TribLIVE
Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

« Font size »
Decrease | Reset |Increase

Wakeup Call: The scheme is the scheme

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> The Wednesday column lays it all on the (defensive) line.

Well, mostly. Bottom line is that the Steelers have options up front that they aren’t using for some reason.

>> What you won’t see, as the column briefly mentions, is anything remotely resembling a change in Dick LeBeau’s scheme, least of all the 3-4 foundation.

And if you doubt that, hear Troy Polamalu on the topic …

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJid4rUJSaI

If Polamalu and the Steelers are right, wonderful. But they’ll have to show it through performance. They’ll have to illustrate that a defense built upon aggressiveness, blitzing and dynamic one-on-one play can still work with this particular group.

Because the fact is that so far that hasn’t been the case.

>> One final time, here’s the podcast of yesterday’s radio show, featuring an opening rant about the NHL owners’ greed, a MUST-listen interview with the Pirates’ Neil Walker, and a look ahead to Steelers-Eagles with Trib beat writer Alan Robinson.

Also, here’s the video of the opening rant.

>> The Pirates’ player payroll for 2012, the amount actually paid out as accounted by Major League Baseball offices, is $61,375,000. That’s the highest in franchise history. Anyone throwing out any other figure is not getting it right. This is official and verified.

This also is the number that matters. Not opening-day payroll. That’s a projection for a one-day roster that changes many times over.

>> Heading over to the yard one final time for the year.

If the Pirates lose, I’ll have completely nailed my preseason prediction — the morning of the April 5 opener, right here on this very blog — of 79-83.

So there’s that.

Comments

  1. radio wave says:

    DK:

    I was listening to Sirius hockey radio. Fehr does not sound like a happy camper.

    DK: Almost feel dirty for saying this, but he’s right. He shouldn’t be.

  2. Hurdled says:

    Sometimes you have to appreciate the small things in life.

    80 total wins would be just that.

    Something small I can appreciate.

  3. Arriba Wilver says:

    DK–I haven’t been following the negotiations closely, but have been under the impression the main problem is on the owners’ side over revenue sharing/percentage to go to players. In your rant today, though, you mentioned something about Fehr talking about a luxury tax. Luxury tax and cap don’t seem to me to be the same thing (based on my baseball knowledge).

    Is Fehr really pushing a luxury tax, which would, if accepted, be a step down from having a cap?

    Or am I missing something?

    Because if that’s what he’s doing, it certainly changes the dynamic.

    DK: The term ‘luxury tax’ prompts confusion all over the place.

    The most common understanding is the NBA version, which is really a soft cap. That’s the spirit of what’s been proposed, a softening of what currently is a hard cap in the NHL.

    The most common misunderstanding of luxury tax is the baseball one, which means almost nothing. It taxes 3-4 teams for going above a given threshold, then puts that money into a general pot for some international initiatives and that sort of thing. There’s NO trickle-down, and it’s got NOTHING to do with revenue-sharing.

  4. Matt says:

    Only way for the owners to get serious about this is for the season-ticket holders and corporate sponsors for every team is to start asking for their money back. They have our money already, collecting interest. If they have to start refunding people, then with no revenue coming in, well, you might see some action. But it has to be every city.

  5. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks. My understanding is that it means a soft cap. And no way would I agree to that if i were the NHL owners after what they did to get the hard cap. No effing way. That puts a very different spin on the negotiations in my book.

  6. Arriba Wilver says:

    And if that is what is being talked about in terms of the financial side that the owners won’t talk about? They are absolutely right in not talking about it, tactically, strategically and common sensically. JMHO

  7. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I couldn’t agree more about Heyward and McLendon getting more playing time. Hampton’s time on the field should be situational at best.

    Another move I would consider is replacing Keenan Lewis as starting CB. Flip-flop him with Cortez Allen OR…..Perhaps it’s time to give DeMarcus Van Dyke some playing time. Some players (like Van Dyke) rise to the occasion with an organization like the Steelers. He has some much needed speed that could help the team coverage wise.

    Just some suggestions, but I trust Tomlin and his staff will make the necessary adjustments after viewing film for the past week and a half.

    DK: That’s really going to be the most interesting aspect of Sunday, I agree. It really isn’t enough to just wag a finger and say, well, everyone needs to play better. Not after the Raiders — the Raiders! — were openly boasting about having an easy time reading the defense.

    As for corner, the guy to watch is one you didn’t mention: Curtis Brown. If Lewis continues to struggle, it won’t be Allen moving over. They like Allen at nickel. It’ll be Brown.

  8. Boise Bucco says:

    If the Bucs finish 80-82, is it just the Baseball Gods screwing with us at that point? Does that loss to the Reds count as our Mookie Wilson grounder?

    Also, this might be a biased question, but as far as curses go, is it worse to go 20 years without a losing season, or 100+ without a championship (aka Cubs)?

    Maybe this’ll all be for the better…players will show up to Spring Training next year hungrier than they’ve ever been, more seasoned than they’ve ever been, ready to win the NL Central title. They’ll have the experience and they’ll know how to avoid the pitfalls of this year. Maybe “all in” shouldn’t have been said at the trade deadline this year; maybe it should be specifically reserved for 2013 Spring Training.

    I’m predicting 92 wins next year. (I predicted 90 this year…not scientifically)

  9. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    DK – I certainly agree Brown is in the mix. I just don’t think Lewis is going to cut it as a starter.

    I’ve noticed in the past that Tomlin is not one afraid to make changes, and I’m interested to see if they happen as early as Sunday.

    DK: At corner? Mid-game? Unlikely.

  10. John Lease says:

    The Braves aren’t putting up much of an effort today, although with Ben Sheets history I’m sure he’ll destroy the Pirates for the time he is in there.

    I’d like 80 wins. Not as much as 82, but more than 79. Baseball is going away, always a sad time.

  11. Drew71 says:

    Dirty? WHY for heaven’s sake? At least why for THAT?

    If you need to feel dirty, why not do so for something YOU control?

    Such as the Pirates tailspin.

    And the TRUE Jerry Meals moment of the season. The turning point.

    Absolute Lock

    For THAT, feel dirty.

    For THAT, I’m pulling for someone else to win our wins contest. ANYone else.

    For THAT, I’m pulling for a win. 80.

    Vengeance.

  12. Dom says:

    DK,

    If the players get what they want, could the NHL end up like MLB, where the Yankees payroll be around twice the gross revenue of the Pirates?

    Thanks

  13. Drew71 says:

    …and speaking of which, since we’re all calling for blood, if Neal gets, um, excused, won’t it be something like
    Vengeance Is Mine, Sayeth The Hoard

    Well. Except for Foo Quiote.

  14. Leefoo says:

    Dejan….you’ll never believe this, but I actually agree with your column today.

    Up in the air…it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s………..a pig?

    Btw, Drew, it’s ‘Foo Quixote’. If you’re going to ‘steal’ one of my signups get it right.

    Oh….and THIS is for you. ;) :)

    Ziggy Foo

    .

  15. Leefoo says:

    ‘signoff’ not ‘signup’…too early, I guess.

    ZZzzzzzzzzzzzz Foo

    .

  16. Leefoo says:

    Gonna be some exciting baseball tonight!!!!

    Unfortunately, the Bucs won’t be included!!!

    Foo

    .

  17. Leefoo says:

    Boise Bucco….about us finishing 80-82.

    I am starting to agree with Arriba that these games are meaningless, hence no pressure on the Bucs. That’s why they’re playing so well? I hadn’t thought about that angle too much.

    Therefore while 80-82 looks good on paper, it really isn’t.?

    Meaningless Foo

    .

  18. Fat Jimmy says:

    I read in Karen Price’s notebook that Hurdle talked to Barajas about becoming the second string catcher. Sigh…

  19. JAL says:

    JAL’s Please Mister Postman 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: Correia’s Final Start as a Bucco?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/10/pirates-notebook-correias-final-start-as-bucco.html

    First Pitch: Yes, The Farm System Has Been Dramatically Upgraded Since 2007

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/10/first-pitch-yes-the-farm-system-has-been-dramatically-upgraded-since-2007.html

    Evaluations Being Completed On Second Straight Collapse

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/10/evaluations-being-completed-on-second-straight-collapse.html

    McDonald Steps Away From Game to Get on Track

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/10/mcdonald-steps-away-from-game-to-get-on-track.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates win again, continue mad dash to 80 wins

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/10/2/3446818/pirates-win-again-continue-mad-dash-to-80-wins

    6 Rumbunter

    2012 Pittsburgh Pirates Concession Speech: Uncensored Edition

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/10/02/2012-pittsburgh-pirates-concession-speech-uncensored-edition/
    Jack Wilson Talks About Retiring as a Pittsburgh Pirate–Sounds Like a Bobblehead

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/10/02/jack-wilson-talks-about-retiring-as-a-pittsburgh-pirate-sounds-like-a-bobblehead/

    7 Deadspin

    How A Career Ends: Jay Bell Homered Off A Hall Of Famer In His First At-Bat, Flied Out In His Last

    http://deadspin.com/5948191?utm_campaign=socialflow_deadspin_twitter&utm_source=deadspin_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Beat Bravo B Team 5-1

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/10/bucs-beat-bravo-b-team-5-1.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Kevin’s last hurrah

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/10/kevins-last-hurrah/

    10 Minor League Ball

    Vote: Minor League Awards

    http://www.milb.com/news/awards/y2012/index.jsp

  20. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Braves Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20121003_ATL@PIT

    12 International Business Times

    Pittsburgh Pirates News: Saddest Tale in 2012 Season May Be the Pirates’ Collapse

    http://www.ibtimes.com/sportsnet/pittsburgh-pirates-news-saddest-tale-2012-season-may-be-pirates-collapse-799247

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-teamreportmtze8a28l8032-20121002,0,5692265.story

    14 Atlanta Journal Constitution

    Hanson finishes on down note in 5-1 loss to Pirates

    http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2012/10/02/hanson-finishes-on-down-note-in-5-1-loss-to-pirates/

    15 USA Today

    From Buster to Dusty, these guys merit kudos

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2012/10/02/mlb-awards-mvp-cy-young-rookie-of-the-year/1609541/

    16 KDKA

    Greg Brown Breaks Down Front Office, 20-Year Streak

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/10/02/pirates-broadcaster-greg-brown-wraps-up-pirates-20th-consecutive-losing-season/

    17 New York Times

    One Big Swing Keeps the Orioles Alive

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/03/sports/baseball/manager-buck-showalter-remakes-orioles-in-his-image.html

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    18 PBC Site

    Correia stifles Braves in final start of season

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_10_02_atlmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=pit

    Barajas to catch A.J. again, then future uncertain

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20121002&content_id=39370998&notebook_id=39371000&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Need to Know

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18529

    20 Fangraphs

    Around the Business of Baseball

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/around-the-business-of-baseball/

  21. Drew71 says:

    I’m changing it, anyway.

    Foodo Baggins and his gardener Neal Gamgee, taking on the Evil Hoards of Mordor.

  22. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Tomlin Press Conference: Harrison, Polamalu and Mendenhall Set To Practice

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/10/2/3444784/tomlin-press-conference-harrison-polamalu-mendenhall-injury-report

    Steelers Vs. Eagles: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger Expresses Sense of Urgency For Win

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/10/2/3442606/steelers-eagles-week-5-nfl-preview-analysis

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Mike Tomlin Press Conference

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/10/steelers-hc-mike-tomlin-press-conference-eagles-week-5/

    23 Steelers Gab

    Harrison Sends Out Hope He’ll Play vs Eagles

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/10/01/harrison-sends-out-hope-hell-play-vs-eagles/

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Is Sunday’s Game Truly A Must Win for the Steelers?

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/10/02/is-sundays-game-truly-a-must-win-for-the-steelers/

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Preparing for A Lack of Animosity Game

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/10/02/preparing-for-a-lack-of-animosity-game/

    26 Cardiac Hill

    A request to Pitt fans

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/10/2/3438270/pitt-vs-louisville-11-am-football-pittsburgh-panthers-homecoming-schedule-university-of

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    DBs Need to ‘Man Up’ and Get Confident

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=55379

    28 WV Illustrated

    Music Video Highlights of WVU’s Shootout Win

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/19708244/music-video-highlights-of-wvus-shootout-win

    Soccer(football)

    29 Sky Sports

    Van Persie brace downs Cluj

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/live/match/274047/report

    30 Daily Telegraph

    FC Nordsjaelland 0 Chelsea 4: match report

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/chelsea/9581699/FC-Nordsjaelland-0-Chelsea-4-match-report.html

    31 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 2nd October, 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-2nd-october-2012

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    32 Pensburgh

    Pittsburgh Penguins Legends: Greatest Pens by the numbers 1-10

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/10/2/3443834/pittsburgh-penguins-legends-greatest-pens-by-the-numbers-1-10

  23. JAL says:

    “Please Mr. Postman” — The Marvelettes (1961) and The Carpenters (1975) This is the Marvelettes’ version. They were Motown’s first “girl group”.

  24. Drew71 says:

    But hey. If the Bucs win their last three games against a decent team, we can extrapolate 90 or 100 wins for next season, right?

    Right?

  25. Drew71 says:

    Maybe we should rewrite that.

    Please Mr. Nutting

    Since we’re waiting for news from him, too, right?

    Right?

  26. BFD says:

    DK – is that 61 million figure for Nuttings payroll what the Pirates are paying? Another words, does that include the salary NY is picking up for AJ?

  27. Bradthedad says:

    Just to drive home DK’s column’s point, Palmer said in the locker room after the game the Steeler ‘big guys’ appeared gassed at the end. Mystifying he could see it and the Steeler coaching staff either couldn’t or did and didn’t think it important enough to run in some fresh bodies.

    DK: Amazing, huh?

    Well, if they were gassed going after a statue, imagine trying to chase down Vick, Shady et al.

  28. Turner Ward says:

    DK – Funny that on April 5, a prediction of 79 wins was “not bad” in your opinion. Amazing how 6 months changes perspective…

  29. TJA says:

    Seeing what Oakland and Baltimore have accomplished in the regular campaign this year makes what the Pirates have done all the more depressing.

  30. Leefoo says:

    Just another reason to love AJ…this from Locke

    “I had a tough game, tough start the night before,” Locke said. “There’s not a whole lot I can go out there and do that (Burnett) hasn’t been through. He’s one of those guys that when he speaks you listen. … A.J.’s just there to help keep my head above water and tell me that no matter how bad things get sometimes, they can be worse and just keep competing with what you have, keep working hard. It means a lot coming from him, obviously.”

    Dead Bolt Foo

    .

  31. Dejan you nailed it again as far as the Steeler defensive problems is concerned. I’m tired of hearing about their rankings on defense. The only ranking that matters is wins and losses and as Mike Tomlin would say, they are below the line in that regard.A sound defense would not have allowed the Raiders to come back from two ten point defecits or allowed the Broncos to have their way with the m in the second half.

    The problem with the defense seems to be a combination of older players not playing like they used to play, scheme predictability, young guys not playing up to par, and nobody winning one on one matchups. Take that FireX blitz that they run a multitude of times where the two inside linebackerrs blitz. That seems to be blocked all the time. When they first started doing it, it alawys seemed to work.But that was with a younger James Farrior and a younger Larry Foote or Timmons.

    It worries me that the coaching staff seems to have a inordinate amount of faith in the older guys and in their ability to avoid the ineveitable decline in performance that comes as you get older. Of course, it would help iof the younger guys played a little better. Much like the Pirates farm system, there is a lack of quality depth on this team, especially on defense.

  32. Leefoo says:

    AW… I’ve denigrated Hurdle’s game management many, many times. But, I do LOVE stuff like this that he says to Alex P.

    “How good do you want to be? How good do you want us to be? This is something I want you to think long and hard about over the winter — what can you put into play this winter and show up (to spring training) and we’re going to go, ‘Wow, he didn’t have that when he left.’ ”

    Hurdling Foo

    .

  33. JMB says:

    @FJ #18

    Who couldn’t see that coming?

  34. NMR says:

    Any particular reason for the payroll to be listed?

    And doesn’t that number include the money being paid to AJ by the Yankees?

  35. Leefoo says:

    Drew….# 21….If you ever met me, it is probably more apropos to call me Foolum. I’m not as short, but….
    :) :)

    .

  36. SJB says:

    “Maybe this’ll all be for the better…players will show up to Spring Training next year hungrier than they’ve ever been, more seasoned than they’ve ever been, ready to win the NL Central title. They’ll have the experience and they’ll know how to avoid the pitfalls of this year. ”

    I’m sure you said the same thing last season as well…wash, rinse, repeat. Good luck with that.

  37. nate83 says:

    Win or lose tonight I will be happy about this season because….

    1. We found out Cutch is a legitimate superstar.

    2. Walker and Jones had years that solidified them as building blocks.

    3. Alverez showed enough to believe he will stick and may be really good.

    4. Marte showed me enough to believe he can be one of our everyday outfielders next year.

    5. Cole, Taillon and Heredia all did nothing to make me think they will not be an important part of this team going forward.

    6. We have two legitimate starting pitchers going forward with Burnett and Wandy.

    7. Based on this years performances between Karstan, McPhearson and JMAC we should be able to find two quality starters.

    8. Our bench will be much improved going forward because of Snyder and Sanchez.

    9. Most of all we won 79 or 80 games when I thought we would win only 74.

    Now everyone can rain on my parade and ruin my morning by telling me everything that is wrong with this team.

  38. SJB says:

    “If the Pirates lose, I’ll have completely nailed my preseason prediction — the morning of the April 5 opener, right here on this very blog — of 79-83.”

    So…it’s YOUR fault!

  39. Drew71 says:

    Mark – I hope you didn’t suggest a question for Dejan’s next interview. If so, that could be it.

  40. JMB says:

    Day 162 important events:

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/10/03/whats-left-to-play-for-in-game-162/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    Amazingly, the Pirates 80th win isn’t listed.

    DK: Awesome. When is the Process Trophy presentation?

    That line killed me.

  41. SJB says:

    “nate83
    October 3rd, 2012 – 8:22 am
    Win or lose tonight I will be happy about this season because….”

    Legitimate question: Have you ever been unhappy with a Pirates season? Do you always find something positive to take from it? This isn’t Ogilvie is it? “On the bright side, we did almost get a hit.”

  42. Jandy says:

    I see Foolum and Drejan are in fine form this morning. lol

    nate83, I won’t wiz in your cheerios. There IS a lot of good from this season. One thing I will say tho, is the Pirates WILL miss Correia.

    Now if the NHL doesn’t get this chit settled, I’ma be one PO’s Mother Theresa! >=(

  43. JMB says:

    Over 500 teams in the history of baseball have been 16 games over .500 after 108 games. The 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates are the ONLY team out of those 500+ that finished below .500.

    It’s a good day to re-post Stark’s column.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/stark_jayson/id/8420733/pittsburgh-pirates-trying-avoid-wrong-kind-history-mlb

    WooHoo — We’re #1?

  44. Dave G says:

    Bucs have a shot of matching my preseason prediction of 80 wins with a victory tonight.

    Feels very hollow, though, with thoughts of what might have been…

  45. Milo Hamilton says:

    Is it true that there is a clay pigeon on the Process Trophy ?

  46. Jandy says:

    Zing! And Milo joins the ranks ;)

  47. Dave G says:

    Buc’s new theme song:

    “Nobody Doesn’t Better”

    (apologies to Carly Simon)

  48. cosmo says:

    Didn’t Barry Manilow sing a song called “Jandy”

  49. nate83 says:

    SJB

    Yes I have been very disappointed with many years. Was this not their best record in the last 20 years? Next year will they not be predicted to have more wins then any year in the previous 10?

    I’m not sure what I should be disappointed about. 8 of the previous 10 years I have started the year will not only little hope they would compete but little hope that they would compete in the next 3 years. I cared in September for the first time in 12 years, and I will care next April more then I have ever cared since 1992.

  50. JMB says:

    “Next year will they not be predicted to have more wins then any year in the previous 10?”

    It’s hard to say today since the hot stove could surprise us, but I’m not holding my breath. Without a significant upgrade, I expect a slight regression. Other than Cole, who is coming up from the minors in 2013? And Cole won’t be up until around June 10th to protect the team from Super2 status.

    With the Astros leaving, this could be a high-water mark. Time will tell.

  51. Jandy says:

    cosmo….that was already busted on in here

  52. patrick(RI) says:

    As long as phony trophies are being handed out, my winners for the most skin-crawlingly inane things about this season are:

    1. The “Woo”
    2. The mind-numbingly, oft-repeated claim that the tailspin was caused by “no retaliation for the Cutch beaning.

    A 3rd possibility is the use of “Cutch” not for brevity, but because you can’t spell his name.

  53. Leefoo says:

    As the ‘butt’ of that “Process Trophy” joke, I take exception to everyone who likes it. I sentence ALL of you to a “Weekend with Drew”. That includes DK, too…

    That’ll learn ya.

    Drew Man Foo

    .

  54. Michael says:

    Suggestion for McCutchen for the offseason in order to build on his best season to date…seek the counsel of someone who knows how to coach baserunning, even if the Pirates don’t hire somebody in that mold. It is really holding him back. What once looked like a player sure to swipe 50 bags a year has detiorated to the point of actual fear many times to get a good lead off first. It’s certainly not a speed issue, but one related to poor technique and/or mental approach.

    This is an issue that must be fixed across the board for this team… really inexcusable to amount of outs wasted by horrid baserunning.

  55. Jandy says:

    PooFoo, time for a swim in that pool you have…it will cool you off ;)

  56. Leefoo says:

    Morning, Jandy!

    Foo

    .

  57. BenderHeel says:

    I love how Drew Sutton is 8th on the team in OPS. And they DFAd him. I’m not saying he’s a star or anything, but the alternatives have been even worse. This is yet another illustration of just how woeful the depth is for the Pirates, this in Neal’s FIFTH year at the helm.

    And I won’t even point out that the bottom position players on the OPS list were “big” free agent signings by Neal thus off-season or had traded for (McLouth, Clement, Barmes, Snider, Navarro, Barajas).

  58. chuck snow says:

    Sorry DK but im rooting for AJ today. He has been a godsend to this team, not perfect but pretty darn good and a great mentor for the younger pitchers. Hope he no hits them today.

  59. 21sthebest says:

    DK,

    Am I correct in assuming that the $61M payroll figure is gross and doesn’t include the Yankees payment for A.J. and the Astros payment for Wandy?

    DK: No, this is money actually paid out after all is said and done The figure DOES include $2.3M in buyouts paid after the 2011 season, per standard accounting procedure.

  60. Milo Hamilton says:

    Foo,

    The last time I saw this much shilling, I think he was pitching for Boston.

    Hang in there, I got your back on most things. Just not this one. :)

  61. NMR says:

    @Milo – Dude, take a bow.

    Speaking of shilling, I think the number PIRATES fans care about is how much the PIRATES have actually paid out.

  62. Milo Hamilton says:

    NMR,

    By my calculations, the Astros & Yankees paid $13 million of that $61 million. So there you are – $48 million is what they were willing to pay. And they had to get special dispensation to add the $1.7 they paid Wandy this year.

  63. Jandy says:

    Foo #58 ~ G’mornin sunshine :)

  64. NMR says:

    @Milo

    I’m still laughing at the Curt reference. Hang that one on the mantle.

    Am I the only one that finds Dejans “highest in franchise history” comment a bit odd, seeing as the largest individual payment is coming from another teams pocket?

    And I’m far from one who rags on Bob Nutting for being the bane of Pittsburgh’s existance.

    Seems just a tad bit defensive, no?

    DK: If you mean AJ, yeah, I could see that. But it also includes money the Pirates pay to other teams, so I guess that’s only fair. (McLouth, for instance.) But the number’s accurate.

  65. Milo Hamilton says:

    NMR,

    I find his new “Bob Nutting is not a problem” narrative a bit odd. Bob Nutting IS a (not the) problem.

  66. nate83 says:

    DK

    How can you say no to 21′s question? I think that number does include the amount given to the Pirates for AJ by the Yankees. They technically turn around and hand it back to AJ but it is not money that came out of Nuttings pocket directly. Maybe I’m wrong and that 11 million is not part of it but the numbers don’t seem to add up if the is the case. Your answer seemed vague and misleading.

    DK: You might be right, Nate.

    Hope people understand that when I’m writing here in comments it’s just like conversation for me. Not to be taken same way as printed material etc.

    I’ll check.

  67. Jandy says:

    That’s THE problem….no one or anything that has anything to do with this BMTIB ISN’T NOT a problem. Everyone/everything IS PART OF THE PROBLEM. Clean house.
    *Disclaimer* I realize ISN’T NOT isn’t proper grammar, but it makes sense in this case.

  68. nate83 says:

    DK

    Based on your response to NMR it looks like you are saying 21 was correct in his assumption but you said no. I am very confused. Which is it? Does the number include the 11 million we got from the Yankees? If so doesn’t NH deserve credit for getting Nutting a 63 million dollor team for only 48 million?

  69. Leefoo says:

    Milo..you’re just being shilly

    http://www.Foo.com

    .

  70. nate83 says:

    Sorry DK I just saw your response after I sent the second comment.

    DK: It’s cool. Totally valid point to raise.

  71. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Yankees paid $11.5 million for Burnett.
    The Astros paid $1.8 million for Wandy.

    That’s $13.3 million of that $61 million payroll.

  72. Leefoo says:

    wohhhhhhhhhh….I noticed that “Foo.com” showed up and my McAfee Advisor went “Do you REALLY wanna go there”?

    What’s THAT tell you about me?

    In Process Foo

    .

  73. Leefoo says:

    “Hope people understand that when I’m writing here in comments it’s just like conversation for me. ”

    Your ‘boldness’ makes it look like you’re yelling at us! Pls quit yelling at us!
    ;)

    Foo

    DK: WHAT DO YOU MEAN, FOO?

  74. Jandy says:

    Foo-fackin-dangerous ;)

  75. Jandy says:

    Poor Dejan, he’s getting picked on quite abundantly today lol

  76. Arriba Wilver says:

    “doesn’t NH deserve credit for getting Nutting a 63 million dollar team for only 48 million?”

    Did not see that one coming. (no sarcasm)

    DK: Sure, if you assume Burnett and Rodriguez are worth a combined $30 million. Even if both are REALLY good, that’s a stretch.

  77. Milo Hamilton says:

    Wilver,

    Yes he does.

    Who says I’m not fair ? Oh yea, I do. Nevermind.

  78. NMR says:

    @Milo

    Agreed. I used to think his stance on Nutting was refreshing in the sea of hatred. I even remember recommending the column he wrote last fall comparing the Brewers revenue/expenditures with the Pirates as one of his best.

    But this stuff goes too far for me. Lost my trust.

    DK: NMR, second time now, all I have is the one figure. I’ll ask the pertinent questions about it. A little dramatic to lose trust, I’d think.

  79. Franklin says:

    If Nutting wasn’t concerned about the progress of the Buccos, wouldn’t he not have authorized the team obtaining Burnett? It was evident that nobody else was interested in him, since we gave up too minor leaguers who are long shots at best.

  80. nate83 says:

    I have heard for 2 years now that money would be spent when the time is right. I can’t see how this off season is not right. We will see if we have any one player on our team that cost more then Barmes out of the Pirates own owners pockets after this off season.

    There should be 3 in my opionion with Hanny being one, a starting pitcher in line with the Edwin Jackson attempt they made last year and a Catcher. With catching prospects being light I would take a 3rd outfielder or 1st baseman instead and have Jones play the other one.

  81. Milo Hamilton says:

    nate,

    You can easily make a case that on July 31st the time was right.

  82. nate83 says:

    Milo

    I agree. I just don’t know who thought it wasn’t right. Was it NH or Nutting? Did he have the green light to pull the trigger on a Pence or Headley deal? I really wish I knew.

  83. NMR says:

    “You can easily make a case that on July 31st the time was right.”

    Bingo.

  84. nate83 says:

    DK

    I went back and read your prediction for the year and after making it you said the below.

    “Besides, imagine how crushing it would be to go, say, 80-82.”

    Wow how true that will be. More crushing then we could ever imagine because of the way they got there.

    DK: Honestly, Nate, I’d forgotten ALL ABOUT that entry, including the 79-83 prediction, until a reader tweeted it to me last night.

    Surely would have mentioned it before!

  85. Corey says:

    I honestly don’t see how Nutting can be considered a considerable part of the problem.

    Since he’s become the majority owner, he’s given the approval for several moves that have added costs that I’m not sure the previous ownership would have.

    - adding AJ Burnett (even with the Yanks assuming a significant portion of the cost)
    - adding Wandy Rodriguez
    - the FA offer for Lee in the offseason
    - the FA offer for Edwin Jackson
    - signing Cutch to a long term deal
    - giving larger signing bonuses to draft picks to ensure they sign
    - investing in Latin American scouting/development camp

    I don’t think many (possibly none) of these happen under the McClatchy regime.

    I’m not saying the guy is blameless for the state of the team, but he has certainly given the GM more tools to succeed than other Pirate owners. If I’m looking to pin point what went wrong the last two season, Nutting isn’t close to being at the top of my list of problems.

  86. scapper says:

    While we’re revisiting predictions, care to bring up that one about finishing over .500 being a “lock”? Ha ha…

    DK: Yeah, funny man, I sure went out on a limb with that one, huh?

    You’re all vicious and merciless!

  87. Franklin says:

    Congrats on the Pirates record pick, DK. You know your stuff.

  88. NMR says:

    Dejan,

    At the trade deadline, you claimed that Huntington was not under financial constraints and used the Wandy Rodriguez aquisition as proof. Several readers responded by saying that the Rodriguez deal doesn’t prove that Huntington did not have a cap, which may have held him from aquiring that impact bat. You brushed this off and instead continue to harp on Huntington for not acquiring Chase Headley.

    When one reader brought up the fact that a higher payroll would allow the GM to pursue better free agents, citing Huntingtons two best deals of the year (AJ and Wandy) as players he certainly wouldn’t have been able to target on the open market, you dismissed it citing Huntington’s poor track record of bargain basement FA’s as proof more money wouldn’t matter.

    This morning’s payroll number is the third time, in my opinion, you’ve shown bias. That is why I lost trust. Not because of one number.

    And again, for what its worth, I do not think Bob Nutting is evil incarnate.

  89. My impression of the state of discussions between Fehr (NHLPA) and Bettman (NHL) over the “core economic issues” is simply this: neither side is willing to use the other’s approach as a basis for any agreement. As such, the NHL has decided to take those discussions off the table.

    From everything I’ve seen and heard, the NHL still believes the current system can work by tweaking percentages. The NHL has stubbornly refused to address any revenue sharing, instead eschewing the burden of parity on a substantial salary cut for the players. I am not sure how far the NHL has relaxed their position on arbitration and free agency, but the NHL had originally intended to make players indentured servants to the team that drafted them until they turn 31. Of course, that was met with heavy resistance by the NHLPA.

    In terms of a “soft” cap, I could agree with it as long as the punitive measures are not monetary in nature. If the penalties involved draft picks (on a graduated scale), then teams that consistently exceeded the cap would be doing so at the cost of their own club’s future.

  90. nate83 says:

    Corey

    Are highest paid player that Nutting pays for out of his own pocket is Barmes at 5 million. That is less then the average salary of players on 5 teams.

    The Lee offer and Jackson offer is a step in the right diretion but the fact remains that he is only spending 48 million of his own money. Nutting is better then McClatchy but still falls short of what is needed at the major league level.

    I love what Nutting has done in an effort to build up the entire organization from the middle to the bottom but at the top it lacks significantly. I was OK with that the first 3 years because I don’t believe in spending money just to spend money. Now that there is a defined core group of players it is/was time to start plugging holes by using money that immediately shows results.

  91. Corey says:

    I agree that it is time to start plugging holes… but how much of the lack of success in that area is Nutting’s fault and how much of it is NH? I see an owner that is approving spending increases and a GM that repeatedly doesn’t get it done or spends it on a .207 hitter.

  92. NMR says:

    @Corey

    Take your list and compare it to what other owners are doing. It isn’t enough to just raise expenditures by Pirates standards when revenue and payroll is jumping exponentially league-wide.

    The Pirates are still bringing a knife to a gun fight.

  93. Jandy says:

    my answer to Corey in #91 is this:
    Who hired NH? That person is also responsible. Accountability.

  94. Corey says:

    What move would have been made in the past two season if Nutting hadn’t intervened? To my knowledge, he hasn’t limited the GM from anything reasonable. Sure, he didn’t offer Pujols $200 million to play for the Bucs during the declining years of his career, but I think that makes sense.

  95. Corey says:

    Jandy – using that reasoning, it’s Nutting’s fault that Pedro struck out last night. Yes, eventually he hired the guy that hired pretty much everyone in the organization. That doesn’t make him the primary problem with the team, in my opinion. He’s putting people in a position to have more success than they are having. I just think there are bigger problems than him.

  96. Jandy says:

    Corey, ok, let’s get all sarcastic here. I didn’t say Nutting was the biggest problem, but he is PART OF THE PROBLEM. Nothing in this is black and white. If Nutting is putting people in a position to succeed, and they are NOT succeeding, then it IS his fault if he doesn’t do something about it. Jeez-oh-man!

  97. NMR says:

    @Corey

    “What move would have been made in the past two season if Nutting hadn’t intervened?”

    Seriously?

    You’re basing every move in the last two years on Nutting, who is notoriously hands-off on operations?

  98. Jandy says:

    Man sometimes I hate people. I’m just going to work for a while. Later.

  99. Corey says:

    @NMR

    The argument is that Nutting is a big part of the problem. My question is why? What has or hasn’t he done in the past couple of years that has you up in arms? The only solid answer I’ve ever heard is he doesn’t spend money, but my argument is that he’s approved increases, and NH hasn’t closed the deal. So yes, seriously, what has or hasn’t Nutting specifically (not NH) done that has you so upset?

  100. Franklin says:

    Exactly. There is no proof that he is obtaining profits from the team. Even if he were, how much could they really be? $5 Million? If he were to take that much every year, would really be a better team if we had an extra $5 million in payroll?

  101. nate83 says:

    Corey

    GM’s don’t leave money on the table. Their job depends on fielding the best team possible. The proof is in the team we field and the combined out of pocket expenses on that team. It is very low by any calculation.

  102. Corey says:

    GMs don’t leave money on the table? NH offered two free agents a contract each worth roughly $10 million per year. Neither signed. He did not go out and spend that full $20 million on other free agents. So I would say, yes, they do.

    I’m not arguing the guy is perfect, I just don’t understand the degree of hatred people seem to have for him. Most of the offenses he’s accused of are actually things that I’d say are NH issues.

  103. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think Neal’s probably left money on the table each year. That’s not just speculation, but based on reports. I’m not trying to get into the overall discussion. I just think its an inaccurate statement to suggest he never leaves money on the table based on what I’ve read. And there may even be good reasons for it (well, not on Sano).

  104. nate83 says:

    Corey

    Those $10 million contracts would have been one or the other not both. Not sure about the timeing but I’m pretty sure Burnett was signed afterwards. Not completely sure that would have happened if Jackson would have signed. I also think Bedard was signed afterwards.

    I was thrilled he was allowed to offer that contract to Edwin Jackson, more of that has to happen. The real question is did Jackson’s agent come back asking for 12 million a year? If so would it have been approved or would we even want him at that cost. Free agency is the most difficult area for a team like the Pirates to spend because they more then likely will have to overpay.

    The better way is to take on money through trades. Burnett and Wandy type trades but taking on even more money so you don’t have to lose prospects.

  105. Corey says:

    I agree that I think Burnett was after the Jackson contract. I’m not completely sure the Burnett signing happens if Jackson signs either, but to say it would or wouldn’t is speculation.

    And I thought that those two contracts were offered to Lee and Jackson at roughly the same time. I thought it was possible that they both could have signed, but I may be wrong on that.

    However, I think Barmes and Barajas were both signed by then, and that is roughly $10 million a year between those two. So even if the Jackson/Lee contracts were a one or the other deal, we have proof that NH was given freedom to spend at least $20 million to improve the 2011 team and make them more competitive in 2012. It may have been more, but we know that it was at least that much. And last off season was really the first off season where Nutting saw a glimmer of potential out of the major league team to be competitive, and he approved spending.

  106. nate83 says:

    Corey

    He ended up spending the money on Burnett instead. I have no doubt in my mind that a 70-80 million payroll was never an option. I agree that last off season was the first time it made sense to spend, but we saw more then a glimmer in the middle of this year and I do not believe money was available to raise payroll much past the Wandy trade. I could be wrong. Only Nutting, FC and NH know for sure but Nutting has done nothing at the major league level to change my opinion.

  107. Corey says:

    He spent part of it on Burnett. As a number of people have pointed out, NY paid a hefty portion of his 2012 salary. He still ended up leaving $$ on the table.

    I guess this is where we’ll have to disagree then. I do wonder how far he would have been willing to go with the salary had the right Free Agent or Trade Deadline deal presented itself. I don’t think that the lack of impact players acquired in July was totally due to him putting a spending limit on NH. I think the players NH was after would have cost better prospects than he was willing to deal, but I think that Nutting would have approved a certain amount of additional payroll. But, again, this is just speculation.

    I guess we’ll find out this off season.

  108. Kevin says:

    Irony. 80-82 is the best record the pirates could have in 20 years. To get there, they did what no other team has done. And on top of it, extended the streak of losing seasons by a North American team.

    I know this is all been said. Just wanted to spell it all out some more. Ultimately, our most “successful” season in 20 years and yet the worst collapse in baseball history. That is what it is right? I mean there’s been plenty of other collapses where a team is in 1st in August and then doesn’t make the playoffs. But, 1st in the NL and relevant to falling below .500 and a laugher (crier)…

  109. Jandy says:

    79 – 83

  110. Franklin says:

    DK, it’s official, you got the record on the nose. Dejan is da man.

    DK: Well, there were some bad calls along the way. Suffice to say I won’t be using the term ‘absolute lock’ loosely anymore.

  111. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Daquido_Bazzini
    October 3rd, 2012 – 4:20 am
    DK – I certainly agree Brown is in the mix. I just don’t think Lewis is going to cut it as a starter.

    I’ve noticed in the past that Tomlin is not one afraid to make changes, and I’m interested to see if they happen as early as Sunday.

    DK: At corner? Mid-game? Unlikely.
    —–
    No….I didn’t mean mid game.
    I mean if there isn’t improvement very soon.

    DK: A-ha. Understood.

  112. Franklin says:

    I disagree, DK. One could say with great certainty:
    “The Pirates are an absolute lock to have another losing season next year.”
    “The Pirates are an absolute lock to not make any waves this offseason.”
    “The Pirates are an absolute lock to disappoint their fan base in 2013.”

 
Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports | Trailing Off
News: This Just In | Trib List | ICycle | Flow Back  


» Top TribLIVE.com Sports
» Top TribLIVE.com News
» Top TribLIVE.com Breaking News