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Wakeup Call: Upgraded farm system?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Friday column tells the real story of the Pirates’ front office status, not the one those individual have tried to paint themselves.

And it’s not me telling it. It’s Bob Nutting, in an exclusive interview.

>> The most common defense of Neal Huntington’s tenure as GM is that the farm system has been greatly upgraded.

I can reach up above my desk here — give me a sec — and pull down a copy of the Pirates’ 2008 media guide. Inside are all the names and stats of the players who were in the system in 2007, Dave Littlefield’s last year as GM.

Here are a few: Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Nyjer Morgan, Brad Lincoln, Sean Burnett, Steve Pearce, Ronald Belisario, Alex Presley, Tony Watson, Jared Hughes, Kyle McPherson, Duke Welker and Rudy Owens.

Now, that system had all kinds of other problems, notably filling out rosters with older players, prioritizing winning over development at times and an egregious absence in Latin America. And no, it wasn’t nearly deep enough.

But look at that list again.

Then, look at the upper crust of the current system.

Where is this dramatic upgrade?

I’ll say this again: A minor-league system isn’t about winning Baseball America awards as the players move along. It’s about developing major-league talent.

>> The Pirates are at 80 losses. That pegs 82 to happen at some point over the coming weekend against the mighty Reds, who have made clear they’re going to take the games in Pittsburgh very seriously, so get those tickets for history early.

Oh, and if you’re in New York, PLEASE snap this pic this year in Times Square…

>> This is cool. I’ll keep repeating it, but this NHL lockout will not last long. Makes no sense. Has none of the dynamics of 2004.

>> Watched Ravens-Browns last night mostly to see how that ace team of real refs did compared to what we’d been watching. And you know, those guys are good.

A lot better than Cleveland’s butterfinger wide receivers, anyway.

>> Speaking of Littlefield, here’s the chat transcript from yesterday.

Comments

  1. Arriba Wilver says:

    DK—enjoyed the Friday column, and am still holding on to my 40 year Bucco fan status in hopes there will be a true, fair and thorough evaluation of the Pirate FO.

  2. Arriba Wilver says:

    Am I right that the fact there was no mention in the article that BN approved FC’s announcement yesterday that there was in fact no official approval?

  3. josh says:

    Great column as per usual…extremely disappointing to have such high praise for recent drafts but little to show for it. When we draft big names in the later rounds is it more the development than the draft? Where are the Von Rosenbergs? I have to praise them for drafting Bell and shooting for Appel, but missing this many times isn’t just bad luck. Even a blind Littlefield found a few nuts.

  4. Boise Bucco says:

    This might turn out to finally be the year that most Pittsburghers don’t instinctively hate whoever owns the Bucs…another 20 year streak.

    Lol at Coonelly–see where that “vote of confidence” got you? I might as well just start calling him Chan Gailey or Norv Turner (or, if you’re an NHL fan, any one of the Sutter coaches…they seem to perpetually be the receivers of votes of confidence.) Bobby Valentine even thinks that BMTIB’s on the hot seat.

  5. Ross Insana says:

    Hey Josh, getting late round guys to end up as solid or average major leaguers is simply all about luck and rarely happenes. Those are called “diamonds in the rough”. Here is an absolutely outstanding Draft Success chart that breaks down each round in the draft and the success rate of how good those rounds have been in how their careers turned out.

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-772wlhxPhPNjUyY2JiMmItYzJlYi00Yjk5LThlOTUtODkwN2IzMTU5ODIx/edit?hl=en_US

    DK: “Late” rounds? How about the second round?

  6. Mark Felt's Flowerpot says:

    “Even though Nutting owns 80 percent of the team’s equity and essentially controls every vote on the board, he’s still just a steward, a caretaker.
    But that comes with responsibility. And accountability.”

    I have to disagree slightly on those last two words. Bob Nutting may be a fine man and may care about performance, but to the fans, or at least this one, he’s paying lip service to the wallets that keep him in place as caretaker to Pittsburgh’s version of the Golden Goose.

    You say that Frank Coonelly’s statement comes off as arrogant. Don’t all Frank Coonelly’s statements come off as arrogant? And when the going gets tough, “Frank stands behind his statement.” Frank has spoken, so “to Hell with the fans and the media, the Man has spoken. Carve it in stone and call it a Commandment.”

    Meanwhile, Pirates letterhead turns up in yet another embarrassing news story. If it’s not Hoka Hey or boycotting a corner bar, it’s shooting the messenger when an email gets leaked that exposes them for what they are: charlatans.

    Honestly, how often have you come across an organization that acts like this group of untouchables that’s not engaged in some sort of shenanigans?

    You’ve said before that these stories don’t matter if the team doesn’t stink. Well, the team is getting pretty darn close to that point. Maybe heads should roll for these past two Septembers. But my guess is that Mr. Nutting is betting that next year gets somewhere close to 82 wins without as dramatic heights and drop-offs, and the turnstiles turn and fans continue to dream of next year. Because really, where are they going to go? The Museums? The Symphony? The Opera?!?

  7. ron says:

    DK you forgot Bullington , Moskos and bad Brad and how Littlefield killed his arm .
    Also if and one can get Presley to the bigs can develop anyone .

  8. Boise Bucco says:

    Indians have fired manager Manny Acta:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/baseball/mlb/09/27/manny-acta-fired-indians-manager.ap/index.html?sct=hp_t2_a9&eref=sihp

    “And with six games left in this disappointing season, the Indians, who are just 21-50 in the second half, decided to begin moving forward without Acta.”

    heh heh good quote…I really quit tracking the Bucs’ second-half record. Any worse than 21-50?

    DK: I think the Pirates have lost 50 games this month alone.

  9. Jason, Boulder CO says:

    Dejan, I recall last season reading that PNC Bank officials had expressed their displeasure with the Pirates’ performance at that time. Is there any pressure on Nutting & Co. from PNC now?

  10. JAL says:

    JAL’s The Ghost In You 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/

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Rough Start From Correia Sends Club 80th Loss; McCutchen, Walker Updates

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/pirates-notebook-rough-start-from-correia-sends-club-80th-loss-mccutchen-walker-updates.html

    First Pitch: Instructional League Player Updates

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/first-pitch-instructional-league-player-updates.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    R.A. Dickey strikes out 13 in Pirates’ 80th loss

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/9/27/3419284/r-a-dickey-strikes-out-13-pirates-80th-loss

    Indians fire Manny Acta after late-season collapse

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/9/27/3419634/indians-fire-manny-acta-after-late-season-collapse

    6 Rumbunter

    Would the Pittsburgh Pirates Blow Out the Candle?

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/09/27/would-the-pittsburgh-pirates-blow-out-the-candle/

    7 Bleacher Report

    Memory Gap: How Pittsburgh Pirates Fans Cope

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1349696-roberto-clemente-andrew-mccutchen-and-the-hitting-into-the-memory-gap

    8 The Green Weenie

    KC Clocked 6-5

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/09/kc-clocked-6-5.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Coming home with 80 losses

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/09/coming-home-with-80-losses/

    10 SB Nation

    Should Pirates’ Neal Huntington have been retained?

    http://pittsburgh.sbnation.com/pittsburgh-pirates/2012/9/27/3417580/pirates-neal-huntington-retained

  11. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Reds Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20120929_CIN@PIT/redspirates-preview

    12 Toronto City News

    Watch: Snider scales wall for amazing grab

    http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/sports/article/227702–snider-in-running-for-catch-of-the-year

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-teamreportmtze89rzbw0nl-20120927,0,4257593.story

    14 Sporting News

    Andrew McCutchen is living the American dream

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2012-09-27/andrew-mccutchen-pittsburgh-pirates-mvp-nl-all-star

    15 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Tipsheet: Pirates complete epic collapse

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/jeff-gordon/tipsheet-pirates-complete-epic-collapse/article_17feaae6-0899-11e2-a1e6-0019bb30f31a.html

    16 Tampa Tribune

    Fennelly: 40 years later, Clemente remains a man for all time

    http://www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2012/sep/28/40-years-later-clemente-remains-a-man-for-all-time-ar-515856/

    17 NY Daily News

    R.A. Dickey wins 20th game: NY Mets top Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 at Citi Field

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/a-dickey-wins-20th-game-ny-mets-top-pittsburgh-pirates-6-5-citi-field-article-1.1169718

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    18 PBC Site

    Snider makes unforgettable catch in loss vs. Mets

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_09_27_pitmlb_nynmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=pit

    Walker to meet with specialist to help back

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120927&content_id=39100620&notebook_id=39101204&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Oops, They Did it Again?

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18490

    20 Fangraphs

    Doug Fister: Unlikely Possessor of Record

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/doug-fister-unlikely-possessor-of-record/

  12. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley Says He Gave Maurkice Pouncey Highest Grade Ever

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/9/27/3418740/steelers-offense-running-game-todd-haley-maurkice-pouncey

    Owners End Officials Lockout, Fans Locked Into Same Rulebook

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/9/27/3416418/nfl-owners-officials-referees-lockout-over-rulebook-thursday-night-football

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Dwyer Likely to be Odd Man Out when Mendenhall Returns

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/09/dwyer-likely-to-be-the-odd-man-out-when-mendenhall-returns/

    23 Steelers Gab

    Harrison Has Setback in Trying to Come Back from Knee Injury

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/09/27/harrison-has-setback-in-trying-to-come-back-from-knee-injury/

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Let Me Repeat: Defense (Or Lackthereof) Makes Steelers 6 to 7 Win Team

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/09/26/let-me-repeat-defense-or-lackthereof-makes-steelers-6-to-7-win-team/

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Mason’s Next Step

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/09/27/masons-next-step/

    26 Cardiac Hill

    From the Nike design room: Pitt what if?

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/9/27/3408722/pitt-panthers-nike-jersey-uniwatch-oregon-ducks-cathedral-pederson-adidas-design

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Different States of Recruiting

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=55253

    28 WV Illustrated

    WVU Out To Prevent Shootout Against Baylor

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/19650816/wvu-out-to-prevent-shootout

    Soccer(football)

    29 Sky Sports

    Chelsea captain John Terry has been banned for four games and fined £220,000

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11668/8114114/Chelsea-captain-John-Terry-has-been-banned-for-four-games-and-fined-220-000

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez finally at peace after turbulent year

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-city/9569261/Manchester-Citys-Carlos-Tevez-finally-at-peace-after-turbulent-year.html

    31 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 27th September, 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-27th-september-2012

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    32 Pensburgh

    The Penguins fan’s most hated team

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/9/25/3405706/the-penguins-fans-most-hated-team

  13. JAL says:

    Psychedelic Furs – “The Ghost In You” Formed in 1977 they are labeled a post-punk new wave band. Fairly successful during the 1980s they reunited for a tour in 2011.

  14. Drew71 says:

    Dejan: Nice column – and absolutely the right person to ask those questions.

    Even if it wasn’t newsworthy.

  15. Thundercrack says:

    That’s a hallmark of this management, this attitude that they’re reinventing the game, while everyone else — including the public – is naively hung up on that silly thing called “results.”
    —————————————————————
    I have felt this way for a while. The “results” determine whether your way of doing things is working. Right now it shows that it isn’t working. So you better be prepared to change them or be prepared to be fired. Some of them seem too stubborn to change.

    And I never cared for their attitude towards winning 82 games. I don’t know if it was arrogance, macho-ism, or just being clueless, but for a team that has lost for SO many years it is important. I never bought in to the whole “win the world series or it is a failure” attitude.

  16. Drew71 says:

    My oldest son works in Manhattan. (In the Empire State Building. Is that cool or what?)

    I’ll ask him to get that pic.

    Too bad they don’t play a doubleheader or we could have it today.

  17. Drew71 says:

    Dejan and Thunder: That results thingee is a very interesting, um, thing to me.

    My job is sales management. From my perspective, they have it HALF right.

    Results, wins or sales, are lagging indicators. They often tell you how well you did in the months leading up to the sale; in the YEARS leading up to the game.

    To be a successful sales manager (or so I hear; I’m still trying) one has to focus on BOTH: Results AND those activities which are the infrastructure and leading indicators of sales.

    Too much on results? Wrong. Live and die by them. Reacting to what already happened.

    Too much activity? Wrong. Creates a broken sales culture. Sales (and sports?) is an emotional profession. Lose the edge, the drive, the energy to win, and you are toast.

    Seems to me the Pirates are stuck in a deadly pendulum swing. After Littlefield’s obsessive results focus (draft for almost-MLB-ready not potential, winning in the minors, narrow “window of opportunity”…I mean he SAID all these things), the Pirates rightly said we need to focus on other things: activities and infrastructure that lead to wins.

    But unfortunately it should have been “Yes And”. They swung the pendulum ALL they Hoka Hey Way, as companies so often do, swung the pendulum too far and lost that balance (and their minds) between RESULTS and ACTIVITY.

    Both. It takes BOTH.

    From Littlefield to Huntington.

    From Francona to Valentine.

    It takes both. Not Either Or.

  18. Drew71 says:

    I need a nap now.

  19. Bradthedad says:

    Thanks, once again DK. Hard to preach patience when we’re 19 soon to be 20 but cooly going about the review is the way to go. And Nutting at least gets credit for actually speaking with the press as opposed to communicating via a written statement ala Frank…the man is a ghost.

  20. Drew71 says:

    And if they were gonna be so one dimensional, it woulda helped, just a little, if they were, you know, better at that one dimension.

  21. The Gunner says:

    DK

    Great article this morning about Mr. Nutting (I’ll call him by his right last name this time). Based on what you said, I have a feeling BN will be making some much needed major changes as it relates to FC, NH, KS, and possibly CH.

    Let’s hope BN has learned by his mistakes.

  22. Thundercrack says:

    Drew,
    I am in sales too. I can think that my sales techniques and methods are the best. And I can think that I have the right amount of sales activities and contact with my clients.

    But I am superbly aware that in sales I basically have a report card every month, every quarter, every year. It is my sales total. And now matter how great I think I am, I can be fired at any time based upon that report card.

    The Pirates’ front office will be receiving another report card next week.

  23. bdubb says:

    I would love to have a beer with Clint one day, a true baseball man, and get his opinion of Stark and NH.

    The one name not on Littlefield’s list that might have made a huge difference this year was Matt Weiters. Seriously, how do you draft a reliever over the best C in the draft?

    I am looking forward to the day we don’t have to discuss this anymore. With the Steelers, Pens and Pitt hoops around the corner hopefully we don’t have to discuss much longer (hoping PITT football creates some good stories too but not sure about that yet)

  24. Milo Hamilton says:

    Thanks for the column. But…

    I don’t believe a single thing that comes out of any of their mouths. Nutting was aware that Coonelly was going to put out that statement. He could have stopped it. He didn’t.

    Please disperse. There’s nothing to see here.

    DK: Nutting’s approach always has been they’re my guys until they aren’t my guys. If he stops his team president from issuing a statement supporting the top three baseball men, he might as well fire all four on the spot. He clearly isn’t prepared to do that.

  25. Thundercrack says:

    And part of having a ‘report card’ so often and that it can be so cut & dry, is that if I don’t accept that it is that way – then I have to find another line of work.
    We’ve probably seen plenty of sales people that can defend their sales techniques and work ethic until their blue in the face…but can’t seem to accept the results.

    Navy SEAL training might have great benefit and they can tell me all about it…but we are all once again facing a losing season….and not enough quality prospects ready to help at the major league level.

  26. Drew71 says:

    Thunder?!? TRULY News At 11:00.

    Just LOOK at your Bad Self.

    Well, ok. Read it.

  27. The Gunner says:

    @ TC – 21
    @ Drew – 16

    I, too, spent just over 30 years in sales – retired in 2006. I know exactly what you guys are saying; both of you are right on the money.

    Hopefully, Nutting will clean house quickly, swiftly and make Coonelly’s recent statement make the team President look like even a bigger jackass than any of us ever thought he was.

  28. BFD says:

    Nutting lip service is just that. Wonder if part of his investigation and analysis of all things baseball includes looking in the mirror and looking at the puny payroll he handcuffs the team with from the get go?

    Farm system? BOLOGNA. That is simply propaganda the regime and their fans like to throw out there as justification for the horrible Major league product. How many organizations take 5+ years to rebuild and still stink after the 5th year…..
    I know….I know… Damn that Littlefield (another Nutter favorite)

    The fact is that this organization is still putrid and always will be under Nutting rule.

  29. Drew71 says:

    Big Gun – My fear is that the Pendulum Swing will happen AGAIN. Happens all the time. Fire a player’s coach? Hire Valentine.

    Fire an activity-metrics-infrastructure team? Hire an old school guy who ONLY focuses on lagging indicators.

    I want BOTH. They clearly don’t have it now. If the pendulum swings again, I’m afraid that they STILL won’t. You know. Opposite but same.

  30. Drew71 says:

    I’m waiting for a big blown call this weekend and all the pontificators pontificating that the refs are blowing it because they are rusty.

  31. Thundercrack says:

    ‘until their blue in the face’

    I will blame this typo on typing without having my glasses on.

  32. Drew71 says:

    On your fingers? Cause isn’t that what a typo, um, is?

  33. Joe D says:

    So 5 years later Dave Littlefield is now competent?

    DK, the list of players shown above is very underwhelming. One superstar who was drafted in 2005, possibly the best draft in a generation. 9 of the top 12 picks that year are established big league players, Ryan Braun was taken 5th that year) Walker is a solid major league regular. Lincoln and McPherson still have a chance to turn into something, the rest are a bunch of bench players/middle relievers. According to a Baseball America podcast this year, McPherson is actually a development success story because he has improved greatly since he was drafted.

    I have my issues with NH, all of the failed major league free agents, the Bay trade, the handling of this years trade deadline, the 2009 draft strategy, not paying over their market value for players, using developmental time on military tactics to name a few.

    Let’s step back and get some perspective to where we were 5 years ago and where we are now.

  34. woomer says:

    @BFD (#27)

    I can understand your thinking the quotes are lip service — especially after all these years of failure. But I just re-read the quotes again in Dejan’s column, and I think they sound sincere — really.

    I guess we’ll find out over the next several months! But I certainly hope I’m right and you’re wrong about those words (for all our sakes).

  35. NMR says:

    Where is the dramatic upgrade?! From the man that claims “It’s all about the pitching…always”?

    You answer your own question, Dejan.

    “I’ll say this again: A minor-league system isn’t about winning Baseball America awards as the players move along. It’s about developing major-league talent.”

    Why would you post that list of players, of which less than half were developed in Littlefields system, then close with that line?

    Absolutely zero sense.

    Listen, I’m just as frustrated as anyone, but this is the line for me. The system is absolutely upgraded, and yes, dramatically. People that know far more about baseball than Dejan or I are the ones who are making that judgement. I fully suspect at this point to read an article on Monday detailing how Neal Huntington cuts his grass incorrectly.

  36. TJA says:

    Your first couple paragraphs in the Friday column, Dejan…very well said. And very true.

    DK: Danke.

  37. JuniataKid says:

    “Let’s be clear about one thing: The Pirates don’t belong to Bob Nutting.

    They belong to Pittsburgh.

    The franchise is a civic institution.”

    Might want to ask any still-living Brooklyn Dodgers fans or the Baltimore Colts Band how true that line of reasoning really is.

    Otherwise, great article. I’ll be disappointed if the decision involves ousting Hurdle. Again, he had mediocre (at best) talent playing way over its head. They just couldn’t keep it up.

  38. Whithorn says:

    I appreciate the article but I agree with some others that it’s nothing but lip service. If Nutting truly meant what he said yesterday and on 9/15, there is no way Coonelly’s statement gets released.
    Even if Coonelly’s statement is fact, from just a public relations point of view, how do you release it nine days after the owner comes out and states that the club is going to do an intensive top to bottom review after the season? It completely invalidates everything Nutting says. At the very least, it’s just another in a long line of PR blunders. And while I care less about public relations and more about results on the field, it’s another example of how poorly this organization is managed.

  39. Leefoo says:

    Indians fire Acta after their collapse….so why is Hurdle still on the job?

    ===========

    As for Nutting going over the org and asking the tough questions….this is news??!! OF COURSE he is going to do that.

    And, if he deems anyone should go, then fine. But until then, I ain’t getting worked up over it. I think it would be a mistake to let NH go BEFORE Hurdle, but whatever. Who’s to say who he brings in would be better? Jack Z and Dayton Moore came with pedigrees. How’re THOSE rebuilding jobs doing?

    ==========
    And that list of players DK listed in the article from 2008? Outside of a few ‘keepers’, not much there and not much coming up. I still stand by the current farm system. At least we have some coming up. It takes time to resurrect the dead. And ‘dead; was what that list was and there was little to nothing in the farm system. NH has had to build that up from scratch. Our system was laughable. Now, it has 6 of the top 100 and that is not counting Josh Bell!

    ==========

    DK….what is the success rate of the 2nd round draftees FOR ALL TEAMS? Not very good. Heck, that’s why we traded away that comp pick. Even THOSE picks’s success rate is poor. So why are the Bucs supposed to be great after the first round?

    Still not buying what you’re selling. I think you’re just cranky because the NHL is locked out! Speaking of which, since you’ve made the prediction it won’t last long, it’ll probably go until March….:) :)

    =======
    Btw, did anyone read those tweets that Kristy Robinson had from those players on Hoka Hey-gate? I guess the players themselves didn’t think it was that big a deal! And then there was the BucsDugout article from that West Point guy. Much ado about nothing (except in the press).

    ====
    And, as for the industry ‘laughing’ at the Bucs for trading for Travis Snider for not being able to hit inside fastballs? Well, gee, that was common knowledge. Did anyone read those articles from the Toronto paper. It was in Part 2.
    As that article pointed out, the trade was for failed number one picks. I still applaud it. All we traded was a dime a dozen reliever.

    I guess all this depends on your pov.

    Foo

    .

  40. OZ says:

    The system is upgraded from 5 years ago, but not nearly as much as it SHOULD be since the Bucs were picking high in the draft for the last umpteen years.

    Who will be up next year to help? Cole maybe? That’s probably it. 21 here we come!

    DK: You read that entry more carefully than most. Some took it to mean Littlefield did well (not in there) or that the current management didn’t upgrade at all (also not in there).

    What I meant was exactly what’s written in asking where was this DRAMATIC upgrade everyone is so fond of describing.

  41. StLPirate says:

    Pretty clearly, the difference is the lack of top-of-the-rotation starters in the 2007 group.

  42. Leefoo says:

    Whithorn…# 38…EXACTLY!!

    Much ado about nothing right now.

    Would rather have just gotten the interview Q&A ‘straight up’ without the biased rhetoric added in there.

    JMHO

    Foo

    .

  43. SeanAY says:

    Whithorn and Milo–

    You’ve both posited that Nutting knew about Coonelly’s statement and chose not to stop it, therefore invalidating the content of today’s column.

    My question is, if that’s the case, why would Nutting even bother to comment?

    If Nutting knew about Coonelly’s statement – that no one in the front office is in danger of being fired – then why would he comment to the contrary a day later?

    It’s not as if Coonelly has to have Nutting rubber-stamp everything that goes out the door. Quite the contrary; it’s possible that Nutting gives Coonelly carte blanche to issue statements as he sees fit. He is the team president, after all.

    It just seems peculiar to me that Nutting would know about the statement and then do a complete 180 on it a day later. Nutting seems to rarely give interviews as it is; that he would feel the need to comment on this issue, again, so soon after the first time he talked about it, could mean that he really IS dissatisfied with what’s going on.

    DK: Ding! Ding! Ding!

  44. Thundercrack says:

    After looking at Nutting’s quotes again, could it be that he will be reviewing and looking further into the PROCESSES and not so much the PEOPLE.

    DK: The question posed was about people. Appreciate your trust, as always, TC.

  45. Ian says:

    I’m sorry, but this promise from Nutting of a wholesale evaluation AFTER the season rings hollow and almost pointless. If he’s as methodical and all-encompassing as you say he’ll be then it’ll be next June by the time he has a good enough grasp on where things stand, wasting another year in literal purgatory.

    Why hasn’t he been evaluating since, oh I don’t know, the All-Star break?? I mean if casual fans can see the dysfunction from our upper-deck view then why has he been sitting on his hands until right now? His comment about not acting on the “raw nerve” of the season is asinine, as if waiting a couple months to talk to yourself into thinking that maybe things aren’t that bad is somehow a positive. News Flash: It IS that bad.

  46. nate83 says:

    DK

    Your point of looking at what Littlefield left and what we currently have in the minor league is fair except for the major difference of one is looking at past and one at the present.

    5 years ago most of the 13 players you named where not known to be future major league contributers. This includes Walker who was struggling at he time. A lot of them turned out to be pleasant surprises but none with the exception of Walker and Cutch have actually become key contributers.

    For a fair comparison you would have to wait until 5 years after NH is fired to find out who his pleasant surprises are. Maybe Josh Bell turns into the next Matt Kemp. Maybe some of these players struggling figure it out like Walker did.

  47. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    DK – As stated in your Friday column…..Nutting owns about 80% of the Pirates, and has all the say so.
    Am I overlooking some common knowledge…..Or is that other 20% of ownership highly classified information?

  48. JMB says:

    http://insidepittsburghsports.com/story/perrotto-nutting-showing-loyalty-to-huntington-others-hardly-a-surprise-to-pirates-insiders-in-the-organization/52418/

    This John Perrotto article is the other side of the Nutting cares argument.

    I know people hate “sources,” but the fact that no one was fired gives the article some credibility.

  49. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I don’t buy BNut’s lip service. If he really does do something significant then I’ll eat crow (covered with Quakersteak seasoning) and be content. Even if you put baseball qualifications, results, success and failures aside, this FO’s professional behavior and public interaction has been abominable! Not only do they repeatedly insult fans’ intelligence and take advantage of their commitment to the team, they continue to publicly flatter themselves and portray each other as “dedicated and intelligent baseball men”.

    Not that you couldn’t pick up Neal the SEAL’s love for himself from just about any interview he’s done, he also had the nerve to suggest that fans just don’t understand because baseball isn’t the same as fantasy baseball and it’s not all about stats. Not to mention that totally conflicts with his own philosophy. He also complained about all the negative talk about his performance disturbing his family. I can’t even recall a US President who’s done that! And for crying out loud, there are other ways to describe a potential roster move other than “interesting”. And as far as how Neal cuts his grass, my only worry is that he hired a plumber instead of a lawn service to mow it.

    Fans fill the teams’ coffers and in a capitalist system, we are entitled to reasonable return on our investment. Preferably a return that doesn’t consist of incompetence, inefficiency and arrogance. Who cares if our farm system’s better than 5 years ago if it still sucks (ode to suckmeter)? We have a few pitching prospects, which is great, but what in Pirates recent history suggests they are going to succeed when they get here? Maybe the SEALS training will do it. Sorry, not seeing dramatic upgrades or hearing unilateral praise for Pirates development from around the league.

  50. nate83 says:

    Nice artical today. It made me look at this thing in a little diffant way. Nutting really had no way of knowing until about 4-6 weeks ago that making a decision on if front office changes needed to be made was even something he had to worry about. Things where going good and you can’t look into reasons for a collapse until it happens.

    If he spent that much time researching in 2007 there is no reason he shouldn’t do the same this time if that is how he operates. Firing a front office in January-March doesn’t make any sense and I think it is important to make sure what ever shortcomings he unearths with his digging for this front office should be addressed with any new front office.

    It would stink to lose one more year of development by not having the right people running the organization but it would be way worse to have a new group that waste 5-7 more years. He should research, find out what he believes is wrong, tell the current front office what needs to improve and then make a decision following the final game next year.

  51. scapper says:

    Now it makes sense. Just did some research and found that the full name is:

    Neil Kenesaw Mountain Huntington.

    Lifetime contract, baby!

  52. Leefoo says:

    JMB….I’m not a big Perotto fan, and am surprised HE wrote something positive about the FO. Thanks for that article.

    Loved the comment about Nutting not caring about what the media thinks.

    GOOD FOR HIM!! Stay the course, Bob!!!!!

    Pro NH Foo

    .

  53. Leefoo says:

    TC…#44….good point.

    But, in all honesty, does ANYONE really know what BN is going to do? Did he really say ANYTHING newsworthy?

    Much ado about nothing for the time being.

    ========
    Good stuff from the Inst League on P2…..good to see those Seal workouts didn’t wear those poor young things out.
    :) :) :)

    P2 Foo

    .

  54. Whithorn says:

    SeanAY -
    It was an assumption on my part that, following Nutting’s original comments, Coonlley would have had a conversation with his owner about the job security of the front office before releasing his statements. I wish the article would have addressed directly whether Nutting knew about the statement because it would answer the question about how sincere Nutting really is.

    But perhaps you’re right. Perhaps Nutting didn’t know about it and that is why he came out again to restate his intentions to evaluate everything. If so, credit to him.

    Either way, my earlier point stands that Coonlley’s statement was another PR blunder. The only question is whether blame lies at the feet of Nutting or Coonlley.

  55. JaxBuc says:

    In DK’s comments above: “…but this NHL lockout will not last long. ”

    Don’t tell Jandy, but the DK kiss of death (“This team will hit, They’re a lock to break the streak, etc.)may be the sole reason the NHL shuts down for good, never to return.

  56. Milo Hamilton says:

    Much ado about Nutting ?

  57. Sarcastic Sword says:

    Is Nutting prepared to make changes in a few months if his thorough review allows him to come to the conclusion that the people currently in place are inadeqate and need replaced?

    If yes, why allow Coonelly to issue the statement on Wednesday?

    If the statement means he wont be making changes soon after its release, then why do the thorough review? To fire someone in 12 months.

    Seems like the release of the statement should have been stifled – Nutting does his review – and if he determines that changes are made, do so after the World Series.

  58. dack2001 says:

    Foo,

    Don’t you ever get sick of marching the beat of the front office drum? Their job is to evaluate talent and bring in players who help the Pirates WIN games. If you replace a reliever having a good season, an integral part of your bullpen, for a very flawed former top prospect, and your bullpen collapses and your flawed prospect looks like he’ll be out of baseball in a few years, you have utterly failed at the job you have been entrusted.

    Besides, Brad Lincoln was not a dime a dozen reliever, he was the linchpin in theis bullpen. Look at the dominos that fell when he left. Hughes imploded, Cruz was cut, and we were left with garbage like Vandenhurk. You can talk all you want about process and potential and how its great to trade a middle reliever for a potential slugger, but when your potential slugger turns out to be worthless and your bullpen implodes and blows a 16 games above .500 record, that is simply a miss by the front office.

  59. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Where is Jandy? Hope she isn’t in the hospital or something with that cough. Hope she didn’t go the way of Playoffs, Groat, John In Oshkosh, Piglegs, et al.

  60. Whithorn says:

    Sarcastic Sword -
    I guess that’s been my point all along. If Nutting’s comments are sincere, Coonlley is a fool for releasing his statement. However, if the decision has already been made to retain everyone, Coonlley is a fool for releasing the statement now. Wait at least a month after the season to announce it. At least give the impression that a thorough review was conducted. Either way, Coonlley is a fool.

    And let me restate that I acknowledge that this club has bigger problems than public relations. But the constant PR-screw ups give insight into the incompetence of the current management.

  61. Bizrow says:

    I honestly think if we are waiting for the BMTIB to change one iota of their methods……..

    Its gonna be a long, long wait

    Well, we’ve waited 20 years so far…..

    I haven’t read Dejans article, as I’ve often said, I wait till I get home, but is there anything that NH/BMTIB has done that gives us one glimmer that they can and will get their act together?

    Some of us here are BMTIB supporters, am just wondering where “the beef” is to make folks feel that way

  62. JoeBucco says:

    I believe the plan was to “Flood the system with talent”, correct? And that certainly hasn’t happened.

    So what’s the excuse from Huntington on that one? That’s the one and only question Nutting should have to ask him before letting him go.

    @DK – Thanks for focusing on this topic today. I know I’ve been banging the comment drum for a while now with all of the talk about rounds 2-50 delivering nothing at all on the major league level, so I’m glad to see you bringing that topic a little more attention.

  63. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Biz,

    Proven incompetence is the beef. If DK has a “miss list” (and he does) and also has a “correct list”, these guys have them, too, only the miss list is as long as the Alaskan pipeline and the correct list is much shorter. My opinion only. Not meant to offend.

  64. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Nutting isn’t going to fire anyone this year and waste the money he spent on FO contracts, though apparently he isn’t that upset about how many millions wasted on FA’s the last few years. If he was really that concerned about winning, wreckless spending, accountability, PR or anything beyond just making a profit, he’d have done something by now.

    Sorry, but 5 years to put together a team and system that can at least achieve a .500 record is a pretty lenient deadline, especially when it gets extended to 6 or 7 on top of the previous 10. I guess we should all be happy and content with the “progress” that’s been made. The FO certainly is. Makes you wonder who’s cooking your food at 7 Springs: is it a chef or a dishwasher?

  65. Franklin says:

    DK,
    I get the impression that you believe the Bucco’s farm system is equal to or only slightly better now than it was when Littlefield left. I was looking over Baseball America’s farms system rankings from early 2008 and they had us ranked at 26th. Meanwhile, we were ranked at 11th best at the beginning of this year. To me, that certainly seems like a well improved farm system. I do feel that NH should be let go but I cannot help but to feel he knows a lot more about stalking talent in the minors more than Littlefield did. To his credit, NH didn’t ignore Latin America and took the obvious guys in the first round with the exception of 2009. Also, Ben Badler of Baseball America recently stated that we could very well have four guys in the top 50 minor league rankings and five in the top 100, excluding Marte. DL never had that many guys make BA’s top 100 list.
    Thank you.

  66. gregenstein says:

    The team is improving if you strictly by end of year W/L total since the fallout in 2010. That said, it’s incremental improvement, and it’s entirely coming from about 4 guys. The bench guys are as lousy as ever, and there’s apparently no SP depth in AAA or McDonald wouldn’t have been out there for 2 whole ineffective months.

    So, when Alvarez, Cutch, Jones, and McDonald faulter/slump, there’s nobody available to pick up the slack. I also doubt those guys will improve upon their numbers this year, though McDonald I suppose could. Cutch and Jones are as good I think as we’ll ever see them. Alvarez I think will learn to be less steaky, though power hitters always go through streaks. His slumps I think will shorten though. That’s about it though. Look at the Nationals. They basically took a giant leap forward, and it has little to do with the $150M that Jason Werth is making.

    I’m sorry, but 5 years is plenty long enough for a GM to put together a team that at least can crack 82 wins even with a shoestring budget. He’s had $10-$20 million to spend on free agents every year, and he’s yet to acquire one on a major league contract who has even come close to earning his keep.

  67. SeanAY says:

    Whithorn–

    And in all honesty, I can’t say I’d be totally shocked if Coonelly and Nutting did have that conversation, and Nutting’s comments from last night/today really are just window dressing. Nothing this front office does shocks me much anymore.

    Or, it could be as DK noted, where Nutting is going to let Coonelly spin his wheels and issue votes of confidence; by not letting him do it, he really would just be telling the guy he’s fired anyway.

    It does just seem odd to me that Nutting would say one thing, his president would say another, and Nutting would reiterate point A, all in the span of three days. If nothing else, there is NO consistency of message in that group.

  68. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’ve made my list of scapegoats. Remember, last year it was the training staff. I suspect changes will come from the following heavy hitters in the organization.

    - Gregg Ritchie – hitting coach – probably leaving to become head coach at G.W..
    - Luis Silverio – 1st base coach/ baserunning
    - Kimera Bartee – minor league baserunning coordinator
    - Jeff Livesey – minor league hitting coordinator

    I’m not saying all of these guys will go, but some will. Perfect scapegoats.

  69. NMR says:

    Someone asked the other day what we’ll be saying about Huntington in five years.

    Shouldn’t this recent recollection of Littlefield provide some kind of lesson?

    We sit here bashing Huntington’s drafts while revising our views of Littlefield’s five years removed from his last. Shouldn’t that be a fairly large hint that it MIGHT be a bit premature?

    If you are to judge Huntington against his peers, based on production at the major league level, then you have two drafts on which to do so. That is an awfully small body of work in the scheme of Major League Baseball.

    I can’t tell you how good or bad Huntington is at drafting players, but I can say that it is still too early to definitively say one way or the other. Just ask Dave Littlefield.

  70. BarryVanBonilla says:

    That was an enlightening column. The takeaway for me was that Bob Nutting wasn’t concerned one way or the other with any assurances made by Frank Coonelly about the future of the front office. He (Nutting) can overrule that decision any time based on the information and analysis of the same he undertakes after the season. If I was Huntington, Smith or Stark, and I was resting my hopes on the outcome of that process, I wouldn’t feel terribly comfortable. I’m all for his taking his time. The more time he takes, the easier this decision should be.

  71. Thundercrack says:

    When evaluating drafts and the minors, does this mean we are giving up hope for Mercer, D’arnaud, Locke (who was developed in our minor league system), and Justin Wilson?

  72. nate83 says:

    Ross @ 5

    Great information. Everyone please take some time to look at this. It really shows you how hard it is to find prospects and that is why so many teams just buy what they need after they know how good a player is.

    It looks like round 2 you have about a 20% chance to get an everyday player. That would mean 1 out NH’s 5 second round draft picks should become an everyday player. That may still happen. Don’t forget the last 3 years are still way to young to know what they will end up being.

    Rounds 3-5 it is about 10% and NH has had 15 of those but somehow he is supposed to have like 5 or 6 great prospects out of that group of players instead of the 1.5 the math shows is average. After that is just goes down to less and less likely to get anything of value.

    Also keep in mind that NH’s first draft has been for the most part good and the second draft has been horrible for almost every team. That draft has had very few player become impact players at the major league level. The last 3 years is really had to judge because it is way to early to know what some of these players will become.

  73. Piano Legs Hickman says:

    One needs look no further than Baltimore and Oakland–ok, I admit that’s pretty far–to see what real baseball people can do with a moribund franchise. NH, Stark, and Smith have had ample time to have an impact on the organization; while the everyday lineup played well for 2 months this year, they have built woefully little to support it through the draft or free agency. 5 years in, not much has changed. They have to go.

  74. Franklin says:

    I’m sorry, DK, you did state that the system did improve but I feel you’re still selling NH a bit short. Like I said, DL never did have anywhere near the amount of prospects in Baseball America’s top 100 lists, like Ben Badler suggested NH will have.

    DK: Most of the discussion in this case has been about the draft. Four of those six are from Latin America.

  75. Thundercrack says:

    People, people —read again what the sly DK wrote

    “What I meant was exactly what’s written in asking where was this DRAMATIC upgrade everyone is so fond of describing.”

    He’s not talking about the improvement. He’s questioning “DRAMATIC”.

    I want to know who ‘everyone’ is.

  76. Milo Hamilton says:

    Franklin,

    How many pennants have been won by a Top 100 list of prospects ?

  77. patrick(RI) says:

    I remember the first impression I had of Coonelly: very nice shoes and a great looking suit — looked VERY “presidential.” I’ll bet if he stays in Pittsburgh, and the fans leave PNC to go to “museums, symphonies,” etc., they will likely run into the president. It has never been clear to me what a team president is supposed to do that could not be done by a GM and an owner, but I suspect it has something to do with $, league relations and public relations. It would be fair to say he has been great at 2 out of those 3?

    A fan’s bottom-line is wins. A president’s bottom line is to implement whatever the owner wants, I guess. Looks like this Fall, we will find out what the owner wants. I hope he decides wins are the best means to his ends.

    If Coonelly remains, I would offer my services as a Speechwriter.

  78. Milo Hamilton says:

    patrick,

    Wal-Mart greeter in an Armani suit.

  79. nate83 says:

    Milo

    How many pennants have been won with 55 million payroll? If you don’t have/unwilling to spend the money you only have prospects to build on. You have to start somewhere. The A’s are not doing what they are doing right now without the ability to trade prospect that became major leaguers for more prospects. Prospects are also used to trade for proven talent. Bottom 10 market teams do not compete without prospects.

  80. Milo Hamilton says:

    nate,

    Thanks for the lesson in baseball 101. Will there be a quiz ?

    I’m going to try this one more time. LISTS of minor leaguers aren’t worth the paper their printed on. The lists, not the players.

  81. nate83 says:

    Milo

    Thanks for the snide remark. It is always appreciated. We will agree to disagree on this one because you will never be able to prove to me that a team with 6 of the top 100 prospects doesn’t have a better chance of success then a team with 1. It’s simple logic the more raffle tickets you have the better chance you have of winning the raffle.

  82. LuckyNKentucky says:

    A 55-million dollar payroll properly spent will give a team a chance at the playoffs. What is the A’s payroll, $41 million?

  83. JoeBucco says:

    How many pennants have the A’s won? #JustSayin

  84. aglebagel says:

    DK-
    Sorry, I just moved away from Manhattan. Can’t get a picture for you.

    Meanwhile, I just came across a very interesting article starring Jamie Dixon and his apparent scheduling prowess, specifically when it comes to exploiting RPI. Had no idea that this was such a skill and that Dixon was so good at it.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/luke_winn/09/27/schedule-strength/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_wr_a1

  85. JoeBucco says:

    Basically, we all feel like we have a couple of prospects that *may* or *should* pan out in the system now.

    But the fact remains that in five years, there isn’t a single contributor to the major league team drafted by Huntington in rounds 2-50 (and round 1 as well in all cases except Pedro).

    And until those guys get here and *do* pan out, they are about as valuable as the paper those lists are written on. While the A’s have had some moderate success, you still have to pick a couple of good choices in the draft (or maybe we did and we suck at developing them – QUITE possible). Maybe it isn’t the drafting and talent evaluation at all. But the point is that somewhere along the line, the system is supposed to be flooded with talent. But talent that has still not made it to Pittsburgh in ANY case other than Pedro. That’s 0 for roughly 250 picks in five years. We all know the draft is a crapshoot, but you HAVE to do better than that.

    And the A’s have had help from guys like this Brandon Moss dude as well. So somewhere along the way we fail with players that turn out to be prety good elsewhere.

  86. NMR says:

    @Lucky/Joe

    You guys are absolutely right. The A’s under Billy Beane have been consistantly successful with low payroll.

    Now name another.

    Andrew Friedman, you say? Great, that makes two.

    Any more?

  87. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    @JoeBuc

    3 in the last 10 years, 4 in last 12. 4 seasons in last 12 they finished below .500.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/OAK/

  88. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Joe,

    Many more than us in the last couple decades. Just making an example of what better spending can accomplish. I know that dead horse has been beaten severely already.

  89. JoeBucco says:

    @Milo – I agree with your list of scapegoats. But when you have a “Biggest Collapse in the History of Major League Baseball”, one would have to think there should be some sort of accountability for that, right?

    Seems weird, but I’m trusting Nutting with this one.

  90. Milo Hamilton says:

    I went back 5 years to 2007, seem fair ? These guys should be established by now.

    #1 with 8 of the top 100 (Baseball America) ?

    Colorado Rockies

    The Nats & Rangers each had 1.

  91. nate83 says:

    The A’s have a had a much better group of prospects for decades. We are just getting to that point. Please name the players they have spent on in free agency that contribute to the team. I believe it has been mostly prospects.

  92. JoeBucco says:

    @Brad – a pennant means getting to the world series and winning the league.

    They haven’t done that since 1990.

  93. LuckyNKentucky says:

    NMR,

    What about the Rays? They don’t seem to give away the store, but are in the hunt every season in a tough division (yawn for over-used cliche’). Sorry, I don’t keep up with those payrolls, but it seems they get mentioned a lot for smart management.

  94. JoeBucco says:

    I was saying the A’s aren’t necessarily an ideal.

    Sure, it is nice to compete. But that’s all the A’s do / have done.

    The truth is, they’ve won exactly one more playoff series than us in the past 20 years.

  95. JoeBucco says:

    ideal ‘model’ I meant to type

  96. Milo Hamilton says:

    Jeff Clement was ranked 13 spots ahead of Neil Walker, by the way.

    These are guesses. Guesses by people that know less than the people that do the actual picking.

  97. JoeBucco says:

    Clement will pan out.

    Just not with us.

    Just wait and see.

  98. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    JoeBuc,

    Doh! My bad. Always been confused about the exact definition since wildcard system was implemented.

  99. NMR says:

    @Lucky

    The Rays GM is Andrew Friedman. And you’re right, he does an excellent job of putting together good baseball teams on a low budget, mostly through draft and development.

    Point being, there are two men in the history of modern baseball who have been consistantly successful at putting winning baseball teams on the field with a low payroll.

    When analyzing Huntingtons performance, the word “should” gets used a lot more than “could”.

    Huntington SHOULD have had better drafts, Huntington SHOULD have acquired better players. Huntington SHOULD have a winning team on the field.

    I don’t know how you can look at the extremely low number of men who have been successful in his position with similar circumstances and come to that conclusion.

  100. Kevin says:

    who or what is BMTIB? Guess I’m late to the party. What’s the chances the NHL – NHLPA negotiations go well this weekend?

  101. Milo Hamilton says:

    NMR,

    What would you think about going to Andrew Friedman and offering him a position similar to Theo’s in Chicago. Of course, that would entail opening the wallet…

  102. JoeBucco says:

    NH is 0 for 250-ish in rounds 2-50 of the last five drafts.

    I’ll bet any one of us could do at least that well.

  103. Leefoo says:

    does anyone on here know the definition of a successful baseball draft class?

    Just curious….

    I’ve read in several spots that one good ballplayer and two or three usable players. So, has NH really failed? This ain’t the FB draft we’re talking about.

    Foo

    .

  104. JRay3 says:

    @ DK – Thank you for going straight to the top and being a voice for the fans as well as a solid columnist. I really enjoyed the piece this morning and it is somewhat refreshing to read that although the patience of us fans that have followed the team so closely is waning by the second the owner at least shares some of that same frustration.

    I do agree with Mr. Nutting that it is best to run thorough reviews and not when emotions are running at their peak.

    I can only hope that through the course of the next few weeks, Mr. Nutting finds the many deficiencies that seem so obvious to us and that is enough for him to warrant a change in order to move this team in a more positive direction.

    Any organization that senses a lack of accountability is doomed for failure.

  105. JoeBucco says:

    @Foo – who are his two or three usable players? Then, I’ll let you know. But I can’t find any of them. :)

  106. I really do appreciate the continued insight into Nutting, DK. From the picture you paint, I can respect that Nutting is a careful, methodical decision maker. My only concern there is that, should he clean house, the next in line may not have much time to prepare before the start of next season.

    Regarding the NHL CBA status, I must say I am very encouraged by the three day meeting scheduled. As both sides have agreed to open the agenda up to the full range of issues, I can only assume there is some confidence they can move past the fundamental stumbling blocks that have stalemated them thus far. I am hoping that progress can be made and some type of foundation for a new agreement can be reached over the course of the weekend. If these discussions fall short of that goal, however, I fear that this stalemate will start to consume the season.

  107. Dan1283 says:

    I just wanted to pop in to say WELL DONE on the column. Getting a hold of Nutting and getting comment from him has been the #1 thing I was waiting for regarding this mess. It sounds like he’s going to be rolling some heads. Good for him. And hopefully this time he pays some advisors to help him hire competant replacements.

    DK: Thanks, Dan.

  108. Milo Hamilton says:

    I need some of Keegan Bradley’s energy.

  109. Leefoo says:

    JoeBucco….do you have proof of that 0 for 250ish? And, how does NH compare to others? Let’s look at the top 5 (borrowed from another poster on another site) since 2008.

    2008 – Rays and Orioles appear to have whiffed and maybe Royals. Pirates and Giants did well.

    2009 – Orioles, Pirates, Padres, and Mariners whiffed so far (jury still out on Ackley but he doesn’t look like he’ll return #2 value). Nats did well with Strasburg, but my 6 year old niece could’ve made that pick!

    2010 – Very early but Royals whiffed. Pirates and Indian TBD but look good. Nats and Orioles did great. I was rooting for Machado, but….

    2011 – All five are still on track.

    Seems like NH is doing fine compared to his competition with top 5 picks to date.

    I have seen other sites do 2-50 and to even get some usable parts out of those draft picks is saying something. Every once in awhile you hit big, but….

    Let’s look at 2008, which is the draft we can probably look at best right now.
    1) Pedro…would rather have Posey, but a 30 HR 3bman is nothing to sneeze at.
    2) We didn’t sign Scheppers, but he turned out to be only another hard throwing RP who has done nothing at the ML level.

    Jordy Mercer and Chase d’Arnaud. May become major league SS’s or may become utility players. Probably the latter.

    Justin Wilson may yet become a solid LH RP.

    Robbie Grossman was traded for a very good #3 SP. Had we drafted a #3 SP in the 6th rd, we’d be dancing in the streets.

    Mike Colla and Matt Hague are probably nothing special.

    I think we did okay.

    Foo

    .

  110. Leefoo says:

    Here is an excellent site for this sort of draft stuff

    http://www.mymlbdraft.com/2nd-overall-mlb-draft-pick/20609/

  111. JoeBucco says:

    Keep in mind, the ONLY player NH has ever drafted to have won even one single game is Tanner Scheppers – and we didn’t sign him.

    The only pitcher he ever drafted to strike out a single player while pitching for the Pirates in Justin Wilson – and he has 7 career K’s.

    The only player not named Pedro Alvarez to have hit a major league home run is Jordy Mercer. And he has 1.

    NH has never drafted any player not named Pedro Alvarez to have as many as 8 career RBI.

    NH has never drafted any player, including Pedro Alvarez, to have even a .238 career batting average.

    Wilson is the only pitcher in 5 years drafted by NH to appear in a Major League game.

    In rounds 2-50, NH has drafted a TOTAL of 1 HR and 21 RBI and we’ve gotten a grand total of 336 at bats from them, to go along with 4.1 Major League innings pitched (again, all Wilson’s).

  112. JoeBucco says:

    Again, there is no promise of anyone in the minor leagues – so that is my driving assumption in that prospect lists are just that – lists, until they actually accomplish something for the Pirates.

    I doubt you could find any team in the majors with as little major league production from the last five years of drafting.

  113. Leefoo says:

    Here are the 2008 draft results for the 2nd round. How many of these guys do you recognize?? There’s a few, but….it gets MUCH worse as you go down the 3ed, 4th, etc.

    Tampa Bay Devil Rays logo – MLB
    Draft#:47
    Kyle Lobstein
    Position: LHP

    Pittsburgh Pirates logo – MLB
    Draft#:48
    Tanner Scheppers
    Position: RHP

    Kansas City Royals logo – MLB
    Draft#:49
    Johnny Giovatella
    Position: 2B

    Baltimore Orioles logo – MLB
    Draft#:50
    Xavier Avery
    Position: OF

    Philadelphia Phillies logo – MLB
    Draft#:51*
    Anthony Gose
    Position: OF

    Florida Marlins logo – MLB
    Draft#:52
    Brad Hand
    Position: LHP

    Milwaukee Brewers logo – MLB
    Draft#:53*
    Seth Lintz
    Position: RHP

    Milwaukee Brewers logo – MLB
    Draft#:54*
    Cutter Dykstra
    Position: OF

    Washington Nationals logo – MLB
    Draft#:55
    Destin Hood
    Position: OF

    Houston Astros logo – MLB
    Draft#:56
    Jay Austin
    Position: OF

    Texas Rangers logo – MLB
    Draft#:57
    Robbie Ross
    Position: LHP

    Oakland Athletics logo – MLB
    Draft#:58
    Tyson Ross
    Position: RHP

    St. Louis Cardinals logo – MLB
    Draft#:59
    Shane Peterson
    Position: OF

    Minnesota Twins logo – MLB
    Draft#:60
    Tyler Ladendorf
    Position: SS

    Los Angeles Dodgers logo – MLB
    Draft#:61
    Josh Lindblom
    Position: RHP

    Milwaukee Brewers logo – MLB
    Draft#:62
    Cody Adams
    Position: RHP

    Toronto Blue Jays logo – MLB
    Draft#:63
    Kenny Wilson
    Position: OF

    Atlanta Braves logo – MLB
    Draft#:64
    Tyler Stovall
    Position: LHP

    Chicago Cubs logo – MLB
    Draft#:65
    Aaron Shafer
    Position: RHP

    Seattle Mariners logo – MLB
    Draft#:66
    Dennis Raben
    Position: OF

    Detroit Tigers logo – MLB
    Draft#:67
    Cody Satterwhite
    Position: RHP

    New York Mets logo – MLB
    Draft#:68
    Javier Rodriguez
    Position: OF

    San Diego Padres logo – MLB
    Draft#:69
    James Darnell
    Position: 3B

    Atlanta Braves logo – MLB
    Draft#:70*
    Zeke Spruill
    Position: RHP

    Philadelphia Phillies logo – MLB
    Draft#:71
    Jason Knapp
    Position: RHP

    Colorado Rockies logo – MLB
    Draft#:72
    Charlie Blackmon
    Position: OF

    Arizona Diamondbacks logo – MLB
    Draft#:73
    Bryan Shaw
    Position: RHP

    LA Angels logo – MLB
    Draft#:74
    Tyler Chatwood
    Position: RHP

    New York Yankees logo – MLB
    Draft#:75
    Scott Bittle
    Position: RHP

    Cleveland Indians logo – MLB
    Draft#:76
    Trey Haley
    Position: RHP

    Boston Red Sox logo – MLB
    Draft#:77
    Derrik Gibson
    Position: SS

  114. Leefoo says:

    JoeBucco……..how long does it take a HS or College player to make it from being drafted to being a viable MLB player?

    Can you tell me that?

    The guys who come up and excel within a couple of years are few and far between and are the exception. It usually takes 2-4 years for a college player (depending on his College class) and 6 years for a HS player. How long did it take PRNW to make it? He was drafted in 2004. It took AMac FIVE years and he’s a superstar.

    Your expectations need to be lowered a little bit imho. This ain’t a FB draft class, my friend.

    Foo

    .

  115. Leefoo says:

    JoeBucco….NO PROMISE??!!

    C’mon man….we get 5 out of the top 78 in BA’s top 100 (not even including Josh Bell who was hurt all year) and you say ‘no promise’????

    You’re knee jerking without facts.

    Drafty Foo

    .

  116. JoeBucco says:

    I just did some digging, and interestingly enough, there is one team that has gotten less than we have from the last five drafts.

    Tampa

    They’ve not gotten anything, literally not one at bat or inning pitched, from the last five drafts.

    Every other team in the majors has us lapped many times over.

  117. JoeBucco says:

    @Foo – I meant no promise of future results. Probably should have used “guarantee” rather than promise. Mah fault…

  118. Leefoo says:

    JoeBucco…they’ve lapped us many times over?

    Your research must differ from mine.

    I’ll send you my email address if you want to send me your research.

    Foo

  119. JoeBucco says:

    BTW – here is the source of my research for anyone interested.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/history/draft/draft.jsp#draft_team=&player_name=&page=1&sort_order=&sorted_by=&season=2008&draft_type=JR&draft_round=

    I know we’ve picked plenty of young guys, but out of 250 picks, we can’t get anything from any of them other than Pedro?

    The hard truth is that either we draft abysmally, or we develop players abysmally. Or quite possibly both. Either one lands on NH’s lap.

  120. Milo Hamilton says:

    I wish I had a dollar for every high school coach that told me his 8th grade team went undefeated.

  121. JoeBucco says:

    Use that link and click on the drafts for every year, and then filter by each team. It then shows major league stats for those players.

    We are, by far, the worst of the bunch in rounds two through 50 (other than Tampa). Or even 1-50 if you want to include Pedro.

  122. Leefoo says:

    JoeBuc….here’s the 2009 draft. Not too many ‘laps’ here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Major_League_Baseball_Draft

    You have Strasburg, Storen, Leake, Crow and Trout. You have some potentials, but outside of those 5 no impact players. And most scouts will say that getting relief pitchers (Storen and Crow) is NOT what you want out of the first round, esp the Top 10.

    I am NOT justifying Sanchez here, but 2009 was an extremely weak year and it is borne out by the number of number 1′s to have NOT made the majors and DONE SOMETHING!

    That is less than 15 percent!!!!

    Foo

    1. Washington Nationals — Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State
    2. Seattle Mariners — Dustin Ackley, OF, Univ. of North Carolina
    3. San Diego Padres — Donavan Tate, OF, Cartersville (Ga.) HS
    4. Pittsburgh Pirates — Tony Sanchez, C, Boston College
    5. Baltimore Orioles — Matt Hobgood, RHP, Norco (Calif.) HS
    6. San Francisco Giants — Zack Wheeler, RHP, East Paulding HS, Dallas, Ga.
    7. Atlanta Braves — Mike Minor, LHP, Vanderbilt
    8. Cincinnati Reds — Mike Leake, RHP, Arizona State
    9. Detroit Tigers — Jacob Turner, RHP, Westminster Christian Academy, St. Louis, Mo.
    10. Washington Nationals — Drew Storen, RHP, Stanford
    11. Colorado Rockies — Tyler Matzek, LHP, Capistrano Valley HS, Mission Viejo, Calif.
    12. Kansas City Royals — Aaron Crow, RHP, Fort Worth Cats
    13. Oakland Athletics — Grant Green, SS, University of Southern Calif.ornia
    14. Texas Rangers — Matt Purke, LHP, Klein HS, Spring, Texas
    15. Cleveland Indians — Alex White, RHP, Univ. of North Carolina
    16. Arizona Diamondbacks — Bobby Borchering, 3B, Bishop Verot School, Fort Myers, Fla.
    17. Arizona Diamondbacks — A.J. Pollock, CF, Notre Dame
    18. Florida Marlins — Chad James, LHP, Yukon (Okla.) HS
    19. St. Louis Cardinals — Shelby Miller, RHP, Brownwood (Texas) HS
    20. Toronto Blue Jays — Chad Jenkins, RHP, Kennesaw State University
    21. Houston Astros — Jiovanni Mier, SS, Bonita HS, La Verne, Calif.
    22. Minnesota Twins — Kyle Gibson, RHP, Univ. of Missouri
    23. Chicago White Sox — Jared Mitchell, OF, LSU
    24. Los Angeles Angels — Randal Grichuk, LF, Lamar Consolidated HS, Rosenberg, Texas
    25. Los Angeles Angels — Mike Trout, CF, Millville (N.J.) HS
    26. Milwaukee Brewers — Eric Arnett, RHP, Indiana Univ.
    27. Seattle Mariners — Nick Franklin, SS, Lake Brantley HS, Altamonte Springs, Fla.
    28. Boston Red Sox — Reymond Fuentes, CF, Fernando Callejo HS, Manati, P.R.
    29. New York Yankees — Slade Heathcott, CF, Texas HS, Texarkana, Texas
    30. Tampa Bay Rays — Levon Washington, OF, Buchholz HS, Gainesville, Fla.
    31. Chicago Cubs — Brett Jackson, OF, Univ. of Calif.ornia
    32. Colorado Rockies — Tim Wheeler, OF, Sacramento State

  123. Leefoo says:

    JB…EXCELLENT site to prove my point.

    Did you sort by team? Add Az to your ‘not good’ list. Their best player is the immortal Colln Cowgill.

    The Braves got Kimbrall on the 3rd round.

    The Orioles best player is Brian Matusz

    Redsox? Casey Kelly.

    Hey, I could go on and on, but when you look at just the first 4 teams I count NOBODY so far lapping us!!!!

    Foo

    .

  124. Dave says:

    Dejan,

    You should’ve asked Bob if he’s going to look in the mirror at himself as a possible cause for the collapse. Two years in a row we’ve had a strong 1st half and two years in a row we’ve barely added any salary. We’re still in the bottom 3 in the majors in salary even though we were 15 games over .500 at one point. How is the team going to win if it’s owner isn’t focused on winning himself? Milwaukee is in a smaller market and has a higher payroll. The Rays are in a terrible stadium and have less fans coming to the stadium than the Pirates and have a higher payroll.

    If Nutting wants to find out where the problem lies all he has to do is look in the mirror and he’ll find that cheapness kills in MLB.

    DK: Been asking this a lot lately: If you’re the owner and you just watched your GM flush $15.4 million on all four free agents he signed, what form of insanity would have to overcome you to hand him, say, $20 million more?

  125. Leefoo says:

    JB….don’t just look at the number of players who made the majors. ARE THEY ANY GOOD??

    Foo

    .

  126. JoeBucco says:

    @Foo – I’m just saying we’re seeing a bit of a track record here. We’ve gotten much less than 15% from NH. So far, it’s more like less than .5% – 1 out of 250 (Pedro), and that one was a no-brainer at the time.

    And Sanchez is a bust. Immature for one, and just not very talented. I know you weren’t defending him, but I’d so much rather have many people on that list than Sanchez right now.

    And rounds 2-50 in 2009 had solid contributors like Jason Kipnis, Kyle Seager, Joe Kelly, Brandon Belt, Dallas Keuchel, Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter, J.D. Martinez, and Mike Fiers.

    Not saying we could have or should have hit on all of these players or even any of them – but NH doesn’t seem to hit on any of them in any year.

    Tell me if you think the Cards would trade us straight up right now Matt Carpenter (13th rounder) for Tony Sanchez. no way

  127. JoeBucco says:

    I was looking at any player with more than 1 HR, more than 7 RBI, or more than 0 wins as a pitcher.

    If so, that is more than we’ve gotten.

  128. nate83 says:

    Joe Bucco

    Wow, missed on all 250. That would be amazing if it where true. Show me a list of round 2-50 players that are currently starters in the majors that where drafted in the last 3 years. Way to early to say he wiffed on those 150. Walker and Cutch took 4 years or more to reach the majors and they where first rounders.

    As Leefoo pointed out above 2008 was not whiffs and probably could be put up against any other teams drafts that year and come out ahead of at 20-25 of them. 2009 is a bust for every team in baseball. Horrible draft year for all teams. Unless you have a time machine and can go ahead 4 years and see how drafts 2010-2012 have turned out you can’t say he missed on all 250.

  129. JoeBucco says:

    @Dave – where have we been cheap the last few years? In the draft? Or in trading deadline acquisitions? Or what we offered Edwin Jackson to come to the Burgh?

    Just curious…

  130. Leefoo says:

    nate83…still trying to figger out where JB is comng up with that stuff.

    “Unless you have a time machine and can go ahead 4 years and see how drafts 2010-2012 have turned out you can’t say he missed on all 250.”

    No…but DK (Mr Cayce) can…..:) :) :)

    Foo

    .

  131. JoeBucco says:

    @Foo – Az got Paul Goldschmidt in round 19 I believe. That alone crushes our performance.

    Orioles have a guy named Manny Machado leading them into the playoffs right now. In addition to Matusz.

    Kimbrel himself is enough to lap us.

  132. Bizrow says:

    @Lucky – from a much earlier post

    When I asked “where’s the beef”, I was alluding to where are facts that indicate NH and the BMTIB will ever be successful?

    I don’t think there is much out there except for the same-old, same-old stuff we hear every time the FO gets in the same pickle

    “Just wait, our system is loaded, our plan is working”

    I humbly throw the BS flag at them, once again

    As many have said, take away the no brainer draft picks, and there ain’t much else there.

  133. JoeBucco says:

    @nate – I think I just gave you a decent list.

    Find one MLB team with fewer actual results that we’ve gotten in rounds 2-50 of the last 5 years. It’s not hard. All it takes is 2 HR’s total. Or 1 MLB win.

  134. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Drafts aside, how can anyone be ok with Neal the SEAL being ok with where we’re at? Yeah he says he’s disappointed, frustrated and all that. But that’s hard to believe when he also said we’re making progress and he’s happy with that. What progress?! Depends on one’s definition, I guess.

    I don’t care for the .500 goal, but when we can’t even reach that in 5 years, what is this progress? A few more wins than the year before? 3 guys in the minors who may or may not be moderately successful in 3 or 4 years? Come on. How are we any better off next year? Nothing suggests this offseason is going to be any more productive than the last 5 or that guys in the minors are going to develop any better than before. Is anyone confident that any of our prospects (from drafts, trades or anywhere) are going to be developed effectively when their war-cry is Hoka Hey?

    Neal hired and continues to staunchly defend an assistant GM who has virtually no legitimate experience for the job and has made an additional mockery of the organization through his outlandish methods and ideologies. These deficiencies have been going on for 5 years under these guys. An in-depth analysis by Bob Nutting is going to fix that with the same guys in charge? I doubt it.

  135. Leefoo says:

    JoeBucco….there are always exceptions! I never said we were the best. You stated that MOST teams were lapping up. I would argue that we’re up there overall.

    You’re changing the target my friend.

    Foo

    .

  136. JoeBucco says:

    2008 was good?

    Pedro. And…. Jordy Mercer? Chase d’Arnaud?

    Robbie Grossman did not bring us Wandy. Grossman, Colton Cain and Rudy Owens together brought us 1.5 years of Wandy. Owens was the big deal in that draft. And he was drafted in round 28 by Dave Littlefield.

  137. Leefoo says:

    Joe Bucco…post your list…I’d love to see it.

    Of course you know that you can sort by team and round for the last 5 years? You picked Paul Goldschmidt for Az who they got in the 19th round. Who else have they gotten? Cowgill, Miley in 2008? Their 2009 #1, Borchering, was pawned off to the Astros.

    And I would argue that Pedro is as good or better than Goldschmidt.

    Foo

    .

  138. JoeBucco says:

    I meant Owens was the big deal in that trade (not draft of course)

  139. nate83 says:

    JB

    We ara cheap because we have nerver signed a free agent to a contract thats total value is worth even the amount that top tier free agents make in 1 year. I could be wrong but I think the top free agent contract we have given under NH is Barmes at like 11 million over 2 years. That is sad. We only take on legitimate major league players and contracts when the other team offers to pay over half of the remaining contract.

    If your car door falls off and you have a hole in your car you replace it with a door that matches the rest of your car. Unless you are cheap and put on a door from the junk yard that is a completely different color. The Pirates are that car with the different color door playing baseball with someone elses used parts that they didn’t want anymore.

  140. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Giants got their everyday shortstop on a division champion, Brandon Crawford (4th round – 2008), after we drafted Mercer & D’Arnaud.

  141. Leefoo says:

    JB…Owens the big deal? Another soft tosser. Grossman was the big ‘get’. Cain was a throw in also. We must be reading different scouting sites.

    And again, look at my 2nd round I listed. No matter WHERE YOU PICK, it is more of a crapshoot than in the first round.

    Again, not sure where you got your expectations from (from DK’s articles?), but they are highly unreasonable and not based on draft history.

    Foo

    .

  142. JoeBucco says:

    @Foo – I stated at the beginning that I was referring to rounds 2-50 where we’ve gotten (almost literally) nothing so far. And every other team except Tampa has gotten more.

  143. Leefoo says:

    “The Pirates are that car with the different color door playing baseball with someone elses used parts that they didn’t want anymore.”

    LOl….and it’ll probably never change.

    Foo

    .

  144. nate83 says:

    Owens was the big lose? Why then did everyone on this blog the day after say I wish we didn’t have to lose Grossman in that deal.

  145. Leefoo says:

    Milo….you never know, do you? I have the 2008 draft book. Crawford was a ‘reach’ going in the fourth round. d’Arnaud and Mercer were highly thought of at the time.

    We can play this game all day. If only NH (and other GMs) had a crystal ball. Look at Trout.

    The odds of a player making the majors from the 2nd round on drop exponentially to where there is minimal impact after the 10th.

    BA has excellent books on the history of MLB drafts. I strongly suggest them as required reading before criticizing NH’s drafts.

    Foo

  146. Hurdled says:

    Just think, starting Thursday all that will be left to wait for is the:

    Bad Non-Tender decisions (see Matt Capps)
    Bad trades to shed payroll (we will miss you Joel Hanrahan)
    Bad Free Agent signings (way too many to list)
    Bade Rule 5 Draft picks (see John Raynor and Josh Rodriguez)
    Bad Arbitration hearings (see Ross Ohlendorf)

    Good news…We can’t lose another game until at least April.

  147. Leefoo says:

    “@Foo – I stated at the beginning that I was referring to rounds 2-50 where we’ve gotten (almost literally) nothing so far. And every other team except Tampa has gotten more.”

    That is horsebleep…. Pls share your list…I just did the first four teams and there’s nothing.

    Heck, we’ve had MLB players from those rounds, but nothing special.

    Pls Pls list those players. Pls.

  148. Corey says:

    I think that looking at the NH drafts is kind of hard at this stage. As many have pointed out, the number of 2008/2009 draftees that are making a real impact are few and far between throughout all of MLB. Saying that NH didn’t draft Paul Goldschmidt in round 19, and therefore he is a failure, technically makes 29 other GMs a failure as well.

    I think the bigger issue is, what is happening with the prospects that are in the system. I don’t care if DL or NH drafted them, what is important is “are they being developed?”. In my opinion, the guys coming up from the minors (position players, at least) seem to be seriously lacking in basic fundamental skills.
    – Batters flail at any pitch within 5 feet of the plate
    – batters don’t seem to have basic situational knowledge (such as, this pitcher just threw 4 straight balls, perhaps I shouldn’t swing at the first pitch if it is borderline)
    – guys get picked off and caught in run-downs in ridiculous ways
    – missing cutoff men or throwing to the wrong base

    The list could go on and on…

    Perhaps some of these marginal prospects would be making more of an impact on the ML club if the minors where getting them better prepared to do so.

  149. nate83 says:

    Yes and 31 other teams including the Giants passed on Crawford in the first 3 rounds. Should all those GM’s be fired. We could play this game all day. The this team got this guy why couldn’t we game is impossible to defend. You are putting 31 GM’s pick up against 1 GM.

  150. Leefoo says:

    One more team

    Chicago Cubs…
    2008 Campana and Flaherty…bit parts, bench players.
    2009 Nobody I ever heard of outside of deLemathieu

    2010/2011 NOBODY!!!

    I find that hardly lapping!

  151. Hurdled says:

    Neal Huntington drafted future star Stetson Allie.

  152. NMR says:

    @Milo

    Sorry for the delay from earlier.

    To answer your question, I’d not only court Friedman or Beane and give them at least $5m/yr, I’d hire any of their top assistants. No GM in this league does it on their own. Both of those guys HAVE to have good people in their “Kyle Stark” roles.

    I have no problem with the entire Front Office being gutted, but I don’t want it done just for the sake of doing it. Make the investment into one of the systems that have proven they can develope a MLB team.

    Do not start a revolving door of “up-and-comers” or retreads.

  153. nate83 says:

    Oops I meant 29 teams. Football on the mind.

  154. Leefoo says:

    Seattle Mariners (under the genius GM Jackie Z)

    2008- Nobody (they traded 3 of their pitchers to us, tho)
    2009 – The immortal Kyle Seager and Anthony Vasquez
    2010 – Stephen Prior RP
    2011 – Carter Capps RP

    That is LAPPING us???

    Maybe you need to define ‘lapping’.

    Foo

    .

  155. NMR says:

    “Bad trades to shed payroll (we will miss you Joel Hanrahan)”

    I love the ignorant irony of this line.

    Brilliant.

    Hint: name the method in which Joel Hanrahan was acquired.

  156. Leefoo says:

    Hurdled….are you telling me NH MISSED on a 2nd round pick?? WOW!!! So do 32 other GMs!! I can’t believe he doesn’t hit 100 %%!!!!

    Foo

    .

  157. nate83 says:

    Leefoo

    You are using fact instead of perception. Please stop!!!!! It is making way to much sense.

  158. Leefoo says:

    JB…by the time we traded him and added, you know, some good players to our system, Rudy’s stock dropped like a rock!

    This past year he was rated # 16 by BA. A number 16 prospect is a throw-in in my book.

    Foo

    .

  159. Milo Hamilton says:

    nate,

    I was just pointing out that we were obviously looking for a shortstop, taking 2 in the 1st 4 rounds. And the guy taken after we took those 2 guys is playing everyday on a pennant contender and playing gold glove caliber defense on top of it.

    Our 2 guys, not so much.

  160. Leefoo says:

    nate83…#158…LOL

    Corey…pls read Pirates Prospects some time. For every player we’re accused of not developing, we’re successful in other areas.

    Foo

    .

  161. nate83 says:

    What ever happened to Matt Capps. That’s right, I forgot he stinks.

    I can’t believe we don’t have a rule 5 player that turned into an All-star. That list must be so long and we somehow stayed off of it.

  162. Leefoo says:

    I’m outta here…even us retirees have stuff to do.

    Besides, as Nate sorta said, why let facts get in the way of an ill conceived perception
    :) :) :) :)

    Foo

    .

  163. NMR says:

    @Milo

    Not arguing, but do you really think its a stretch to say Jordy wouldn’t have matched Crawford’s numbers if given 700 AB’s in the bigs?

    Crawford was any better at the plate than Chase d’Arnaud last year.

  164. Leefoo says:

    Btw, I DO agree that our fundamentals suck!!

    You’ll get NO argument from me and if Kyle Stark is let go, I’ll not weep.

    Foo

    .

  165. Leefoo says:

    NMR…excellent point on Mercer or d’Arnaud. Crawford IS eminently replacable.

    Ok…I’m lleaving…this was fun!!!

    Now..Back to your regularly scheduled ‘Beat up the FO’ article.

    Foo

    .

  166. Bizrow says:

    And IMO, noting that other clubs have also missed on draft picks does not give me any sense thats its ok our BMTIB keeps whiffing.

    I am a PBC fan to the end, our FO and their successes and failures is the only thing I really care about.

    With all the yapping/doublespeak NH and Co do, well saying we have to do hoka hey e-mails because of money, in fact constantly whining about $$, if NH can’t do it, find someone that can

    Not, of course, to be critical…..

  167. Leefoo says:

    Btw, I would ask all to pray for Jandy. I don’t fully know her situation, but it doesn’t sound like its gotten better the last time we ‘talked’ and she hasn’t been on here for a few days.

    Foo

    .

  168. JoeBucco says:

    I so don’t have time to publish a list… but if you started with the first 4 (alphabetically), then you missed Paul Goldschmidt and Wade Miley in Arizona.

    Kimbrel’s 87 career saves in Atlanta, though 10th round pick since traded to Reds in Pittsburgh’s own JJ Hoover is more than we’ve gotten from any pitcher so far, as is Braves SS Andrelton Simmons with 3 HR and 18 RBI from the 2010 draft.

    You are right, we’re only tied with Baltimore and Xavier Avery. Though I gave them the tie breaker for having two first rounders in the bigs.

    Boston has a catcher with 4 career homers and 20 RBI contributing, so that has us beat there without digging further.

    I could go through more, but you have to see my point. All I said was that NO team other than Tampa has less than us in terms of actual results from last 5 years of drafting in rounds 2-50. Not looking at player rankings or prospect lists – just results.

    That isn’t hard to do.

  169. Leefoo says:

    Biz

    ” does not give me any sense thats its ok our BMTIB keeps whiffing.”

    Did I say it was okay? Did I?

    What I am saying is that it is too early to say we ‘whiffed’.

    Foo

    .

  170. nate83 says:

    Milo

    I know and I apoligize for being a little to aggressive with my response.

    I imagine the Giants are thrilled he ended up being a good player, but the pick could have happened for any of the other 29 teams in the league. I hope the Pirates can get lucky and land some players like him that play well above where they projected.

  171. T.S. says:

    Let’s make this simple. 19 losing seasons. 19. Losing. Seasons. Weak drafts. Weak instruction. Weak everything. 19 losing seasons in a row. 19. That’s proof enough for me.

  172. Milo Hamilton says:

    NMR,

    If Mercer could match what Crawford has done, that’s another black mark for this group. It’s their job to know that & not waste $11 million on Clint Barmes.

  173. JoeBucco says:

    re: Mariners – Kyle Seager has 21 career home runs, 95 career RBI and 15 SB’s

    Consider what I posted we’ve gotten from all our guys combined… that is what I consider lapping.

  174. Leefoo says:

    JB…I gave you Goldschmidt and Kimbrall.

    3rd rounder and 19th rounder. Luck…Seriously!!!
    But we’re NOT being lapped.

    And, to hit from the 2nd round on IS purely luck. Look at the d’Arnaud/Mercer/Crawford example. We took TWO of the 3 higher rated SS prospects!!!! d’Arnaud was rated A STEAL in the 3rd round by many experts!!!!

    OUR guys aren’t duds, and as NMR stated, who is to say they wouldn’t have turned out as quality MLBers had they played?

    Your definition and my definiton of lapped are different.

    Foo

  175. Leefoo says:

    JB…done arguing…nothing personal at all, but it is obvious we’re never gonna agree. We’re each gonna believe what we wanna believe. We look at the same facts and see different things.

    The sun just came out here….I’m going for a walk!
    :) :)

    Foo

  176. Leefoo says:

    Milo…regarding Chase and Jordy…see my last post. Hard to project HS players.

    Really is…NH ain’t alone. And, again, Crawford ain’t great.

    Foo

    .

  177. Milo Hamilton says:

    nate,

    No apology necessary.

    Anyone that’s ever done a fantasy draft knows that if the Pirates had taken Crawford then the Giants may have taken D’Arnaud on their turn. Then they don’t look so smart. All I’m saying is, they’d better start getting some of these right. Real fast.

  178. Leefoo says:

    JB…you got me on Seager….his name didn’t ring a bell.

    Foo

    .

  179. JoeBucco says:

    yep, no problem. Good debate. And I agree that Chase was considered good at the time. So maybe the issue is with development moreso than drafting. Perfectly possible, but like I posted earlier, that falls on NH as well.

  180. Leefoo says:

    JB…But again, Seager was luck. They’ve whiffed on their 1&2 rounders.

    Why didn’t they draft Seager higher? Why didn’t other GMs draft him higher?

    LUCK mah boy.

    Ok…I gotta go….lol

    Foo

    .

  181. NMR says:

    @Milo

    I will humbly disagree with you there.

    Crawford did not earn that starting job based on his Major League performance any more than Chase did with the Pirates.

    Huntington chose to spend money on a proven veteran in Clint Barmes instead of taking a shot in the dark on a rookie. Only a cheap team would consider the money spent on Barmes a waste.

    Good for San Francisco, and good for Brandon Crawford. But I’ll take a Front Office that sides with a veteran over an unproven rookie any day.

  182. Milo Hamilton says:

    Foo,

    All of those shortstops, Mercer, D’Arnaud, & Crawford were college players.

    Crawford may not be great, to use your words, but he may win a gold glove & he’s $11 million cheaper than the guy we have.

  183. Leefoo says:

    Milo…what you’re saying is that we need to start getting luckier.

    JackieZ was a genius when drafting for the Brewers. He’s been a doofus drafting for the Mariners.

    Luck, Luck, Luck.

    You can draft the BEST players AT THE TIME….but…..

    Foo

    .

  184. Leefoo says:

    I REALLLY GOTTA GO

  185. JoeBucco says:

    If NH had gotten lucky even once out of those 250 picks, I’d think he’d be doing ok I guess. :)

  186. JoeBucco says:

    me too…. later brotha

  187. Milo Hamilton says:

    NMR,

    Good talent evaluators know when their young players are ready. The Giants were right.

    When you have a hole, can you plug it with someone out of your system ? If you can, like with Crawford, then you spend your dollars elsewhere. That has absolutely nothing to do with being a cheap team. It’s about the best way to allocate your funds.

  188. Milo Hamilton says:

    Imagine how we could approach free agency if our minor league system had produced catcher & a top of the rotation starter ready for opening day 2013. That’s only 2 players.

    That is the failure of our farm system.

  189. Corey says:

    Foo —

    #161 – I’m not accusing them of not developing any prospect in any area… my point is that there is a ton or room for improvement. A club the the Pirates is not going to compete with other clubs in terms of salary (whether by choice or circumstance… ). They can and should put as much time and money as possible into developing their prospects to be fundamentally sound in all areas. That way, during the 6 years of control they get out of young players, they are making the most out of that player’s talent.

  190. NMR says:

    @Milo

    I agree with the premise, and would like to see the Pirates take more chances with their younger players. I just don’t agree with it in this application.

    See the Atlanta Braves for my counterpoint.

    I doubt you’d argue that the Braves are bad at talent evaluation, yet completely whiffed on a similar shortstop situation this year. If the Pirates chose to go that route and didn’t get an adequate performance like Crawford and instead got a Pastornicky, you bet people would be calling them cheap for not getting a veteran.

  191. NMR says:

    @Milo, re: 189

    Tony Sanchez put up numbers comparable, if not superior to Brandon Crawford and is known as a good defender.

    Seems to sound like you’d be an advocate for giving him a shot at that catching position you’re looking for.

  192. Milo Hamilton says:

    NMR,

    They didn’t whiff at all when they always thought more highly of the next guy in line – Andrelton Simmons. They actually had 2 guys to choose from.

  193. Milo Hamilton says:

    NMR,

    It’s their job to know that. Do you trust their judgement ?

    Clint’s probably already politicking for Chris Iannetta anyway.

  194. Corey says:

    One more argument for making the focus development of players instead of the draft…

    We are in the same division as the Cardinals, who I would argue do develop players to be fundamentally sound in most areas of the game. In order to compete with the Cards on a regular basis, the Bucs have to be significantly more talented than the Cardinals are. Not as talented, more talented. If the talent level is anywhere close to even, the fact that StL plays good fundamental baseball is going to give them the edge more often than not.

    This means that by doing a poor job of developing prospects, the Bucs are putting themselves into a situation where doing the same quality of work in acquiring talent with a team like the Cardinals is not good enough. They have to be significantly better than the Cards in this area just to compete with them on the field.

  195. nate83 says:

    Corey

    I couldn’t agree more. I have always thought the fundementals are a bigger issue then the talent of the players. It is shocking that this would lack for any professional team. It is the one thing you can control. There is no luck involved with fundamentals.

    Pay Jay Bell 1 million a year to teach fundamentals. Heck pay 4 guys like him 1 million a year to teach it at all 4 levels and it still would be less then we spent on Rob Barajas. It really is the easiest type of coach to find. Watch a player when they where playing if they had good fundamentals I’m guessing they can teach it to somebody else.

  196. NMR says:

    Well said, Mr. Hamilton. Thats why they pay you the big bucks.

  197. Bizrow says:

    @Leefoo

    Most definitely thoughts and prayers to Jandy

    Regarding “whiffing”, when exactly can we expect the BMTIB to quit looking like a deer in the headlights when it comes to hitting the target (winning at the ML Level?)

    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, sooner or later one has to figure it IS a duck :-)

  198. Franklin says:

    @Milo Hamilton

    My point is that the system has improved. I believe DL had 3 guys in BA top 100 the year after he left and two of them were in the bottom 50. If Badler is correct and we do have FOUR guys in the top 50 this year as oppose to the ONE that DL left us with, wouldn’t you call that an improved farm system?

  199. JaxBuc says:

    I do hope we hear from Jandylicious soon. I hope she didn’t go to the BMTIB with that lingering cough. They might have recommended going with an older, tried and true treatment like leaches, instead of giving something new, like antibiotics a try.

  200. Franklin says:

    DK,

    This is a sincere question: Should NH get credit for the Latin America signings in his farm system or should the credit really belong to Gayo? I read that numerous individuals state that DL’s biggest fault was his lack of attention in Latin America and since we now have three credible prospects, beyond Marte, is a major improvement in my mind.

    Thank you.

    DK: Huntington should get credit for being supportive of Bob Nutting’s initiative to dramatically upgrade Latin American operations. Nutting began that even before Huntington was hired.

  201. Leefoo says:

    From another site:

    I found this interesting piece of information while looking up this topic:

    Los Angeles probably scored the all-time draft class for one team in 1968. Among their 76 selections in the regular and secondary phases were 14 future big leaguers, including Steve Garvey, Bill Russell, Ron Cey, Bill Buckner, Bobby Valentine, Joe Ferguson, Sandy Vance, Doyle Alexander and Tom Paciorek.

    Think about that for a moment. Arguably the greatest draft a MLB team has ever had still missed on 81.5% of the players that they took.

    And looking at the list of players mentioned, it’s only considered so good b/c of the sheer number of players that made the majors and not the quality of players that made the majors.

    # 4 pick Mike Pazik pitched in a grand total of 13 games over parts of 3 seasons

  202. Milo Hamilton says:

    Franklin,

    Rankings & lists don’t mean a thing to me. No list has ever won a major league game.

    Has our farm system improved ? I don’t know. Maybe. Is it at a level to sustain winning at the big league level ? No. The proof is in the standings.

  203. Leefoo says:

    DK…Personally, I don’t care if our top Prospects are Latin, Greek, Spanish or American.

    And, you could arguably include Josh Bell (giving us 3 Americans) if he hadn’t gotten hurt!

    DK: I meant — obviously — that the Latin Americans are acquired outside the draft.
    .

  204. Milo Hamilton says:

    Foo,

    That’s the baseball equivalent to the Steelers ’74 draft.

  205. Leefoo says:

    Milo…unfair to expect our drafts to be affecting the MLB team in such a short time.

    .

  206. Milo Hamilton says:

    Foo,

    No one said this was fair. And I never claim to be fair. :)

  207. nate83 says:

    Milo

    That’s fair. See I just said your fair.

  208. Franklin says:

    Milo

    If Alan Hansen and Luis Heredia are successful Major Leaguers then we’ll be thrilled NH obtained them. If not, then we only out a few million that we would have probably just have wasted in free agency anyways. For all the flaws that NH has, we should be happy he didn’t ignore Latin America like DL did.

  209. Milo Hamilton says:

    nate,

    I may have to call you as a character witness.

    After 20 years of this garbage, fairness has gone out the window for me. It’s you guys job to keep me in check.

    John Steigerwald had a great comment earlier this week, “I’ll be 64 next week, I don’t have too many 5 year plans left.”

  210. Milo Hamilton says:

    Franklin,

    You are so right there. As someone who grew up with the Pittsburgh Pirates dominated by great Latin players, what’s happened in that area recently has been an embarrassment.

    Every time I see Starling Marte on that field, I thank Dave Littlefield for ignoring Latin America. :)

    Just having some fun.

  211. nate83 says:

    Franklin

    I think NH deserves some credit for Latin America but I think this was Nuttings baby that he decided to oversee and make sure it was improved and then run correctly. I give Nutting credit for that but would love to see him give the same green light to spending more then 5.5 million on any free agent or taking on considerably more salary at the trade deadline.

  212. Franklin says:

    Milo Hamilton,

    Are you giving credit to DL for having MAYBE one successiful Latin America player in his six years as GM?

  213. Milo Hamilton says:

    Franklin,

    I was kidding, needed the sarcasm button there.

  214. Franklin says:

    I’m sorry. I’m really bad at picking up sarcasm online.

  215. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m really bad at projecting it too. I tried the smiley there (much to Drew’s consternation).

  216. Leefoo says:

    DK…I know what you meant, but what I meant was that I don’t care if NH or Gayo gets the credit. They’re still prospects and there’s still lots of them.

    Actually, I’ve read where scouts do most of the ‘heavy lifting’ for the American draft, so perhaps we need better scouts? Obviously our Latin Scouts seem to be Top flight?

    Or, based on the sheer number of failures traditionally in the draft, should we really expect this fast a turnaround from our draft? Even IF Sanchez made the majors this year and was a good player, how much wold that have helped?

    Personally, I don’t think our fortunes are gonna turn until some of our TOP pitching prospects, esp. the 3 aces come through.

    Foo

    .

 
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