Wednesday, September 08, 2004

New Callups

Five new players joined the Pirates yesterday as Nashville's season ended. They are:

OF Tony Alvarez
OF J.J. Davis
INF Freddy Sanchez
C/1B J.R. House
P Mark Corey

Corey has been with the team much of the year and was mysteriously sent to Nashville a few days ago even though rosters had already been expanded to 40. Davis is on the DL and won't play.

Alvarez, Sanchez and House all present interesting options for the Pirates in 2005. Alvarez can play center field, and he's a reasonably good hitter with some speed and the ability to hit for average, so he'd make a good reserve outfielder for the 2005 Pirates.

Sanchez is 26 and crushed AAA pitching in the Red Sox system in 2003, but he was injured most of this year. When he returned, he didn't hit well in 125 at-bats. Still, if healthy he could be a good low-cost option for the Pirates next year. The Bucs should pencil him in as their utility infielder, let Abraham Nunez go, and either trade Bobby Hill or send him to Nashville (would it be possible for the Pirates to do this?). The Pirates should also watch Sanchez closely in the Arizona Fall League, and if he goes nuts like he did in 2003, they might consider trading Jack Wilson and making Sanchez and Jose Castillo their starting middle infielders. Wilson's value is as high as it will ever be, and he might be able to land a young player who could turn into the cleanup bat the Bucs badly need.

House will be out of options next spring, so he'll almost certainly stick somewhere with the Pirates, or at least he should. At the very least, he should be an upgrade over Humberto Cota as the Pirates backup catcher (House's defense isn't as good as Cota's, but his bat is much better). The Pirates should also find a way to get at bats for him elsewhere, either at first or in the outfield.


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