What were the Pirates doing on defense?

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Milledge defense.jpgThe Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic observed something quite extraordinary: in the early going of the Pirates-Giants game, the Pirates consistently shifted all three outfielders towards right, even with right-handed batters at the plate. This allowed Aaron Rowand’s leadoff double and Mark
DeRosa’s broken-bat, two-run single before the shift was removed. Kovacevic believes that Lastings Milledge could have reached both of those balls had he been positioned properly.

I didn’t watch the game live, but I just now went back and watched the replay on MLB.tv and, yes, the shift was rather ridiculous. The Giants broadcasters began questioning it during Edgar Renteria’s first inning at bat, saying that the Pirates “must have last season’s scouting report,” because unlike last year when Renteria was battling injuries, he can now pull the ball again. Even if that’s the case with Rowand, there’s no word on why they were running it during everyone else’s at bats. And I’ll add that the problem was exacerbated by the fact that the Pirates’ starter Brian Burres is a guy who works the cut fastball inside and that even if he’s not throwing there on purpose — which is rare — he misses inside all the time, which makes pulling the ball into an empty left field pretty damn easy. Just ask Mark DeRosa.

Overall, Kovacevic notes, seven fly balls were hit
to left with no outs recorded “through no fault of his own.
He simply could not cover the ground to get to them, whether because of
foul luck or flawed advance scouting or positioning.”

Pirates baseball: it’s FAN-tastic!

The Marlins made another trade for international bonus pool money

Marlins
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The Miami Marlins’ primary offseason goal thus far appears to be acquiring as much international bonus pool money as possible. Last week they traded their closer to the Nationals to get some. This morning they traded a couple of low-level prospects to the Astros to get more. Specifically, they traded lefty reliever Brayan de Paula and outfielder Adonis Giron to Houston for an unknown amount of slot money.

De Paula, 19, has pitched in the Dominican Summer League for the past two seasons while posting a 3.05 ERA and 57/16 K/BB ratio over 59 innings. Giron, 17, has one season of Dominican Summer League experience under his belt, where he hit .255/.331/.362 with three homers in 67 games.

The Marlins have made no secret of the fact that they’re after top international prospect Victor Victor Mesa and, possibly, his younger brother, Victor Mesa, Jr., which would explain the stockpiling of bonus money.