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Live updates from Day 2 of the Winter Meetings (updated 5:20 p.m.)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – All is mostly quiet thus far on the Day 2 front of the Winter Meetings. Nothing new on the Pirates’ end as of 12:30 p.m. They are still interested in acquiring a 1B and still have much interest in James Loney.

 

One thing of interest actually occurred very early on Day 2. Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, perhaps my favorite person in baseball, was mingling with us common class of people – reporters and job seekers – in the hotel lobby here at the Dolphin.   I asked Maddon, the Godfather of defensive shifting, what he thought about Pirates’ aggressive defensive plan.

 

“Exciting,” Maddon said.

 

Despite the popular narrative, Maddon actually believes there remains a heavy human and instinctual element to baseball but more than any other 21st century manager he deserves credit for bringing objectivity and modern thought to the game. Maddon more than anyone in the game has changed what the expectations are for modern manager. Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa were  all elected to the Hall on Monday and I imagine Maddon might eventually join them.

 

photo (36)

Maddon is what you want in a 21st century manager, plus, he’s got the plus-plus hair

 

Maddon offered some interesting thoughts on the manager/coaching staff role and their relationships with front offices and how the Rays’ – and the Pirates’ – competitive advantage is going to be eroded in the near future.

“I think, now between the manager’s office and general manager’s office or front office, whatever you want to call it. It’s not interference. There is more aid coming from up top down below. There is more information available. I think it’s become more difficult because a couple years ago when we first started doing a lot of the things that we’re doing, we were a little ahead of what everybody else is doing. But everybody else is doing those same things and it’s becoming more difficult. Because now you’re looking in the mirror every night and looking for the edge to stay ahead somehow.

“But, yes, the new manager situation. There is going to be a stronger tie between that seat and the GM seat and all that’s encompassed in running the game, and I’m all for it. Andrew and the boys have helped me a lot in my particular seat regarding information and advice and thoughts based on stuff that I can’t sit there and crunch all that information like they can and present it on a piece of paper. I’m all for it. I’m absolutely all for it.

 

“Where the game is headed maybe three, four five years from the most from now, it’s going to permeate every team, every organization without exception. Then it becomes even more difficult. That laser thin line between winning and losing becomes whatever beyond the laser, it’s going to become even finer than that. That’s the interesting part to me. That’s why coming into this job in 2006, in my mind’s eye, that’s where it was going at that time. Now it’s become more difficult. But I believe there is going to be a stronger linkage between this share, the manager’s chair and the front office.”

 

But Maddon also believes we can’t measure everything that counts in the game.

 

“Getting back to the balance concept, all of these components are tied together. You have to be present to be successful, I believe. Beyond the good plan or the great research wonderful skilled players, it’s the ability to bring them all together that matters the most. So the intangible, immeasurable part of the game, to me, that is a feel thing, and you have to be aware of it and believe that it’s important. If you do, you’ll look for it, monitor it, try to adjust it daily if it’s necessary, and it’s something, again, that can’t be felt or necessarily seen. It’s just something that you’ve got to be aware of.”

12:45 p.m. UDPATE:

Roberto Hernandez’s agent tells me the market is “heating up” for her groundball-specialist client. She would not say if the Pirates are one of those teams but I would think they have at least placed call.

12:59 p.m. UPDATE 

The Pirates really want Loney it seams. The assumption is they are waiting for the cost to come down. (FWIW, Maddon thought he really deserved a Gold Glove in 2013, though his defensive metrics are mixed.)

2:56 p.m. UPDATE

Remember when Eric Chavez was part of my All $15 million Offseason Plan? ..

 

4:35 p.m. UPDATE 

 

Pirates GM Neal Huntington just finished his daily briefing with reporters.

 

Highlights:

 

*The club is not counting on Gregory Polanco to be a solution to the RF void in 2014. Huntington conceded that elite talents can accelerate timetables.

 

*Huntington said Jordy Mercer is in line to receive the lion’s share of playing time at shortstop but is seeking a complementary piece.

 

*I asked Huntington about how many dollars he’d be willing to commit to one player,  and he cited a study done by his former employer – the Cleveland Indians – that showed at the time no team had ever won a World Series by committing more than “18-20″ percent of payroll to one player. By the way, 18 percent of $80 million is $14.4 million, or roughly the qualifying offer.

 

4:59 P.M. UPDATE 

*Huntington on Gaby Sanchez: ”I think a lot of people are uncomfortable with Gaby (Sanchez) as our (first base) answer but we’re not.”

 

*No update on AJ Burnett from Huntington but Burnett’s agent is flying in to the Winter Meetings today.

 

5:20 P.M. UPDATE

Huntington acknowledged yesterday that the Pirates consider their bullpen to be an area of surplus, though they have far more right-handed options than left-handed ones. The Pirate would need to be careful trading a lefty who hit 100 mph last season. And even more careful if they think he could start.

- TS

78 Comments

  1. Andrew Lambo went 1/4 with a ribbie yesterday to raise his average to .176.

    51 ABs/9 hits/2 2B/0 HRs/ 13 RBIs

    Lambo played his first complete game at 1B yesterday. His previous 16 games have been played in right field.

  2. So if they sign Loney, would he platoon with Gaby or be the full time 1st baseman?

    • Loney has mediocre/poor numbers against lefties. He would platoon with Gaby.

      Since he has never had an OPS at even .780 for any season in his career, I think he is fairly mediocre against all pitching.

      This is not a signing that I hope comes about.

  3. Really disappointed that Roy Halladay retired yesterday. I was hoping he thought he had something left, and that he would sign a Liriano contract with the Bucs, with lots of incentives, to protect Huntington but drive Halladay.

    Do you think Roy Halladay belongs in the Hall of Fame?

    Roy Halladay — 203 wins – 105 losses —— .338 ERA —— 3 time 20 game winner —— twice led league in wins ——
    Jack Morris .. — 254 wins – 186 losses —— .390 ERA —— 3 time 20 game winner —— twice led league in wins ——

    Roy Halladay — 67 Complete games —— 20 shutouts —— 8 All Star games
    Jack Morris . —175 Complete games —— 28 shutouts —— 5 All Star games . (2 years, when Morris went 21-6, then 21-8, didn’t make All Star Game)

  4. Thanks for the updates Travis.

    Lets hope the PBC can make something happen

  5. If I am correct,I think Halladay only had three seasons with double digit losses.And yes,Jack Morris deserves to be in the HOF also.

  6. Eric Chavez has topped 500 PAs since 2006 and he’s only topped 300 once since 2008. Averaged about 280 PAs over his two most recent seasons, compared to Gaby’s 225.

    Sign him, don’t sign him, I don’t really care with this one… Can’t see it having a large impact on the field or financially either way…

  7. Trumbo to the D-bags…Will there be any first baseman left in the American league after they all come over here?

    • This seems a little odd. They traded a current outfielder who cost nearly nothing and had a lot of promise but had his season derailed last year by injury as well as a very good pitching prospect for a guy who has never posted a WAR above 2.6 and has a career OBP of .299. That’s not his average but instead is OBP. He’s a one trick pony but apparently that’s a trick the Diamondbacks really like.

      I’m glad the Pirates didn’t trade Kingham and 2012 Marte for this guy because that is essentially the deal the Diamondbacks did. At least Trumbo’s swing and misses will provide a little breeze in Arizona.

      • But But But, HOMERUNS!

        • They can have them. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t have just overpaid for Beltran if they really wanted that power bat. Not as much power but a far superior player to Trumbo in my opinion and he cost no prospects. They have more then likely created future holes that will need to be filled with costly free agents and added very little if anything to their team.

          I wonder if he will be batting before or after Goldschmidt. If it’s after then Goldschmidt will be pitched around.

  8. Chavez feels more like a Barmes signing. I thought/hoped we had moved past that point. However he seems like an adequate platoon partner for much cheaper then Loney. As always if that allows for money to be spent elsewhere then I’m OK with it. If they sign Chavez and Burnett and call it a day then I would be very disappointed because the payroll would be close to what it was last year and that just doesn’t seem logical.

    They are saving a considerable amount at SS compared to last year and not paying Jones. There has to be more then just Chavez with the extra revenue and TV money. I guess we will have to be patient and see how it all shakes out. They added Burnett in March two years ago.

    • The Pirates better not have moved past Barmes signing, since they desperately need him right now.

      • Ha, yes I want him back as a backup as well but not an important piece to the team. Chavez would be getting 350-450 at bats and more if he plays some third base as well. That’s too many for my liking. As I said above if the team wants to keep pitching a strength and sign more then one starting pitching then allocating less to a first baseman like Chavez I could be on board with.

  9. What about Mike Carp??? Why not Mike Carp at 1B???

    • Because I had to look him up to figure out who he was. Since we are playing that game: Why not:

      Daric Barton
      Joe Mahoney
      Ryan Langerhans
      Jordan Pashico
      Eric Hinske…………..Wait?

    • 2014 Mike Carp will not be as good as 2013 Mike Carp.

      And 2013 Mike Carp was aqcuired for cash because 2009-2012 Mike Carp wasn’t very good.

  10. Batman sending Alfred to do his bidding…

  11. So do they plan to bring up Polanco at all this season?? If not, I’m not feeling very good about a full season of Tabata/Snyder….

  12. Espinosa is supposedly available from the Nats, he is a SS isn’t he?

  13. Nh do not trade Justin Wilson, under any circumstances. He is going to be a mainstay for many years. I liken him to Grant Jakson who set up Teke. He is a great middle innings reliever, and capable of multiple innings often. Trade Gomez if you must. Why has there been no talk about Bartolo Colon for one season, until Taillon is ready. And why are we not considering Michael Morse? He would be a cheap reclamation project, with enough power, to platoon in right and first.

  14. “*No update on AJ Burnett from Huntington but Burnett’s agent is flying in to the Winter Meetings today.”

    LET’S HOPE THIS MEANS AJ IS COMING BACK TO THE BUCS IN 2014!!!

    • He just might be coming to talk to other teams.

      The more I see, the more I think, the PBC will not pay him what he wants

      • Biz

        You could be right that the Bucs will be chintzy with AJ. The MLB channel says Arroyo is expecting an offer from the Reds.

        NH must have something else cooking.

        • Thank goodness, I’m not thrilled with Arroyo.

          Travis had a good insightful post from NH regarding spending.

          We will not see the PBC spending what AJ wants or could get.

          16 to 10 ish?

          But its only December, we will see

      • Negotiating contracts for a client that doesn’t know whether or not he’ll be playing again?

        • Sure. A.J. left it wide open during the interview that I heard him give to Colin Dunlap. And even if he didn’t, agent goes to meetings and maybe starts mingling with some other GM’s, sounds like some gamesmanship to me perhaps.

          • Oh yeah, thats exactly what I’m saying.

            Odd for an agent to go to a league-wide meeting for a client who doesn’t know if he is playing again and only wants to play for the Pirates.

            Unless those things aren’t actually true.

          • Gotcha.

  15. Good stuff Travis. Thanks for the updates.

    I like Joe Maddon a lot too. But I don’t think you can talk about him being in the HOF until he wins a World Series.

    • Murtaugh won two

      Most Managers do not belong in the HOF

      I do think its watered down too much

      • What players do you think water down the Hall of Fame, Bizzy?

        I don’t think Blyleven belongs there but some of the stats geek stress certain numbers to get him there, and I’ll accept that.

        The Baseball Hall of Fame is the most difficult to attain. I do not think it is watered down.

        I think there are other players who belong, like Jack Morris and 2-time MVP Dale Murphy.

        • G2M2S…I can list some: Niekro, Sutton (Hall of Longevity, maybe), Perez, Rice and give me a look at the list and I could name some more.

          Maybe even Maz, but if Ozzie gets in, then so does Maz.

      • Bizzy…I am with you on the HOF being watered down.

        There’s already too many “Hall of the Very Good” players in the HOF.

        We don’t need any more.

        That being said, altho I hate his guts for ‘starting’ Free Agency, Marvin Miller deserves to be in the HOF.

  16. As usual great content Travis, I like the updates, even though nothing tangible has happen.

    Interesting note on the front office not wanting to spend a significant portion of salary on one player, I will file this under the value of a win is linear and teams prefer diversification.

    Also, I never fully understood the significant number of Pirates’ fans who were so bullish on Polanco. They seemed to be expecting significant contributions from Polanco with Marte 2012 1.1 WAR being the floor, this from a player with some 300 PAs in AA/AAA. Obviously, the hitter profiles are different but Marte had 1000 PAs at AA/AAA, and the Pirates have been characterized as conservative in their prospect promotion. Polanco has great potential but every time I hear fans pencil his name into the lineup for five years I am reminded of this article.

    http://www.royalsreview.com/2011/2/14/1992424/success-and-failure-rates-of-top-mlb-prospects

    • Andrew,

      It was Travis who started, or at least contributed to, this landslide of insisting Gregory Polanco be brought up.

      Travis stated early last summer, while Polanco was still in A ball, that he saw the outfield of Polanco, Marte, and McCutch starting together by June, 2014.

      • That is complete garbage, Groat. Get over it.

      • He has always said that it could happen and that still remains true. Never has he guaranteed it or even said it was likely. If they are not getting production from right field and Polanco can just walk on the field and immediately be a 3.0 WAR player based on pure natural athletic ability it definitely could happen. It’s hardly the craziest thing ever said.

        • I know *I* have stated I think Polanco could go north with us in April, but in NH I trust.

          He ain’t perfect, but I like the way he thinks.

  17. Regardless, Polanco needs to play 100 games minimum in Indianapolis. He will get a taste of the big club during spring training.
    Baseball is not completely about numbers. There is something to be said about earning your way. Developing a work ethic. Battling for your position. Anyone think Snider and Tabata aren’t battling it out even now for that right field starting spot? You think they are going to roll over for Polanco?

    • From all reports, Polanco has an outstanding work ethic.

      And, if moving up in the minors ain’t “battling” for your position, then what is?

      Tabby and Snider ain’t rolling over for Polanco, but then, neither did those defensive backs when Jerome would burst into the secondary…..it wasn’t pretty….lol

  18. Which brings up a question for the smart guys. Lets just say for S&G’s the Pirates sign a left handed 1st baseman. Loney for example. In April you find yourself with two left handed right fielders and 1 right handed right fielder. You cant have three right fielders. You cant have three 1st basemen either. I suppose if you RREEAAALLLYYY could justify keeping them early, certainly someone will have to go when Polanco comes up. Who is it gonna be? Who’s out of here?

    • Not sure who the 2 LF RFers… Snider and Lambo? I would think only one of them makes the club to start the season anyway…. but if/when Polanco is ready to come up, Snider or Lambo goes, pretty simple.

    • Here’s what you have in RF:

      LH – Snider, Decker
      RH- Tabata

      1b:

      LH: Loney (for S&G), Lambo
      RH: Gaby

      If Polanco comes up, and considering he is a LH, I would assume one of Snider or Decker would go down to AAA, get waived, etc.

      Lambo has one more option, so I am guessing he would go back to AAA (IF he is on the major league team). If we sign Loney, or trade for a LoMo or Crap, er ah, Carp, then Lambo starts in AAA anyway.

      jmho

      • This is exactly what make the Dacker trade a little unusual. We have 5 pieces that are all about the same but only 4 holes to put them in. If we pick up Loney it’s even more pieces and fewer holes. I see Dacker as a better version of Snider.

        I don’t know how this doesn’t end up as Snider released unless he looks really good in spring training and Lambo down because of his options. That would leave Tabata and Dacker to platoon but if/when Polanco comes up a trade or release will have to happen.

  19. I’m gonna guess that Tabata is safe. You have Decker, Snider and Lambo who are all left handed batters. I think you will see Decker and Lambo start the year in Indy. That’s all about options. That allows the L/R Platoon in RF

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