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Live from Winter Meetings Day 3: 5:26 p.m. update – Volquez signs on busy day for Pirates


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Recapping yesterday, I thought one of the more interesting things Neal Huntington said was the club was extremely hesitant to commit 18 percent of payroll to one player.


Eighteen percent of $80 million is $14.4 million, or roughly the qualifying offer. So perhaps that gives us a better idea of what the 2014 payroll will be and it provides insight to the Pirates’ operating philosophy: they would rather spread risk than place all their limited dollars in one basket.


10:31 A.M. UPDATE: 

*The Artist Formerly Known as Fausto Carmona (aka Robert Hernandez) is close to signing, according to his camp. There are five teams with serious interest in Hernandez and it’s reasonable to wonder if the Pirate are one of those clubs. I doubt his signing would preclude the return of AJ Burnett.

 *The Pirates are also in on Jason Hammel, according to FOXSports.

*I saw Jayson Stark floated the idea that Edinson Volquez could be the next Liriano-like reclamation project. If the Ray Searage can turn around Liriano and Volquez in back-to-back years, he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Volquez has well above average velo and wipeout changeup. He might be worth a flier. However, the idea that the Pirates are going to unearth a Liriano each offseason is wildly optimistic. You typically get what you pay for and Volquez hasn’t had a good season since 2008 and his command and efficiency need complete overhauls.

– TS


11:05  a.m. UPDATE 

*The Justin Wilson watch continues:

I generally like the idea of trading relief pitchers, particularly over-valued closers. But Wilson is a rare lefty arm who could perhaps move to a rotation eventually. It would have to be a nice return, I would think.

– TS


11:17 a.m. UPDATE

RHP Kyle Haynes is the PTBNL later sent to the Yankees to complete the Chris Stewart trade. Haynes, the Pirates’ 20th round pick in the 2012 draft, had a 9.2 k/9 rate as a reliever in Low-A West Virginia last season.


UPDATE 11:51 a.m.
The Nationals are seeking bullpen help, a lefty in particular, and one of the names on their shopping list is Justin Wilson. My first instinct was the Pirates could try to get shortstop/second baseman Danny Espinosa in return. But I’ve been told the Nats are very hesitant to move Espinosa, who they see a great bounceback candidate with lots of upside.
So, I got to wondering who else might fit on the other end of a Wilson swap. One guy who could make sense is Tyler Moore, a 26-year-old first baseman/left fielder. Moore already is blocked by Adam LaRoche, but would be stuck in an even tougher logjam if Ryan Zimmerman gets some time at first base, which manager Matt Williams has hinted about.
Moore was a 16th-round pick in 2008 and won’t be arbitration eligible until after the 2015 season. A righty batter, Moore has played in 138 games in the majors over the past two seasons and has a combined slash line of .241/.293/.427. He’s rated at best an average defender.
This is all just speculation on my part — there’s rarely a lot of chatter in the hotel lobby about backup infielders with less than a full year’s service time. But it’s something maybe to tuck away in the back of your mind for later reference.

– RB


The Pirates have requested the medical records of two-time American League Cy Young winner Johan Santana and plan to meet with Santana’s camp Wednesday, according to Chris Leible of the Legacy Agency, which represents the veteran left-handed pitcher.

Santana is throwing from 180 feet, according to Leible, and continues to progress from shoulder surgery which cost him the entire 2013 season.

Santana is close friends with Pirates’ pitcher Francisco Liriano, another left-handed pitcher who rebuilt his value in Pittsburgh last season. PNC Park is a favorable park to pitch in for left-handed pitchers.

More than eight clubs have expressed interest in Santana, according to Leible. Santana is not likely to become serious about talking contract until he begins throwing off a mound.

Santana won the AL Cy Young in 2004 and 2006 with the Minnesota Twins where he was teammates with Liriano.

— TS



The silence has been broken ….


As first reported by Jeff Passan, the Pirates have signed Charlie Morton to a three-year contract extension that includes a club option.


The deal is worth $21 million over the first three years, buying out Morton’s last year of arbitration. It could be worth up to $30 million over four years.


Details from Passan: Morton, who would have been a free agent following the 2014 season, will receive $4 million this season, $8 million in 2015 and $8 million in 2016. The contract includes a club option for the 2017 season worth $9.5 million with $500,000 in potential incentives and a $1 million buyout. Should Morton be traded, the club option turns into a mutual option. If triggered and Morton declined his end, he would forfeit the buyout. 


It’s a deal that makes sense for both sides as Morton has an injury history and the Pirates get cost certainty on starting pitching….but it could be a great deal for Pirates that represents tremendous surplus value.


Morton led baseball in groundball rate last season at 62.9 percent as his sinker turned into one of the best pitches in baseball.


The AAV of $7 million is excellent considering the market price for starting pitching this offseason.

3:22 P.M. UPDATE

The Mariners are going all-in on rebound first basemen signing Corey Hart today and trading for Logan Morrison.  The Mariners traded Carter Capps for Morrison.


Couple things …


*Does this make Justin Smoak available? Another buy-low 1B option who was 14th in walk rate in baseball. I still believe, to a degree, in Smoak’s bat if he can get out of Safeco.


*Where is the market for Kendrys Morales? That’s why I asked Huntington if he would be willing to give up a pick in signing a QO’d first baseman. I think Morales’ market and value is plummeting. This year’s Michael Bourne.

Would you rather have Loney or Morales? I’m  not sure their AAV will be all that different.


5:26 p.m. UPDATE

We can confirm the Pirates have signed Edinson Volquez. Quite a day for the Pirates, who add an interesting buy-low option at one-year, $5 million per Ken Rosenthal.

Like Liriano, Volquez burst on the scene early in his career back in 2008 but has since been plagued by control issues.

Like Liriano, Volquez has struggled with fastball command. But like Liriano he also offers a tantalizing combination of mid-90s fastball velocity and a true swing-and-miss pitch, his changeup.

If Ray Searage can fix Liriano and Volquez in back-to-back years build him a statue.

– TS



  1. Bizrow says:

    What do you think they would have to give up for Morrison, Travis?

  2. NMR says:

    Hey Biz, Marlins are supposedly looking for 3B and iew Josh Harrison as an option, FWIW.

  3. Travis Sawchik says:

    I heard Josh Harrison’s name mentioned in the hotel lobby … not sure. I don’t think the cost would be that significant.

    Harrison could be an interesting part for the Pirates in 2014 as he could help Alvarez and Walker against tough lefties.

  4. Bizrow says:

    Thanks for the update, guys.

    JHay would be a reasonable price

  5. Steelkings says:

    Justin Wilson for Drew Storen?

  6. NMR says:

    Great work, Travis.

    -I had mentioned the 20% figure before, and its cool to see that is actually a thing. Should leave absolutely no doubt as to why the Pirates did not extend Burnett a qualifying offer. Huntington wouldn’t have been able to make any moves that were not cost neutral as long as the possibility of being required to dish out $14m was hanging over his head.

    -Take a look at the swing changes LoMo has undergone since 2011, possibly due to injuries, and you’ll like him even more. He’d be a project, but the talent and the swing is still in there.

    -Roberto Hernandez, on the other hand, wouldn’t be a project. Dude is good to go.

    -Edinson Volquez stinks.

    -Justin Wilson doesn’t stink.

  7. NMR says:

    In a heartbeat.

  8. Steelkings says:

    Im thinking that the closer position is a little unsettled after the handle fell off the grill. And Melancon seemed to get smacked around pretty good.

  9. Thundercrack says:

    The other day I was going to suggest Johan Santanna as the next reclamation project. (plus maybe Liriano can help recruit him). And I did see someone tweet today that there might be some interest by the Pirates.

    And I don’t really think that Justin Wilson will ever go back to being a starter and be effective. I thought stamina as a starter was an issue with him.

  10. 21sthebest says:

    Considering that no player in history has ever accepted a qualifying offer, I still think that not extending one was maybe a show of goodwill towards A.J. so as to possibly not limit his choices in free agency. Or maybe A.J. requested that they not extend the offer.

  11. Bizrow says:

    I think Justin is in the perfect position for his talent and skills.

    Santanna would be a good gamble, IMHO

  12. Andrew says:

    I am going to assume the interest in Santana is prior to teams seeing his medical records, he re-tore his repaired anterior capsule, and it is the second surgery for an overhead athlete. NRI at most.

  13. NMR says:

    Agree with both of you guys on Wilson.

  14. 21sthebest says:


  15. NMR says:

    Yeah, shoulders issues are a no-go.

  16. NMR says:

    I have no idea if they like him or not, but I think the Pirates should be actively shopping Francisco Liriano to the Diamondbacks.

    Seems they are looking for a front line starter, and are willing to part with significant pieces to get it. I like shortstop Chris Owings and starter Trevor Cahill.

  17. Bizrow says:

    JAL and Milo posted on the Lunatic thread, Charlie M signed three years for 21 MM

  18. Jason says:

    The Pirates signed Charlie Morton 3/$21… Can anyone else confirm this?

  19. Jason says:

    There you go… Thanks!

  20. Bizrow says:

    Yes, listed on other thread and MLBTradeRumors, from Yahoo sports

  21. Nate83 says:

    I heard that as well on another site. A little bit of a risky move but if he performs to the level he did last year he will well outperform that contract. There is also a team option for a 4th year at 9.5 million. Considering pitchers worse then Morton are signing free agent contracts for over 10 million a year they could get 4 years of Morton for slightly over 30 million.

    Could end up being a nice deal and sets 60% of the starting staff through 2017 in Cole, Taillon, and Morton. With the 2015 and 2016 coming at less then 10 million in payroll.

  22. Steelkings says:

    Nats trade for Jerry Blevins…..Justin Wilson is safe for now. The Nuts gave up Billy Burns to get their Lefty reliever. Burns was the Nats minor league player of the year. Definitely one of their best prospects.

  23. Nate83 says:

    I’m thinking the Pirates realize how valuable Wilson and Watson are and they will not be going anywhere unless a team is willing to way overpay for them.

  24. Steelkings says:

    The Nats just over paid for Blevins..Big time!

  25. Nate83 says:

    I actually noticed that when I went back and read your post again.

  26. Steelkings says:

    CBS rumored that the Pirates inquired about Paul Maholm. Anything to that TS?

  27. Steelkings says:

    Jason Hammel, Johan Santana, Signing Charlie Morton and inquiring about Mohalm. All that and Burnetts agent is at the meetings not. I trying hard not read bad news on Burnett into all of this.

  28. Steelkings says:

    Cory Hart to the Mariners….Those pesky Mariners…..Somewhere Ryan Braun is tearing up.

  29. Steelkings says:

    What that deal means to me is that the Pirates sense of urgency just increased on Morrison as the Brewers will be looking for a replacement at the corner where Hart was supposed to play. Once Morrison is off the table Loney is gonna get paid.

  30. Steelkings says:

    The Cubs appear to now be a candidate to trade for Morrison. The Cubs would convert the lefty to a left fielder. The Marlins are seeking help at 3rd base.

  31. Steelkings says:

    And just like that…Fox reports that the Brew Crew is about to Ink James Loney. Man this is fun!

    HEY TRAVIS! Go wake up NH. Hurry, before its too late.

  32. NMR says:

    I don’t know about that…kid didn’t get out of A-ball until halfway through his age-23 season.

  33. Steelkings says:

    And just like that..Part two. The Mariners trade RH reliever Carter Capps for Logan Morrison. Mariners are cornering the market on first basemen

  34. Bizrow says:

    That makes Justin Smoak available, he plays first, right?

  35. Steelkings says:

    Whats infuriating from a Pirate fan perspective is that the Marlins basically gave Morrison away. Capps had a 5.5 ERA and a 1.6 whip. There must be something wrong here for NH to not put something together for LoMo

  36. Steelkings says:

    Smoak is a below average fielder who hit 238 and struck out 120 times. Trading for him would be like trading now for Garrett Jones.

    So yeah…at this point nothing surprises me.

  37. Steelag70 says:

    Can someone please wake NH up and let him know that you have to actually DO SOMETHING in the offseason?? Geezzz….two potential targets for 1B now gone….come on Neal…

  38. Steelag70 says:

    Maybe NH was serious when he said that they were perfectly fine with Gaby being the everyday 1B next year…or they have big plans for Lambo there….

  39. Steelkings says:

    38 year old LH Adam Kennedy plans to make a comeback in 14.

    Oh boy…Welcome to Pittsburgh

  40. NMR says:

    Yeah, I don’t get this one either.

    Capps is better than those numbers show, but the Pirates could’ve easily beat this offer.

  41. NMR says:

    Doesn’t matter how many targets are gone if the one they want is still available.

  42. Steelkings says:

    @ NMR..Give the kid a break for not taking the money. He didn’t graduate until ’12.

  43. Bizrow says:

    24/7 is supposed to be on the FAN shortly

  44. NMR says:

    Well, Smoak would be part of a platoon, so those numbers are all that matter, right?

    Against RHP he was .260/.361/.477.

  45. Steelkings says:

    If you are referring to Loney, I’m sure the target got smaller as his price went up.

  46. Steelkings says:

    who is that?

  47. The Gunner says:

    maybe Lyle Overbay is available

  48. NMR says:

    And somehow still managed to play 32 games for the Nationals in 2011.

  49. Steelag70 says:

    If their target is Loney, then they had better get cracking…lol. He is talking with the Brew Crew….

  50. Thundercrack says:

    who was 14th in walk rate in baseball

    If that is the best thing you can say about Carp, maybe it’s best if we pass.

  51. Steelkings says:

    It would be a lateral move. Smoak is arbitration eligible. You could have had Jones for the same money without giving up a prospect. Trading for him would be admitting underachievement at the meetings. Huntington screwed up if they look to him.

  52. Bizrow says:

    Rob B, one of the PBC beat writers for the Trib

  53. Andrew says:

    A .229/.323/.397 career line against RHP is uninspiring to dismal. Gaby Sanchez’s line is .242/.313/.387, I do not think he will be the everyday 1B, but Smoak brings nothing,

  54. NMR says:

    Assuming you meant Smoak, he parlayed that walk rate into a .360 OBP against RHP and paired it with a .218 ISO.

    So maybe that is the best thing you can say about him.

  55. NMR says:

    Haha, we’ll save that story for a cold winter day.

  56. T.S. says:

    This is why I’m not a huge fan of Huntington (a bit of last season, notwithstanding). Too much sitting back, waiting for dumpster diving. Should have had Morrison for Justin Wilson. Loney isn’t the answer. And they’re not giving up Walker for Lind. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  57. NMR says:


    You could not have had Garrett Jones for the same money.

    And please remind me what awards they give out at the Winter Meetings?

  58. NMR says:

    If you followed Smoak’s career, Andrew, you’d see he made significant swing changes between ’12 and ’13.

    Nobody should write him off based on previous years. Just ask Charlie Morton.

  59. NMR says:

    Morrison for Justin Wilson, eh? Hahaha…

  60. Thundercrack says:

    I did get that wrong NMR- I meant Smoak.

  61. DJ says:

    Morrison’s gone, Seattle. A while ago at that.

  62. Steelkings says:

    Smoak will get a considerable raise after arbitration this winter.

    As far as awards goes, Logan Morrison was awarded to the Mariners for basically nothing.

    As far as swing changes, he needs to change the way he makes his bat miss the ball. Again 120 K’s in 120 games is way way way too many.

  63. Steelkings says:

    yeah NMR..The best thing NH has not done was trading Wilson for Morrison.

  64. cosmo says:

    Do you think Neal is considering Mitch Moreland?

  65. NMR says:

    Smarter people than us don’t project Smoak to get more than $3m.

    And his K-rate of 23% is perfectly acceptable if he puts up an .837 OPS again.

  66. Steelag70 says:

    I hope not…so-so glove and he’s basically only good for two months a season….

  67. T.S. says:

    What do you suggest?

  68. Nate83 says:

    Is NH sitting around waiting to dumpster dive because that is the way he prefers to build his team? It’s very doubtful. It’s not by choice but instead out of necessity. It sounds and looks like the payroll is set at 80 million. That is very little wiggle room for any GM to do much with.

    They shouldn’t have given Wilson for Morrison and they definitely should not give up Walker for Lind. Walkers a top 15 second baseman. Lind adds little value to the team above other options that are available on the free agent market and will have trouble starting for a team next year and getting more then 400 at bats. It sounds like they made efforts on Fister but wrong or right the Tigers targeted a player they wanted and made the deal happen.

  69. Nate83 says:

    I would much sooner see what Smoak has to offer outside of Seattle then get Moreland. Since Seattle has no need for 8 first baseman on their team he seems to be an easy trade target that we could get without giving up much.

  70. Nate83 says:

    I personally think that if a first baseman isn’t available that is a dramatic improvement over Gaby playing full time or Gaby/Lambo platoon then they should just keep things how they are. It’s foolish to sign somebody or give up players for a slight improvement if any just to say they tried something different.

    At the end of the day I think they get Loney but could also see them trading for Smoak or Ike Davis. If they sign Loney I could see them raising payroll to 85-90 million if they don’t it will probably come in around 80 million unless they get two starting pitchers.

  71. Nate83 says:

    Does anybody know if Stolmy is playing any winter ball and if so how he’s doing?

  72. NMR says:

    For Morrison?

    Seemed like the Marlins liked Josh Harrison, so I feel fair value would’ve been him and a reliever, maybe Duke Welker.

    I liked Morrison the best out of this bunch of misfits, but lets not forget who they are. Lot of ground to cover before any of them are big contributors, and Justin Wilson already is that.

  73. Nate83 says:

    Today is a cold winter day. At least it is here in Northwest Ohio.

  74. NMR says:

    No worries, TC. But yeah, don’t stare very long at Smoak’s stat sheet. Tough on the eyes.

  75. NMR says:

    More importantly, how does his defense look at 1B?

  76. Steelkings says:

    Edinson Volquez 1 year 5 million to the Pirates. AJ Burnett is now out of reach.

  77. Andrew says:

    NMR you are saying swing change between 2012 and 2013 correct, I saw something about a lighter bat in September of 2012? I’ll take your word on it, he seems to have hit less GBs more FBs this year, no real change in contact% or swing strike%. But 350 PAs versus RHP is hardly a sample size of value, this is one for the scouts. (I hope it is not that guy who saw Morneau’s mechanical adjustment.)

    This assumes the Mariners want to trade him, maybe there is some critical mass of 1B/DH types needed to morph lineup to championship caliber.

  78. Nate83 says:

    Is this deal official. I haven’t seen it anywhere?

  79. Bizrow says:

    Its being reported on the FAN and Dejan posted a tweet about it,

  80. Steelag70 says:

    Ken Rosentahl is reporting the Volquez signing…wow….not sure I like that move…

  81. NMR says:

    And if he posted +.800 OPS in the larger sample size, he wouldn’t be the buy-low target the Pirates are looking for.

    Thats how this game works, right?

    Don’t confuse me for turning him into a sure thing or something great. Odds are still long that his mechanical adjustments turned him into a viable platoon.

    But NONE of these guys are sure bets as viable platoons. Nature of the beast. I was simply pointing out that he HAS made changes and the DID result in better performance. You can’t take that away from him.

    Whether or not that continues is another story.

  82. NMR says:

    Literally the worst pitcher I can imagine them signing.

  83. Steelag70 says:

    Could be another Jonathan Sanchez signing…

  84. Steelag70 says:

    Well…they did. Apparently it was a deal NH was comfortable with…buying on the cheap…

  85. Steelag70 says:

    Offseason grade so far is a D- or even an Incomplete….

  86. NMR says:


    They’ll be stuck giving this guy starts far longer than Sanchez. They give up on $5m after two weeks.


  87. Steelag70 says:

    Mets just signed Colon for 2 yrs/$20 mill

  88. Bizrow says:

    From MLBTradeRumors – The 30-year-old Volquez was released by the Padres last season after posting a 6.01 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 142 1/3 innings. He looked better in a brief, 28 1/3 inning cameo with the Dodgers, pitching to a 4.18 ERA with a 26-to-8 K/BB ratio.

    Volquez’s 4.07 xFIP was significantly lower than his 5.71 ERA on the season — a commonality that exists between he, Burnett, Liriano and Melancon at the time of their acquisition by the Pirates.

    Volquez will join Liriano, Gerrit Cole, Wandy Rodriguez and the recently extended Charlie Morton in the Pirates’ rotation. That seems to fill Burnett’s spot in the rotation, suggesting that perhaps he’s leaning toward retirement and the Pirates have moved on in favor of a cheaper option with similarly high upside.

  89. Bizrow says:

    He’s like what, 60?? And he got two years

  90. Steelag70 says:

    Sorry…I just can’t get excited about Volquez. I understand being frugal with limited resources, bu there is a difference between being frugal (value) and just plain cheap…back to dumpster diving I guess.

  91. NMR says:

    60 is the new 35 in PED years. :)

  92. Bizrow says:

    Please pass the PEDs then ;-)

  93. Scott S says:

    Absolutely disgraceful what Nutting and NH are doing to this team. We get 20-25 mil extra to spend and we dumpster dive with Volquez, ur kidding me? The true fans should be outraged at what’s going on, but still a good number of so called fans are defending this method of ultimate cheapness as if its there money. It started with shoving Byrd out the door, turning their back on Morneau, disrespecting AJ, and now crying we have no money to pay the going market rate. I would love to see if the Steelers or Pens pulled this crap and see if the fan base would defend their ownership. The talk shows throughout the country are having a field day with our cheap owners. We still have time but all signs indicate the Buc’s want to play frugal and treat it like a business, well fans have the right to not go to that business, which sucs because it was such a great last season.

  94. cosmo says:

    we will see if Searage is truly a miracle worker.

  95. Foo says:

    I am hoping that, if Volquez has a good spring, we can move him for something good.


    They are “eating this signing alive’ on MLBTR.

    In Nh I trust(ed)……until now!


  96. Bizrow says:

    There are still months to go till the season starts, but so far, IMHO, the club has not stepped to the plate, nor have they kept their promises.

    Where did these PRNW trade rumors come from??

  97. UTEZ says:

    Why are you all surprised and complaining that this offseason is like the others? Why are you all surprised that we took a flier on EV @5 million a year? Liriano has had injuries in the past, Morton has had injuries, Locke can’t pass mid season ala Jeff Karstens, and Wandy will be lucky to throw 130 innings this year. Edison is an insurance arm with high upside. As far as first base goes….you all are drooling over carp like its mahi-mahi! Hart had the best upside, but was overpaid by a team doing a lot of that this offseason. Spending just to spend is idiotic. Justin Smoak?? That’s you’re guy now??? There are other trade candidates, and cheaper options available instead of wasting money on below average options. I still believe AJ resigns, and if he doesn’t, we’ll sign another pitcher. As it seems every year during the winter meetings, fans need to calm down. We are players for Cano or Choo, Beltran isn’t coming to town, Garza and Santana aren’t even a dream here, and we don’t give up controllable years in the form of prospects or draft picks to sign the Kendrys Morales’s of the world, or to trade for two years of David price. The sky isn’t falling, and the front office isn’t failing….we aren’t the Yankees, Dodgers or even the Mariners….stop expecting the team to be together by December 15th.

  98. Andrew says:

    I agree, if there were sure things they would cost > $15 million/year or top prospects. I was never doubting the swing change, and was never insinuating that you were hyping Smoak in Boras fashion. I just look at career numbers first, and doubt smaller samples unless there is a reason, swing change/pitching mechanics/change in pitch usage, to correlate with the change in numbers. This year’s number have some validity which I would have overlooked without you insight.

  99. Bizrow says:

    Hope but expect

  100. Bizrow says:

    I don’t think 24/7 ever made it. Not sure though, I gave up waiting

  101. Jeff King says:

    How soon we forget. The ‘experts’ were all over the Lirano signing and even the Martin signing to some degree. Heck, look how things started for Burnett two years ago.
    UTEZ is right. Other teams are way overpaying. However, other teams have a lot more money coming in to way overpay.
    Can’t remember the GM’s name with the Tigers, but basically gave up Fister for a couple of unknowns but because he was able to sign a bunch of guys as free agents, he’s made to look like a genius. Case in point: Way overpaid for Fielder but it took him two years to figure out that Fielder will soon be eating his way out of baseball. So he trades him and once again is made out to be a genius.
    The older I get the more I realize that I know just as much as these talking heads.

  102. Steelkings says:

    See Scott S’s right up…….That right there is why Logan Morrison was not a good Idea for this team.

  103. Steelkings says:

    See Scott S’s write up…….That right there is why Logan Morrison was not a good Idea for this team.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

  104. The Gunner says:

    Yep – so far, very unimpressive. Let’s hope NH has some better things in the pipeline.

  105. Mag says:

    Bravo! There is sanity out there.

  106. Steelag70 says:

    UTEZ…I don’t expect this team to go out and sign high-priced players. I do, however, expect them to make a better effort to upgrade when necessary. Sometimes you HAVE to overpay to improve your team.

    It just gets tiring continuing to hear this FO cry poor mouth and dumpster dive after a winning season. Now they are rumored to be interested in Ike Davis…why? He is a RH hitter so how would that allow a platoon at 1B??

    This FO has not done the job this offseason…

  107. Steelkings says:

    You should be a squirrel vet since you have tiny little instruments used to split hairs. Burns was a 2012 grad at Mercer University where he graduated with a 3.95 GPA as an academic All American. Obviously he went back to finish his degree in Business. He went to Marrietta HS in Goeorgia where several members of my family live.
    Be that as it may:
    Yes Burns played in ’11. And so far he’s played in only 260 minor league games where he is hitting 312 for his career. He has also walked more than he has struck out every year but your (Gasp) 32 games in ’11.

  108. Steelkings says:

    I’m not arguing that Smoak may or may not pan out. I’m saying it is a less than lateral move. Jones is a year removed from .271BA/27HR line. If your gonna take a chance then take it with someone who already fits in, in your clubhouse. In 2014 Jones will make 2.7 million. It goes up considerably in ’15. If Smoak gets anywhere near that, which he will and then another bump again a year from now when he becomes super 2, we can revisit again.
    IF??? The Pirates trade the left field ball girl for Smoak and Jones hits 20 HRs in Miami, anyway you shake it, Huntington will look like an idiot.

  109. Steelkings says:

    I’m wondering if Morrisons twitter account did not keep him away from the Pirates. LoMo’s problem with the Marlins owner being cheap could have been a problem in Pittsburgh as well

  110. The Gunner says:

    Ike Davis is a lefty per the link below, Steel. His salary is a good fit for the Bucs and that’s a major consideration for the BMTIB. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t land here.

  111. Steelkings says:

    I can see the Volquez signing…… March…Not December.

  112. Steelkings says:

    Ike Davis?????????? No WAY! That guy ISSSSSSSSS Garrett Jones. Less than average hitter that strikes out a ton, who has had 1 year where he mashed a bunch of HR’s that made him relevant. But the Pirates wont want him because he is already making 3 mil a year and he is super 2 elig after ’14. NO WAY!

  113. Steelkings says:

    Here is a topic for the smart people here;
    Perhaps its just me but the Volquez signing seems like one that should take place in February. Its frankly a much bigger reach than Liriano. At a much larger expense. So here is the question. Is Huntington feeling a different pressure down their this year. He has two writers from the trib and two from the PG following him around down there. Is he feeling it.

  114. Nate83 says:

    I don’t understand how NH is being held accountable for being frugal. Nutting with the help of Connelly set the budget. NH just works within those constraints. Byrd would have been nice but two years didn’t seem wise with Polanco being ready soon. Looking at Morneau’s last 3 years I’m not sure what signing him to a two year deal at the money he got would do for the team. He just doesn’t have much left.

    We know the numbers concerning AJ and we know the history of teams committing that high of a percent of their payroll to one player. It doesn’t work. NH isn’t being frugal by not offering AJ 15 million he is using historical data that tells him with a payroll of 80 million which is not a number he came up with his team can not compete if they commits that much to one player.

    They got to last season by operating just like they are this year. I know it’s tempting to go all in but I think they are a year away from such a move. This team will have a much clearer picture of what they are going into 2015 and they will have some good size contracts coming off the books. That would seem like the more prudent time to be all in. The A’s where in a similar position last year and didn’t do much because I assume they didn’t feel it was the right time. This year they are being more aggressive. You go all in this year and it will be more difficult to do it in 2015 and 2016 when the team will have more parts and pieces in place.

    Almost the exact same team is returning. Everyone forgets this team was 23 games above .500 without Byrd and Morneau. They barely played above .500 with those guys. Losing those two players is hardly devastating. In fact this year we will have Cole and Morton for an entire year. They will still be competitive this year if they do nothing except get one more free agent pitcher or first baseman.

  115. 21sthebest says:

    “We get 20-25 mil extra to spend and we dumpster dive with Volquez, ur kidding me”

    29 other teams are getting that same amount too.

  116. Steelkings says:

    Most of what you are saying is true. I don’t disagree with any of it Except I think it is important to remember that the Pirates were a little lucky in the fact that they were one of two wild cards. And also unlucky in the fact that they were 1 of 2 wild card teams. 4 or 5 more wins in the regular season may have been the difference in winning the division and playing game 5 at home.
    We also have to consider how magical last season was. Really truth be known they were relatively major injury free. Marte for a short time and Wandy’s injuries were minor losses as the Buc’s had plug and play pieces for them. Asking for the baseball gods to look favorably over them 2 years in a row is likely unrealistic. What Byrd and Morneau provided was depth. Which right now is simply not there. You also left off the list good old AJ Burnett, who without him this team is vastly different.
    The Cardinals widened the gap both defensively as well as within their pitching staff. The Reds pitching will be healthier next season. Braun will be back and the always tough Brewers will be more settled.
    The Pirates cannot remain status quo and expect the same result.

  117. Nate83 says:

    I understand exactly what you are saying. I actually think they will not finish with as many wins next year. They had a lot of things go right for them last year. The payroll is what it is. My guess is that there is some room for it to increase 10 million or so if the right player comes available for the right price but I don’t think there is enough money available to NH to make a meaningful enough move to make a big enough difference right now unless it was through trade.

    Spending 40 million on a 3 year contract right now would prevent them from spending money next year or the year after when I think they actually will be a more legitimate threat to compete. They will have Martin, Liriano and Wandy’s contracts coming off the books. I believe that is something like 24 million. If things go right those guys will be replaced by cost controlled players such as Sanchez, Taillon and maybe Stolmy and eventually Kingham and Glasnow. That is when it would make sense to me to go out and sign a free agent to that multi year contract that runs 3,4 or 5 years and cost 12-15 million a year.

  118. Nate83 says:

    I think that’s a little of it. I also think the market really has changed that much in just a year that 5 million is what a guy like Volquez gets. I have to imagine after missing out on Johnson and Kazmir this was plan C or D and he was targeted by the scouts/pitching coach as a player that fit the profile of someone they thought could have improvements based on PNC park and the Pirates overall defensive/pitching philosophy. It will be interesting to see how his year goes. I remember how good he was in 2008-2009. They actually talked about how both teams made out in the Hamilton/Volquez trade. Hopefully we can get something closer to that then his last 3 years.

  119. NMR says:

    Hahaha, I’ll bet my paycheck that Neal Huntington could care less about Travis Sawchick and Rob B. (no offense).

    All the guy did last winter was pull off the best deals of his career, and in all of baseball. You might remember there was a bit of pressure on him. Something about sea lions? No no, seals. Thats it. Seals.

  120. Steelkings says:

    “The payroll is what it is. ”

    There is where my problem lies. I know this is a profitable business. And there is nothing wrong with that. But sometimes you have to consider why you are an owner. Is it to make money? Is it to compete? If it is to compete then sometimes you have to go for it. Become profit neutral. Is being an owner of a MLB baseball team about winning and glory or is it about making money? I mean its the Pittsburgh Pirates , not the Nutting Pirates , Right?

    I get it…Long term contracts …Bad
    Tendering AJ Burnett a 1 year 14 isnt going to kill you 2 years down the road.

  121. Nate83 says:

    I guess I should have clarified when I said the payroll is what it is. That is strictly talking about NH. I have a problem with it as well. I’ve never been a fan of Nutting but last year he earned some of my respect. I fully expected payroll to go up at least 20 million this year just based on the TV money and extra revenue brought in last year by attendance and 3 playoff games. However it is becoming more and more evident that it won’t go up that much.

    Based on NH not having the amount of money to use to get the type of player that would make an impact I think the correct path forward is to do exactly what he is. Loney isn’t going to improve this team much more then somebody like Smoak. He’s a good player and more dependable then Smoak but is that slight improvement worth 9 million for 3 years.

    If payroll isn’t increased by the guys that make that decision you must wait until the money becomes available because of current contracts expiring and replaced by cost controlled players. That happens at the end of next year. He will have some money to play with next year. I was hoping he got that this year as well but nothing that has happened so far convinces me of that. He has about 3 or 4 spots to fill and only so much money. He can’t spend it all on one guy. Hopefully next year there is maybe only 2 or 3 spot to fill and twice the money to spend.

  122. RobertoForever says:

    NOW you are off the band wagon? Wow, breaking a twenty year Losing streak doesn’t buy as much respect as it used to, lol

  123. RobertoForever says:

    haha sea lions…that. is. awesome.

    Really made me laugh out loud after my third announced flight delay.

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