Thursday, April 07, 2005

Duffy to Pittsburgh...

Jose Castillo to the DL. Here's what is going on here:

1. The Pirates placed their starting second baseman on the DL.

2. The Pirates recognized that since they already have five players in addition to Castillo on the 25-man roster who can play at least one middle infield position, they didn't need to use Castillo's spot on the 25-man roster on a middle infielder (likely Howie Clark, Cesar Crespo or Jorge Velandia, although Indianapolis hasn't updated its website, so it's hard to figure out who's down there right now). That's good thinking. Hopefully, the Pirates will use this window of time to get a closer look at Freddy Sanchez.

3. The Pirates decided they would use that roster spot on a position player. Again, good thinking.

4. The Pirates decided they would use that spot on a hitter who would back up the guy who's currently batting third in their order. This is actually less nonsensical than it seems when you remember who's batting third.

5. The Pirates decided they would use that spot on Chris Duffy, who, if one actually pays attention to his performance record and not the orgasmic exclamations from the Pirates' management and its lapdogs, is not nearly ready to hit in the big leagues. I can't comment much on his defense except to say that his reputation in that area is very good, although at least some of that reputation has come from reports from the same partisans and/or idiots who have recently decided, despite the amazing amount of evidence to the contrary, that Duffy is a top prospect.

I'm skeptical, but if Duffy really is terrific on defense, this isn't a completely terrible move. I said last week that Duffy will not contribute to a major league team for any sustained period of time and I still believe that is basically true (although I was a bit too hyperbolic; I probably should have said "contribute much"). But as a weak hitter with a supposedly strong glove, he'd be most useful as a bench player on a team with a couple of decent pinch-hitting options already on the pine and a very bad defensive outfield. The Pirates are that team.

When I started this post, I was going to grouse about this decision. If I were making the call, I'd probably grab Graham Koonce instead, and I still feel the Pirates are promoting Duffy for the wrong reasons - to hype him as a prospect, give the fans some cheap thrills, and have him 'learn' while sitting on the bench. But, all things considered, this isn't bad. Normally, I'd whine about Duffy's service time, but he's not a good prospect, so who cares?

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The Cub Reporter has a nice piece up about the Pirates. The intro, about Atlas Shrugged and the economic structure of baseball, is very perceptive and well written. Check it out.

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