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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Final: Reds 5, Pirates 4

Looking ahead to first pitch …

Game: Pirates (59-65) vs. Cincinnati Reds (61-65)

Time: 1:35 p.m.

Site: PNC Park

TV, radio: Root Sports, News Talk 104.7 FM

Weather: 82 degrees, sunny

Here is the official live box score, and here are the lineups …


  1. Jose Tabata, RF
  2. Garrett Jones, 1B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Ryan Doumit, C
  5. Neil Walker, 2B
  6. Ryan Ludwick, LF
  7. Brandon Wood, 3B
  8. Ronny Cedeno, SS
  9. James McDonald, RHP


  1. Brandon Phillips, 2B
  2. Fred Lewis, LF
  3. Joey Votto, 1B
  4. Jay Bruce, RF
  5. Todd Frazier, 3B
  6. Drew Stubbs, CF
  7. Ryan Hanigan, C
  8. Paul Janish, SS
  9. Mike Leake, RHP

News updates are on our Pirates page. Rob Biertempfel will cover the game today.


  1. JMB says:

    I thought maybe they were waiting for NW to sign before announcing the Tabby ext, but I am guessing he wants more than JT, so maybe it makes more sense to do them separately.

    I agree with the basic framework of the deal in the link.


    I also see on Buster Olney’s blog that Tampa GM Friedman is a candidate for both the Astros & Cubs jobs. If the Cubs get him, he will make them a contender in a short period of time.

  2. JMB says:

    I still dont know how I feel about the Tabby ext.

    On the one hand, it feels like Tabby is Ned Beatty in Deliverance, and, OTOH, Tabby hasnt done anything to even warrant ext. talk from a system that seems flush with OF’s and not much else.

    NH obviously believes Tabby will be either a cornerstone or a great trade candidate with cost certainty a la Nate McLovin’.

  3. Arriba Wilver says:

    Clint seems very high on Tabby also, so I suspect his input was influential.

  4. Radio wave says:

    Will ludwig or lee be back in 2012?

  5. JMB says:

    Claims he’s 22. Not sure anyone buys that any more.

    Who here still believes Tabby is in his “early” twenties?

    2011: $500,000
    2012: $750,000
    2013: $ 1 million
    2014: $3 million
    2015: $4 million
    2016: $4.5 million

    Signing bonus (2011) for $1 million

    Club option 2017: $6.5 million
    Club option 2018: $7.5 million
    Club option 2019: $8.5 million

    There is a $250,000 buyout attached to each option year if it’s not exercised.

  6. JMB says:!/rumbunter

    Rumbunter doing his usual stellar job of documenting the NH show.

  7. leefoo says:

    JMB……..I believe he is in his early twenties, and is actually 22.

    I like how Keith Law says “not sure anyone buys that anymore” as if he truly knows. What a tool he can be at times. I like him overall, but sometimes………….



  8. CDBrewer says:

    I see the Tabby extention as VERY little risk – given the small monetary commitment and possibly high reward. $3M isn’t that much – squarely between Diaz and Overbay THIS year. I think it keeps his contract very tradable should the situation present itself to move him, AND we have figures we could afford should he blossom.
    I think it keeps room clear for Cutch or Marte or a 2nd OF to sign a deal as well.

    I just can’t see it biting us – a $750K buyout is not much either.

  9. Jay G -Jacksonville FL via New Castle says:

    I’m with CDB…little risk….It’s not like we’re coughing up 60 million….Let’s get the young guys signed up for a while….I just don’t want to hear any crap about them being underpaid if they start really tearing it up (and wanting to rip the contract up/or hold out)……There are way too many average players around the country making stupid money……………

  10. CDBrewer says:

    Jay G-

    You brought up something else…
    Let’s say that Tabby complains about being underpaid someday, is that REALLY a reason the front office shouldn’t sign him for the longer term deal now?
    That seems like worrying about the blizzard that might happen in January, today.

    The front office really didn’t have any choice but to sign him to a long term, under market value deal. We have a pretty decent Italian restaurant around the corner that does half price entrees from 3:30-4:30 on weekdays… We eat a little early occassionally and rearrange the evening – we don’t look for why it isn’t a good deal.

    Beyond that, if he is THAT underpaid lots of good things will have happened:
    1.) He will have blossomed
    2.) He will have major value to other teams
    3.) His contract will be easy to move…

  11. Jay G -Jacksonville FL via New Castle says:

    Absolutely right………….Let’s get these guys signed up…..It’s usually better to wait a bit so you don’t end up with a Scott Mitchell/Rob Johnson type signing……Way too many guys have gotten crazy dollars for showing up and doing well in just a few games…..We’re not breaking the bank for JT, so I think it’s all right……Go Bucs…..

  12. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    One agent told me the Pirates “bamboozled” Tabata. Sounds harsh in terms of intent, but not with the end result.

  13. Thundercrack says:

    If the union felt that Tabata was being “bambloozled” or that the deal was WAY below market value, do you think they would try to stop him from signing or put up some serious red flags?

    DK: Through the agent, yes. But it’s not like they have the final word. It’s Tabata’s call.

  14. JMB says:

    Yeah, I thought that maybe Tabata was really desperate for the $1mm bonus this season, so the Pirates took full advantage and …

    “Oh, I say and I say it again, ya been had!

    Ya been took!

    Ya been hoodwinked!


    Led astray!

    Run amok!

    This is what [NH] does….”

    However, after seeing JT’s tears, I now believe that he really thinks this is the best deal for his family.

  15. CDBrewer says:

    Okay, I haven’t seen Mike and Molly, but THIS guy…
    He is not making me want to watch…what a voice for starters.

  16. JAL says:

    McCutchen hit the first homer off Leake in his 6 starts against the Pirates

  17. CDBrewer says:

    I’m telling you, I don’t think it is a coincidence that the request to wear “21” 1 time and a big discount on a contract happened in the same week.
    I think Tabby is a little too emotional for his own good, and he is still a kid playing a game in a big business environment.
    I find it refreshing, but I do hope he doesn’t get old and bitter about being “taken” later in life.

  18. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Jones with the shoestring homer!

  19. Thundercrack says:

    The contract does seem club friendly. But I don’t think Tabata sold himself too short during the arbitration years. He’s making the league minimum right now, correct?
    Plus he just got a million dollar signing bonus.

  20. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Matt Diaz with another impressive at bat. I hope we can extend him past next year. Can’t let talent like that get away.

  21. Steve Smith says:

    great outing again by the Hammer. Another Blown game for McDonald.

  22. Steve Smith says:

    Game over!

  23. Steve Smith says:

    Too many 1-2-3 innings by the Bucs offense today has led to this situation of yet another too close for comfort game. Joel has also just not been that same since the All-Star Break as has the entire team. Darn those breaks in the season.

  24. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    well, not really……..
    Pirates signed Aaron Heilman to a minor league deal……Y-U-C-K!!

  25. Pattonbb says:

    Aaron Heilman? Really?

    I was about to ask why, But if it’s a minor league deal, who cares?

    Can’t believe Hurdle didn’t ask Walker to bunt.

  26. TS says:

    Another run taken away by an ump. The throw beat Harrison to 2nd, but the tag was up high on the arm. Ridiculous. And Joel Hanrahan, ugh.

  27. Pattonbb says:

    Just can’t shoot yourself that many times in the foot….

  28. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Another game stolen by an ump. Unbelievable. No tag.

  29. Florida Steeler says:

    What the hell is Hurdle doing running with Harrison in the 9th?? The only catchers in baseball that can’t throw people out are the Pirates. He has had some bonehead moves recently. And, Wood is horrible!!!!

  30. Eric Bowser says:

    You never steal in the 9th, down a run with 0 outs.

    If Hurdle follows the basic fundamentals, Pirates tie game on fly ball to Bruce in RF.

    The old saying goes, managers will directly win you 5-10 games and lose you 5-10 games. It all balances out and it looks like the wins came pre-All Star break and losses coming post-All Star break.

  31. CDBrewer says:

    I am not generally as anti-bunt as many here, and I understand some base running risks for this struggling squad, but:

    1.) you don’t bunt down your order – you bunt with the very bottom and top to get to the middle
    2.) you don’t steal in front of the middle of your lineup with no outs.

    I can see violating that not running rule if Wood, Cendeno, and a ph like Diaz or Paul is what you are stealing in front of…but wow…not in front of a gap RBI guy.

  32. JaxBuc says:

    I love aggressive, but not at the total exclusion of considering risk/reward. You don’t run in that situation in the ninth. That reminded me of a softball coach my daughter played for years ago who sent a girl from third when the pitch got away from the catcher, down by 4 runs with two out in the last inning. You just don’t do it. (and she was out, game over).

  33. pghboyinca says:

    I think there is more to Tabata than meets the eye and I don’t mean that as anything other than a history of his actions. He had the walking out on the team when he as in the Yankee system, Even N.H. acknowledged he doesn’t know how old he is, the 45 year old wife with the fake pregnancy, and the off the wall extension with the 1 million signing bonus.

    Did I also read this morning that he had severed ties with his agent as this was being done? Strange, and if he really wanted some up front cash I’d be worried aobut his lifestyle. Doesn’t sound like he has a good mentor or father figure, it is shame the pirates don’t have a mid 30 soemthing Latin player or coach to guide him.

  34. JMB says:


    14-23 to lose less than 90.

    4-7 for the rest of August

    13-13 in Sept.

    17-20 gets them to 76-86. That would be our best season since 1999’s 78-83, while being comparable to 2003’s 75-87. The sad part is neither of those teams followed up with a winning season (obviously).

    #HistoryWillBeMade ????

  35. CDBrewer says:


    Don’t want to lose something you brought up that nobody else has “if he really wanted some up front cash I’d be worried about his lifestyle.”
    Can I add, “or the lifestyle of somebody around him”…like a parent or new significant other…
    Maybe he is just getting his family out of a neighborhood – I taught a couple kids whose whole missions were to get family out of neighborhoods (Haiti and Panama stick out as two).
    Maybe, but good catch…

    My consolation is that he has had SOOO many red flags that NH and the organization HAS to be aware to keep an eye on him. I also think Hurdle probably signed off on this – and he has been living with him for the past 6 months (not literaly, but for intents and purposes).

    Maybe he is really just this overly emotional…

  36. CDBrewer says:

    Can’t believe I am suggesting this name…Omar Vizquel is still kicking around…and is from Venezuela…
    We’ve done dumber things…

  37. TS says:

    Another ump missing another call helping the Bucs lose another game. Instant replay needs to broaden. Screw the “purity/purist” of the game. Since steroids and humongous contracts, there’s no such thing. Need more replay.

  38. CDBrewer says:

    Not to be a cold blanket on the ump thing, but today’s call was REALLY close, and the ball beat Harrison and was on the money. I am not convinced that today’s call would have been reversed on review – Harrison’s arm may have skimmed the tag (which was not applied to him).

    The call in the marathon game was eggregious, and devastating, and awful, and everything else (I will even say that call was the turning point of the season and the worst call of the season). BUT at some point the Pirates have to stop putting themselves in the position to have bang-bang calls that go badly beat them. That is how I saw today’s call.

    TS, this isn’t really about your comment – I really don’t mean it to be – it is about our reaction to just about every close call since the marathon game.

    I am a big believer in the idea that you only remember the close ones that went agaisnt you. I also don’t believe there is a big conspiracy against us – especially not this year.

    Completely agreed that purity and beauty of human error are decent arguments to keep replay out though.

  39. CDBrewer says:

    AREN’T decent arguments to keep replay out…sorry…gotta reread…

  40. pghboyinca says:

    CD, There are so many red flags around this kid and hissituation that you would think the front office has it covered. However those who have come over from the PG+ blog will emember when we signed Aki I posted the following “At this guys age and injury history it is a huge gamble. In addition there is a post on the Rays site detailing how they had to build a smoking area behind the clubhouse for him. I am really worried that coming here to a losing atmosphere might be a horrific combination”

    I was assured by all of the front office supporters that N.H. wouldnot have signed him without checking evertyhting thoroughly. Turns out there was no trip to Japan and not vetting whatsoever. I hope the front office learned from that mistake, you can’t gamble that kind of security and money. Baseball contracts are guaranteed you can’t miss on these.

  41. CDBrewer says:


    Fortunately, while the money on this deal might be Steve Kemp or George Hendricks money, we are 25 years removed…equal dollars isn’t equal value, it is still inexpensive.

    I completely agree that some background should have been checked…but I would have assumed that had been done with Aki like other commenters…I don’t know, no matter how many sub-professional people I have worked with, I almost always assume people will do their jobs correctly. I wind up being incorrect too.

    Look on the bright side, we would keep him for 2-3 years worst case scenario, and I do think he has enough potential that somebody would take a flyer on him as a 4th outfielder with upside at that price at a trading deadline at that point (think Sox, Mets, anybody with lots of revenue and feeling it).

    The buyout isn’t bad either…while we can’t assume they have checked him out…I don’t see that the FO had any choice but to sign a guy under market value.

    I think it is a 50/50 proposition that he is in Pittsburgh in 5 years, let alone 9.
    And hey, maybe we got lucky because of Clemente’s legacy…we could use a good break.

  42. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    Tabata has always been deeply moved by Clemente’s charity and his desire to play in Clemente’s tall, tall shadow. Perhaps this is his motivation for such a reasonable deal.

    If Tabata has peace of mind and the Pirates are happy, what’s the problem?

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