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Battling Bucs : Andrew Lambo

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
Today Andrew Lambo will get promoted to the major leagues. It is not clear yet if he will make his debut tonight or how Hurdle will even opt to use him. It is entirely possible he assumes the lion's share of starts in right field but then again I could easily see him being used more as a left handed bench bat. However it seems safe to assume that over the next 7 weeks that he will have a role in some capacity with the Pirates.
On a longer term outlook one could call these next 7 weeks something of an audition to possibly take over Garrett Jones' role next year. Jones is not a member of the Pirates core, is on the wrong side of 30 and will start getting fairly expensive next season so it isn't a stretch to assume he may not be back next year. Lambo seems to be a player kind of in that Garrett Jones mold meaning he is a left handed power hitting that can sort of play both 1B and the corner outfield. If Lambo's stay is successful it seems like a relatively safe bet the Pirates will opt to move on from Jones this winter ion favor of Lambo.
However Lambo's future beyond 2013 isn't really what needs discussing right now. Right now the Pirates and their fans need to be more concerned about this season. That doesn't mean the Pirates don't have to keep an eye on the future because they certainly do but losing focus on the here and now could be devastating.
Lambo comes with his share of warts namely a 25%+ K rate in the minors this season. It is no secret the Pirates strike out a lot and while I could post a wide assortment of stats to prove this that really shouldn't be necessary. The other thing about Lambo is that he doesn't really fit what the Pirates currently need. What the Pirates need is another right handed stick for the middle of the order. Now this could be accomplished two ways either by getting a right handed middle of the order bat or by getting a lead off man and thus allowing Marte to fill that role. Lambo can do neither of those so he isn't quite the perfect fit. None of this is intended to imply he can't be useful it is just to provide context for what the Pirates are adding.
What Lambo does give the Pirates is another name to try out in right field and one who fits the prototype much better than the Snider-Presley-Tabata trio. Lambo also brings a hot bat to the table as he has been mashing in the minors. It is certainly not inconceivable that Lambo could carry that over to the majors.
The Pirates offense by any metric needs to improve. There are varying degrees of just how good it actually is. In reality it doesn't look too bad and it has no doubt been subject to some poor luck and poor circumstances (ie playing in a pitcher's park) but the bottom line is the run production is below where it needs to be. There is reason to expect it to get better and I believe we have been seeing some of that lately but there is still ample room to improve. Lambo can not fill that void, no singular addition could but he can be a start. We as fans should not really expect much from Lambo. Chances are he is going to come up here and not have that large of an affect on this roster. Certainly he might be an upgrade over what the Pirates have trotted out to right field but he isn't a heal all.
It is ok to be excited to see Lambo up in the majors. He can certainly help this club out but limit your expectations. Lambo isn't the solution to the right field issue he is simply another piece of the puzzle. His strike outs, handedness and defense quality make him far from ideal essentially he is a square peg trying to fill a round hole but that's ok the Pirates are a quality team overall and they don't need a perfect solution to the problem they just need a partial solution and Lambo can indeed be that.

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