A snowy SpikesFest


Pirates prez Frank Coonelly will hitch up his sleigh Sunday and slide over to State College for SpikesFest. The Class A team’s annual event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility. Right-hander Victor Black, the Pirates’ supplemental first-round pick in 2009, also is scheduled to attend.

— Due to snow (!!) Triple-A Indianapolis postponed its hot stove luncheon by one day until today. Ken Griffey Sr., who played for the Indians, will be the keynote speaker.

— Do you Tweet? If so, here are some Pirates-related folks to follow: @hanrahan4457 (Joel Hanrahan), @DanielMcCutchen, @Maholm28, @The_Dude_41 (Daniel Moskos), @RobBiertempfel (shameless self-promotion).

— Dave from White Plains, N.Y., is pondering the lineup and some possible lineup changes:

When should we expect to see Pedro Alvarez this season? The Pirates lineup would look good if it were something like: 1. McCutchen, 2. Iwamura, 3. Doumit, 4. Jones, 5. Alvarez, 6. Milledge, 7. Church, 8. Cedeno. What do you think the 2010 lineup will look like? If Doumit, Duke, Maholm, and Ohlendorf are traded mid-season along with the slew of relief pitchers they just signed, what do you think the Pirates will get in return and where do you think those players will be traded to?

I’m expecting to see Pedro in Pittsburgh by the end of July. It could be sooner, if he tears up @ Indy and Andy LaRoche struggles mightily.  If/when Pedro arrives, I think your projected lineup is pretty much on the mark. However, Milledge and Alvarez could flip-flop, to give Pedro time to ease in. Another wild card is Jeff Clement at first base. If he clicks (and can field the ball dependably) he could slip in behind Jones or Milledge in the 5 or 6 spot and Church would be on the bench.

Certainly, Doumit is a trade possibility and other teams have inquired about Duke and Maholm, but I’m not expecting a wholesale sell-off of players this summer. It would take a lot to pry away any of those pitchers – especially Maholm and Ohlendorf. The Pirates have acquired some position player help via the draft and trades, but stockpiling pitching always is a priority. If there are any trades, I’d expect the Pirates to seek a middle infielder (especially a shortstop) and starting pitching, starting pitching, starting pitching.

— The Hardball Times has chimed in on the murky issue of Jose Tabata’s age. They raised an interesting point I neglected to mention in my story in last Sunday’s Trib: ESPN analyst Keith Law ranked Tabata as the 57th-best prospect in the minors. But Law noted that if Tabata “is really 23 or 24, he wouldn’t make the top 100 at all.”

— Remember Jack Wilson? He certainly remembers Pittsburgh — the good and the bad, according to the LA Daily News.