Moving past Lambo’s rough Winter League gig

Neal Huntington, preferring to err on the side of caution, tends to minimize Winter League triumphs by pointing out the talent level in the offseason leagues is lower than it is in the Majors. So the Bucs’ GM now faces an intriguing paradox regarding the Pirates’ evolving first-base/right field situation.

Does he now shrug off Andrew Lambo’s Winter League struggles, by somehow reasoning that he was up against a tough deal?

You can’t really have it both ways, but Huntington may have to take that route at least to avoid seeming desperate as he continues to engage the Mets in trade talks involving Ike Davis.

Lambo certainly did not strengthen his case with Lara in Venezuela. He had no homers in 27 games and 92 at-bats, while batting .228 with an OPS of .648. Lambo also fanned 28 times in those 92 at-bats.

There’s a couple of ways for the Bucs to rationalize that performance: Lambo was distracted by trying to learn a new position, as he jump-started his transition to first base; and he did finish strong, batting .324 in the last 10 games after doing .172 in the first 17.

Fatigue may have also been a factor in that overall showing. Between Double-A, Triple-A, the Pirates and Lara, Lambo put in 165 games and 562 at-bats in 2013, career highs.

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