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Wakeup Call: Branching out

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> In covering the NHL Entry Draft and writing several pieces from Minnesota over the weekend, I’ve added hockey to the very early column portfolio that also includes much on the Pirates and one on the Steelers.

Which reminds me of something I’ve wanted to share for a bit: My initial objective here is to write columns that are timely and relevant, but also while branching out a bit and getting more into football and basketball than in the past. Baseball and hockey obviously won’t require as much of a deep-dive. I do feel it’s important, even now with baseball in full swing, to tackle other topics, even if those sports are out of season. (If anything’s actually out of season anymore.)

On that note, this is the last of my draft-based columns related to the Penguins, this one on plans for their power play that Dan Bylsma described to me over the weekend. I take his plans a step further, as you’ll see in this graphic, and propose my own personnel to fit that plan.

I would love to hear your own variations on this. To me, it’s the dominant issue for this team, getting the most out of the talent it has with the man-advantage.

>> I see the NHL is proposing a major realignment in response to the Winnipeg addition, and it sounds great to me: Two eight-team divisions in one conference, two seven-team divisions in the other, none of this nonsense where a first-place team gets a No. 3 seed even if it has the eighth-best record, and Detroit, Nashville and Columbus get their wish of moving to the East.

Sure will be nice not to have to look at the NHL standings and need an interpreter.

>> Whether or not Jose Tabata is hurt for an extended period — doesn’t sound like he will be — the Pirates’ front office owes it to this manager, his coaching staff and players to step up and acquire some offense.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because I called for exactly that two weeks ago. And nothing that happened since then, notably taking two of three from the best team in baseball over the weekend, has changed my thinking.

There have been internal discussions about “restructuring” the offense, to borrow Clint Hurdle’s term used Saturday. But that strikes me as being little more than shuffling players on the 40-man roster, or calling up a guy here or there. With all due respect to Alex Presley, Chase d’Arnaud and the 37 catchers being called up, they’re not likely to be the answer. This team needs a real bat, and it probably will need to spend real money to get it.

>> It’s a small world, indeed: Sat in the very last row of my flight to Pittsburgh yesterday, and the guy next to me was Ashton Gibbs, Pitt’s terrific shooting guard. If you ever want comic relief before an early-morning takeoff — and smiles don’t come easily — watch basketball players try to board one of those pencil-thin regional jets.

I’ll have more on Gibbs sometime soon.

Comments

  1. Brian says:

    Hey Dejan,

    Love the article.Hope we sign #68!How about Cooke in front?a PP of Sid,Geno,Cooke(or Kunitz),Letang,and Neal seems like the best option.Obviously if we sign Jags and he can retire where he started, even better!Thoughts?

    -Brian (@Steel_Soulja)

  2. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Brian: Would you take Cooke’s hands over Kunitz in tight? Would you take Cooke at getting to loose pucks, then getting them to Crosby?

    Remember back when the Penguins first acquired Kunitz from the Ducks? All the guy did was go hard to the net and pile-drive the puck past goaltenders. Everyone benefits if he gets back to doing that.

  3. Toomey309 says:

    I understand they need offense, but who?
    Almost every team believes they still have a chance to win this year and there are no real bats on the market.
    Ryan Ludwick is the biggest name available, Ryan Ludwick.
    The only thing I could think of is someone like Yonder Alonso. He is not proven in the majors, but the main reason for that is he is being blocked by Joey Votto.

  4. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    One area where I’d ask everyone’s patience: If you’re commenting here for the first time, it has to clear a moderator. Every time after that, it goes up right away. Thanks.

    @Toomey: Look for contracts that a team might want to move, particularly teams falling out of contention. That’s the kind of deal the Pirates need to make, not getting a seventh overall pick like Alonso.

  5. Brian says:

    Agreed. Kunitz> Cooke in front. Staal is too soft and doesn’t have the hands to play on PP#1. Hopefully Tangradi can develop into that guy. Also, how about 2 d (one obviously Letang) at the point?with the second either Martin or michalek? Who’s mote valuable up there?Thanks

  6. pipecock says:

    Dejan, do you have any examples of trades where a team picks up an expensive contract for a still useful played via trade without also sacrificing valuable prospects? I feel like it doesn’t usually work like that, and I do not believe the Bucs are yet in a position to be trading prospects for rentals of expensive players. I’m also not sure it’d be a good idea to trade any of our current regulars to get such a player. The offseason FA crop doesn’t seem too good outside of players there is no way for the Bucs to afford. I just don’t know what the next step should be aside from letting these guys keep playing ball and hope the injured players bring it upon their return…

  7. Kevin says:

    Toomey,

    I wouldn’t completely scoff at the idea of Ludwick. He’s not that far removed from good seasons in STL and getting him out of playing in Yellowstone Park might do him wonders. Look at his home/road splits this year (.280 avg on the road, .231 at home). He’s on a one year contract (last arbitration year) and the Padres aren’t going to play meaningful ball in August or September. He might be had for a reasonable bounty.

  8. Ron says:

    DK, only thing in your plan that might need addressed is Crosby and Malkin on the same side of the ice. Most teams have a tough penally killing defenseman and we know he will be on that side. … Letang at the top is right. He just misfires too much from the point. … Another question is how would Jagr fit into this?

  9. Steve says:

    I’m just glad I can finally read your articles for free again. Missed reading what you had to say. Especially nice now that you are writing about all sports.

  10. JAL says:

    Couple of morning links

    -ESPN

    Best story of first half? Try the Pirates

    http://espn.go.com/blog/SweetSpot/post/_/id/12896/best-story-of-first-half-try-the-pirates

  11. JAL says:

    Galesburg Register Mail

    Tom Wilson: The tale of Galesburg pitching brothers

    http://www.galesburg.com/newsnow/x438676501/Tom-Wilson-The-tale-of-Galesburg-pitching-brothers

  12. Curt says:

    I completely agree about getting some bats. The ownership owes it to Hurdle and to the fan base to go for it. I think in about two weeks the trade rumors will heat up and more guys will be on the block.
    Dejan, if ownership stands pat, does that finally prove they are not concerned about winning and contending and more concerned about making money?

  13. jim says:

    I though Neal was a pf? He should be the net presence. what kind of pw plays the perimeter? What about bringing in declare during camp to instruct Neal?

  14. PhillyJake says:

    @Curt

    Too general of a statement. It’s not just about ownership. if the trade price is too high in terms of talent, then it’s not a good trade. It’s not just about Salaries. And the reality is, the Pirates can’t afford to take on every salary out there that’s available.

    If anything, however stupid it was, the Mark Morris trade showed that Ownership is willing to take on salary on some level if the FO makes the case.

  15. Drew71 says:

    Dejan – I GENERALLY like the NHL realignment…but i have a nitpick. If Detroit moves to the East, that is one of the few teams from the West that I follow. (Not like; follow. Every terrific action movie has a terrific villain.)

    Yes, I have become a Winnipeg fan and plan to keep that up when they are eventually playing in the West. But in hockey more than any other pro sport, my focus is geographic.

    And not just because I’m from the east, because I follow plenty of western teams in other pro and college sports. I think it’s a residue of the original six, and if Detroit moves, 5 of them will play in the East. Those teams, plus the Pens’ natural rivals, and to a lesser extent Tampa Bay where I live…don’t leave much room for me to follow Western teams.

    And I’d be less than honest if i didn’t acknowledge one of the factors why. Since i don’t follow college, junior or international hockey, I have no idea who most of these guys are when they first arrive in the NHL, especially the international guys. Not to be rude about it, but trying to keep track of guys out west who I never heard of named Raitis Ivanans or even former Penguin (briefly) Alexei Ponikarivsky is frankly pretty hard for the uninitiated. Not THEIR fault; it just is.

    So if Chicago or Colorado are out of the playoffs, two Western teams I have followed a bit, I barely know the rosters of the other Western teams heading toward the Stanley Cup. Maybe it’s just me, but…other than maybe Western Canada (whose teams I also don’t follow), there just doesn’t seem to be as much NHL energy out West. At least for me.

    And if the West loses one more BIG team in Detroit…whether one views them as a great team or a super villain, only exacerbates the unbalance.

  16. Sean says:

    Did anyone else see that pedro isn’t starting rehab because he slept on his neck wrong? I mean you’ve got to question this guy’s heart, his desire to be the great player he was projected to be. He has so much to prove, but he is so laxed about his career it seems.

  17. Drew71 says:

    And PS…while the market won’t be flooded with them until under-performing MLB teams continue to, you know, under-perform, I think there will be SEVERAL fairly good hitters on one-year or final year of contracts who are made available a bit later. No use chasing until their teams are ready to deal, but they will be there.

    And some of them will be available, i believe, for slim (prospect) pickings of PBC is willing to absorb the rest of the season’s big contract. Especially if the stars align and you find an under-performing team that ALSO has some big names with big contracts and just this year left on their deals and ALSO has some debt limit problems. If that sounds like the Cubs, that’s not a coincidence. Bad contractual decisions over the years = opportunity for other teams willing to spend money.

  18. SM says:

    I like the PP except, like another commenter, I prefer another D on the opposite side of Letang – Michalek or (in time) Despres who both have good, hard shots and are responsible defensively. TK worries me at the point. In terms of realignment, I love the idea of the 4 division format.

  19. Bobfrom Illinois says:

    DK,

    I like 4 of the 5 on the PP, but not so sure about both TK & CK. If things break well for the Pens and Jagr does show up, how do you think that changes the picture? I think we need more right handed shots!

  20. Bizrow says:

    Drew, the thing is, I think anyways, is there are still lots of clubs that think they have a chance to do something this year, but IMHO one club to keep an eye on is the Twins, they have been coming on pretty well, but if they drop out, I’m pretty sure they have some of those one year guys you are speaking of.

    Its still so great to be talking about winning baseball this close to the 4th of JULY!!!!!

  21. Drew71 says:

    …and about the Pirates essentially trading UP for MLB talent rather than trading down for prospects.

  22. Bob says:

    It sure is nice to read some interesting thoughts on hockey Dejan! Great work. As for the powerplay, I think the key, as HCDB points out, is to not be so predictable. I like the idea of using Crosby down low and setting up Malkin for one-timers. But they’ve got to get people moving to make it effective. If you use Crosby down low, you can utilize give-and-go’s and can get Tanger sliding in from the point to create scoring chances.

  23. Ed.word says:

    Hi Dejan,

    Would it be that easy for the Pirates to acquire a serious bat? Would you recommend doing it via trade? Can you give examples of the type of player that you would go out and get and what you would give up? It seems to me that they would either have to give up too many prospects or they have young players in a lot of the spots. I’m guessing that your idea is to trade for a 1B/RF who is making a bit too much money and the pirates would be willing to eat that salary. Anyway, who would you go after? Juan Miranda? James Loney? Cuddyer? Fukudome?

    Thanks,
    Ed.word

  24. CDBrewer says:

    @Drew

    I cannot tell you the difference in energy between NYC and San Francisco for the NHL.
    Do not get me wrong the Sharks do have a fervent, even fanatical, following, but it is NOT large, and I would not say it captures the region.
    Even coming out of the lost year and with all of Sather’s moves and all the new rules, NYC had more of a following than the Sharks did this year.
    Three years ago the Sharks had their shot to REALLY make an impact, and had the region – kinda like a World Cup gets the nation’s attention – and when the Sharks choked…now it is like, “wake me for the semis and they’ll lose there.”
    Talk radio is CONSUMED with Giants/Niners/ Raiders. I would estimate the Warriors get 5 times as many calls as the Sharks, and they stink.

    My wive and I have discussed how odd hockey season is because of all of this.
    You nailed it.

  25. CDBrewer says:

    I think DK is sandbagging a little on names – he must have a couple he has either heard or is thinking of very specifically.

    I DON’T WANT BELTRAN. He is always dinged, he has lost much of his speed and ability to field, and he mopes. Do not want him around the kiddies.
    I think we could get Adam Dunn for nothing – he is hitting .190…
    Don’t really want Soriano…Fukudome is beyond streaky and has little thump. Pena has been debated, which says a lot – that we are up in the air on him as a group.

    But hey, THE DODGERS ARE BANKRUPT!
    Not to be unfeeling, but let’s go pick the bones clean. Furcal? Ethier (too much of a dream)? I would give up 2/3 prospects for Kemp? Hell, even Loney is an upgrade (but no thump and a big contract).
    Let’s “Think Blue” as the sign just beyond the outfield says. I want Ethier. Young, plays hard, has lefty thump…

  26. Curt says:

    I like CDBrewer’s Dodger thoughts. I would love Ethier in a Pirates uniform. Juan Miranda might be a name we could get. And I’ll add this into the mix, what about JJ Hardy? He’s signed for one year and O’s might be selling by the end of next week. We just missed out on him and he’s having a monster year.

  27. Mason says:

    Pedro is starting his rehab assignment today : )

  28. leefoo@verizon.net says:

    DK……..will my “Man Crush” get rewarded?

    From BA’s “Hot Sheet”

    “The Scoop: Hague, a ninth-round pick in 2008 from Oklahoma State, hasn’t gotten a ton of acclaim throughout his career, but all he’s done is hit at every level. He carried a .300 career average into this season, and he’s batting .316/.367/.460 in his first season facing Triple-A competition. Hague’s power may not be ideal for a first baseman—though it’s not bad—but he nearly doubled his season’s home run total in one week. He went deep three times, including two on Thursday, to boost his total to seven. One of Hague’s hallmarks has been how infrequently he strikes out, and that hasn’t changed against Triple-A pitchers. He’s been the fourth hardest IL hitter to whiff this year, going down on strikes just once every 9.68 plate appearances”

    Foo

  29. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @CD: Haven’t heard names. And I don’t like to recklessly float them out there, as you probably know. Too many take it too literally.

    @Curt: The Pirates have liked Hardy, but is SS really where you’d upgrade right now?

    @Drew: You’d love the Sharks.

    @Bob: I’m not sure about Kennedy on the power play, either, which is why I listed him as “tentative” in the column. Only other right-handed option is Letestu, and I don’t like that at all.

    @SM: I was working within what Bylsma said he probably will do. That was four forwards.

    @Jim: Totally agreed on Neal. He needs to spend a couple weeks with Kevin Stevens beating his brow.

  30. Jolly Rodger says:

    Keep up the call for a bat… If Neil wants an extension, he needs to go out and earn it… Look forward to reading specific targets if you hear anything; I know you have done well on that in the past…

  31. Naje says:

    @DK -

    Dejan, you missed a heckuva weekend at the ballpark, but good job covering the NHL draft and all the drama/intrigue around Jagr’s potential comeback.

    For all the fuss made over 18-18, sure would have been nice to see you react and respond to 39-37 (now 38) with the best team in baseball in town. Must have been on your craw this weekend a bit, eh?

  32. Jolly Rodger says:

    Two weeks ago I would have been ecstatic about picking up Hardy… but now Chase D’Arnaud really has me intrigued and I think he could be the solution to the SS problem… I would like to see them bring up Hague to see if he could be the fix at 1B before going external there as well…

    RF is the area I would target externally and (pre-injury) I would have used Tabata to get it… I think he is expendable as Paul, Pressley and eventually Marte are solid replacements…

  33. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Naje: “Own craw?” What’s that?

  34. Naje says:

    When you’re starting your 7th catcher and 5th 3B and 5 different players having starts in RF, teams know you’re desperate for a bat. (and don’t forget the 10+ relievers who have pitched for the team this year) With that type of leverage, teams can demand quite a bit for just a middling player. It won’t be easy to add a bat… and I wish it was just as easy as saying, “Hey, we’ve got two starters in Alvarez and Doumit coming back, as well as Pearce. That’s who we’re adding.” But there’s a lot of ifs there as well.

    This team’s chemistry is very delicate… they’ve responded strongly to a 6 game losing streak as well as the recent 4 game losing streak with the regulars healthy (that 6 game streak) and with a bunch of bench/AAA guys filling in (the recent 4 game slump). The coaching staff and front office is doing something right.

    The real test will come with the brutal stretches from July 18-31 and August 8-28. In those two stretches, the PBC will play 33 games against top-caliber competition. If they go +.500 in that July stretch, then adding a bat from a healthy Alvarez and/or Doumit may suffice. If those guys aren’t ready, then outside help should be a priority.

  35. CDBrewer says:

    @DK,
    Thanks…I do know you won’t just float names – unproductive and detrimental to everybody. You just keep alluding to the bat without giving ANY suggestions. I figured you had heard a couple unconfirmed.

    Do you think MLB will leverage the Dodgers to do something – not necessarily with the Pirates – a al what they did to us with the debt ratio?

    @Naje,
    I fell like we keep naming the stretch that will prove them. Remember how we talked about all those road DIVISION games to start? The first 30 were supposed to bury us.
    We made it.

    Then we had the stretch with the Phillies and the Brewers.
    We made it.

    And just now, interleague, especially the lineups of Detroit, Baltimore, Boston, and Toronto.
    At WORST case, we will be 2 under.
    I would have signed up for 2 under after Toronto. I think most of us would have.

    I’m just saying, we keep pointing out the tough stretch, and they keep surviving.
    I’m ready to call it – even if we only win 73 games, that is a TON more than last year (25%+), and I will say they are much better.

  36. Naje says:

    DK -

    On your craw…? On your mind… like Cope’s “What’s on your noodle/noggin?” or whatever he’d come up with… “craw” = mind.

  37. Naje says:

    @CDBrewer-

    Yes, they have answered all of those tough stretches in their first 77 games. I like what I see and I like the way they’ve responded to some serious adversity. The organization as a whole looks so much better prepared to handle these mounting injuries with some success. Guys are competing and their talents/skills/results have been noticed and rewarded with call-ups, starts, etc.

    I’m loving the first three months of the season… extremely successful with respect to injuries, slumps, more injuries and such. But those 33 games will separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I’m looking forward to seeing how well they compete against teams with better records (like Boston). If they can snag 15 or more of those 33 games, I think a .500+ finish would be a lock.

    Just hoping that the starting pitching holds up over the long haul… it’s been wonderful so far. Can you imagine what would have happened last year in a game like they played yesterday? Instead of a 4-2 loss, it would have been a 14-2 drubbing. Love the competitiveness of this team.

  38. CDBrewer says:

    @Naje

    Man your point about what yesterday’s score would have been last year is exactly the point. This team just keeps responding, to a bad play, inning, game, or series…they just keep bouncing back.
    You hit it on the head, that would have been a drubbing last year.

    As for .500, I almost get worried about “overperforming” this year. If we get to .500, while I would be thrilled, I think we would have a lot of trouble keeping the momentum going forward. That would be a 25 game improvement, and I would have to expect we might give a little of that back next year…teams just don’t improve by 25 games.
    I don’t want to start ripping the team to shreds when it is a 25 game improvement over 2 years too.
    We aren’t going to be a big surprise next year.

  39. Naje says:

    CDBrewer….

    I do think that this offseason will be more important to next year’s success as well as the next three years of success for the PBC. If the Bucs are in a similar position at this time next month–5 or less games out of first place–it would be hard for me to pull the trigger on a trade for a rent-a-bat, UNLESS that bat has a few years of control or a manageable contract.

    What they’ve done this year, essentially with spare parts and AAA call-ups all over the roster, has been impressive…pretty amazing, actually. But it just shows how far pitching can take you.

  40. Better Days Coming says:

    If the Twins go into a death spiral, and it appears they might after this weekend, keep an eye on Cuddyer. Signed through this year and making a reasonable $10mm (prorated for the remainder of the season).

    I think the Bucs will count on Doumit and Alvarez to provide more offense but if they aren’t completely comfortable with that option and they’re still within five games or less in another couple weeks Cuddyer is an attractive get. In addition to the bat, Cuddyer gives them positional flexibility which Hurdle seems to really like. He can play five or six places on the field in a pinch but would really solidify RF.

  41. John Martin says:

    DK,

    I like your power play lineup, but why not Tangradi at the net? the one time the PP looked like one late last year was with him there? A bigger body than Kunitz (worried that he’d get punished playing there on the #1PP unit all season)….and he has another off-season of development/strength.

    Question is – who brings the puck into the zone? that to me was as big a problem as any last year, with or without the glimmer twins in the lineup (malkin/crosby)

    So, Letang, Malkin, Crosby, Tangradi, and Kennedy (or Jagr if he’s there)?

  42. PhillyJake says:

    Thought:

    Someone is going to buy the Dodgers out of bankruptcy and move them to Montreal, where they will get a new stadium, and will resurrect the Expo name.

  43. Drew71 says:

    Brewski – It was a gut feel. Thanks for the confirmation. I am so seldom correct.

    Dejan – I’ll take that as a recommendation and will add the Sharks to my very small list of Western Conf teams I follow. Topped by MY Winnipeg Jets.

    PS…breaking apart Detroit and Chicago makes about as much sense to me as when they moved the Pirates out of the East. But i’m just a fan…what do I know?

  44. Bizrow says:

    Drew – IMHO you know more than the powers that run the NHL ; }

    That could be considered faint praise though

  45. Drew71 says:

    Thanks. I think.

    But to be fair to the NHL, I am generally in favor of the realignment they have proposed. The Detroit thing just kind of bothered me.

    Couldn’t do a North/South alignment cause you’d have about 7 teams in the south, and you’d have SCal teams flying to play Florida teams. If you have two conferences, East – West makes the most sense. Another option is not to have two conferences and do something really radical.

    I could imagine a no-conference system that preserves natural, historic and geographic rivalries, reduces extensive travel and still works for the playoffs. No conference, but divide country into natural geographic groupings that allows, for instance, Detroit to play more games against relatively nearby teams more than others (Chicago, Columbus, Pittsburgh, St Louis, for example). In essence each team would have a several-state circle drawn around it and would have an unbalanced schedule favoring those teams. So rather than “set” divisions, Pittsburgh’s circle would overlap Detroit’s circle but would be further east. It would extend from about Michigan through Ohio, PA, NY and Wash DC.

    Then for playoffs, top 16 records would go and it would be set up like a single bracket from NCAA BB…1 seed plays 16, 2 plays 15, etc. Fans would love, as in NCAA, the upset teams taking the seeding of the vanquished favorite, but the league and teams would hate that. Though they could reseed each round too. Don’t really care that much. Just build LOTS of geographic rivalries and – in theory – build more fan interest and TV ratings (dollars). And a team like Detroit would not be in a conference or, worse yet, a division with Tampa Bay. But they would play fewer Western teams and more East-Central teams.

    There would be some teams that would be losers, but no forced East-Teams-In-West craziness, and there would be some great rivalries retained and, in some cases, built. In general, the West and South would lose in terms of the need for bigger circles due to fewer nearby teams. So they would have higher travel costs. Probably not too much different than today, but maybe a bit.

    This will never happen. NEVER HAPPEN. So i’m done playing with it.

  46. Bizrow says:

    It was a compliment

    I don’t think too highly of the powers that be in major league sports

  47. Naje says:

    @ Drew….

    What, no conspiracy stories today? No wild rumor/innuendo on the off day? You give us NHL all day and look where it gets us! Srsly, the Sharks are a blast to watch… nothing better than dozing off to a late night game from the Tank… because, really, you’ll get pumped at the pace they play.

    As for the PBC, well, I got nuthin’ today… except to say that the game Tuesday (beat the Orioles 9-3) was a blast…even without fireworks.

  48. AJS says:

    @Drew

    I have heard rumors that Detroit has some kind of agreement with the NHL that specifically states if a team was ever added further west than they were, then they would be moved to the East under any form of realignment.

    I don’t think the 16/14 split makes a lot of sense though. If you do 16 in the east and 14 in the west then I think you have a couple issues.

    1)Unbalanced conferences. MLB is looking at ways to make division races fairer by realigning and being more balanced. In the NHL the only thing that really matters is the conference standings and being 8 out of 14 will be easier than 8 out of 16.
    2)Who would you project to be the next team to leave it’s current location? Where do you think it would go? Most peoples thoughts are that the Yotes time in Phoenix is almost up as it becomes more and more clear they won’t be able to find an owner to keep them in town. Most people believe Quebec City would be the place they would go. That would put Quebec in the west or trigger more realignment. Splitting 16/14 in favor of the west(not likely based on geography) or going 15/15 now leaving the chance that if any team moves anywhere so that they could at the very worst end up 16/14 in the future seems to make more sense.

    So if the agreement between Detroit and the NHL is true, then I woudl have to say tough luck Columbus. If it is not true, let Detroit stay in the west and let the natural rivalry between Pittsburgh and Columbus grow.

  49. Drew71 says:

    Who needs fireworks when you have fireworks?

    Ok, so the Sharks are fast skating, fun team. I’ll start watching. Yes, it’s NHL day for me. And no conspiracies to discuss today because Nutting is out in California wearing his McCourt mask.

    (Though to be fair, whatever one thinks of Nutting, he is in MANY ways the anti-McCourt)

  50. Naje says:

    The anti-McCourt…. PERFECT! Can we start calling him that now? Really… Nutting is not even close to the scuzz level I’ve been reading about McCourt. Dan Shaugnessy has a great article on the sports illustrated site about McCourt and his attempt to buy the Red Sox… Dude has no money, he had no money, yet he keeps insisting that MLB is the root of his problems. No, pal, it’s your deception and your bad business practices that have you in the, ahem, tank.

  51. DannyMoe says:

    I’d love to see some offense added to the Bucs lineup. That said, we should remember that Alvarez and Doumit instantly make this team stronger at the plate when they return. If we can somehow turn a little money and some fringe prospects into an MLB bat, we should jump at the chance, but that’s probably not realistic. The franchise is just not deep enough yet to offer anything more than that.

  52. Bizrow says:

    Tomorrow, I’m asking for PBP help, I’ll do it as long as my “replace air/heat pump from hades” story ends tonight

    How many people does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    Now they are coming tomorrow, they turn the power off, my computer is on that line, well my wifii is

    Lets get this place shakin though

    This will be 13 CALLS, 10 VISITS

  53. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @John: Tangradi at the net is ideal, in some ways. Neal goes into that category, too. But I’d want them to show me that in training camp and/or preseason games. That list was compiled based on what we know right now. For me, that’s Kunitz.

    As for carrying, that’s got to be Malkin most of the time, but 87 and 58 can handle it, too. Ideally, it’s not 58 because of the risk of turnover in a four-forward set.

  54. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @AJS: Until Quebec puts le shovel into le ground to replace Le Colisee, there’s no way I’d send the NHL back there.

  55. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Danny: That’s a terrific point. With Alvarez finally out on rehab and Doumit saying he could be back by the break, that’s offense right there.

    I’d still like to see a bat added.

  56. Drew71 says:

    Oh my GAWD yes, YES, they need an additional bat. Yes, it’s better to have Doumit and Alvarez than not, but they are not, by themselves, the answer for a team that is, gulp, CONTENDING in the NL Central. Doumit has settled into exactly what he is. A career .269 hitter (.268 this year) and .770 OPS (.774 this year). Reasonably good, especially for a catcher. NOT a superstar. He is what he is.

    Look at the full, three-season period of 2008-10 and you see a guy who hit 10 – 15 HRs per year, over 304 – 465 plate appearances. Nothing terribly wrong with that for a catcher but not to be confused with A-Gon. Yes. It helps. Mostly because you no longer have to play your 6th string catcher who has a negative batting average. But not gonna do it alone.

    And Doumit, right now, based on to-date 2011 numbers, is offering FAR more offense than Pedro, who was not even outplaying his replacements. Yes. Sure. Alvarez will likely get much better. But not even close to a sure thing that he will this year, especially following a nagging injury.

    So. Get a bat. Get a BAT. There will be several out there that would simply require MONEY – picking up a bloated contract for the season – and not too much talent in return if you absorb the bloat. DO it. The fans deserve it. These PLAYERS deserve it. The CITY deserves it. GET A FREAKING BAT.

    (Somebody please douse me in ice water.)

  57. Bizrow says:

    Where do you put the bat? Either RF or 1B, two not so good FA signings

    Munching on $$

    Can NH/FC/ Nuttin deal with that?

    This one I’m hoping but expecting

  58. Bizrow says:

    Asfar as the Jets, they are seemingly in a dicey $$ situatioin, 12-13000 in an old rink, I know the pledges for season tickets, but still

    Regardless, I’m pulling for them, hockey does not belong in Atlanta

    In 68 when the Pens were born, we lost the Hornets, the Duquesne Gardens

    Hockey is in any Manitoba’s blood, a difference when one goes to the southern USA

    Not forgetting that the burgh was a teeny bit away from losing the Pens, a couple of times

  59. absolute59 says:

    Drew: Your post on Doumit/Alverez is spot on.

 
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