Pirates GM Neal Huntington speaks after quiet deadline

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PNC PARK – It was a quiet a deadline for the Pirates, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the club as it was a seller’s market and prices for impact talent were high.

 

Still, could the Pirates have made a minor trade to help their bench? Was that a missed opportunity or is there enough help in the minor league system? We’ll see. But every asset was believed to be over-priced due to market conditions.

 

Pirates GM Neal Huntington met with reporters at 5 p.m. today and said the club was willing to do something “stupid” to improve, just not anything “insane”

 

Apparently, the asking prices for impact talent were insane.

Continue reading Pirates GM Neal Huntington speaks after quiet deadline

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The seller’s market, trade deadline predictions, and Andrew McCutchen plays like a star

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – We’re less than four hours from the trade deadline and all is quiet – thus far – from Pirates central command.

 

Clint Hurdle has a theory that with the second wild card added it’s become harder to make trades as a buyer at the deadline, because there are more buyers in the market. And of course the second wild card was added not just to make winning the division more meaningful, but to keep more teams in the hunt and more fans interested.

 

“I think it’s really changed the challenges for the general manager. People are going to hang on longer,” Hurdle said. “There are some doors that aren’t opening. The asks just really don’t make sense for us (as of 4 p.m. Tuesday). As the clock continues to click you never know what might happen. No one wants to seem like they are dealing from urgency or desperation. It gives teams an opportunity to stay in play longer.”

Continue reading The seller’s market, trade deadline predictions, and Andrew McCutchen plays like a star

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Rounding up rumors – Pirates in on Rios and Norris, per reports – as deadline approaches

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PNC PARK – Happy trade deadline, folks. We’re 26 hours from the non-waiver trade deadline and noise linking the Pirates to various players has really begun to pick up in volume today.

 

Teams love to create as much leverage as possible in negotiations, which is why they typically end up waiting until the last minute to consummate  a deal. It’s a game of chicken.

 

For instance, as we reported in the dead tree edition today, the White Sox asked the Pirates for Jameson Taillon or Gregory Polanco for Alex Rios. The Pirates perhaps covered the phone and laughed and then quickly and politely said no. (Rios is owed $18 million through next season).

 

Continue reading Rounding up rumors – Pirates in on Rios and Norris, per reports – as deadline approaches

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Monday Morning Mop-up duty: I hear there’s a somewhat important series this week …

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – So I’m new around here, but as I understand it this might be the most important series in, oh, about 20 years or so at the confluence of the Three Rivers.

 

The Pirates did what they needed to on their 10-game road trip: they split. Now they have five games in four days against the first-place Cardinals. They have a chance to take over the division lead entering August. That’s big time.

 

I’m curious, as I’m sure you are, how the Pirates handle this.

 

Continue reading Monday Morning Mop-up duty: I hear there’s a somewhat important series this week …

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Will the television bubble burst before the Pirates get in the game? And does the trade deadline even matter?

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MIAMI – Perhaps the Pirates’ biggest long-term concern has nothing to do with their struggling offense, what they do or do not do at the trade deadline , or whether Jameson Taillon, Gerrit Cole and Gregory Polanco fulfill their promise. No, it has everything thing to do with local television rights.

 

Really.

 

You’re probably aware that at present Pirates are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to local television rights, which is the greatest separator between the Haves and the Have Nots in the game. The Pirates are in the fourth year of a 10-year deal with ROOT that pays the team 18 million per year, tied with the Marlins for the lowest level of television revenue in baseball.

Continue reading Will the television bubble burst before the Pirates get in the game? And does the trade deadline even matter?

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Is Pedro Alvarez really improving? And who do you give the ball to in a Game 1?

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – In the Pirates’ 60th win of the season (Yes, it’s still July), Pedro Alvarez hit his 26th home run of the campaign, which ties him for the NL lead.

 

Barring injury, Alvarez is headed for his second straight 30-home run campaign. He could hit 40. This is the sort of power the Pirates were expecting when they made him the second overall pick in the 2008 draft.

 

The boos that greeted him with nearly every plate appearance at PNC Park this April seem to be a distant memory. But is Alvarez really improving?

 

Continue reading Is Pedro Alvarez really improving? And who do you give the ball to in a Game 1?

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The 25 most valuable Pirates, pre trade deadline

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – With the trade deadline  a week away, I thought today was a good time to update our in-house evaluation of the 25 most valuable Pirates. Essentially, this is a list of trade value.

 

This is not a list tied only to 2013 value, rather, it’s all-encompassing value ranking. The list takes into account present skills, future projection, age, contract (cost) and club control. It’s essentially the trade value list ESPN’s Bill Simmons made famous.

 

It contains a wide range of players from current Pirates’ regulars to minor league players yet to play in Low-A ball, from ages 36 (Jason Grilli) to 18 (Luis Heredia). It’s a delicate balance between current and future production.

Continue reading The 25 most valuable Pirates, pre trade deadline

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The Grilled Cheese contingency plans …The NL Central loses Ryan Braun and Matt Garza (and why that hurts the Pirates)

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – The Pirates’ win last night was costly as closer Jason Grilli left the game with two outs in the ninth in severe pain.

 

Grilli left with a right-arm injury, what the club is describing as dreaded “forearm tightness,” a symptom that can often be a sign of a UCL ligament tear.

 

You never want to see an athlete walk off the field like that, particularly a good guy like Grilli. And a long-term injury to Grilli could destabilize the Pirates’ bullpen, what has been the team’s top strength this season. We’ve seen what happens before when a closer goes down and the rest of the bullpen arms are forced to jump up a role, it doesn’t always work out well.

 

Continue reading The Grilled Cheese contingency plans …The NL Central loses Ryan Braun and Matt Garza (and why that hurts the Pirates)

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Monday Morning Mop-up Duty: sell tomorrow for today?

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – While the Pirates avoided a sweep Sunday, the weekend was not how the club wanted to emerge from the break. And while one series is a small sample size, season-long issues continue to linger, namely hitting, or rather, not hitting, with runners in scoring position (2 for 27 this weekend).

 

The Pirates are not without flaws, and flaws will become more magnified in the second half if they are not addressed.

 

Considering the Pirates’ difficult remaining schedule – they have 23 games remaining against the best club (St. Louis) and third-best club (Cincinnati) in the NL – standing pat might not get this club into the postseason.

Continue reading Monday Morning Mop-up Duty: sell tomorrow for today?

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Pirates are apparently serious about South Side assets but should they be? (Lessons from the Brian Giles trade) … Closing time will be awfully difficult … and a travel observation

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SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – It appears the Buc Nation pipedream that is Giancarlo Stanton-to-the-Pirates is drying up.

 

The Marlins believe their timetable to back to relevance has accelerated due to the better than expected performances of late and the emergence of some of their young players like Jose Fernandez. MLB.com reports Stanton is most likely staying put …. well at least until this offseason or perhpas next summer.

 

Stanton isn’t on the market, and he isn’t expected to be dealt this season. There is a chance he could be moved in the offseason, if he declines a multi-year offer. Even if he does, it isn’t automatic he will be traded. Basically, Stanton could fill a bulk of the $11.5 million that Nolasco was making this year. So financially, the Marlins are well positioned to take on Stanton’s first-year salary in arbitration.

Continue reading Pirates are apparently serious about South Side assets but should they be? (Lessons from the Brian Giles trade) … Closing time will be awfully difficult … and a travel observation

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