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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Enough starting pitching?

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Wednesday column weighs the many myths surrounding Tim Tebow.

I’ll get a much closer feel for all that the next few days. Flying out this morning to Denver, and plan to be at the Broncos’ practice facility this afternoon.

>> I also have a news piece about the Pirates and Paul Maholm being unlikely to hook up again, this despite a continuing openness to talk.

That largely illustrates, as the story mentions, that the roster is set. You might see the odd non-roster invitee, waiver claims and other minor-league-type signings, but that’s about it.

And from there, that largely illustrates that Charlie Morton had best be ready off that hip surgery. If not, it will be up to Brad Lincoln, Rudy Owens or Jeff Locke to step in right away as part of the rotation. Those three also would be vital as depth the rest of the summer in this circumstance.

How do you feel about that?

>> Please tell me no one anywhere is debating whether or not Ryan Clark should play.

Here’s what some medical folks told our newspaper.

>> Good for Jamie Dixon. More of this, please. So, so much of defense in basketball is want-to, and it’s been painfully evident that Pitt has been lacking.

>> Going to keep it short tonight. Very early flight to the Rockies.


  1. Eric Bowser says:

    - I would hope to see plenty of disguises by Steelers defense putting Farrior/Timmons close to line of scrimmage, putting Polamalu all over the front seven on line of scrimmage to confuse Tebow and change it up a few times by switching Harrison and Woodley at opposite OLB positions. If Steelers throw some corner blitzes combined by inside pressure, I don’t think Tebow will be able to hit his receivers.

    – Pirates can’t or won’t spend money to improve their starting rotation beyond that of the 1-year deal with Erik Bedard but if you saw the second half performance and home starts by Kevin Correia, how can you feel comfortable with him? Good luck finishing any better than 72 wins…. again.

    – Ryan Clark may not like it but Tomlin and Steelers did the right thing, win or lose.

    – Jamie Dixon is a good coach with a young team that probably would be playing better with a healthy Gibbs/Woodall and any semblance of a big man. Anyone that looks at Dante Taylor from a PITT perspective has to ask, how was he a McDonald’s All-American? His play explains how Dixon got him, apparently none of the big time programs liked him all that much is my guess. This is a rebuild for Dixon and unlike that team who plays at PNC Park, I have confidence in PITT to get back next year.

  2. Nate says:

    Dejan: Welcome to Denver! I hope you bring the snow from Pittsburgh because we really need it out here in Colorado. How many visits does this make to Denver?

    DK: Just arrived. Thanks. This year, it’s my third. Overall, I have no idea.

  3. Dave says:


    The Pirates roster is just about set? Whatever happend to that windbag Coonelly saying that the Pirates opening day roster would be about the same as they finished with in 2011? I’m seeing the estimates for the opening day roster at about 47 million and last season ended up around 55 million. That’s an 8 million decrease in opening day payroll from last season. So much for the old saying “If the fans come out to the ball park we’ll spend money” that the ownership was spoon feeding the fans the last few years. The fans supported this team and the ownership is sticking it to the fans with higher ticket prices for a roster that will probably lose 95 games while not increasing payroll.

  4. JAL says:

    JAL’s Sometimes in Winter Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3- 2011-12 Pirates Prospects Off-Season Calendar

    4 Pirate Offseason Stats

    5 Yahoo Free Agent Tracker;_ylt=AvN8KLXkNW0TcRjzSCagLIMBbgM6?slug=jp-passan_ultimate_free_agent_tracker_baseball_110211

    6 Pirates Prospects Offseason Tracker

  5. JAL says:


    13 Mainichi Daily Times

    Baseball: No simple explanation for end of 200-hit streak: Ichiro

    14 Houston Chronicle

    Astros go data-heavy with addition of director of decision sciences

    15 Sporting News

    Get to know the baseball names you’ll be hearing this month

    16 Sports Illustrated

    Few choices are tougher for a Hall of Fame voter than Alan Trammell

    17 Forbes

    Rupert Murdoch Giving Baseball Team Owners Equity In His Sports Networks


    18 PBC Site

    McKenry getting offseason help from Hurdle

  6. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 5) vs. Denver Broncos (No. 4): AFC Wild Card Weekend Preview

    Terrible Towel Talk, Episode 22: NFL Playoffs Preview with Dale Lolley

    Tomlin: Ryan Clark Won’t Play in Denver, Anthony Madison Signed To Replace Rashard Mendenhall

    -Steelers Depot

    Steelers Promote RB Chad Spann to 53 Man Roster

    -Steelers Gab

    Steelers at Broncos to Wrap Up Wild Card Weekend

  7. JAL says:

    WVU Blogs

    Metro News

    Thinking Out Loud—Casteel, Orange Bowl and ACC

    WV Illustrated

    WVU Will Rely on Its Pass Rush

    Dana Holgorsen Pre-Orange Bowl Press Conference



    2011: The Year We Want to Forget

  8. @suckmeter says:

    >> Tomlin handled the Ryan Clark situation the right way. Come out early and say it’s “his decision” to sit him. Nip it in the bud. Sucks he doesn’t protect his QB the same way when he should have taken him out of the 49ers game when they were down 3 scores.

    >> Dixon should watch the last game again and see how much better Pitt’s offense was when John Johnson was in the game. I knew he could shoot 3’s, but I had no idea he could penetrate the lane as well as he did. He really opened up the offense and made some great interior passes. Sucks if he doesn’t play more.

    >> Dante Taylor sucks. Never seen a guy his size play the so weak around the basket. I’d see what Malcolm Gilbert could do.

    >> If Pitt wins the BBVA Bowl, it wouldnt suck if instead of Gatoraide shower, they threw a up of it into Coach Patterson’s face. You know the players can’t stand him. Just a walking reminder of Todd Graham.

  9. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    “We have placed our internal value on him” will be the words that will haunt and yet someday define Neal Huntington as GM of the Pirates.

    No other sequence of eight consecutive words uttered by this particular man could instantly create less credibility or more false hope that anything will ever change than this magical phrase, which, delivered with the most insincere of smiles, simply translates into “WE KNOW WHAT HE’S WORTH— WE”RE NOT PAYING.”

    DK: Yep.

  10. jackdeloplane says:

    As far as the Pirates go, I don’t see any use in signing a pitcher or position player to a 1 year deal, when clearly they aren’t going anywhere this year with the players they have committed to for the longer term.

    Their Major League scouting department has been the hidden flaw (not so hidden) for the past decade plus, so that may be the biggest story going forward. But for 2012, develop the young ones and hope to pounce on a AAA prospect or two from another team at the deadline for Bedard (if he stays healthy)

  11. Vinqtin says:

    Funny that if Clark had been in the proper position to break up that last minute TD against Balt. he wouldn’t have to miss this game in Denver. Well, actually the whole team would be missing the game.

    Do the Steelers check their other players for the sickle cell trait prior to playing in Denver? I have to imagine so. Also, have other players around the league had similar complications?

    DK: Check the sports page. Our Bob Cohn has a terrific piece on the medical aspect of this.

  12. January 4

    45 days until Pirate Spring Training

  13. CWalton_67 says:

    Enjoy the Denver airport, DK. Don’t know if the conspiracy theories are true or not, but it isn’t one of my favorite airports. Let me know if you’d like to visit the actual Rocky Mountains. Estes Park is about an hour from Denver and just outside Rocky Mountain National Park. The views of the Continental Divide here are nothing short of spectacular. Ask your colleague Joe Starkey if it’s worth the trip. I believe he has been here.

    For those in Pittsburgh, the weather here in the Rockies today at elevation 7500 feet is mid 50’s and Colorado blue skies.

    I’m not a big fan of Mike Tomlin, but I deeply respect that he took the decision to play on Sunday out of the hands of Ryan Clark. Well done.

    Go Steelers. Go Pens.

    DK: Airport seems farther away each time I visit. Next year, it will be in Wyoming.

  14. NMR says:

    Denver is an awesome town. Enjoy.

    Is there any actual insight behind saying that because the Pirates aren’t interested in re-signing Maholm, their roster is now set?

    There are about half a dozen starters available that would easily be better than 3/5’s of the opening day rotation. With somewhere around $8m “left” to spend and no 1st basemen on the radar, there can’t be any possible reason – even for this rose colored optomist – for them to give up so early.

    I can understand if it was just a jaded comment, and wouldn’t disagree. You’re close enough with the team that I’m not always sure if DK the columnist or DK the beat writer is on the blog. Thats a good thing.

    DK: The Maholm piece I wrote up there was a short news item. No commentary in there. The columns are clearly labeled online with my last name introducing the headline. Those run Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

    As for the insight, the Pirates feel they have their roster set. Nothing, really, to add. They think they’re fine, even if others might not.

  15. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    -No brainer on Ryan Clark, not thrilled he’s out of the game, but his life obviously takes priority, finally Tomlin makes a command decision.

    -I dont care about basketball

    -The Pirates SHOULDN’T be signing guys long term unless they are younger, can’t misses, which then would make their “internal value” lower than everybody else. You dont sign long term pitchers when you think your drafted studs will be up soon, no blockage. IMHO. BTW, I can’t wait to see those young dudes in action.

    -Also, they still need to spend some money, they can’t be ok with Garrett Jones as their starting 1B. I would love for them to find a trade for an up and coming 1B, but that’s sometimes easier said than done. Trumbo in LA would be VERY hard to pick up.

  16. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Sad story about Maholm. Quality person. Innings eater. At least a third or fourth starter, probably higher in our rotation. Wants to be in Pgh. Shame they can’t “fund” somebody like that who is proven and good for the clubhouse. It doesn’t have to be the $9.75 million or whatever, just a good two or three-year deal.

  17. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I think people still have concerns about Paul’s shoulder, I know I would, but of course there are Dr.s for that stuff.

  18. Jandy says:

    Lucky, it is indeed sad. I’m not a huge Pirates fan, but since I support the Pens and Steelrs, I have an interest in the Pirates. Were I a die hard Pirates fan, I’d have given up long ago. The mismanagement and the stinginess (for want of better, clean words) is disgusting.

    CWalton, seriously mid 50’s??? It was 13 degrees this morning in Central PA and I froze my butt off going to work lol. I am jealous. Now, watch, jackdeloplane will tell me how WARM it is where he lives ::sigh::

  19. Bizrow says:

    Sometimes, unfortunately with the BMTIB, I think personalities get far too much in the way of decisions they make.

    I’ll bet we’ll be begging for a Maholm type pitcher later this summer

  20. 1buccofan says:

    Dejan; Yes it’s the same rotation that you and Smizik said would be the foundation for a team to lose 100-110 games and Smizik even called it a lock! If Paul Maholm was really the reincarnation of Cy
    Young that you think he is then why didn’t all these teams that need pitching rush to sign him? If he goes to the A.L he will be
    released by the All Star break or shortly there after. Unless of course someone is convinced 6-14 was only a product of bad offense.
    Nice guy, good family man, BAD MAJOR LEAGUE PITCHER. Spend the for Jackson but only go three with an option year. Let Maholm sign else where!

  21. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @1-Jackson will get more than a 3 year deal.

    Paul Maholm is a MLB 3-4 pitcher. His record has a lot to do with terrible offense, put him in an AL lineup and that record could be reversed. He had a 3.66 ERA, 162+ innings (shortened by a shoulder injury.) Add that to any contending roster, I personally, think he’d be perfect for an AL East team. Add 1 run to the ERA in the AL because of the DH and they would be happy to take him.

    I think the hold up with him right now is the shoulder.

  22. LuckyNKentucky says:

    How much stock can you put his w/l record? Look at the ERA, just over 4 and the fact he got no run support in the first half and didn’t throw anyone under the bus but himself at that time? He’s been linked to the Cubs and Padres and a couple others. So he’s a pitch-to-contact guy, who in our rotation is a flame thrower? Morton?

  23. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Lucky-Morton can be a flamethrower, also JMac.

    Maholm would do awesome in SD, that park keeps the flyballs in the yard and their offense is getting better with recent transactions.

  24. jackdeloplane says:


    Record low of 18 degrees here this am. High of 72 this saturday, though!

  25. jackdeloplane says:


    If you really want to see a sight in CO, head down to C-Springs to see my old Stomping ground, the US Air Force Academy. You won’t be sorry.

    DK: Why? Tell me more, please.

  26. Jandy says:

    @Jack, wow, you must have been cold this morning lol.
    I’ll take the 72, send it here , please!

  27. NMOPQR
    “There are about half a dozen starters available that would easily be better than 3/5’s of the opening day rotation.”

    Really! Who are they? You can’t be including Edwin Jackson——Scott Bor-ass is asking 5 years/$60 million, so he is out of our financial league. Even Cardinals won’t do that. {One Bucco: “Spend the ($) for Jackson but only go three with an option year.” MLB Rumors says the Yankees want Jackson, but only for less years. Why would he sign for 3 years with Buccos instead of Yankees? Also remember: BMTIB wouldn’t do 3 years last year for De La Rosa, a better pitcher.}

    I guess Roy Oswalt would be one—a pitcher who last year had a losing record with a 102 win team. Rich Harden would be another—a pitcher who threw only 90 some innings last season in his 2nd straight injury plagued year. He’s really spent more time on injured list than active since 2006 season.

    I don’t see all these starters available to sign out there better than 3/5 of Pirates starters——who are they?

    Are you talking instead trade?
    Give us those half dozen realistic (not 5 years/$60 million) available easily better options!

  28. North Cali Ryan,
    Padres, Orioles, Cubs, Red Sox have at varying times been listed as interested in Maholm.

    Always listed is high ratio ground ball pitcher, innings eater, lack of offensive support.

    Never—that I have seen—listed has been concern about shoulder from last year. Only concern that I have seen mentioned is lack of swing-and-miss.

    By the way, I think Bizzy is very correct!

  29. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I dont disagree with Bizzy either, I wouldn’t mind bringing PM back.

    I’m not saying that his shoulder will keep him from being signed, just that it might be a concern for a long term deal. He may need a Bedard type of contract to prove that he’s GTG.

  30. NMR says:


    Saunders, Francis, Maholm, Chen, Kuroda, plus the two you mentioned would all be better, IMO, than JMac, Correia, and Lincoln/Owens/Locke. No reason ONE of these couldn’t be aquired. I recind “easily”. That was hyperbole.

    @DK – I was refering to your blog writing, specifically. This is a medium where I’m sure you mix reporting and opinion. As I said, thats what makes it interesting.

    I didn’t get from your story where not going after Maholm precluded them from pursuing any of the other FAs. I’m not challenging your opinion. You have a much better feel than the rest of us. Apparently my reading comprehension fail.

  31. CWalton_67 says:

    @Jandy–yes 50’s. Absolutely beautiful day here in the Rockies. Though it’s not helping the conditions at the resorts. Snow predicted for Friday and Saturday–not sure how it will affect field conditions for Steeler game.

  32. NMR says:


    Head over to Utah where there’s some REAL snow.

    *Good natured joke*

  33. NMR,
    Good response. Thank you.

    I don’t necessarily agree those you mentioned are better——e.g., Francis had an ERA a whole run higher than JMac and Lincoln——but you gave a reasonable response.

    I happen to think this is Lincoln’s year, but that’s a personal opinion. Certainly many (including Dejan) don’t agree with that.

    Thanks for responding and backing up your words.

    I just think most of the guys you mentioned are small gradient upgrades at best. Cincinnati got Latos and Washington got Gio Gonzalez——those are the kind of pickups that the Pirates need to make.

    BMTIB needs to quit dumpster jumping and/or switching pawns for pawns . . . . . we need to use that “money” or deep farm system to pick up some real Major Leaguers!

    MLB Rumors last week published that the AVERAGE $ spent for all teams in NL CENTRAL was $90+ million. The almost $50 million Pirates spend actually brings that 6 club average down. The other clubs are spending almost TWICE AS MUCH! Cincinnati, Houston, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis——how can we ever beat them if we don’t even try to outfit our club as they are already doing.

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