Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 3/26/12

Yesterday Neal Huntington essentially announced that Pedro Alvarez will be starting the season with the Pirates if he’s healthy. As you might expect, that has generated a good bit of controversy. We all know how awful Alvarez was last season, and he hasn’t done anything this spring to make me think he’ll be any better this year.

I’m still not really sure how I feel about this whole situation. On one hand, it makes all the sense in the world to send Alvarez to AAA to start the year because it almost feels like a guarantee that he’ll struggle in the big leagues right away. Spring training performances don’t usually mean much, but I think Alvarez’s horrible struggles are worth reading into because it’s exactly what we feared (and partially expected).  It’s not some bizarre anomaly we’re only seeing because of a lack of AB’s – it’s the same stuff we saw from him all of last year. Obviously, starting the year with Pedro whiffing away constantly and hurting the team would be an enormous problem. Casey McGehee, Josh Harrison, and Yamaico Navarro can take up the at-bats at third base and be adequate.

On the other hand, we already know that Pedro can hit the ball in Triple-A. I obviously don’t know exact specifics of his development, but the conventional wisdom is that he’s played 101 games there and hit pretty well, so going back wouldn’t do him any good. Additionally, sending him to AAA would presumably help the team in the short run – but would also ignore his potential contributions if he were able to figure things out. You could make the argument that the only way the Pirates will compete this year is if they get big-time production from Alvarez. McGehee, Navarro, and Harrison don’t have anywhere near the upside he does.

Like I said, I’m still not sure which camp I fall in to. I have a terrible feeling that Pedro will struggle to start the year, but I also think the arguments in the above paragraph are valid. Even though Huntington backed Alvarez, I still wouldn’t be surprised if he used his “knee injury” that kept him out this weekend as an excuse to send him to AAA, even if it’s a phantom injury.

The likely scenario, though, is that he’ll be the Opening Day third baseman. If he turns things around and starts hitting, GREAT. Forget about this whole post, he’s playing every day.  If not, I think he’ll be splitting a lot of at-bats with McGehee/Harrison/Navarro. He’ll almost never play against lefties, and hopefully that will get him going. If he’s still scuffling by the end of April or so, he has to be AAA bound. Especially early in the season, I’m not buying into the notion that it’s OK to give him a ton of MLB at-bats regardless of the outcome. It’s going to get frustrating very quickly and even if the Pirates don’t have much of a shot this year, that’s no reason to throw away two months-worth of at-bats as an experiment. I want to see a team that’s doing it’s best to win this year, I have my doubts that playing Pedro Alvarez every day is going to accomplish that.

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

.


MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jerry Richardson selling Carolina Panthers amid investigation

Roy Williams honored late Pat Summitt during game at Tennessee

Burfict responds to Smith-Schuster's TD celebration

Antonio Brown taken to hospital for further evaluation

Cam Newton offers support for Panthers owner

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Captain Munnerlyn calls benching ‘slap in the face’

Report: Jerry Richardson would ask to shave women’s legs

Twitter reacts to Thomas Davis' dirty hit on Davante Adams

Randall Cobb splits defenders with sick move on catch-and-run TD

Eli Manning's two TDs against Eagles vault Manning family to 1,000 TDs in regular season

Stephen Strasburg says he may skip future All-Star games due to injury concerns

Top takeaways from NFL Week 15

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mr. Jones goes to Washington

The 'It's the most wonderful bowl of the year' quiz

NHL Weekender: Bolts keep striking, Preds on the hunt

Chargers are the AFC team no one wants to play in January

Donald Trump's quotes vs. the sports world in 2017

Five MLB teams that should trade for Manny Machado

The 'It's always chilly in Indiana' quiz

NFL puts safety entirely on players, again

Eight NFL teams who simply need to start over

Most important player on every team in each bowl matchup

NFL Week 15 Predictions

Pirates 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 Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mr. Jones goes to Washington

NHL Weekender: Bolts keep striking, Preds on the hunt

The 'It's the most wonderful bowl of the year' quiz

Donald Trump's quotes vs. the sports world in 2017

Chargers are the AFC team no one wants to play in January

The 'It's always chilly in Indiana' quiz

NFL puts safety entirely on players, again

Most important player on every team in each bowl matchup

NFL Week 15 Predictions

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Boogie, Z-Bo reach out and punch someone

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker