TribLIVE
Blogs | Sports | News
Bucco Blog

« Font size »
Decrease | Reset |Increase

February 9, 2015
by Travis Sawchik


33 comments so far - add yours!

Monday Mop-Up Duty: where the Pirates and Padres differ, windows, and spring training battles

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – If you eliminate climate, street tacos, and time zone, there’s actually quite a number of similarities between the Pirates and Padres.

Pittsburgh ranks 22nd in television market size, according to 2014-15 demographics compiled by  Nielsen, San Diego ranks 28th.

The Pirates play in a pitcher-friendly park and the Padres play in the most run-depressing environment in baseball.

Both teams have long title droughts, in fact, the Padres have never won. The Pirates were irrelevant for 20 years until back-to-back playoff berths. And the Padres have mostly been irrelevant until this offseason which they capped with the signing of James Shields today to a four-year, $75 million deal.

(The good news for the Pirates is Shields did not land in the division as the Cubs were thought to be interested).

Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

February 6, 2015
by Travis Sawchik


9 comments so far - add yours!

At what price is Shields right for the Pirates? And ZiPs forecasts the 2015 Pirates

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – The last really good free agent pitcher available is of course James Shields. Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reports he’s expected to sign by the end of the week. The Padres are reportedly the favorite.

Shields is not an ace. He’s a really good No. 2 starter who has evolved from relying less on a wiepout changeup and more on an effective cutter. It seems like he posts 220 innings every year and maybe that is the reason he’s still available. Shields turned 33 in December. He’s also thrown 1,910 innings in his career. That’s a lot of mileage. He wants a five-year deal but may have to settle for four (or less?). Still, that will take him at least through his Age 36 season.

Interesting side note I read last night: no free agent pitcher has ever received more than $50 million when signing after February 1. So what if Shields’ price really comes down from those $100 million expectations? At what point does he make sense for the Pirates who finished with the second lowest WAR among starting pitchers last year?

Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

February 4, 2015
by Travis Sawchik


22 comments so far - add yours!

Time for MLB to expand? And beyond U.S. borders? (Also, thoughts on Lombardozzi)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS –  In the modern era of baseball expansion, since 1961, we are in the longest period of Major League Baseball having not added a new a franchise. MLB has not added a new team since adding the Diamondbacks and Rays to the mix in 1998. So it’s been 17 years since a team was added. The previous longest gap was a 16-year expansion drought was ended with the additions of the Marlins and Rockies. (I’m not including the Expos’ relocation to Washington).

So is it time for MLB to expand?

When you think about MLB expansion you might immediately turn to familiar domestic cities mentioned like Charlotte , N.C. (which makes some sense with it being second largest banking center in the country and the Carolinas having strong passion for amateur baseball), Portland, Las Vegas and San Antonio. But new MLB commish Rob Manfred keeps saying interesting things in his first days on the job.

Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

February 2, 2015
by Travis Sawchik


27 comments so far - add yours!

Monday Mop-Up: State of the Pirates

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – You can argue the Pirates will be challenged to reach the playoffs again in 2015.

While the club did a nice job of scrambling this offseason, they did lose a player I voted as the team MVP in the local baseball writers awards in Russell Martin.

Will the club have enough pitching depth? Was 2014 indicative of the true talent level of Josh Harrison? Is Jordy Mercer really an above average shortstop? We all know the questions.

While there is some uncertainty about the club’s 2015 prospects I don’t think there is much debate about this: the Pirates are well positioned for the remainder of the decade. And they just might be becoming a model franchise that can consistently compete year-in and  year-out, says one prominent national writer. After a 20 consecutive losing seasons, it’s one of the more remarkable turnarounds in North American sports history.

Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 28, 2015
by Travis Sawchik


20 comments so far - add yours!

How many eggs are in Polanco’s basket? (Updated with podcast)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – So the Pirates were not quite done shaking up the roster this offseason, sending projected fourth outfielder Travis Snider (a ‘superhero’ as described  by Carlos Gomez) to the Orioles last night for prospect Stephen Tarpley and a prospect to be named later.

On the surface this struck many in the public as a curious move.

The Pirates are expected to contend and compete in 2015, and they traded a valuable reserve for a pitcher who spent last season in short-season ball and is not considered a top 100 prospect in the game. Is there now a risk in expecting too much of Gregory Polanco in 2015?

Pirates GM Neal Huntington doesn’t believe so. Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 28, 2015
by Rob Biertempfel


4 comments so far - add yours!

Snider traded to Orioles for two prospects

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

PTR-Bucs03-092414My friend Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun has sniffed out news that the Pirates may be close to dealing outfielder Travis Snider to the Orioles.
Talks between the teams for a straight-up Snider-for-Brian Matusz deal fizzled during the Winter Meetings. The Pirates are confident they have plenty of outfield depth — Corey Hart, Andrew Lambo and, yes, Jose Tabata — so discussions heated up again the past few days. Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 27, 2015
by Travis Sawchik


6 comments so far - add yours!

Thames and Cantu as Rosetta Stones?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – Humans are always in search of  translation tools.

Because the Rosetta Stone had text in three different scripts it became the key to understanding Egyptian language.

The film Imitation Game detailed how Alan Turing cracked the German enigma code, which undoubtedly hastened the end of WWII and saved countless lives.

While we’re just talking about a game in this Web space, baseball analysts are also very interested in code-breaking and translations and that’s what makes the signing of Jung Ho Kang the most interesting Pirates-related story of this upcoming spring. Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 26, 2015
by Travis Sawchik


11 comments so far - add yours!

Monday Mop-Up Duty: The new commish said what?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – Rob Manfred conducted one of his first interviews as MLB  commissioner over the weekend with ESPN.

What he said was frightening.

ESPN’s Karl Ravech interviewed Manfred and the questioning got around to adjustments he would consider to improve the game.  Manfred expressed concern about declining offense in the sport, and the slowing pace of the game. These are perfectly legitimate concerns. But his proposed solutions are, I believe, misguided. Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 22, 2015
by Travis Sawchik


20 comments so far - add yours!

The Neil Walker dilemma

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Neil Walker (Philip G. Pavely  |  Trib Total Media)

Neil Walker (Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media)

SOUTH HILLS – One of the more interesting players the Pirates will soon have to make a decision on is Neil Walker.

Not only was Walker arguably the top offensive second baseman in the NL last season, he’s of course a fan favorite, a native, one of the most amiable personalities in the clubhouse, and a worker. Of course, he’s also due to make either $8 or $9 million in arbitration and is two years away from free agency. The Pirates also appear to have middle infield depth and Plan Bs with the signing of Jung Ho Kang, and Alen Hanson reaching the upper levels of the minor leagues.

So what should the Pirates do with Walker? Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

January 19, 2015
by Travis Sawchik


8 comments so far - add yours!

Monday Mop-Up Duty: A nice offseason but …

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SOUTH HILLS – The Pirates’ ownership and front office groups put forth a much more robust offseason effort than a winter earlier when the Pirates committed only $7 million combined to free agents Edinson Volquez and Clint Barmes.(Though the Pirates also signed Charlie Morton to a $21 million contract  that bought out two years of free agency).

Assuming they are done, the Pirates guaranteed $64 million to free agents this offseason, including the club-record free agent deal handed out to Francisco Liriano and the club record international contract given to Jung Ho Kang.

It’s not big-market money to be sure but it is significant increase in the commitment. The question is this: is it enough? The Pirates were hardly the only National League team to improve itself this offseason. Continue Reading →

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
 
Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports
News: This Just In | Trib List | ICycle | Flow Back | Stories Behind Trib Stories  


» Top TribLIVE.com Sports » Top TribLIVE.com News » Top TribLIVE.com Breaking News