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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Thursday vacation thread

I’m on vacation until Monday, but I have this post here for Joe to place his links and for any commenting on stuff. I’ll put one of these up all week.


  1. JAL says:

    JAL’s Swinging on a Star 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

  2. JAL says:

    7 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker


    8—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Have Four Players in Top 100

    Winter League Playoffs 1/25 — Mayaguez Takes Puerto Rican Title

    9 Bucs Dugout

    Neal Huntington: Pirates Would Need ‘Dramatic Overpay’ To Trade Andrew McCutchen

  3. JAL says:

    10 Rumbunter

    The RumBunter Podcast: Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle Fired Up For 2012

    MLB Network: Pirates Will Have First Winning Season Since 1992

    After 14 Months, Are the Pittsburgh Pirates Clint Hurdles Team Now?

    11 WHY GAVS

    The Big Domino


    12 Wall Street Journal

    Bad Reviews for Fielder’s Megamillions

  4. JAL says:


    16 Fangraphs

    Anybody Out There? You Be the Judge.

    17 Bleacher Report

    MLB’s Top 50 Can’t-Miss Pitching Prospects of 2012

    18 MASN

    Could McCutchen be a National in the future?

    It is Squirrel Appreciation Day so here are the Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Suits are Picking Up the Bill

    19 PBC Site]]

    Taillon leads Bucs prospects among Top 100

  5. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    An Injury Comparison of the 2011 Steelers and the 2010 Packers, Part I: Offense

    A Tribute to Unheralded and Retiring Steelers NT Chris Hoke

    -Steelers Depot

    Sean Kugler Talks Open OC Job and More/

    -Steelers Gab

    Chris Hoke Announces Retirement

  6. Leefoo says:

    I’m going to miss Chris Hoke.

  7. January 26

    23 days until Pirate Spring Training

    Yesterday’s Headline: Team 6 Rescues Kidnaped Pair, Kills 9 Pirates
    ———I knew Bucs starting line-up was BAD, but . . . . . . .

    Can any of Team 6 hit for power and scoop up throws at 1st?

  8. Milo Hamilton says:

    Is it me, or is all this McCutchen trade talk disturbing ?

  9. tmp444 says:

    “Never say never,” said Pirates GM Neal Huntington to Jeff Nelson and Jim Memolo of MLB Network Radio when asked about a potential Andrew McCutchen trade. “If someone wants to back up the truck and give us one of those organization-altering deals, it’s something that we’d have to listen to…It would have to be a dramatic overpay on the part of the other club.”


    Haven’t we heard this before from the FO? I agree, Milo. Very disturbing, because I would love to know what management thinks is an “organization-altering deal.” I would venture a guess that it’s 4 AA right-handers and a .280/15/70 AAA first baseman.

  10. I do not think it’s disturbing.
    It’s just Neal Huntington filling space in an interview. What does he really say that ANY GM wouldn’t also agree to. Writers/interviewers are struggling for baseball stories when it’s still 23 days to Spring Training.

    Although . . . . there is method to Neal’s madness: in 2 more springs, when McCutch is approaching his second Arbitration hearing——because he and his agent wisely have not settled for Huntington’s “internal value” on a long term contract buying out arbitration years——Huntington’s phraseology will have been repeated so often that groundwork will be laid with local fans for an eventual trade . . . . . in 2 years!!

  11. JAL says:

    As Pat wrote in link 11–“Meanwhile, Neal Huntington keeps saying that he’s not trying to trade Andrew McCutchen and people keep reading that as “Neal Huntington might trade Andrew McCutchen (via MLBTR). “

  12. NMR says:

    Amen, Groat.

    This management team refuses to acknowledge that they are absolutely terrible public relations representatives.

    Neither the question, nor the answer specifies a time for the trade. There’s no way Neal trades McCutchen this year or next at the salary he is or will be making, so the “dramatic overpay” wouldn’t be coming until winter 2014 at the earliest.

    Is Neal smart enough to just answer the softball question with “No. We’re committed to doing whatever we can to keep Andrew a Pirate.”?

    Of course he isn’t. He has to make another one of his “nobody is bigger than the plan” statements.

    Just. Stop. Talking.

  13. CWalton_67 says:

    Seal Team 6 could beat any version of the Pirates for the last 20 years in a best of 7 series. They don’t understand the concept of losing, it simply doesn’t exist for them.

  14. Milo Hamilton says:

    I think we’re all pretty much in agreement here. NMR is right that this isn’t going to happen now, but it is going to happen. Not only are they not willing to pay the going rate to keep their own free agents, it appears they won’t ante up for the later years of arbitration.

    The thing that bothers me the most is that they don’t even make the pretense of trying to compete. Especially this winter when the better teams in the division are taking a step backwards. Instead of trying to improve the team to take a run at this thing this year, the GM is letting the world know exactly what it will take to get our best player. Again.

  15. Dave G in Mason, OH says:

    I believe that most (or all) of the other teams have a higher “internal value” of Andrew McCutchen than the Pirates do or ever will, and that McCutchen, and therefore any other Pittsburgh Pirate, will forever remain trade bait regardless of management’s public stance. Openly declaring any player ‘untouchable’ is just a way to sell more jerseys.

    McCutchen is obviously a good ballplayer but he’s not worth the type of return over which Huntington salivates, so he probably will not go anywhere. But as he nears free agency in the future, the Pirates will be forced to trade him to get some kind of return, but on the acquiring team’s terms. And then Huntington will come out of this smelling like… well… Huntington.

    Nice to see ‘organization-altering’ and ‘dramatic overpay’ added to Huntington’s lexicon.

    The current payroll for the 40-man roster in 2012 is at about $46 million: ended 2011 at $53.4 million.

    Any word about the skyrocketing ticket sales year-to-date so far in January?

  16. Jandy says:

    I’m not a big baseball/Pirates fan, but if I were, I wouldn’t buy anything Pittsburgh Pirates related, nor would I spend my money on going to the games, simply because as a fan, I’d be tired of getting slapped in the face. Just sayin…

  17. Walton’s Mountain,
    Amen to your comments on Team 6!
    We need retired members of Team 6 to infiltrate the BMTIB.
    I’ll bet they would start trying to WIN then, instead of “hoping we don’t lose.”

    Your “Just. Stop. Talking.” quote made me smile. It actually is just as simple as that, isn’t it?
    Never happen!!

  18. Milo (Not the bad former baseball announcer),
    “The thing that bothers me the most is that they don’t even make the pretense of trying to compete.”

    Some would castigate you for that comment, but it sure seems fundamentally true. Can anyone truthfully say that the 2012 team is significantly better than a team that finished 72—90 . . . . . a team that went 19—43 in its last 62 games.

    But, we have hope – – – – the prospects grow older if not better. We wait.

    Why buy a towel with which to dry after bathing — I’ll just pull the drain and sit there while the water runs out. Eventually the water will be gone and I will air dry.
    And I will have saved the cost of a towel, plus the extra costs of laundering it.

    Prospects . . Prospects . . Prospects . . Prospects . . Prospects . .

  19. NMR says:

    @Groat, Milo

    The Marlins owner quit trying to compete (under funded), so he could move the team and make bigger profits.

    The A’s owner quit trying to compete (under funded), so he could move the team and make bigger profits.

    I honestly feel the Pirates – Bob, Frank, Neal – are absolutely trying to “compete”. They all would love to win. The problem is that they play this cost/benefit game of management within the function of running a winning team.

    This upcoming seasons payroll for instance. There is absolutely zero doubt that they could profitably match last seasons ending number. They could use that $4-6m to make a minor upgrade that might get that team 1-3 more wins(i.e. everyones favorite statistic: WAR). Even though it is an improvement, they don’t deem it ENOUGH of one to justify the cost.

    That is what is most “frustrating”. This is how they chose to run they’re business. There is no move or new stadium that promises increased payroll.

    They don’t even follow the basic concept of just winning. And it’s never going to change.

  20. NMR says:

    Sorry. Had to vent.

  21. Your venting was cathartic for all of us.

    I feel like the Israelites in the wilderness, with Moses refusing to stop and ask directions!
    We are all stuck in this together!

    A house is built brick by brick. For some reason Bucs don’t want to add one new brick a year.

    They traded the cow for magic beans. Their numbers and metrics support them.

  22. Kevin says:

    Groat & NMR

    I have followed the Pirates religiously since the 92 NLCS, never giving up and hoping the day would come that I could say “I never stopped believing”, but it is becoming more and more difficult.

    As faithful followers of the Bucs it is hard to imagine who NH & Co. are talking to when they make statements in reference to improving, winning, etc. The fact is, as NMR has said, nothing has changed and it doesn’t look like anything will in the future.

    That being said, I also agree that they want to “win” but aren’t getting the simplest part of the formula…You can’t win the race if you don’t have the horses!

    I just sincerely hope that at least some of our “prospects” can turn into “horses”, cause even if I say I won’t follow them, I know I will regardless of the circumstances.

  23. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I think we’re overracting to the statements made about trading AMac. Makes sense because there isn’t anything else to talk about with the Pirates….

    NH is right….they’re not looking to trade them, but if someone sends them an offer they can’t refuse, hell yea I’d trade him too…, my “truckload” and his might differ, but EVERYONE on this team is trade bait………

    Not like its the 27 Yankees.

    That all being said, I don’t want AMac traded. IMO he’s a cornerstone to this clubs future. The future is bright, just not near future…..

  24. PetroSteel says:

    Guys/Gals, I am tired of losing as much (or more) as anyone else. But, What the heck do they do if they can’t over pay guys like Lee to come here? As you know, he would have gotten around 8.4M to play here next year. He’s probably not worth it but they were willing to pay it when they offered him arbitration. I’m as frustrated and sick and tired of losing year in and year out. But, what do we do if we can’t get some of these guys to come here? I know one thing, I’m not interested in trading our top prospects and apparently they aren’t either. Thoughts?

  25. Oily Steel,
    I deeply think Bucs won’t trade prospects yet because:
    1/ If they trade prospects, they lose their excuses for losing.
    2/ They won’t pay the salary of anyone they would obtain in that trade.

    Status quo is the easiest course of action. Very high draft picks because of poor performance insure high end prospects always on farm.

    If two excel—like McCutch and Neil Walker—so much the better
    If two bomb—like Pedro and Tony Sanchez—draft pitchers: they take longer to evaluate their ineffectiveness!

  26. Kevin says:

    It’s the “Catch 22″…can’t get FA’s here if we don’t win, but can’t get over that hump without the FA.
    Carlos Pena comes to mind, having signed for only $7 million – another who wasn’t interested in coming to Pittsburgh. To be honest, I’m not sure they even went after Pena…

  27. TJA says:

    Yikes, had not heard about the Cutch rumors. Yes, this is a totally different time and place, but we all have to remember the Tony Pena deal for “Spanky” L. and “Slick” Van S. back in the 1980’s. Like I said…different time and place. Can’t even consider this in my mind what is being posted here. That would be a killer.

    Either way…it’s nice to see the baseball talk starting up again. We can count it in days now.

  28. NMR says:


    I personally think that winning is a bit overated when attracting FA’s, but I’m not a player, so I don’t know. Sure, everyone WANTS to play for a winner, but would you give up a million bucks to do it?

    I don’t believe the Pirates ever seriously offered Pena. He’d certainly be an improvement, but falls in that category of bringing only a win or two more than Mghee…who was $4m cheaper.

    Groat nailed it with the prospect analysis piece(although I’m a bit less cynical, haha) . If they all succeed, then you have the perfect storm of an inexpensive, successful winner. If not, then aw schucks.


    I’m personally still a fan because to me, sports aren’t about winning, they’re about entertainment. Sure, I want all of my favorite teams to win, but I’m past the point where it affects me all that much.

    I may not agree with who the owner is or how the team is run, but you know who doesn’t give a sh*t? My girlfriend, her little sister, my younger cousins.

    A night at the ballpark isn’t much more expensive than sitting on your butt in a movie theater and is much more personally interactive.

  29. NMR says:

    p.s. Good baseball talk, Gents!

  30. Kevin says:

    All points well taken NMR…

  31. Milo Hamilton says:

    I think that free agents generally go to the team that will pay them the most money.

  32. Milo Hamilton says:

    I also think that the line of thinking – “no one wants to come here” – is also true.

    The main reason for that is -they won’t pay the most money.

  33. In the era of baseball agents like Borass, a Baseball Player truism:
    More MONEY makes me like your team more!!!
    MUCH more MONEY make me like your team MUCH more!

    Would Fielder have become a Pirate for $223 mill?
    We’d be tearing off the bedsheets to make him a new uniform right now if we offered!

  34. Milo Hamilton says:


    I’ve seen the Fielder deal reported as 9 years $214 million. One more dollar than that would do it in most cases. This all isn’t as complicated as some make it out to be.

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