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More on Burnett, and Keith Law’s top 100


SOUTH HILLS – On MLB Network this morning, national reporter Ken Rosenthal likened the A.J. Burnett decision to a white plume of smoke rising from the most holy of chimneys in the Vatican.

The twist is that’s just the first signal. Now we’re waiting on a second.

Rosenthal confirmed our report yesterday that Burnett will return in 2014 but will likely test the free agent market. Rosenthal listed Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Toronto as possible suitors. The Nationals are also located near his home of Monkton, Md., which is about 25 miles north of Baltimore. Some other reports have linked Rangers and Dodgers to Burnett, but Rosenthal and other believe Burnett will not stray far from the East Coast.

After all, part of the reason it took Burnett nearly four months to make this decision is because he was wrestling with how much time he wanted to spend away from his wife and two young sons. I’m told he made this decision with his family’s stamp of approval. This was not about waiting for the Tanaka domino to fall and set the market.

The Pirates still seem to operating on the assumption that it’s either Pittsburgh or bust for Burnett.

Said Pirates GM Neal Huntington to

“I can’t say he has not (considered the open market). I’m not aware of every discussion there might have been,”  Huntington said. “All I can say is he has been very public with his intent to pitch in Pittsburgh or not pitch at all. Do I blindly put faith in that? No. But he’s been very open with us, and continues to be very open.”

There is still a chance Burnett returns to Pittsburgh. He has to have a comfort level at PNC Park, having turned around his career there and I bet part of him is leery to return to the AL East. Moreover, Burnett has made $160 million in his playing career so perhaps comfort and a chance to contend will persuade him to pitch at a discount.

But, again, players rarely accept discounts and that’s what it seems the Pirates are counting on unless they have a change of heart.

Rosenthal reported the Orioles have $17 million remaining to spend. The Baltimore Sun reports Burnett is atop their wishlist. The Phillies are sitting on a pile of cash from a new TV deal and are built to try to win now with their advancing age and desperately need another arm. Also, Phillies ace Cliff Lee is also represented by Burnett’s agent. The Nationals could also have interest. The Indians were willing to place the qualifying offer on free agent Ubaldo Jiminez.

In short there’s going to be a healthy market for Burnett, particularly since there is no draft-compensation attached to him. Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs writes that Burnett is now the top free agent pitcher available. MLB Network projected his single-season value at $22 million for 2014.

The saga continues.


The third top 100 list in a week was unveiled over at (premium content). Keith Law, like Baseball Propsectus, ranked seven Pirates among his top 100:

13. Gregory Polanco

20. Tyler Glasnow

27. Jameson Taillon

35. Austin Meadows

73. Nick Kingham

74. Alen Hanson

97. Josh Bell 

Law has pushed Glasnow aggressively ahead of Taillon. He also has Hanson in and Reese McGuire out, which is the lone departure from the BP list.

– TS



  1. NMR says:

    Very impressed with Glasnow’s ranking. I don’t necessarilly think Law is the best prospect evaluating pundit out there, but I do believe he is the most skeptical, and that is something a lot of guys lack.

    Having Glasnow that high tells me he sees him as having a high probability of becoming a front end starter.

  2. Nate83 says:

    Now that it seems very possible AJ would play for another team next year or at least is using that as a way to wake the Pirates up and get a legitimate offer from them, the Purates need to just come out and make their best offer now and see what happens.

    If that’s 15 million and it’s not enough then so be it but just sitting around and waiting now the man has made it known he will play next year isn’t how a team poised to compete next year should be acting unless of course they don’t value him that much which seems unlikely considering some of their past comments.

  3. BostonsCommon says:

    I’m very excited to see how Glasnow develops this season. Really interesting to follow him after receiving all the hype. Can he match the production? Do the numbers drop while he works on secondary offerings? Does the velo see another uptick? How do hitters in the FSL handle him?

    Also, curious about Bell and Heredia. I still think/hope the upside is there with both.

    And obviously I think everyone is excited to see how Polanco and Taillon perform as June approaches.

  4. Foo says:

    Somebody posted this supposed tweet from AJ:

    can anyone explain why AJ retweeted the following after news broke he was going to play in 2014

    “source this, source that, dont believe anything until [AJs twitter handle] says it myself”

    Can one of you ‘Twit Heads’ confirm this?

  5. 21sthebest says:

    So Nate, you’d approach A.J. with a take it or leave it?

  6. NMR says:

    No doubt, buddy.

    I don’t think there is any question Glasnow’s production will drop against better hitters, but that isn’t necessarilly bad considering he was in another world last year. I’ve read many guys not named Tim Williams claim that he got by with his curveball simply because young hitters couldn’t adjust to anything that wasn’t his fastball. That won’t happen much longer.

    I’m frankly a bit surprised that Josh Bell has been ranked in Top 100’s. Really looking forward to seeing him handle higher level competition.

    Not so high on Heredia, however. There are plenty of Latin American kids sign big bonuses based on big arms at young ages who simply do not add any projection. I’m afraid this is the case with Luis. Hopefully he can devlop plus command to leverage his questionable stuff.

  7. The Gunner says:

    I really don’t think the Bucs want AJ to come back. That’s why they lowballed him – now he’s probably POed. AJ is one helluva pitcher and I would love to have him come back to Pgh in 2014. However, I think he wore his welcome out with Hurdle & Searage due to some of his actions & outbursts last year. And, Frank might be saying he wants AJ back etc. but we all know what a slime of the earth liar FC is – ha ha.

    I just hope AJ lands with a team the Pirates don’t face next year. Our offense has enough problems and facing a pitcher of AJ’s caliber will only put more entries in the Bucco loss column.

  8. NMR says:

    Probably best for ones sanity to not try and figure out what goes through the mind of a 37 year old dad who thinks he’s batman.

  9. Foo says:

    We have NO proof he was lowballed. Perotto’s the ONLY guy who said that (and he is NOT a Pirate FO fan at all).

    I’m taking that figure with a huge grain of salt.

    In all honesty, we know nothing other than what has actually been reported. All the rest is ‘a close source said’ and they are extremely unreliable, imho (no offense Travis).

    Look at all those sources Dejan quoted about the Bucs last year….how many of those came true?

    I’ll believe it when it is actually confirmed by NH, AJ or whatever ballclub he (grumble, grumble) signs with.


  10. BostonsCommon says:

    Re: Heredia

    I’m not saying this season is my jumping off point with him, because he’s not going to turn 20 until August and he could still find his way as a back end rotation guy (given improved command), or even a reliever…. yadah, yadah, yadah…

    But show me some signs of life kid. Show me something the indicates that the ceiling is still high.

  11. Andrew says:

    I wrote this in the last post, do fans honestly believe that a couple of public statements would lead a team to jettison a player. I am not a front office sycophant but I like to believe that Pirates are not run like a high school clique.

  12. Foo says:

    Andrew…quit using logic. Otherwise, why have a blog?

  13. Foo says:

    Left out my smiley. :)

  14. Nate83 says:

    Essentially yes because the Pirates best offer won’t be as much as what another team will be willing to offer. Some teams may even give him two years. If he truly would like to stay with the Pirates he may be willing to take 2-4 miilion less but wasting time offering anything less then what they feel like is the max they are comfortable with is just wasting his time.

  15. Heredia had ballooned up in weight last season, but he lost 30 pounds over the off-season.

    There’s the first sign of life . . . .

  16. John Heyman was on the Fan this morning.

    He said 49 % resigns with Pirates; 49 % signs with Orioles; 2 % signs with another team; 0 % retires.

    Where was he 3 days ago?

  17. Come on, Foo! Perotto’s a Beaver County guy, and we all know Beaver County guys are always accurate!

    And never exaggerate!

  18. 21sthebest says:

    I think you risk alienating A.J. with a take it or leave it. That kind of comes across to me as throwing down the gauntlet. I’d play the negotiation game.

  19. Foo says:

    Well, if he said it on the Fan, then it must be true.

    :). :). :)

  20. NMR says:

    Andrew, after everything that went down two years ago, are you really that confident the Pirates are run by logical people?

  21. macchamp74 says:

    Forget AJ…resign Jeff Karstans..:)

  22. NMR says:

    Yeah, I’ll even give him a pass on the weight issue considering the culture change and associated stress he had to deal with at an extremely young age.

    I just don’t see much projection left in him, and I have to see a lot better command and secondary pitches to get excited about a righty with a low-90s fastball.

  23. PetroSteel says:

    It doesn’t appear as if AJ said “source this, source that, dont believe anything until [AJs twitter handle] says it myself”. I think someone else was saying it to AJ and to the twitter world.

    But I did see that he said a few weeks ago that he hadn’t seen a 10M offer. So I think the 8.5M offer might be accurate. Which is crazy! Shame on the Pirates unless they are holding as much money as they can to try and keep the core in place long term???

    I’m hoping AJ pitches for the Pirates and I think AJ is hoping for the same. A reasonable 11M offer would probably do it I suspect.

  24. LeeFoo says:


  25. LeeFoo says:

    NMR….are you talking Hoka Hey which only ONE columnist made a big deal out of it?

    Or something else?


  26. LeeFoo says:

    Petro….but AJ thought enough of that tweet to post it on his board.

    I take that as him saying “Don’t believe anything until EYE say it”.


  27. Nate83 says:

    I don’t think it would be as harsh as you are making it sound. I would think they would tell him something along the line if 13 million is a number we are comfortable with but realize your market is above that. 15 million is us squeezing as much out of our budget as we can. We are willing to go to that because we value you as a player.

    We know he can get more then what we offer him so why start a negotiating process him and his agent would be insulted if we started 7 million under what he could get from the Nationals or Orioles and then raised it to within 4 million.

    They have to start with an offer that is at least in the same zip code of his market value because we know it won’t be in the same neighborhood. They don’t get to that amount without it bring their best offer. Not by low balling him to save 2 or 3 million which I think he would find more offensive.

    Your simply saying we want you so we aren’t going to beat around the bush and try to save a little money. We are giving you everything left in the budget. This is our best offer and we hope it is enough because we do want you.

  28. LeeFoo says:

    Mac….ONLY if you mean Jeff KarstEns….

    (yes, I am the same way here)

    :) :) :) :)

  29. LeeFoo says:

    oh and NMR….not answering for Andrew, but I sure am.

    First winning club in 94 years…Top 3 farm system, etc, etc.

    If that is illogical, then I hope they continue to be illogical.

  30. Nate83 says:

    8.5 would be embarrassing so hopefully it’s not true. They were willing to go 10 million on Johnson so I can’t imagine AJ got that offer. I personally don’t believe 11 will get it done when somebody out there would be willing to go 18-20 and maybe two years.

  31. NMR says:

    You continue to confuse opinion with fact in your crusade against Dejan, Foo.

    Hoka Hey happened. That is fact. You can’t change history.

    The fact that the Pirates won 94 games and have a top 3 farm system has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Pirates were conducting their own form of unsanctioned military style training on prospects.

    You can disagree with Dejan on the severity of those actions, but you cannot dispute facts.

  32. Nate83 says:

    Greg Smith was just interviewed on MLB network and said that the Pirates are definitely interested in bringing AJ back and hopefully it works out. I’m inclined to let this play out before I make to many judgements.

  33. BostonsCommon says:

    See, I was always under the impression that he can sit mid 90s, just can’t control it.. which is why scouts consistently clocked him upper 80s during his starts.

    Does the velocity come when the command comes? If not, the system is already loaded with relievers that wield mid-upper 90s FB and lack command.

  34. LeeFoo says:

    NMR…I no longer have a crusade against Dejan (hatchet got buried) but yes, I still disagree with the severity about Hoka Hey…much ado about little.

  35. LeeFoo says:

    Nate83…gotta wonder what all is true, indeed. The QO, the money, everything.

  36. LeeFoo says:

    Nate….not that any of us (incl me) rushed to judgment.

    :) :)

  37. LeeFoo says:

    BostonC…from P2…….

    “Heredia did get into better shape when he arrived in West Virginia. He also got his velocity back, sitting 90-92 MPH and touching 93. In the past, Heredia has gotten his fastball up to the mid-to-upper 90s. However, he lacks control at those speeds, and the Pirates have him focusing more on command. He paired that with a new slider which he switched to at the end of the 2012 season. The slider was meant to increase strikeouts, and Heredia ended up posting his best rates of his career.”


  38. NMR says:

    I think the more, lets say “optimistic”, people have written that he can consistently sit in the mid-90s, but that was more of a top end velocity two years ago. He was throwing a heck of a lot more 90-92s than 94-95s.

    I think the velocity can come if he gets his mechanics tightened up, which should also help the command. A kid with levers as long as his and natural arm strength would never surprise me if he started pumping the gun, but I just don’t necessarilly EXPECT it to happen.

    I’m with you in the end. Gonna be a big year for his development.

  39. LeeFoo says:

    NMR….also, there was more than one article written on just how militaristic it was. In fact, I also remember that one of the guys on the PG Plus said he took that training and that his personal workout was harder.

    He (and the other articles) stated that it was geared towards office workers and team building. I also saw an article (on Bucs Dugout?) from one of the Seals who conducts similar training acknowledging the type of training it was.

    Like I said, much ado about little and it was way over blown.

  40. Steelkings says:

    That was tweeted by someone else to AJ

  41. LeeFoo says:


    “I’m with you in the end. Gonna be a big year for his (Heredia’s) development”

    ‘Big’ might be an understatement…. :) :)

  42. NMR says:

    Hahaha, never leave, Foo. And if you do, tell me what blog you’re going to.

  43. Steelkings says:

    No but he did retweet it

  44. Steelkings says:

    Rush to Judgement? C’Mon Man. It doesnt matter because when and If the Pirates resign AJ Burnett I’m already set to blast them for that too!

    Its the off season and Im not happy!

  45. NMR says:

    I still think you’re missing the point of my reference to Andrew, Foo.

    Regardless of how severe, you had an organization create, implement, and vehemently defend an operation that was widely criticized by all of baseball. Not just the drills, but the emails. The posters. The motto’s. Classic group think.

    IMO, that is plenty enough evidence to conclude that they strongly believe in doing things THEIR way, despite what may seem logical to outsiders.

    If AJ Burnett didn’t think and act like them, I have little doubt they would choose to part ways.

  46. NMR says:

    Haha, well done buddy.

    Honestly, though, I wonder what the general reaction would be if the Pirates went out and spent, say, $15m on a 37 year old free agent pitcher considering retirement who already has one Tommy John surgery to his name.

  47. 21sthebest says:

    I think players and agents understand how negotiation works enough to not be insulted when the process starts low. When you start at your high end, the other party thinks you can go a good bit higher because that’s how the game is played by most and everybody knows it. And I wouldn’t tell him I’m giving him everything that’s left in the budget. They need some room for trade deadline moves. And his market hasn’t been set yet.

  48. NMR says:

    I don’t think there is any way AJ gets close to $20m as a 37 year old.

  49. Jim S. says:

    I am actually higher on Glasnow than Taillon, but my opinion on it carries little weight since I have no scouting experience and have seen precious little of either of them in action. I just keep wondering, though, how small the list is of guys who get half of their outs as strikeouts and give up less than 1 hit every two innings while pitching in an age-appropriate or even slightly older league. Add to that, a fastball that regularly gets in the upper 90’s. I have to think the list is pretty small and pretty elite.

    Obviously, I know there is more to it. There can be a lot of reasons why a guy dominates early in his career that don’t stand up over time. I know the Pirates often have guys work on pitches that can hurt their short term stats until they master them. But, Glasnow just pitched lights out nearly every start last year, and his walk rate continued to creep down as the year went on. That sort of dominance has to count for an awful lot in the final analysis, in my mind. I don’t recall any Pirates pitchers every dominating like that. I hear how he doesn’t have enough plus pitches, but he’s not very hittable with his non-plus pitches. I think sometimes the scouts need to also trust some cold, hard stats while blending them with what their eyes tell them. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  50. Steelkings says:

    Go back to the rotation and who goes? They are over booked by one already.

    Liriano (LH)
    Burnett (RH)
    Cole (RH)
    Morton (RH)
    Wandy (LH)
    Locke (LH)
    Volquez (RH)

    By July…..

    Taillon (RH)
    Cumpton (RH)

    By September….
    Kingham (RH)

    Personally I think (And I know you guys hate this) but I think the Pirates would be better served by offering Paul Maholm a 2 year 16 million to pitch here again. And this would be simply because he’s left handed. Right now we have no answer other than Justin Wilson if Wandy or Locke cant cut it. You could then trade one of those RH starter prospects for a 1st baseman

  51. Jim S. says:

    I don’t know if I’d use a “take it or leave it” strategy yet, 21. But, we are getting close to spring training. If there is money left, and they have a definite no from AJ, maybe they use some of that excess dough to get someone else. Maybe they can’t do that until they know for certain about AJ. I say it is getting close to time to pay AJ a visit in MD and make a final, full court press to remind him of all he loved about the Bucs and how much they want him back. Time to up the offer into at least the low teens as well.

    I can see this all taking place in AJ’s spacious workshop or garage, as he strips an antique oak desk or guts a wild boar or something manly like that. Maybe, just for old time sake, as Hurdle and Huntington get up to leave, AJ can say, “STFD!” Then, he can laugh and say, “Gotcha!”

  52. Steelkings says:

    If he doesn’t pitch for the pirates I’ll predict a 2 year 28 mil.

  53. Bizrow says:

    What are the chances the club can count on Wandy this coming season? To me, he’s a big question mark and perhaps it would be best to not count on him, anything you get will be a bonus?

  54. LeeFoo says:


  55. BostonsCommon says:

    If he wasn’t limiting his market, I don’t think $20M is out of the question. Not when there was rumblings of the Dodgers being interested… Would be a stretch for sure, though.

  56. LeeFoo says:

    NMR…..Let. It. Go.


  57. LeeFoo says:

    SK…AJ chose to post it on his ‘page’, in essence, don’t believe anything until EYE say something.

    That is how I took it.

  58. Jim S. says:

    Well, didn’t the Yankees give Kuroda darn close to that? I know he isn’t 37, but I would not rule out that he could get $17M or $18M on a 1 year deal. There’s crazy money in them thar hills right now – at least, for those teams in the top half of the league.

    I say offer him $13M and see if he really wants to come back to Picksburgh.

    I have said since last summer that it will be retirement, Baltimore or Pittsburgh – in no particular order. I think he really wants to stay close to home, and Pittsburgh is about as far as he’ll go. I don’t think he will go to Philadelphia, even though he might enjoy being one of the younger guys on the team again! Washington is another possibility, I suppose. But, don’t they already have a loaded staff?

  59. LeeFoo says:

    SK….awesome. :) :)

  60. Jim S. says:

    Well, we sort of have to rush to judgment. That’s what fans do on blogs.

  61. Jim S. says:

    I said the same thing on DK’s blog today, Steel, with one minor difference. I would probably only offer Maholm 1 year. Are you sure it would take 2/$16. I was thinking 1/$7, with incentives available to push it to $8M.

    I agree on needing a lefty. Locke can’t be counted on, and Wandy may not ever be healthy enough to be Wandy again. Cincy, even Choo-less as they are now, is heavily lefty. St Louis struggled with lefties last year, although Beltran is gone and he was part of that.

  62. Jim S. says:

    I’d set his over/under at 10 starts, Biz. I bet there would be at least as much money wagered on the under as the over.

  63. NMR says:

    You realize you are the one who butted into the conversation between Andrew and I, right?

    Sometimes a mirror is handy.

  64. NMR says:

    I personally think the need for a lefty is overblown. PNC plays as a pitchers park to right field as well. It would be a luxury.

    Paul Maholm is a fine pitcher and would’ve been a fine addition to the back end of the rotation, but I just don’t think he gets you over a win more than the back end options you listed above, at best. We do have six full seasons worth of data where Paul Maholm actually pitched in PNC Park, after all, and he had an ERA above 5 as many times as below 4.

    Again, I would’ve had no issue with signing him, but I just feel he and any other pitcher of his ilk are a bit redundant on this 2014 team.

  65. Nate83 says:

    21 with all do respect they are not negotiating an extension this is a free agent. Other teams will be making their best offer. There won’t be much back and forth if any.

    Trying to save a few million doesn’t make sense when we need AJ a lot more then he needs us. He is one of the if not the best free agents left and the Pirates should treat him that way by offering him as close to what he deserves as they possible think is reasonable for them. Not 3 million less then that number and hoping he comes back and ask us to try again when we they are 7 million short of the other offer.

  66. NMR says:

    Burnett had a damn good season, without a doubt.

    I’m just not sure I see any team giving $20m to a 37 yo given the deals comparable pitchers have already signed. ESPECIALLY not an AL team. Ryan Dempster, anyone?

  67. LeeFoo says:

    NMR…everyone butts into everyone’s convo here.

    Your ‘mirror’ comment was just silly.


  68. NMR says:

    One thing I just noticed about that prospect list is balance.

    Two Latin American kids, two 1st rounders, and three overslot signs.

    Pretty damn impressive for an organization that supposedly only has success with top picks. :)

  69. Andrew says:

    I find it ludicrous that a professional sports team would not want a player because he is “outspoken.” Briefly have a look at the quality of people employed by sports teams, DUI offenders, domestic violence convicts, players who have faced civil sexual assaults suits, an accessory to murder who pleaded down to obstruction of justice (who now is a well compensated “analyst”), alleged rapists, numerous other felons, the coordinator who at ran a pay for performance ring, in clear violation contractual rules if not criminal, is employed again.

    I think it is a little myopic to assume that the Pirates do not want Burnett back because of a few public statements by Burnett. There are logical reasons the Pirates do not to want Burnett back; like they do not want to pay him $15 million for one year.

    As outsiders we are always going to be limited in the information available for conversations; stats, video, tidbits from reporters, but attempting to analysis mental states and how it impacts actions is the realm of the unknowable, and I do not think it is a productive conversation. (Not that discussing sports on blogs in really productive, but I draw the line at analyzing metal states.)

  70. Andrew says:

    Not that I am judging people who want to do this, it’s not politics, no one taxes are getting raise or foreign countries being bomb, it sports so in the end it does not matter, I would just rather discuss other things.

  71. NMR says:

    “I think it is a little myopic to assume that the Pirates do not want Burnett back because of a few public statements by Burnett.”

    Well then it’s a good thing I’m basing my opinion on reports from inside the organization that they were growing tired of his act and not Burnett’s public statements.

    Burnett would join a countless list of players who were not brought back to their previous team because of what management deemed to be attitude issues. Think about it that way.

  72. Andrew says:

    Good conversation here; I think the Kuroda is a good comparison, older, effective pitcher who limited his options. I think NMR is dead on about any other signing the Pirates could make, they have a several back end options, what set Burnett apart was top of the rotation potential.

  73. Foo says:

    NMR….totally agree. Now, if only we could develop them…oh wait

    Undeveloped Foo

  74. Andrew says:

    I can understand that point of view, but usually these revelations of running afoul of management are after the fact and at the end of a list of other reasons a team has decide not to resign the player. There is always going to be disagreements, with certain one becoming public. The Pirates do not want Burnett because he yelled about the shifts once, didn’t want a rehab start, and was mad about not getting the game five start, color me skeptical, you may say naïve.

  75. Steelkings says:

    Maholm and his time in Pittsburgh was a running Joke. However his home career ERA was 2.37. Thats not too bad.
    I remember the Pirates losing games for him in Horrible fashion. 1 in particular that I was at. Maholm took a 4-1 lead into the 8th inning. He had given up 2 hits. 1 in the 8th and a homer in the 2nd. Anyway, he gave up a two out double in the 8th for the Phillies 2nd hit. The next batter hit a ground ball to Wilson’s left that Wilson threw in the dirt that Laroache couldn’t handle. 1st and 3rd up 4-1 with 2 outs. A 4 hopper to Bautista who tried to get the runner at 2nd instead of simply flipping it to first, rushed it and sailed it into right field. 4 – 2 . Enter Soloman Torres. First pitch single makes it 4 – 3. Matt Capps in the 9th hits a guy. Gives up a double followed by a 3 run homer to end his night. Pirates lose 6-4.

    Final line for Maholm was 7&2/3rds 2hits 1earned run, a no decision and a 6 – 4 loss. That crap happened to him all the time.

  76. Steelkings says:

    I cant seem to find Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel on the prospect list.

  77. Steelkings says:

    Do you think Disney refers to them as the “BMTIB”? I haven’t seen the movie yet.

  78. Steelkings says:

    If Liriano and Cole maintain their consistency from last year, then Burnetts is NOT a top of the rotation guy. Maholm is no better or worse than Morton. Just like AJ is no better than Cole or Liriano based on last years results. Meaning that AL or PM could both be a 3 or 4 rotation type pitcher.

  79. LeeFoo says:

    BMTIB? Baseball Men Throwing In Bangladesh? (that was all I could come up with…sorry)

  80. LeeFoo says:

    Just to bring some joy to us all and to give you a reference, Pitchers and Catchers report to Bradenton on Feb 12th, two days before that most feared male holiday of all……..

    If you’re single, you feel left out if you don’t have anyone. If you DO have someone, you never seem to understand it when they say “You don’t have to get me anything…I’m happy with a card”

    Foodolph Valentino

  81. LeeFoo says:

    NMR….from above, I still don’t think I ‘butted in’ (that was a first for me on a blog :) ), but since YOU seem to think so, that is good enough for me. It doesn’t matter, then, what I think.

    Therefore, I apologize to you for butting in to your convo with Andrew.


  82. Andrew says:

    Burnett was17th in value, 14th in K/9, 28th in ERA, 9th in xFIP over last two years, I think that classifies as top of the rotation. We can debate who will be the better going forward, but my point was that there is a large gap between Burnett any of other options the Pirates could sign.

    I am not as big on Morton as some Pirates fans, he splits are worrisome, he needs to develop a passable change up, but he is better than Maholm. Maholm has the same trouble against opposite handed batters with the caveat being 70% of hitters are right handed. I hold no grudges against Paul, he was the Pirates’ best starter in 2008, and good during the 1st collapse, I am just not sure what he brings that the Pirates do not already have signed.

  83. Andrew says:

    Lee “butt in” anytime, I usually cannot respond to posts quickly, just repress that discussion of Hoka Hey, no one’s minds will be changed in either direction, at this point.

  84. Ghost says:


  85. NMR says:

    Ha, oh man, that is NOT anything you should be apologizing for. You can butt in to any conversation you want, especially mine. I said that I found it funny that YOU were telling ME to “drop it” when you couldn’t help yourself from turning Hoka Hey into the center of discussion in the first place. A bit hypocritical, friend.

    The point of my reference wasn’t a referendum on Hoka Hey. Andrew is absolutely right about peoples opinions on that. My point was to use that whole saga as a matter of fact that this management team has not always followed means and methods that others found logical. Not an issue of right or wrong.

  86. NMR says:

    That is the exact comp I was thinking of, Andrew.

    @Steel – I’m not sure where you fall in this debate, but I prefer risk and upside in my Pirate players. I just feel that those guys give the team the best chance to put together a championship run. Morton, and to a bigger degree Volquez, are those kind of guys. So were Burnett and Liriano when they got here.

    Paul Maholm is not. He might have a better chance of being, on average, a better pitcher than those guys, but at this point it seems highly unlikely he’d ever put up a truly dominant season.

  87. LeeFoo says:

    “My point was to use that whole saga as a matter of fact that this management team has not always followed means and methods that others found logical”

    It sounded to me like you were disparaging them….my bad.

    “just repress that discussion of Hoka Hey, no one’s minds will be changed in either direction, at this point.

    I assumed that that was what NMR was referring to. Again, my bad. Also, since one of my disagreements with DK was that he deleted my links arguing against his side, I assumed that you guys had never seen them. However, I will never bring it up again and will try to avoid discussing it.

    “when you couldn’t help yourself from turning Hoka Hey into the center of discussion in the first place. A bit hypocritical, friend.”

    NMR….no hypocrisy at all….just another thread that took on another life. It happens all the time. However, I AM sorry you were so offended by my Just.Let.It.Go.

    Btw, to both of you, I would rather apologize for a perceived slight than to let it fester. It is just the way I ‘operate’. Sometimes things can get heated, and I know some enemies have been made on blogs over differing opinions (plus some things said in print ‘sound’ different when spoken), so I try to stay ahead of that.

    Unless of course, I could care less about you. :) :) :)


  88. LeeFoo says:

    Btw, to this day, I still can’t listen to the Lumineers’ “Ho Hey”.

    :) :) :)

  89. tedwins says:

    Good stuff guys, and as Foo wanted to say, but left out, lets get back to the serious life or death matter about signing Drew:) :) :)

  90. Jim S. says:

    I’d be pointing to Colon’s deal with the Mets if I were AJ and I was trying to get the top of the market. He’s certainly a better pitcher and safer bet than Colon at this point.

  91. LeeFoo says:

    Tedwins….lol….see you in the asylum.

  92. Jim S. says:

    You’re probably right about Maholm not being a true difference maker at this point, and righties can obviously also be effective in PNC. But, we know Cincinnati is susceptible to LHP, and, as I said, St. Louis struggled with them last year. That is why I brought up Maholm.

    I will say that I have no interest in ever playing poker with Huntington.

  93. Jim S. says:

    That’s a great point, NMR. I think they are now a truly well-rounded organization from the drafting and development standpoint. Are we still allowed to lament the loss of Sano, though?

    I will say that Rene Gayo and the Latin America scouting group have their act together as far as uncovering hidden gems.

  94. Jim S. says:

    I butt in all the time, foo. It never bothers me when others do, and I hope it never bothers others when I do.

  95. Jim S. says:

    Bend it like Patel.

  96. Jim S. says:

    Well said, Foo.

  97. tedwins says:

    oh, Jim S, thought you were responding to Foo’s comments about Drew :)

  98. tedwins says:

    See you there foo :)

  99. Jim S. says:

    I think Josh Bell is going to be a beast in 2 years with the Bucs. If he had not lost that year with the leg injuries, I think he would be much higher on the list of prospects. I know many have commented that he has issues cleaning up his swing, which is not uncommon for young switch hitters. But, I think it will happen. A lot of those doubles he hit last year will start turning into HRs this year and next. He’s going to be a plus bat for the Bucs.

    He’ll be playing 1b in Pittsburgh in 2016.

  100. Jim S. says:


    I was just responding to Foo where he said he likes to keep things civil. He’s right that things sometimes get nasty and personal on blogs, and I never see the point of that. Passionate arguments are great, and disagreements are going to spring up. I don’t like when things fester, as Foo said.

    Now, about that life and death decision about signing Drew! I believe his asking price is now dropping, and I would like to see him in a Bucs uniform. It would give us a great deal more platoon flexibility in the infield. But, I would say there is about a 1% chance we actually pursued him.

  101. LeeFoo says:

    From Buster Olney:

    “Team officials are forbidden, by collectively bargained rules, to say for the record whether they are or are not in negotiations with a particular player, and agents are supposed to be bound by similar rules — of indicating a team has interest when it has none, in fact. But there has been a tsunami of disinformation dispensed through media outlets this offseason, especially in the past month, raising the question of why there are any rules at all.

    “It’s amazing how much stuff out there is flat-out wrong,” said one club official.”

  102. LeeFoo says:

    Jim S….thanks…

    The price for Drew isn’t the problem, imho. Its the loss of the pick, even IF it is a low one.

  103. LeeFoo says:

    Jim S….perhaps we can say the same thing about Barrett Barnes, too if he stays healthy this year?

  104. NMR says:

    Where is this weeks prospect hoarders anonymous meeting?

  105. LeeFoo says:


    “There is a lot of sentiment among some executives that Kendrys Morales’ best play at this stage of the winter — other than to take a salary lower than the $14.1 million qualifying offer he rejected from the Mariners last fall — would be to wait until after the June draft to sign, which would separate him from the draft-pick compensation that hangs on him. And by then, injuries will manifest and create openings that are not there now.

    But following that strategy might be really difficult for a player who already has missed the better part of two seasons in his career because of an ankle injury. “

  106. NMR says:

    Haha, always allowed, Jim. FWIW, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Sano turn out very similar to Pedro.

  107. NMR says:

    I think Barnes is a better OUTFIELD prospect than Bell, Foo.

  108. Steelkings says:

    *** It sounded to me like you were disparaging them….my bad***

    Dammit! Was NMR doing my job? If anyone is gonna Disparage the Pirates around here it better be me! (or Grote)

  109. Andrew says:

    I saw this somewhere about Drew: The price in which he makes sense for the Pirates is lower than the price at which he makes sense to other teams.

  110. Andrew says:

    I follow European football/soccer and the baseball offseason is tame and orderly compared to their transfer windows.

    If Morales doesn’t sign until June, I think there will be changes to the free agent compensation system. Morales should not have been made a QO, he should have accepted, so incompetence all around, but you should not have players not playing or in his case DHing, solely because Jack Zduriencik wants to hoard first basemen/DH players. (He should try prospect hoarding.)

  111. NMR says:

    Who is keeping Morales from playing?

  112. Steelkings says:

    I love upside unless you have put your program in a position to challenge for the division title. At that point I want to add a couple of guys who have been there and done that. Visa vie, the Buc’s without Burnett don’t really have a successful veteran presents in the clubhouse that speaks English to young American pitchers.
    Another thing that you have to consider is the fact that Maholm is an innings eater. He’s never hurt and boy oh boy its nice to have that guy who consistently will give you 6 or more every 5th day.

  113. Travis Sawchik says:

    Reports have the Mets and Yankees out on Drew. He has very little market. I mean does Boston even want him back? He is just sitting there as a perfect platoon partner for Mercer.

    At this point, Drew might just want a one-year deal to rebuild his value.

  114. tedwins says:

    Can we only talk about Drew:), sorry guys its late in Singapore:)

  115. tedwins says:

    Nothing else makes sense to me :)

  116. Travis Sawchik says:

    I think it was Keith Law who speculated yesterday in his chat that Bell could be a candidate to move to first base. Smart idea. Switch-hitter with power and athleticism

  117. tedwins says:

    Just read a post by Travis, yes boston wants him back, Drew, but on there terms. I am a broken record that we will never be able to get someone like Drew in the future. Im optimistically waiting for his signing :)

  118. tedwins says:

    Does anyone really care about Morales? :)

  119. Travis Sawchik says:

    From Peter Gammons:

    RT @pgammo Orioles “all in” on AJ Burnett, Rays in, early in process

    Rays? Wow.

  120. Jim S. says:

    Agree, Travis. Drew is now shaking hands with Bronson in the Bargain Bin.

    I can’t make this week’s Prospect Hoarders Anonymous meeting, NMR, because I’m trying to get to Step 2 of my 12 Step Prospect Plan: How to Let Go and Maintain Your Self Esteem.

  121. Jim S. says:

    I’d like to, Foo. I just have no faith in that guy’s health. Barnes just seems like a guy who is going to have his promising career ruined by injuries.

  122. Jim S. says:

    Tampa must have a “top half of MLB” local TV contract.

    And, maybe their national TV check arrived, while the Bucs is delayed.

    I don’t get it.

  123. Jim S. says:

    Morales’ value to clubs is keeping him from playing.

  124. tedwins says:

    Rays make sense to me Travis, they are not poor for short term money and obviously a contender and there window seems to be closing, finally (maybe) :)

  125. Jim S. says:

    I’ve actually been thinking that about Bell ever since he came back from the leg injury. The guy is gigantic, right? With our glut of elite OF prospects, I think that is an obvious transition for him.

  126. Foo says:

    Travis…there’s been a lot of speculating about Bell moving to first base and not just from Law. However, Tim W seems to feel they will continue to have him play the OF for “value’s sake” until he hits AAA, because who knows what assets we may acquire by then.


    Jim S….agree about Barnes and that would be a shame if that happens.


    SK… apologies for doing your job… :). :)

    I got used to doing that in when I was in the work force. (Not referring to you or anyone here when I say this)…..dumb I could handle…that’s just heredity….but laziness is a choice!

  127. Foo says:

    Rays are heavy users of the defensive shifting…that will never fly with AJ :). :)

    I’m hoping that AJ goes to the AL east and gets lit up bigtime. (Not that I am bitter or anything)

    Also, he is good friends with the Phils’ Asst GM so he may end up in that bandbox and those aging infielders.

    However, a source close to his son’s classmate says that AJ is gonna chuck it all for a career in the UFC.

    AJ Foonett

  128. Foo says:

    A question for you all about Stephen Drew. I don’t want to know if YOU’D do it, but do you think Neal H would give up that draft pick AND pay Drew, say 3/$25 mil?

    I don’t even think he would do it for 3/$20. I think he values that pick too much. Sure, he traded that lotto pick for Gaby, but it was, essentially, a ‘freebie’, plus he already had two high picks. I’m not sure where his ‘freebie’ is this year, sooooo. But, I don’t think he’d want to wait 50/60 picks before his first pick.

    Jmho. Thoughts?

  129. Foo says:

    Ted…amen on Morales.

    Btw, has that wine kicked in yet?

  130. NMR says:

    Just wait til step 9!!

  131. Foo says:

    Andrew…i was really surprise that Jackie Z kept his job.

  132. Foo says:

    NMR….how did you manage to get past Step 8….I’ve been stuck on that for years.

  133. Andrew says:

    The qualifying offer system, but without the draft pick tax, Morales would have signed somewhere, the DH production has been historically terrible, Morales is not valueless. The entire purpose of free agent compensation is to drive down free agent salaries, if you have a situation where a player is not playing for half a year because of the QO or accepts 1/$10 million deal, the MLBPA has failed at its job.

    Morales and Drew want a guaranteed return, if they accepted the $14.1 million QO or a one deal, several things can happen. 1) They play poorly, receive a small free agent deal next year. 2) Play well, receive another QO, return to beginning of paragraph. 3)Put up a career year (the Jay Bell aging curve) at 31, receive QO, a team gives them longer term deal. How likely is that 3rd option? A two year $16 million deal is a better outcome then taking the QO, which both would surely get if not for the draft pick tax.

    I do not really care about Morales, I just think the whole free agent compensation system is unnecessary.

  134. NMR says:

    “Sure, he traded that lotto pick for Gaby, but it was, essentially, a ‘freebie’…”

    This doesn’t make any sense at all to me, FOO.

    The pick’s value is the same whether they had zero or thirty before it. That pick represents a prospect just as much as this years does.

    I personally have no idea what Huntington thinks of Drew, but if he was willing to give Barmes $5m/yr I have to imagine he’d be receptive to giving Drew $8m/yr. And if he was willing to trade the value of a mid-30s draft pick for three years of a short-side platoon first basemen, I have to believe he’d do the same for one of the better starting shortstops in baseball.

  135. Jim S. says:

    There’s no hope for me. I saw the picture of Dilson Herrera at the top of Step 2 and recoiled in horror!

    I’ll never stick with it long enough to get through Moises Alou!

  136. Jim S. says:

    I agree that Kendrys is not valueless, Andrew. But, he must not have as much value to teams relative to what they already have at DH or 1b vs. the value they place on the lost draft pick.

    I do think you make good points about changing the system.

  137. NMR says:

    Sorry, every entity involved in baseball has to make decisions with consequences.

    Morales made a decision, and he is now facing the consequences.

    This is like #38567 on the list of things that are wrong with Major League Baseball, right behind the stupid HoF argument every year. This league needs to learn to focus on things that matter.

  138. NMR says:

    I use the patches, Foo. Makes the cravings easier to deal with.

  139. Jim S. says:

    AJ’s pool guy told the guy who cuts my grass that AJ is opening up a tattoo shop in Glen Burnie. Still developing ….

  140. Andrew says:

    Draft picks are valuable but it does not mean teams should give them up for a solid major league player. And like NMR says a competitive balance pick is not a freebie.

    There is a price that Drew makes sense but Drew is not taking a one year deal, see my tirade above. I think he will end up with a deal like LaRoche last year, 2/$24, probably less AAV possibly another year.

  141. Travis Sawchik says:

    It’s also important to consider where the Pirates are on the win curve. One or two wins is incredibly valuable at this point as I think they’re a playoff bubble team.

    The Davenport Translations have them finishing second in the NL Central with a 83-79 record and seven games behind the Cardinals … but only two games out of the final wild card spot.

    Adding two wins to this team could be incredibly valuable, whether that’s Burnett, Drew or another free agent or trade to fill 1B void.

  142. Jim S. says:

    I don’t know if Huntington would do that for sure, but I seriously doubt it. I think when he signed Barmes, he decided SS was handled for this year. Personally, I think signing Drew at a reasonable rate for 3 years would be the smart way to go if losing the pick digs at him. At least that way, he’d be getting 3 years of value.

  143. Jim S. says:

    I think they are more like a 85-77 team, but that is precisely my point about resigning AJ. He’s the best option left to add 2 wins.

  144. Travis Sawchik says:

    Davenport projections are always very conservative. So I think your predicted record is quite reasonable. In Davenport translations the best teams are typically only projected for 92-90 wins. Cardinals projected at 90-72, which means they’re more likely a 95-win team unless team health goes horribly wrong.

  145. Travis Sawchik says:

    If Rays are really open to Burnett that has to mean Price would then quickly be traded, no? Can’t see them committed $14M+ to two pitchers.

  146. Andrew says:

    NMR I disagree, I think compensating your employees fairly is high up the list. Morales has played his six years under the baseball’s restrictive labor rules and now can negotiate a deal for the fair price of his labor (which is not much, but more than $5.2 million he was paid last year) and then has a massive tax placed upon the negotiations.

    The only people who benefit from the compensation system are large market owner because the price of free agents are held down. Also, look who is getting the compensation picks, which come after the first round and drive down the value of 2nd round picks, somewhat lessening the impact of a reverse order draft.

    Jim there are quite a few teams who would benefit from Morales production at the DH spot, Os, Yankees, Rangers, As, have poor options at DH, though you could be right about the cost, I think it is similar to the Drew discussion occurring among Pirates fans.

    And I do not care about the hall of fame voting, and blame Pirates lack of off-season moves for writing some 300 words on Morales and baseball’s labor market.

  147. Andrew says:

    I definitely agree the Pirates are on the steep slope of win curve, any upgrade at the margins is valuable. Shooting from hip, the realistic areas I can list are, (in reverse order of cost)

    1) Replacing Pedro’s 200 PAs vs LHP
    2) A quality 400-450 PAs against RHP from first
    3) Burnett pushing one of Volquez/Wandy/Locke from rotation
    4) Drew pushing Mercer to platoon partner with Pedro, possibly Walker.

    There might be others but I think these are most realistic.

  148. Steelkings says:

    Inside addition says that Ellen DeGeneres said that Oprah told her that AJ Burnett is going to act the lead roll as Batman in Batman 8 – The Bat that saved Pittsburgh

    Note to Travis*
    Time to change the subject and start a new thread.

  149. LeeFoo says:

    Jim S/NMR….lol

  150. LeeFoo says:

    SK…would that be Inside Edition? Or are we talking about a HGTV show about remodeling?


  151. LeeFoo says:

    You guys are either way too easy to sway off the subject, bored at work or (as SK suggests) Travis needs a new blog?

    :) :)

  152. Travis Sawchik says:

    Andrew, agreed.

    Drew signing helps a great deal with 1. & 4.

  153. LeeFoo says:

    I called it a ‘freebie’ because it wasn’t earned. It was given to them unlike getting a comp pick for a free agent leaving.

    It had nothing to do with the value of the pick.

    I should’ve been clearer.

  154. Steelkings says:

    @ Andrew

    Disagree about Pedro. He was beginning to use both fields at the end of the year. He has to develop that skill. Taking the bat out of his hand against lefty’s diminishes that possibility. It also likely pisses him off and hurts the harmony of the clubhouse.

    Sidebar: If the Pirates dont spend much more money in the coming days they would be wise to try and extend Pedro now while he is struggling against Left Handed pitching. If he develops that skill he will be Pirate unaffordable.

  155. LeeFoo says:

    Even IF Drew takes a one year deal, I think that it would be stupid of NH to give him that AND lose that pick. I would think that, if NH would give up that pick, he’d want value (assets), so he’d want at least 3 yrs.

    Another thing to consider….lots of draft pick value articles out there….at that position, less than 15% of the picks make it to the majors (let alone become top stars or regulars).

    So, maybe THAT’LL play into it? Also, Drew would want to come here (I’ve not read anything pro or con, but….).

    I’m glad I’m not the GM….lol

  156. Jim S. says:

    Thanks for the Davenport info, Travis.

  157. Steelkings says:

    @ Travis and @ Andrew

    From a coaching standpoint its not all about numbers. These are human beings that have to play the game. You guys are talking about platooning at 3rd, short, first and in right field. You will also have to start Harrison every now and again and give an aging catcher every 4th game off. You just simply cant get a rhythm as a team with that many moving parts. It makes Hurdles job Impossible. To be a successful hitter you have to be of the mindset that you are going to get two or three at bats every game unless you are getting a rest. Thats what makes good pinch hitters hard to find. Its hard to hit every other day.

    Evidence from last year: Hurdle continued to flop the line up early on. McCutchen In the 2. The 3. The 4. Constantly changing the line up and it was after he finally settled in on a consistent line up that the offense finally caught a rhythm and took off.

  158. LeeFoo says:

    I’m sorry….less than 25% make it to the majors and become regulars or stars (I looked at the wrong column. Here’s a sample of players taken at that pick.

    Starting with ’09 and going back to 80, I see Trout, Cain, Bobby Crosby, Chuck Knoblach, Ed Sprague and arguably Dale Sveum (-2.3 WAR) and Dion James. That is 30 years and 6 guys. 20%. Dodgers didn’t sign Glenn Davis.

    Did I miss anyone?

  159. Travis Sawchik says:

    I don’t think Alvarez and Walker should sit against every lefty … for starters, the Pirates lack enough quality partners. But I think Mercer provides the most utility in starting every day against LHP and rotating between 2b, 3b depending upon Alvarez’s and Walker’s particular numbers against that day’s LHP starter. In an ideal world, Barmes and Drew platoon at short.

  160. Travis Sawchik says:

    I think there’s something to what your saying, Steel. But I also think it makes sense to reduce Alvarez’s at bats against LHP until he shows he’s more capable over a larger sample of at bats.

  161. NMR says:

    Exactly, Travis.

  162. NMR says:

    Except I’m not sure Barmes adds any more value against LHP than Drew.

  163. Travis Sawchik says:

    Wonder if Drew could fall into the Russell Martin, 2y/$17M neighborhood.

    And it’s not like the Pirates have a clear long term answer at short. I don’t think Hanson sticks there. I’m not sure Mercer is a first division SS (I like him as a super sub). I’d go up to three years on Drew,

  164. NMR says:

    I remember reading that draft picks in the #30 range average something like 3-5 WAR over their careers.

    That’s two years of Drew.

  165. NMR says:

    Mercer isn’t a second division SS.

    It amazes me how far expectations for him have crept.

  166. Travis Sawchik says:

    probably not … but I like Barmes’ glove a bit more than Drew’s

  167. NMR says:

    If compensating employees fairly is high on the list, then the players should be the last ones to get more money.

  168. Steelkings says:

    Ahhh, Ive sucked you into my world , Travis.

    I’ll continue to debate this by asking the group another question. Who’s worse. Alverez against left handed pitching or Niel Walker in the right handed batters box? Where does the platooning end? Too many moving pieces is chaos. Chaos is bad for baseball teams

    JD Drew creates problems.
    Problem 1: 3 Shortstops
    Solution: Mercer becomes the everyday 2nd baseman and Walker becomes the Left hand hitting first baseman. Pedro continues to develop by hitting leftys the opposite way.

  169. NMR says:

    Three parts to the game of baseball, Steel, as I’m sure you know. Batting, Fielding, and Baserunning.

    Just because a guy can’t hit same handed pitchers doesn’t mean he should be platooned, as long as he still provides value in the other two areas.

    And I think Drew fixes problems, not creates them. He becomes a true starting shortstop, and improves the bench by pushing Mercer and Barmes into better roles.

  170. Jim S. says:

    Jordy hit .285/.336/.435 last year with some pop (32 XBH in 333) in a tough park that saps most righties of their power. I think he is young enough that his defense can at least get to average.

  171. NMR says:

    Jordy Mercer is 27 years old, Jim, and he put up equivalent production against RHP as Gaby.

    This guy was never, ever, expected to be a long term answer. And I can’t imagine last season changed that.

  172. Steelkings says:

    I dont even know why we are talking about JD Drew. One thing is for certain. They brought Barmes back for a reason. And that reason is that he is in fact, Clint Hurdles biological son. Meaning he’s gonna play. A LOT! You wait and see. So what is drew worth while he sits on the bench watching Clint Hurdles son play Short. Maybe Drew will learn something watching the Barmes 2 foot vertical front leg stride.

    BTW: Im only half, if that much, Kidding.

    Now can we get back to figuring out which of the 20 right hand pitching prospects, or 20 outfield power hitting prospects we should be trading for a quality left handed hitting first baseman?

  173. Steelkings says:

    You cant carry 8 infielders, 5 outfielders and 2 catchers
    Polanco later in June?

    If you take out Decker and go With the above players that leaves you 11pitching spots left and that is the Bare minimum. It also ties your hands at 1st base. You are stuck with Lambo or you are going to be paying someone awful well to play in indy. Then you have that Polanco later in june problem. Which one of those 8 infielders are out of here? It wont be Tabata or Snyder. They are out of options.

  174. Jim S. says:

    I didn’t realize just how anemic Pedro is vs LHP until I looked it up. Following are his 2013 and career slash lines:

    2013 – 133 AB .180/.252/.286
    Career – 425 AB .200/.272/.332

    Hard to argue he is getting better at dealing with lefties.

    Walker, anyone?

    2013 – 94 AB .225/.281/.338
    Career – 477 AB .260/.316/.340

    Similar # of ABs for each guy, and pretty awful performance. I guess (cringing) I’d have to say Walker is a little better. But, there is no question we need to replace more of those ABs this year. I don’t care if it makes Pedro angry. He kills us vs. LHP. He’s a decent, but not a plus baserunner, and a decent but not plus fielder. Same thing for Walker, I’d say.

    I don’t think it keeps Pedro from signing an extension because I think he is going to need to switch agents to sign an extension with the Pirates, anyway.

  175. Steelkings says:

    You have to go get a left handed first baseman. No if ands or Foo’s. Harrison and Martin can play third if Alverez gets hurt. There are NOW 3 guys who can play short and 2nd…..But if Lambo gets hurt…..Uh oh!

  176. Steelkings says:

    This team is not in a position to add an infielder without that guy being a left handed 1st baseman.

  177. Jim S. says:

    For those who are deathly afraid of the impending Andrew Lambo experience, and who also don’t like Ike/Smoak/Moreland for what it would take to get them ….

    How does a mid-season trade for Adam Dunn grab you if Lambo is tanking? He just turned 34 in November.

    For his career, vs RHP, he hits .246/.378/.518.

    He will make a cool $15 in 2014, but with the recent acquisition of Abreu and the re-signing of Pauly Walnuts for one more season, I have to believe the Sox would be motivated to pay a large % of the Big Donkey’s salary and not expect much of anything in return. The AJ Burnett money is burning a hole in our pockets.

  178. NMR says:

    Catchers: Martin, Stewart

    IF Starters: Gaby+Lambo, Walker, Drew, Alvarez
    IF Backups: Barmes, Mercer

    OF Starters: Marte, Cutch, Tabby
    OF Backups: Snider, Lambo

    12 man pitching staff

    Or trade Barmes and add Harrison. Not sure what kind of “problem” Polanco creates?

  179. NMR says:

    No reason to have them pay a dime in my mind, Jim. The Pirates are flush with cash. Pay the money and save the prospects.

  180. Jim S. says:

    I think at the trading deadline, when he is still owed about $6 million, and the Sox are buried in 4th place, we could probably get him and $4 million w/o having to give up much at all.

    My fear is, once again, Clint would not want to “disrespect” the veteran acquisition by not giving him 100% of the ABs in the 4 hole. Remember how stubborn he was with Morneau last year?

    I wonder how much of the freight they would pay to have us take him off their hands right now? If I were them, I’d probably send $10M and expect something along the lines of maybe Duke Welker in return.

    I don’t know. I’m just guessing. What do you guys think?

  181. LeeFoo says:

    The Stargell statue would play better defense than Adam (I am) Dunn.

  182. Jim S. says:

    Martin might say he can play 3rd, but I think that was 5 years and 15 lbs ago. He was hobbling around last year pretty badly. I don’t trust him to have any range at 3b.

  183. NMR says:

    I’ve been a fan of that move since last Fall, Jim. I think Dunn could get on base at a .330 clip and combine to hit 75 home runs with Pedro. If you’re gonna go for power and strikeouts, at least make sure the power is worth it.

    Keep an eye on Michael Cuddyer, 2015 free agent.

  184. Jim S. says:

    True, Foo. But, to get the .378/.518 you have to sacrifice something. Maybe that is giving up too much deeee. I dunno.

    If we get in a brawl, I like our chances with Dunn. He is listed at 6’6″, 285. Must mean he goes 320.

  185. Jim S. says:

    I think .330 is light, actually. The guy draws a TON of bb.

    Foo makes a good point about his defense, though. An orange cone has the same range.

  186. NMR says:


    Anybody expecting to find a perfect fit hasn’t been following along this winter.

  187. Steelkings says:

    @NMR You left JD Drew off that equation.

  188. Jim S. says:

    He seems to mash LHP, unless last year was a total aberration. It all keeps leading us back to Steven (don’t call me JD) Drew.

  189. NMR says:

    An orange cone at 1B isn’t terrible if it can catch the ball. The Pirates survived with Garrett Jones at 1B.

  190. Jim S. says:

    How true. Lance Berkman just retired, too.

    And, the real Lance Berkman actually retired a few years ago.

  191. Steelkings says:

    @ NMR I meant Harrison. You are sending harrison to Indy or outrighting him? He is down to 1 option. They wont trade Barmes. See my prodigal son rant

  192. NMR says:

    And I think you’re right. If Dunn was only facing RHP, I could easily see him put up a .350 OBP.

  193. Jim S. says:

    I know. I’m still haunted by GIJ missing routine ground balls on perfectly manicured MLB infields on a regular basis, or making terrible 80 ft. throws to 2b. I will never, ever understand how a guy can do that and then ever come close to turning around a 95 MPH heater.

  194. Steelkings says:

    ****Keep an eye on Michael Cuddyer, 2015 free agent.****

    If you mean for the Pirates, I’m gonna have to ask you what was the Proof of your lunch cocktails

  195. NMR says:


    Did Hurdle play Barmes because he is his prodigal son, or because he can actually – you know – play shortstop?

    Seems like people are underestimating how much a good fielding SS means to this team, but I’m positive one of them isn’t Clint Hurdle. Stephen Drew can play a damn good shortstop, as anyone who watched the WS could see. No chance Hurdle starts Barmes over Drew.

  196. Steelkings says:

    ****And I think you’re right. If Dunn was only facing RHP, I could easily see him put up a .350 OBP.***

    Who is going to carry him to second base after he gets to first?

  197. NMR says:

    Haha, made me laugh, Jim. The best thing to be said about Jones’ defense is that it wasn’t Ryan Doumit’s.

    @Steelkings – Cuddyer as trade bate this summer, not as a free agent this winter.

  198. NMR says:

    This conversation is so typical of this winter.




  199. Steelkings says:

    Problem with that is that the Rockies are always just good enough to hand around til just after the trade deadline. And because Teixeira is always hurt the yankee will trade the rest of the farm system to get him first

  200. Steelkings says:

    On that note im outta here…Carry on

  201. NMR says:

    Absolutely does, Jim, although we’re looking at a very small sample size and a +.400 BABIP.

    I just look at his rate stats against RHP last season and see that they’re close to what he did at AAA. At the age of 27, I’m not sure I can see where the improvement is going to come from.

    Take a look at his Zips projections for reference (.252/.302/.385). Same walk rate, same k rate, similar ISO. But a more typical .292 BABIP vs .330 he posted last year. Makes a huge difference.

    Again though, all about expectations. Marginal as a shortstop, but valuable as a super utility guy.

  202. LeeFoo says:

    NMR…then there’s those of us who have been on the Lambo train all along.

    I’m with SK….I’m outta here.

  203. Andrew says:

    I had some thoughts on platoons and Drew, but this sums up those thoughts.

    And we willing be discussing the same things for next two weeks.

  204. NMR says:

    Would love to hear your opinion on the Mercer convo Jim and I are having above.

  205. tedwins says:

    Wow, just caught up on the blogs discussions from last night. Great stuff, tone, and (dare I say) even Foo made coherent and thoughtful points :) :)… I obviously loved the Drew talk as well as Dunn… curious, might have missed it, what a realistic trade scenario would be for him. Sounds like one scenario would be to have cincy do a AJ/Yanks type of deal but with potentially better prospects leaving us depending on cash coming in. 2nd scenario is we suck up the cost and cincy gets very little in return, right?

  206. Steelkings says:

    Ted…..This is 2014!

  207. tedwins says:

    Meaning you don’t agree with the ‘pro’ Dunn’ posters I read, got it SK :)

  208. tedwins says:

    And yes it is 2014 as today is Lunar New Year

  209. Steelkings says:

    Actually Ted I was being a smart ass. Dunn hasn’t been a Red since 2008.

  210. Steelkings says:

    And yes I think it would only be out of desperation for the pirates to add Dunn. The WHITE SOX would love to off him. They may include a prospect to part ways with 200 K’s annually and 1500000 in salary. He is as athletic as a sloth on Thorazine. He sucks from both sides of the plate and gets worse as the season wears on. My God!

  211. tedwins says:

    Oh god, just saw I put Cincy…. The entire point was how white Sox didn’t need him.. Im getting so old :(…

  212. tedwins says:

    Yuppers but for a WHITE SOX dump, without anything significant in return would be the only way it would make sense, sounds like even that scenario is a resounding NO to you :)

  213. tedwins says:

    I’m agnostic, just thought both sides had good points yesterday…. I’ll stick with Drew :)

  214. Steelkings says:

    Sign AJ Burnett and trade him for Chris Davis.

    Easy now! Whoa fellas…I didn’t mean it.

  215. tedwins says:

    :), why not:)…

  216. Jim S. says:


    This blog is picking up steam, and it is just January! 200+ comments on this post. Any thought of committing to a post a day, minimum, once MLB season gets underway!

    BTW, great job on Trib Radio yesterday!

  217. Jim S. says:


    Who is the guy you want to see taking the 500 ABs vs. RHP this year for the Bucs?

  218. Steelkings says:

    Justin Morneau? No cant have him. How bout Logan Morrison? Not him either? Ok, well, I’ll take James Loney. What! He’s gone now too? Guess I’ll settle for a Smoak trade

  219. Steelkings says:

    I would move Neil walker to first base. He has already shown that he can convert to a new position without much grief. He already plays on the right side of the diamond. It keeps him out of the RH batters box.
    It also changes the market. Every team knows the pirates are desperate to solve that problem and they are wringing their hands while holding the Pirates hostage over ever moderate first baseman. Announce that position change and suddenly Drew and others become more affordable

  220. Travis Sawchik says:

    Thanks, Jim.

    I don’t like to post more than once a day because I’d rather push for qualify of thought over quantity. But don’t worry, the content will be here year round.

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