March 10, 2010

A Four Man Rotation?

PITTSBURGH, Pa. / March 10, 2010

Recently I have had a chance to listen to several of the radio broadcasts of the Pirates spring training games. Yes, I realize that is pathetic, but isn't it more pathetic to be reading a blog about someone listening to these games on the radio?

Anyway, the announcers were talking about the possibility of carrying only 11 pitchers out of camp. The advantage is obvious, in that keeping 11 pitchers would buy some time to keep both Brandon Moss and Delwyn Young on the roster. Young is their best pinch hitter, while Moss is their best defensive outfielder. Both are out of options and would certainly be claimed by another team if the Pirates tried to pass them through waivers.

In Weaver on Strategy, Earl Weaver talks about why he went with a nine man pitching staff. That tenth pitcher would be only used in blowouts, Weaver reasoned, while an extra pinch runner, pinch hitter or defender would be used in tight games. The same reasoning holds doubly true when we're talking about a 12th pitcher. I have no problem going with 11 pitchers all season. WIth 12 pitchers it is always a challenge finding enough work for everyone.

What surprises me is that the Pirates are discussing not a six man bullpen (essentially what they used last year with Donnie Veal as the rarely used seventh reliever) but breaking camp with a four man rotation. Of course not a real four man rotation, 1971 style with everybody starting 40 games - but at least four men until we get through off days in April. This would buy some time to make a roster move or wait for an injury so Moss and Young can remain in the organization.

Looking at the schedule, with no rainouts a true four man rotation would necessitate using whoever started on April 7 on three days rest on April 11. I have to think there's no way they would do this, especially with a day game scheduled on the 11th. However, D.J. Carrasco or another long reliever could make this start allowing the Pirates to option their fifth starter (probably Daniel McCutchen) to Indianapolis until the 24th. With rain outs it could be longer.

I actually think this course of action seems likely, because I just can't see the Pirates giving up on Moss considering what they gave for him. I also can't imagine they would want to get rid of Young's bench bat. This would have the added benefit of keeping everyone pitching every fifth day in April.

Here's the roster I expect to see on Opening Day:
C (2) Ryan Doumit, Jason Jaramillo
IF (6) Ronny Cedeno, Jeff Clement, Bobby Crosby, Akinori Iwamura, Andy LaRoche, Ramon Vazquez
OF (6) Ryan Church, Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Lastings Milledge, Brandon Moss, Delwyn Young
SP (4) Zach Duke, Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton, Ross Ohlendorf
RP (7) Brian Bass, D.J. Carrasco, Brendan Donnelly, Octavio Dotel, Javier Lopez, Evan Meek, Jack Taschner.
DL (1) Joel Hanrahan

I have Jack Taschner taking the final relief spot, because he throws with his left hand. That's not to say that he isn't f'ing horrible, spring results notwithstanding. I would prefer Jeff Karstens there.

Then on April 24, you call up Daniel McCutchen to make his first start. Presuming none of the outfielders have gotten injured yet, choose who is doing worst out of Crosby, Vazquez and Cedeno and DL them with a phantom injury. Five infielders is fine for a while with Jones able to play first base and Young able to play second.


  1. No John Raynor? I think they'll keep him and trade Young or Moss.

  2. NCF you are a total fag. What the hell are you even talking about?

  3. Looks like you don't see Keven Hart making the club

  4. why dont they get rid of fucking ramon vazquez hes a waste and moss is gonna have a break out year this year fucks

  5. I think Hart needs to work on his control in the minors.