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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: The Pirates are evil incarnate

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> I’ve long been convinced that items like the ESPN report yesterday about the Pirates potentially listening to trade offers for Andrew McCutchen — a report a high-ranking team source told me is wholly off the mark — probably doesn’t happen to other franchises that often.

I could be wrong, but I have a really hard time imagining fans of other teams getting all worked up at the team almost immediately, rather than questioning the veracity of such a concept. It’s like the starting point is this premise that the Pirates are absolutely evil and stupid and everything else, and all judgments begin there.

>> Three games for the hit on Kris Letang by Montreal’s Max Pacioretty sounds about right. Pacioretty is not some multiple offender, and he’s not that far removed from having his head crushed into the glass by Zdeno Chara last spring. It’s not like some powerful individual message had to be sent.

But the league standard is far more important, and this qualifies as a three-gamer if Letang’s hit in Winnipeg on the Jets’ Alexander Burmistov was a two-gamer.

Here’s the Brendan Shanahan video on the suspension.

>> Why doesn’t the NFL do videos like that?

Think that might alleviate a lot of the grumbling, particularly from the Steelers?


  1. Curt says:

    Maybe fans worry because we think he’ll be traded someday, due to no contract extension even though he’s locked up for more years until they need to approach him.
    If they did trade McCutchen, they would bury the fan base.
    Personally, this would be the last straw for me as a fan.

  2. Dave says:


    I understand the faulting of the overreaction of the fan base to a rumor such as this. However, I think sarcastically calling the Pirates ‘evil incarnate’ is a bit of an overreaction in the opposite direction.

    If you say the Pirates are not trading Cutch, that is good enough for me (and I don’t follow closely enough to have even heard the rumor before your post). However, just because they are not evil incarnate does not mean they are not incredibly incompetent.

    They are arguably the worst franchise in major professional North American sports. They are capable of stupidity (as measured relatively against their peers). Therefore, it is hard to know (which is why we are thankful for the job you do) what moves are truly “out of bounds” for our Buccos.

    To me, the Bucs are more amusing than anything else. However, I think it is somewhat understandable for the die-hards to overreact a bit when they hear something like this reported.

  3. JAL says:


    11 Sporting News

    Baseball about to turn up the temperature on the hot stove

    12 Ny Daily News

    Yankees’ Crutis Granderson says new HGH test important to Major League Baseball

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Your Morning Phil: Marmol, Buehrle, Astros,0,6669385.story

  4. JAL says:


    14 Minor League Baseball

    Prospect Q&A: Robbie Grossman

    15 Yahoo Sports

    The Pittsburgh Pirates Should Sell High on Joel Hanrahan: a Fan’s Opinion

    16 PBC Site

    Pirates head to Meetings with agenda honed

    Busy arbitration deadline awaits Pirates

  5. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Win Ugly Over Chiefs, Improve to 8-3: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

    AFC Playoff Picture: Assessing the Injury Situation of the Playoff Contenders

    Postgame Notebook: Thoughts and Ramblings After Pittsburgh’s Week 12 Win Over Kansas City

    -Steelers Depot

    Steelers Had Their Share of Shenanigans Against the Chiefs

    -Steelers Gab

    Steelers Sweat Out 13-9 Win Over Chiefs to Move to 8-3

  6. hooco01 says:

    The Pirates will continue to be viewed as evil, stupid and cheap as long as Bob Nutting owns the team.

  7. JUCOFan says:

    The Pirates are the worst franchise in the history of major league sports. You do not post a losing record fo 19 straight years without fits of stupidity.

  8. Milo Hamilton says:

    Evil & stupid. So what’s your point ?

  9. Jandy says:

    @hooco01 ~ I wouldn’t say evil…but I agree with the stupid and cheap. =)

  10. 1buccofan says:

    Keith law of ESPN I don’t think is the Baseball expert insider that they advertise him to be. That being said: The Pirates I think over evaluate McCutheon in that there are definite holes in his game. I.E driving in runners from 3rd less than 2out, suspect throwing arm, prolonged hitting slumps) Marte gives them an excellent plan B if that’s the route they intend to travel so if the rumors true which I doubt, there in a better place for it to happen than ever. The Steelers talent and ability this year is so far overrated by all, a 1st round exit from the playoffs if they make it should surprize NO ONE

  11. Thundercrack says:

    Seems like you have a pretty broad brush on this topic DK.
    Who are these fans getting all worked up? —your followers on twitter?
    Maybe some should check or question “veracity” to this story —but that doesn’t mean it can’t be the truth.

    The Pirates haven’t yet shown that they would be willing to pay top dollar for a player such as Andrew McCutchen. Their are also reports that they can’t seem to come to an agreement on a long term deal. And the team still has a lot of holes to fill –and trading your best player to fill holes is something the team has tried before (not very well). So it doesn’t seem like such a wild idea that is out of the realm of possibility.

    Granted, I take a lot of these internet reports with a grain of salt, especially ones from Keith Law. But I have seen many many reports like this about other teams over the years: Team “X” is willing to LISTEN to offers for Player “Y”.

  12. leefoo says:

    If ‘Twilight’ fans are Twihards, are Pirate fans ‘Piehards’?

    The 3rd article under # 7 pretty much sums up my feelings.

  13. Drew71 says:

    Here’s why PBC will not trade McCutchen now:

    1. He’s an AMAZING value. Consider that even in his higher cost arbitration years, his salary will still be suppressed below free agency value. But now? Pure value. And some level of value for FOUR MORE YEARS. No WAY a limited-resource team gives up that kind of value.

    2. He a very good player. Bad teams cannot easily give up their best players – unless they are solely in the talent acquisition mode that the Pirates say they are beyond.

    3. In baseball or any sport, look at the history of 1-star-for-four-mediocre-pieces trades. A year later, the star is still a star. But those pieces? Well, the team filled it’s holes, but the team is now mediocre or worse. There are exceptions, but professional sports is mostly about playmakers and talent.

    So. Assuming no long term extension, when will Cutch be traded? Entering or during his last year before free agency. For obvious reasons.

  14. JaxBuc says:

    Keith Law just reported that Theo Epstein has signed the green monster away from Boston.

  15. bdubb says:

    It may be a good baseball move to trade a McCutchen but it will always have connotations with the Pirates’ fans b/c of the timing. He is one year away from getting paid a pretty penny.

  16. Naje says:

    @DK… not sure if you or the Trib are aware, but the online sports site is not working (on Firefox and on IE)… can get to the blogs but cannot access any articles.

  17. Arriba Wilver says:

    I blame Neal Huntington a bit for this. I don’t remember the exact quote, but after talks broke down during the season on a long term deal for Cutch he said something along the lines of it takes “compromise” from both sides to get a deal done. I’m not saying he intentionally did it, but he sure wasn’t saying the Pirates were being unreasonable. That has been picked up by the all trades were good crowd (seriously, people, some otherwise rational, still support the Bay trade as a good trade) as meaning Cutch doesn’t want to be here, so they might as well get what they can for him now.

  18. leefoo says:

    Arriba……..its all just something to talk about in the offseason.

    Btw, the Bay deal…… the time it sounded good…….in hindsight. And, we all know the good Captain is NEVER wrong.

    Neal is God Foo (and Clint sucks)


  19. leefoo says:

    I also see that we are pursuing Aaron “Why do I still have a MLB job” Cook.

    Clint just loves having his ‘boys’ with him. I’m surprised he hasn’t tried to get Vinny Castillo to play 3b!

  20. leefoo says:

    “in hindsight” should read “not so, in hindsight”.

  21. Dejan Kovacevic: “the Pirates are absolutely evil and stupid and everything else, and all judgments begin there.”

    Thank you, DK, for finally saying in print what many believe. We knew you had it deep within you. I will always hold onto your exact quote dearly.

    What do you mean, “out of context”?

    National writers, especially 4-letter writers, all believe that the Pirates and the Houstons, Clevelands, Oaklands, Kansas Citys, Miamis, San Diegos, Seattles, Baltimores, and Torontos are all AAAA farm clubs for the Yankees and Red Sox.

    How many times have 4-letter writers traded Felix Hernandez of the Mariners? Every week!!!

  22. Drew71 says:

    Foo – Vinny might be an upgrade.

  23. Milo Hamilton says:

    The day Brian Giles hit the grand slam off Billy Wagner to cap the 7 run comeback against Houston, Vinny Cash Stealer hit 3 homeruns (2 off Gene Lamont’s agent – Bronson Arroyo). It would have been 4 if Giles hadn’t robbed him of another one.

    I think he’d be a fine addition. Does anybody know if Larry Walker’s available ? In all seriousness, Jeff Francis is next.

  24. Arriba Wilver says:

    Foo–thanks for validating my point. :-) And you are right about it being something to talk about. No new sex scandals in the past 24 hours and Hines got to play Sunday.

  25. leefoo says:

    Drew………I agree.

    I wonder if we can get Pedro a new ‘draft cap’?

  26. Drew71 says:

    only if it covers his draft ears. (ugh)

  27. JAL says:

    Continuing yesterday’s trend, Jack Del Rio fired by Jacksonville

  28. chuck says:

    The true test will come in a couple of years. If you can get a Tony Pena type of trade with someone..why not?

  29. Bizrow says:

    I would put nothing past the BMTIB.

    Folks are chuckling about the Harbaugh Gatoraid bath this past thanksgiving.

    The only gatoraid bath the PBC has is in the vault under Federal Street when they get the results of the profits from the year before. Only difference is they don’t use actual gatorade, too expsnsive to dump over Nuttin and Slick Frankie’s head.

    Bottom line with the BMTIB is still the bottom line on the ledger.

    Not to be critical, of course…..

  30. Drew71 says:

    Jacksonville ownership…

    1) Before season, made public the criteria for JDR to keep his job (playoffs)
    2) Then fired mid season

    Can anyone ever see the Steelers ownership making moves like this?

    I don’t like Jacksonville’s kind of management. PR is fine for PR and advertising purposes, but it is a lousy way to manage most pro franchises.

  31. Milo Hamilton says:


    So well put. It’s all about the bottom line.

    Sure they want to win. But the importance of winning diminishes exponentially the higher up the management chain you go. Wanting to win isn’t enough. You have to hate to lose. Since Bob Nothing has taken control of the team, how many times do you think he’s gone to the GM and said, “This is unacceptable.” ?

  32. Arriba Wilver says:

    “This is unacceptable?” He just inked a 3 year extension with an option year.
    What does that tell you?

    And this isn’t about “evil” or even being undercapitalized. It’s about being unwilling to take on any risk in a business that requires it to be successful, IMHO.

  33. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I actually think looking into trading Cutch is not a bad idea.

    Of course it depends on the return and it would probably benefit the Buccos to wait.

    I think its only a matter of time when he does get traded, played right and good return it could be more beneificial to the TEAM if he is traded.

    I would listen to offers.

  34. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Foo- Its not unusual for a manager to bring over his “boys” to his new team. Most veteran managers do it, if possible.

  35. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ryan–take a look at JAL’s link # 7, the third article, by Tim Williams.

  36. Milo Hamilton says:


    I read some of Tim Williams piece but stopped when he got into the WAR garbage. I am in the beginning stages of creating my own saberstat – Wins Over Ham Sammich – WOHS. That one’s not taken yet, is it ?

    Yonder Alonzo has shown no power in the minors, but he’s worth a look. The Blue Jays have let it be known that their no power minor league 1st baseman David Cooper is being made available. My no power 1st baseman of choice is also available, Daniel Murphy of the Mets. I like that guy & he’s got some big league experience.

  37. Pattonbb says:

    I can’t see Cutch being dealt, or signing an extension for at least another year. There’s no way he “compromises” when he continues to show up at, or near the top of every “best cf’er in baseball” poll.

  38. Arriba Wilver says:

    “when he continues to show up at, or near the top of every ‘best cf’er in baseball’ poll.”

    You wouldn’t know it by the “Cutch is being unreasonable” crowd. Some examples:
    he doesn’t have a good arm, he doesn’t steal enough, he’s not good on the bases, Marte is a better center fielder, he tanked the last half of last year, he doesn’t have a high enough batting average. Some of those same people will also say we should trade him to fill 3 starting holes in our lineup (or 2 plus a #1 or #2 starter). Sometimes I feel like we’re talking about Bruce Arians. :-)

  39. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Thanks Arriba,

    Funny as soon as he started mentioning numbers, I thought of Adam Laroche.

    I would still make the trade of any of the 3 pitchers he mentioned.

  40. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    You mean Cutch won’t get you Halladay, Lee, and Pence??

  41. Milo Hamilton says:

    Apparently, Mississippi St. Dan Mullen has moved to the top of Penn State’s list. He is 20-17 in 3 years at Starkville. They were ranked in the top 20 preseason & finished 6-6.

    This is the same Dan Mullen that couldn’t come up with enough money to pay Cam Newton, right ?

  42. Naje says:

    Cutch is what he does… sometimes electric (for about two weeks at a time), sometimes prone to longish droughts at the plate.

    Honestly, can you refute the notion that he’s got a weak/bad arm and that he could improve quite a bit in that area? Can you refute that he had a lot of trouble recognizing and laying off sliders down and out of the zone? Can you refute that he’s not a very good base stealer?

    He’s good… very good… no one runs faster taking three bases that I’ve ever seen. He covers a LOT of ground. He hit with some power this year.

    Is it unreasonable to ask him to shore-up several areas that he’s shown some deficiencies? Areas that every fan, let alone coaches, scouts and GMs, can see?

  43. Drew71 says:

    “I told Jack I appreciated the nine years that he served the organization … but I said we deserve better. The community deserves better,” Weaver said Tuesday.

    That is what Wayne Weaver, outgoing Jacksonville Jags owner claims he told 9-year coach Jack Del Rio when Weaver fired Del Rio this week.

    What a first class, gold plated jerk.

    1) You DON’T tell an outgoing, terminated employee “we deserve better.”
    2) And even if your emotions get the best of you and you tell him that,

    If you want to fire him, fine. No problem.

    Can you imagine the Rooneys, heck, even Nutting, in a presser, saying about a fired coach “we deserve better”?

    The ONLY good news out of this is that Weaver is selling the team.

    Del Rio is a pretty good coach, often taking a team with VERY mediocre talent to or near the playoffs. (And note: He did not have full control of personnel decisions.)

    DK: That really is unusual, Drew. What a thing to say.

  44. Milo Hamilton says:


    The good news is that Weaver is selling the team. Good news for Los Angeles, that is.

  45. Drew71 says:

    Maybe. New owner (pending NFL approval) Khan (KHAAAANNNNNNN!) lives in Illinois but is said to be buying a house in Jacksonville, claiming he’s not moving the team.

    My guess is: He gives it two years. If fans start to turn out again, he stays. If not, he’ll be California dreaming

  46. Milo Hamilton says:


    Or maybe Goodell is looking to expand to Islamabad. Untapped market, you know. Do they get the NFL Network on Al Jazerra ?

  47. Arriba Wilver says:

    Nage–I have no problem with legitimate criticism of Cutch and his “shortcomings.” What I have a problem with is focusing on those shortcomings, and ignoring how good he is/can be overall, and using that as a justification for getting rid of him now. Which you know as well as I do is happening (when added to the “he doesn’t want to be here”). My main point is that he gets criticized locally at the same time he is universally acknowledged by the rest of the planet as a pretty good ballplayer, and the closest thing we have had to a potential superstar for going on 20 years. And people (I’m not referring to the FO) want to trade him while we have him under control for another 4 years? Pshaw

  48. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    AW, I don’t know about you, but he sure does remind me of Barry Bonds. I hate saying that, just because of the jerk BB became.

    I am by no means suggesting that Cutch is going to break the HR record, but he can be a gold glove, MVP type of player….IMHO.

    He does need some pieces to help, obviously.

  49. Dannymoe says:

    Nick Evans!

  50. JAL says:


    Yes, Nick Evans, minor league contract. No risk.

  51. Eric Bowser says:

    DK – just getting around to reading the blog since I’ve been away for two days (bad days for hunting – ugh) but I gotta say, if the Pirates and their fans don’t like the negative attention or butt of the baseball jokes, then there are 2 really simple things that can be done to change that….. finish with a record over .500 (preferably win division) and sign their top producers to long-term deals in order to help facilitate the first one.

    I doubt many fans truly believe McCutchen will be here through 2015 because the team can’t even bring itself to pay him salary comparables like Jay Bruce, Justin Upton, and Evan Longoria.

    We’re talking low revenue teams who invested in their franchise stars early in their careers, I don’t see it happening in Pittsburgh. If the team is willing to spend $10-15 million in arbitration awards, wouldn’t it be more prudent to get the same term in order to get him beyond 2015?

    When the Pirates invest in their best player, then I’ll support any complaints from fans, team, and media about them being “evil incarnate”.

    Like I say, I’m Missouri – SHOW ME

  52. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ryan–Bonds didn’t “become” a jerk. He was a jerk from day one. I don’t think his team mates here even liked him. :-) (Oddly enough, though, he didn’t make Myron Cope’s or John Steigerwald’s lists of worst human beings they had covered).

    Everything I’ve seen or heard about Cutch is he is a good kid. I don’t know where the “Mr. Cool” stuff started about him; I don’t think you’ll see anybody, with the possible exception of Walker, spending more time with the fans, when he doesn’t have to.

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