Big Lead Sports Bar


Down on the Farm

Welcome to the Farm. Horseback rides are to your left. It’s the same horse that pulled the Pirates through the final three months of the season last year. She’s had 3 months to rest but it’s time to get her moving again.

Perhaps you forgot but the Pirates do exist and they will be playing baseball again before you know it. For my inaugural article I decided I would go with a Buccos off-season recap. You may be thinking to yourself, “But isn’t this supposed to be about the minor league teams?” Well it is. The Pirates have only brought in one bona fide major leaguer this off-season. Maybe Neal hasn’t yet realized we have big league problems here in Pittsburgh.

The following is a comprehensive list of men management has brought in to help save our seasick Pirates. We’d have better luck with Dramamine.

Adam Bernero – Right Handed Relief Pitcher

Bernero has bounced around baseball since coming into the league in 2000. He has played for Detroit, Colorado, Atlanta, Kansas City and Philadelphia. Last year he signed with the Red Sox but missed the whole year after having Tommy John surgery. A career 5.91 ERA has me extremely excited to see him help the Pirates. To give you real insight as to what kind of a pitcher we’ve acquired, lists Ryan Vogelsong as the pitcher most similar to Bernero. I knew we needed a new mop up man.

Elmer Dessens – Right Handed Pitcher

Yes, the same Elmer Dessens as always. Elmer actually began his illustrious career in the ‘Burgh in 1996. Since then he has racked up the frequent flyer miles playing for every team in the league. OK, not all of them but enough of them. Last year Elmer spent time with both the Brewers and Rockies posting a combined ERA of a cool 7.15. I’m not sure exactly what Mexican team this is Dessens in playing for in this photo but I want to meet the sponsor.

Phil Dumatrait – Left Handed Relief Pitcher

Pronounced doo-MA-tray. This way you know exactly what to yell when he’s being a bum. Phil made his big league debut last year with the Cincinnati Reds. It was forgettable. As were pretty much all 18 of the innings he pitched last year. In 18 innings Phil managed to give up a whopping 30 earned runs. That’s an ERA of 15.00. I’m being a little too hard on Phil though. In seven minor league seasons he has a career 3.33 ERA. Maybe Phil can turn it around this season with the Buccos (however I’m not holding my breath).

Evan Meek – Left Handed Relief Pitcher

Meek was acquired from Tampa Bay in the Rule 5 Draft. Meek has yet to make a Big League appearance having spent the last five seasons playing minor league baseball at the A and AA levels. In 287 innings pitched Meek has a career 5.14 ERA. Also, Meek has given up only seven homeruns in that same time span. That’s a homerun every 41 innings. By comparison Paul Maholm has given up 43 homeruns in his career 395 innings pitched. That’s a homerun per game. I’ll spare you from doing any math.

Kevin Roberts – Right Handed Relief Pitcher

Roberts was picked up in the Salomon Torres trade along with Marino Salas (see next entry). Last season Kevin played for Brevard County which is the Brewers affiliate in the Florida State League. Roberts had a solid season posting a 3.44 ERA in 65.1 innings pitched. I can’t believe I was seriously excited about the Pirates getting a pitcher that had a 3.44 ERA in high A ball.

Marino Salas – Right Handed Relief Pitcher

The most interesting thing about Marino is that his last name is a palindrome. You know, one of those words that’s spelled the same way forwards and backwards. Actually I lied. Salas is maybe the player I am most excited to see this spring training. Salas split time last year between Milwaukee’s AA and AAA teams posting a combined 2.77 ERA. While he might not be quite ready for the show, he should at a minimum push the bull pen and create a little competition in spring training.

Jorge Velandia – Utility Infielder Bats-Right Throws-Right

Jorge will be in his second stint with the Pirates this season after being a spring training invitee (like he is this year) in 2005. He spent that entire season in Nashville where he batted (I finally got to use the word batted) .277 and scored 47 runs. In his latest big league action with the Devil Rays (or Rays I suppose) Velandia hit .320 (16-for-50) with 2 homeruns and 11 RBI’s.
Mike Thompson – Right Handed Pitcher

Thompson saw a bit of success in the bigs with the Padres in 2006 when he posted a 4.99 ERA in 92 innings of work. Most of 2007 saw Thompson pitching for San Diego’s AAA team in Portland with only 15 2/3 innings of work coming with the Padres. Thompson failed to impress in those 15 2/3 innings allowing 12 earned runs for a 6.89 ERA.

Miguel Perez – Catcher Bats-Right Throws-Right

Miggy P (as I have just nicknamed him) has spent his entire professional career in the Reds organization bouncing between levels incessantly. In 2005 Miggy made the jump from high A to AAA where he hit .208. Last season Perez played in leagues he shouldn’t have been playing in (rookie league, A) and had an inflated combined batting average of .322.

Michel Hernandez – Catcher Bats-Right Throws-Right
Hernandez spent last season in Tampa Bay’s organization playing for AAA Durham. Michel batted .276 with 19 RBI’s and 4 homeruns. In general Hernandez is a rather pedestrian player. Besides, when you have a catcher the caliber of Ronnie (Florian) Paulino what would you ever need to bring in another catcher for?

Chris Gomez – Utility Infilder Bats-Right Throws-Right

Here’s your single big leaguer, Chris Gomez. Chris has a career .261 batting average and isn’t getting any younger. Now typically, I am not a fan of the Pirates bringing in their usual group of old guys but this doesn’t seem to be a terrible fit. Gomez is still an above average ball player with maybe two seasons left on him (not that I think he will be here any longer than one). Also, as far as utility infielders go there aren’t many better. And let’s face it, ANYONE is better than Jose Hernandez. In all I give this move 1 ½ thumbs up.

Josh Wilson – Infielder Bats-Right Throws-Right

Wilson played for both the Nationals and Devil Rays last season hitting a combined .238. Josh pitched a single inning last season surrendering zero earned runs. I predict in Cam Bonifay-esque style Neal will attempt to convert Wilson into a setup man to “hold” (the worst stat in baseball) all those late inning leads we obtain.

Ty Taubenheim – Right Handed Starting Pitcher

There’s not a whole lot to say about Ty because he’s not very good. He appeared in one game last season for the Blue Jays pitching five innings giving up five earned runs and getting a ticket back to AAA Syracuse. Taubenheim also saw action with AA New Hampshire. It appears Taubenheim has been regressing since the 2006 season when he logged 35 innings for Toronto. Welcome to Pittsburgh, Ty!

T.J. Beam – Right Handed Pitcher

Beam played for Scranton -Wilkes Barre last season (AAA team for the Yankees). In his time there he posted a 3.59 ERA with 45 strike outs. Beam got a taste of the bigs in 2006 pitching 20 innings for the Yankees and giving up 17 earned runs. Ironically, Beam has a career Major League record of 2-0. Rest assured if Beam pitches 20 innings for the Buccos and gives up 17 earned runs he will swallow plenty of losses.

Raul Chavez – Catcher Bats-Right Throws-Right

Chavez’s most memorable quality is sharing a first name with the great Raul Mondesi. Hopefully Chavez is just as creative as Mondesi at getting out of contracts. I don’t think leaving the country will work again. Raul (Chavez not Mondesi) has been up and down between AAA and the show his whole career. Last season he spent the entire season with Scranton-Wilkes Barre hitting a measly .221 with 31 RBI’s. I feel like Chavez and Beam were picked up simply because they played in the Yankees farm system. If they were Yankees they must be good, right?

Jose Macias – Infielder/Outfielder Bats-Right Throws-Right

Macias was a regular big leaguer from 2001-2005. Last season Jose played for AAA Nashville of the Brewers’ farm system where he batted .242 with 32 RBI’s. It’s pretty clear to see Jose is on the way down in his career. I wouldn’t look for him to do anything but clog up the minor leagues for the younger guys.

That should about do it for the introductions to the new Pirates. In all there is very little help coming to the big league team in the way of off-season acquisitions. I’m still excited to see what a couple of the younger guys can contribute. Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Brian Bixler all fascinate me but that’s a topic for another article. Next week we’ll do a Pens farm system update.


okel dokel said...

Now that is an impressive array of talent. I will be rooting for Miggy P. and Ty Taubenheim to make the squad. It will be a joy to hear Lanny call their names.

Elmer Dessens! Why can't we bring back Bronson Arroyo? Oh, right he would immediately suck when he donned the Buccos uni.

Sean said...

Nicely done!

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

So yeah, the Pirates are pretty much not even trying anymore are they?