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Vacation Call: Thursday discussion thread

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

I’m not working. But if I were, I’d absolutely marvel at the Pirates’ power this summer.

There’s always someone in every crowd who can claim to predict things. Not this. No one saw this coming. Not even the athletes themselves, most of whom would openly say through the spring that this would not be a team that would hit for power.

Comments

  1. JRay3 says:

    Nope did not see this coming. Did not see the team averaging 4.15 runs a game now in Mid-July and having more runs than teams like the Nationals, Marlins, Giants, Dodgers and as many runs as the Reds.

    Ever since temps have risen, summer has started we are witnessing power levels not seen in a very long time. Consider this, the Pirates are on pace to hit 179 HR’s this year. Take a look at how far back you have to search to find power levels near that pace.

    ’11 -107
    ’10- 126
    ’09- 125
    ’08- 153
    ’07- 148
    ’06- 141
    ’05- 139
    ’04- 142
    ’03- 163 close
    ’02- 142
    ’01- 161 close
    ’00- 168 real close
    ’99 171 in range and that team was led by Giles 39, Young 26, Martin 24, and Sprague 22.

    You have Cutch at 22, Alvarez at 19 both on pace to hit 30+ HR’s. The Pirates have not had two players hit 30+ HR’s in same season since Giles and Ramirez did back in 2001.

    Jones with 13 is on pace for 20+ and than you have five players all between 6-8 HR’s (Barajas, McKenry, Walker, Presley, and McGehee) and on pace for double digit HR numbers.

    After being the lowest scoring team in ALL of baseball back in April and May who could have seen this coming.

  2. Ed says:

    Was just looking at the stats. Cutch is a legitimate Triple Crown candidate.

    Leads in BA, even with the 0-fer yesterday by 15 points. Trails Braun in HR’s by 4 but Braun may have to go on the DL. Only one behind Beltran in RBI’s.

    Alvarez is in the top 5 in HR’s now as well.

  3. DemonDachshund says:

    The Triple Crown thing is pretty amazing when you think of it. Cutch hasn’t really had great OBP guys ahead of him to build his RBIs up, and didn’t hit his first HR of the season until May 8th.

    His July stats are just obscene. A .531 average and a 1.594 OPS. And that’s AFTER an 0-4 with a walk yesterday.

    His K:BB is over 2:1 though, so he might need more time in AAA. (ducks)

  4. manny _sanguine says:

    Seemed like everyone was calling for Gregg Ritchie’s head. Now you never hear his name. Does he get any credit for this turn around? He was sure taking a lot of the blame for the early-season miseries.

    DK: Speaking only for myself …

    http://triblive.com/sports/columnists/2139204-74/pirates-lincoln-team-burnett-pitch-pittsburgh-pnc-sutton-tabata-thome

  5. Ed says:

    Just the way it is Manny. Rarely hear of the coaches when things are going well.

    It’s just mind blowing what has happened since June 1st. From historic ineptitude to Murderers Row.

    Sixty homers on the road for the season now, nine ahead of the next closest NL team in St. Louis.

  6. Jandy says:

    All this gives me the goosebumps!

  7. Curt says:

    I enjoyed watching the home run derby yesterday. Is it just me or does Pedro’s home run stroke seem so simple and compact when he crushes those balls?

    I think we can all agree the 1999 team had some “help” with the power! Maybe an asterisk could be on that year.

    Let’s Go Bashin’ Bucs!

  8. pants-n-at says:

    I would’ve never expected this kind of power from this lineup. Concerning the recent road trip, a couple observations on this blog I agree with:

    Jones hitting better against lefties. He should get more playing time. Definitely the MVP of yesterday’s game. His HR broght this team back to life.

    Lucky to end this roadtrip 3-3. Defense looked sloppy at times, pitching was not up to par and too many errors on the basepaths.

    I give credit to radiowave for ending Walker’s hitting streak for suggesting it be part of the over/under.

    The biggest power surprise to me: 15 Hrs from the catcher’s spot!! I’ll take it!

  9. JAL says:

    JAL’s By the Time I Get to Phoenix 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/

    4 Pirates Prospects Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012draft

    PIRATE BLOGS

    5—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Who Says the Bucs Don’t Have Power?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/07/pirates-notebook-who-says-the-bucs-dont-have-power.html

    Prospect Watch: McPherson Racking Up Strikeouts; Latimore Homers

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/07/prospect-watch-mcpherson-racking-up-strikeouts-latimore-homers.html

    Wood Stumbles In 9th For Indians Loss

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/07/wood-stumbles-in-9th-for-indians-loss.html

    First Pitch: MLB’s Draft Lottery System Doesn’t Achieve Its Goal

    http://blogs.piratesprospects.com/williams/first-pitch-mlbs-draft-lottery-system-doesnt-achieve-its-goal/

    The Case For Walker’s Extension

    http://blogs.piratesprospects.com/creagh/the-case-for-walkers-extension/

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates’ Bats Back Up James McDonald In 9-6 Win

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/7/18/3168276/pirates-bats-back-up-james-mcdonald-in-9-6-win

    7 Rumbunter

    Building the Bucs: A Look At How 2012 Came Together

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/07/18/building-the-bucs-a-look-at-how-2012-came-together/

    Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Rumors: Bucs Looking at Paul Maholm

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/07/18/pittsburgh-pirates-trade-rumors-bucs-looking-at-paul-maholm/

    8 McEffect

    7/18 Recap | Pirates 9 Rockies 6

    http://www.mceffect.com/2012/07/718-recap-pirates-9-rockies-6.html

    Tony Sanchez Heating Up in Indianapolis

    http://www.mceffect.com/2012/07/tony-sanchez-heating-up-in-indianapolis.html

    9 The Green Weenie

    Four HR Blast Bucs Past Rox 9-6

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/07/four-hr-blast-bucs-past-rox-9-6.html

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Bombs bail out J-Mac

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/07/bombs-bail-out-j-mac/

    11 WHY GAVS

    Game 91: Pirates 9 Rockies 6

    http://whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/july-2012/game-91-pirates-9-rockies-6.html

  10. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 CBSSports

    Pirates 9, Rockies 6

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/recap/MLB_20120718_PIT@COL

    13 Denver Post

    Guthrie gathers boos as Pirates defeat Rockies 9-6 in series finale

    http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_21104823/guthrie-gathers-boos-pirates-defeat-rockies-9-6

    14 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Watch

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-teamreportmtze87ibuk0yc-20120718,0,1781000.story

    15 Bradenton Herald

    Bradenton approves plans for $7.5 million McKechnie Field expansion

    http://www.bradenton.com/2012/07/19/4119552/bradenton-approves-plans-for-75.html

    16 KDKA

    Rockies Manager Jim Tracy: ‘Thursday Morning, I Will Be One Huge Pirates Fan’

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/07/18/rockies-manager-jim-tracy-thursday-morning-i-will-be-one-huge-pirates-fan/

    17 WHIO

    DAY TWO: Reds rocked by D-Backs

    http://www.whiotv.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/cincinnatireds/entries/2012/07/18/day_two_reds_rocked_by_dbacks.html/

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    18 PBC Site

    Bucs slug four homers to take series from Rox

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_07_18_pitmlb_colmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Hurdle: McCutchen’s hot streak among best he’s seen

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120718&content_id=35142538&notebook_id=35143874&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Need to Know

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=17687

    20 Sweetspot

    First competitive balance lottery held!

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/27026/first-competitive-balance-lottery-held

  11. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Sports Illustrated: ‘If There Was a year Pittsburgh Might Take a Step Back, It Would Be This One

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/7/18/3166712/pittsburgh-steelers-preseason-predictions-afc-north-isaac-redman-rashard-mendenhall-casey-hampton

    Pittsburgh Steelers 21st Most Valuable Sports Franchise in the World

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/7/18/3166732/pittsburgh-steelers-21st-most-valuable-sports-franchise-in-the-world

    22 Steelers Depot

    -Joey Porter Says He Plans On Retiring This Year As A Member Of The Steelers

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/07/joey-porter-says-he-plans-on-retiring-this-year-as-a-member-of-the-steelers/

    23 Steelers Gab

    Preseason Practice Schedule for the Steelers Announced

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/07/18/preseason-practice-schedule-for-the-steelers-announced/

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Steelers Finally Have Experienced Depth at Their Disposal Along Offensive Line

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/07/18/steelers-finally-have-experienced-depth-at-their-disposal-along-offensive-line/

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Pitt’s 2013 Schedule

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/07/18/pitts-2013-schedule/

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Larry Fitzgerald Almost A Linebacker At Penn State?

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/7/18/3167741/larry-fitzgerald-pitt-football-penn-state-joe-paterno-pittsburgh-panthers-arizona-cardinals

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Smith Named Big 12 Offensive Preseason Player of the Year

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=53898

    28 WV Illustrated

    Big 12 Officials Rely On Philosophies, Rules To Make Calls

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/19043991/big-12-officials-rely-on-philosophies-rules-to-make-calls

    Soccer(football)

    29 Sky Sports

    Transfer Clockwatch

    http://www1.skysports.com/transfer-centre/clockwatch

    30 Daily Telegraph

    AmaZulu 0 Manchester United 1: match report

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/9410377/AmaZulu-0-Manchester-United-1-match-report.html

    31 World Soccer Daily

    10 Ten stories you need to read, July 18th, 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-18th-july-2012

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    32 Pensburgh

    Can the Penguins Sign Shane Doan?

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/7/18/3167704/can-the-penguins-sign-shane-doan

  12. JAL says:

    Traveling along with Glen Campbell, By the Time I Get to Phoenix. Written by Jimmy Webb, first recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1965 and a big hit for Campbell in 1967

  13. Thundercrack says:

    So did I see that the amount of spending for First round draft picks went from $89 million to $74 million this year. And the Pirates didn’t sign their first round pick.

    So that is an average of $500,000 saved per team. Big flippin’ whoop.

    To the Red Sox & Yankees, I say – Thanks for looking out for us. We appreciate the giant savings this year.

  14. NMR says:

    @manny

    Personally speaking, I think fans are still holding their breath with the hitting.

    The Ritchie criticism came to a head with the historically inept first two months of the season, but it was building since well into last year when fans saw almost universal regression in players like McCutchen(awful second half), Walker, Tabata, and king of all, Alvarez.

    It’s hard to trust a mirage like this when you’ve seen first hand just how bad these players can be. By all means, though, I think it would be an EXCELLENT story if the offense was able to be sustained somewhere in the middle through the rest of the season.

    Ray Searage has been heaped with praise due to the pitching of the last two years. Clint Hurdle is extremely popular for getting the most out of his players.

    I don’t see any reason why fans wouldn’t laud Ritchie for his work as well…if it continues.

  15. CWalton_67 says:

    “Hope…is a dangerous thing… ”

  16. Jandy says:

    CWalton, nice video…thanks!

  17. buggee says:

    >>> Macdonald’s pace between pitches seemed indicative of his previous seasons; when he struggled, he slowed his pace down. But I’m pretty sure the Rockies had ALOT to do with that because they kept backing out of the box. If that was intentional, it was very good strategy by Tracy because it seemed to inhibit Macdonald’s ability to get into a good rythem (sp?).

    >>> I wonder what Searage said to Macdonald. Looked like he was scolding JMAC pretty good there. I also wonder how a grown man can stuff a baseball-sized wad of chew or gum in his face then get into a yelling match and even be a little coherent without splashing spittle all over the place.

    >>> The tiny Wifelett noticed that all the ballplayers seemed to be yanking at their groins alot. She notices things like that. I explained to her that it’s because of “protection” and it’s not all that comfortable at times. She then stated that she rarely sees hockey players do that, to which I said, “hmmmm”.

  18. Stennettorian says:

    “Regression to the mean” is a statistical term that means all extremes will usually move toward the center when studied over a long period of time (like a baseball season). When applied to the Pirates’ hitting, this is actually a good thing for us. They were SO abysmal in the beginning of the year that they are regressing to the mean by being so over the top now.

    If this is truly the case, then expect this torrid pace to start ending sometime in early August, and level off for the rest of the season. Still, they are going to end up ahead of previous years, and if the power comes at the right times, they could win enough games to make the … dare I say it? … playoffs…

  19. Jandy says:

    buggee, your wife is a smart lady…hockey players do not go around yanking on their groin areas. ;)

  20. jeffsbar says:

    I found this quote from Jal’s Link number 2, “MLB teams can trade the draft picks they obtain in the Competitive Balance Lottery. The picks, which can only be traded once, cannot be sold or traded during the offseason. In theory, the draft picks could be involved in some of this summer’s deadline deals.”

    The Pirates received the second pick following the first round. Being given the option to include that pick when making a deadline deal could help Neal put together a more enticing package to offer AZ for Upton or to someone else.

  21. Mike A. says:

    Wanted to offer my apologies for my premature aggravation over the early deficit during yesterday’s game thread. Nice comeback (albeit sloppy) win. That was prime evidence of why the Rockies are where they are. Guthrie was awful, their defense was unstable, and their hitters’ approach (especially when the Bucs took the lead) was questionable at best. They looked a lot like the Jim Tracy-led Pirates…of course none of it is Tracy’s fault.

  22. tdb1977 says:

    Its another off day. UGH! Didn’t we just go through 4 of those last week? :) At least I have one more night of MLB Extra Innings on satelite for free. Hopefully, the Reds game isn’t this afternoon and I can sit back and watch it tonight. Hope for a D’Backs win and head into the Miami series with a half game lead in the Central.

  23. cosmo says:

    @ Jandy

    You are into hockey, Flyers signed Shea Weber to a 14 year offer sheet. Nashville
    has 7 days to match it. Could cost Flyers up to 4 1st rd draft picks as compensation.

  24. Naterosboro says:

    I don’t know about everyone else, but this made me laugh to start my day:

    “His K:BB is over 2:1 though, so he might need more time in AAA. (ducks)”

    @ DemonDachshund +100 for your post at #3

  25. Naterosboro says:

    “Could cost Flyers up to 4 1st rd draft picks as compensation.”

    As the Penguins have shown, those aren’t necessarily all that important. Who was the last first round pick to make an impact for the Penguins? Staal?

    See?

  26. Jandy says:

    cosmo, yes I am a huge Pens fan. I saw that article as well. I’m thinking Nashville meets that offer and retains Weber.
    But you never know.

  27. pants-n-at says:

    @ tdb. Reds play at around noon today. We’ll have 1st all to ourselves before dinner!

  28. NMR says:

    We could talk about how the Miami Marlins have become quite possibly the worst franchise in the National League?

    Remember when everybody was falling all over themselves praising them because they signed a #2 starter, reliever in his mid 30s, and the highest paid shortstop on the market(nevermind that their previous shortstop was the best player on the team)?

    They almost doubled their payroll and are only marginally better than the 90 loss squad of last season.

  29. tmp444 says:

    Last off day before the deadline……will someone in the FO just DO SOMETHING??

  30. Arriba Wilver says:

    Mike A at #20—They have products now to help with “premature aggravation,” or so I’ve been told.

    On a different subject, how could hockey players “yank” on anything with those big gloves?

  31. Milo Hamilton says:

    @NMR

    Not to mention hiring baseball’s #1 loose cannon as manager.

  32. NMR says:

    “Last off day before the deadline……will someone in the FO just DO SOMETHING??”

    Maybe Dejan can just cut and past that whole week long rant from back in May.

    It might actually be relevant this time around.

  33. NMR says:

    @Milo

    You mean you aren’t convinced he’s the right guy to get the most out of Hanley Ramirez?

    Look at the money they’re spending! They’re trying!

  34. Milo Hamilton says:

    @NMR

    When Steinbrenner was in his heyday & Gene Autry with the Angels, I called it being in full collect-a-guy mode. Not building a team, just collecting guys.

  35. NMR says:

    Ha, I like that…add it to the Miloisms with Convenience List.

  36. Milo Hamilton says:

    Convenience List is Groat’s. I just borrowed it.

    Is anyone counting my posts ? Lucky ?

  37. Thundercrack says:

    Saw that the Nationals cut Rick Ankiel. He was their “McClouth” signing.

    It happens to most teams.

  38. Drew71 says:

    I see that early this morning someone gave Jandy goosebumps.

    Need to cut that out.

    And maybe I can address a question from earlier today.

    Hockey players are on skates. If they yanked, they’d probably fall down.

  39. JMB says:

    I thought Ankiel was our shining beacon of hope for Allie?

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/6/4/3062054/stetson-allie-pirates-hitting

    But RA is really just Nate McL?

    Kidding aside, here’s to hoping Allie gets it going at the plate.

    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=p_pbp&pid=592105

  40. Vince says:

    So here we are with a stockpile of NHL defensemen prospects. Soooo…..what now?
    Can you (or do you) want to keep all of them in the minors without parting with any of them? Not sure how this waiver thing works when you try to move players back and forth between the NHL and Wilkes-Barre. Anyone know?

  41. tmp444 says:

    JMB: His K:BB ratio is also 2:1…just like that wannabe MVP we have on the Big League Roster……I agree w/ Demon @ #3…send him down. But I guess, all the way down to the GCL.

    (doesn’t so much duck as he pancakes self on floor)

  42. JHadar says:

    Silver Lining???? Does Appel’s refusal mean more money available at the trade deadline?

  43. gregenstein says:

    “Could cost Flyers up to 4 1st rd draft picks as compensation.”

    As the Penguins have shown, those aren’t necessarily all that important. Who was the last first round pick to make an impact for the Penguins? Staal?

    See?
    ————————————————————–
    The flip side of this: Toronto trade a 1st round pick and some others for Phil Kessel. They tanked, which gave Boston the 2nd overall pick they used to take Tyler Seguin.

    If Philly tanks, Nashville will have found a gold mine. How comfortable are the Flyers in goalie again?

  44. buggee says:

    >>> Gotta admit, all the groin-yanking by ballplayers (no pun intended) makes for some pretty unsightly tv. Doesn’t that violate some kind of morals tv clause or something?

  45. Naje says:

    @NMR (No. 32) -

    ADD A BAT!!!

    NOW!

  46. Arriba Wilver says:

    buggee–I think only if they say certain words while doing it.

  47. NMR says:

    @Naje

    And now, approximately 12 weeks after Dejan wildly mocked anyone who disagreed, I’ll join the trite catch phrase party.

    GET A BAT NOW!!

    Shame on me for questioning the baseball intelligence of a man who confidently stated that the 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates team would hit.

  48. pants-n-at says:

    D-Backs – Reds in a rain delay

  49. Bizrow says:

    4 first rounders for a player is pretty dam expensive, IMO anyways, maybe you don’t always get an NHL caliber player, but they are trading chips

    I’m thinking the Preds can’t match the $$

  50. Boise Bucco says:

    I really wanted to type something like “It’s a small-market team, they don’t have the money, they can’t afford it, they’re getting screwed, it’s not their fault”

    Then I remembered that the Predators aren’t the Pirates, and there’s a salary cap in the NHL. If they don’t have the money, well sorry about your luck. Be in the ECHL or something.

    On a side note, Nashville is a really nice city; I’ve driven through there quite a few times, and over the years I’ve had to stay overnight a lot. I loved it there, and if I got a job opportunity, I’d definitely move there. NHL Free Agents, if you read this comments section, Nashville is a nice place.

  51. Naje says:

    @ NMR -

    Shame on the writer who wrote that about the 2011 team and even more shame on said writer for quoting the notoriously brilliant, albeit stone-handed, Ryan Doumit.

    Sometimes the buddy in the clubhouse can be your worst enemy… especially when they know not of what they speak.

    DK: The direct quote was: “Dude, this team will hit.”

    The quote was spoken by Doumit, not me. Because it was used as the headline in a blog entry, a lot of folks then — and apparently still now — think I said it. I didn’t. Even the headline was in quotation marks.

    Also, the next “buddy in the clubhouse” I have with any team anywhere will be the first.

  52. NMR says:

    @Boise

    The Preds have a boat load of money to spend before reaching the salary FLOOR.

    I still think 14 year contracts are ridiculous, though. I’d say that I would love to see Philly saddled with that kind of cap hit, but in reality, there’s probably some dumb GM in the league that would take the trade once Weber started to decline.

  53. Boise Bucco says:

    @NMR–That’s what I was thinking!

    Philly–You should ABSOLUTELY spend Crosby money on a D-man. Because Shea Weber is DEFINITELY as good as Bobby Orr. $7.8M left in cap space? That’s plenty of room! Sign Weber! He’ll make all the difference! /Sarcasm

    Ron Cook wrote a pretty good article the other day (I know, hear me out…) about maybe how the Pens should just stand pat, see what they’ve got, and make some moves at the trading deadline. They really don’t look all that bad. Kunitz and Dupuis on Crosby’s wings is about as good as he needs, and Malkin has proved that all he needs is Neal and a bag of pucks and he’s gonna score goals. Let the young defensemen compete for a roster spot, Paul Martin is going to rebound, and they will be fine.

    In the meantime, once the trade deadline comes, Shero can make the moves that need made then. Plus, he’ll have the added advantage of knowing that the rest of the East will already be at the cap ceiling, because you know the Rangers aren’t gonna stand around and let the Phlyers sign everybody :)

  54. CraigWilson'sRevenge says:

    4 first rounders for Weber isn’t a big price at all.

    Somebody on another message board wrote that the Pens got pretty close to that with the Staal Trade.

    an 8th overall pick in Puliot, Sutter (a former first rounder), and Dumoulin (a 2nd rounder who has played very well, and is getting some respect).

    add in the fact that the Canes did it for one year of Staal as opposed to 14 years of Weber, and that those will probably be low first rounders.

    Weber will be a surefire star for at least the first 10 of those years. Totally worth it IMO.

  55. dcpfjr says:

    Baseball players have time to notice an itch in the crotch. Hockey players are too busy getting hit and hitting someone else to notice such mundane inconveniences.

  56. cmat0829 says:

    Repeat, Neal’s marching orders as we approach the trade deadline..and really most in the know in the industry don’t see anything really happening until July 29th or so… so you can exhale for a bit……

    1. Add a starting pitcher. Pitching is the name of the game and this rotation needs some insurance. It can be Wandy Rodriguez or Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza or James Shields or even someone like a Brandon McCarthy.

    2. Add an outfielder, especially one that can hit near the top of the order. Victorino please. Or Denard Span. Or perhaps someone like Emilio Bonifacio?

    3. Add a bench piece / LH bullpen veteran. This bench as currently configured won’t work.
    sutton is a good utility piece, JayHey as well. Need another option with some experience. With Jones’ versatility, can be infielder or outfielder doesnt really matter.

  57. bobhasis says:

    Have been having connectivity problems with Comcast (now resolved hopefully) and serious virus problems with my Internet capability (not yet sure if that’s ok yet), so I’m sending this message as a test.

  58. Derek Smith says:

    It sure has been fun to watch. Everyone says chicks dig the long ball. Well, I’m not a chick and I think most baseball fans in general aren’t chicks, and I think it is safe to say we all dig this.

  59. pants-n-at says:

    And Arizona takes the early 1-0 lead! Go D-Backs!

  60. pants-n-at says:

    2-0! Top of the 3rd.

  61. jeffsbar says:

    Just read on the site for the Worldwide Leader in Sports that, “The deal is for 14 years and is worth about $110 million, a source confirmed to ESPN.com. Weber, 26, will receive $56 million in the first four years of the deal.”

    Given the ownership issues in Nashville, would they be able to match that front loaded contract?

  62. DemonDachshund says:

    I see the situation as:

    Needs – Top of the order high OBP OF or SS + RH bench guy.
    Wants – SP + that RH bench guy being good enough to start in RF against LHP.
    Nice to have – Preferably LH bullpen guy (bye Cruz)

    Would be nice to get someone to help protect Cutch, but I’m starting to agree that having someone setting the plate for Cutch would be even better.

  63. JAL says:

    Pirates need someone who can get on base, especially in the lead off position. OBA for Pirates leadoff hitters is .268, that is poor.

  64. bobhasis says:

    I just wanted to comment – from above – on the support of Ritchie, simply because we are creating more offense now. Just what did he do and with whom?

    Cutch and Walker are natural in my mind. Pedro always had the power – which he displayed – but still can’t hit, and is definitely not a fouth hitter. Ritchie couldn’t have helped him, because he K’s far too many times.

    Then there is Barmes, who is ALWAYS off balance, lunging and creating a very weak swing. He needs to be back on his heels with balance, so as to create driving power, not teetering on his toes and balls of his feet and blooping or popping out. (or striking out).

    Can anyone say what Ritchie achieved with McGehee, Jones, Barajas that wasn’t already there? How much has he helped Presley, JHay, Gorkys or Mercer? He may have helped The Fort.

    I’ll give him the benefit of doubt, I just don’t see what he did, even though we are a far better team now, offensively speaking.

    Hitting coaches might be over-rated, or under-appreciated. If he IS the impetus behind all of our scoring and hitting, he gets my kudos.

  65. NMR says:

    Yep. Thats the bob we know and love.

  66. tmp444 says:

    6-0 DBacks!!!

  67. JAL says:

    Bob H

    We will probably never know what Ritchie did with who except for the story from several weeks ago about how he helped Cutch in the minors.

  68. pants-n-at says:

    6-0! leake yanked from the game.

  69. Thundercrack says:

    Also, the next “buddy in the clubhouse” I have with any team anywhere will be the first.

    Does Jack Wilson know this?
    :-)

    DK: He most assuredly does.

  70. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Milo,

    That’s eleventy-two and eleventy-one for Jandy.

    BTW,
    Dude, this team HAS hit. Thank God, because the pitching has faded some.

  71. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I guess I need to stand corrected for all the times I kidded DK and said “This team will hit” and it was Doumit all the time. I’ll take his list of famous quotes down to 3:

    1. The Steelers will beat the Ravens
    2. The Pens will win the Cup
    3. Appel will sign

    But he’s on vacation, so he won’t get mad now, right?

    DK: Appel will sign? The other two, guilty as charged.

  72. DemonDachshund says:

    Hate to poke the Marte bear again, but a thought occurred to me: If you bring him up and put him in for Presley, where does he hit?

    He certainly has the speed for leadoff, but as has been mentioned once or twice, he strikes out a lot and does not walk much at this point in his career, which are NOT traits you at the top of the order. His OBP is right around .350 in AAA, but whether that translates to MLB remains to be seen.

    2-spot also seems a bad fit, given the K’s. Makes hit and runs and moving the runner along a lot harder.

    3 is Cutch. 6 is Pedro’s comfort zone. 7th and 8th are pretty much set to catcher + Barmes. Cleanup is out.

    5th, with Walker leading off and McGehee hitting 2nd against RHP, Presley and Walker at the top against LHP?

    Or put him at the top regardless of the K’s with the reasoning that he’ll do at least as well as Presley?

  73. pants-n-at says:

    DK can’t stay away!

  74. LuckyNKentucky says:

    DK,

    Thought you hinted at it in a chat. Doesn’t matter. Just yankin’ your chain, anyway. We all thought it, too. When you get my age, it follows that folks like to catch you in errors at time. Just ask Bob Hasis, he knows what I mean.

  75. pants-n-at says:

    Crap! 6-4. Cincy trying to make a comeback.

  76. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m compiling a list of all the things I was wrong about this baseball season. It’s taking longer than expected. But I’d like to wait until I’m finished so I only use one post. But here’s a preview – Evan Meek will be a huge key to this season. Too bad all the people that get everything right can’t join in the fun. :)

  77. tmp444 says:

    6-6….*headdesk*

  78. DemonDachshund says:

    Just noticed that the entire Pirate roster is at a 2:1 K:BB ratio or worse, led by our good friend Mr. Barmes at 60:5 (aka 12:1).

    Think there’s room in AAA for the Pirates to start playing there? And since the Buccos are beating most of the league, we’ll need more room than that.

    The Cubs will have to start at AA, I think.

  79. Milo Hamilton says:

    Big key to the Reds comeback today was Xavier Paul walking as a pinch hitter. I can see why you’d want to be careful with him with a 3 run lead. He’s oh so dangerous in those situations. SMH.

  80. JaxBuc says:

    @DD (#74)

    It wouldn’t bother me at all to have PRNW batting leadoff. But then, I’m not sure what his K:BB ratio is.

  81. tmp444 says:

    7-6….fail.

  82. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Milo,

    Eleventy-three. You weren’t wrong. Meek has been a big part of the success of the the Indy Indians. Credit where credit is due.

  83. Jay G -Jacksonville FL via New Castle says:

    Presley LF
    Walker
    Cutch
    Jones 1B
    Marte RF
    Alvarez
    Catcher
    Barmes
    P

    Would rather see Presley in there for the time being (as long as he starts swinging at the outside corner pitches) than Casey…..Casey can platoon…………….Don’t think Marte can handle the 5th slot????….Maybe not…Let’s find somewhere to throw him…

  84. Bizrow says:

    Rough crowd in here today.

    Jinz will melt if we end up in a pennant race

  85. Michael says:

    Any addition to the Pirates other than a quality starter is secondary in importance….GET THAT ARM!!….still no link between the Pirates and Dempster…just like last year when they let Jason Kubel slip through the trade deadline without a real attempt.

    The team will go as far as the pitching staff carries it. Make the additions to the bench to rid the team of guys like Hernandez, etc. Add a complementary bat as well, but the major piece has to be the quality starter.

  86. Boise Bucco says:

    A little preview of the weekend series, Paul Maholm and the Cubs have given up 1 thru 6 innings to the Marlins. Also, did anyone else see the Maholm trade rumors over on Rumbunter? I haven’t really seen them anywhere else. Honestly, he reminds me of a left-handed Correia. I just don’t know how he’d fit into the Bucs’ rotation at this point.

  87. Milo Hamilton says:

    D’Backs folding like a house of cards. I think they need to start trading people. Immediately.

  88. tmp444 says:

    @Milo — Upton due to bat 4th in the top of the 9th, down 1. Just sayin’…….

  89. CraigWilson'sRevenge says:

    soo uhhhh Justin Upton with a go-ahead homer in a few minutes???

  90. tmp444 says:

    2 up, 2 down. Upton on deck.

  91. tmp444 says:

    Chapman gets the DBacks to go 1-2-3. Reds win 7-6.

  92. CraigWilson'sRevenge says:

    now i know what reds fans felt like when the pirates came back on the rockies yesterday.

  93. tmp444 says:

    All 6 pitches to Paul Goldschmidt to end the game….fastballs:

    99, 99, 101, 100, 100, 99.

  94. JohninOshkosh says:

    Got here late today. Regarding the “buddy in the clubhouse” kerfuffle:

    One of my all time favorite scenes in the rich history of the American cinema. Lester Bangs explains life as a rock journalist to his young protege, William, in the brilliant Cameron Crowe film, “Almost Famous.”

    Lester Bangs: So, you’re the one who’s been sending me those articles from your school newspaper.
    William Miller: I’ve been doing some stuff for a local underground paper, too.
    Lester Bangs: What, are you like the star of your school?
    William Miller: They hate me.
    Lester Bangs: You’ll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle.
    Lester Bangs: You CANNOT make friends with the rock stars. That’s what’s important. If you’re a rock journalist – first, you will never get paid much. But you will get free records from the record company. And they’ll buy you drinks, you’ll meet girls, they’ll try to fly you places for free, offer you drugs… I know. It sounds great. But they are not your friends. These are people who want you to write sanctimonious stories about the genius of the rock stars, and they will ruin rock and roll and strangle everything we love about it.

  95. cosmo says:

    Stephen Drew .192 BA, seems like a good fit here.

    Royals signed Jason Kendall to AA contract.

  96. cosmo says:

    John

    I thought DK’s greatest perk was the magnificent view of the Pirates Charities Sign @ PNC Park.

  97. NMR says:

    @Lucky

    Come on, Dejan never said Appel would sign. Just that some Boras guys players always sign. How could you possibly make the connection?

    Sheesh, this place is turning into a court room.

  98. NMR says:

    shoot, forgot to insert several smiley faces of varied expression….

  99. Drew71 says:

    Cosmo – I thought Dejan’s greatest perk was us.

    But next year I’ll claim I was just quoting you when I wrote that.

    Too perky?

  100. NMR says:

    ^^^ “Like”

  101. NMR says:

    Stephen Drew trade rumors?

    Didn’t the D’Backs owner publicly call out Drew and Upton this year?

    Maybe I’m dreaming, and I’m almost certainly wrong, but this almost has the feel of Owner forcing GM’s hand.

  102. Thundercrack says:

    too perky is when you provide a link.

  103. Dejan,

    I know you are on vacation so you are not reading anything here.

    But I’m saying it plainly——no prevarication——YOU BETTER TAKE YOUR KIDS AND WIFE TO KENNYWOOD DURING YOUR TIME OFF!!!!!!!

  104. Thundercrack says:

    Is Starbucks at Kennywood?

  105. Drew71 says:

    SMILEY FACES ARE TOO FREAKING PERKY

    link THAT

  106. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hugh Hefner made a fortune by believing in perkiness…

  107. twentytwo22 says:

    Yes to Drew. He’s back and playing. Don’t just assume washed up and injured. It’ll be another Youkilis. Drew is 3 years younger. His numbers right now are on Barmes’ level. A good series and Drew surpasses Barmes.

    The thing about Drew is that he is a good leadoff hitter. 928 Plate Appearances, .285/.343/.480/.823
    The Pirates’ weakest lineup spot is leadoff .225/.268/.352/.620
    The Pirates’ lineup is tearing it up except for SS (.204/.238/.278/.515) and LF (.202/.245/.330/.575).

    The thing about getting Drew is, because he is a SS and bats leadoff is that you can use that LF spot for another bat. Also, you can recall a rookie like Marte and take the pressure off him by batting him 7th.

    1 L SS Drew
    2 S 2B Walker
    3 R CF McCutchen
    4 L RF Jones
    5 R 1B McGehee
    6 L 3B Alvarez
    7 R LF Marte
    8 R C Barajas/McKenry
    9 P

  108. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Me thinks we see why Arizona is in SELLING mode….

    By the way, the Friday Three Play line will go up in the WEDNESDAY Game Thread at or around 8 AM tomorrow. Just need someone to re-post it to Friday’s game thread. Thanks!!

  109. bobhasis says:

    I’m not sure why we would need Justin Upton. For the rumored (or speculated) future stars they would ask for, I wouldn’t go for him or Starlin Castro.

    Since we are now one of the best offensive teams – in numerous categories – in the majors, I think the consensus on this blog has been to seek an ARM. I agree with that.

    Now which arm, and for how long is the question. Funny how Maholm is doing exactly what we knew he would, and would be that reliable innings-user fourth or fifth starter this staff could use. I still think we are strong enough with what we have – UNLESS somehow magically someone drops in our lap.

    I also need to say that despite what I have said about Barmes limitations, he has been terrific in the field recently, which has helped our defense big time.

    I’m sayin’, let’s stand pat for two-three weeks if we can.

  110. Figures that it would take a Wisconsinite to comment about the udders that Hugh Hefner paid attention to.

  111. JohninOshkosh says:

    Groat:

    I’m just trying to ..ahem…hang with buggee’s earlier posts.

  112. Oshkosh b’gosh,

    I know what you’re trying to pull . . . . . .

  113. twentytwo22 says:

    Justin Upton 2012 vs Aramis Ramirez 2003.
    Upton 24 yo .273/.354/.395/.749
    Ramirez 24 yo .280/.330/.448/.778

    Career numbers Upton now, Ramirez time of trade.
    Upton 666 games 98 HR 334 RBI .276/.357/.476/.832
    Ramirez 559 games 76 HR 316 RBI .263/.312/.435/.747

    You could say that Aramis Ramirez only had 1 good year for the Pirates and you would be right. Except that you ignored the fact that it was Ramirez’ 24 YEAR OLD YEAR! Same with Upton.

    How about making amends and exorcising some demons? That trade would be good for the spirit.

    Drew + Upton then get a SP and win it all. Bartman can even sit down the LF line. We forgive you Steve!

    Or if you hang posters of prospect rankings on your bedroom wall Drew and Marte. Or Barmes and Marte or Barmes and Presley.

  114. NMR says:

    @22

    Will Arizona take Bobby Hill?

    Deal.

  115. Naje says:

    DK–
    Gave full credit for Doumit’s quote to Doumit. Just giving a little ribbing.

    As for your baseball acumen and writing… well, I think you know where I stand with your work: none better. And on that beat… with those teams…? We, the fans, were spoiled by your tireless efforts and your astute skills as a writer. We got your best…always. And still do… very much looking forward to the Olympic coverage…n’at…

  116. JD says:

    I’m going to see the Indy Indians play the mighty Toledo Mud Hens tomorrow night. Will I see Marte play in person, or will I see him in Bucs highlights?

  117. LuckyNKentucky says:

    What do we do with the 10-million dollar man if we get Drew?

    JD,

    Marte has some issues with how he holds his mouth while at the plate. Until he resolves that, you won’t see him in Buc highlights. He’ll be on one of the corners in Hoosierland. Drew Sutton holds his mouth correctly.

  118. Milo Hamilton says:

    Here’s an update. Today, the Penguins did nothing.

  119. Eric Bowser says:

    Usually, when a team gets better, it is because one aspect of the team improved over prior year’s numbers by addressing that issue via trade or free agency.

    Pirates are 11 games over .500 because they’ve improved at the plate and on the mound.

    Runs allowed: -.62 per game
    2011: 4.40
    2012: 3.78

    Runs scored: +.38 per game
    2011: 3.77
    2012: 4.15

    That’s an overall improvement of 1 full run per game in run differential.

  120. Eric Bowser says:

    Pirates GM isn’t offering a team what they want, where have we heard this before…

    so it begins, Pirates are being picked on (fair or not) for not giving up their best prospects for free agent rentals like Shane Victorino (offer reported was Jared Hughes).

    I’m not buying the report by Perrotto about Justin Wilson for Billy Butler, that’s pretty insulting for any low ball offer, even for Huntington.

  121. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Taillon throwing tonight. He’s through 3 with only 1 run, 3 hits, 1 walk and no K’s. 43 pitches.ERA is up to 4.39. Maybe no AA for him this season.

  122. Milo Hamilton says:

    Kris & Anna Benson have called it quits after 13 years of “marriage”. As the Deadspin story put it, “If a boring overpaid pitcher and a former stripper can’t make it, who can ?”

    We should have been able to buy tickets for what was going on off the field in those days.

  123. Drew71 says:

    They just HAVE to get Drew.

    They just HAVE to get Drew.

    They just HAVE to get Drew.

  124. Arriba Wilver says:

    If they get Drew, EYE will make it MYE mission to put a smiley after his name every time I mention him.

  125. Drew71 says:

    Then DFA the bum.

  126. DemonDachshund says:

    @Lucky -

    “What do we do with the 10-million dollar man if we get Drew?”

    Maybe Derek Bell has some room on his boat…

  127. LuckyNKentucky says:

    DD,

    Good thought. We ate almost as much with the Matt Morris fiasco. At least Morris and Barmes put forth their best effort. Operation Shutdown did just that.

  128. JMB says:

    @EB

    Those are definitely not offers that would prolong convo, if true.

    However, Victorino isnt having a great season, he’s older, and he is a rental. So I can’t see giving up too much for him either.

    KC is supposedly desperate for SP’s for next year’s offense heavy team.

    I’d love to hear what NH is offering for Upton.

  129. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Pirates Interested In Paul Maholm
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/07/royals-pirates-interested-in-paul-maholm.html

    #WereGettingTheBandBackTogether

  130. JMB says:

    I wonder if NH would pick up the $6.5mm option for 2013 if we get PM?

  131. JRay3 says:

    @ EB @ JMB – if those are true offers we may very well be looking at the team we will be carrying into August.

    if true it may show that NH is better at being a seller than trying to be a buyer or he may not be comfortable in this role as it involves risk to add pieces to a team in contention. There was no risk with Ludwick and Lee last year just an owner willing to take on extra payroll.

    Come on NH one arm, one bat and let’s take are chances.

  132. JD says:

    Hey Lucky – I’ll be sure to see how Marte holds his mouth. (That sounds gross). But I will be doing the mouth watching in beautiful 5th Third Field in downtown Toledo.

 
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