Neal Huntington’s big offseason bets are busting – GM Neal Huntington made two big gambles this offseason. The first gamble was to spend $5 million on free agent starting pitcher Edinson Volquez in the hopes that the Pirates’ coaching staff could work their magic on him the way they did with Francisco Liriano in the season prior. If Volquez turns out to be half as good as Liriano, he would make a nice back end of the rotation starter. The second gamble was to not address the hole at 1B and trust that rookie Andrew Lambo could fill the position. Both of these bets are not looking good. It is only Spring Training, and the numbers mean nothing yet, but that doesn’t make them any less scary. Volquez has an 11.00 ERA this Spring. The Pirates have used 35 pitchers in Grapefruit League action. Volquez’s ERA ranks 35th on the team. Andrew Lambo is hitting just .065. Of the players with at least 10 ABs, only Chris Stewart has a lower batting average than Lambo.
Tony Sanchez is Pittsburgh bound – Chris Stewart injured his knee last week. There appears to be some significant damage. Stewart is likely headed for surgery and a lengthy DL stint. It sucks for Stewart, but in the long run this probably benefits the Pirates. I didn’t like the Stewart acquisition to begin with. I understand he is very good defensively, but it is time for Tony Sanchez to become a major league contributor. His bat offers way more than Stewart’s does. I think Sanchez can fine tune his craft better by working as a backup to Russell Martin. I just hope manager Clint Hurdle doesn’t let him rot on the bench. Sanchez needs some playing time, and Martin needs to be rested more often than he was last season.