap pickup until Hanson arrives.

Should the Pirates consider trading Gregory Polanco to the Braves for Shelby Miller? – Rich from Coraopolis, PA

The Braves have entertained the idea of possibly trading Shelby Miller this offseason. If the Pirates were to inquire on him, I would rather see prospects be dealt to get Miller rather than see Polanco traded. Polanco has a chance to be a fixture in the Pirates lineup for years to come.

How long do you think Francisco Cervelli will be with the Pirates, and is there any truth about Mark Melancon going to another team? – Melissa from Malvern, PA

Cervelli will be a free agent next offseason, but there has been talk about possibly extending him. My guess is there will be an extension, and Cervelli should stay with the Pirates beyond 2016. In regards to Melancon, there’s just speculation of a trade based on his projected arbitration figure, as well as coming off a career year. If the Pirates don’t get the big return they want for Melancon, he could always come back next season.

What would you want the Pirates to get in return on a Pedro Alvarez trade? – Craig from Youngstown, OH 

Alvarez does have good trade value offensively, which would make him a suitor for several American League clubs looking for a DH. The Pirates will look to address the starting rotation in the offseason. If they aren’t able to bring back Happ, then the other alternative could be trading Alvarez for a mid-rotation starter to pitch alongside Cole and Liriano.

Do you think Charlie Morton will be back or are the Bucs tied to that last year? – Walt from Pittsburgh, PA

Based on his numbers this year, and being under contract next season for $8 million, Morton should be back with the Pirates since his trade value right now is low. In addition, the Pirates pitching depth isn’t as deep now with Brandon Cumpton and Nick Kingham both recovering from Tommy John, and also because Tyler Glasnow won’t be called up until midseason, so there’s not many options to replace Morton to begin 2016.

Could Freddie Freeman be a good fit in Pittsburgh? – Joey from Pittsburgh, PA

Just as the case with Shelby Miller, the Braves are reportedly looking to shop Freddie Freeman. Josh Bell would be the obvious top prospect to be included in a potential deal. It’s not that giving up significant prospects wouldn’t be the problem for the Pirates, it’s the size of Freeman’s contract. Freeman will be owed $118 million over the next eight seasons, which would be too much of a financial commitment to take on, so I don’t see it being a realistic fit for the Pirates long term.

What do you think the Pirates will look like next year with the starters and starting pitching? – Steve from Lakeland, FL 

Outfield: LF Marte, CF McCutchen, RF Polanco; With Kang not expected to be ready early in the season, the infield could be 3B Harrison, SS Mercer, 2B Walker (?), 1B Morse, C Cervelli. Starting rotation currently looks like Cole, Liriano, Morton and Locke. The other starter should be a #3 type whether it’s the return of Happ or another pitcher in free agency or trade.



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