Pirates’ Walker hopes for impact addition in offseason
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012, 5:50 p.m.
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Second baseman Neil Walker doesn't expect the Pirates to abandon their build-from-within approach when filling holes in the roster. But, Walker also hopes the club will add some established impact players this offseason.
“I think there needs be a good balance,” Walker said Friday. “We've brought in guys like A.J. (Burnett) and Wandy (Rodriguez). Adding a couple more pieces like that could really benefit us. It's looking like we're going to need to add a couple starting pitchers. Hopefully, we can bring in another guy like A.J. — someone who can help us out immediately.”
Right-hander Kevin Correia will leave as a free agent. Righty Jeff Karstens, who is in his final year of arbitration eligibility, is not expected to be tendered a contract. Management could fill those two spots in the starting rotation with rookies Kyle McPherson and Jeff Locke. The Pirates also are seeking a starting catcher and bullpen help.
A young, inexpensive lineup doesn't necessarily doom a team to failure. The St. Louis Cardinals put six homegrown, pre-arbitration players on the field Thursday in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. The Cardinals crushed the San Francisco Giants, 8-3, to take a 3-1 series lead.
However, Walker pointed out the rest of the Cardinals' roster — including Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse — is neither green nor cheap.
“I think experience is probably the biggest thing,” Walker said. “When you've got an organization that's as successful as the Cardinals and you have guys like Wainwright, Carpenter and Beltran ... when you get into these (playoff) situations, the younger guys are looking at the older guys and seeing how they react to things. It's a testament to the veteran leadership more than the performance of the younger guys.”
Notes: Walker continues to recover from the herniated disc that caused him to be shut down with a month left in the season. He will not need surgery, but has not yet increased his workouts to full speed. “By the middle of November, I should be back to 100 percent, which is kind of right on schedule,” he said. “I think I'll probably be a little more cautious, with how much I do at the start of spring training. But I don't think anything is going to hold me back overall.” ... Walker will sign autographs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at the new Dick's Sporting Goods store in Cranberry. ... Manager Clint Hurdle will be a guest DJ at 2 p.m. Tuesday on WYEP-FM (91.3).
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7811.
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The Pirates really only need two additions in the off-season to make an impact and become competitive next season and they don't have to be big. First they need a left handed first baseman who can hit 20-25 home runs and walk 60 times a season in platoon with Gaby Sanchez so Garrett Jones can move to right full time and a manager who's willing to play Travis Snider in left everyday and park uber out machine Starling Marte to the bench or back to AAA where he belongs and tell Neal Huntington that if he insists on keeping Jose Tabata on the roster he won't be getting any playing time. Everything else from pushing Clint Barmes out of the picture to a catcher that can split time with McKenry can be handled internally with players already available as a low cost and failure to take those step will keep this team mired right where they are.
Submitted by: Mike on Friday, October 19, 2012
Hey, maybe the Yanks will trade us A-Rod, and we can move him back to short stop. He can't do worse than the .220 hitting situation we have. Plus they might pick up 25 Million or so of his salary. I can dream, can't I? lol