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Wakeup Call: 20 and counting

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Monday column covers 82 and all its terrible weight. History, indeed, is made.

Every year, they say it doesn’t matter.

Every year, it’s the only thing that matters.

This is Rob Biertempfel’s game coverage of 82, and this is my news catchup with Roberto Clemente’s family on trying to retire No. 21.

Also, this gem from Bob Cohn about the mystery of the 3,000-hit bat.

>> I asked Neal Huntington yesterday at PNC Park about the status of Jeff Karstens, who is arbitration-eligible but apparently is anything but a lock to be tendered.

Huntington’s reply: “Jeff’s a guy who gives you everything he has every time he takes the baseball. You’d love to have 1,000 with the mentality that he brings. He’s a leader. He gets the most out of his abilities. Unfortunately, at times, his body lets him down. As we do with every player, we’ve got to do a thorough analysis and explore the fit on the team going forward, explore the role and how he fits in the big picture.”

Karstens, 30, had a 4.01 ERA in 15 starts.

I’ll let the above quote stand without trying to interpret. But I’ll add that I’ll take the 20 good starts Karstens will give me over 30-32 from someone not nearly as effective. Good depth should overcome a guy missing a few starts.

I can’t fathom not tendering Karstens.

Here’s the video clip of the GM’s answer …

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31QDxkb60F0

>> I was impressed with Bill O’Brien the day I met him in February before Super Bowl, but it’s still eye-opening what he’s done at Penn State so far.

During all the Sandusky/Paterno stuff, he just shrugged it off — rightly — by repeating that was before him and shouldn’t weigh him, his staff or his players down. Now, even after losing to Ohio and watching his kicker implode at Virginia, he’s molded this group into an aggressive, effective and improving team.

Six wins?

Seven?

Look at the Big 10, and it’s not out of the question. Imagine that.

>> A reminder that the new show on TribLIVE Radio is Tuesday at 1 p.m. I’ll have much more on guests and that sort of thing in tomorrow’s Wakeup Call, including how you can participate.

Comments

  1. Arriba Wilver says:

    DK–I don’t think Neal likes you. Body language thing.

  2. bpn8pitt says:

    I want to start hearing from the players, Dejan. I know you have gotten a lot of off the record quotes. But somebody in there has got to have something to say. Its kind of odd no one has come out in defense of Hurdle (not that they should). Maybe the silence says a lot.

    DK: Maybe it does. As I wrote last week, it’s well past time someone started showing the fortitude to stand up a little.

  3. BarryVanBonilla says:

    There is all manner of private talk, but not much public. People like their jobs, and public dissent is a precursor to resignation or termination. Until somebody decides their story is more important than working for this organization, Bob Nutting will have to do the heavy lifting of eliciting form multiple sources how his franchise is being run, and synthesizing that information so that he can make some decisions.

  4. JMB says:

    Nutting needs to fire Frank C. to get the ball rolling. We need a new team prez on Thursday.

  5. BarryVanBonilla says:

    Agreed. Either that, or remove him from any control over the head of baseball operations. If that isn’t acceptable, he can return to New York or Philadelphia.

  6. Tony Pena says:

    Wilver, agreeed.

  7. DemonDachshund says:

    I’d like to think that TBMTIB is bright enough to not let Karstens and Hanrahan just walk away… For a team with limited resources, it’s fatal to give up valuable assets for nothing. Look at the Capps example – The Nats traded him away the next summer for a pretty solid catching prospect. Hmm, seems like I know a team that could have used one of those. So DON’T let on that you might non-tender them. You’d think they’d know how to do this by now.

  8. Reading says:

    104 years and counting without a World Series Championship is a worse streak.

  9. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    As you might imagine, I’m highly skeptical that any investigation (not to mention change) will take place with the dreaded Nutting Regime.

    I liken a Bob Nutting investigation to Kim Jong-Un researching his father’s old inner circle. If someone has not been loyal, they could be cut off.

    There is no sign of inner turmoil inside the Regime. There will be a sacrificial lamb via the likes of Greg Ritchie, Nick Leyva, etc. It will be a meaningless move.

    When November and December roll around, and it becomes obvious that it’s business (or lack there of) as usual in the offices of Federal Street, how about we see some real pressure put on Bob Nutting … if he can be found?

    DK: Yeah, Daq, but you keep avoiding the real question all of us have: How do you feel about Bob Nutting?

  10. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    DK – I appreciate your feedback, but what I have to say about the Nutting Regime does not equal maniacal ramblings. They are simply the result of a lifetime Pirate fan that has now witnessed this fiasco for years.

    I did not wish or choose this path for the Pittsburgh Pirates … and I certainly don’t welcome the continuation of it.

  11. pghboyinca says:

    Anyone who at this point is a supporter of this regime either has their livelihood depending on it or just likes to be contrarian. This regime can’t draft, can’t evaluate talent, can’t develop talent, can’t motivate the players they do have, and can’t even be honest with their fans. (secret extensions, pledge of accountability, etc.)

    This organization is a complete train wreck, and they continually give their paying customers the middle finger.

  12. T.S. says:

    AW

    1. You’re right, NH probably doesn’t like DK.

    2. Who cares?

    3. DK certainly doesn’t. Not one iota.

    4. From watching NH the last 5 years, he doesn’t strike me as a nice dude. Condescending, yeah. That, he’s good at.

    DK: I have no personal issue with Huntington. I know him to be a good, good man. I just don’t believe he’s done a good job as GM.

  13. Arriba Wilver says:

    T.S.—Yep, I was being dead serious.

  14. T.S. says:

    I agree, DK. I don’t think you do. I just think if he did, you wouldn’t let it bother you. As job one is to write for the Trib and the fans.

    By the way, excellent Monday column. I know you said Nutting doesn’t let what’s said by the media influence his decisions, but he’s got to take serious note of the flurry of backlash by the fans. If I’m in his position, the embarrassment alone adds fuel to the fire (of major changes).

    But alas, we will see. Time will tell. I just hope it’s not a simple press release from Nutting empathizing with fans, yet preaching patience/reward and fully backing his lieutenants for 2013.

    DK: Thanks, T.S. We’ll see on that final count.

  15. T.S. says:

    AW

    I know you were.

    But at the end of the day, I would imagine DK wouldn’t pay much mind to things like that. If he did, he’d have quit writing long ago.

  16. Boise Bucco says:

    Happy 82 day everyone!

    Re: RB’s column–Honestly, I didn’t think Paul Wagner was that bad. He must have had something going to keep getting all those starts. That year that he led the league in losses–didn’t he also lead the league in games started? There’s gotta be a worse SP than him.

    DK–you’re absolutely right, they CAN do better. They DID do better. Slumps being what slumps are, you can’t really avoid them. But you don’t get to 16 games over .500 by being a crappy team. And a slump doesn’t cause you to go from where they were to where they are now. Whatever happened in the 2nd half, they need to figure it out.

    You ask, “could anyone do better?” God, I hope so.

    Whatever the feelings about NH/Coonelly/Stark, if they’ve made it a toxic place to work, they gotta go. No matter their record, no matter their results, no matter how their statistics get spun, players have to come to spring training next year knowing FULL WELL that the intention of the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates is to contend for the NL Central. Nothing less than the division crown will be acceptable. THAT’S the attitude they need to have.

    9-7 isn’t acceptable for the Steelers, 37-35-10 isn’t acceptable for the Penguins, and not even 82-80 should be acceptable for the Bucs.

    When they were 16 games over, NO ONE was talking about the streak. 82 day was an afterthought, and that’s how it should be.

  17. Arriba Wilver says:

    T.S.—need that sarcasm emoticon–I was making a bit of a joke about Neal’s reaction. He’s obviously sensitive to fan and media criticism. The fact he makes it so obvious in his response to DK is what I found a little humorous. Had almost nothing to do with DK and nothing to do with his reaction to Neal. If Neal can’t stand the heat . . .

  18. Boise Bucco says:

    Also, I really don’t think Hurdle’s the problem. He’s gotta play the players he’s given. Maybe if he got to shop for the groceries he’d have a better record as a manager. I think if you put him on the Yankees/Angels/Rangers/Cardinals he would have a winning record.

    Just for the 1st half winning record I’d keep him, if I was the boss.

  19. Reading says:

    If only the Sabermetrics folks could come up with a “General Manager Above Replacement- GMAR” metric, our problems might be solved.

  20. Cajun Thunder says:

    It’s strange that NH could use Jeff Karstens injury status to decide whether to non-tender him or not. Neal didn’t have any problem last offseason spending $4.5M for a starting pitcher that hadn’t reached 130 innings pitched in a season since the 2007 season (Bedard). And still hasn’t. If only because he was so bad that we couldn’t let him throw that many.

  21. chuck snow says:

    Not saying I am not going to be a fan anymore..Not possible but I need a back up team to watch… Just went to my first White-Sox game Friday night while visiting Chicago…It’s only five hours away I can see getting in 3-5 games next year.

  22. Thundercrack says:

    I knew AW was being sarcastic. But honestly, with what DK has written over the past few weeks, what did you expect from NH? A hug & a kiss for DK? He did go an answer the question for over a minute. If I was in his shoes I might have been tempted to answer with “We like Karstens. Next question”. :-)

    But I would like to know if NH has approached DK and tried to dispute anything he has written the past few weeks.

  23. Thundercrack says:

    McPherson’s curve has improved noticeably over his past couple of outings. A big reason is he’s more comfortable with the ball. The seams on a big league baseball are tighter than what he was used to throwing in the minors.
    ——————————————————————-

    I never knew that the baseballs were different in the minor leagues than in the majors.
    That just doesn’t make any sense.

  24. Drew71 says:

    In this case, Thunder, it’s a good luck thing.

  25. JAL says:

    JAL’s You Keep Me hanging On 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: Twenty

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/pirates-notebook-twenty.html

    First Pitch: McDonald and Karstens Should Be Locks For the 2013 Rotation

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/10/first-pitch-mcdonald-and-karstens-should-be-locks-for-the-2013-rotation.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates clinch 20th straight losing season with loss to Reds

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/9/30/3434142/pirates-clinch-20th-straight-losing-reds

    6 Rumbunter

    Happy Fan Appreciation Day Pittsburgh Pirates Fans!

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/09/30/happy-fan-appreciation-day-pittsburgh-pirates-fans/

    7 Lindy’s Sports

    McDonald’s future in Pirates’ rotation a big question

    http://lindyssports.com/mlb/pittsburgh-pirates/article/headline/mcdonalds-future-in-pirates-rotation-a-big-question/39303

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Unravel In Ninth To Lose 4-3

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/09/bucs-unravel-in-ninth-to-lose-4-3.html

    2013 Contracts, Arbitration, Team Control

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/09/2013-contracts-arbitration-team-control.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Twenty

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/09/twenty/

    10 Yahoo Sports

    Pirates ensure a 20th straight losing season

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/pirates-ensure-20th-straight-losing-210759320–mlb.html

  26. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Braves Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20121001_ATL@PIT/bravespirates-preview

    12 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds rally to win series finale in Pittsburgh

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20120930/SPT04/309300028/Reds-rally-win-series-finale-Pittsburgh

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-teamreportmtze89t3180a4-20120929,0,7986052.story

    14 Atlanta Journal Constitution

    Series preview: Braves at Pirates

    http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2012/09/30/series-preview-braves-at-pirates/

    15 Delaware Daily Times

    PUNCH SHOTS: Pirates have mastered the art of losing

    http://delcotimes.com/articles/2012/09/30/sports/doc5068ee61c40b7746356403.txt

    16 USA Today

    Orioles make playoffs, and here are some reasons why

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/orioles/2012/09/30/baltimore-orioles-playoffs-first-time-1997/1604137/

    17 New York Times

    A Good Week to Be a Fan, and to Have Multiple TVs

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/01/sports/baseball/final-week-of-baseball-could-bring-spoilers-miracles-and-firsts.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&ref=baseball&adxnnlx=1349087770-qFK+hPkv2rlGYMFZp4XEng

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    18 PBC Site

    Hanrahan can’t hold ninth-inning lead as Bucs fall

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_09_30_cinmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=pit

    Family commemorates Clemente’s 3,000th hit

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120930&content_id=39247142&notebook_id=39253330&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Need to Know

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18230

    20 Fangraphs

    Bullpen Report: September 30, 2012

    http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/bullpen-report-september-30-2012/

  27. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    David DeCastro Seen Walking Without A Limp

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/9/30/3434502/david-decastro-injury-return-progress-walking-nfl-week-8

    Lack of big plays resulting in nothing but time of possession and points

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/9/30/3432080/steelers-2012-offense-coach-coordinator-todd-haley-ben-roethlisberger

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Adjustments and Improvements Hopefully Forthcoming

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/09/potential-adjustments-improvements-hopefully-forthcoming-for-the-steelers/

    23 Steelers Gab

    Polamalu’s Calf Feels Better; Hopes to Play Next Week vs Eagles

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/09/29/polamalus-calf-feels-better-hopes-to-play-next-week-vs-eagles/

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Steelers In Need Of Soul Searching During Early Bye Week

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/09/29/steelers-in-need-of-soul-searching-during-early-bye-week/

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    It’s The Waiting That Kills You…

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/09/30/its-the-waiting-that-kills-you/

    26 Cardiac Hill

    West Virginia’s Bob Huggins says Panthers-Mountaineers should play

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/9/30/3429756/pitt-west-virginia-basketball-backyard-brawl-schedule-scores-football-bob-huggins-jamie-dixon

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Analysis: Stay Tuned for More Shootouts

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=55328

    28 WV Illustrated

    ‘Eer to Ear: WVU Outshoots Baylor

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/19677391/eer-to-ear-wvu-outshoots-baylor

    Soccer(football)

    29 Sky Sports

    Bent landmark earns Villa draw

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/live/match/267526/report

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas finally justifying hype after historic win at Manchester United

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/9577206/Tottenham-Hotspur-manager-Andre-Villas-Boas-finally-justifying-hype-after-historic-win-at-Manchester-United.html

    31 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 28th September, 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-28th-september-2012

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    32 Pensburgh

    Will the lockout destroy the Penguins key roleplayers?

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/9/29/3429364/will-the-lockout-destroy-the-penguins-roleplayers

  28. JAL says:

    Continuing with this week’s theme, 7 of the 9 songs that two different performers took to number 1 is You keep Me Hanging On, The Supremes (1966) and Kim Wilde (1987). This is the version by the Supremes. Began yesterday with Bill Withers version of Lean on Me with he took to number 1 in 1972 and Club Nouveau took it to number 1 in 1987.

    Since there are 9 songs and only 7 days in a week there are two I will not be using– “I’ll Be There” — The Jackson 5 (1970) and Mariah Carey (1992) and “Lady Marmalade” — Labelle (1975) and Christina Aguilera / Lil’ Kim / Mýa / Pink (2001)

  29. Byebyebuccos says:

    Only the Pirates. Nothing will ever change as long as Nutting is the owner.

    By the way, I was called out several times for calling this a collapse back in August. Not only was I right, but it’s the biggest collapse in MLB history.

    It is easy to see. As long as Nutting is the owner and the other 2 stooges call the shots, this team will continue to make loser history. This team could start 65-10 next season and they would still find a way to be losers at the end of the year. I will never believe as long as the CEO of 7 Springs calls the shots.

  30. John Lease says:

    I’d tell the Clemente family not to worry, it won’t be at 21 long, it will go on to 22.

  31. The Gunner says:

    @ JMB – 4 & BVB – 5

    Yes – Coonelly must go NOW!! He is an arrogant liar who is loading his pockets up big time. What a lousy ROI!
    ===============================================================

    @ T.S. – 12

    NH is indeed a condescending little man who needs to go on with his life’s work. Another lousy ROI!

    ===============================================================

    @ Byebyebuccos – 29

    Nutting is indeed the root of the problem. He might be get rid of FC, NH etc., but until he commits to doubling his payroll, the results will be basically the same.

  32. I am so sick of the arrogance and condesension of the front office.Neither Frank or Neil should have been hired, but they were becuase Nutting went the cheap route.

    The worst part of this to me is that I can’t see anything changing next year. Is the line-up going to change? Probably not, if anything it might get weaker. Can we count on GI Jones to hit 26 HR’s again? Will Walker’s back keep him form progressing? Will AJ pitch as well? Will the holes at shortstop and catcher be filled? Will Hanrahan even be here next year? When I start thinking about that any optimism I might have had about 2013 goes away.

    I only wish Neil and Frank would go away!!

  33. JAL says:

    Focusing on the payroll is the wrong place. You need payroll to keep a team together, not to win. To win you need to recognize good players and do good development. Red Sox started with a payroll of over $173 million and have a worse record than the Pirates while Oakland has a lower payroll than the Pirates and is heading to playoffs.

    Spending good money on bad players won’t make a team better.

  34. Pat4Pgh says:

    LOSING IS A LOSING DOES!

    Nutting has been involved/in charge for 10+ losing seasonss (CEO since 2002).
    Frank has 5 years of losing, never with a winner.
    Neal has 5 years of losing – if Cleveland won whilst he was there hi had nutting to do with it as they demoted his smuck lil butt.
    Hurdle has been a loser 9 outta 10 years.

    This team needs to be told/shown winning is important! Preaching the WS is the goal is great, but a team win more than they lose to get to the WS.

    Neal and Clint saying breaking the streak doesn’t matter is them saying we can tolerate perpetual losing – which the data -yes, their data – says the accept routinely!

    Lifelong fan of the team, hate the FO, heart bleeds for the Clemente family. Thank the gods of baseball that none of the above buffoons were visible during the tribute to The Great One!!!!! Gawd, I miss that man – he showed everyone that a GOOD, GOOD man could also excel at his profession.

    The buffoons may be good men, but none of them understand or try to emulate Roberto!

  35. Drew71 says:

    Ron, you’re onto something with your opening line.

    Arrogance and condescension.

    Here’s the thing. We wouldn’t mind it it worked.

    We wouldn’t mind if they were good.

    But when they are NOT… Well. It is just SO so arrogant and SO so condescending.

  36. JMB says:

    @Drew

    I’m half w. you.

    We wouldn’t mind arrogance as long as it is swagger, but I don’t know if any other FO’s are as condescending to their own fans as the Pirates are to their supporters.

    Billy Beane & Brian Sabean are arrogant, but I never get the sense that they are condescending towards their own fans. However, I don’t watch every move these guys make.

  37. The Gunner says:

    @ Drew71 – 35

    FC & NH are full fledged nincompoops – get ‘em outta here!

  38. TJA says:

    Like every other day, I drive past PNC Park on the way to my work. Today it was very, very foggy out over the Pittsburgh skyline (including, of course, PNC Park). Foggy morning…PNC Park…Pirates reaching 20 years of losing…did I say foggy morning??? Hmmm….ironic….

  39. Jandy says:

    TJA, it’s the picture of depressing, isn’t it?

    And I still have this %&*$#@! cough! Grrrr!!

  40. JMB says:

    Let’s just hope if BNutting fires FC, he doesn’t listen to Budmeister’s rec’s this time.

    Yo JRay.

    I wonder about these puffy bios, but as an AZ local, what is your opinion on the D’back’s FO?

    http://mlb.mlb.com/ari/team/exec_bios/hall_derrick.jsp

    After reading BvB’s posts, I have a hard time believing the Pirates have ever been up for this award: “The unique corporate culture of the D-backs, which was created by Hall, led Yahoo! to recently deem the club as “the best workplace in sports.”

    “The organization’s investment in its employees resulted in the D-backs becoming the first sports organization to be named among the “Best Places to Work” by the Phoenix Business Journal and BestCompaniesAZ for five consecutive years from 2007-11, as well as by PHOENIX magazine in 2008.”

  41. 21sthebest says:

    “Here’s the thing. We wouldn’t mind it it worked.

    We wouldn’t mind if they were good.

    But when they are NOT… Well. It is just SO so arrogant and SO so condescending.”

    That’s a bingo. When they were winning this summer, we were talking about baseball. Then when things blew up, we started talking about what they do on their days off, emails, SEAL training, what sources say about what profits will be, whether or not Bob authorized press releases, etc.

  42. Honestly, this morning’s column was some of your best work. The tie-in to the Clemente story was exceptional. When the realization of why Clemente Jr. reasoned the streak had to end at 20 hit me, I literally got the chills. Tremendous stuff, Dejan. Thanks.

    The only thing that kept running through my head while reading that column was the first half of the season. I can see everyone in the organization, from Nutting on down, pointing to 16 games above .500 at the half as justification that the Pirates are headed in the right direction. We cannot let that argument stand. No one hands out hardware at mid-season…

  43. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Cajun Thunder’s post #20 is spot on. Neal is so busy with bad drafts, poor development and clueless underlings, he forgot some of his prior moves, like signing Bedard, and, again talks out of both sides of his mouth. Karstens is more durable than Bedard ever was and, although maybe less effective career-wise, would certainly rate over Bedard at this point and maybe even at the beginning of this season.

    Condescending or not, Neal needs to be judged on his “body of work” and, unfortunately for us right now and all the PBC in general, he has done some good things. Whether it was enough to keep his job remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

  44. redus says:

    HAHAHA – ouch. This one hurts.

    Any takers on if the extended time in the spotlight produces “interested” free agents this offseason? BEFORE ANYONE SAYS YEAH BUT NUTTING WON’T PAY THEM…please, this is bad enough already. Let’s not turn this into the “Koolaid-ProNutter-EvilEmpire-I-do-declare” blog that resides accross the way. This has been, by far, the worst of the 20 and we all know why…I will be cancelling my vacation for the month of October and hotel resevartions in both Washington and Baltimore this week. Seriously…does anyone look at signing here as a result of the glimpse of what playing for a winner at PNC might feel like (please simply assume that the money will be paid and focus on the fact that previously not many would even consider going to lose)?

  45. Arriba Wilver says:

    #34–Clint doesn’t exactly toe the company line on breaking the streak. I was reminded of that again yesterday in his press conference. He doesn’t say it doesn’t matter, he acknowledges its importance. He doesn’t stick his head in the sand like an ostrich. But he does say it’s not THE ultimate goal.

  46. JMB says:

    @Redus

    I’m still on the trade for Justin Upton train, and then use Justin to convince BJ to sign with us too for fair market value.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8378916/bj-upton-facing-last-pennant-race-tampa-bay-rays

    “A National League general manager predicted that Upton will sign a three-year, $27 million deal. Other executives were more generous, with estimates ranging from four years and $50 million to five years and $70 million.”

    I like the 3/$27MM.

    The Upton brothers have swagger, and if AJ jumped over a rail to brawl, I’m pretty sure those dudes would do the same. This team needs some better leadership from the FO to the dugout.

  47. Leefoo says:

    I posted several posts over the weekend about Neal’s drafting and why it is totally erroneous for us to expect any kind of depth from his draft’s so far.

    Historically, we shouldn’t expect much more than what we have so far. Rounds 2-50 are an incredible crapshoot.

    Here is the opening paragraph!

    “For those who think NH should have more in the pipeline from his drafts, pls look at this site:

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-772wlhxPhPNjUyY2JiMmItYzJlYi00Yjk5LThlOTUtODkwN2IzMTU5ODIx/edit?hl=en_US&pli=1

    65% of first rounders become part timers or worse! Wrap your heads around that!
    82% of 2nd rounders become part timers or worse!
    Each round, the percentage gets worse! To get a guy after the first, NO MATTER WHERE YOU PICK is the crapshoots of crapshoots. It is called LUCK!

    This info isn’t in the article, but since 1990, Top 5 picks have historically returned around 45% becoming part timers or worse! That is almost HALF!!”

    ========

    Feel free to fire NH and the whole lot, but don’t expect the new GM to come in and buck these odds. He may make better trades…..or he may not.

    Jack Z was a GENIUS in Milwaukee when he handled their drafts. He’s a dud in Seattle. What happened? Same thing with Dayton Moore in KC who has had an extra year on NH. Mike Rizzo is the current genius. I would lay odds he’ll come back to earth soon. They all do.

    Actually, as long as we had someone to handle the financial side, probably just about any one of us could draft as well, armed with 4 or 5 pre-draft books and a couple of scouts on fast dial. SERIOUSLY!!

    Foo

    .

  48. Thundercrack says:

    Gunner @ #31

    If you are expecting Nutting to double the payroll to $120+ million…..you might want to find another baseball team to root for.

  49. radio wave says:

    At Baltimore 32
    Great post.
    Yesterday was my only PNC game this year.
    It was the season in a nutshell, good start, lousy finish..
    And on jose being thrown out at third; who’s at fault? Jose, the coach, both?

  50. Thundercrack says:

    Foo,
    Maybe Charlie ought to read the notes that were in the papers this weekend that Clint wanted Marte to work on some things. (Has Charlie seen Marte’s baserunning?)

    At the time they played Sutton over Presley, Presley was not good at all, Sutton was ‘hot’ and they needed every bit of offense they could get.

  51. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Foo,

    Why bother to draft after the first round then? Just spend all that money they saved on FA’s. Seems like a lot of cash to spread around for a a crap shoot. How about evaluating talent properly under the accountability, talk-out-of-many-sides-of-your-mouth thing? Of course, in a crap shoot, you don’t have to evaluate talent, it’s all luck anyway. You’ve been hangin’ around Neal too long during your retirement. You need more consulting work on the side! :)

  52. Thundercrack says:

    Radio,
    I thought Tabata’s turn rounding second was much too wide and the throw from the second baseman could not have been more perfect. No bounce – right on the bag.

  53. Jandy says:

    woah!

    Lucky is spunky today! 20 years of losing will do that to ya.

  54. nate83 says:

    He did not say he wouldn’t keep Karstans. He only pointed out his durability issues and said it would need to be evaluated. Someone above was correct in saying he should have just said we like Karstans and moved on.

    I’m sure they had discussions about Bedard before making that move. Many liked that move, many more loved it after his first 3 or 4 starts. I would be disappointed if they didn’t look into Karstans durability before making a decision.

    In the end I think they keep him for the exact reason DK said, this team doesn’t have the depth at starting pitcher to not keep a guy that gives quality starts when he is able to play.

  55. patrick(RI) says:

    While I heartily agree that FC has been a bad choice, what evidence is there that he was selected because he was cheap(a claim I see often posted)?

  56. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jandy,

    You are absolutely, 100% correct. It’s a shame, after this debacle the last 2 months, that all we can hear from Neal is how they evaluate each player. I hope he’s not around to evaluate very many. The good he’s done is wasted by baseball being “results-oriented”, at least from a weary fan’s perspective. If we did work like that, we’d be out the door and rightfully so.

  57. JMB says:

    On the Steelers front, I’m glad the Eagles won last night. Since we have to have it this week, I hope the Iggles are satisfied w. their victory.

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/10/01/vick-tweaks-knee-late-hopefully-will-be-ready-for-sunday/

  58. Jandy says:

    Lucky, you’ll get no argument from me, friend. =)

  59. Leefoo says:

    Looking a bit closer at the Oakland A’s. They are next to last in batting and second in pitching. I think it is fair to say that their run to the Wild Card has been fueled by pitching, mainly starting.

    Only TWO of their starting pitchers, AJ Griffin (13-2010) and Dan Strally (24-2009), has been drafted post 2007 and they combined to start 21 games. We really don’t have any comparables to them at this point in time. Other than that, the bulk has been a 2007 draftee (Parker), and 4 guys obtained via trade or FA.

    Relievers: Storey in 2008. T Ross was drafted in 2008, but has a 6.50 ERA.

    For their hitters, Weeks was drafted #1 in 2008. Grant Green, their 2009 #1 (who I liked at the time) is still struggling in the minors and is no longer a SS. That’s about it, there.

    As the numbers for drafting show, once you get past the 10th round, you have less than a 5% chance of hitting on a regular or better, that means about 1 guy a round makes it. Historically, they got pretty lucky getting both Griffin and Strally. And time will tell if they can keep it up. See: Duke, Zach or Bystrom, Marty as examples .

    You can fire NH, but it is way too presumptuous to say he should have gotten more so far from his drafts. He SHOULDN’T be fired for his drafting AT THIS POINT.

    You can make any case you want for firing him besides that! :)

    But fire Hurdle FIRST!!! And, as AW points out, since NH hired him, that’s a case for firing him, too. lol

    Foo

  60. Leefoo says:

    Nate #83….completely agree. He just said it isn’t a slam dunk.

    I HOPE Karstys comes back.

    .

  61. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    One of my great regrets is I wasn’t born in time to see Clemente. My grandfather told me stories about him and at a business meeting the other day, a client was telling what he remembered of his play. REALLY wish I could’ve been there to see some of it. Reading Roberto Jr.’s comment about the streak puts a whole new meaning to it, IMO.

    @DK

    I think you should ask Neal about his behavior and how his comments and attitude have downright offended and alienated many fans. I for one would not be able to interview that guy without probably getting into a heated confrontation, so kudos to you. But I think he needs to be held accountable for insulting all of us, including Foo, his staunchest defender!

    You mentioned what I assume to be a toxic environment in the clubhouse… how about toxic environment in the city/majority of fan-base (except Foo, no offense Foo)? How professional is it for a GM to consistently, and worse, SPECIFICALLY, bash fans like he does in his little passive aggressive way that he thinks no fan is smart enough to take exception to?

    If a politician insults us by telling us we don’t really understand our issues, do we keep him in office? If a chef makes really lousy food and then accuses the customers of worrying his family when they complain about it, does the owner really need to have a long evaluation? If a car salesman insists his metrics justify charging $15 grand for ’97 Metro because it get’s MPG’S and tells a customer they just don’t understand, should they buy the car? Oversimplified examples, to be sure. But when an employee is alienating and specifically insulting a business’s clients, what more is necessary to can them?

    And I have a feeling it all boils down to NH makes a profit. Bottom line. He’ll be here next year along with his circus crew.

  62. Leefoo says:

    LNK…#52.

    Two different pools of money. And you need all those players to actually, you know, field 6-8 minor league teams.

    Foo

    .

  63. nate83 says:

    Patrick

    The evidence is that the choice was made by Nutting and he is cheap. All Nutting decisions equel cheap. Even Burnett and Wandy are cheap because he only took on a portion of their payroll. The next time we pay for a legitimate proven above average baseball player will be the first.

    I’m not talking about Cutch and hopefully Walker because those are only buying out their arbitration years which we had control of anyway but instead getting players like Burnett and Wandy that are proven by making a 3 year 36 million dollor commitment.

    It’s amazing how having 4 or 5 of those guys on your team will instantly make you better because as Foo pointed out the draft is a crap shoot. Let’s start getting players that other teams want and not the leftover’s that sign for 2-6 million.

  64. Leefoo says:

    TC…#51….I guess….

    Still, can we agree that Hurdle makes some maddening lineup decisions!

    and can anyone, DK, anyone tell me why KC is starting??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Foo

    .

  65. Leefoo says:

    Jandy

    HOW ARE YOU FEELING TODAY??

    I’ve sent lots of prayers out for you.

    Foo

    .

  66. Thundercrack says:

    Foo,
    I don’t see them as maddening. He plays the players he has. A lot of those players seem to be interchangeable —none really stand out. (Tabata, Presley, Marte).
    He is going to go with Barmes’ defense over any of the other options. Sure he could play The Fort a little more often.

    Sure some of his in-game decisions can be questioned.

    But I’d take his lineup decisions everyday over John Russell.

  67. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t know if FC was cheap, but I do believe he sold BN on the idea that he, FC, could build a profitable, competitive team on the cheap. That’s just based on things he said soon after he was hired.

  68. Leefoo says:

    Brad #62….I take NO offense for defending NH. It is my position. I see no logical reason to fire him overall. Just my opinion, that’s all. Most folks think otherwise, but their ‘logic’ has yet to sway me. I’ve at least TRIED to throw some facts into the mix and then let the folks decide.

    It’s not like you called my wife a cross dressing narcissist or anything.
    :) :) :) :)

    Btw, if NH goes, so be it. I love the Bucs, but there is so much more to life than Buc fever. Not much, but…..lol

    Foo

    .

  69. Leefoo says:

    TC….taking Hurdle over JR is like me taking NH over DL?

    Anything is better than nothing!
    :) :) :)

    Foo

    .

  70. Leefoo says:

    #68….I agree with you Arriba….is that a first for us?

    Foo
    /

  71. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Foo,

    She’s still coughing.

    And, for a team that “needs to be built by the draft” because we can’t bring a FA here that is still breathing, a crap shoot mentalilty is scary. Results have and will continue to prove that. Which side of his mouth did Neal say “it was bad luck”? JMHO. No offense meant to you or your re-firement.

  72. TJA says:

    Jandy – It’s good to see you are back. Sorry about the cough. Hoping and praying you are on the mend, soon. And yes, it is a picture of picture of depressing. Very much so.

  73. Arriba Wilver says:

    Tim Williams said that the reason they played Barajas over McKenry was that the Pirates have their own system for evaluating catchers defensively, and that their system rated Barajas higher. He didn’t agree with it. I’m pretty sure Clint didn’t come up with that system. Sounds like one of those “we’re smarter than everyone else” things.

  74. Jandy says:

    Foo, I’m at work, so I’m ok I guess lol. Thanks for the concern and the prayers, friend.

    I don’t get the KC starting hate. KC wins games.

  75. Matt Gajtka says:

    DK, I may not always (or usually) agree with your conclusions and columns, but no one does a better job of being a proxy and advocate for the Pittsburgh sports fan.

  76. Leefoo says:

    LnK….# 72…….it IS scary, isn’t it?

    Ya want some MORE scary?

    Take a gander at this:

    http://www.royalsreview.com/2011/2/14/1992424/success-and-failure-rates-of-top-mlb-prospects

    Our Top 100 (BA) failure rate is an historic 85%. Only the Giants have fared worse!

    That means, of our SIX guys in the Top 100, FIVE will frikkin’ fail!!!

    We better hope NH does better with our top 6, esp since 3 are pitchers and the A’s, Rays, etc, show that Pitching, Pitching, Pitching wins championships!!!

    Foo

    .

  77. Jandy says:

    Lucky is paying attention ;)

    TJA, thanks, friend :)

  78. Leefoo says:

    Tom Verducci, I think did a GREAT article (which I can’t find) on the failure rate of high priced free agents.

    So………..if the draft is a crap shoot and FA’s isn’t the way to go, what hope is there for us?? I’m getting depressed!!!!

    Our local paper had a poll question this morn: Will the Bucs have a winning season this decade?

    How shall I respond?
    :) :) :)

    Foo

    .

  79. Leefoo says:

    Gonna go play in the yard.

    Be back in awhile…maybe.

    I’ve depressed yinz enough with my ‘facts’, methinks. :)

    Foo

    .

  80. patrick(RI) says:

    Arriba

    Appreciate your thoughts, but the idea that he agreed to operate in the context of what used to be called “small market” environment would make him a wise choice for a “frugal” owner. I still think he may have performed well for the owners, profit wise. His other impacts appear to have been negative. I would still love to read his job description, as wo that info, all is speculation.

    I think NH was an inexpensive choice and you get what you pay for. Like so many of his players, it seems tough to learn how to play the game at the major league level!

  81. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Foo,

    Is there a “crap shoot” box to check?

  82. Leefoo says:

    patrick….#82….even some of our ‘vets’ have had brain cramps.

    I think it is our coaching, hired by Hurdle, hired by NH, who hired Stark, who…

    OH JUST FIRE THE LOT OF THEM!!!!

    I want to thank AW for that ’6 degrees of separation’ logic!!!!
    :)

    Depressed Foo

    .

  83. 21sthebest says:

    “Looking a bit closer at the Oakland A’s. They are next to last in batting…”

    Foo,

    True, they are next to last in batting average. But they are 9th of 16 in runs per game at 4.36 which is just below the league average of 4.45.

  84. Leefoo says:

    LnK….#82…if only!!!!

    Crappy Foo
    .

  85. Jandy says:

    Foo said: “Our local paper had a poll question this morn: Will the Bucs have a winning season this decade?

    How shall I respond?”

    Tell them their paper won’t print profanity!

  86. Milo Hamilton says:

    Yesterday on his show, I heard Neal Huntington utter this gem, “I completely understand the fans frustration.”

    No. You. Don’t.

    One free piece of advice to Bob, Frank & Neal – stop it with that stuff. The correct answer is – I can’t even begin to understand the fans frustration.

    That’s all. You’re welcome.

  87. Leefoo says:

    Jandy………..Spunky Lucky??
    New nickname??

    Foo

    .

  88. Arriba Wilver says:

    Foo–thank Tim. He mentioned it as a negative in his overall evaluation of Neal.

  89. Leefoo says:

    #87….Milo…I agree….esp for those of us who have been here the whole 20 years.

    At least I’ve had some success in my lifetime. I can’t understand those who have NEVER seen a winning team in their lifetime.

    He should’ve said “I can empathize with the fans, but I’ll never fully understand their misery since I’ve only been here 5 years”

    Foo

    .

  90. Jandy says:

    Foo, Lucky’s wife may even like that nickname ;)

  91. Jandy says:

    Milo #87 HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  92. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    @Foo

    I can totally respect that. Liked your comment the other day about being one of the only Neal defenders when there was a cannonade of anti-Neal going on. Made me chuckle. You definitely throw out the research, and at least you don’t imply that everyone that disagrees just doesn’t get it because it’s not fantasy baseball.

    I think Neal should be fired immediately for reasons other than baseball decisions, though I think those warrant a canning as well, IMO. Though I do agree w/ you considerably on the draft stuff. Unless you’re drafting a Crosby or a Strasburg, to me it is pretty much a clay pigeon shoot.

  93. Milo Hamilton says:

    Jandy,

    Nice to have you back. Missed ya.

  94. Leefoo says:

    This puts our misery in a ‘real’ light:

    “Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with a “serious” illness (leukemia), according to a source with knowledge of the situation, ”

    Foo

  95. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Foo,

    I should change it to OldSpunkyNKentucky, since I don’t really believe in luck, anyway. :}

  96. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Neal the SEAL keeps talking about evaluating players. Hey Neal, how about evaluating YOURSELF!

  97. Jandy says:

    Milo, thanks friend…it’s been misery compounded by misery, being sick, and being made sicker watching this club fall so low. But it’s always nice to see you :)

    Foo, true that…one reason I was glad the X-ray I had done showed nothing.

  98. Jandy says:

    LOL Lucky!

  99. Franklin says:

    The sad thing is that I don’t see an end to the streak in sight. Cole and Taillon might make their way up until after other guys on our rotation have moved on. We really do not have many top position player prospects in AA or AAA. This offseason, we’ll do what we always do and buy worthless free agents that never amount to anything, essentially throwing money down the toiled. Last year we purchased Bedard, Barajas, McClouth, and Barmes and wasted over $15 million. Next season, let’s not sign any major league free agents. When was the last position player that worked out for us? Would I have to go all the way back to Lofton or Sanders to get that answer? Maybe we can find teams who overpaid for guys and obtain them in a deal, like we did with Burnett, instead but I don’t know how many of those guys are available. Maybe it would be better to put all our eggs in one basked and only obtain a decent free agent in the process but I know those guys are far from a guarantee as well. What a mess.

  100. Leefoo says:

    From DK’s column which I am just now reading out on the porch (not quite ready to ‘play in the yard’ yet)

    “Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Nyjer Morgan, Brad Lincoln, Sean Burnett, Steve Pearce, Ronald Belisario, Alex Presley, Tony Watson, Jared Hughes and Kyle McPherson. Hardly barren.”

    Are you kidding me? Two starters, some relievers and junk!

    Look what Rizzo got in 2007 and before as a head start. Detwiler and two Zimmermans!!

    Give us those two starters and we’re talking 90 wins, easy!!!

    Sorry Dk, not buying THAT statement. Come up with another reason to fire NH, but not that. We had ZERO pitching and pitching wins ballgames!!!

    Foo

    .

  101. Piano Legs Hickman says:

    As a native Burgher living in Michigan now, I have noticed a strong parallel between the Detroit Lions and the Bucs. The Lions were perennial losers for years; their owner kept hiring people he liked to run the team, and then watched as they annually stunk. The nadir was the Matt Millen years, which bear a striking resemblance to the Huntington/Coonelly era: lousy drafts after the top rounds, bad management hires and contract decisions, the reduction of the franchise to laughing-stock status, and the reluctance of the owner to get rid of the architects. When the Lions finally dumped Millen, they were competitive within 2 seasons. Now I know that football turnarounds can be quicker than baseball ones, but look at the Orioles if you want to see the difference real baseball acumen can make. No question in my mind: FC, NH, etc. need to go.

  102. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Excellent Brad. Neal can evaluate all he wants to, as it’s his job, but just don’t do the same tired, saber-toothed metrics he used on Bedard on our boy, Karstens. Jeff is a Pirate. Bedard was a rent-a-worn arm.

    Neal should be evaluated by the same method they use in St. Louis, Milwaukee and other successful franchises. Minnesota, too, if Roberto is listening.

  103. Jandy says:

    Oh dear Lord, I was catching up and just saw this from Drew:
    “Me saying that is sorta like the pot calling the kettle nuts.”

    Best line.>>EVER!!!!!!

  104. patrick(RI) says:

    Orioles acumen? At various times, Paulino, Pearce(twice) and McClouth(tearing it up recently) have been added to their mix this season.

    Is it luck? How Buck uses them? Or do they see something our leaders/coaches did not?

    Our return for these guys, even allowing for the opinion RP was the worst catcher in the last 20 years?

  105. Leefoo says:

    Piano Legs… re: the O’s….that and a usually unsustainable 28-9 in 1 run games helps, too.

    Foo

    .

  106. Dom says:

    LeeFoo,

    How about the fact that the farm system has only moderately improved from the awful situation we were in when DL was the GM?

    How about the fact that we only have two credible starters in our lineup (Pedro & Jones) who were brought in under NH?

    How about the fact that he kept Charlie Morton in the rotation for nine starts when he was struggling massively to start the 2010 season. It’s amazing he didn’t lose his psyche after that.

  107. Leefoo says:

    Piano Legs

    I’m sure you’re a great guy but your statement “lousy drafts after the top rounds” is why I wonder why I even post facts like I did above.

    I will repeat: IT IS A FRIKKIN CRAPSHOOT AFTER THE FIRST ROUND!

    What’s the point? People are gonna believe what they wanna believe, I guess.

    Foo

  108. NHL UPDATE

    For those of you unaware, the NHL and NHLPA spent the better part of the weekend meeting to discuss the obstacles to the new CBA. Unfortunately, none of the core economic issues that have divided both sides were among the topics covered. Both sides instead sought to iron out some of the more “minor” issues (like drug-testing, for example). Progress was made on these issues, but it’s important to keep in mind that both sides expected these issues to be resolved fairly easily.

    From what I understand, both sides had representatives dedicated to combing through the definition of HRR (Hockey-Related Revenue). This is a bit disconcerting, as one of the NHL proposals had agreed to not change the definition of HRR. The fact that both sides are now in the process of redefining HRR is worrisome. During the 2004 lockout, the definition of HRR was a heavily contested issue that took an enormous amount of time and resources to finally come to agreement on; I can’t see an easy or quick resolution to determining HRR this time around, either.

    Revisiting the definition of HRR, to me, is a good indicator of just how far apart both sides are on the core issues. Neither Fehr nor Bettman had discussed the core issues over the weekend, and reports are that neither was very much involved in the discussions. Based on comments made by Rich Daly of the NHL, both Fehr and Bettman appear unwilling to compromise their respective positions at this stage of discussions.

    Finally, reports are that the NHL is expected to announce the cancellation of the October slate of regular season games later this week.

  109. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    @Lucky (or spunky)

    I just can’t understand, and I mean just can’t get my brain to work like that, how NH talks about his evaluations like he’s got some solid proven credentials to suggest he’s even qualified to do so after these 5 years. Especially without even considering, let alone mentioning, that maybe he needs to adjust or refine his tactics and/or personnel. How delusional can a GM seriously be? If you can’t own your mistakes, how can you learn and improve? He’s already drawn the line in the sand IMO.

    @Forecheck

    Was there ANY good news? That post just made Monday Pittsburgh sports go from bad to worse.

  110. Piano Legs Hickman says:

    @Lee Foo: You’re right, I am a great guy. You’re also right that it’s not just the drafts: roster decisions, salary decisions, and the general atmosphere of clueless and disorganization are also major contributors to a legacy of losing. Consistently bad choices at every level usually lead to bad results.

  111. patrick(RI) says:

    Luck plays an enormous role in baseball decisions, sort of like poker. But, as in poker, the more skillful players win in the long run. The inevitable conclusion from those premises re Pirates management over past 20 is pretty obvious.

    On the other hand, how do you decide which outcomes are driven by skillful management and which are luck? For example, the “good” trade to the Nationals was, at first, seen as a wise gamble that Lastings could reach his potential. As it turned out, the guy many Nat fans called “Gascanrahan” was great. Luck or a good choice?

    The only area I am convinced our current FO totally bungles is their tendency to get nothing for serviceable players.

  112. nate83 says:

    Patricak

    It is a lot of luck. The Orioles have made some bad moves as well which is proven by the dumpster diving for former Pirates. They have Mark Reynolds who has been a huge dissappoinment. They have a some good middle of the order line up players that are a few years ahead of where Alvarez and Marte hopefully will be. They also have had some pretty good starting pitching. Most of all they have won a riduculous amount of 1 run games and something like 17 straight extra inning games at one point.

    The A’s have something like 60 wins by rookie pitchers. These are not normal things that happen for teams.

  113. patrick(RI) says:

    Nate83
    B. Moss hitting 26 HR’s and diving in key runs is also something “not normally seen.”

  114. LuckyNKentucky says:

    nate,

    All good points, but please define “normal” for us in baseball terms. On second thought, better not. We’re Pirate fans.

  115. Dave says:

    I wonder if the Karstens benching is being done to try to keep his arbitration number down. This is the Pirates and Nutting after all.

  116. nate83 says:

    A’s rookie pitchers have actually won over 40 games this year. That is still pretty impressive. That would take three rookie pitchers winning 14 games.

  117. @Brad (#108):

    The good news? Both sides are holding meaningful discussions.

  118. nate83 says:

    Lucky

    Normal would be having at least one winning season out of 20. Which I guess proves the second part of your statement to be correct.

  119. Jandy says:

    Brad #108….good news? Hahahahahaaaa!

  120. Piano Legs Hickman says:

    @Patrick: What you say makes sense, but I would add that it’s pretty tough to stink for 20 years in a row and call it bad luck. The luck part of the equation, in my view, tends to even out over time, leaving skill and judgment to separate the good teams from the bad ones. Clearly, the bad choices have outweighed the good for the last 20 years wherever one looks. For every Cutch, Bay, and Giles, you’ve got several versions of Moskos, Burnitz, Barajas, etc. It should be apparent by now that, whatever good they have done, the current FO does not know how to build a team or an organization.

  121. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I’m not a huge hockey fan, but I’m really looking forward to that mess getting taken care of and the season starting. Between this Pirates clunker and the Steelers losing to a team that was solidly drubbed by deficient Denver team yesterday, it can’t be anything but a relief to see the 2 best players in hockey on your home team.

  122. Leefoo says:

    nate83…and, as history has shown us time and time again, this year’s “Ace” rookie pitcher is next year’s dud.

    We need about 4 Zach Dukes at one time!

    Foo

    .

  123. Jandy says:

    Lucky, amen Spunky!

    Foo, what’s your take on McPherson?

  124. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    @Forecheck

    Doh! Was hoping for more than that. Can the NHL really be this dumb? Are Frank the Stank and Neal the SEAL working as special consultants for them?

    @Jandy

    Good to see you back!

  125. Jandy says:

    Thanks, Brad :)

  126. nate83 says:

    Piano

    Not defending the idea of not firing the FO one bit with my below statements.

    I think this FO has more of an idea then the previous two on how to build an organization they just haven’t executed it as well as possible. I’m of the belief that the plan is much more solid then previuosly and although mistakes have been made not as many as some think.

    I would love to see this plan have another 25-30 million given to it and see where it goes but that hasn’t happened. I would be fine with going a different direction I just fear what that direction would be. If any plan continues to incorporate a 50-60 million dollor payroll I’m not sure any FO could do much better but I know I have seen much worse. I still think we are heading the right direction.

  127. Milo Hamilton says:

    There is nothing normal about the Pirates.

  128. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Milo,

    You are so correct. And, Hisanori Takahashi was shocked to hear you say that.

  129. cosmo says:

    @ Foo 94.

    I also saw where everyone’s favorite whipping boy Bruce Arians will handle the coaching until Pagano returns.

  130. cosmo says:

    Question for the ranks,

    Has Garrett Jones played his way off the Pirates. By this I mean his arbitrattion price has gone way up this year. Do the Pirates pay him and keep him or do you trade him in the off season while his value is high,

  131. Jandy says:

    cosmo, NORMAL clubs would try to keep Jones. Key word: Normal.

  132. nate83 says:

    cosmo

    I’m guessing on the salary but I certainly hope the Pirates put up the 5-7 million to keep him. How else can they honestly tell the fans they are trying if they don’t?

  133. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Cosmo,

    Jandy is right. And Matt Hague hit around 2 homers for Indy this season. Dickerson and Curry are not ready yet. They will probably let Jones go, as they can spend that money on someone with a .225 lifetime average.

    He’s been a big part of the 77 wins. Hate to see him go.

  134. Dom says:

    Let’s Kim Ng to be our next GM. She has amazing credentials.

    She was the youngest assistant GM in the history of baseball at the age of 29 for the Yankees!

  135. nate83 says:

    Not to mention my wife who hates sports only puts up with me watching the games because she thinks G.I. Jones is easy on the eyes.

  136. Jandy says:

    nate, uh oh, now buggee will pick on your wife, too ;)

    Jones is easy on the eyes, but what if he doesn’t WANT to stay here?

  137. cosmo says:

    Lucky,

    Gaby can always step in even though his lifetime average is higher I believe. But after this year he is on the right track to get there.

  138. Naterosboro says:

    DK

    Just a few things with your column today:

    * Yes, someone can do better. That doesn’t mean I don’t (or can’t) like the work Huntington has done as the Pirates move forward. The emphasis on getting pitchers who can strike guys out I think will be Huntington’s biggest contribution.

    * You point to the prospects that Huntington inherited from Littlefield: Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Nyjer Morgan, Brad Lincoln, Sean Burnett, Steve Pearce, Ronald Belisario, Alex Presley, Tony Watson, Jared Hughes and Kyle McPherson.

    1st, why do you include Ronald Belisario on this list? From what I can tell he’s been a minor-leaguer his entire career, and played 1 season @ AA in the Pirates org. 2nd, other than McCutchen & Walker, who on that list warrants being mentioned as some sort of difference maker? You’ve listed some utility players and some middle relievers. So how is this a knock against Huntington? That he hasn’t been able to build a winner with those guys? In that regards, I don’t know if someone could’ve done better…

    * I’ve seen this view now for awhile, but since you expressed it today DK, I’d like to address it with you: “That will require big change.” Especially the BIG CHANGE part. Does the current Pirates team need BIG CHANGES. 1 that’s posted the best record in 15 years? From where I sit, this team needs to be tweaked, not majorly changed. Perhaps decision makers need changed (and maybe that’s the BIG CHANGE you are talking about) but that’s not that way I read it.

    DK: Nate, you clearly have no idea who Ronald Belisario is. Take a look: http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/29680/ronald-belisario

    The singular point being made there is that the minor-league system inherited by Huntington was NOT barren. It had an MVP, an everyday second baseman, an everyday center fielder, an everyday left fielder and more.

    Say what you want about the group. It’s NOT barren.

  139. aglebagel says:

    Bruce Arians = Head Coach. Wow.

    Sad to hear about Mr. Pagano.

  140. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Cosmo,

    I forgot about him. Selective memory. I guess we don’t need Jones. We have Gaby for first with years of contro and Snider, Tabata and Presley for right with years of control. Shoot, we don’t need anything. Neal can go skiing all winter and not even make a move.

  141. Piano Legs Hickman says:

    @Nate83: I agree to an extent, but even if we give the FO the benefit of the small-budget doubt, we can all admit that they made some really baffling roster decisions this year [letting the bench languish the whole season, for example]. As for the money issue, the BMTIB has chosen to put its eggs in the drafting and development basket, which, I agree, is the right approach considering the club’s financial backing. However, if one is going to do that, one had better be right the majority of the time–or at least 50% of it–in terms of choosing and developing talent. I don’t mind the risks they took, but in hindsight they don’t seem to have been too well-informed about guys like Allie, Clement, etc. The plan is fine; their execution of it, as you say, is the problem. But execution is the crux of the matter, in this case.

  142. NMR says:

    With all the hand wringing over whether or not the FO is willing to pay Jeff Karstens and Garrett Jones arbitration, can someone explain how NOT acquiring Chase Headley still falls on Huntington?

    It would seem as though he’s due for a bit of a raise.

  143. nate83 says:

    DK

    I have to respectively disagree. This group may not be completly barren but it is pretty barren. Again we are dealing with past tense and present tense. Impossible to judge which of NH current draft picks will be a Walker or McPhearson. Walker was considered a bust when Littlefield left. McPhearson wasn’t on anyones radar.

    If you are unwilling to give credit for 1st round successes for NH why can we give credit for Cutch and Walker to Littlefield. Take those two out of the equation it is very, very, very barren.

    I ussually agree with almost everything you write but this minor league system as a reason for removing the FO stuff I just can’t wrap my head around. If FO is replaced because of trades or free agent signings I can see that but failure to improve minor leagues I can’t.

  144. Dom says:

    Naterosboro.

    I disagree. NH did have 5 years to get the job done and as DK points out, we only improved slightly. The farm, also as DK pointed out, did improve but not to the point of where it needs to be. I was a big defender of NH a few years ago but it is evident now that he needs to go.

  145. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Piano Legs,

    I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember Groucho Marx old quiz show, but you just said the secret word, “Developing”. Choosing has been fine, but developing is the shortfall on our talent, contrary to what some believe. Even guys we’ve acquired and sent packing after sending them down to the minors (many examples, but Brandon Moss is the best one currently) have shown our system is sorely lacking.

  146. Jandy says:

    Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

  147. Leefoo says:

    DK….you answered

    “The singular point being made there is that the minor-league system inherited by Huntington was NOT barren. It had an MVP, an everyday second baseman, an everyday center fielder, an everyday left fielder (WHO WAS THIS EVERYDAY LFer?) and more (RELIEVERS ONLY).
    Say what you want about the group. It’s NOT barren.”

    True in the strictest sense of the word, it WASN’T barren. But it sure was way below average. WAY below. Absolutely ZERO starting pitching! And PITCHING wins championships. 2 Good regulars, two 4th OFer types (Nyjer should’ve never been a starter, imho, but….) and a couple of relievers.

    The jury is still way out on McFadden. If you’re gonna count him, I’m gonna count some of NH’s draftees or trades.

    So yeah…not barren. But it sure was CLOSE to barren.

    Foo

    DK: Below average includes an MVP candidate, three other everyday major-leaguers and legit major-league bullpen arms?

    Man, you’re beyond reason.
    .

  148. Leefoo says:

    Nate….Belisario is just another reliever…no wonder you didn’t know who he is. :)

    Part of that stockpile DL left us
    :)

    .

  149. Leefoo says:

    Jandy…my take on Kyle, is that I like him, but he has a lonnnnnnnnnng way to go.

    And, being a 14th round pick and seeing the success of picks after the 10th round, I can’t really say that DL knew what he was doing when he drafted him….lol

    Foo

    .

  150. nate83 says:

    Piano

    The bench was addressed. Snider and Sanchez are great additions that will be huge improvement next year over any bench we have had in the past 8 years.

    Fans say depth, depth, depth is what we need and then they get it with those trades. The same fan says trade all your future depth away to get a player that may or may not get you into the playoffs. Which in retrospect would have been a horrible idea because the team wasn’t as close as they looked.

    They lost down the stretch because their pitching fell apart. The ERA dropped over a run in the second half. Our best pitchers in the second half where Burnett and Wandy (picked up at the deadline). Neither of those players would have been picked up if most of their salaries where not being paid by other teams.

    Don’t make the FO responsible for not picking up players that where never an option for them to pick up. Imagine this conversation.

    Hi yes this is Neal Huntington with the Pirates. I was wondering if you would be willing to trade Hunter Pence. What’s that his salary is going to be 14 million next year. Let me go ask my Bob. He says I can do it if you pay 9 million of that. Whats that you would like Cole and Hanson. Wait one second I have to go ask Bob. I’m back and he said….are you still there….why does everyone always hang up on me when I get Bob involved.

  151. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jandy,

    That bird dropped down with the word on it and Groucho said “You just said the secret woid”. Another $50 for Piano Legs.

  152. NMR says:

    I have to agree with nate regarding Dejan’s draft analysis and Dave Littlefield.

    Dejan doesn’t give Huntington any credit for 1st rounders, because apparently anyone can hit on those(despite what history may have to say about that), yet gives Littlefield credit when his only two decent players in the list he provides were 1st rounders.

    Dejan even had to stretch his argument so far as to call Alex Presley an “everyday left fielder”.

    Not buying that one.

    DK: Starling Marte is the everyday left fielder. And I didn’t say first-rounders. I said $5 million-and-up bonus babies. That’s actually giving Huntington a PASS on Tony Sanchez.

  153. Jandy says:

    Spunky, only $50!?!?!?!?! That’s cheap ;)

  154. Vette60 says:

    Wow. So, maybe I am reading too much into things, but was anyone else bothered but Cutch getting the Gatorade bath after his gaming winning HR the other night that only was essentially a stay of execution of another losing season?

    The pic in the paper just rubbed me the wrong way.

    This season was awful in terms of the plummet from 16 games up to where we are at today. Highs – took my son to his first game at PNC and saw JMac pitch a beauty against the Giants, Buccos win 3-1. Lows – too many to list since the slide began…

    Something has to change as I don’t think I can take much more of this…

    Randy in Richmond, VA

  155. Bizrow says:

    I’m thinking except for the big three in the minors, the system is pretty darn bare right now. 5 years and who, exactly, is ready in AAA to ride over the hill next season?

    Not much that I see

    And its been 5 years

    (next year I will be saying 6 years, unfortunately)

  156. Jandy says:

    Foo, I’d feel better about Kyle, if our people in charge of DEVELOPMENT were more capable. But I liked what I saw…just sayin…

  157. Leefoo says:

    Nate “They lost down the stretch because their pitching fell apart. ”

    And, as DK fails to point out, Huntington has had to build a pitching staff from scratch.

    The 5 starters he inherited after the 2007 season were Snell, Gorzo, Duke and Maholm. He had to try Dumatrait in 2008. Those four proved to be nothing more than #5 starters at best.

    Is it any wonder we have floundered and Neal has concentrated on Pitching?

    You just can’t find whole starting pitching staffs that fast. And, as I pointed out above, both the A’s and Nats had real nice head starts on their pitching staffs.

    NH had to build one from scratch WITHOUT being able to go out and play in the big fish pond FA pool. Dayton Moore has been trying to build a pitching staff for SIX years and he had Grienke!

    Hard to do, imho, but, like I said above, if folks want to fire him, so be it.

    Foo

    .

  158. Naterosboro says:

    @ Dom re: 144

    And as I’ve said, I’d like to see a new GM here, as I would like someone to do the signing of our FAs.

    But, somehow I think this has turned into a witch hunt among the fans. Perspective is needed.

    Yea, they finished the last 2 seasons horribly, but overall, the team and org. are trending in the right direction, to the point where I don’t feel MAJOR CHANGES are needed.

    OK, yes changing the GM would be a major change, but I don’t think that person would be tasked nearly as much as NH & Co. were when they walked through the door.

    That’s where I’m coming from when I say I don’t think major changes are needed to this Pirate team.

  159. Boise Bucco says:

    What if the issue with the minor league system isn’t the drafting, but the developing part?

    Cutch was more or less developed by the time Huntington came in, and Cutch was a known quantity. You could probably say the same for PRNW, althought moving him to second was out of necessity more than anything.

    I’m not a scout and I don’t even have a paid-version of Baseball America, but a lot of the picks the Bucs have made were widely lauded. Josh Bell was a HUGE get in anyone’s mind, he’s just been injured all year. What if that owes more to his development and less to him being a bust?

    And it doesn’t stop with prospects either; I look at Brandon Moss, Nate McLouth, Jose Bautista, and all I see are players that sucked in Pittsburgh and then they went to new teams and got all fixed up. Moss had a quote last year about how bad the Bucs screwed up his swing–I wish I could find it, but I definitely remember it.

    What if all they needed to do was get a better training/development team in place? Just makes me wonder.

  160. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    How can anyone give Huntington “credit” for his first rounders when they aren’t even up here yet and won’t be for probably at least another 3/4 of a season? If we are going to assume they pan out, and I certainly hope they do, we can’t ignore they’ve proven nothing yet. I’m not suggesting don’t be excited about them, but there’s also a possibility they may be Moskos and Bullington 2.0 (please, dear Lord don’t let that be the case).

  161. Jandy says:

    Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

  162. nate83 says:

    Boise

    The Braves are considered one of the best run organizations in baseball. Did they fix up McLouth? Bautista himself has said he wasn’t doing the stuff that not only the Pirates where telling him but other teams as well. The Blue Jays almost gave up on him. I do agree that their fundementals in the minors need to get better and I am all for replacing Stark but I personally do not believe the Pirates are at fault for Bautista or McLouth.

  163. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Boise,

    Good points, except McLouth sucked in Atlanta the whole time he was there. They called him McOut and he was injured and in the minors some, too. His stint with the O’s is the best since his All-Star year here. But the other 2 and several others are glaring.

    Even Ian Snell was better for a short time with Seattle and criticized his handling in Pittsburgh with adjustments, etc., but he was a head case anyway.

    Then, there are the Brad Eldreds and JVB’s who couldn’t get it together anywhere else that somewhat blame the Bucs for their handling.

  164. NMR says:

    Apparently a 30 HR third baseman equals “nothing”.

  165. nate83 says:

    Vetta

    I actually was encouraged by that reaction. It showed that they still cared and they badly do want to win. I was also happy for this young team that has had a horrible second half of the year to get a win like that.

    If they where 10 games under all year and battled at the end to get up to the 4 or 5 games under and had a win like that we would all be saying great team building experience. A win like that no matter the circumstance should always be celebrated. It’s great for moral. I would have hated to see 24 guys lining up to shake his hand.

  166. Naterosboro says:

    @ DK

    I was looking at his minor league numbers (http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=belisa001ron).

    Didn’t see he had made an impact for the Dodgers in 2009 and 2012 (2010 wasn’t very good tho was it?)

    All I’m saying is, if you’re touting players that take 10 years to make a major league debut, and have to go to 3 different organizations to do it, well then maybe that system wasn’t so stocked after all….

  167. nate83 says:

    Brad

    I agree with what you are saying. That is why I keep saying we really can’t tell how NH’s draft are until those players develope. You need at least 5 years to judge a draft. I’d put the Pirates 2008 draft up agains almost any other team. 2009 stinks (did for almost every team). Any year after that is just silly to debate. It is way to early. Cole might stink but 3 other players may emerge.

    For what it is worth I don’t think Cole will stink. I’m more concerned Taillon may not work out although I think he has a better then average chance.

  168. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Taillon pitched quite well at every level, nate, especially for a kid that barely shaves. Maybe Neal shouldn’t be fired, but his job certainly needs re-defined. He needs to be told, in no uncertain terms, that Hoka Hey, Hells Angels, etc. are added junk that should not even be mentioned when development is so poor at every level.

    Indy won its division by 10 or 12 games and look at the lacking that most of those guys, even Marte when you look past his talent, have shown when they got up here.

  169. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    @nate and Foo

    I agree and I’m not at all on board with the notion of firing NH based on drafts for the reasons you stated. I really like how Pedro’s working out, but he still has some areas for massive improvement, don’t think many would disagree with that. His skipping winter ball I think was very poor decision. That said, I think I’d puke if we let another Ramirez or Bautista get away and I think he has the potential to put up similar stuff. Though if I were Hurdle I would’ve been irate all year at him dogging out plays when he doesn’t hit the ball to at least mid-outfield. I don’t think he’ll ever be gold glove @3rd, but with that arm and occasional leather he sure can make those types of plays.

  170. Jandy says:

    Even to my inexperienced eye, Pedro has come a loooonggg way. I’m more than happy with how he has progressed so far. But…think how much BETTER he could be already if he had the right training to DEVELOP properly. Ahhh…one can dream…

  171. Vette60 says:

    RE: Nate83, 165.

    Yeah, I hear where you are coming from, they care, badly want to win, different circumstances could be a win to build on, etc…I was thinking more of how I reacted to the pic too, rather than the players reaction.

    I think it’s a natural reaction too to have the players pumped after a victory like that…for me, personally, it just rubbed me wrong. Maybe if I was at the game or watching real time on TV, I would have a different perspective, but when I saw the pic in the paper, I just immediately thought, well, that’s too little, too late…

    Oh well. There is two sides to everything…

    Hopefully the NHL Lockout is ended soon and the Steelers get back to their winning ways on Sunday…

    Randy in Richmond, VA.

  172. nate83 says:

    Lucky

    Agree 100%. I would love to see Stark gone. The writing was on the wall when he banged heads with minor league managers because of difference in philosphy. I also like what Taillon has shown and that is why I said he has a better then average shot of making it. That is better then most High School pitchers would get from me after just two years. Cole just seems to be a lock if there is such a thing to be a top 3 rotation guy.

  173. Jandy says:

    Vette, don’t hold your breath on the NHL Lockout ending soon. You’ll turn blue my friend.

  174. Arriba Wilver says:

    Cole—overall #1 pick
    Taillon–overall #2 pick
    Alvarez–overall #2 pick
    Sanchez–overall #4 pick
    Appel –overall #8 pick

    Cutch–overall #11 pick
    Walker–overall #11 pick

    Sure, you can also list DL’s stinkers like Moskos (overall #4 pick)

    But I believe the point of saying Neal’s picks were close to no-brainers, while Cutch and Walker weren’t was where they were chosen.

    Of course, if you listen to Foo and his BA top 100 stats only one of Cole or Taillon will make it.

  175. JaxBuc says:

    @Jandylicious

    So good to see you on here. We’ve been worried. We get concerned when you don’t call.

  176. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Agree w/ Jandy 171. And I think 40 might be on the radar for him next year.

    My issues with Neal the SEAL aren’t based on his baseball moves as much as his unwavering support of Stark and his poorly researched and implemented Hoka Hey crap combined with his behavior towards fans. Hoka Hey… I wonder how often that was going through Babe Ruth’s hung-over mind when he was at bat. He seemed to do OK without a mental image of Crazy Horse wearing tie-dye barreling down the street on a Harley in the back of his mind.

    I mean, there are kids who know some of NH’s moves have been busts to some degree (HotRod, Barmes, Bedard, McLouth, numerous others). According to him, they are basically ignorant hooligans who are harassing his family. Myself aside, that’s inexcusable to me when my son says Barajas isn’t very good and the GM is saying in an interview that he doesn’t understand because this isn’t fantasy baseball.

  177. Naterosboro says:

    Leefoo has been pointing this out but I wanted to ask the question…

    What do you expect of “development” from the Pirates farm system?

    It seems to me (or at least thats the way I’m reading DK and others) that people expect a flood of superstar talent knocking down the door of the Pirates.

    That’s not how it works for any organization.

    To me again, it seems, that we’re holding Huntington to a standard higher than any other GM in baseball.

    If you were misled by statements the FO has made about the farm system, that’s on you, not on them. There’s plenty of us who weren’t.

  178. Jandy says:

    Jax, why thank you! It’s nice to be missed :)

  179. Leefoo says:

    AW…JT was a no brainer?? LOTS of us wanted (and still do) Machado.

    Cole wasn’t a no brainer either. I wanted Rendon, despite his injuries.

    And, granted, NH picked high, but almost 1/3 of those picks fail, too.

    And, isn’t amazing how DL failed with his ‘no brainer’ Top 5 picks??

    Foo

    .

  180. Leefoo says:

    Nateroseboro….#178…THANK YOU for YOUR SUPPORT! :)
    Bartles and Foo

    .

  181. Leefoo says:

    Jandy…the NHL lockout will end soon. Dejan said so!!!!
    :) :) :)

    I hate Hockey Foo

    .

  182. Jandy says:

    Naterosboro, please, PLEASE don’t make it sound like we are little children who expect every player to be the next babe Ruth or (God forbid) Barry Bonds. But, just tell me why I can’t expect a major league ball player to be able to make sound decisions MOST of the time. That they KNOW HOW TO RUN THE BASE PATHS. That they don’t mess up most of the double play opportunities that come to them, that they show they KNOW how to WATCH for the correct pitches to hit. Why does it seem that our Buccos are sadly lacking in this department? And PLEASE, please don’t tell me I only pay attention to the Buccos. Because if that were the case, other teams would have the same problems we ar having. And they’re not, not when comparing apples to oranges.

  183. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    @Nateroseboro

    I don’t think anyone expects to have a flood of superstars. I think they expect players who come up to be able to avoid consistent baserunning blunders, field the ball effectively, put down a bunt when it’s needed and recognize a slider in the dirt more than 2 out of 10 times.

  184. Drew71 says:

    Boy, this wears me out.

    Twenty years, another epic collapse, arrogant condescension, afraid they won’t try to sign anyone even reasonably meaningful this off season, even more worried they WILL try.

    T-w-e-n-t-y

    Y-e-a-r-r-r-s-s-s

    ~sigh~

    This. Just. Wears. Me. Out.

  185. Jandy says:

    Not-For-Hockey Foo, I know! Dejan jinxed the entire NHL season!!!!!

  186. Jandy says:

    brad, thanks for the support, friend :) You said it better than I did!!!

    Drew, awwwww…Take. A. Nap.
    After. You. Have. A . Beer.

  187. Drew71 says:

    1
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    8
    9
    10
    11
    12
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    14
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    ?
    ??
    ?!?!?

    Long, long, long…

  188. Jandy says:

    Drew…now…step away from the keyboard, no. NO! Not toward the ledge….just go over to the couch. That’s it. Sit. Down. Relax. Sleep.

  189. Arriba Wilver says:

    Foo–we all know Moskos wasn’t a “no brainer” pick, unless you define it as not having a brain. Same with Bullington (“maybe a #4′starter”) and Van Bens#%¥$ (convert #1 pick to a pitcher), to name a couple. I don’t think anyone is arguing bring back DL.

  190. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jandy, #183 took the words right out of my mouth. Excellent.

    Ditto Drew, #185 and Brad, #184.

  191. Jandy says:

    Thanks, Spunky! =)

  192. Boise Bucco says:

    It’s not that I expect a flood of talent, but when the Martes and Tabatas and Mercers get to Pittsburgh, they can’t be lacking in their “routes to the ball,” if you know what I mean. How many plays did we see this year that were pure, no way around it, poor fundamentals? And Dear God don’t mention baserunning…That’s what I want to see improved.

    Aside from that, they way I look at it–the Bucs aren’t looking at any high-priced FA’s any time soon. And the way the new draft is structured, there won’t be any more Josh Bell’s any time soon either.

    They need to find a new system to exploit, and my vote is on development. NFL’s definitely different from MLB, but (at least in my head) the reasoning is sound–coach ‘em up! If the Bucs can’t throw their money at draftees, and FA’s are too expensive, how much would it cost for the best baserunning instructor money can buy? How much would the top hitting coach cost? Find THOSE guys and pay ‘em a million per.

    At the VERY worst, the prospects they coach will tear up the minors, only to flame out in the MLB. In that case, what is a prospect aside from trade bait? Take these highly-coached prospects and flip them for known quantities.

    Does any of this make sense, or am I just talking outta my league here? Seems doable to me…

  193. Naterosboro says:

    Now on to this that’s getting blown out of proportion…

    “There are a lot of really good baseball people in the industry who feel very differently than our fans do about what we’re accomplishing.”

    What have we known about Huntington for awhile now…he doesn’t always say things in the most eloquent of ways.

    He’s not saying the fans are stupid and aren’t privy to his process, and he’s not saying that some changes aren’t needed.

    He’s saying (and I feel this way and I know others do) that the team is trending in the right direction. They are doing good things despite a second terrible collapse in a row. That, despite a 2nd epic collapse, moving forward the org. is in a good place, millions of times better than where it was at the end of 2007.

    I swear some people take this personally.

  194. Jandy says:

    Boise Bucco. Would you be willing to sign if Nutting called you????

  195. Jandy says:

    After 20 years, maybe it IS personal. Just sayin…

  196. Boise Bucco says:

    Lol I don’t think Nutting’s got enough to pay the long-distance bill for where he’d reach me…

  197. Jandy says:

    BB, lol…but you get the idea ;)

  198. Arriba Wilver says:

    “That, despite a 2nd epic collapse, moving forward the org. is in a good place, millions of times better than where it was at the end of 2007.”

    That’s perspective? Talk about blowing things out of proportion.

  199. Jandy says:

    Has ANYONE heard from OshKosh???

  200. dcpinpgh says:

    I like Bob Nutting as an owner. He’s the anti Howard Baldwin. Howard Baldwin, who was cooler then Nutting, but he thought if you throw enough money around everything will be ok. Long term deficit spending, is not the way to run anything

  201. Leefoo says:

    Here’s a Jon Mayo article on redrafting 2005 ONE OF THE BEST DRAFTS OF ALL TIME.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100520&content_id=10230404&vkey=draftcentral2010&fext=.jsp

    Check out the bottom….Jon Neise? Sergio Romo?

    Shows you just how NOT deep even GOOD drafts go…

    Foo

    .

  202. Leefoo says:

    Sorry….meant Will Venable, not Jon Neise who has actually done well.

  203. Jandy says:

    Foo, just for the record, and I’m serious, I’m not picking on any ONE person in particular. I really don’t know those guys. But what I see on the field is unacceptable. There’s something called accountability. Some of that is on the players themselves, some is on the system. The system in place isn’t working. I’ve coached little league players who executed far better and more consistently. I realize LL isn’t MLB, but still…what this club is playing isn’t acceptable.
    P.S. Please send up a few more prayers, I feel the cough letting up, even if it’s just a wee tad.

  204. Jandy says:

    Foo, I’m 15 minutes from Altoona and about an hour from Clymer.

  205. Jandy says:

    God is a woman and She’s listening to Foo, and YOU and YOU and YOU :)

  206. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    @ Naterosboro, 195

    That’s only one example of his-less-than-eloquent Nealisms. When asked about HotRod a few weeks ago he said (in a nutshell), in an interview regarding a question about fans’ perception of his signing of Barajas as basically a failure and his continued playing time, “Rod just brings so much more than stats. You (i.e. the fans) can’t look at it like fantasy baseball. It’s not all about average, home runs or wins and losses.”

    He also publicly complained about fans questioning his ability and whether or not he should be fired and how that was causing his family emotional distress. How is that not a direct accusation, albeit a ludicrous one, at the fans? Any GM job deals with the public. No one vandalized his house or threatened his family. No one said he should be happy about it, but don’t throw the pity-poor-me card at your customers at their expense.

    When my 6 year old watches HotRod fail to throw out a baserunner for the 20th time in a row and says, “Daddy, Barajas isn’t very good,” should I tell him, “you can’t look at it like fantasy baseball!” So yeah, I do take it personally. I also take it personally that my kids and other kids cheer for a team whose GM emphatically endorses and defends a ridiculous concept of team mentality that is based on historical inaccuracies and the ideology of a criminal organization.

    You don’t have a problem with the guy, that’s fine. But don’t act like those of us who do don’t have a good reason for our perception and our opinions of him.

  207. Leefoo says:

    ” But what I see on the field is unacceptable.”

    Oh, for that, I have no argument. :) :)

    =========

    ” I’m 15 minutes from Altoona and about an hour from Clymer.”

    Wanna try a meet and greet? My wife can’t make it (scrapbooking weekend)
    hint hint, nudge nudge :) :)

    Foo
    .
    P.S. God is a spirit. He has no gender. Gender is for us weak Humans. :)

    .

  208. Leefoo says:

    “When my 6 year old watches HotRod fail to throw out a baserunner for the 20th time in a row and says, “Daddy, Barajas isn’t very good,”

    Oh yeah…blame it on your kid. (I’m ducking and running now)
    :) :) :) :)

    Kid Foo

    .

  209. Jandy says:

    FoO! God is watching, and yes SHE is a woman! ;)

  210. Leefoo says:

    Btw, did NH steal DK’s Starbucks’ Buy 5, get one Free card or sumthin’?
    :) :) :)

    Chai Tea Foo

    .

  211. Leefoo says:

    “FoO! God is watching, and yes SHE is a woman! ”

    She just told me you’re mistaken!
    :)

    .

  212. Jandy says:

    LOL yer killin me, Foo.

  213. Jandy says:

    LOL!

  214. JMB says:

    None of these FO guys are going anywhere, so we will spend the hot stove debating whom NH should sign.

    NH will sign some crummy,cheap dudes that a few/some/many of us don’t want, and then we will enter the season. If the team starts badly, the heat will go thermonuclear on Hurdle first and then NH, and if the team starts out well, some/many will say, “let’s see in September (or the trade deadline) since I’m tired of being fooled by these fools.”

    Deja vu all over again.

  215. Jandy says:

    And Foo?

  216. Naterosboro says:

    @ Jandy, Brad (Indiana PA) & Boise Bucco

    Re: Development

    For every Jason Heyward and Mike Trout that hit the ground running (and they make plenty of mistakes, its just their highlight reels take away some of that attention), there are 1,000 Chase D’Arnaud’s.

    My point being, is that these are young player mistakes. They need to adjust to life in the MLB. Doing things in A, AA, and AAA isn’t like doing them in the MLB. To expect our young guys not to make mistakes or mistakes that will cost us games is short-sighted.

    You may point to a player like Tabata (or I’ll use Lastings Milledge) where talent only gets you so far. These players may never put it together at the MLB level. And that’s OK. There’s many more where they came from (and there will continue to be…).

    I just feel like some of you are thinking that there’s this oven we can put young ball players in, bake em at 350 degrees, and out comes a polished major league ball player.

    And I feel like you’re taking it out on Huntington for not having said oven.

  217. NMR says:

    I, personally, think it is ridiculous to blame poor baserunning on the minor league developemental system.

    How many of us commenters have pointed out baserunning blunders?

    Now how many of us have even been invited to minor league camp?

    If we know better, then the players certainly know better.

    Execution comes down to discipline and focus, IMO. Those are traits that go to the manager of the big league club, not some A ball coach.

  218. Jandy says:

    And right now, Nate, I feel like you’re talking down to me. Maybe cuz it’s that I’m only 5’5″. I dunno…but it doesn’t feel very good.

    Foo??

  219. Jandy says:

    And G I Jones is NOT a young player per se…and his baserunning stinks. :P

  220. Leefoo says:

    JMB….”NH will sign some crummy,cheap dudes”

    And that’s because that’s all you get when you’re forced to shop at the Thrift Shops all the time. We spent $5 Mil on a SS??!! Be still my heart!

    Foo

    .

  221. Jandy says:

    FOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  222. Jandy says:

    Watch those elbows when you nudge, Foo, they’re sharp and my ribs are sore :(

  223. NMR says:

    With all this talk about poor development, especially of position players, why aren’t more people calling for Gregg Ritchie to be “held accountable”.

  224. Jandy says:

    He should be.

  225. nate83 says:

    Baserunning, situational hitting and plate discipline all are lacking on this team. I’m not sure who is to blame. Minor league training or major league coaches. I would have to know enough about these players to see if they regress after reaching the majors. I know that I do not like the hitting coach and I hope he is replaced.

    I believe the defense is probably in the middle of the pack and really isn’t lacking that bad. We see every play so of course it seems bad compared to other teams. On the infield Barmes is above average, Sanchez is above average, Walker is average to above average and Alverez is only going to get better and already is average in my opinion. Cutch is slightly above average and so is Marte. Catching has to improve and pitchers holding runners on has to improve.

  226. JHadar says:

    So the roller coaster stops about where it started. Nice clear blue sky out on the prairie today, 72 degrees and a vacation coming up starting next weekend. Hopefully, I’ll have it all out of my system soon. Iowa 32 – Minnesota 13, but I didn’t get to see the game. Hawks are 3-2, Radio, but would be 5-0 if they just paid attention.

    There is a great deal of difference between what I can actually do about the Pirates, and what I would do if I could. It still boggles my mind that these guys, collectively and in concert, have turned the greatest turnaround story in sports into the biggest joke (yet). All through the losing streak I’ve worn my cap to show my loyalty and remind me of what we used to be. It’s a ’71 outfielders cap. I haven’t been wearing it lately For the last five weeks or so I’ve been alternating between caps I’ve picked up at the National Parks, seed corn caps, and one I really like from the Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge. We’ll be going on a birding trip instead of visiting Pittsburgh on our vacation.

    Bob Nutting can make it a bigger joke (yet) by not cleaning house. Sometime before the winter meetings would be best. Neal says he’s heard people in the know tell him that what they’re doing is better than what the fans think it is. Sounds like selective hearing to me.

    Been down so long it looks like up to me. I wore that cap when we lost 105 games.

    I’ve just gone numb. I hope I’ll be ready for baseball again by spring.

    Otherwise, Jandy there was a cold that went around here last winter that had a 6-8 week cough on the end of it and would let you work all day and collapse in the evening. Did I say, collapse? Sorry. Hope you don’t have that one, but if you do, it goes away with time.

  227. Leefoo says:

    JHAdar…

    “Otherwise, Jandy there was a cold that went around here last winter that had a 6-8 week cough on the end of it and would let you work all day and collapse in the evening. Did I say, collapse? Sorry. Hope you don’t have that one, but if you do, it goes away with time.”

    Does our collapse pain go away with time, too?
    I’m still hacking!!!
    :)

    DK: Foo, I love your input, but if you’re here primarily to shill for other websites, please take it elsewhere.

    .

  228. Naterosboro says:

    “That’s perspective? Talk about blowing things out of proportion.”

    Best record since 1997.

    Best baseball being played EVER in PNC Park.

    Record improving over the past 2 seasons.

    I don’t look at this season and say EPIC FAIL, THIS ORG. HAS NO DIRECTION AND NO CLUE WHAT IT IS DOING.

    I look at it and say, injury (Walker, Marte, Karstens) combined with drop in player performance did us in.

    If you see it differently and think this team is that far off from being quite good, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  229. JHadar says:

    Hacking Foo –

    Sad to say, sometimes it takes longer than you think it will

  230. Jandy says:

    JHadar, thanks for the encouragement, friend. It’s been 2 1/2 months with this cough. Got worse middle of last week. I missed 3 days work last week. Back at it today, but yeah, been here since 6am and I’m ready for a nap. Think I’ll do what I told Drew to do. Have a beer. And take a nap. I sure hope this doesn’t last another month.

    Have a nice evening, all, I’ve enjoyed debating with you again. At the end of the day, we’re all still Bucco fans.

  231. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Wow.

    Angry in here much. A lot of stuff being slung around.

  232. @Brad (#124):

    My only real complaint thus far is that the negotiations had not started sooner (I believe this was most likely a negotiating tactic by the NHLPA). I think the approach both sides are taking to solving the problem of long-term sustainability is completely different: the NHL seeks to tweak the existing system while the NHLPA is looking to change the system at the core. Personally, I think the NHLPA has a better solution, but that kind of radical change is not sitting well with the NHL owners.

    In terms of trained SEALS, I do like what Donald Fehr has brought to the table. Between his guidance in drafting the NHLPA’s new approach and his unflappable composure of the course of discussions cannot be overstated; I do believe he is the main reason both sides have had continued conversations.

    In the end, I think it’s just going to take some time. I think both sides realize that, as a second consecutive lockout has been effected, they can’t get the CBA wrong this time around. Ultimately, this CBA must ensure the league is sustainable and competitive for the foreseeable future. Going all the way back to the definition of HRR is painstaking but if they are really and truly going to fix the CBA from the ground up, it is necessary. Wayne Gretzky was quoted as stating he believes that we’ll see NHL hockey around the time of the Winter Classic. I think that sounds about right.

  233. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @NMR

    #224-Good point, but I think Ritchie is the hitting coach by title. Me thinks Hurdle does more instruction with the batters than Ritchie does.

    Of course, I’m not in the cage to spy on that to see if its true or not.

  234. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    You’re killin me too, Foo!

    @Nateroseboro

    No one expects players to come out like a perfect no-bake cookie and no one said they can’t make mistakes. Talk about blowing things out of proportion again. But if this season isn’t proof enough that developmental improvements need to be made, then what is? If you were Nutting, would you be happy that Stark was in charge of developing your players? This best baseball in 15 years turned into a significant historical-worst statistic. And unless they win 2 of 3, it’s only the best since 1999, and it’s really not much better than 2003.

    If 16 games over .500 and a hold on a playoff spot is squandered in the last quarter of the season and results in a losing record that’s never been achieved before isn’t an epic fail, what is?

  235. JHadar says:

    Nate

    Best record since 1997… Best baseball ever at PNC Two years of improvement.

    Can’t disagree with the facts, but really, are you satisfied with that?

    If getting to the top, only temporarily did anything for me, it woke up something that had been sleeping during this quarter of a lifetime of losing. And that something was good. It made me realize that enough is enough.

  236. Milo Hamilton says:

    Gregg Ritchie will be leaving to be Head Coach at George Washington, I have been told by well placed sources in the DC area. He’ll be scapegoat #1.

  237. nate83 says:

    Naterosboro

    Well stated. Agree with everything you say. I’m tired of the our record is barely better then Littlefield’s last year arguement. We are so much closer to competing then we where 5 years ago. Baseball prospectus had us down for 75 wins this year. We are going to hit that all while adding a quality starting pitcher to the mix in Wandy, adding to our bench depth with Snyder and Sanchez and finding out we have everyday baseball players in Jones and Alverez.

    Next year Barmes is going to be more like the guy we saw the last 4 months and not the guy we saw the first 2 months. Walker, Karstans, Marte will hopefully stay healthy. JMac may not be as good as he was the first half but I can’t imagine with his talent he regresses to anything near the 7.00 ERA we saw in the second half. Mcphearson and eventually Cole will be there to add depth to the pitching. I’m not predicting world series but the team is better then the 15-36 they have played over the last 2 months.

  238. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    @Nate

    You’re on to something with the oven comparison.

    BUT, while young players make mistakes, try to do too much or show off what they have (Marte’s arm) they should still understand what they are supposed to be doing in situations.

    Why is it that this team is built on speed (Cutch, Tabata, Presley, Marte) but are dead last in the NL in stolen bases? Why do they have issues with getting a bunt down? Can’t throw to proper base, young pitchers giving up a big inning? Getting a run in from 3rd with less than 2 outs?

    All of these aspects are things that should be developed in the minor league system. By no means do I expect things to happen accordingly every time, but it seems to happen more to this group, than others and I don’t just watch the Pirates play.

    Mistakes happen in almost every game. Its how the team overcomes those mistakes that makes them a good or bad team. That’s built in training/development.

    Something this team is lacking.

  239. Naterosboro says:

    “And right now, Nate, I feel like you’re talking down to me. Maybe cuz it’s that I’m only 5′5″. I dunno…but it doesn’t feel very good.”

    If this is how it comes across I apologize, but it’s b/c some of you are making playing professional baseball out to be easy.

    “Run the base path’s correctly”

    “Recognize the Slider in the dirt”

    “Lay down a bunt”

    If it were that easy, the Pirates would’ve had a winning season by now.

  240. Naterosboro says:

    “Are you satisfied with that?”

    No, I’d have loved to see the Pirates play out this season, win the division, and go to the playoffs.

    It didn’t happen.

    But, as I see it, you take the positives and build upon them. 2 months of bad play doesn’t make me forget about the 4 good before it (Well, 1 Ok, 3 good).

    I’ll state again, I’d be absolutely fine with a new GM. I’m not enamoured with the production he’s got out of his FA signings, and think someone else could perhaps put this roster over the top.

    But I don’t think full-scale, major changes are needed at this time. They were after the 2007 season (b/c you had veteran players reaching the FA stage and they could barely manage 70 wins; now we’re upset that they’ve won 77 (or more)).

    I kind of liken it to the Phillies. Was Ed Wade around when they won in 2008? No, but that team was built largely on his draft choices.

    I could see a similar sort of thing happening here with the Pirates (and I’m not saying the Pirates will be winning the WS, just that NH won’t be here when the team is contending).

  241. Pat4Pgh says:

    I cannot believe:

    1. 20 years of losing!
    2. Huntington apologists
    3. Hurdle apologists
    4. Excuses for appalling fundamentals across the range of players
    5. Nutting cares about winning

    1. Nothing more need be said!
    2. Huntington is incompetent! Our improvement over 2010 is because HE BLEW UP 2010! He fielded that team. He cannot identify talent – remember he and Stark telling us Walker was nothing more than a utility player – great evaluation.
    3. Hurdle is a poorer manager than the drunk Tom Hanls in “A League of their Own” – he chews gums as players fail around him.
    4. If a player or two was struggling in terms of fundamentals – base running/stealing, advancing the runner, making contact with RISP, throwing to the right base, etc – I would accept it is on the players. The entire roster stinks at fundamentals.
    5. Nutting has overseen 10 years of losing – 5 years hands-on and 5 years as he was Chairman…..no improvement…

    I could go on, but no onw would read it!!!

  242. Naterosboro says:

    “The entire roster stinks at fundamentals.”

    Did the players forget their fundamentals after August 8th?

  243. Arriba Wilver says:

    When I read all these defenses of Neal, what I keep seeing in one form or another are EXCUSES (e,g, drafting’s tough, not enough time, system was barren, not enough money, the metrics show we’re good, the metrics show we’re not THAT good, bla, bla, bla)  People aren’t complaining because they think there’s some magic oven out there. They’re complaining because we don’t have convincing evidence of success, and we crashed and burned 2 years in a row.  Over .500 would have been a nice start, despite what Mr. Excuse thinks.

  244. Pat4Pgh says:

    Natesboro

    They were flawed prior to 8Aug12, but a ton of homeruns hid the flaws! Winnign seems to get one to overlook the details…….

  245. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Nateboro,

    If you read my slider in the dirt post, it was “avoid consistent baserunning blunders, field the ball effectively, put down a bunt when it’s needed and recognize a slider in the dirt more than 2 out of 10 times.” No one said it was easy. But it is reasonable to expect professional players to be able to execute these basic principles semi-consistently with relative success.

  246. Naterosboro says:

    “They’re complaining because we don’t have convincing evidence of success, and we crashed and burned 2 years in a row. Over .500 would have been a nice start, despite what Mr. Excuse thinks.”

    I guess I’m Mr. Excuse (unless it’s Foo).

    I’ll take that title (so don’t worry about it Foo).

    If the Pirates had played horribly in April & May the last 2 seasons, then finished well, still having the same records, what would your opinion be?

    My point being is, 2 months of bad play don’t discount 4 good (same going for the year before, altho last season was like 3.5/2.5). That’s why I’m of the view to tweak the roster. If you want a new guy to make those tweaks, fine, and I’d support that.

    But I still refuse to think the sky is falling. Because if it hadn’t already crashed the previous 15 years before Huntington & Co. were hired, it certainly won’t anytime soon.

  247. NMR says:

    @Milo

    Ritchie a scapegoat? He was the minor league hitting coordinator from ’06-’10.

    If there is someone to blame for the development of the ’07-’09 draft classes, who OTHER than him?

  248. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    @Forecheck

    Thanks for all the insight! This is still a horribly depressing situation. Hockey is the sport I follow most and thus my next few months are going to majorly be lacking in sporting entertainment. Think you’d agree when I hope you’re wrong about how long it takes them to sort this out. January’s a long time to wait.

  249. Naterosboro says:

    “If you read my slider in the dirt post, it was “avoid consistent baserunning blunders, field the ball effectively, put down a bunt when it’s needed and recognize a slider in the dirt more than 2 out of 10 times.” No one said it was easy. But it is reasonable to expect professional players to be able to execute these basic principles semi-consistently with relative success.”

    Again, I guess it was just smoke and mirrors being 16 games over .500 on Aug. 8th. Were they not executing then?

    I guess, we’re disagreeing at where the problem lies. You place it on the management for not developing players correctly. I place it on the players for not getting it done (throw coaches in there too).

    And if you want to get on Huntington for putting together a roster that has collapsed 2 years in a row, that’s a legit gripe, and one I support in favor of hiring a new GM.

    But I like the direction the team and org. are headed in (overall). I like the work the Huntington has done in terms of changing our organization’s approach to pitching. I like the fact that we have a presence in Latin America again.

    This is why I feel Huntington’s work needs to be continued, whether by him or someone else.

  250. Arriba Wilver says:

    Actually Nate, Mr. Excuse is Neal (which is why I referenced .500.) And I haven’t said the sky is falling, or we need to make major changes to the whole roster. In fact, I’ve panned repeatedly Brown’s assertion that a new GM would do that. If you’d get off that horse you seem to be riding, you’d see we aren’t actually that far off from each other’s opinion on what needs to be done probably. I just have little, if any, faith at this point that Neal can do it. And it has nothing to do with ovens.

  251. JHadar says:

    Nate re: taking positives and building on them … those 3, are only positives if you take them in context … kind of like a D being better than a D – .

    Otherwise there may only be some semantics… change the GM and you change of the management team … keep the core, fill the holes. I would call that a housecleaning.

 
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