Bucs deal Resop, Navarro

ResopIn addition to officially signing Russell Martin and deciding on who to tender/non-tender, the Pirates have traded relief pitcher Chris Resop and utility man Yamaico Navarro.

Resop, 30, will be headed to Oakland. With rumors of a Joel Hanrahan trade and increasing interest in Jason Grilli, this trade will further deplete the Bucco bullpen. Although he’s not considered a late-inning/pressure situation reliever, Resop is still a decent option at a cheap price. A lot of fans hated him, for whatever reason. He held down a 3.88 ERA in 159 games for the Bucs over three seasons.

In return, the Pirates will receive RHP Zach Thornton. Thornton, a 24 year old University of Oregon product, was selected in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft. He played High-A ball this year for the Stockton Ports, where he went 4-0 with a 4.53 ERA.

The A’s Twitter accidentally said that they had acquired “Jim Resop”…

Furthermore, the Pirates sent Navarro to Baltimore. He only played 29 games at the big league level last season, and hit just .160. Yamaico performed well at Triple-A Indianapolis, but was arrested for D.U.I. in July.

They will get RHP Jhondaniel Medina in exchange for Navarro. Medina is only 19 years of age, but has been in the O’s organization for three years. He has a career 3.14 ERA in 35 games between the Dominican Summer League, Gulf Coast League, and New York-Penn League.

Go Bucs

Photo: Keith Allison/Creative Commons

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Checking in on some former Buccos

Here’s a look at how some ex-Pirates are faring this season:

Nate McLouth was recently called up by the Baltimore Orioles. He tore it up for their Triple-A club, the Norfolk Tides, and earned a spot on their big league roster. Nate has hit .250 with four doubles and a triple in 14 games for the O’s

Brad Lincoln has an ERA of 6.55 in eight games for the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s been tagged for eight runs in his last four outings.

Adam LaRoche has enjoyed a solid season for the first place Washington Nationals. In 114 games, he has 23 HR and 77 RBI while hitting .260.

Sean Burnett is also contributing big time in the nation’s capital. The lefty reliever has a 1.94 ERA in 55 appearances for the Nats.

– In 54 games for the Mets, Ronny Cedeno is hitting .287 with 3 homers and 21 runs batted in. He missed time due to injury in April (left intercostal strain) and May (strained left calf).

– In his first season with the Minnesota Twins, Ryan Doumit has hit a solid .292 with 14 long balls. The injury-prone catcher has played in 101 of Minnesota’s 120 games, and has only been bothered by a right calf strain this season. He inked a two-year extension with the Twins in June.

Steve Pearce has landed in Houston after playing 28 games for the Orioles. He’s hit .283 in 16 games for the Astros.

Chris Snyder is also with the lowly Astros. Snyder is hitting an abysmal .181 this season.

Xavier Paul has been clutch for the enemy Cincinnati Reds as of late. He sparked a walk-off win on Sunday by hitting a leadoff pinch-hit triple. Paul has managed a .342 batting average in 38 at-bats for the Redlegs.

Curse of… McLouth?

We’ll admit it: we were pumped when the Pirates signed Nate McLouth to a one-year deal in the offseason. The former fan-favorite was returning to the ‘Burgh despite a few rough years with the Braves. The deal seemed to make sense, as the Bucs were in need of a fourth outfielder with the departure of Xavier Paul. Although he faltered in Atlanta, McLouth seemed to fit the role and was considered to be an upgrade over Paul.

Nate was solid in spring training, hitting .362 with two home runs and four doubles in 23 games. But as we all know, spring stats don’t translate well into the regular season.

McLouth looked absolutely clueless at the plate once the season began. In 34 games, he hit just .140 (8 for 57), including 18 strike outs. The Pirates designated him for assignment on May 25th.

Since the 25th of May, the Bucs have been on fire. While Nate was on the team, they had a record of 20-24; without him, they have gone 28-14. Here’s a look at the team’s offensive numbers, both with and without him:

Games AVG HR RBI OBP OPS
April 5th – May 23rd 44 .217 35 120 .266 .612
May 25th – July 13th 42 .275 57 216 .334 .799

Realistically, McLouth’s departure has nothing to do with the Pirates’ recent success. We’re just poking some fun at it, but it’s odd how they’ve really turned it on since May 25th. We wish he could’ve returned to his old self and stick around for a while, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The Orioles signed him to a minor-league contract on June 5th. He’s currently with the Norfolk Tides, Baltimore’s Triple-A team. In 30 games for Norfolk, McLouth is hitting .241 with 7 HR and 23 RBI.

Troubles on the Basepaths

Coming into the season, it was known that the Pirates would not possess an offensive juggernaut, and would need to play small ball to be successful. Along with an abundance of bunts, the Bucs were also expected to swipe plenty of bases with the speed of Alex Presley, Jose Tabata, and Andrew McCutchen at the top of the order. They have indeed enforced small ball thus far, but have really struggled at stealing. However, the offense isn’t the only area having troubles on the basepaths; the defense is really struggling throwing out runners.

On the offensive side, the Pirates have stolen 34 bases while being caught stealing 22 times, which equates to a 61% success rate. The 34 swiped bags is eighth-worst in the majors, but all seven teams below them (Yankees, Nationals, Tigers, Mets, Reds, Orioles, Red Sox) have been caught stealing considerably less. The 22 caught stealing is tied for second-highest with the Dodgers, while the D’Backs take the top spot with 24 CS. However, Los Angeles and Arizona both have stolen 39 bases, as opposed to the Pirates 34. Here are the Pirates stolen base leaders:

Player SB
Andrew McCutchen 10
Jose Tabata 6
Neil Walker 5
Alex Presley 5
Josh Harrison 3

Here are the Pirates caught stealing leaders:

Player CS
Jose Tabata 7
Andrew McCutchen 4
Alex Presley 4
Clint Barmes 2
Yamaico Navarro 2

As you can see, the top three speedsters McCutchen, Presley, and Tabata have been involved in the most action, but they haven’t been too successful. Cutch is a respectable 10 for 14. Presley is barley over 50% at 5 for 9. Tabata has not been good at all at 6 for 13. Between the three of them, they are 21 for 36 which equates to a 58.33% success rate, which is way below expectation for your three fastest players. Clint Barmes and Yamaico Navarro (who is now with Triple-A Indianapolis) are both 0 for 2; Neil Walker is a perfect 5 for 5 in stolen base attempts.

On the defensive side, the Pirates have struggled mightily. The catchers have not been able to throw anyone out as of late, and have allowed 23 stolen bases in a row. Rod Barajas and Michael McKenry can’t be held totally accountable though, as part of it also has to do with the pitchers. Many factors play into a steal, including checking on the runner, time to the plate, and pitch location, all of which are determined by the pitcher. A.J. Burnett does not seem to hold runners well at all, which is odd considering he’s a knowledgeable veteran with tons of experience.

The Bucs have allowed 82 stolen bases, while throwing out just four runners. FOUR! The 82 steals is 13th highest in the league, but opponents haven’t stolen much on the Pirates… yet. The four caught stealing is the lowest in MLB. The Rays have only thrown out seven, but opponents have only stolen 68 against them, as opposed to the 82 on the Bucs. Opponents are 82 for 86 against the Pirates, which is an incredible success rate of 95%.

The poor ability to throw out runners could really start to hurt the Pirates. They are on a roll right now and can’t afford anything to slow them down. However, if teams want to figure out how to score against this solid staff, they are going to have to manufacture runs. The easiest way to do so is to steal bases, and the Pirates haven’t been able to stop the running game at all.

The Pirates face the Orioles this week. Luckily, the Orioles are just 22 for 57 in stolen base attempts (59% success rate). However, the face the Indians next weekend; the Tribe have swiped 48 bags this season and have only been thrown out 14 times (77% success rate). Hopefully the pitchers and catchers both can start to figure out their inability to throw out runners. If corrections aren’t made soon, the Pirates could have a big time weakness in the stolen base department, both offensively and defensively.