Pittsburgh Pirates: evaluating the deadline moves

Tony Watson

Tony Watson

The Pittsburgh Pirates disappointed many fans by remaining quiet at the trade deadline. For a fourth straight season, the Pirates are contending for a playoff spot and they were once again buyers at the deadline.

Pittsburgh was linked to big names like David Price and Jon Lester, among others but they remained silent at the end of the day. Fans will have to wait and see whether Neal Huntington’s lack of moves will be a mistake or work out in the Pirates’ favor.

The St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers both made moves to upgrade their rosters while Pittsburgh did nothing. The Pirates’ management has faith in the team they have on the field, but injuries and several questionable areas have cost Pittsburgh many games, especially in the last two weeks.

The injuries to Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen have also hurt the Pirates. Since the all-star center-fielder went down Pittsburgh is 3-3. Going with a short bench and several below average players have affected an offense which was missing a few pieces.

The Pirates struggle mightily against left-handed pitching. The addition of Emilio Bonifacio could have helped the Buccos, but the Atlanta Braves beat them to the punch. It is hard to imagine that they were unable to package some sort of deal for the former Chicago Cubs‘ outfielder.

The bullpen is another weak spot for this team, surrendering leads late in games. Other than Tony Watson and Mark Melancon, it is hard to trust anyone else.

When Gerrit Cole returns from the disabled list, the addition of Edinson Volquez or whoever is the odd man out of the rotation should strengthen the bullpen somewhat. The Pirates also have pitching options in Triple-A Indianapolis like Vin Mazzaro.

It is still possible Pittsburgh will get a trade done in August like last year, but it will be harder to do so this season. A team in the thick of a playoff race should have tried harder to upgrade either the bullpen or the bench.