With Jeff Locke taking a brief detour to the minors to get some rest and maybe do some re-tooling over the next week, the Pirates need a starter for Sunday's game against the Cardinals. I'm guessing Locke will go back into the rotation following his return to the big leagues for at least a start or two (we can discuss the wisdom of doing so as that time approaches) so for now, it looks like what the Pirates will need on Sunday is a spot start.
The Pirates haven't announced a starter yet and given the magnitude of the game (there's an awfully good chance that first place will be on the line in some form or another on Sunday) I'm guessing they'll wait until the last possible second. Jeanmar Gomez, who's pitched well in relief recently, seems like a decent bet. So does Kris Johnson, who's been excellent with Indianapolis this year and was great in his long relief outing for the Bucs a week and a half ago. Brandon Cumpton, who shut the Cardinals down in the double-header at the end of July, is presumably not an option, having made his regularly scheduled start for Indianapolis last night. It's also possible that with an off-day on Monday, the Pirates could turn to Charlie Morton on short rest, since sinkerballers tend to have more success on short rest than other pitchers.
I have another suggestion: Jameson Taillon. Taillon's only made five Triple-A starts and promoting him would seem to be pretty out of line with the way that the Neal Huntington Pirates have handled their pitching prospects thus far, but the, the Marlon Byrd trade indicates that the club is pretty willing to change their methods if it's going to help this playoff run.
The case for Taillon on Sunday is pretty straightforward: he's the most talented pitcher the Pirates can put on the mound. Assuming he pitches to the end of the Indianapolis season (and in the playoffs), he's got a couple more starts to make anyway. Why not have one of them be for the Pirates? Besides a few control issues to iron out, he's barely missed a beat from Double-A to Triple-A. The Cardinals won't have much, if any, of a book on him. The Pirates would really only need maybe five or six innings from him at most and Gomez can be ready to relieve him on a moment's notice. Why mess around with a swing guy or a minor league journeyman or a guy on short rest when you can bring in a 6'6" mountain of talent with a mid-90s fastball and a huge curveball for one start?
If the Bucs are pulling out all the stops for this last month of the season, I think Taillon for a spot start should be fair game. This is a pennant race. It's time to pull out the stops.
Geez Pat. one of the reasons I like reading you is that you make so much sense. Even when we disagree, I see what you mean. Even when we are thinking at cross purposes, I can see why.
But I think this is just plain nuts. And even more, I would be excited as all get out if the Bucs actually did this, which there isn't a chance in hell of actually happening.
Interesting. I don't like the idea of pulling Gomez out of the pen, because he's been so effective there, and he could be a big piece of the puzzle in that role over the weekend. However, I'm not sure about Taillon against the Cardinals, who seem to be much more vulnerable against lefties. We've already got Burnett going for one of those games, so I think we should try to get at least 2 out of 3 southpaws matched up against them. I'd probably go with KJ. That being said, I agree with your logic about using Taillon, and I think they should consider doing that in another upcoming series, perhaps the Reds. Also, if they time it to have his debut in a home series, that place will be even more electric than it already will be. Man, I wish Wandy were available for this weekend!
In the same vein as Taillion, meaning a highly talented prospect (of course not neearly to the same level) who the Cardinals wouldn't have much of a book on how about Stolmy Pimentel. The Pirates need to take a good look at him anyway considering he is out of options after this season and he would have 5 days rest come Sunday. He also appears to have has his control ironed out as in his last 11 starts he has went at least 6 innings in all of them and has not allowed more than 2 BB in any of them.
With this suggesting you are essentially advocating burning two of Locke's options neither of which we would have to use in normal circumstances. I mean if you call him up just for Sunday and send him down that's one (at least I think I'm not sure how it this would work to be honest) and then he likely isn't making the team out of Spring Training next year and wouldn't need added to the 40 man roster this offseason so there is the second one.
I mean ideally that wouldn't be an issue with a player as talented as Taillion but as we know (Alvarez) ideal situations don't always work. It would be a gamble because essentially you would be giving away two chances to send Taillion down to the minors to adjust for the reward of one start. That seems like a steep price to me but who knows.
Also unless Black clears waivers today you would need to open a 40 man spot. Not a huge deal as DFAing Oliver or Sands could easily be done but another factor to consider.
@battlingbucs That's not how options work. The way options work, there are three years (option years) starting from the time that a player is placed on the 40-man in which they can be promoted or demoted without having to clear waivers. Once a player has been optioned, they can be recalled and demoted as many times as the team wants throughout the season without burning another option. In other words, only one option is used per year. Also, if a player is in the minors for less than 20 days, it doesn't burn an option.
@NateRose @battlingbucs I know this but if Taillion was added to the roster for Sunday and optioned back to the minors after the game. Would that be one option year used this year? My point here is how is the 20 days determined. If he is sent back to AAA and the minor league season lasts only 10 more days but the major league regular season lasts 25 more days is he considered to have been on optional assignment for 25 days or 10 days? My thought process was it would be the 25 but I concede I might be wrong there.
Next season he would still be on the 40 man roster and assuming he doesn't make the team out of Sporing Training he would have to be once again optioned to the minors using an option year in 2014.
We could of course choose to keep him on the roster for the entire month of September but then we get in to service time issues next season and the 30 or so days he would be up this year would have to be paid back next year or else it would cost us a year of control of him or cause him to be Super 2. I'm not necessarily against calling him up just pointing out the reasons against doing so.