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Floyd: Pirates’ Replacement for Rowdy Tellez Ready In Triple-A



Pittsburgh Pirates' Rowdy Tellez (44) is introduced before the Pirates' home opener baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Pittsburgh, Friday, April 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Pittsburgh Pirates have scored less than 2 runs per game over their past 16 games, dating back to their April 15th contest with the New York Mets. They’ve played to a miserable 3-13 record during that span, with everyday starters like Rowdy Tellez (.205), Andrew McCutchen (.188), Jack Suwinski (.168) and Henry Davis (.162) and all batting below or frighteningly close to the Mendoza line… and collecting just six home runs between them.

With the calls for hitting coach Andy Haines’ job reaching a fever pitch—and the offensive slump showing no sign of disappearing, it’s past time for the Pirates to try to shake things up. While asking the club to move on from their hitting coach barely a month into the season might be a tall order for the Pirates, they do have possible replacements waiting in the wings with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.

Jake Lamb Lights It Up

First baseman Jake Lamb is a natural replacement for Tellez, who the Pirates signed this offseason in the hope that he’d regain his 30-homer pace set in 2022. Instead, Tellez’s .552 OPS sits as the third-worst on the team, a head and shoulders worse than the .667 clip that led the Brewers to non-tender him this offseason.

Like Tellez, the Pirates signed Lamb this offseason, although he didn’t make the big league club out of spring training. He’s a grizzled journeyman with more than eight years of MLB service time, slashing .235/.326/.427 with 112 doubles and 96 homers in 723 career games. He’s also tearing it up in Indianapolis this year, slashing .391/.481/.609 with five doubles and three homers in 20 games. He acquitted himself well in spring training, although the minor league deal he signed with the Pirates made him an easier choice to start the season in Triple-A than any of their potential roster options.

At 33 years old, Lamb’s career might be on the downswing, but his bat isn’t showing any signs of that right now. Unless the Pirates want to wait this slump out until the bitter end, something needs to happen. Sending Henry Davis down to Triple-A in exchange for Yasmani Grandal is one move they’ll likely make; McCutchen is safe, and a notorious slow starter who’s starting to improve, while the Pirates have shown leniency with Suwinski’s extended slumps in the past. Swapping Tellez out for “Lambo” is the logical move.

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