Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/9/12

The first in a multi-part series laying out what pieces are available to the Pittsburgh Pirates, how well they’ll mesh with the team, and what the Pirates may have to move in return…      (Opening image credit, SD Examiner)

Part 1:  Available hitters, and their suitability grade with the current team roster

A+  OF Carlos Quentin, San Diego Padres

2012 Season:  .268, 7HR, .924 OPS

In terms of a good fit with the team, it doesn’t get much better than a power hitter putting up huge numbers while playing half of his games in the offensive purgatory of Petco Park.  Only signed to a 1-year deal by the Padres prior to the season, the expiring contract should reduce San Diego’s asking price, yet there’s nothing preventing a new team from opening the pocket book and extending the 29-year old long term.

For a power hitter, Quentin rarely strikes out, and has posted the following OPS+ since 2008 (100 denotes an “average” player):  149, 98, 119, 122, 160 (current).  Acquiring him would ignite a positive snowball effect of sorts, making OF Jose Tabata fully expendable, paving the way for a Marte-McCutchen-Quentin OF of the future (should the Pirates extend him), pushing OF Alex Presley and INF/OF Drew Sutton to more suitable roles coming off the bench, and landing 1B/OF Garrett Jones into an ideal 1B platoon/bench role.
OF Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks

2012 Season:  .273, 7HR, .755 OPS

Justin Upton; Image credit mlblogs

Unlike Quentin, Upton is younger (25) and signed long-term (through 2015) on an affordable 6 year, $50MM contract extension.  However, this could make him significantly more costly to acquire, and it’s unclear whether Upton would be a better short-term option than the Padres’ slugger.  Upton’s OPS+ since 2008 read as follows:  107, 129, 110, 139, 100.  Like Quentin, he has one 30+ HR season, and multiple 20+ HR seasons during that interval.  But his current production is significantly behind Quentin’s, and he strikes out at a significantly greater rate (152 in 2010).

Upton has the raw tools to be among the league’s elite OF for the next 5 seasons.  But he still possesses the youthful inconsistency that’s causing the Diamondbacks to dangle him in the first place, and he may be less of a lock to provide the Pirates’ lineup badly needed power down the 2012 stretch.

B+  OF Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins

2012 Season:  .261, 19HR, .913 OPS

Arguably one of the most underrated veterans in the game, the 33-year old Willingham has been consistently dropping huge production numbers all the way back to 2006.  His 2011 season may have been the most impressive, as he blasted 29 HR while playing half of his games in the expansive Oakland Coliseum as a member of the A’s.  This past offseason, the Minnesota Twins savvily signed him to a 3 year, $21MM deal, and he hasn’t disappointed.

Unfortunately, Willingham has been one of the only bright lights in a dark season for the Twins, who occupy the AL Central basement with a 36-49 record.  It’s this position of the team- not Willingham himself- leading many to speculate that Minnesota may be shopping him.  But still signed affordably for 2 more years and showing no signs of slowing down, it’s unclear whether the Twins actually will move him.

3B Chase Headley, San Diego Padres

2012 Season:  .267, 8HR, .780 OPS

Chase Headley; Image credit mlblogs

There’s a colorful story about a Padres’ hitter giving the ownership box at Petco Park the finger during the inaugural game there, after his long fly ball- which would’ve been a home run anywhere else- was caught casually for an out.  The offender wasn’t Chase Headley, although it may as well have been, as he’s the prime example of why San Diego’s stadium has been utter joy for pitchers, but abject misery for hitters.  Headley owns a career OPS split of .664 (home) and .811 (away).  Place the 28-year old switch hitter in any other stadium, and he may be among the best 3B in the National League.

The Padres may realize the detrimental effect their home environs are having, perhaps why the 3B is rumored to be attainable.  Not even arbitration eligible until 2013, the asking price should be high, although Headley’s acquisition is not the perfect fit.  While adding another switch hitter to a lineup already featuring 2B Neil Walker and Sutton, the move would force either he or 3B Pedro Alvarez across the diamond to 1B, where they wouldn’t be nearly as valuable relative to their position.  One possible solution is moving Headley to LF, but he hasn’t played there since 2009.

Trade Rumors, part 2 soon to follow.  Thanks for reading!  Follow me on Twitter @jim_krug

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
1 Comment:
  • leroydyno123

    I like what Pirates have done so far with draft and aquiring players. If Appel is set on going back to Stanford good bye losing 3.5 million and setting back career by full year. Good luck with that!
    Trades at this time of year are loaded in sellers favor and should get deals like last year if Lee would not have gotten hurt he may have been the answer. Ludwick did not work out but he did give effort.

    My opion get J.Pierre and Keppinger for front of line up and should not have to give up more than c prospects.

    Like the rumors but Pirates minor leagues are starting to produce. Huntington built the system now lets use it
    . Produce from within.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jonathan Papelbon still wants out of Philly

Kyrie Irving: Cavaliers would have won an NBA title if healthy

Here are your 2015 All-Star reserves and pitchers

Are LeBron, Cavs just playing teenage games?

Bucks president threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

ESPYs golf classic moving from Trump course

Report: Pierre-Paul could miss training camp, start of season

Report: Spurs sign David West

Report: Marc Gasol signs five-year deal with Grizzlies

Manu Ginobili announces he will return next season

Robinson Cano dealing with stomach ailment all season

Gronk, David Ortiz in latest Dunkin Donuts iced coffee video

Bridgewater on Vikings: 'we’re not as good as what we think'

Floyd Mayweather Officially Stripped Of Welterweight Title

Mo Williams signs 2-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers

Carli Lloyd had vision she would score four goals in World Cup Final

Carli Lloyd needs help to carry all her World Cup awards

Russell Wilson abstaining from sex with girlfriend Ciara

Coach K on meeting Beyonce for first time: 'I felt like 13'

Three-star TE Michael Irvin Jr. commits to Miami

Bryce Harper skipping HR Derby because of dad's injury

Braves the most interesting team to watch at the deadline?

Video shows FSU QB De'Andre Johnson punching woman

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Gronk, David Ortiz in latest Dunkin Donuts iced coffee video

The 2015 All-Star reserves & pitchers

Are LeBron, Cavs just playing teenage games?

Bucks threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

Bryce Harper to skip Home Run Derby

Video shows De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Odell Beckham Jr. poses for nude version of 'The Catch'

Report: Giants pull offer to Pierre-Paul

Report: Jordan was tired of Chris Paul

2015 All-Star starters announced

JPP injured in fireworks mishap?

Odell Beckham doesn't want to be known for 'the catch'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.