"Plus, Jones is 2 for 5, vs. LHP, this spring. "
Talk about completely meaningless.
"If Jones can figure out LHP even a little bit"
So players can only improve if you think they can? Even if the probability of that happening is zero.
0 for 2 today. Of course, he was facing Cliff Lee. And Alvarez is never going to be good against LHP, even if he does get it all together. Ryan Howard is a .231 career hitter vs LHP.
You hope, though, like Howard, Alvarez can eventually hang in there vs LHP well enough to avoid a platoon situation. And to that end, I think he could benefit from some more time in AAA. I think the Pirates would be better served by suspending Alvarez's service clock, while gettting him full-time PT in Indy, vs. platooning him with McGehee this year.
You might be right about him needing more AAA time but i dont think they will do it.
""suspending Alvarez's service clock"
I might be wrong but i think he would need to be there a good while for that to come into play.
""I might be wrong but i think he would need to be there a good while for that to come into play.""
Well, the 6 year contract Alvarez signed in September of 2008 expires after the 2014 season. After that, Alvarez will need to be resigned, based on his service time - as a 0-3 guy, or an arb1, or an arb2, whatever he is, at that time.
So, by suspending his service time while he still has an available option, the Pirates could save millions, in a few years. Plus, whenever Alvarez reaches 6 years of service time, he's outta here - Boras clients almost invariably head to free agency, as soon as possible. So, the longer he's in Indy this season, when his MLB production may not be up to par, the longer he's a Pirate down the road, when he's fully blooming.
I think the Alverez situation is a mess. There's room for blame on both sides.
I think the Pirates rushed him being desperate for something positive to happen after all the purges. I also think they over hyped him for the same reasons.
For Pedros part he didn't take the job seriously and is just now understanding what it takes commitment wise to play ML baseball.
I also think the pressure of being "the savior" had a negative effect on him. That and a lack of options in the lineup, protection wise, lead to his struggles.
Hopefully he has that protection now and will get better.
But i don't think he is ever going to be the guy we thought he was going to be and I dont think he was ever that guy in the first place.
I too had Nick Evans ahead of Hague for the platoon at 1B. His career OPS v. LH-pitching is over .800, but Evans has not performed well this spring. Hague has looked good at the plate, but has not looked good at 3B.
There are still a few more weeks of ST, but as of right now I have an opening day platoon of Jones/Hague at 1B and McGehee at 3B based purely on performance.
I have earlier posts on this board that contradict the previous sentence. Hague is not an ideal platoon candidate and has never hit LHs better than RHs. Hague will probably need to get more reps at 3B at sometime in his career to increase his value. But, Hague is the best option right now.
"not favorable to Pedro with 4 lefties Lee, Hamels, Capuano, and Kershaw in the first 6 games."
Good point. May well play a factor into the decision making.
""Hague is not an ideal platoon candidate and has never hit LHs better than RHs. Hague will probably need to get more reps at 3B at sometime in his career to increase his value. But, Hague is the best option right now.""
Well, let's see:
If Alvarez comes north in April:
McKenryMcLouthMcGehee2 of Navarro/Harrison/Fox
If Alvarez goes to Indy in April, that puts McGehee in the starting line-up, at 3rd. And opens a spot on the bench for Hague.
So, I'd say the real choice is between Alvarez and Hague.
I agree that it comes down to Hague v. Alvarez for one roster spot.
Like you said, the other two roster spots are between Navarro, Harrison, and Fox. Fox and Navarro may get the early nod. With Mercer and D'Arnaud in the middle infield at AAA, I would not be surprised if they temporarily stick Harrison in AA to get more reps SS. There is an opening at SS in Altoona since Brock Holt is more of 2B and Benji Gonzalez did not do enough offensively to deserve a promotion. I do not think Fox will finish the season with the big club, so Harrison's demotion is only temporary. JayHay will be play most of year in Pittsburgh.
Generally, teams don't demote guys 2 levels, even to learn another position. I actually think Harrison's fate is tied to Alvarez, the same as Hague's.
This stuff of playing guys out of position, to help them become more versatile, is fine for ST. But when the bell rings, I think you'll see guys more in their usual positions. So:
If Alvarez starts at 3B for the Pirates, McGehee platoons with Jones at 1B. And against some of the NL's toughest LHSP, you may want to sit both Jones and Alvarez, and stack as many RH bats in the line-up as possible. Creating a need for a RH bat, that can play 3B at least semi-adequately. Making the bench:
If Alvarez goes to Indy to begin this season, McGehee plays 3B FT. And Hague platoons with Jones at 1B. Hague being a rookie and all, they'll want some protection for him, in case he falters. Creating more of a need for Fox. Making the bench:
I think Navarro comes north, regardless. He's the only one left standing that has the glove to back-up the MIF. And Harrison's, Hague's, and Fox's fates are tied to what happens to Alvarez, and consequently, whether McGehee plays full time, or part time.
You wrote - they'll want some protection for him in case he falters.
If Hague falters at the MLB level, then they just send him back down to AAA and bring up Alvarez, Fox, Harrison, or Evans. Hague's got options to burn.
"Plus, whenever Alvarez reaches 6 years of service time, he's outta here - Boras clients almost invariably head to free agency, as soon as possible."
A lot needs to happen before Pedro worries about free agency...
I hope everyone saw this. Looks like Bucs seriously considering Hague as backup...and he's working extra hard at 3rd.
Sometimes, rookies DO make the club out of ST. He's not like a Cutch or projected like Alvarez was, or Bryce Harper who was optioned to AAA today. Waiting for service time issues to kick in with those guys made sense. In this case, not so much. Two reasons: Is the team SERIOUS about winning now? Then they need to bring him up given the uncertainties at the infield corners. Might we "lose" a season of Hague later? Maybe...but as I've noted, he's not projected like some of those other guys, and sometimes ya just gotta go for it.
Sometimes, rookies can - and should - make the club out of ST. The Pirates are finally in a position where April games may have some meaning. Yes, that is pathetic, but we all know that's reality.
Given the April schedule, the time is NOW for Matt Hague.
I do not necessarily disagree with that statement about Harrison and Navarro. They are both RH and play 2B-3B well, but neither has been a great option at short. There is very little to separate them where you would say Harrison is better in this situation and Navarro is better in another. I would prefer a LH or Switch-hitter in the middle infield with Harrison. They are too similar.
I have yet to see Harrison at SS, so I am unaware of his performance. If he looks good, then he should start the season North. I see Harrison is having a good spring 9-for-15 with 5 doubles and 1 triple, .600 BA. Navarro is 5-for-25 with one extra base hit. I really never got the need to trade for Navarro.
Harrison doesn't play any position well defensively and the purported hit against Navarro is that he plays soft defense too, though I haven't seen him play at all.
Maybe Harrison has improved his defense significantly? I doubt it very much.
But Lo! Harrison had a good 15 at bats this spring! Let's bring him north! lol
who are you kidding, keith? the kid has more money already than most of us will ever see...