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Wakeup Call: Cornered into a column

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Monday column wonders why, if everyone else is so concerned about the Steelers’ corners, the Steelers clearly aren’t. And I’m not just talking about their words in this regard. I’m talking about their deeds, the fact that they haven’t even been inviting looks from possible outside help.

My thanks to Ike Taylor, Carnell Lake and Crezdon Butler, in particular, for their help.

>> Should the Steelers take a flyer on Terrelle Pryor, who knocked on their door yesterday?

I loved beat reporter Mark Kaboly’s take on this: Offer up a second-round pick in the supplemental draft, since the Steelers almost always waste those, anyway. (Apologies to LaMarr Woodley.)

In all seriousness, Pryor is a tremendously gifted athlete, as he showed again at the pro day Saturday. He’s big, fast, strong, everything the Steelers always prefer in their amateur acquisitions over their actual football polish. Their thinking always has been to get the raw product, and they’ll take care of the football. Pryor makes for a fine fit as a temporary guy in any number of situations, even as he could take over the Dennis Dixon spot in the QB rotation before long.

>> This just in: Jose Tabata’s agent will not be invited to the union picnic.

Actually, the way this looks, Tabata and his agency ACES split up right around the time this extraordinarily team-friendly contract was being accepted by the player. That can’t be a coincidence. No agent would want his name or his agency’s name connected to a deal that forfeits three full years of free agency to team control. They used to call these “Carl Crawford deals,” in a very derisive sense, around the agents’ world. But Crawford only forfeited two years to the Rays. Tabata upped the ante on that by a year.

Don’t get me wrong. No one should cry for a still-unproved player being guaranteed around $14 million. We should all be so fortunate. But, in the context of the baseball players’ world, this is very much the exception.

An agent for another player emailed me right after hearing the terms that the Pirates “bamboozled” their player. Sounds a little strong. Tabata knew what he was doing. But I’ve no doubt the Pirates knew what they were doing, too.

>> Please tell me people aren’t worried about Joel Hanrahan. Pretty please.

>> I’ll be spending the day watching lots more football, but I’ll check in here.

28 Comments

  1. Think the Bucs have all the bad luck? Watch this minor-league triple play…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/21/logan-schafer-triple-play-video_n_932533.html

  2. I am with the Tabata’s camp with this deal. A speed corner outfielder with no pop, and leg injuries the last two years, I think the deal is logical. Starling Marte is knocking on the door. Marte is better feilder, stronger arm, and more power.

  3. JAL’s Ashes Burning Morning Links

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3-Pirates Prospects

    Draft Picks Signing Tracker

    http://players.piratesprospects.com/2011-pittsburgh-pirates-draft-pick-signing-tracker

  4. 5—McEffect

    Pirates Home Run Log

    http://www.mceffect.com/2011/08/pirates-home-run-log.html

    6 Hyzdu Headquarters

    Extending Tabata

    http://hyzduhq.blogspot.com/2011/08/extending-tabata.html

    7 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington Show: Gerrit Cole Might Play in AFL, But Not Set in Stone

    http://rumbunter.com/2011/08/21/pittsburgh-pirates-gm-neal-huntington-show-gerrit-cole-might-play-in-afl-but-not-set-in-stone/2/

    Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball – We Talk About it HERE

    http://rumbunter.com/2011/08/21/pittsburgh-pirates-baseball-we-talk-about-it-here/

    8 Ohio Valley Athletics

    Bullpen Loses Lead as Bucs Fall 5-4 to Redlegs

    http://www.ovathletics.com/home/bullpen-loses-lead-as-bucs-fall-5-4-to-redlegs/6865

    Maholm to See Dr. Andrew’s on Monday

    http://www.ovathletics.com/home/maholm-to-see-dr-andrews-on-monday/6870

  5. Pryor no head case in waiting not that good of quarterback and wrong
    Agent to learn a new position.
    Tabata made the right choice only depth position with any talent
    Prospect wise is outfield he may end up being moved but he has
    Guaranteed money now.

  6. Steelers Blogs

    1-Behind the Steel Curtain

    BTSC’s Final Observations From Pittsburgh Steelers 2011 Training Camp (Part 3)

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/8/21/2374924/pittsburgh-steelers-training-camp-53-man-roster

    The One Time I Feared The Ravens: My Memories Of The Steelers 27-10 Thumping of the Ravens in the 2001 NFL Playoffs

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/8/21/2376106/the-one-time-i-feared-the-ravens-my-memories-of-the-steelers-27-10

    2-Steeler Depot

    53 Man Roster Prediction

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/08/2011-steelers-final-53-man-roster-prediction-3-0-week-3-preseason-edition/

  7. Panthers

    17 Pitt Blather

    It’s All About Tino

    http://www.pittblather.com/2011/08/19/its-all-about-tino/

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    18—Pensburgh

    Marc-Andre Fleury : Where does he rank among his peers?

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2011/8/17/2368273/marc-andre-fleury-where-does-he-rank-among-his-peers

  8. I say this in partial jest: what if Tabata just got a 6-9 year deal and he’s actually 30?

  9. I am **not** worrried about Joel Hanrahan, Dejan.

    It’s going to happen to every player over the course of 162…a bit of a struggle…

  10. Not worried about Hanny, either. His velocity isn’t even off. The psychological edge right now, though, probably goes to the hitters, which wasn’t the case when the Pirates were playing .600 ball.

  11. Other than being a little wild, only one hard hit ball in the 9th.

    However, DON’T PITCH HIM TODAY!!

  12. I’m worried about Hanny, and today’s doubleheader is a perfert example of why. He’s tired, so is the rest of this unreliable pen. Too few arms, too many innings.
    My worry about Hanrahan si compounded with my short term/long term worry about Meek. We need some good reports from Indy.

  13. Never thought I’d say this after the way he threw in Pgh., but Ascanio threw 6 innings of 2-hit ball for Indy yesterday. He ought to be well rested considering he hasn’t pitched much in 2 years. His ERA is down to just over 5. He might be some pen help. Meek is in Florida and pitched for Brandenton over the weekend, giving up a hit and a walk in one inning.

  14. Hanrahan has gone three days in a row, he and Veras are not available for the doubleheader tonight.

    About a month ago, I would have been saying, we have the Brewers right where we want them.

    But the magic dust has disappeared from this season ;-(

  15. Yea, I’m making the drive in for the double dip today, along with some friends I work with in Milwaukee. I know the Pirates aren’t positioned really well for these two games, but I would like to see two wins today like nobody’s business.

  16. Hey, Biz…..Add Bessemer, Pa. to your list of locales, please.

  17. Will do Smitty50, welcome

  18. Sometimes I think managers are too tied to the book. “Hanrahan is the closer so have to use him.”

    Certainly CH would have been fried if he didn’t use Hanny and lost but Veras had breezed through the 8th on 9 pitches, handling Votto and Bruce. Obviously was sharp. With a DH coming up why burn your two top late inning relievers? If Veras got in trouble Hanny would still be available but there were much weaker hitters coming up than he faced in the 8th. At least give it a try.

  19. So Karstens and Lincoln are being handed the ball today and told, “One of you is pitching us 7 innings, no matter what.” Hopefully, they will both pitch that many deservedly.
    As a backup plan, Xavier Paul will be in the field for game 1, bull pen for game 2, and the Pirates will anounce that they have signed Terrell Pryor just in case they need another arm for game 2.

  20. Good point, JAL, Veras could have at least started the 9th, and the logic would have been as you stated. Losing both of them with 18 innings of ball today. But of course if Hanny shuts them down yesterday, we would be singing a different tune.

  21. After Veras looked so good in the 8th I felt letting him start the 9th was agood idea because of Hanrahans 2 straight appearances (one which was extended) . It isn’t like we are in contention and the season was riding on the game.

    One thing I have never quite understood is the dea of how obvious it is that pitchers like very other profession have good and bad days but managers disregard that. The mentality of “This certain guy is my closer and pitches exclusivley in certain situations ” is outdated. If your 8th inning guy comes in and is lights out and throws 8 pitches andretires the side why pull him? Conversely if your 8th inning guy is struggling bring the closer n for 4 outs and by years end they have each thrown the same amount of innings as they would have but you get more innings on days when they have their good stuff. Dancers, painters, engineers, and evey other profession have days where for some reason you perform at a higher level. It is just part of being human, the astute manager would try and recognize this and capitalize on it.

  22. “We’re not really focused on who was first. Our focus was again – these deals are about compromise, these deals are about both sides sharing the risk. We were able to accomplish that in this situation. There will be situations in the past, present and future where we are not able to find the common ground. As a result, you go through with that player, you make a decision every year as to that players’ future and how does he fit with you. Andrew McCutchen is certainly a great young player in the making. We hope to keep him here many, many years into the future. But if we’re not able to find a common ground, we’ve still got many years left with Andrew. … We’re a long ways away from having to make any decision with Andrew McCutchen. We’ll continue to play it out.”

    Huntington’s quote from yesterday. Is it jsut me or why is he already setting the stage for a guy leaving with 4 years left? And why the talk of “Cutch needing to be willing to compromise? Why not offer him what he is worth and let the chips fall where they may? It appears they are already starting the preperation to casting the blame on him for not offering a home town discount. I think it would be better to announce the deals reached andsay that the others are being discussed but commenting on negotiations is not appropriate.

    Signing Tabata but losing Cutch wold be par for the course. Color me very skeptical on hw this is going play out. Cutch is not going to sign a ridiculous bargain basement deal. Let’s see what Walker does, that should be interesting. How is Tabata going to feel when Walkers deal dwarfs his.

  23. pghboy,

    I really don’t think that quote of NH is that bad. I know “common ground” is just another way of saying compromise, but EVERY team has to find common ground with its players…or not. If Milwaukee’s GM was saying, we are still looking for common ground with Fielder, it doesn’t mean Fielder has to give in, it means that they are still talking and hoping to come to some agreement. The value the FO assigns to Cutch, and the value Cutch assigns to Cutch is not the same right now. I can live with that – especially since we don’t know either number and NH is getting grief for a REALLY team friendly deal.

    I can’t kill NH for signing Tabata to a really team friendly deal and then say for certainty that he is demanding Cutch give in to something crazy based on that. And I don’t think we DON’T sign Tabby to a team friendly deal with fear of it being team friendly (in comparison to Walker or market value in 2 years). You can’t worry about things working out in your favor, it is enough trouble to worry about screwing them up.

    Besides, did we really expect them to lock up Cutch during this season?

    I am right with you on vetting Tabby, but I think we all can get a little paranoid about the Bucs based on 18 years and not the past 3. Sure there have been mistakes, but there has also been some spending on development and acquisition. The Cutch sitation has a lot of time to play out still.

  24. I’m not totally convinced that they’re not going to be able to re-sign McCutchen; they’ve got four years to decide what they want to do with him. This whole Tabata thing strikes me as an incredibly odd occurrence; I have to be led to believe that Tabata has some deeply personal reason for wanting to stay in Pittsburgh, as he’s basically conceded much of his prime to the team’s discretion. The fact that McCutchen hasn’t signed yet, though, doesn’t strike me as all that significant. The difference is, McCutchen, in just his second full MLB season, is already showing himself to be of SUPERSTAR quality. And truth be told, his batting numbers aren’t exactly mind-blowing. He knows he’s got nowhere to go but up – and more and more leverage to acquire.

    @pghboyinca,

    I don’t know that I agree with the stance of “just [giving] McCutchen what he’s worth and let the chips fall,” but only on principal. First, I agree with CDBrewer that we don’t know the numbers that are being thrown around; for all we know, the Pirates made an offer of FMV and McCutchen made an astronomical demand. Likewise, McCutchen could have made FMV proposal and the team could have lowballed him. The fact is, we don’t know. But more to your point; if you just give the guy what he’s demanding, that’s not even a negotiation.

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