Sunday, June 27, 2010

What Should the Pirates do With Charlie Morton and Daniel McCutchen?

In what appears to be the year of the starting pitcher, the only team that seems to have missed out on the trend have been the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Entering today with a major league worst 5.38 team era, the Pirates have to do something with their starting staff, which has a combined era of 5.91, also a major league worst.

The current guys obviously aren't getting the job done, so what should they do between now and the July 31st trading deadline?  The two first steps are to deal both Zach Duke and Ryan Doumit.  Their value was higher last season, but now it's to the point that Neil Huntington has to get what he can for these guys.  They have had plenty of chances each, and simply haven't got the job done.

Step two is to acquire a veteran catcher.  Someone that is capable of working with a young pitching staff.  I want a good veteran defensive catcher who can handle a staff.  I could care less about his bat right now, especially with the way the offense has performed to date.  Having a good veteran catcher behind the plate could go a long way into developing some arms at this level.  Believe me, Doumit isn't that guy.  Take last night for example.  How many times did we have to see Daniel McCutchen throw fastball after fastball on the outer half of the plate.  You want to get crushed? Keep throwing 88-90mph fastballs to the middle and outer half.  It's not just McCutchen though, that's how the game is called on a daily basis.

Pirates pitchers refuse to work the inner half of the plate. The mentality has to change to be effective.  Since there is no way John Russell or Joe Kerrigan's job is in jeopardy, let's get a quality backstop and let them handle the young staff.  I don't care if Huntington has to overpay for one, but these young arms need a real catcher.

The next two pressing questions are what to do with Daniel McCutchen, and more importantly Charlie Morton.  First let's look at McCutchen.  Nothing he does really jumps off the page at me, but I feel he should get a longer look.  Your already 24 games under .500, so it won't hurt to let him pitch.  You have to see what you have and don't have in McCutchen. The kid has the ability to throw strikes and I hate to keep nagging on the veteran catcher thing, but it could help big time with guys like McCutchen, Morton and Brad Lincoln.

 How smart were the Washington Nationals when they signed Pudge Rodriguez?  Don't overlook how that signing will help their young arms in the long run.  They can send McCutchen back to AAA, but after the trading deadline, he should be a part of the rotation for the rest of the season.

Now for Morton.  The Pirates just don't need Morton to rebound.  He HAS to rebound.  First, read the Braves scouting report in 2007 on Morton by clicking HERE.  As you can see, they had the same questions about Morton that we currently have.  Weather he has it mentally or not to pitch effectively in the majors is one thing, but there is no questioning his stuff.  He can be nasty when he's effective, but he hasn't nearly been as effective as often as he should be as a Pirate.

If the Braves organization are left scratching their heads over Morton, then the Pirates won't have a clue.  Though reading the scouting report, you have to hold out hope for the very last line to come true- "The sky's the limit for Morton."  It's getting a little late to believe that, but Morton has to be a big part of what will be the future rotation. Again, a veteran catcher would help Morton a great deal.

Morton's  rehab assignment ends July 3rd, so the Pirates have to make a decision soon.  Morton's last start at Indy was his best as a pro, firing a 2-hit complete game shutout.  Charlie Morton can pitch at the major league level.  He showed what he could do at the end of last season.  The smart thing to do is to insert him right back in the rotation and give him the ball every fifth day. Let's just forget about the start of the season for Morton and let's just start over.  It's vital to the future that a guy like Morton figures it out.  Let's just hope the trip to the minors was a wake up call.


  1. Very good article. You've always liked Morton more than me, but i agree with what you say about him.

    I also agree that both guys should get a long look and both doumit and Duke should be gone

  2. Your right about the team needing to deal doumit & duke.

    Your also right about the team needing Morton to figure it out.

    I have to disagree though about him personally. I love his stuff but he has the mental toughness of a 2 year old.

    If he were going to be an ace there is no way the Braves would have dealt him fo a below average plater like Mclouth

  3. Who cares, they both suck