Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Bucs have help on the way, but enough?
Rumors suggest that the Pirates are about to summon top prospect Pedro Alvarez to the majors; Ron Cook suggests that perhaps only Alvarez can save Neal Huntington's job:
If I'm Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, I'm promoting hotshot prospect Pedro Alvarez from the minors today, putting him in the lineup at third base tonight against the Chicago White Sox at PNC Park and praying like crazy he does something to help me save my job. Next month might be too late. Heck, next week could be too late.
Huntington has to be running out of time. He's in the final season of a three-year contract and management has given no indication it plans on extending him. There's a good reason for that. Overall, he hasn't done a very good job.
In many ways, the Pirates' season is over again, long before the Fourth of July. But wouldn't it be fun to see what Alvarez could do with future star Andrew McCutchen and the other young guys that Huntington has finally, seemingly reluctantly, brought up? Tabata. Neil Walker. Brad Lincoln. Steve Pearce once he is healthy again. Who knows? Maybe they could put a little something good together. Maybe they could save Huntington's job.
If I'm Huntington, I'm willing to take that chance. Apparently, he isn't to that point yet. What? Is he afraid Alvarez will fail? If that happens, he almost surely will be fired.
That's a terrible way to generally manage, isn't it?
If I'm Huntington, I'm going down firing all the bullets in my gun. I'm not leaving any in the chamber in Indianapolis.
Huntington's probably safe for the moment, so I don't see any point in rushing Alvarez.
Which isn't to suggest Alvarez doesn't deserve a promotion. He's played well in Triple-A this season, while Andy LaRoche, the incumbent at third base, is suffering through yet another awful season. But LaRoche and third base is far from the Pirates' only problem. They've got middle infielders who can't hit, Lastings Milledge looks finished, and Paul Maholm is their only decent starting pitcher.
With Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker, the Pirates do have the makings of a decent (and exceptionally young) lineup. But gosh, they sure seem a long way from their first winning season since 1992. Alvarez is going to help Huntington only if Alvarez keys a second-half surge that gets the Pirates out of the basement. Fortunately, the Pirates have regression to the mean and Astros in Houston on their side.