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Wakeup Call: Heading a mile high

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Wednesday column makes the case that Andrew McCutchen would not be my MVP selection … for now, anyway. He needs to look a lot more like last night than he has for the better part of the past month.

>> Tight as the Pirates were palpably wound before this game, the same couldn’t be said for Brock Holt, a sparkplug in more ways than one.

The question now: Can he bump Clint Barmes when Neil Walker returns?

Before this year, he made more appearances at short (125) than at second (116). Error count means little in the minors (bad fields), but he still never had more than 14 in a season. He’s hardly great there, especially in terms of range.

But man, the bat just has to play right now, right?

>> To anyone doubting Holt’s ability to play shortstop based on the Pirates’ view of his ability, please pause to consider this management team’s history of evaluating shortstops.

If they think he can’t play, he’s probably Ozzie Smith.

>> I’m off to Denver this morning, and I’ll stay there through the Steelers’ opener Sunday night, spending most of my time with the Broncos.

Obviously no shortage of stories to tell from there. Should be fun.

Comments

  1. Karen22 says:

    I guess you should be that “annoying” reporter more often! What great timing for an article that immediately proves its point. Bravo!

  2. Boise Bucco says:

    Man looks like I missed a pretty good game! Haha seriously, someone should collect the Twitter feed of bad Brock Holt puns into one column or something, looks like Pittsburgh really likes this kid!

  3. DJ says:

    Great column on McCutchen. He’s one of my favorites and having a fantastic year.

    That said, I wish people would stop referring to him as a 5-tool player. I would say he’s 3.5 at best right now, with room to improve. I cannot recall the last time (if ever) I have seen him lay out for a line drive in front of him or a gapper. He always opts for a “controlled slide” which, despite his speed, actually prevents him from getting to a fair number of balls he would otherwise reach by diving. With “the slide”, I also fear he will blow out an ankle or knee if he catches a spike or comes down on a knee bent underneath him, and there have been instances of both in the last few months. Diving, in my view, would be the safer approach with many balls, and he needs to make the proper decision based upon circumstances, instead of predetermining to employ “the slide” on every occasion. That aspect of his defense and his basestealing techniques could use improvement this off season.

    Let’s hope that occurs deep into the fall.

  4. Reading says:

    Prior to the game yesterday, I offered the following sage advice that can only be found on a non-pay per view blog: “See the ball. Hit the ball. Play good.” For this I was ragged by the blog moderator. Fast forward to a post game interview with the Pirates newest superstar, who went 4-5, and who described his hitting philosophy as “Get in the box, see it, and hit it.” My Carnac-like analysis was clearly worth the $600 advisory fee.

    DK: Check’s in the mail.

  5. Dave says:

    When Marte returns the lineup should something like

    Holt – SS
    Snider – RF
    Cutch – CF
    Jones – 1B
    Walker – 2B
    Alvarez – 3B (when he’s red hot swap him with Walker)
    Marte – LF
    McHenry – C

  6. Tony Pena says:

    Man … I have some opinions but you will not post them.

  7. zivkov34 says:

    Wooo! Wooo!
    Is this the new Zoltan??

  8. Drew71 says:

    No No No No NOOOO

    It was NOT the McCutchen column that broke The Curse

    It was yesterday’s thread. “Pathetic”.

    THAT’S what did it.

    Dejan. So what’s with the puff piece this morning??

    Don’t Tempt Fate.

    We need more PATHETIC

  9. Jandy says:

    what.Drew.said

  10. The Gunner says:

    @ Dave – 5

    Your lineup or something darn close better become a reality sooner rather than later.

    Correia is pitching tonight – hey offense, DON’T FORGET TO SHOW UP!!!

  11. JAL says:

    JAL’s New York State of Mind 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

    Pirates Notebook: Holt, McCutchen Pick Up Four-Hit Nights

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/pirates-notebook-holt-mccutchen-pick-up-four-hit-nights.html
    Tyler Glasnow Hits 96 MPH in State College Spikes Debut

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/tyler-glasnow-hits-96-mph-in-state-college-spikes-debut.html

    Prospect Watch: Glasnow Impressive in SC Debut; DSL One Win Away

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/prospect-watch-glasnow-impressive-in-sc-debut-dsl-one-win-away.html

    First Pitch: Can Brock Holt Play Shortstop?

    http://blogs.piratesprospects.com/williams/first-pitch-can-brock-holt-play-shortstop/

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Wooo! Brock Holt, Wandy Rodriguez, Andrew McCutchen Key Easy 6-2 Win

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/9/4/3293057/wooo-brock-holt-wandy-rodriguez-andrew-mccutchen-key-easy-6-2-win

    Should Brock Holt Replace Clint Barmes?

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/9/5/3293183/should-brock-holt-replace-clint-barmes

    6 Rumbunter

    Do The Pittsburgh Pirates Finally Have Their Leadoff Hitter in Brock Holt?

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/09/04/do-the-pittsburgh-pirates-finally-have-their-leadoff-hitter-in-brock-holt/

    7 Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Fundamental Weaknesses Highlighted Late in the Season

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1322002-pittsburgh-pirates-fundamental-weaknesses-highlighted-late-in-the-season

    8 The Green Weenie

    Cutch, Wandy, Brock Carry Bucs To 6-2 Victory

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/09/cutch-wandy-brock-carry-bucs-to-6-2.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    That’s more like it

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/09/thats-more-like-it/

    10 WHY GAVS

    Game 135: Pirates 6 Astros 2

    http://whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2012/game-135-pirates-6-astros-2.html

  12. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Astros Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20120905_HOU@PIT/astrospirates-preview

    12 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards could be their own worst enemy

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/round-two/cards-could-be-their-own-worst-enemy/article_053ca6e4-f6b8-11e1-98d4-001a4bcf6878.html

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-teamreportmtze894sqk075-20120904,0,3750406.story

    14 Houston Chronicle

    Random thoughts, questions and the Astros’ tragic number

    http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2012/09/04/random-thoughts-questions-and-the-astros-tragic-number/

    15 Denver Post

    Underdog Pittsburgh Pirates worthy of your rooting interest

    http://www.denverpost.com/lunchspecial/ci_21465392/underdog-pittsburgh-pirates-worthy-your-rooting-interest

    16 Centre Daily Times

    Pirates’ Marte goes without hit in rehab assignment

    http://www.centredaily.com/2012/09/05/3323141/pirates-marte-goes-without-hit.html

    17 Indianapolis Star

    Indianapolis Indians d’Arnaud, Hague hope to play for a 3rd title in minor leagues

    http://www.indystar.com/article/20120904/SPORTS/209050315/Indianapolis-Indians-d-Arnaud-Hague-hope-play-3rd-title-minor-leagues

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    18 PBC Site

    Holt’s first four-hit game powers Bucs past Astros

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_09_04_houmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=pit

    Bucs’ skid coinciding with loss of Marte, Walker

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120904&content_id=37873266&notebook_id=37872970&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    11 Stats We Wish Were Readily Available

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18210

    20 Fangraphs

    A Modest Roster Expansion Proposal

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/a-modest-roster-expansion-proposal/

  13. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Mike Tomlin Press Conference: Updates On James Harrison, Isaac Redman

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/9/4/3292193/steelers-press-conference-quotes-injury-report-james-harrison-isaac-redman-fantasy-football

    The Flawed Argument for Steelers QB Jerrod Johnson

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/9/4/3285892/steelers-roster-practice-squad-QB-jerrod-johnson-charlie-batch

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Harrison Gives Knee A-OK Sign

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/09/james-harrison-gives-knee-an-a-ok-sign-on-tuesday/

    23 Steelers Gab

    Steelers Name 2012 Captains – One Each for Offense and Defense

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/09/03/steelers-name-2012-captains-one-each-for-offense-and-defense/

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Steelers MMQB: NFL Preseason Week #4 Wrap Up

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/09/03/steelers-mmqb-nfl-preseason-week-4-wrap-up-2/

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Running Through The Media, YSU Hangover Edition

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/09/04/running-through-the-media-ysu-hangover-edition/

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Coachspeak: Paul Chryst Speaks About Pitt Vs. Cincinnati

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/9/4/3289821/pitt-football-basketball-pittsburgh-panthers-vs-cincinnati-bearcats-paul-chryst-ray-graham-injury

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Bruce A Quick-Hit at Linebacker

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=54768

    28 WV Illustrated

    Smith, Bruce Named Big 12 Players of the Week

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/19450675/smith-and-bruce-named-big-12-fb-players-of-the-week

    Soccer(football)

    29 Sky Sports

    Striker Michael Owen happy to have joined Stoke City on one-year contract

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11701/8051487/Striker-Michael-Owen-happy-to-have-joined-Stoke-City-on-one-year-contract

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Jermain Defoe lifts the lid on dressing room chaos at Tottenham during ‘mad’ transfer window

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/england/9521451/Jermain-Defoe-lifts-the-lid-on-dressing-room-chaos-at-Tottenham-during-mad-transfer-window.html

    31 World Soccer Daily

    10 stories you need to read, 4th September, 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-4th-september-2012

  14. JAL says:

    New York State of Mind, Billy Joel, 2006 performance. Some states have few songs about them while others, like New York have many, although most are about NY City. This was a hit for Billy Joel and anyone who had a relationship with Christie Brinkley can’t be all bad.

  15. Jandy says:

    JAL, good song, but I have Kiss “Back in the New York Groove” in my mind this morning lol.

    DK: From Ace’s solo album, to be precise.

  16. Thundercrack says:

    Weren’t the Pirates winning when DK was in London.
    Let’s see what happens when he goes to Denver. #patternforming

  17. TJA says:

    Thanks, Dejan, for the great article on Cutch. No question, it was refreshing to see the “old” Cutch back last evening. I love how he gives his time for Q and A. And, for one night, many of us won’t feel like we have to find the nearest, of our many bridges, to jump off. Let’s win the series this evening!!!

  18. Jandy says:

    Where is Dejan going after the Denver trip?
    TC is onto something ;)

  19. ken robertson says:

    Hope they are giving Holt lots of practice time at short.

  20. Drew71 says:

    So Dejan’s the Traveling Gnome.

    Hey. If it works.

  21. Drew71 says:

    Thunder’s probably expecting my obligatory slam now.

    You know. With the gnome thing.

    Not gonna happen, Thunder.

    It was a gnome. Not the gecko.

    So you’re safe.

  22. NMR says:

    If TBMTIB didn’t baby their prospects so much, Holt wouldn’t have been wasting those meaningless 24 games in AAA and could’ve been helping the big club win…

    #allin

  23. Jandy says:

    I saw Holt in Altoona. Impressive. He fits right in.

  24. redus says:

    Holy crap everyone is wound up…the i told you so’s are flying around like the early leaves dropping from the trees. Since I too like a good conspiracy theory…here is one for you:

    Mr. Walker is not hurt. He is undergoing intense catcher re-orientation. Brock Holt will be playing second. Walker will be sliding back behind the dish and pooooof my dorris was gone (yes that’s an old Ames commercial)

  25. redus says:

    Walker will catch and play second until Brock either fizzles out. Walker is more than capable…believe it.

  26. Jandy says:

    redus, whatever you’re drinking, I’ll have one ;)

  27. Arriba Wilver says:

    Wandy sure looked like the Wandy that used to pitch against the Pirates last night. He even had a bit of a swagger to him.

    I have always thought Defense was THE main thing at short. Still do. But “To anyone doubting Holt’s ability to play shortstop based on the Pirates’ view of his ability, please pause to consider this management team’s history of evaluating shortstops” sure says a lot. And right now, the way Holt’s swinging? I think the bat has to play, even after Neil gets back, at least until he cools off and/or demonstrates he’s a disaster at SS. And it’s not like Barmes is Jack Wilson at short (that’s for you, TC).

  28. pants-n-at says:

    Love both of those songs, but I have In a New York Minute in my head. Hey, everything can change!

  29. Leefoo says:

    Jandy….now that I know that you’re a Kiss fan, I may never speak to you again.
    :)

  30. Matt says:

    Who is the starting pitcher for indy’s playoff game tonight?

  31. Arriba Wilver says:

    Matt–who cares? :-)

  32. Matt says:

    Nevermind, they finally posted it on their website. It is Vandenhurk.

  33. Jandy says:

    Fooman, anyone who doesn’t like Kiss is UnAmerican! :p

  34. Jandy says:

    Uh oh, AW is on a roll!!!!

  35. Leefoo says:

    Jandy….oh Gawd….where I grew up, Kiss was that generation’s Nickleback!

    Kiss sucks!!! No self respecting audiophile likes Kiss!!

    And don’t get me started on Gene “The Preen” Simmons.
    .

  36. Leefoo says:

    And DK even knows that Ace had a solo album.

    nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    .

  37. Leefoo says:

    When we’d hear Kiss’ ‘signature song’ we would sing:

    “I…… wanna Rock and Roll all night and throw up when I hear Kiss”

    .

  38. SeanAY says:

    I plan on seeing KISS at the Allegan County Fair in west Michigan, if only because I want to hear Paul Stanley pretend to be pumped to be in Allegan not long after stops in Chicago, Detroit, etc.

    “It’s getting HOT in Allegan tonight! In fact it’s HOTTER…THAN…HELL!!!!!!”

    In no way do I apologize for loving KISS. Fact.

  39. Arriba Wilver says:

    Lisa Lampanelli roasting Gene Simmons—and what’s with that hairdo? Were you sitting at home one night watching “Planet of the Apes” and said to yourself, “Hmmm, now THERE’S a good look?”

  40. Matt says:

    The reason I care is because the farm system is our future. I have heard much grumbling this year about management. I am not saying they haven’t made mistakes and I am not saying that I haven’t been frustrated during this tough stretch, but the fact is we are still in the postseason talk. DK is correct in that we WILL finish over .500 at least! I still believe we will make the WC. This FO has done a good job in not only putting a good team on the field, but building a good farm system. Just my opinion, thank you.

  41. Jandy says:

    LMAO you guys are all killing me.
    Kiss is part of Rock n Roll History.

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

    DJ was right earilier about Cutch not laying out….Van Slyke would go full extension all of the time…He took better routes to the ball and caught every ball he got to….There was a play about a month ago Cutch did his knee-first slide attempt to catch a shallow fly….Sorry, every baseball player worth his salt would have been head first……You gain an extra foot or so for your attempt…..We all love Cutch, but he still has learning to do….Like trying to steal a base….The full extention thing is something you have/learn when you’re 12……And yes, put Holt at short, play the bat………………

  43. Jandy says:

    Matt, AW was only messing with ya. We do care. Even if AW denies it, he cares.
    HE. CARES.

    Anyway, Matt, have you listed your hometown with Biz so he can add you to Dejan’s Lunatics?

  44. Arriba Wilver says:

    Matt–I was just pulling your leg. My point of view is that there has been more of a focus on the farm system for Pirate fans than I suspect most other teams because the MLB club has sucked for so long. This year, to me, my focus is on the big club. And the fact journeyman Vandenhurk is starting the first “playoff” game is kind of supportive of that position. But to each his own. I really was joking.

  45. LuckyNKentucky says:

    AW,

    Vandenhurk was the team MVP for Indy. Won 13 or 14 games. Their version of A.J. Some of us still look at the farm system daily. Two other teams with winning records. Only 3 sub-500 and 2 of them improved in the second half of the season. Big improvement in State College. Maybe they’ll keep the team there.

  46. Thundercrack says:

    AW,
    I am starting to agree that Holt should get a shot at playing some shortstop —and if he proves he can’t handle the position, then the experiment should end.

  47. Jandy says:

    Hey Lucky, did this make the news near your town? This 92 year old shot and killed an intruder in his home…with a 22 rifle. Wow.
    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/04/13664055-wwii-vet-92-kills-intruder-with-single-shot-in-kentucky?lite

  48. Thundercrack says:

    When I was a kid I loved KISS.

    I didn’t see them in concert until I was an adult. I wondered if they were really playing their instruments.

  49. Matt says:

    I know you was joking. I didn’t mean that in a defensive tone towards you. I should have put a smiley face, but I don’t know how yet(my wife isn’t here to show me. I am fairly new to the blog and I do enjoy it (and Dejan). Wish I lived in Pittsburgh!
    I am excited about the direction of the club and look forward to the future! I haven’t been able to say that and mean it for 19 years. I am a minister and my parishioners have teased me for a long time about being a pirates fan. I think I will get the last laugh this year!

  50. Jandy says:

    Matt, you’re a minister…you and LuckyNKentucky have that in common!!

    Please list your hometown so Biz can add you to the Asylum list :)
    (to make a smiley, type the colon : followed by the parenthesis ) :)

  51. Jandy says:

    Uh-oh Drew will get me for that one ;X

  52. Absolute59 says:

    DK: Nice piece. Especially loved this sentence.

    Look, McCutchen is having a marvelous year, the best seen in these parts since Skinny Barry.

    Nice piece of writing…

  53. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jandy,

    That’s 3 hours north of us, near the Ohio border. But we did have an 82-year old man shoot a retired deputy sheriff, age 81 last week with the dead man’s 15-year old grandson looking on. Then, 2 days later the deputy’s wife died of a stroke. Not a good week for the family, to say the least. The shooter said he had a list of 8 people to kill before he died of cancer. Thank God, it ended at 1. (No, I wasn’t on the list, Drew).

    Matt,
    This is a good blog to be on if you’re a minister. Many good people. All considerate. Very few self-centered, ego-driven.

  54. Jandy says:

    Lucky, sad stuff :(

    But I applaud the 92 year old. The kid he shot would have likely killed him oltherwise.

  55. Arriba Wilver says:

    Lucky–no offense intended to anyone who likes to follow the farm system records. I guess I’m spoiled since I’ve spent most of my life in Pittsburgh, and grew up with a MLB team. And my Pirate formative years (60′s-early 70′s) the farm system was stocked. The only thing I knew about it was when someone came up. I never heard anything about their “records” until this Century.

  56. Matt from Bicknell, IN. says:

    Thank you Jandy & Lucky!

  57. LuckyNKentucky says:

    AW,

    I didn’t think you were being offensive. Without the interweb, it was Sporting News to find out about farm teams, and that was a month behind, it seemed. Now, it’s at the touch of the index finger. I enjoy it, because I enjoy baseball, in general. And, of course, if it’s on the internet, it has to be true, right? :)

  58. Arriba Wilver says:

    Lucky—And Vandenhurk may prove to be the next Ryan Vogelsong, but he’s a journeyman at this point. I am aware of his record.

  59. Arriba Wilver says:

    Lucky–that’s a good point about the information available. Honestly, I didn’t even know they had minor league playoffs until a couple of years ago. I don’t follow the college world series, either.

  60. LuckyNKentucky says:

    AW,

    You’re very right. And that 2.92 ERA doesn’t always translate to MLB excellence. (Daniel McCutchen’s AAA ERA is 2.98). The BMTIB doesn’t seem to think it does, as they haven’t even remotely shown any interest in bringing Vandenhurk up. Seems like just a AAA fill-in. And we all know, pitching is their specialty, right? I know they know more than me about it, anyway.

  61. patrick(RI) says:

    I wonder, do you suppose Andy Van Slyke would have had a longer career w/o all those “full extension” plays? Astroturf no doubt contributed, but slamming your body onto the ground has to take a toll.

  62. JAL says:

    Pirates DSL team one win from championship–link 4

  63. Matt from Bicknell, IN. says:

    :) Thanks jandy! Now how do you get the yellow faces?

  64. LuckyNKentucky says:

    JAL,

    Thanks for that. That is a group I don’t check on. The Rookie League team tied for first in its division and even won a playoff game. Says something for the draft and other type signings.

  65. Matt says:

    Nevermind. I got it! This is an informative blog! Lol. I am from Bicknell, Indiana.:)

  66. PetroSteel says:

    Call me crazy but I think the Bucs finally come out of this funk and get back to playing like they did when things were going good. I just can’t give up on them yet…

  67. Matt says:

    @ Petrosteel

    Couldn’t agree more! Even better with Brock Holt and now a hot Wandy Rodriguez. And let’s all be honest, Clint Barmes is playing much better now.

  68. TJA says:

    I see the Yankees are on a 10 in 14 losing streak. Baltimore coming on very strong. Maybe, just maybe, the Reds or Cardinals go on an extended losing streak and the Bucs finally put it together…. Possibly? It’s baseball…anything can happen. If nothing else, it’s sure nice to dream the above can happen. Reality…just keep winning series like in June and one never knows.

  69. Arriba Wilver says:

    Matt–3 weeks ago I’d have agreed with you on Barmes. His stats lately are:

    Last 7 days—.143 BA, .143 OBP, .143 SLG, .286 OPS

    Last 14 days—.194 BA, .194 OBP, .226 SLG, .419 OPS.

    Those are some BAD numbers. He’s kind of like Barajas so far on offense–one good month, give or take.

  70. David says:

    Clint Barmes has been bad at the plate this season but since the start of June he hasn’t been awful.

    Apr/May: .170/.196/.270/.465
    Jun-Sep: .249/.275/.333/.609

    Make no mistake that is still bad for a starting shortstop but considering the defensive value he brings that is borderline acceptable for a MLB starting shortstop.

  71. Arriba Wilver says:

    David–so you play him over Holt on a regular basis? And is it borderline acceptable for a team trying to make the post season?

  72. buggee says:

    The new slump-busting slogan for the Big Beefy Battlin’ Barajas-less Buccos:
    “Raise the Jolly Shuttlecock!”

  73. David says:

    Just for more fun here is how the Pirates compare to the National League in OPS by position. First number is the Pirates OPS followed by the NL OPS.

    C: .703 .728
    1B: .710 .778
    2B: .753 .715
    3B: .830 .762
    SS: .573 .697
    LF: .592 .764
    CF: .963 .741
    RF: .806 .774
    P: .252 .330
    PH: .514 .675

  74. albatross says:

    @Jandy – Kiss is part of Rock n Roll History.

    …and smallpox is a part of world history. Doesn’t mean it’s good :)

  75. David says:

    Arriba – I actually wouldn’t play Holt nor Barmes. I would play Mercer but that is just my opinion.

  76. John A says:

    “but he still never had more than 14 in a season. ” – DK

    25 errors this year at SS between AA/AAA. His arm and range are substandard.

  77. LuckyNKentucky says:

    buggee,

    Should be “Pull the Jolly Clay Pigeon”. Can they put people’s faces on those?

  78. The Gunner says:

    @ Arriba Wilver – 67
    @ David – 68

    Although this does nothing to help the Buccos now, did you know that in 2009, just 3 years ago, Clint Barmes, then playing for the Colorado Rockies, crashed 23 HRs and drove in 76 runs?

    Could it be…………………………….?????????????

  79. Jandy says:

    albatross :P

    lol

  80. buggee says:

    —> Ace had a solo album? What’s worse is that DK knew of it. That’s either a great travesty or a tribute to the mindless trivia that the human brain is capable of housing.

  81. LuckyNKentucky says:

    tross,

    I’d rather watch a documentary on the small pox epidemic on The History Channel than see Gene Simmons’s face or his wife’s on a reality show. A&E is a great nework, but they can do without his family jewels.

  82. radio wave says:

    at Matt 40
    I’m following the IL playoffs with split loyalties.
    I root for the Sox and Bucs, and both of their teams are in these playoffs.
    I’ve often wondered if success or failure of players in a playoff situation is a good indicator of their potential in MLB.
    I know the Sox have their best prospects at AA, I don’t know if they are allowed to move up to triple A for the playoffs.
    And the Astros AA team is in the Texas League playoffs. Many of their players have moved on to Triple A and even the Astros.
    I still find it interesting that the Pirates won’t call up prospects from double A during the year, or after Sept.1.
    Yes , I know, the Astros are desperate, that’s it’s a season long tryout camp. But the Pirates just don’t seem to believe in going beyond Triple A during the year.

  83. LuckyNKentucky says:

    RW,

    They brought that pitcher who was a Cuban defector and that big infielder (played 2nd with Jack Wilson and some 3rd) straight from AA a few years ago. (Sorry about the name memory loss). Also, many years ago, Jose Guillen. But you’re right. Not very often unless you count Holt, who has all of 24 AAA games under his belt and McPherson, who pitched most of the season in AA.

  84. David says:

    @radio wave

    This is the first year in quite a few seasons that the Pirates have not used at least one player who at the start of the season never played above A+. It is ture that a lot of these players did wind up with time in AAA during the season but I think this shows the Pirates willingness to move people quickly.

  85. buggee says:

    Sometimes we have to defer to the FO’s braintrust as far as when it’s a good time to bring up a prospect. If it was up to me I’d have both Taillon and Cole here too.

    And that would be just plain dumb. Right?

  86. David says:

    Almost forgot it is still possible hear in the next day or so we will see someone join the Pirates who has exactly 0 days of playing experience beyond AA. Gustavo Nunez.

  87. SeanAY says:

    buggee–

    That’s not all that obscure. Back in the late ’70s, when KISS was the biggest musical gravy train on the planet, the record label said to themselves, “If one KISS album can sell a million copies, then four KISS albums can sell FOUR MILLION copies!”

    So, therefore, each individual member of KISS made their own “solo” albums. Each was billed with KISS as the artist and the individual band member as the album title.

    Ace’s solo album had arguably the biggest hit among the four albums, the aforementioned “New York Groove.”

    …and now you know, the rest, of the story.

  88. GlassHalfFull says:

    Cutch from DK’s article today (another good one)…….
    “I just want to focus on what I need to do that day better than the day before. You know, getting better at my offense or doing better defensively or vocally” vocally..

    I noticed just before last night game Cutch high fiving at least 6-7 players in the dugout, like he was trying to get them all psyched up. Leadership comes in many forms.

    Kiss’ only good song is Beth IMO.

  89. JohninOshkosh says:

    SeanAY:

    I vaguely remember those albums. Did they market those with the individual artists in makeup on the cover and then their actual makeupless faces on the inside. Or did their “reveal” come with a later album?

  90. NMR says:

    @Lucky

    You just named two players in a single season who’ve been promoted without much time at all at the AAA level. I’d say thats significant when you take into account how often similar moves are made overall.

    I think the Pirates FO gets the reputation of being slow to promote prospects based on their perceived handling of the high profile ones. Nobody praised them for Holt’s surprise -and effective- promotion, but we heard about Marte languishing in AAA for months.

    I’m still on the fence with the issue. I lean towards letting talent play, but it can be a boon or bust situation.

    Just this season we saw the D’Backs rush Trevor Bauer to the bigs -and heard the accompanied criticism of Cole’s handling- only to see him overthrow, fail, and suffer further set backs once down in AAA. We’ve also seen the Orioles promote Manny Machado and watch him succeed imediately.

    As with just about everything in baseball, I don’t think there’s one correct solution.

  91. LuckyNKentucky says:

    John,

    They should keep Simmons in makeup 24/7. He looks better.

  92. Thundercrack says:

    DK listens to his KISS cds while he reads comic books.

  93. Jandy says:

    GlassHalfFull, Beth is one of my favs :)

  94. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Lucky:

    Agreed.

    His wife, Shannon Tweed, on the other hand. Not too shabby.

  95. LuckyNKentucky says:

    NMR,

    I think a lot of that goes to need, based on injuries, poor play, etc. Also, it seems like pitching develops slower, unless you’re Strasburg and not many are. I have no problem with how they’re bringing Cole, Taillon and the rest along. I still don’t think Holt sees the field, like Jordy didn’t, if Walker is healthy. They caught lightning in a bottle, like Lloyd Mac used to say, so far with Holt. He has the makeup, though to be a good one.

  96. JHadar says:

    I think I would let Walker play shortstop and see what Holt can do at 2nd.

    Of course it’s jsut a thought.

  97. LuckyNKentucky says:

    John,

    I saw somewhere that Shannon is almost my age. At least in her 50′s. Wonder what she sees in Gene? Wasn’t she a porn star or something like that? When they advertise “real life change” on A&E, those 2 could lead the league I guess. No, I haven’t lost my mirror. Just sayin’

  98. cosmo says:

    Lucky,

    you are right. Gene is one ugly dude.

  99. cosmo says:

    I believe Shannon was in Playboy in the early 80′s. Did a few B movies also.
    I can remember her in a skiing flick called “Hot Dog The Movie”

  100. LuckyNKentucky says:

    cosmo,

    People used to say that about Jack Wilson and now Jeff Karstens, but they both seem like fine people. Simmons just rubs me the wrong way. Makes it seem like he’s worse looking than he is. I have no reason to critique anyone’s looks or judge anyone, especially someone of Jewish decent like Gene, but his personality is not my favorite. No offense to Jandy and the fan base. I don’t like cats either and she does. That’s what makes it great. We’re all different.

  101. Milo Hamilton says:

    I gotta say, this over the top Brock Holt overreaction is some of the most entertaining blog overreacting maybe ever. As someone who often overreacts, I know good overreaction when I see it. He’s not going to supplant Barmes when the organization puts him behind Mercer & even Harrison defensively. He’ll see time at short on the odd days Barmes doesn’t play or 2nd to rest Walker’s cranky back, but that’s about it.

    But please don’t stop guys & gals, this is great. What do you think the inscription will be on Holt’s Hall of Fame plaque ?

  102. Jandy says:

    Man, who’da thunk my one little comment would unleash all this Kiss debate lol

    Lucky, yeah I like cats, too. But I have a pitt bull. Go figure.

  103. Jandy says:

    Milo, there ya go, wizzing on my Holt parade. You’re such a meanie! :p

  104. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Milo,

    I humbly bow out of the overreacting category. Uncle Bob Hasis, Gunner and I all said Holt doesn’t play if Walker is healthy. I hope he has a 5-hit game tonight and goes to the H of F, but I’ve seen the scouting reports.

  105. Jandy says:

    Dayum, 7.6 magnitude quake hits Costa Rica…tsunami warning caribbean wide. What’s next???

  106. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Lucky

    This is why I defer to you on the minors. You know way more about these guys than I. I’m just going by how they’ve handled Barmes this year. Why would they sit him now when he’s finally doing what they signed on for offensively ? If the kid keeps hitting like this, then throw him out in rightfield like they did with Sutton until he cools off.

  107. SeanAY says:

    JoshinOshkosh–

    All four of the albums were promoted with album covers of the painted band members. The reveal of their bare faces wouldn’t happen until the mid-80′s, when they were foundering.

    Now, if I remember correctly, wasn’t THAT line-up of KISS the one that featured Eric Carr and the immortal Vinnie Vincent?

    (P.S. – Who needs sports when you have pop culture?)

  108. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jandy,

    My son just returned from Nicaragua early last month. Glad he’s not there now.

    Milo,

    I agree with that. Snider is hurt and Tabby is Tabby. Holt can run. Wonder if he can pitch or catch?

  109. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Well hello all……

    KISS, really? The blog convo has gotten to KISS?

    yea, I dig em.

  110. JHadar says:

    My brother’s wife is from Costa Rica. The family is all right, but their stories are scary.

  111. Jandy says:

    hey Ryan. I made an innocent post about Kiss Back in the New York Groove and it went viral!

  112. Jandy says:

    Jhadar, glad to hear they are ok. Quakes ARE scary stuff!

  113. JohninOshkosh says:

    Milo:

    I’m not sure what the exact wording on the plaque will say but, if he does make the HOF, I guarantee it will include something like this:

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2012-2013

  114. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Let’s enjoy what Brock Holt did last night, no doubt……..but let’s not overreact.

    Brock Holt, best name in baseball. Yes, he’s played most games at SS and that makes everyone excited, myself included.

    But remember, they called Matt Hague the “hit collector.”

    From Jonathan Mayo on twitter: “Its one game, all that guy has done is hit, but don’t draw conclusions.” Also “He’s the type you don’t want to pigeon-hole–he’s an over-acheiver–but at worst he gets a lot of time between SS and 2B.” I kept asking questions, he kept answering. ” Not saying Holt can’t play SS, just not sure at the MLB level yet.”

    Pretty cool I got a response from the guy. Alot of times those guys don’t respond.

    Just one of the cool things about twitter, the other, DK “favorites” a lot of my posts……..THAT’S how cool I am.

    And to anyone asking, yup, was pretty bored this AM.

  115. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Jandy

    I knew you were to blame……its ok.

  116. Jandy says:

    Ryan, you were bored this morning?? Heck, it’s not yet 10am your time :p

    I’m always to blame…you guys ALWAYS blame the female in attendance ;P

  117. tdb1977 says:

    A little story last night about last night’s ball game, which ended an 0-5 streak I had been on. Thank you Wandy for throwing a really good game. Anyway – my seats last night where in my companies box. During the rain delay, with nothing much to do, I went out into the main concourse to call my parents back home since I hadn’t spoke to them in about a week an a half. As I was sitting at the chair and table set, with my feet kicked up and on the phone, no other then owner Bob Nutting walks by. He doesn’t realize that I’m on the phone, so he takes a few steps towards me and realizes that I’m on the phone. As he begins to walk away from me, he tells me to enjoy the game. You would have thought I would have learned to maybe put my feet down on the ground, but no, within 5 minutes president Frank Connelly walks by and waves at me. So, within 5 minutes, here is some common fan, sitting out in the suite level with his feet up on the table and the owner and president walk by. I wonder what Bob would have said to me or talked to me about if I wasn’t on the phone.

    Anyway, back to the game tonight and tonight I’ll be located above the Clement Wall and I doubt I run into any of the higher ups of tonight’s game.

  118. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Jandy

    I was up early. Had to do some PT so that was my conversation on the way in.

  119. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I don’t think we should under-hype Holt, either, since we’re all gun shy from the Steve Pearce “Marching through the Minors” tour a few years ago. Just give him a chance to succeed. The human factor enters in, too. Look at Marte. He has never been hurt so he doesn’t know how to react when he gets hurt. He was 0-5 with 3 K’s in his rehab in State College last night. The same guy who homered on his first pitch in the bigs. The cream will rise.

  120. Brad says:

    SeanAY,

    You are exactly correct on the KISS info. They did not reveal until the “Lick It Up” album.

    Who would’ve figured that pop culture would finally get me to post on the blog that I have been reading for a year.

  121. NMR says:

    It is quite clear that Milo does not smell what Brrrock is cookin’…

  122. LuckyNKentucky says:

    tdb,

    Nice story. You should have hung up on your parents and asked Bob and Frank if they’re all in.

  123. Leefoo says:

    Jandy….you like cats….you have redeemed yourself.

    Besides, females have weird taste in music anyways…My wife actually likes Air Supply…can you believe that?

    Puss N Foo

    .

  124. Milo Hamilton says:

    @NMR

    Something else that kills me. All we’ve heard about this guy and his outstanding plate discipline. He’ll work the count, blah blah. (That blah blah was Hurdle, by the way). Before I checked his minor league numbers I was expecting to find some sort of modern day Eddie Yost or something. Sure he walks some, but not even as often as he strikes out. Nothing special at all. Makes Robbie Grossman actually look like Eddie Yost.

    http://pirates.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=571788

  125. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Lord, another cat lover. You two should get together with Biz and start a petting zoo. His dogs and your cats and Jandy’s pitt bull. Some guy up in Ohioville had llamas, too. Maybe you can borrow one.

  126. Jandy says:

    LOL thanks Lee…Air Supply was the chit back in the day. Today, it’s Godsmack for this cat ;)

  127. Jandy says:

    Lucky, my pitt bull would EAT both cats in about 10 seconds. Actually right now we have TWO pitt bulls, as my step son has moved back home for the time being, with his pitt bull and his girl friend. I miss my empty nest.

  128. pattonbb says:

    How can you not overreact to Brock Holt? The Pirates have been so good developing infielders in recent years, right? I mean, including Holt, he’s like the 3rd or 4th prospect we’ve seen over the last 10 years that might actually know how to hit above .200.

    Sorry Milo, but I’m overreacting, and overjoyed. Give the kid 10-15 starts and lets see what he can do. I’ve defended Barmes long enough. Time for a change.

  129. Jandy says:

    I am just thrilled Holt is not blown out of the water with his major league start. He’s shown poise, he’s hit the ball, he’s fielded well. As pattonbb says, give the kid a chance. We sure as heck don’t have anything to lose.

  130. Milo Hamilton says:

    @pattonbb

    Now that’s what I’m talking about ! Keep it going, I’m easily entertained.

  131. cosmo says:

    let’s let the Brock Holt story run it’s course. A few years ago a young infielder was brought up to the big club early in the season. He had bounced from around at different positions and was projected by management to be a utility type infielder with some hitting ability. Well wouldn’t you know that the starting second baseman gets injured and the kid gets a shot at 2B. Turns out he played it pretty well and lived up to his hitting ability. Can it happen again. Maybe maybe not. Not wishing for an injury to Barmes. Just saying sometimes managements projections can be way off.

  132. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jandy,

    Your pitt bull has some sense. I forgot. We could put Drew’s wife’s poodle in that petting zoo, too, labeled “pet at your own risk”.

    Cats, Gene Simmons and earthquakes. Hard to rank in my favorites list.

  133. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    How many business-people out there would hire Neil Huntington to be the general manager for their company? Just curious.

  134. pants-n-at says:

    @ tdb…I’m sure it’s just a typo but it’s sacrilegious to call it the Clement wall. I like Jeff, but he hasn’t earned it.

  135. pattonbb says:

    LOL, obviously.

  136. pants-n-at says:

    Hey, Garrett was termed a career minor leaguer at one time. He is having an awesome year!

  137. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @B-Rad

    Actually, NH seems to be the protypical business guy. But not the one that starts a business. That takes risks. He’s the type that gets hired to “stay the course” and keep the business afloat.

    But, to be honest, its hard to compare what he does to what actual business’s do on a daily basis.

    All these prospects are really, MLB shot in the darks, for the most part.

  138. tdb1977 says:

    @pants

    I knew something didn’t look right at first – but I couldnt figure it out. Guilty as charged!

  139. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Garrett was also blocked in Minnesota.

    Safe to say nobody, other than Cutch, is blocking ANYBODY on this team……at least the past few years.

  140. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Jandy

    CAn we stay away from earthquakes please?

    (knocking on wood)

  141. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Good example, pants. What is this his fourth year? Not bad for a career minor leaguer, even with the Bucs. And having his best year when they’re having their best year in almost 20.

  142. JAL says:

    One reason AA players are not brought up is a player has to be on the 40 to be brought up and not many AA players are on the 40. No reason to add players before needed as they take up spots that you need some players from the Rule 5 draft. Holt is no brainer as he would have to be on the 40 after this season or be exposed to the rule 5 draft.

  143. pants-n-at says:

    @ tdb…no worries…I’m just jealous I can’t be there. Enjoy the win tonight!

  144. Serious question, inspired by Dejan’s column:

    Who is more important to “re-establish himself” to his own standards earlier in season . . . . for the Pirates to make the Playoffs? McCutch or McDonald?

    As Wandy has proven his last 2 starts, pitching wins games.

    McCutch “influences” the line-up just by his presence and makes openings for the Legend and Pedro to excel, even if he hits .275 the rest of the way. He always influences the game defensively in center.

    If James McDonald would return to his pre-All Star Game pitching acumen I think it might be more important to the Pirates chances of making the Playoffs.

    Of course, I thought Marc Andre Fleury [and still do] was the Penguins MVP last season!

  145. NMR says:

    @Milo

    I mean, by Clint Hurdle standards, Holt IS the reincarnation of Yost.

    @Brad

    The goal of any business is to get the most return for the investment.

    So far, the Pirates have 71 wins with a payroll of around $52m. Only the A’s can top that ratio in all of Major Legaue Baseball, and only the Rays come close. Billy Beane and Andrew Friedman are regarded as two of the best GM’s in the game. Not bad company.

    The sole reason Neal Huntington is the GM of the Pirates is because he is the exact type of GM a businessman would want.

  146. cosmo says:

    To anyone who signed up for Biz’s FFL. The draft was held and we’re ready to roll.

    Thank’s Biz for setting this up.

  147. The Gunner says:

    FYI – today is #9, Bill Mazeroski’s 76th birthday. Happy Birthday Maz – thanks for all the great defensive plays and the many important clutch hits back in the day!

  148. National Mart of Records,

    I would prefer to have a “sportsman” rather than a “businessman” as owner.
    Remind me again the last championship Billy Beane won?

    I would also prefer to still have the speed I had when I ran the bases as an 18- and 25-year old.

    What you and I prefer matters not at all in reference to Pirate ownership. Nutting and his minions will be owners still when you and I and Dejan no longer have Bucket Lists.

    Nutting is fan-oriented only when it fits his business-first scheme. Just the way it is; just the way it will always be. You know the spilled milk thing . . . . .

  149. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Groat

    To answer your 1st question. Its a toss up really. JMac, and all starting pitchers, as a whole, are more important than one single position player, IMO.

    Pitching wins baseball games. I don’t care of the offense puts up 7 runs if the other team puts up 8.

    Pitching and defense is the name of the game.

    If Cutch returns to June/July status. He will carry the team OFFENSIVELY, but the pitchers have to do their part.

  150. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Groat

    Yes, I’d love to have a guy that’s into the sport, but the GM has to have the seperation from his players and take the business standpoint. Fans are too emotional, as seen on a daily basis of this blog.

    I want a smart business man, especially with a cash strapped organization.

  151. JHadar says:

    Nonetheless, Holt’s minor league numbers are better than Barmes’ minor league numbers were.

    Disclaimer: Statistics are not predictors.

  152. cosmo says:

    @Groat

    I think all of the owners are businessmen. It’s how they go about the business of owning a team that seperates them.

    For instance take owners such as Mark Cuban, Geo Steinnbrenner, the new dodger owners etc. They have a win at all costs mentallity.

    Other owners such as the Rooney’s, Lemieux/Burkle want to win but will do things
    “their way”

    Then comes the Pirates, if we win great, if not we stll turn a pretty profit.

  153. NMR says:

    @Groatmaster

    It seems as though you’re mixing the owner and GM together. Billy Beane doesn’t write the checks. Neither does Neal Huntington. They’re forced to play cards with a bank roll a quarter the size of the other guys at the table. If you want to compare them on even grounds, $/win seems to mean much more than rings.

    Trust me, thats in no way my personal preference. Just the facts as I see ‘em in relation to Brad’s question. From purely a business standpoint, it’s very hard to argue that Neal Huntington is doing a bad job.

    I would love to have a Mike Ilitch type owner who puts winning first and profit second, but as you’ve said, that ain’t gonna happen.

    With that as a fact, then yes, I’d personally much rather have a “businessman” as a GM rather than a guy who’s going to bury the franchise with another Jason Kendal contract.

    Check that, I’d much rather have a guy thats both, which is why I would have no problem seeing Huntington replaced.

  154. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Like all the comments on my question from earlier. I guess my biggest dumbfound-ment comes from the generalization that if you consistently put a winning team on the field, you can make more money than a team that doesn’t. Granted that involves spending wisely, but it can be done. And I guess it’s because I personally admire the winning is what’s important mentality in an ownership/GM and I feel that’s how they should operate because we fans fill their coffers. NH IMO just has so many flashes of incompetence (not just from this season) that they outweigh his positives. Seems like he does what he needs to meet minimum requirements. Plus I just don’t like his aura (to quote Charlie Murphy) which comes off as “I know exactly what I’m doing and it’s ‘interesting’… How does my hair look?”

  155. JHadar says:

    Huntington’s biggest problem is that he made a terrible first impression with the Bay trade. People either hated it right off the bat, or came to see it as a disaster when the prospects failed one by one.

    Otherwise, really, his trades have been win some, lose some. Gradually getting a better team together.

    Then there was the collapse last year.

    Makes you skittish this year. More nervous about rookies and prospect.

    And there’s a ray of hope. How many wins were we predicting before the season?

    It’s not as fast as I’d like, but it is improvement. I’d say he’s about two years behind schedule.

    My choices are (1) to wait and see what happens. (2) ?

  156. LuckyNKentucky says:

    JH,

    Good points. We can look at the non-trade for Chase Headley, who had a career month after he wasn’t traded. But, down the road, that trade might have been fair at best. Now, if Gaby comes back strong, Snider stays healthy and keeps improving and we are seeing the real GI Jones, it will look like a solid non-trade, as there is nowhere to put him. Maybe Neal has done well in avoiding further future collapses, and the jury is still out on this season. Bay has been a phenomenal bust since he left Boston anyway.

  157. JRay3 says:

    @JHadar – good point on it is improvement but a little behind schedule.

    Considering the club won 57 games in 2010, 72 games in 2011 and is at 71 with 27 remaining this year, for the first time in a long while it does appear the team is moving in the right direction.

    Really good arms at AAA, AA and even low A level with Heredia and Holmes give even more hope.

    Trades that NH has made seem to have a blueprint and a plan whether we agree with it or not when it comes to years of control, not taking rentals for prospects, taking on salary when appropriate.

    My only concern with NH is his lack of response to glaring problems that need immediate attention. Lack of ability to throw out a base stealer, our running success, depth in the OF, holding on to under performers at times to long like Bedard. Good teams make changes when needed at times I feel NH sits on his hands.

  158. Milo Hamilton says:

    Elias says that Brock Holt is only the 2nd Pirate since 1900 to have a 4 hit game in one of his 1st 4 big league games. The other was Jack Merson.

    Me neither.

  159. Boise Bucco says:

    @cosmo–that’s true, but you have to appreciate the fact that baseball is just a different animal than hockey or basketball, and the Pirates are a different animal than the Yankees.

    Say for example, that Cuban was owner of the Bucs and he opened the budget up to even what the Cardinals are spending right now–we’ll say an even $100M a season for the roster. If you look at what that would have gotten last year, it wasn’t much; it wasn’t getting Pujols or Fielder, and NH has proven that he can make a bullpen on the cheap so that rules out Broxton, KRod and Papelbon. Josh Willingham was really the only viable option out there, and he was even viable with the current management–he just chose Minnesota over the Bucs, for 3 yrs/$21M. Not sure what the Bucs offered him, but it probably would have to have been more to get him to sign–see below. So that leaves trades–how much would it be worth to trade away futures for currents, if it leaves the Bucs in a state that they could make the playoffs, but they’re sacrificing future years? If they make a mistake with Wandy or Snider or Gaby Sanchez, not a lot of harm done. We’ve seen with Bedard that, while it was risky signing him given the results that he put up, he didn’t sign for a lot of money, and it wasn’t a long-term deal. What if Cuban had given the go-ahead to sign a Carl Crawford, and then the Bucs were crippled for the next 8 years? They’re just not in a position to be able to take on such large contracts and eat them if they make a mistake.

    I would love to be able to say that Nutting “puts winning first and business second,” but in the current baseball era, that’s just not feasible. In 2012 baseball, honestly ever since the anti-collusion hearings in 1990, winning and business have just got to go hand-in-hand.

    But if they can create that magical “culture of winning” that the Pens have, it’ll go a long way towards getting free agents to take another look at them. We saw Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt (not to mention Derrick Lee) all take a pass on the Bucs, based on their past history. All payrolls being equal between the Cardinals and the Pirates, if both teams were bidding, these players are going to sign with the Cards, just based on history. That’s what the Bucs need to do: change the culture, show players that they give a crap and that they are committed to winning, so that maybe they can sign the Josh Willinghams of the future.

  160. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Here you go Milo.

    Lets hope Brock does a little better.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mersoja01.shtml

  161. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Milo,

    Merson didn’t play against the Astros AA and AAA teams, though.

    JRay,

    I believe the answer to one of your concerns lies with Tony Sanchez. He is better defensively than either Fort or Rod, right now. May not be the catcher of the future or whatever, but would be a solid #2. Can throw out base stealers. As far as the others go, I have to agree with you completely.

  162. NMR says:

    Very well said, JHadar.

  163. Milo Hamilton says:

    @Ryan

    That’s what I was afraid of. I’ll take those 13 games in 1951.

  164. cosmo says:

    Just read that the Padres DFA’d our old pal Ross Ohlendorf yesterday.

    I really thought he was going to be the best of the bunch when we got him

  165. JohninOshkosh says:

    162 posts and not one about the mighty NFL, which starts tonight by the way.

  166. NMR says:

    @Lucky

    I’m worried our steaing issues root further than catcher. Even the much maligned Barajas threw out 25% of baserunners last year with the Dodgers.

    I dont have a stop watch out doing pop times, but just watching the games as a fan, it seems like there is a high percentage of steals that aren’t even close. Thats a sure sign of the pitcher being at fault.

  167. JRay3 says:

    Thanks to Ike Davis 3 run HR, Mets lead Cards 5-1 in 5th. Could be opportunity to gain a game tonight in standings.

    AJ, JMac, Locke set to pitch weekend series versus Cubs.

  168. JAL says:

    A few games or even a month is too early to know what a player might do. Every time a player comes up and gets hot I think of Bob “Hurricane” Hazle. Braves brought him up in late July of 1957 and he proceeded to hit .403 with 7 HR and 27 RBI in only 155 at bats. Struggled from the start in 1958 and never played another game in the majors after 1958.

  169. Milo Hamilton says:

    Dickey is pitching today also.

  170. JRay3 says:

    @JohninOshkosh – seriously…kind of weird to be this wrapped up in the baseball season at this time of year, forgot what it felt like.

  171. LuckyNKentucky says:

    NMR,

    Very good point. It’s not mentioned enough, either.

  172. JAL says:

    NMR

    They do go beyond the catcher. Runners get great jumps on most of the Pirate pitchers.

  173. Milo Hamilton says:

    @JAL

    My dad would always invoke Dino Restelli.

  174. JohninOshkosh says:

    So I’ll start:

    I know Uncle Bob already posted a dissertation about how irrelevant the issue of replacement refs is going to be. But I think he is going to be wrong. It was noticeable to me during the preseason how deficient they were. And mine is an untrained eye. Now with the real games starting, the speed and complexity of the game is going to make things even more difficult for the replacements. I read an article that it has already affected Vegas betting (and isn’t that what the NFL is all about, anyway) with bettors picking aggressive teams like the Steelers because they are likely to get away with more things.

    I hope Dejan speaks to the issue somehow when he is out in Denver.

  175. cosmo says:

    @ BB

    You make a valid case. Comparing owners of different sports is not the same, considering the other sports all have salary caps.

    As for changing the culture of losing, don’t you think a deep pockets owner
    would have changed that culture years ago and maybe we wouldn’t have endured
    19 years of losing.

  176. LuckyNKentucky says:

    John,

    I’ll put my swizzle stick in on that. All refs are bad. They effect more football games at any level than any official in any other sport, including the Jerry Meals of baseball. They are doctors, lawyers and indian chiefs, etc. and should be hired on full time and paid as full time, not weekend warriors. Those days went out with the inception and growth of the NFL. 8)

  177. JohninOshkosh says:

    @JRay:

    I remember reading a column by the late great Chicago columnist, Mike Royko, after the Bears won the Super Bowl. The gist of it was that he had no idea how to write the column because he had no idea how to write about a champion in Chicago. Same thing this September. I am so used to focusing on football at this time of the year, that I have forgotten how to deal with Pirate playoff runs.

  178. Derek Smith says:

    Hey DK, I am not saying that McCutchen hasn’t been the cog in the wheel, and that it isn’t somewhat obvious with the downfall of both him and the team. However, I think there are a lot of other factors that went into their winning beyond just Andrew. And to say that a .250 slump, which is nothing compared to some slumps, means he is not MVP. I agree with you on Posey, and I understand all your points, but A.J. Burnett has fallen a bit, and I think the whole rotation has with him. So I put the collapse on the rotation, not on Cutch, which it seems like you are putting on Cutch. I love your posts, love your collumns, and I say this with all due respect, just wanted to raise another thought.

  179. Arriba Wilver says:

    Milo–not to rain on your parade, but all most are saying is play him while he’s hot or until he demonstrates he can’t handle short. And I posted Barmes latest 7 and 14 day stats at #69. And if you have any question about the validity of 2 weeks, talk to Roberto. :-)

    G2M—in answer to your poll/question, I think Cutch is more important because he can influence every game, and JMac, unless he pinch hits, can only affect one in 5.

  180. pattonbb says:

    Sanchez, Barmes, Barajas, and Tabby all in the lineup tonight.

  181. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @NMR

    CH has mentioned before that they play to the hitter and don’t change their pitching style to suit potential stolen bases.

    I’ve mentioned it in the past before, but most of the times, base runners steal on the pitchers.

    Now, who has or can find that stats of the pitchers that has the highest percetange of SB’s against?

  182. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @JAL

    What about Chris Shelton…I think that was his name. STarted out hot with Detriot a couple years ago and eventually got DFA’d.

    He was a Pirates minor leaguer. Pirates fans were up in arms!!

  183. Boise Bucco says:

    @cosmo–I absolutely do believe that, but I don’t think about what happened 10 years ago because I can’t. What’s done is done, and all they can do is move forward from here. If they can start building the culture today, and that starts with a winning season THIS YEAR, I believe it’ll go a long way towards rebuiding that image. They’re never going to completely lose that “loser” image, at least not until they win the WS, but the more winning seasons they compile, the better off they’ll be in the long run towards attracting better talent. If they can attract better talent, they might not need as deep of pockets. Some players are going to sign for the most money no matter what, but some players, the players that the Bucs will want to sign anyway, will go to a winner for a little less, if they can see the culture of winning. The Cards were able to pick up Carlos Beltran for 2 yrs/$26M, and while that’s still a ton of money for a player that might not have played out well, it has really worked out for the Cardinals. That’s the kind of player the Bucs need to attract. They’ll never get the Fielder’s and the Pujols’ and the Hamilton’s, but they COULD get the Beltran’s.

  184. JRay3 says:

    @ pattonbb – And I thought you were joking…

    Holt, Tabata, Cutch, Jones, Sanchez, Alvarez, Barmes, Barajas, Correia

    And to think the biggest change is at one time Barajas was the seven hitter and Barmes used to be in the 8 hole, now just reversed.

  185. Milo Hamilton says:

    McKenry obviously gassed after playing 1 night in a row.

  186. Arriba Wilver says:

    2 questions from last night–what was the “Woo” cheer all about, and what was Brock’s intro music that Clint was joking about after the game?

  187. JRay3 says:

    @ Milo Hamilton – Or they feel that Barajas speaks a more compatible form of English to communicate with Correia tonight.

  188. Milo Hamilton says:

    Adam Wainwright is coming off his 2nd Tommy John surgery. He had logged 168.2 innings going into today’s start. Where is the talk about shutting him down ? Where is the Cardinals’ concern about his long term future ?

  189. pattonbb says:

    Hey, Clint’s giving his guys an opportunity to build some confidence.

    Or some other nonsense….I forget.

  190. Milo Hamilton says:

    @JRay

    They both speak Southern Californian.

  191. JRay3 says:

    @ Milo – Cardinals concern? They had Chris Carpenter throwing a simulated game yesterday to hitters and there is talk of running him back out there this season.

  192. JohninOshkosh says:

    AW:

    There were so few people in the stands that I guess some decided to start “wooing” and the sound was picked up by the mics. Bob Walk could not stop talking about it.
    Two things about that. 1. It is not good to be able pick up the specific sounds of fans over the usual din of a crowd because it means there is no one in the ballpark and 2. as someone who has had the misfortune to sit by Ronnie Woo Woo on several occasions in the Wrigley Field bleachers, it is not the most pleasant thing to be around. It is the human Vuvuzela.

  193. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sorry if this is old news, but I heard on the radio that Root is adding 3 games that weren’t initially on its schedule.

  194. Milo Hamilton says:

    @JRay

    Ah yes. The sounds of trying to win.

  195. JRay3 says:

    To piggy back on the sounds of trying to win…since the NL Central was formed in ’94-95 here are the number of division titles by team:

    Cardinals – 9
    Astros – 4
    Cubs – 3
    Reds – 2
    Brewers – 1
    Pirates – 0

  196. cosmo says:

    @ BB

    Start changing the culture of losing this year. Untill they win on a consistent basis
    every year will be a crapshoot as far as aquisitions go. For every good FA signing,there will be a few mediocre ones and some bad ones. But those are the cards we are dealt.

  197. Milo Hamilton says:

    Dickey is out with 2 outs in the 7th & none too happy about it. Top 8th – Mets 5 Cards 2.

  198. cosmo says:

    One last time,
    I’ll take 100 on the over tonight.

    Tried calling the gamblers help line, but they said they couldn’t help me because I was wagering fake units.

  199. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I don’t think we should mortgage the future for the present. However, I am tired of the BMTIB using that as an excuse and mortgaging the present for an uncertain future. That’s their selling pitch- be patient, we have really good pitching prospects, yada yada. That’s great, but we’ve ALREADY been patient, more than any other sports team. And no one can predict the future. Cole and Taillon might be huge busts. I certainly hope that’s not the case, but it’s possible. No wonder an established player doesn’t want to go to a team where they are just waiting for the next best thing. All I know is we have a shot this year. And when we keep throwing out HotRods and Barmeses and Scabatas and trading for Gabbies (another let’s wait and see acquisition), you have to wonder if this organization’s FO really gives an actual legitimate damn about winning. In the end, we are a small market team because the owners make us one. Two other teams in Pittsburgh seem to be doing pretty well…

  200. pattonbb says:

    RA Dickey will win the NL Cy Young

  201. Milo Hamilton says:

    Mets add one in the 8th. Lead the Cards 6-2 bottom 8th. If the Cards lose, they’ll have 63 losses while Pittsburgh & LA have 64.

  202. If . . . .

    —AJ continues to be a lightning rod and pitch well
    —Wandy continues to pitch close to his last 2 outings
    —Legend, Walker, Pedro continue to alternate being hot and driving in runs
    —The bullpen continues to perform their magic

    Then . . . .
    —it would give Bucs more “gusto” if McCutch began to hit .360 again, returning to his MVP ways
    —yet I think the Bucs would have a better chance to win/make the Playoffs if JMac became “lights out” again and not 50-50. He would stabilize the whole rotation.

    Pitching is THE BOMB!

  203. Milo Hamilton says:

    Final – Mets 6 Cardinals 2.

  204. John Lease says:

    Pirates NEED THIS GAME.

    Go get ‘em boys.

  205. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I don’t care what the Cardinals concerns are……neither one of those pitchers they have are at the value of Strasburg.

    That said, the Nats are waaaayyyy too cautious. What they should have done, was inch him back in. Start him in the BP and then roll him into the rotation. This would’ve created less innings on the front end and probably would not have ran into the issue they’re having this year…Nice management.

    Or, they could hire Jim Tracy and he could add his 75 pitch count to his rotation.

  206. NMR says:

    @Groat – YUP

    @Ryan – 34% of bullpen pitchers will go on the DL at some point during the year, so I’m not so sure thats the place to protect Strasburg.

    Which of course leads one to wonder if bullpen pitchers, who throw considerably less innings than starters, are still getting injured in high numbers, why is inning count being used as a barometer of safety?

  207. Boise Bucco says:

    Hey is the lineup out yet?

  208. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @NMR

    That’s true, but, if they are counting innings, that’s the best way to save them.

    There was someone else that was used that way, I don’t remember who they were talking about, but it worked.

    Pitchers will get hurt, regardless, its usually not if, but when.

  209. LuckyNKentucky says:

    184 above, Boise.

  210. Boise Bucco says:

    I knew it was in there somewhere, just couldn’t find it. Thanks!

  211. Tom P. says:

    For anyone who doesn’t want to cursor back up to 184 (thanks, JRay3), here is the lineup:

    Holt, Tabata, Cutch, Jones, Sanchez, Alvarez, Barmes, Barajas, Correia

  212. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Game thread is upon us===============================================

  213. pattonbb says:

    FYI – game thread is up.

 
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