In our daily Wake-Up Call, we get you ready for the day with a complete look at all things Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Real Deal
Yesterday Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported the Pittsburgh Pirates are interested in re-signing former second baseman, Neil Walker. Walker played for the Pirates from 2009-2015 before being traded to the New York Mets. Walker was very popular during his time in Pittsburgh but is bringing him back the right move?
Neil Walker is coming off an injury-shortened but respectable season with the Mets and Brewers. He hit .265/.362/.439/.801 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs in 111 games. If Neil Walker does return to his hometown team, I don’t believe it will be a full-time starter but as a platoon player. In 2017 Walker hit .279 with a .854OPS against right-handed pitching. That matches up very well with David Freese, who hit .308 with a .839OPS against left-handed pitching. Both players have struggled to stay healthy so a straight platoon could benefit the two.
A potential return for Neil Walker isn’t just a baseball move, it would right a fairly huge wrong. The Walker for Jon Niese trade was bad for a variety of on-field reasons but it also hurt because a local hero was sent away. Re-signing Walker two years later doesn’t undo that awful trade but it’s a potentially solid move that appeases many fans.
An underrated firing
Yesterday the Pittsburgh Pirates fired their Director of Latin American Scouting, Rene Gayo. Gayo is currently being investigated for taking a kickback in order for the Pirates to sign an international free agent.
Gayo has had a huge influence on the current lineup of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He famously scouted and signed Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Elias Diaz, and Jose Osuna. He has been a fixture for the Pittsburgh Pirates since 2004 and this move comes as a great shock to the organization.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will not be punished for Gayo’s actions and will begin their search for a new head of International Scouting. This move may not seem like a big deal but Gayo has been an outstanding scout for the organization. The team has struggled the last two seasons and this is certainly a blow to the long-term future. The team needs to make sure they hire the right person to replace Gayo. The Pirates can’t compete without game-changing international signings. So this is a vital move for Neal Huntington and the entire organization.
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