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  1. I’m just happy to see the Pirates rank this high.

    I’m pretty sure Brandon Jones has an option left, so he’ll probably be waiting in AAA. Brandon Moss still might not survive the roster crunch, though — he might be seeing some pressure from Rule 5 pick John Raynor (and, for what it’s worth, Moss is having a terrible spring).

    Comment by matt w — March 17, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

  2. I think you are drastically under-selling Ross Ohlendorf by lumping him in as “back of the rotation fodder”.

    Comment by DBS — March 17, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

  3. Brandon Jones was cut from the major league st roster earlier this week.

    Comment by tyler — March 17, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

  4. Certainly, the Pirates hope Ohly will be a cut above the rest of that group.

    Kevin Hart is another of the back-of-the-rotation guys, BTW. He’s doing his best to pitch his way into AAA this spring (his astonishing line for today’s game — 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 K, 6 BB plus 1 HBP), but he’ll almost certainly get a chance to start before Karstens (who is off the 40-man).

    Comment by matt w — March 17, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  5. The Pirates are also set up well in terms of financial flexibility. Maholm ($6.2 million) and Doumit ($5.2 million) are the only two major leaguers with guaranteed contracts for next year, and Duke ($4.3 million this year) is the only arbitration eligible with a significant salary. If the Pirates decide to trade more veterans for prospects, Maholm’s contract is a bargain, Duke’s salary is reasonable, and Doumit’s contract, while a bit of a complication, is by no means prohibitive. Iwamura and Dotel could provide some return in a deadline deal.

    Comment by Gopherballs — March 17, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  6. Ah, thanks. He’s still useful if they need him for outfielder help. Personally, I think he’s at least as good, and maybe better, than Moss.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 17, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  7. Yeah, that’s what I was getting at in my last line. Dave will cover more of this later today, I imagine.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 17, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

  8. Disagreement is the spice of life. To me, 1.1 WAR last season is back of the rotation fodder. 4.76 CHONE projected FIP in an NL Pitchers park… (CHONE’s projected neutral ERA is 4.93). Doesn’t strike many out when starting, and his slider is his only plus pitch according to pitch-type lwts. He’s useful at the back of the rotation, sure, but back of the rotation is where he belongs, if you ask me. That’s just my take.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 17, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

  9. Agreed about the “spice of life” is disagreement, but Ohlendorf is on the upswing. He, more than any other Pirate pitcher, is absorbing Joe Kerrigan’s (Dave Kerwin’s) teachings.

    His last two months of the year were when he started to excel.

    No, he will never have an 8 K/9 IP rate, most likely, but he will be a very cost-effective and valuable starter for the Pirates in 2010 and beyond.

    On Pirate blogs we talk about Morton being the sleeper, but I guess on more national sites you don’t have to dig as deep to espouse a sleeper for the general public.

    I would like to check back and compare his season with you in mid-2010.

    Comment by DBS — March 17, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

  10. Sure, I’ll be happy to be wrong about Ohlendorf.

    Not sure what you mean about Morton — I think he’s a decent pitcher, and say as much above.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 17, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  11. What I meant was that most Pirates fans assumed that Ohlendorf was a known commodity and that Morton was the sleeper, nationally speaking.

    Good reality check of just how far off the radar screen the Pirates truly are, I guess.

    Comment by DBS — March 17, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  12. Ohlendorf was extremely lucky the two months in which he started “to excel.”

    Aug 2009: .213 BABIP, 96% LOB%
    Sept 2009: .211 BABIP, 76% LOB%

    Aside from the one fluky 11 strikeout game against a Pujols-less Cards team, he was essentially the same pitcher all of last year.

    He is a homer-prone fly ball pitcher who does not miss many bats and lacks a solid changeup to keep left-handed hitters at bay. Based on his profile, calling him a useful fourth starter is not exactly an insult.

    Comment by Gopherballs — March 17, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

  13. I think there’s reason for more optimism about Garrett Jones, dude can drop bombs and and in terms of building from the ground up, especially considering he’s home grown, I think he’s a very good piece to have. He’s never going to be contending for a batting title or home run crown, but I think he can certainly be an above-average major league hitter and provide decent protection for McCutchen until Vote for Pedro becomes a full time big leaguer, and with their lineup, they need someone other then McCutchen to step up because there’s no reason to consistently challenge the only Pirates position player you know can beat you.

    Comment by kdub1988 — March 18, 2010 @ 10:36 am

  14. Jones has a good bat, but given his position and defense, I think it makes him about average overall.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 18, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

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