Here are some news and notes plus some random thoughts on things currently going on with the Pirates.
**This morning while speaking to the media, Clint Hurdle announced that when he returns from his suspension, Starling Marte would be playing left field and Andrew McCutchen would remain in center field. I disagree with this decision and here’s why. At the start of the season, Pirates management determined that it would best for the team if Marte was the center fielder and McCutchen in right field. What’s changed? Seems to me that this decision is a reaction and a punishment to Marte for the 80-game suspension. By doing this, the organization is punishing the entire team not just Marte. Bad move.
**After losing the first two games of the series, the Pirates are fielding a lineup today that doesn’t give you much hope that they won’t get swept.
Today’s Lineup: Frazier 2B, Osuna RF, Jaso LF, Bell 1B, Polanco CF, Mercer SS, Moroff 3B, Stewart C
McCutchen, Harrison and Freese all given off-days today. The head scratcher is that McCutchen has a .444 lifetime average vs. Giants starter Jeff Samardzija.. Poor Trevor Williams!
**Tonight at 7 PM on ESPN, the 2017 All-Star team will be announced. Although cases can be made for Josh Harrison and Ivan Nova, I’d be surprised if anyone other than Felipe Rivero is named to the team. Maybe later this week if a player drops out of the game, one of those players could be a late addition.
**Speaking of Starling Marte, he’s leading off this afternoon for Single-A Bradenton and playing left field.
**Today is the first day of MLB’s international signing period and Pirates Prospects is reporting the Pirates have signed their top target. According to the website, the Pirates have signed outfielder Juan Pie to a $500,000 contract. Pie (6-3, 175) is a 16-year old left-handed hitting prospect that’s rated by Baseball America as one of the Top 50 international prospects. The Pirates have $5.75 million to spend on international free agents.
**With the MLB Trade Deadline approaching, expect to hear a lot of Pirate players involved in trade rumors. This morning, MLB Trade Rumors mentioned Josh Harrison being tied to the Boston Red Sox, who have a need for a third baseman. This would definitely be an example of selling an asset when its value is high.
**What players should be untouchable this trade deadline? No one is untouchable BUT I wouldn’t be looking to deal these players: Josh Bell, Felipe Rivero, Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova and Jordy Mercer. Everyone else could be had.