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Wakeup Call: Pirates’ new motto … ‘We tried’

.

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Pirates can’t hit. They’re terrible at it. The lineup they sent out last night in Washington was batting a collective .209. It’s mid-May. That’s just beyond belief.

But it doesn’t excuse a lazy approach to analyzing this.

Typical Pittsburgh conversation:

Man, you see the Pirates last night? They can’t hit at all.

Yeah, I know, right? The Nuttings need to sell the team.

Right. What do the expect when they don’t spend anything?

It’s neat, simple, clean and doesn’t involve the slightest amount of effort to simply repeat the last thing you heard on the radio before getting out of the car. It also completely flies in the face of the cold, hard facts that the Pirates currently are over-paying most of their lineup, plus the indisputable fact that they are terrible at evaluating hitters.

I take you back to the column on this topic from two weeks ago.

>> To the flip side of this type of discussion, to those who relentlessly defend the Pirates’ management, answer this: Why is it wholly acceptable that they’ve TRIED to get hitters after failing overwhelmingly to do so over the offseason?

And after failing to put together a minor-league system capable of offering more than two reasonable options to play in Pittsburgh?

When did TRYING become good enough?

I don’t doubt the trade market is tough right now. But this is Neal Huntington’s hole, and he needs to dig out of it. Not just try.

>> Willie Colon’s surprising move to left guard will have him and David DeCastro both pulling from the inside. Should make for a much better running game.

Now, people hear that and immediately conjure visions of Chuck Noll, Franco Harris and a cloud of dust. There’s no need for that. The Steelers don’t necessarily need to run more. They just need to run better. And they absolutely need to be able to do more through the middle.

>> It takes some doing in the hockey world to have Mike Milbury call someone out for boorish behavior and for Milbury to be 100 percent right. But that’s what happened a little bit after the Devils beat the Rangers last night. Milbury, sooned to be echoed by Keith Jones, tore into John Tortorella for his rude, infantile behavior in press conferences.

It’s progress that someone on NBC finally saw this as something other than knee-slapping hilarity.

Next step will be for NHL Network to quit glorifying the behavior with those Tortorella montages that are cracking up the entire set.

>> Our weekly chat is today at noon. If I don’t show up, don’t blame me. I’ll try.

Comments

  1. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    “I tried.”

    Man, I wish I could get away with that at work, or at home. Show up late for work…”I tried.” Don’t take the trash out to the curb……”I tried.” I bet The Best Management Team In Baseball wouldn’t accept “I tried” if MLB forgot to send them the revenue sharing $$$.

  2. tmp444 says:

    Depending on who you ask, the Mendoza Line is either .200 or .215 (Carlos Mendoza’s actual lifetime average). The Bucs sent out a lineup tonight smack dab in the middle of that — in other words, an average lineup that is essentially incompetent to be playing major league baseball.

    In the spirt of DK’s blurb above, I’m not trying to generalize. But, to take the “trying” theme another step, as management, don’t you almost have to “try” to put a lineup out there that is that bad? And I’m not putting all the blame on Hurdle for filling out that line up card — over the course of 162 games you have to play matchups and rest people.

    That said, I agree with DK that money isn’t the be all – end all….TBMTIB has spent the money …. just in all the wrong places. It HAS to come down to talent evaluation, both at the MLB and MiLB levels. It also has to be something to do with Gregg Ritchie. Lest we forget, he was the minor league hitting coordinator from 06-10. The lack of hitting talent on both the major and minor league levels has to fall on him either right before, or right after, Huntington and his team of crackerjack scouts.

  3. pghboyinca says:

    Look even closer, the only two guys hiting abover .250 were Littlefield holdovers. You had 4 guys under .200 (not counting the pitcher), that might be the worst hitting lineup ever fielded this late in an MLB season. Casey McGehee batting cleanup? Barajas and Barmes are just over matched and Tabata is starting to look like he will not hit for power, is not a good baserunner, and would be a spare part on any legitimate team.

    Now ask yourself where is the help coming from in the organization? Who is the heir apparent at short and behind hte plate? First base, corner outfielders? Therr is no plan in place and not point where you can see this coming together. The pitching will level off (above average but not spectacular like it is now) and htis team will finish 20 games below .500 What changes next year? Josh Hamilton, and Joey Votto ain’t walking through the door and there are no young versions of them anywhere in this organization. It is time someone held this ownership group accountatble.

  4. T.S. says:

    1) Accountability rings hollow in this organization.

    2) Nutting either doesn’t know thing one about baseball or more likely, he doesn’t give a crap.

    3) If it’s the latter, the incompetence of Huntington and his scouts are the price he’ll pay to win, re: make a profit. Year after year.

    4) The only way this organization gets real hitting depth in the minors, at the major league level, and translates it to a winning record/playoff team is for Nutting to clean house of Neal and his scouts and hire men and women who are proven commodities in the game.

    Conclusion: Until that time, the Pittsburgh Pirates will continue to embarrass themselves; making their place in the great lore of major league baseball nothing more than a topic that brings about laughter (all due respect to Roberto Clemente, Maz, et al.).

    DK: Dude, your hours are as weird as mine.

  5. T.S. says:

    P.S. At 43 years old, it’s become embarrassing to utter the words Pittsburgh Pirates when talking baseball. Sad, but true.

  6. T.S. says:

    I’m a freelance copywriter, DK. So yup, I have those kooky hours, too. Kinda like it that way. :)

  7. Andrew says:

    Colon’s surprising move to *LEFT* guard

  8. bob hasis says:

    For the record @tmp444 #2, it was Mario Mendoza. The Mendoza Line is a hypothetical number authored by an anonymous writer/broadcaster to signify absolute mediocrity, or total incompetence.
    Over the years it seems to have gotten legs and taken on a life of its own, but applies to many situations beyond baseball.
    Isn’t it fitting that he earned his stripes and reputation which fostered the phrase, as a Pirate

  9. bob hasis says:

    . . . . .as a Pirate shortstop.

  10. Leah Backus says:

    I did a double-take when you sent out your Tweet because *I* called Torts an idiot on Twitter earlier tonight. I am just ego-maniacal enough to think for a split second you were referring to me! But yes. He’s being an utter tool and the only thing that’s going to stop him is getting called out on his infantile behavior by the NHL brass. Somehow, I don’t see that happening.

  11. Brian says:

    I don’t want to seem like an unwavering defender of the Pirates’ offense or Neal Huntington, because it’s undeniable that the offense is abysmal and that this is the fault of Mr. Huntington.

    However, I feel the need to point out the following pieces of information:

    1. Though we decry last night’s 5-8 hitters for their shortcomings, there is the matter of, well, last night. Facing one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, someone who entered the game with a disgusting opponents OBP of .253, a WHIP of 1.01, an ERA of 1.94, and who hadn’t allowed a single home run in his 41.2 innings to that point, the Pirates inept 5-8 hitters were on base 5 times in 15 plate appearances, contributed 3 of the team’s 4 runs, and notched the first home run against Gio Gonzalez this season. Sure, it’s only one game, but when the Pirates’ 5-8 hitters can contribute 3 runs by themselves against a really tough pitcher, the team will win many more games than they lose.

    2. On this day in 2008, Adam LaRoche was hitting .191. On this day in 2007, he was hitting .197. He finished those seasons hitting .270 and .272, respectively. And though the slumps of Barmes and Barajas look particularly bad in the first month and a half of the season, it didn’t feel as bad when McCutchen hit under .215 in the last month and a half of last season, but McCutchen’s slump last year cost the team many more wins than Barmes and Barajas have this year.

    So the question is whether Barmes and Barajas will recover like a LaRoche or McCutchen, and the answer is probably not. Like I said, I don’t want to seem like I’m defending Huntington, because I hated these moves at the time, and I hate them just as much now. But now that Mr. Huntington has dug himself into this grave, I AM willing to accept his stance that he cannot simply conjure up a ladder. I believe that there really is little more out there than the miniature step-stools like Jeff Larish, and that his choices are to go after guys with worse pedigrees than Barmes and Barajas just because they haven’t failed for us YET, or to hope the law of averages takes over, and Barmes and Barajas bring their numbers up to their super-Mendoza, but still pretty pathetic, career numbers.

  12. bob hasis says:

    For those of you who are local to Pittsburgh, next Monday there figures to one heck of a high school baseball game between Blackhawk and Thomas Jefferson at a site yet to be determined. Both teams won their 1st round games 1-0.

    Both teams are outstanding. TJ has a kid named Greg Schneider who has already accepted a scholarship to Pitt. He is an outstanding CF, and possibly more impressive as a pitcher. The Trib will have a complete story of the game with Hampton on Thursday morning.

    Similar to what the Pirates were able to do with Josh Bell who had previously committed to Univ.of Texas, the Pirates need to consider drafting this kid in June ala Bell. Like Bell, Schneider is a 5-tool stud. He hits with power, average, great fielder, has a gun and runs like a striped-ass ape. He is 6’1″ and 180 lbs

    High school rules prohibit pitchers from being over-used, I’m not certain if it’s nine innings or so many pitches, but in nine innings yesterday he struck 17 before being removed. Since the next game is Monday he will have had 4 full days of rest and should be on the mound. TJ won in the 11th.

    You might think – and would be correct – TJ is my school of preference where my kids and grandkids matriculated. That aside, I look forward to next Monday
    Blackhawk was ranked 1st in AAA and has a kid named Emge a catcher who has committed to Ohio St. They too have several noteworthy players.

  13. Reading says:

    Maybe the organization, as a whole, cannot hit because everybody is scared to swing the bat. All we ever hear about is the stressing of patience at the plate and taking walks in the minors. Guys who practice those traits are deemed successes. How about aggressively hitting the ball. Nobody in the minors should be afraid to swing the bat, no matter what the count. Change the philosophy from one of passively looking for a walk to putting the ball in play. In other words, reward guys who hit the ball, not take walks.

  14. bob hasis says:

    For Brian@11, since insomnia has a firm grip on me tonight, and I read your piece, I wanted to respond.
    They knew exactly what they had in LaRoche but money (read Nutting) allowed him to leave. Darn good defensively but had those lapses offensively which were hard to bear.

    To your point about Gonzalez, we have faced several pitchers of his ilk thus far this year with modest success because we out-pitched them. We hight have had better success last night except for 4 horrible pitches that resulted in a triple, two homers and a bases clearing double.
    But in the face of all of our wins remains a maniacally incompetent batting line-up.

    Barmes had 3 k’s again last night. How do you attempt to convince your fans when you take your highly-touted newly resurrected cleanup hitter out of the line-up.

    You can’t make a silk purse out of sow’s ear, thus having said that, Barmes and Barajas will be who they are now and later. If you saw the message provided by twenty-two 22 on the earlier window, they justifiably belong among those people with whom they are listed.

    I agree that NH is not alone in this travesty, Nuttin has his finger prints in it as well. Barmes is a friend of Hurdle from another life and does not deserve to thwart and stymie the progress of d’Arnaud as an example, and Barmes is far less the player that Cedeno is, but money forced Cedeno out and they spent more for Barmes. Go figure.

    Right now there isn’t one player I know can ignite a rally, because even if Cutch hits a double, there is no assurance that more will follow leading to a 4-run inning.

    NH and Hurdle are the engineers of this woeful band of players we have assembled here.

  15. Tracy Dendy Brummett says:

    Hey Dejan, as a mother who never put up with stupid, bratty behavior out of a 3 year old I wish it were possible for ALL media to bypass Toddler Torts after Game 3 to allow him to “keep it in the room”. I know it would only serve to tick him off and it would be unprofessional of them so it won’t happen but his behavior is like that of a bratty child’s. And how many people like a bratty child?

    Keep up the good work, Tracy

  16. Don says:

    As a fan who lives in the DC area, I tried to make it to the game last night, but hen I saw that lineup, I passed. Remarkably this team who has scored the least runs in all o professional baseball has the least productive lineup in AAA behind it in Indy. It almost defies statistical logic that this could happen by chance.

    Is it hyperbole to suggest that last nights lineup may have been the worst starting lineup ever in the history of baseball? Yet somehow they turned 5 singles and a HR into 4 runs and still lost!

  17. Cocktailsfor2 says:

    DK:

    You’re right – they ARE stinky at the plate right now.

    Fortunately, somehow they remain 2 games under .500 even with this stinky offense.

    And who knows? – maybe they will snap out of it, maybe they will plunge even further into the abyss.

    I can take honest criticism of just how bad the hitters are, and how some of Hurdle’s in-game moves boggle the mind, but the “Nutting’s fault” and the “Best Management Team” memes / tropes really need to be put to bed by any thinking critic – and thank you for continuing to call people out for continuing to use them. They are shorthand for old, tired, unthinking criticisms.

    There is enough wrong with this team to be concerned about without having to rely on “Nuh-uhh” and “Yuh-huh” arguments.

  18. Jandy says:

    @bob hasis:

    “has a gun and runs like a striped-ass ape.”

    Maybe it’s me, but that’s the very first time I’ve EVER seen that phrase. LOL
    Enlighten me, please?

    I came across this article this morning…and remembering the column DK wrote a few days ago about “taking one for the team”, thought I’d share.
    http://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/msn/will_rhymes_collapsed_after_being_hit_by_a_pitch_video/10810508

  19. JAL says:

    JAL’s Forever Young 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 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    PIRATE BLOGS

    4—Pirates Prospects

    What Hitting Options Are Available In Indianapolis?

    http://blogs.piratesprospects.com/williams/what-hitting-options-are-available-in-indianapolis/

    Prospect Watch: Taillon Hit Hard, Hanson Hits Sixth Homer

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/05/prospect-watch-taillon-hit-hard-hanson-hits-sixth-homer.html

  20. JAL says:

    6 Rumbunter

    RumBunter Heads to Nationals Park to Better Understand “Natitude”

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/05/16/rumbunter-heads-to-nationals-park-to-better-understand-natitude/

    Pittsburgh Pirates Count Analysis as of May 16

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/05/16/pittsburgh-pirates-count-analysis-as-of-may-16/

    7 McEffect

    5/16 Recap | Nationals 7 Pirates 4

    http://www.mceffect.com/2012/05/516-recap-nationals-7-pirates-3.html

    8 WHY GAVS

    Game 37: Nationals 7 Pirates 4

    http://whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/may-2012/game-37-nationals-7-pirates-4.html

    9 Green Weenie

    LaRoche Drives In Four; Bucs Fall 7-4

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/05/laroche-drives-in-four-bucs-fall-7-4.html

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Nats & ex-Pirates hold off Bucs

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/05/nats-ex-pirates-hold-off-bucs/

  21. Jandy says:

    And Starkey has a really good article today about the NFL and scheduling.

  22. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES

    11 CBS Sports

    Washington vs Pittsburgh Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20120517_PIT@WAS/piratesnationals-preview

    12 Washington Post

    Nationals vs. Pirates: Adam LaRoche stays hot in helping Gio Gonzalez to the win

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/nationals-vs-pirates-adam-laroche-stays-hot-in-helping-gio-gonzalez-to-the-win/2012/05/16/gIQA3TTyUU_story.html?tid=pm_sports_pop

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pittsburgh Pirates – Team Report

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/may/17/adam-laroche-stars-milestone-nationals-gonzalez/

    14 Washington Times

    Adam LaRoche continues to buoy Nationals’ offense in milestone night

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/may/17/adam-laroche-stars-milestone-nationals-gonzalez/

    15 Columbia Daily Tribune

    Scout who opened doors for Ol’ Clark dies

    http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2012/may/16/scout-who-opened-doors-for-ol-clark-dies/

    16 KDKA

    Pirates Pitching Coach Ray Searage: “We’re Close”

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/05/16/pirates-pitching-coach-ray-searage-were-close/

  23. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    20 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Willie Colon Moving from Right Tackle to Left Guard

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/5/16/3024717/Pittsburgh-steelers-willie-colon-left-guard-david-decastro-mike-adams-jonathan-scott

    An Employer-Based View of the Steelers’ Mike Adams

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/5/16/3023225/an-employer-based-view-of-the-steelers-mike-adams-ncaa-chris-rainey

    Every Draft Has a Player that the Steelers Should Have Picked Instead (at Least I Thought So at the Time)

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/5/15/3021459/every-draft-has-a-player-that-the-steelers-should-have-picked-instead

    21 Steelers Depot

    - Don’t Overlook Value of Ramon Foster in Steelers Line Revamp

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/05/dont-overlook-the-value-of-ramon-foster-in-steelers-line-revamp/

    22 Nice Pick Cowher

    The Steelers, The New Offense, and Reasons to be Optimistic

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/05/16/the-steelers-the-new-offense-and-reasons-to-be-optimistic/

  24. JAL says:

    Pitt Blogs

    23 Pitt Blather

    Increased Transparency To Preclude Insanity

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/05/16/increased-transparency-to-preclude-insanity/

    24 Cardiac Hill

    Questions For Pitt Football Heading Into 2012

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/5/16/3015556/pitt-football-recruiting-pittsburgh-panthers-ray-graham-rushel-shell-big-east-paul-chryst

    WVU Blogs

    25 Metro News

    No Need To Rush Big 12 Expansion

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=52720

    26 WV Illustrated

    WVU One of Many Interested in Florida Backer Michael Deeb

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/18434313/wvu-one-of-many-interested-in-florida-backer-michael-deeb

  25. JAL says:

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    27 Pensburgh

    Sidney Crosby: The Identity Crisis, pt. 2

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/5/16/3000489/sidney-crosby-the-identity-crisis-pt-2

    Soccer(football)

    28 Sky Sports

    Liverpool axe Dalglish

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11669/7760662/Liverpool-axe-Dalglish

    29 Daily Telegraph

    Reds icon Kenny Dalglish sacked by Liverpool after lacklustre EPL season

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/soccer/reds-icon-kenny-dalglish-sacked-by-liverpool-after-lacklustre-epl-season/story-e6frey4r-1226358482943

    30 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: Stories you need to read, May 16 th 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-16th-may-2012

  26. JAL says:

    Forever Young, 1988, Rod Stewart. Rod Stewart first hit the charts in 1960s as member of the Jeff Beck Group but hit big in the early 1970s with his album Every Picture Tells A Story. His music ranges from rock to soul to R & B to standards. This song is a folk song at heart done with the big sound of the 1980s. Stewart would hit the charts again in the 1990s with Downtown Train. The past decade he has been recording The Great American Songbook , which up to volume 5. The songbook series has very popular and several songs from the albums have charted. That means Stewart is a performer who has hit the charts in every decade from the 1960s through the current one.

  27. Arriba Wilver says:

    The non-injury prone Ryan Doumit (they’re just freak injuries) headed to the 15 day DL. Now there’s a %#$&@ surprise. (My Cousin Vinny). :-)

  28. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t doubt the trade market is tough right now. But this is Neal Huntington’s hole, and he needs to dig out of it. Not just try.
    —————————————————————————————————-
    I agree. But you can either look at what has happened in the past (drafts, bad free agent signings), or you can look to the present and how do you correct the problem.

    I think you either start to shuffle the lineup and/or start calling anyone up from the minors. Or you trade for someone. And we seem to agree that the trade market is tough right now and might not be an option at this moment. Or maybe you just wait it out a little longer.

    DK, are you suggesting they fire NH? It seems to me that you are bringing up the fact that the minors stink, their free agent signing are terrible, and they shouldn’t get credit for just ‘trying’ on a pretty consistent basis. If I recall correctly you gave NH credit for going out and getting some offense when they traded for Lee and Ludwig. Those deals weren’t made in May.

  29. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Wilver

    This is priceless. Doumit strained a calf muscle celebrating one of his pitcher’s strikeouts.

    http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/151813575.html

  30. JMB says:

    Compared to the current line-up, the 2008 offense was the “1927 Yankees,” and we know what bad deal NH got back for those guys. How can we expect him to even make any decent trades? His drafts look mediocre at best, esp. considering how high we have drafted for years.

    I read a few polls about keeping NH beyond this yr, but how many people would hire NH if it was Sept. 2007 again? If we had hired any other competent GM candidate, we would be further along today. NH never should have been hired, he should have been fired after botching the Bay trade, and he should be set free to find his life’s calling, which obviously isn’t as a baseball GM or evaluating talent .

  31. TJA says:

    Re: the Pirates: Batting Coach needs to go, first. I know coaches don’t hit the ball, but still, Ritchie needs to go. The Angels released their hitting coach, so the door is beginning to spin in MLB.

  32. bdubb says:

    Are you sure the Pirates even tried to find hitters? I believe JJ Hardy was available. They had a pretty decent hitting catcher too that they found too expensive. But you are right in that their evaluators can’t see a true hitter if that hitter hit a line drive in their face. And the only offseason move of any significance was for someone to take Pedro’s job.

    Things should turn around however, as they have placed most of this blame on Pressley and now that he is gone I am sure McClouth will carry this offense for a few weeks. How about sitting Barmes for 3 games or so? How about NOT playing Casey McGhee every day now. In the battle between 1B I think Jones has earned a few at-bats vs lefties. I don’t know but it sure sounded like NH was standing pat being that it is May. I think Hague has deserved a shot vs lefties. Can’t do any worse

  33. twentytwo22 says:

    In hockey you have defenseman-for-forward trade. The Penguins have successfully pulled that off the last two times. In baseball you have the pitcher-for-hitter trade. The Texas Rangers did well.

    Josh Hamilton
    December 7, 2006: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 2006 rule 5 draft.
    December 7, 2006: Purchased by the Cincinnati Reds from the Chicago Cubs.
    December 21, 2007: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Texas Rangers for Danny Herrera and Edinson Volquez.

    The Pirates did Ricardo Rincon for Brian Giles.

    The question is do the Pirates know what a good hitter looks like? Given our plight the Pirates will trade a future Cy Young winner for a AAAA hitter.

  34. tmp444 says:

    @ Bob #8 – of course, you’re correct. The fingers and brain weren’t syncing at 1am this morning.

    JAL – great song this morning — was actually the song that my mother and I danced to at my wedding.

  35. LuckyNKentucky says:

    JAL,

    Your mention of Jeff Beck really brought back some memories for me. His “Truth” album was one of my best purchases. Dude can play.

    Looks like a lot of folks were up way too late last night. Too many Cokes watching the game? One thing is for sure, we need to change our book on Adam LaRoche. Whatever it was when he was here, it ain’t now!

    But, we tried!

  36. JAL says:

    tmp444

    Glad it brought back a memory.

  37. gregenstein says:

    There might not be much down in AAA, but I find it hard to believe they can’t bring up *someone* capable of playing corner outfield or first base that can have a better than .700 OPS at the major league level. If that means sending McGehee, Navarro, McLouth, or Harrison to AAA to bring that guys up, so be it. Hell, they could cut McLouth if outrighting him there isn’t an option. Just do something to give Hurdle some different options.

  38. LuckyNKentucky says:

    gregentstein,

    You’re right. Even though Indy has been shut out in consecutive games, they have guys hitting for higher averages there and they deserve a chance. Hague, Clement, Mercer, Fox. Marte is only around .260 and still needs grooming. No sense in bringing him up now, just to fail. Someone mentioned yesterday, he would be a disaster if he came up now. It’s early, but Nate, McGehee, Barmes and more need to be re-evaluated. Can’t let emotions get involved. That’s what Neal said when he let Wilson and Sanchez go.

  39. Catfish293 says:

    Agreed on what you said, but the system produced 3 player (Pedro, Walker and Cutch). Now move some of those arms for a bat, come on man!

  40. Sarcastic Sword says:

    Why was Meek used last night? Cruz is the “7th inning guy”..This isnt Little League to experiment to get a guy back on track. Isnt the purpose to win adn use your best players? When Meek was struggling, he wasnt even used in the 7th inning so why now in a 1-run game after you just hit a 2-run HR and had a little momentum…I cant stand Hurdle. Horrible in-game decisions…Bunts way too much….Cant stand him.

  41. RobertoForever says:

    Lot of negativity this morning. And almost all misplaced.

    If Barajas and Barmes were such bad signings, then they should have been excoriated when signed. Criticizing now rings hollow and is distraction debate tactic. Its like arguing that we wouldn’t have Global Warming if Al Gore had been elected. That can’t be debated now. The facts are that Barajas and Barmes were considered some of the top non-All-Star available players in the offseason.

    This just in, Barajas is the best hitter on the team in the last 10 days or so. Like .450 or something with a bunch of XBH

    I refuse to just complain and complain without looking at realistic solutions. Easy to say “We should have signed Reyes”. KC, Oak, Min and Cle didn’t either.

    And the folks who are saying that any competent GM could have done better, just isnt true. I have been meaning to compare what the Oak, Cle, Min, KC GM’s have done over the same period. Might try to get to that this afternoon.

    The truth is, we should be debating the relieving decision last night, and criticizing Bedard for being hit hard last night.

    Just for kicks – here is a self-administered truth test – Raise your hand if you would have signed Adam LaRoche to a 1-year deal this past offseason……………ok, liars, put your hands down.

  42. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Sarcastic,

    Are you any relation to Bob Hasis? He’s the president of the Clint Hurdle Fan Club. You know the answer on the Meek question, too, don’t you? He tried!

  43. RobertoForever says:

    @twentytwo –

    Your 2 examples in 15 years actually seems to prove that it is hard to do that trade.

    Any good examples in the last 3 years?

  44. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Roberto,

    You might want to reconsider lumping Cleveland in with that group continually. They are in first by 3 games in their division and are 21-16 on the season. May not continue for long and I don’t like them at all, either, but just sayin’.

    And you know, they tried!

  45. Milo Hamilton says:

    For your consideration, the Neal Huntington All-Star Team.

    LF- Lastings Milledge
    CF- Nate McLouth
    RF- Matt Diaz

    3B- Andy LaRoche
    SS- Clint Barmes
    2B- Aki Iwamura
    1B- Lyle Overbay

    C- Rod Barajas
    P- Dana Eveland

  46. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Milo,

    I like your list. And for bench players? Gomez, Rivas, Wood, any more?

  47. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Lucky

    Ramon Vasquez(Ramon The Terrible), Bobby Crosby ?

  48. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Excellent.

    But, they tried!

  49. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Roberto:

    I’m glad you brought up some of those teams because I was just looking at some of them. Lets look at four teams that went into full blown rebuilding last winter, shall we. Didn’t make any bones about it-told their fan bases that they were starting to rebuild with 3-4 years (if i could italicize that I would) of rebuilding as their goal.

    Oakland traded tremendous major league talent away and they currently are at .500 (19-19). The Mets shredded more salary than any other team in the history of sports in light of the Madoff litigation, and they currently stand at 3 games above.500. The Cubs field half of their lineup with players that belong in Des Moines, and they are 2 games behind the Pirates and widely slammed by the Chicago media as awful. Houston , similarly fields a triple AAA team, and is 1 game behind the Pirates.

    Neal Huntington was hired in September 2007. Four years before the above mentioned teams started their massive rebuilding, and his club is behind some and just ahead of a few of them. I don’t know about you, but I thought by this point the Pirates would be doing more than struggling to reach .500. Sports franchises do not exist to win just as many games as they lose. They exist to play in the post season and win championships.

    General Mangers are just like Popes, Presidents and garbage collectors. Some can do the job very well. Most do an adequate job. Some do inadequate-poor jobs. Neal Huntington is fighting up to merely reach the adequate group.

  50. Milo Hamilton says:

    @John

    Well said. But you do know what’s coming now, don’t you ?

  51. Oshkosh b’gosh,

    Astute analysis!

  52. Dave says:

    A few thoughts:

    1. Is it wrong that most of the fans were correct about letting Doumit go for nothing and felt Barajas was a massive downgrade at catcher?
    2. When is it going to be Harrison’s time to start at SS? Barmes doesn’t and hasn’t shown anything. Barmes is another player who when he was signed most of the fans who knew anything about baseball saw that he was going to be bad. Most of his “power” from last season wouldn’t have left the yard at PNC.
    3. When do the these prospects that we’ve spent millions of dollars on since Huntington started start showing up? Our best offensive prospect in the system is a Littlefield signing. When do we officially start blaming Huntington for the team’s lack of success?
    4. Why was Evan Meek brought up from AAA, we need offense and not another arm in the pen. Why didn’t we bring up someone like Jake Fox off the bench? Fox isn’t a good major league player, but he would’ve been a nice bench option.
    5. Why isn’t Jones in RF and Tabata being moved to LF along with McGehee and either Fox or Hague being brought back up with Presley’s demotion? Don’t we need offense right now and not a shadow of a former player (McLouth) and not a guy who was average at best in AAA?

  53. radio wave says:

    One of the disapointing factors concerning Pressley is that last year, he was a sparkplug both on and off the field. He seemed to be a positive factore during their good times last year.We all hoped Meek could return to his 2010 form. I would rather see him as the callup compared to Reyes or Slayton. I’m not saying that a pitcher should have been the callup instead of a position player, but because that was the decision that was made, I would prefer Meek to anyone else at Indy at this time.
    Also, is there anyone at AA who could be a temporary fix. This team seems to have the philosophy never to callup from AA, some other teams have done this, with some success. Why not us?

  54. John Lease says:

    I never would have signed either Barmes or Barajas, and said so at the time. You don’t sign those kind of guys to ML deals. Take a flier on them with a spring training invite? Sure.

    Spending money on guys who are on the downhill slide of their careers is pointless, it’s throwing money away. As weak as the Pirates were hitting last year, why let Doumit go? He hit .300, has a track record. If they are convinced(and theirs plenty of evidence to back it up) that he can’t stay healthy behind the plate, move him to first or right. It’s not like the Pirates don’t have plenty of space available.

  55. LuckyNKentucky says:

    John,

    Ditto Groat. Good analysis, you negative, blog-trolling sock puppet! I noticed you left Cleveland and the Twins out. Really can’t compare them in the “talent-laden junior circuit”, right?

  56. Nate83 says:

    Other teams miss on draft picks just as much as the Pirates. You just don’t know about it. His focus has always been on building the pitching up first and then using that to get the hitters they need. We are just now getting to that point.

    You can’t compare the situation Neal came into with any other GM that was rebuilding. He took over the 29th ranked minor league system that was void of money being spent on international scouting or any scouting for that matter, and a horrible major league baseball team that despite what some may say did not have much talent. If they did have talent they would have been winning which they hadn’t in 14 years.

    He has only had a blank check given to him one time and that was last year when he went out and got Lee and Ludwick which a majority of people thought where good moves. He has been given access to a little bit of the saving account this year and used it to lock McCutcheon up to a team friendly contract and sign Bedard and Burnett. You can’t tell me those moves have not been good.

    I’m just saying it is harder to turn an aircraft carrier around then a speedboat and he was handed an an old aircraft carrier with no money to repair it. Anger and blame should be directed at Nutting more then Huntington.

  57. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Radio,

    Team BA at Altoona is only .248, which sounds high in comparison, but no bigger names killing it. Kelson Brown, a 3B, is at .351 and Brock Holt, another IF is at .291. Grossman is up to .234 and leads the team in HR’s with a whopping 3 and Matt Curry, a 1B is at .278, but only 2 HR’s. Their pitching has been abysmal at times, but we don’t need that.

  58. Dave G says:

    If the Pirates even had the most average of a major-league line-up, they would likely be in first place right now.

    And with Cutch, the Bucs are batting .219 as a team.
    Without him, they are batting .205

  59. bob hasis says:

    For Jandy @17, the term striped-ass ape was mentioned in my presence a long time ago. It sounded as though it connoted speed – like real life-saving speed for an animal in the jungle, running from perhaps a lion Since I first heard that from a friend of mine, I have used it when I felt it appropriate to define exceptional speed.

    From an imaginitive point of view, you can envision those stripes streaking forward. But to my knowledge, there is no animal with such adjectives associated with his name, it just sounds fast.

  60. Bizrow says:

    Personally I just can’t wait for the next round of excuses from the BMTIB.

    I think Mr Opie is over his head. ;-)

  61. Jandy says:

    bob hasis, thanks for explaining, I might try to use that term some time LOL!

  62. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Bob,

    I guarantee you, she’ll use that term sometime!

  63. Jandy says:

    LOL!

  64. RobertoForever says:

    @Lucky -

    I put them in the group because they belong. I don’t run from all the facts. Some will be good. I am guessing more than not, the numbers in comparison to the Pirates will be bad.

    That’s an objective approach – looking at all the facts and see how it comes out.

  65. NMR says:

    Am I the only one who gets extremely uncomfortable sayng the phrase “striped- ass ape”?

    Easily the oddest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

  66. RobertoForever says:

    @John

    To quote your first sentence sums up your entire post “I’m glad you brought up some of those teams ” – “:some” of the team – by that you mean the ones that support your point of view.

    Nice attempt at changing the subject. I mentioned 4 teams similar to the Pirates, and you mentioned ONE of them and threw in the Cubs and Mets – both major market teams willing to spend over $20 million per season on one player.

    Nice “objective” analysis. I’ll keep doing my own research, thanks.

    They are hardly a fair comparison.

  67. RobertoForever says:

    @John Lease

    The Milwaukee Brewers were also shopping for a SS and were offering Barmes a 2-year deal.

    The fact is that Barmes was considered one of the top SS available in the group below the Reyes group.

    But if you said don’t sign Barmes, you get credit for guessing right. Its not hard to guess in the negative when picking from a group that has a 1 in 3 chance of overachieving.

    By the way, who at the time did you propose they sign? Cedeno for $3 million? Someone else?

  68. I’m Glad You Didn’t See Roberto Because You Would Have Traded Him After His First Year,

    “Objective” is never an adjective I consider with you.

  69. RobertoForever says:

    @bizrow

    I agree that NH is proving he may be in over his head on putting together an organization that judges hitting talent. But he is better than average putting together an organization that judges pitching talent.

    I am guessing that FC and Mr. Nutting are judging NH vs Cle, KC, Oak and Min and not NYM, NYY, BOS and WAS.

    Is that fair for them to do?

    As always, I try to judge whether a reasonable replacement would be better. And when I look at the 4 teams that I believe are most comparable to the Pirates, I don’t believe their FO is doing much better. The Twins have gotten progressively worse under the GM that was hired around the same time as NH, to the point that he resigned. How is KC doing with their wunderkinds? These are the questions I look at when trying to judge any FO for the Pirates these days.

  70. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Oshkosh

    There it is. I was waiting.

  71. RobertoForever says:

    Groat to “you would have bench Maz because he struggled in the World Series” to Strangeglove.

    Just because you say it doesn’t make it so.

    Seems to be little “reasonableness” and “fairness” it evaluation here.

    But there are certainly average snide comments and jokes. Better than the Letterman show, anyway.

  72. JHadar says:

    Not to throw (too much) gasoline on the fire, but I remember when it was said “Some teams say “Oh boy, here comes a fastball!” and some teams say, “Oh boy, here comes a curve ball.”, but the Pirates say “Oh boy, here comes a baseball!”

    That was Clemente’s influence. He told his teammates that “You can’t hit what you don’t swing at.” And, yes, he did smack a ball that bounced in front of him for a double, and yes, he did turn Manny Mota and Matty Alou into high average line drive hitters.

    And yes, we hoped and hoped that we’d get some decent pitching some day, but all we had was guys like Al McBean and Bob Moose going up against the Koufaxes, Drydales, Gibsons, and Seavers, but the hitters made them good enough. We called our team the Lumber Company and they were just fun to watch.

    Then there was Stargell. I saw him hit one halfway up the light tower in center field at Forbes field.

    It was always coming together, and finally it did.

    This team doesn’t seem to be coming together. Maybe it will — but it seems to me that the cards are stacked against it, that management has a ways to go, and that they’re just plain snakebit.

    I don’t buy into the notion that they’re just not interested in winning, or that they’re scamming the fans on purpose, or even that they’re not trying (pardon the old joke, but they are very trying) — but there is a shocking incompetence, deer in the headlights feel to the whole thing.

    But you get to be a fan before you’re ten and you root for the underdogs, even though they couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with a howitzer at 2 feet, even though they couldn’t hit a weather balloon with a barn door.

    And though I wonder why Hurdle put Meek in and couldn’t seem to tell that he was in trouble in a close game, I’m still hoping they’ll find a way to win tonight.

  73. NMR says:

    Neal Huntingdon’s performance speaks for itself. You dont need to exagerate and reach for comparisons in order to justify your dislike.

    @John

    Oakland already had a good farm system, thanks to a good GM.

    The Mets still have a $91m payroll.

    The Cubs still have an $88m payroll.

    And the Astros traded one player while keeping their best starting pitcher, best hitter, and best releiver.

    How do any of those teams compare at all to the Pirates of 2008?

    I’m not defending Huntingdon. I’ve said before that I think he’s taken this organization as far as he can and it’s time for someone new. I’ve also said that the changes he’s made are significant and will be noted in hindsight.

    The need for some to stretch the truth to try and paint him as THE WERST GM EVRR is completely reactionary. Relax.

  74. bob hasis says:

    For RobertForever@42, you are beginning to prove you know less. Global warming??? What is that? Something you dreamed about so devious politicians can tax us into poverty and control our lives. Then tell me what we mere humans on earth are doing to cause it, and what we mere humans on earth can do to affect THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE GOD HAS GIVEN which is THE SUN. Like turning down a thermostat or changing our way of life. Since your limitations in these matters are obvious, let’s stick to sports – baseball. I do admire your blind loyalty to the Pirates, but don’t be an ostrich.

    But if you want to use a political reference to make your point about Barmes and Barajas, try using Nancy Pelosi’s STUPID, UNEDUCATED statement when as Speaker of the House she uttered, “let’s just pass this bill (Obamacare) first, then we’ll find out what’s in it” And a certain group of people saw fit to name her Speaker; more ostriches no doubt.

    Well it went through The House and now the nation knows what’s in it and it isn’t pretty, just as in the stark reality of the B&B boys, we now know what we have and we are screwed.

    DK: NO POLITICS. Zero. Other forums for that.

  75. Milo Hamilton says:

    @NMR

    As for your #66 post – No, you’re not the only one.

  76. Milo,

    When you’re right, you’re right!

  77. NMR says:

    @bob hasis

    Are you THE bob hasis that got clowned in the Post Gazette Letters to the Editor a couple weeks ago?

  78. Milo Hamilton says:

    I knew the very second the words “Al Gore” were invoked, we were heading down a slippery slope.

  79. Nate83 says:

    @NMR

    Agree completely. I also am not defending Huntington because I think he has made mistakes as well, but I believe he brought a mindset and way of going about business to the Pirates that was missing entirely before he started. Some of the things he has done will not show any benefits until 3-5 maybe 10 years down the road when you talk about the international baseball academy.

    What money he is allowed to spend had been spent correctly on scouting, drafting and international relations. I just don’t think it’s possible to compare his ability to GM against other GM’s that took over completely differant situations with completely differant owners.

  80. LuckyNKentucky says:

    JH,

    Good post down Memory Lane. And, speaking of posts, I sat behind enough iron girders at Forbes Field back in the day. Thank God for modern stadium technology.

  81. RobertoForever says:

    @bob

    I apologize for using a political reference. You have made assumptions that I agreed with the statement I put forth as comparison. I don’t. But it was clearly a hot button topic for you.

    But I appreciate being called an ostrich – although I would prefer medusa as a comparison if we are talking to blind loyalty.

    I do want to point out an inaccuracy with your Barmes/Barajas to Pelosi comparison. While not considered in the cadillac class, Barmes/Barajas were both considered to be the top of the sedan class. No one in baseball community would have guessed that their struggles would be so low. Or they would not have been rated as high in the ‘sedan’ class.

    Also, Barajs is the best hitter on the team in the last 10 days. Perhaps he has turned around his season? If he has, most of the negative comments on him in the last 20 days will surely be forgotten and not remembered when judging objectivity. ;)

  82. Milo Hamilton says:

    @NMR

    Reason #42 why I would never use my actual name on one of these blogs.

  83. Jandy says:

    Clowned? Does that have something to do with a striped-ass ape?
    Just asking, seriously…not being a wise azz !

  84. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Milo,

    I live 30 minutes from Al Gore’s family farm (Carthage, TN). They dislike (hate is a strong word) him there, too. He invented the internet. Didn’t you know that? He’ll tell you if you didn’t know it. I’m with Bob. If I can’t preach on this blog, which I shouldn’t on a sports blog, let’s leave politics to Bill O’Reilly. With you 100% on getting off the slippery slope. Wish some others would see it.

  85. Milo Hamilton says:

    This has to be one of the most entertaining exchanges I’ve ever seen on this or any blog.

  86. Jandy says:

    Milo, of course it is!

  87. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Guys, NO POLITICS. Zero. There are other places for that.

  88. Arriba Wilver says:

    Regardless of anything else, Neal doesn’t deserve credit for the baseball academy. If anyone does, it’s Nutting (yes, I said that). He went down with Littlefield to see the disaster that was the previous digs. And he was NOT pleased.

    DK: That project was 100 percent to Bob Nutting’s credit. He did all of it.

  89. NMR says:

    @Milo – re: #83 damn, I was holding out hope…

    Question: Could a striped-ass ape score from first base on a gap shot to right center with Nick Leyva coaching 3rd?

  90. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Jandy

    So, how about those Kings ?

    DK: Anze for Prime Minister of Slovenia! (Oh, wait. No politics.)

  91. RobertoForever says:

    Let’s look at the free-agent catchers available this past off-season:

    I will list the B-type free agents as that is considered the sedan class

    Rod Barajas -signed 1 yr – $5 mill
    Ryan Doumit – signed 1 yr – $3 mill
    Chris Snyder – signed 1 yr – $0.75 mill
    Ramon Hernandez – signed 2 yr $6.4 mill
    Jose Molina – signed 1 yr – $1.8 mil
    Jason Varitek – retired

    Here are the results so far:

    Rod Barajas Pit – .188 BA .569 OPS 16/2 SB/CS
    Ryan Doumit Min – .264 BA .773 OPS 8/3 SB/CS
    Chris Snyder Hou – .154 BA .485 OPS 9/5 SB/CS
    Ramon Hernandez Col – .235 BA .720 OPS 16/8 SB/CS
    Jose Molina TB – .191 BA .585 OPS 9/2 SB/CS
    Quick notes – Doumit is now on the DL, and has only played 15 of his 33 games at C.10 of the games have been at DH.

    So based on those stats, the Pirates clearly overpaid the most, and Barajas is having a career low in SB/CS and is last in that category. He is 4th overall in batting, with a current hot streak going.

    If you looked at that crop before the season, you would have to conclude (first concluding that catching free agent crop was very thin this year) but that Barajas was #1 or #2 in that list.

    Tough to make lemonade from that. I think it was fair to say that whatever C we signed this year, that it would have been a hole in the #7 or #8 spot.

  92. Milo Hamilton says:

    @NMR

    Standing up.

  93. Jandy says:

    Donna Summer dead at age 63….cancer strikes again :(

  94. LuckyNKentucky says:

    NMR,

    He could TRY! Great question.

  95. RobertoForever says:

    Dejan,

    I apologize for using even an ancillary comparison to politics. I won’t do it again. I promise.

  96. Jandy says:

    Milo, those Kings are kicking Coyote butt! Clearly the Yotes need some striped-ass apes for players!

  97. Jandy says:

    Milo, sit down, please, I can’t see over your head!

  98. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hang in there, Bob.

    But I will give RobertoForever the benefit of the doubt. He is so exponentially apologetic about the Pirates, perhaps “RobertoForever” is his Christian name.

    I do like it when Dejan sometimes drops a cookie on us and uses the Poster’s real first name in his response. (Usually when thanking someone). You can all hide behind monikers but Dejan knows all!

  99. LuckyNKentucky says:

    John,

    Actually, my name is the same as yours, but JohnNKentucky doesn’t warrant a red-neck T-shirt like “I got Lucky In Kentucky” and two John’s in separate but unequal places would cause confusion, especially with an uncommon, under-used name like John. Milo’s real name is probably Roberto, what do ya’ think?

  100. Nate the Fate,

    I’m not sure I agree with your Huntington Love, especially what you espouse in #57 & #80. If you can’t compare him to other GMs, who the heck do you compare him to?

    The team he took over in 2007 was good hitting, excellent fielding, average to good baserunning, and very poor pitching. You say the minor league system was ranked #29 in your poll but just a few years earlier the Pirate minor leagues had been ranked #1. Rene Gayo as Caribbean Top Scout was hired under Littlefield.

    After 5 years under Mr. Huntington the 2012 team is horrible in hitting, terrible in baserunning, average to a little below average in fielding, and very, very good in pitching. Looks like that same Pirate team of 2007——just different strengths/weaknesses.

    Show me the money——don’t tell me it’s coming. Or, as Dejan says, “Don’t tell me you’re trying……..”

  101. PetroSteel says:

    I don’t even need to check the scoreboard…I can just read the daily posts…The Pirates must have lost last night.

    It’s a long season. Yea, I know it is mid May and we are not hitting. The bright side is that it can not get any worse. It will get better!

    Go Bucs!

  102. NMR says:

    Cardinal rules of sports blogging: No politics, no religion…and no soccer.

    Anyways, @tmp taught me something last night. I had no idea Greg Ritchie was the minor leage hitting coordinator from ’06-’10. Now, I’ll never knock another mans job until I’ve walked a day in his shoes, but the overall lack of approach these young hitters exhibit is pretty damning.

    It doesn’t take otherwordly skill to draw walks and work the count, it takes discipline. That “d” word might be the one thing this Pirates lineup lacks more than a certain “t” word.

  103. bob hasis says:

    That’s why we are here, to brighten everyone else’s day, and in some cases to enlighten.
    But I find incorrigabilty is becoming rampant these days.

    NMR, I write those things to “the rag” just to see who knows what is happening around them. They (the editors) critique my missives thoroughly for accuracy before publishing, but seemingly permit those inane responses. People need to have their minds stimulated periodically.

    I’m amazed also just like you.

    Also to NMR @66, don’t try to read anything into it. Read my explanation to Jandy @60.
    The “oddest thing you ever heard in your life” certainly covers a lot of ground and could easily be an exaggeration, wouldn’t you say?

  104. Milo Hamilton says:

    Melancholy Happy Trails Donna Summer. RIP.

  105. NMR says:

    @Groat

    The Pirates had the #1 farm system in ’97, not ’07. A little bit of a stretch, don’t you think?

    And I’m pretty sure most teams would trade good pitching for good hitting any day.

    No offense, my friend, but your post is exactly what I’m talking about with exageration.

  106. Jandy says:

    bob hasis, I love the term, it’s weird, it’s different, and it’s kinky!

  107. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Lucky:

    I will continue to call you Lucky, John. In college one year I had three roommates named John. When the phone rang (they used to do that) and the person (usually not a female,darn it) would ask for John, we would always have to say “which one?” Besides, “Lucky” is a great nickname.

  108. NMR says:

    Bob Hasis, The Most Intelligent Man in the World

    “I don’t always blog on regional newspaper websites, but when I do, I’m smarter than you and you and you and you and you…”

  109. Nate says:

    The sad truth may be that while NH has seemingly “built” up the minor league system and “infused” it with talent, he still doesn’t have the pieces to make a trade for a power/good hitting position player. He says “trades aren’t made in May” – right, and college players with high OBP where not valued. NH needs to be let go at the end of the season if he can’t turn it around. PItching’s important, but loses value if you can’t hit the ball.

  110. Milo Hamilton says:

    Dejan,

    In regards to Anze Kopitar we’re not stopping at Slovenia. We’re talking world domination Pinky.

  111. Jandy says:

    NMR, bob hasis, Milo, in fact, everyone:
    NMR’s reply at 106 is the perfect example of what this blog is like, and WHY IT’S SO DARN GOOD. Even in disagreement, the majority of us are respectful of everyone. We’re not obnoxious, we’re not obtuse. (Well, maybe at times I’m a bit slow).

    You guys make my day, just wanted you all to know that!

  112. Jandy says:

    Milo, I think Dejan secretly wants Anze to go to the WInnipeg Jets ;)

  113. LuckyNKentucky says:

    NMR,

    LOL #109. Stay thirsty, my friend.

    John,

    I can relate, believe me. We have several John’s in our family. And, the name is over-used for restrooms, prostitude customers and so on. You can be the John of DK’s blog. I’ll stay LNK.

  114. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Jandy

    Agreed. This is a very fun blog. My wife saw the screen on the computer opened to this blog the other day and said, “Oh I see you are visiting your virtual Pittsburgh sports bar again.”

  115. Kentuck Knob,

    Psalm 23 for Sunday.

    It’s the right choice. Trust me: you will fear no evil.

  116. JAL says:

    Good farm systems are good farm systems, nothing more and nothing less. Sometime they deliver good major league players and sometimes they deliver nothing of value. They are not like a fine wine that improves with age. of course even a fine wine will eventually go bad.

  117. JohninOshkosh says:

    There you go again, JAL, being the voice of reason.

  118. Jandy says:

    John, I seriously wish i could get my other half interested in this…the Pirates, and blogging in general. he won’t have anything to do with it! SMH.

    Pearls of wisdom, JAL!

  119. pattonbb says:

    First off, I am no way part of the Front Office Apologist gang, but I would like to add my two cents on a few topics so many of you have brought up. Kudos to all of you by the way for making some really smart arguments.

    1. Barmes and Barajas – Barajas isn’t going to ever be a .275 guy. What he will do is provide some good defense and pop from his bat. Yes he started ice cold, but he’ll eventually have his average up in the .230 range. If he finishes the year with that average and a dozen dingers, then the front office will have received exactly what they paid for. Barmes is another career weak bat (except for 2 seasons I think) that was supposed to improve the defense. Now nobody thought when they committed that type of money to him he’d be batting almost 100 points below his career average in the middle of May. I really think this is a case of a team just getting snake bit with what was supposed to be a key acquisition for them. Having said all of that, being snake bit or not does not excuse them from their duty. This front office owes it to the team and the fans to address this problem.

    2. Hurdle dropped the ball by using Meek. I’m sorry, I know he looked good in AAA, but you don’t throw him into a one run game the day he’s called up.

    3. Ryan Doumit – Listen, I was a fan of his bat back when he didn’t have a position to play. Remember the “No-mit Doumit” nickname when he was? But anyone that thinks he should’ve stayed are suffering from some short memories. First of all, he wanted out of Pittsburgh. This isn’t my opinion, it’s fact. He’s said as much. Second, his defense behind the plate was progressively getting worse. Anyone remember the 7 or 8 botched plays at the plate just in the second half of last season? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? I know Barajas had almost identical stats last year throwing runners out. Truthfully, I think much of that lands on several of our pitchers and their inability to keep runners close to the bag. But that’s a topic for another rant.

    4. Huntington and Coonelly have said we’re supposedly out of the “need to stockpile talent” phase and into the “build a championship caliber team” phase. I couldn’t disagree more. We do have a (possible) significant amount of talent when it comes to pitchers. And the one thing this FO has showed that they know how to do is build a staff, but where are the positional players? What’s going to happen when Coonelly is tabbed to replace Bud Selig in two years? What part of the plan will we be in then? OK, just soak those last couple sentences in for a second, then think about this….it could definitely happen.

    I’m done. Sorry for the long-winded post, I try to limit my participation on here. So many of you are much more talented when it comes to pleading your cases than I. But the off the charts entertainment of todays blog compelled me to join in.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

  120. Jandy says:

    pattonbb, please don’t apologize for so aptly stating your opinion. It’s valid. And it’s respectfully done :)

  121. RobertoForever says:

    @pattonbb

    excellent participation.

    But I think I just learned something significant. Do you really think FC will be replacing Bud? Even with all the baggage he has added here? Do you think the Big Market teams will support that?

    Neat little nugget you threw in there at the end.

  122. NMR says:

    @Jandy – many thanks. We like you too, but only in days that end in “y”.

    @John – your wife nailed it. This place feels like home while I’m on the road.

    Back to the meat ‘n ‘taters..

    @Nate
    “The sad truth may be that while NH has seemingly “built” up the minor league system and “infused” it with talent, he still doesn’t have the pieces to make a trade for a power/good hitting position player.”

    Sorry, but thats just flat-out wrong.

    You’re telling me that Cole, Tailon, Marte, Heredia, Bell, etc couldn’t get a power hitter?

    Please!

    The Pirates could’ve blown the Phillies out of the water last year in the Hunter Pence sweepstakes. They chose not to because they can’t spend the money on an staff ace and a middle of the order bat in free agency, which is the upside of what the Phillies gave up.

    The knock on the Pirates system is that they don’t have the depth to risk losing an ace or middle of the order bat in order to get an above average, proven Major League hitter.

  123. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Groat,

    That’s a good one for every day. We fear no weavels around here! (No religion politics or soccer, so we disguise it).

  124. LuckyNKentucky says:

    NMR,

    I remember advocating getting Pence, but, for some reason, they didn’t value my opinion. Guess I’m not the most interesting man in the blogosphere. Stay without a middle-of-the-order bat, my friend!

  125. Jandy says:

    Oh Yeah! Dk’s coming to Altoona! Partaaayyyy!

  126. JAL says:

    Soccer here M through F in the morning links :)

  127. pattonbb says:

    @Roberto – He was Selig’s key arbitrator and nobody will ever convince me that he wasn’t aware of the changes coming with signing bonuses when he took this job. As a matter of fact, I would say he probably had a little something to do with….. oh nevermind. Now I’m just sounding like a conspiracy theorist.

    Yes, I do believe his name will be on the short list of Selig replacement candidates. His experience in the commisioner’s office and prior relationship with Bud will create some buzz from the owners. Can’t honestly say I’d expect him to get it. But stranger things have happened.

  128. RobertoForever says:

    I would love to have Pence as our RF. Unfortunately, like the Reyes or Pujols sweepstakes, what a low-revenue market like the Pirates or KC can pay, does not exceed what the Phillies or Yankees can throw away.

    Here’s hoping Josh Bell develops into our own Pence.

  129. RobertoForever says:

    @pattonbb

    Good stuff. I like info like that. Keep it coming.

    Your participation is very worthy of at least multiple posts daily.

  130. Dave says:

    @ Patton

    The Pirates needed to stock pile talent as much as possible. The thing is the talent they’ve accumulated at the minor league level with the exception of Cole, Tallion, and possibly Heredia has been terrible. I don’t know if it’s because the talent just wasn’t there or if it’s the way the Pirates are moving them along in the minors, but it just isn’t there. That falls big time on Huntington because he’s the head man in the organization and it’s his job to get talent into the system. The 2008 and 2009 drafts are looking thus far to be huge busts and other than Tallion the 2010 draft doesn’t appear to be all that much better thus far. I think it’s time Nutting opens the pocket book and gets a GM who is qualified for the job (remember when hired Huntington was at best the 3rd guy in charge in Cleveland) and allows the team to spend money on quality coaches and minor league staffs so the organization can train these kids properly. The days of players going up and swinging at everything is over at the MLB level unless you’re a Pirate or a Pirate prospect.

  131. NMR says:

    @Lucky

    I like Pence, too, but I don’t think there’s any way Nutting would be paying his arbitration for the next two years, which is over $10m and climbing.

    And if he did, I think it would be a huge stretch to assume McCutchens extension still happens.

    Get Hunter Pence for two years, give up McCutchen for five plus Cole/Tailon and Marte.

    But DK says the Pirates aren’t cheap, so I guess my argument is wrong.

  132. albatross says:

    DK – “The Steelers don’t necessarily need to run more. They just need to run better.”

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying this. I’m getting so tired of hearing announcers and pundits saying that the Steelers “aren’t playing Steelers football” if they don’t run on every down.

    Another note… I’m sure someone has mentioned it at some point in the season’s discussions about the Pirate’s hitting, but the 1906 White Sox – the “Hitless Wonders” – won the World series with a .230 team BA, including a .190 in the Series itself. Of course, they had good baserunning and fielding to support the pitching.

  133. Jandy says:

    NMR ~ BOOM!

  134. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    The chat transcript is up: http://bit.ly/JjhdQ8

  135. bob hasis says:

    NMR @#110 you honor me with a title I cannot accept, but I am humbled to be so regarded.
    I don’t drink Dos Equus either.

    I agree with you @#107 that most teams would trade good pitching for good (or great) hitting even though pitching is regarded as 75-80 per cent of a team’s success.

    To your point, the Cubs willingly gave up Lou Brock LF to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio P, and Cincinnati parted ways with Frank Robinson RF to the Orioles for Milt Pappas P and two others. Both of those deals live in infamy in Chicago and Cincinnati respectively. A curious side note which means nothing is that Brock and Robinson both wore No. 20

  136. Jandy says:

    DK, let us fans know when you plan to be in Altoona, so we can get tickets in advance =)
    Would love to be able to say hi.

  137. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jandy,

    You can say “Hi” to him now. Just don’t ask him for his autograph when you see him at the game.

  138. National Mart of Records,

    Sorry my #1 Farm system was off by a few years. I did not have time to back and authenticate actual year. Nate’s #29 was also inaccurate. (#26 in BA, #19 year before.)

    Delete the farm system stuff and tell me why the rest of my post at #102 is “an exaggeration.”

    Was I inaccurate in my grading of each team? How would you grade them?

    Maybe your questioning stems from pitching vs. hitting. Both kinds of incomplete teams lose equally well.

  139. Jandy says:

    Lucky, lol, smart azz :p

    I don’t want to harrass DK, just meet him, and say hi. Mother Teresa should be able to do that, right? ;)

  140. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jandy,

    You’re right about the smart azz. At least you didn’t call me an ape with stipes on my _____. LOL

  141. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Hello all.

    DK, you nailed it yet again. “I tried” is no longer acceptable to retain the hired help. I have been in between on the NH situation but it has become more clear this season. There is NOBODY in the minors ready to provide any offensive relief.

    Something needs to be done outside of trying.

  142. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Trying would be signing guys that actually have a history of production.

    2 pieces……….2 freakin pieces would change the world for this team.

    As long as those pieces……..try

  143. Jandy says:

    Lucky, LOL!

  144. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Cut McClouth, Jones and Presley to bench. Add 1B and RF.

    If you’re going to “try” at least freakin try. Added pop from those 2 positions would iliminate the need for it from the SS and Catcher’s position. Two positions that are not usually offensively driven.

  145. Nate says:

    NMR: I meant the high-end secondary pieces need. I know Cole, Taillon, etc would get something, it would just be foolish to trade them. Nationals traded something like their 4th, 5th, 7th, and 10th best prospects for Gio Gonzalez. I don’t know if the Pirates have the depth in the 7-10 spots to do that.

  146. NMR says:

    @Groat

    A decade is a few years? By that logic I’m basically a millionaire!

    And if you delete that part, the one thats exagerated, you have a fine opinion. My opinion may be that Good pitching/bad hitting beats Good hitting/bad pitching, thus the two teams are not the same, but thats simply a difference. Certainly not one I’m going to argue with.

    Which is the point of my comment…your post didn’t need to be exagerated in order to get the point across.

  147. Arriba Wilver says:

    Patton–loved the post . . . with one exception. On my list of concerns about the Pirates going forward, Frankie going to the Commissioner’s office (even as Commissioner) is number . . . wait . . . it’s not even on the list. (And that’s not because I don’t think it may happen). :-)

  148. NMR says:

    @Nate

    The Nats traded their 3rd(36th), 4th(57th), 9th(unranked) ranked prospects(Baseball America top 100 in parenthesis).

    That equates to Josh Bell(60), Starling Marte(73), and Stetson Allie in the Pirates system.

    Just sayin’.

  149. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @NMR and Groat:

    I’m tying to play catch up since I’m late in the game…

  150. Jandy says:

    Ryan, at least you’re tryin’ ;)

  151. NMR says:

    Hahaha, Jandy wins the internet today. That was gold!

  152. Jandy says:

    lol Mother Teresa lands a zinger ;)

  153. RobertoForever says:

    @NMR

    Equating our #3 to the Nats #3 doesn’t really match does it.

    If you Billy Beane, do you trade Gio Gonzalez for Marte, Bell and Allie? Especially if you are offered the Nats trade?

  154. RobertoForever says:

    * If you are Billy Beane

  155. pattonbb says:

    Thanks all.

    Dave – I agree Huntington should be held accountable for the performance (or lack there of)of minor leagues. Not sure I would call 2008 and 2009 drafts a bust yet. 2006 and 2007? Yes. I think 2010 draft will eventually produce a few bright spots outside of Tallion. But you are correct, help certainly does not appear to be right around the corner. The lack of development for positional players needs addressed. I’m just not sure if firing Huntington (who definitely has the final responsibility for it) would fix the problem. I see it being more of a coaching/instructor failure. Look at the baserunning skills for current players. Even with Cutch and Presley’s speed, we’re pretty bad on the base paths. That’s coaching (my opinion).

    Arriba – Didn’t mean to imply that losing Frank would set the club back. But it certainly would give ownership an excuse to define a new “phase”.

  156. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Nice one Jandy…do I get credit for it though?

  157. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Or at least an extension?

  158. NMR says:

    @Roberto

    I assumed Nate wasn’t comparing the Pirates system to the Nats, but stating an overall thought that the Pirates don’t have secondary depth for trading purposes.

    If you follow the prospect lists at all, you know that they change drastically after the top and there isn’t necessarily big separation between many.

    The Pirates could’ve traded two top 75 prospects and a 20 yr old kid that throws 100mph with those rankings in their own system.

    That can get you plenty on the trade market.

  159. Jandy says:

    Ryan, but of course, you get credit AND an extension…and can I have your autograph, please?????

  160. LuckyNKentucky says:

    J-girl,

    You’re forgetting…no autographs!

  161. NMR says:

    @Nate/Roberto

    FWIW, Brad Peacock(4th) was drafted in ’06 and AJ Cole was an over-slot signing. You know, those things that no other teams do and never work out.

  162. Jandy says:

    Lucky, I know that, I was just bustin on Ryan :p

  163. Milo Hamilton says:

    So, everything OK over here ? I trust we’ve made a trade by now ?

  164. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Jandy

    No need to bust on me today……its not a good day. lol

  165. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Milo

    It depends on our minor league depth

  166. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Ryan

    You mean “stocking the system” with that “flood of talent” ?

  167. Jandy says:

    Awww Sorry, Ryan, I’ll ease up then ;)

  168. DiLo says:

    Love everyone’s passionate posts on here. Makes me STILL feel optimistic about the Pirates future just because of the continuously strong/ intelligent fan base that refuses to put up with mediocrity.

    Living on the West Coast now I tend to watch a lot of AL teams for the first time in my life (I live with a Rangers fan and Angels fan). It is simply night and day watching these teams compete compared to my bucco’s — who I still look forward to watching every single day for some odd reason. Obviously the hitting/ base running/ overall power is better in the AL. But little things like seeing Napoli (Rangers catcher) quickly try to pick off a runner at first the other night made me think “when’s the last time I’ve seen a Pirates catcher do that? Kendall?” Even the struggling Angels who are hitting .253 as a team (12th in the league) fired their hitting coach, released a proven vet (Bobby Abreu), and shook up the clubhouse because their line-up wasnt getting it done consistently. Granted, more pressure on that large of a payroll, but mediocrity in any sport should NEVER be tolerated by management. Unfortunately, it’s gotten to the point where its celebrated with our Pirates (we’re almost at .500!!!). Nutting is simply not aggressive enough to be successful in ANY sport.

    I know we’re in a completely different boat then those teams, but there is no way our Pirates, or any mlb team, should ever field a line-up like we did last night. After Walker, Cutch, El Toro are up, change the channel because there’s a 90% chance either of the following will happen: strike-out looking, ground out, pop-up, failed bunt, walk (which I celebrate like a double now), or runners left on. I cant even imagine our record if the pitching wasn’t playing well beyond their potential — which wont last.

    No GM is perfect, but how did we get CURSED with two guys in a row that are the absolute worst in acquiring major league talent? I cant name a “somewhat effective” FA bat we’ve brought in over the last 10 years even after I just googled it for 10 minutes. I’ll give NH the slight edge over Littlefield because of what he’s done with the rotation, the pen, and the aggressive amateur signings (Bell/ Heredia). Also because I still cant shake the hatred I have for Dave making the worst signings in Pirate history: Derek Bell and Jeromy Burnitz. Regardless, the conclusion can be drawn that whoever is in charge of “baseball operations” of our beloved Pirates is just a puppet on a long, flaccid string controlled by the boorish Bob Nutting. SELL BOB SELL!

    Sorry for the length. Had to get it out.

    Let us pray, that we get ONE hit on Verlander Friday.

  169. AJS says:

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7942366/owners-approve-wild-card-winners-hosting-games-1-2-division-series

    That sounds like the dumbest idea I have ever heard. Good job getting that better record. Your prize is to get 3 home games in the playoff series. The actch is that the first two are on the road and you may go home down 2-0 and risk only having one Home game. Good luck to you.

  170. Milo Hamilton says:

    For those of you wondering, this from Ed Bouchette today, “Rookie Mike Adams will go to left tackle and Marcus Gilbert will stay at right tackle a source close to the situation told me today.”

    Here’s my question, how does The Situation know what’s going with the Steelers ? I mean, should we ask Snooki how Ben’s dealing with the new offense ? And who is this source close to The Situation ? The Unit ?

  171. NMR says:

    Alright, thats it, I’m calling B.S. on Milo…no way one of the “old guys” has that much pop culture knowledge!

    Milo’s birth certificate is about as accurate as Tabata’s.

  172. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Milo

    That fact that you know who “the situation” and who snooki is………amazes me.

    To be honest, I hardly know who those people are and I’d love to keep them out of our blog………

    and BTW, yes to your last question.

  173. LuckyNKentucky says:

    NMR,

    I’m older than Milo and I know who Snooki is, unfortunately. Ask Bob Hasis if he does.

  174. Jandy says:

    NMR, I’m with ya on Milo. Lucky, you’re not old, yet…

    As far as Snooki, keep trash out of this blog, please!

  175. Milo Hamilton says:

    I love that show, I can’t help it. But now that Snooki’s pregnant I’m afraid the show is ruined forever. Kinda like when Cubby & Annette left the Mickey Mouse Club.

  176. LuckyNKentucky says:

    A Mother Teresa-eske statement, if I ever heard one!

  177. Jandy says:

    Lucky, are you bustin’ on Mother Teresa??? ;)

  178. cmat0829 says:

    Lots of passionate viewpoints all around…here’s my two cents:

    1) No politics I know, but not sure we aren’t past the point where we need to talk about players who are “Littlefield guys” vs. “NH guys”, much like most of the country wishes President Obama stops talking about the hole Bush left him to inherit. A General Manager does indeed lead the DRAFT strategy and execution, but isn’t he also in charge of ongoing player development and evaluation? Not sure why folks are so persistent in pointing out who was drafted or acquired by DL or NH. For better or for worse.

    2) Not sure I understand all the venom towards Clint Hurdle. His job is to win games and to put his team in best position to win games. Seems to me he has decided that the Pirates lack POWER so the only chance we have to score runs is to play “small ball”… steal bases, play for one run, bunt, etc. Now, I can be had that continuing to execute that strategy with players who don’t seem capable of doing so is the definition of “insanity” but this isn’t the roster that Earl Weaver (wait for a 3-run HR) could manage.

    3) As to the decision to stick with Meek (as well as to give Barajas, Barmes, McGehee extended chances to get on track) seems to be a good leadership strategy for a manager when the Pirates obviously lack confidence. Yes, they cemented a loss yesterday with the big 3-run double to LaRoche but how important could that have been to Meek’s confidence. Or to the team’s confidence that the Skipper “has their back”. As to the veterans, recall how many Free Agents are reluctant to sign in Pittsburgh regardless of the $$ and offer… seems to me, if the Pirates manager was seen as not giving vets a chance to perform to their track record it would be another nail in the coffin in attracting free agents. Again, it is likely past time for these guys to produce and Clint has said as much in recent days. What do you want him to do?

    I get that Pirates fans are frustrated. All these same fans predicted a sub-500 season this year and many of those predicted something close to last place. With that type of expectation, don’t decisions like trying to get Meek on track take precedent over one game in May? In that context, don’t the “trade JMAC for Kevin Youkils” clamors appear unbelievably foolish on many levels?

  179. Jandy says:

    All the new posters, please leet Bizrow know where you’re from so he can get you on the DK’s Lunatic’s list!

  180. cmat0829 says:

    Phoenix (near Scottsdale) Arizona. Pirates fan since 1976 (earliest memory at 5 years old as expressing support for the team!)

  181. Bizrow says:

    Thanks Jandy, been busy at work today, didn’t even get to go to the chat today. I’ll post the list on the game thread when I get home.

  182. Joe says:

    There’s nothing fans can do about it.

    Just take a look at the Bengals. Save for their only SB appearance, and Palmer getting his knee tore up against the Steelers in 2005, they have done NOTHING. And Mike Brown, yep, has put NEXT to nothing into that franchise (I mean, seriously…how does a city like Cincinnati NOT have an indoor practice facility???). That’s just one example. Donald Sterling of the Clippers is another.

    The 2012 Pirates, offensively, are on pace to go down as one of the worst of all time, not that the Pirates aren’t good at setting firsts from a negative standpoint already. What is sad is…if they could simply average 4 runs a game, with the pitching we have had, we probably would be in first place in the NL Central. As is, there’s no possible way the pitching staff can sustain this and, after the All Star break, you could see an even worse collapse than what they pulled this year.

    GIven the Pirates track record in the draft, they should fire their entire scouting department and start over, because THAT is what is killing this team. They can’t sign the big bats of the world (and, in all fairness, how is that working out for the Angels (Pujols) and the Nationals (Werth) right about now? Not to mention V.Wells and others). So they HAVE to develop from within.

    And it’s that failure, bottom line, that will continue to have the Pirates wallowing in mediocrity for the next decade.

 
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