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Charlie Wilmoth, Editor of BucsDugout.com

July 18, 2012
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Charle Wilmoth, Editor of BucsDugout.com

First, where can readers find your work, and how did you get started writing on the Pirates?

My work is at http://bucsdugout.com and http://pittsburgh.sbnation.com. I started writing about the Pirates in 2004. I was trying to quit rooting for the Pirates and I couldn’t, so I started a blog.

Can you let readers know a bit about the draft. Who are some of the Pirates’ picks you are most excited about, and what surprised you most about the draft?

The best talents are outfielder Barrett Barnes, who the Bucs picked in the supplemental round, and catcher Wyatt Mathisen, who went in the second. Other players to watch include Jon Sandfort, Adrian Sampson, Kevin Ross, Dalton Friend, Max Moroff and Hayden Hurst. I was a little surprised that Mark Appel didn’t sign; the Pirates offered him a ton of money, more than he’s likely to get next year.

Much buzz right now about Marte and the desire to call him up to the majors. What are your thoughts on that – is he ready, or would it be a mistake right now?

I think he’s ready. The main knock against him before this season was his strike-zone  judgment, but he’s made great strides in that area. It’s a shame that he’s still in the minors while Drew Sutton keeps butchering plays in the outfield.

Do the Pirates over-rate their prospects? There have been a few mentions of the front office overvaluing some of their prospects and that this is standing in the way of some trades.

I have no idea whether they’re overvaluing their prospects or not. If they’re categorically unwilling to part with Marte, for example, in a Justin Upton trade, then that would be an example of overvaluing Marte. But the fact is that the Pirates should be cautious about dealing prospects, given that they can’t exactly afford a C.C. Sabathia or Mark Teixeira on the free agent market.

I’d like them to pull the trigger on the right deal, but if they want to err on the side of being a bit too careful about trading prospects, I can’t really argue with that.

Speaking of trades, who are some of the players you think would truly be good fits for this team, and what would it take to get them?

I’ll speak generally. They can’t really afford to give up good prospects for a rental player, but they can if they’re acquiring someone who might be around beyond this year.

Upton would be my top target, but given the multitude of reports about what the Diamondbacks are looking for, it’s not clear if the Pirates match up well with them. They certainly could use an outfielder. If not Upton (and the chances of getting him are remote), Shane Victorino might be another possibility.

The pitching seems to be slipping as of late. A minor blip, or cause for concern?

Cause for concern, although it was nice to see Erik Bedard pitch relatively well yesterday. His regression had been particularly scary.

If in fact no trade occurs, what current prospects can really help this team this season?

Marte, obviously. Bryan Morris and Justin Wilson could help in the bullpen. There’s also a chance Rudy Owens or Jeff Locke could help in the rotation, particularly if Kevin Correia collapses down the stretch again, but I’m not particularly bullish on either of those players.

Biggest difference between this team and 2012’s, looking at the second-half of the season and preventing a collapse?

It’s just a better team. James McDonald and A.J. Burnett should be able to help the rotation stay afloat.

Looking forward to 2013, who are some of the prospects that you see making the Pirates squad next season?

Mostly just the ones I already mentioned.

Looking at the team’s personalities – who are the locker room leaders on the team and who are the real mentors of the young guys on the squad?

I’m not in the locker room, but Burnett and Rod Barajas seem to have had an effect.

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