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Pedro Alvarez Will Start Year With Pirates, But Should He?

On the new Bucs Dugout podcast, David Todd and I discuss what to do with Pedro Alvarez. He agrees with the Pirates' decision to take Alvarez north despite a miserable Spring Training in which he's struck out in nearly half his at-bats. I'm not so sure.

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The decision on what to do with Alvarez shouldn't have anything to do with the Pirates' performance in 2012 -- the potential replacements for him at third base aren't very good anyway, and if Alvarez can't get things going this season, it will probably be a tough season for the Pirates regardless of whether he's in the majors or the minors.

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The issue is what kind of move will be best for Alvarez's development. My concern is that he's regressed so much since his decent 2010 rookie campaign that the question is whether he can hit any pitcher with a smidgen of command, not just major-league pitchers. If he can't, he'd be better off heading to the minors right now than failing in front of what would be very hostile crowds at PNC Park.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.