How much do hitting coaches matter? And what the Pirates are seeking early in free agency (cross off Marlon Byrd)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

LEBO - Jay Bell decided to leave the Pirates for the Reds’ bench coach position late on Monday. I’m not sure if Bell was unhappy in Pittsburgh, or if he views this as stepping stone to a manager position, or if he just really wants to work with Bryan Price, whom he knows from his time with the Diamondbacks.

But, Bell, who was in part blamed for the Pirates’ stagnant offense of 2013, is gone. (I’m told Pirates assistant hitting coach Jeff Branson is an internal candidate)

The Pirates have offensive voids at right field, first base and shortstop. But perhaps the new void at batting coach is an opportunity to improve.  How much impact can a hitting coach have?

Continue reading How much do hitting coaches matter? And what the Pirates are seeking early in free agency (cross off Marlon Byrd)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Monday Morning Mop-Up Duty: when above average is great, Tulo in StL?, and Turner Field obsolete?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

LEBO – The GM meetings begin today in Orlando and while there’s typically few deals executed there it can be a time where seeds are planted for transactions that come to fruition later in the offseason.

 

The Pirates aren’t in a rush to jump into free agency, particularly since they have yet to learn whether AJ Burnett will be part of their 2014 plans.

 

What we have learned this offseason is the Pirates probably aren’t willing to spend $14.1 million on any one player in 2014.  While Burnett’s one-year market value is north of $14 million, teams are hesitant to commit 15-20 percent of their payroll on a single asset. And if the Pirates’ Opening Day payroll grows from $66 million in 2013 to, say, $80 million in 2014, $14.1 million would be 17.5 percent of payroll.

Continue reading Monday Morning Mop-Up Duty: when above average is great, Tulo in StL?, and Turner Field obsolete?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Should major league players push for a salary cap?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

MT. LEBO – Maybe you’ve erased it from your memory, but try remembering back to the 1994 strike that wiped out the first World Series since 1904 and perhaps an Expos’ world championship run. It was perhaps the most damaging work stoppage in the sport’s history, and one of the primary points of contention was the owners’ demand for a salary cap, a position they did not move from until early in 1995.

 

The owners claimed to save small-market clubs it needed revenue sharing – which it received in limited form – and a salary cap, which it did not.

 

Many fans wanted a salary cap for the sake of competitive balance, though small-market clubs have become more competitive over the last decade due to a variety of factors.

Continue reading Should major league players push for a salary cap?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The noticeable omission among qualifying offers (Burnett, A.J.) and what it means

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

MT. LEBO – Free agency opened for business at 12:01 a.m. this morning and unlike in the NFL, there’s typically not much immediate action as players and teams methodically work the market. While the Pirated did sign Russell Martin early in the signing period last offseason, GM Neal Huntington has indicated he will let the market play out this offseason. (Prediction: James Loney signs on Christmas).

 

The most interesting development so far is which free agents were – and which were not – extended one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offers by their respective 2013 teams by Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline.

 

There are 13 players who were given qualifying offers:

 

Continue reading The noticeable omission among qualifying offers (Burnett, A.J.) and what it means

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Monday Morning Mop-Up Duty: baseball’s changing labor market and some possible FA targets

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

MT. LEBO – The Pirates cannot and will not built through free agency. So don’t get too excited for the beginning of free agency Tuesday.

 

The good news for the Pirates is this: free agency is more expensive and less productive than it’s ever been and that’s good news for small-market clubs.

 

As we explored Sunday in this piece, free agency is changing: the supply of talented free agents is declining.  The free agency market is pinching in on two sides.

Continue reading Monday Morning Mop-Up Duty: baseball’s changing labor market and some possible FA targets

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail