Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ryan Church

Dude played for the Expos, how can you not appreciate that? A lot has already been said throughout Pirate Blogdom (John Sparrow, BucsDugout, Bucco Fans, WHYGAVS) on this signing.

My thoughts, much like all of my opinions, are a combination of my initial reaction, and other people's more well-thought out beliefs. Apparently, Church was signed to be the primary back up in the outfield, which isn't a terrible idea, but if Garrett Jones is our full-time RF, then I don't see the point. Jones is a dreadful fielder in RF, although he could improve, because he has the speed to get to more balls- perhaps he just needs more experience. But the defense would be much better with Church and his 14.2 UZR/150 in RF, and Jones in a fairly insignificant spot at first-base. Is Jeff Clement that much better of a hitter than Church to offset the difference in defense between Church and Jones? I don't think so.

On top of that, none of those guys can hit left-handed pitching well, which makes it necessary to have John Raynor, Brandon Moss, or Steve Pearce around to play against lefties (Moss has a reverse split). But there are not enough roster spots, especially if the Bucs plan on keeping 12 pitchers and just six bench bats. Depth is a good thing, because you never know what might happen (look at what happened to the Mets last year), but with the way it is now, they are going to have to think about trading away Moss or Clement, because they still have value in that they are young/cheap/above replacement level. I think the Pirates will go into Spring Training with open competition for the RF/1B spot (I'm pulling for Church/Jones), and the odd man out will (hopefully) get traded for something of value.

For the money, Church is good value whether he is an everyday guy, or just a 4th OF.

This is the most interesting thing I could dig up about Church, he doesn't have a problem dating members of the chosen people, but he does have questions about them.

On another note, the MLB didn't give the business to the Buccos about spending more money on payroll like they did to the Marlins earlier. As much as most people like to claim that the Pirates are pocketing all the revenue sharing money they get from the Sox and Yanks, this is another hole in that argument.

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