Tyler Glasnow’s start Saturday was a dud but someone needed to toe the rubber for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Glasnow is someone who fans have been asking to be a mainstay on the roster since last September, and injury or not there is still a lot for him to learn.
Regardless there had to be a move made for him to start and it ended up being A.J. Schugel sent down. Why? Because he had an option.
On Twitter Friday night, Jason Shetler put forth options for what the corresponding move would be and I turned it into a poll.
The question was that if you were the one who had the authority to make the corresponding move, what would it be.
Well the overwhelming winner with 47% of the vote was designate Jonathon Niese for assignment.
Any Pirate fan would not be surprised by that. Niese has been demoted to the bullpen and admittedly was erratic tying the National League lead for home runs allowed. This, from a ground ball pitcher.
Not only has Niese admitted to his first half failures, but GM Neal Huntington also admitted perhaps he had made a mistake.
The mistake is magnified because this trade involved Neil Walker, also known as “The Pittsburgh Kid” but the idea was that shifts would benefit Niese who was to be a back-end of the rotation pitcher.
He was one of the best pitchers available in an offseason the Pirates were rather passive with.
Jeff Locke got 25% of the vote, good for second place.
He arguably was the best pitcher in the first half but his inconsistency in addition to fans already pent up frustration with him set Locke back.
He has extreme home-road splits and just recently lost at home for what feels like the first time in forever.
In this weekend’s series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Locke has been available out of the bullpen with his start skipped and future unknown.
Clearly patience is starting to run out on Locke as well.
The “other” category placed third with 16%. These were the people who assumed Schugel because they know how the Pirates operate or maybe had something else in mind.
Sending down Jared Hughes placed last with 12%.
No doubt Hughes is a popular figure but his pitching has been another story.
It seems like the Pirates have been struggling putting him in good though lately the efforts have been with inherited runners.
Whether or not Hughes came back from injury too soon because of genuine need (massive bullpen struggles) is up for debate but his results have not been great, regardless of what the ERA says.
Here are some separate Facebook comments:
Jonathan Birchok: “Gotta be Niese. When the GM basically admits that two fringe prospects might have been a better move, that says it all.”
Eric Rudel: “DFA Niese, he would probably clear waivers, so he may accept the assignment. If he doesn’t (then it’s a far removed) Niese for Glasnow trade which looks a lot better for the stretch run.”
Randy Page: “If Schugel doesn’t have any options then the Pirates will DFA Schugel, Caminero or Nicasio most likely. While many have Niese in that conversation, I wouldn’t just yet.”
All three mentioned Niese in their answer which seems to be a very small sample size for how the fans feel.
If you want to win games, do it with the best team around you. Schugel was strictly a victim of have options remaining and being able to pitch at length. The Pirates already had three relievers of that type, so the move had to be made.