Pittsburgh Pirates' Pedro Alvarez Could Be a Hot Commodity This Winter

Thomas HolmesCorrespondent IIIAugust 17, 2011

PITTSBURGH - MAY 09:  Pedro Alvarez #24 of the Pittsburgh Pirates prays before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 9, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Good news Pirate fans, Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell have finally signed. Now, what to do with Pedro Alvarez?

Bad news is that the longest running nightmare in pro sports continues as the Bucs have seemingly spiraled downwards ever since the team's losing road trip to Atlanta a few weeks ago, no thanks in part to the worst call ever.

In all reality though getting to .500 is still a possibility.  Getting Alvarez to hit major league pitching is a whole other story, as once again it seems he is heading back to Indianapolis.

"We still believe in Pedro and that he will be a big part of what we're doing here," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I told him to go down, embrace it as a challenge and swing the bat with bad intentions." 

Unfortunately it can't be that simple, as somewhere between Indianapolis and Pittsburgh Alvarez continues to get lost while swinging at everything offered to him at the plate. 

For Pirate fans the feelings on Alvarez are mixed at best; given how poorly things started out during his signing fiasco and have been a bit rocky ever since.  With the exception of some bright moments during last summer, it's getting harder and harder to defend the former Vanderbilt slugger with each passing day.  Contrary to manager Clint Hurdle's statement, I don't see Alvarez as part of the Pirates long term plans.

The Pirates early success happened to coincide with the absence of Alvarez, which leaves one to wonder if the Bucs should consider shopping him this winter.  By all indications he should be a decent power hitter who can play either corner infield position and could attract some attention during the winter if GM Neal Huntington tests the waters.   

A large part of me believes that Pedro will never be able to put it together in a Pirates uniform after what happened surrounding his signing three years ago.  Some may consider that ancient history, but while some people can forgive, can everyone possibly forget—including Pedro himself?  He looks lost and like a guy in need of a change of venue.   

Isn't it better for the Pirates to see if they can get some talent in return for him now, rather than watch him turn out to be a complete bust?  While I imagine we will see him again in Bradenton come next March, I'm not entirely sure it's the best option for Pedro or the Buccos.