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Wakeup Call: Nutting on deck now

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> If it’s Thursday, it’s chat day. We’ll get going at noon, but you can begin posting entries at 6 a.m.

>> Down below is the final out of 2013, fittingly a strikeout …

>> Remember what Bob Nutting told me last week about how no jobs are safe?

Well, he reiterated that to KDKA-TV’s John Shumway for their newscast last night, adding that, “We’re reviewing all sorts of alternatives.”

The “we” in this case, I can tell you, is one guy. It’s Nutting. It has to be. He’s not going to get much done by walking into people’s offices and asking if they think it’s a good idea to be fired. He’s got to get his hands dirty, ask hard questions, ask them up and down the system.

As I type this, I believe he will.

I made the case in the column last Friday, and I’ll repeat: The collapse is a symptom, not a cause. Some of those running the team have talked about wanting to take a close look at the collapse. I’ve even heard it described as “September,” as if that’s when it began. Both of those are bunk.

It’s about the cause. The cause was a lack of depth related to terrible free-agent signings, negligible trades, poor drafting depth and ‘Hoka Hey’ development. This team wasn’t built to weather a single rain cloud, let alone a storm.

Time to find out why.

>> Remember what Neil Walker said on my radio show Tuesday about players being dissatisfied with management at the trading deadline?

Announcer Greg Brown, a team employee, further confirmed on The Fan.

Brown also was asked if all jobs should be secure: “Honestly, no. … Personally, I think something should happen. As I’ve said before, I’m not smart enough to know where that lies. Is it in the front office somewhere? Is it in that clubhouse or on the field? I don’t know. But something should happen when you don’t achieve a goal, and they didn’t achieve a goal. They collapsed. For the second straight year. There’s no doubt about that. I think something will happen.”

Good for Brown. It’s not easy for someone in his position to be that candid. I respect that.

More people seem to be feeling more comfortable in that regard.

Stay tuned.

>> The Steelers have been talking an awful lot this week about effort, leadership, focus and all kinds of intangibles. That’s the topic of Alan Robinson’s report this morning, as well.

Man, they’d better hope that’s their issue.

The alternative is pretty scary, not just for this season but for the foreseeable future, given what looks to be a couple of dubious draft classes developing.

>> Again, hope you join in for the chat.


  1. Arriba Wilver says:

    We know why it’s described as “September.”. Then the narrative can be “last year we did it for 4 months, this year we did it for 5 months. Progress.”. What a bad joke.

  2. Stuart says:

    Dejan you give me hope!

    I think you’ve posted that you expect a thorough if not lengthy process. Any guess on a timeline?


    DK: None, Stuart. If one of Nutting’s concerns is the large sums of wasted money on free agency, one would think he’d have to make a move before those calls start getting made in November. But that’s me talking, not anyone else.

  3. JUCOFan says:

    Look, at a minimum the farm system will be better next year, what with Mark Appel coming up through the ranks!

  4. Chad says:


    Curious as to who you think goes? I believe Hurdle is almost a lock to stay, but if NH gets fired you would think a GM would want their manager. Also at the deadline that was one of the worst excuses for upgrading a “contender” I have ever seen. Outside of Wandy they did nothing. They downgraded the bullpen with Qualls. I just don’t understand it. Also do you see Barajas and Barmes back in 2013.

    DK: It all centers on the GM, Chad. If Nutting keeps Huntington, that means pretty much everyone will stay on board. (And that would be a blanket statement that absolutely nothing is wrong, which would be insanity, but you’ve heard enough from me on that.)

    If there’s a new GM, you’ve got to figure Frank Coonelly would be moved to a business-only president, much as we see in the Penguins’ configuration. That would allow the best possible hire of a GM rather than whichever one would accept a subservient role.


    That’s a hard read.

    Welcome to the blog, man!

  5. Stuart says:

    Thanks. I keep returning to the fact that Perry Hill wouldn’t come back for any amount of money. I can respect that kind of integrity. Hope Mr. Nutting asks his opinion on the org.


  6. Mike Hudock says:

    I hope you are right about Nutting making changes. Keeping the same leadership after 2 straight epic collapses sends a message of acceptability to the players and fans. That is a slippery slope and is how 20 straight losing seasons happen.

    DK: I don’t predict Nutting will make changes. I wrote that I believe he’s serious about looking into all this stuff. But we’ll see, as I added.

  7. Abe says:

    Think way back DK…remember when you thought about the Pirates, and images of Andy Van Slyke putting his body on the line making a diving catch against the Expos on the turf would pop into your head? I really try to use images like that to repress visions from this season like Jose Tabata letting a ball drop 2 feet in front him because he doesn’t want to tweek his hamstring he pulled last year. Nutting needs to bring in people who want to win, plain and simple.

  8. Mario Lopez says:

    I like Hurdle but #Pirates messed up when they didn’t find way 2 hire someone like Buck Showalter he’s the kind of mgr/leader this organization needed & still needs badly. He’s in Baltimore & just took Orioles 2 first winning season sense 97 & playoffs this yr winning a Wild Card w/ just few good players like adam jones & some kid named Wieters. And JJ Hardy who plays SS another position of NEED for our Buccos. Name me any of the Orioles starting pitchers, anyone of their bullpen Closer, off top your head, you can’t.

  9. Chad says:


    Buck is a great manager, but there’s some good talent over there as well. Jones, Machado, Markakis, Wieters, Chen, Jim Johnson, Chris Davis. Also got a kid named Miguel Gonzalez that’s gonna be good. It helps to have a catcher that can throw someone out. Anyway I agree, Hurdle is a great motivator lacks teaching skills and in game managing is horrendous.

    DK, this is sweet thanks man!

  10. Reading says:

    Of course, the first step in determining the cause of the collapse, is to figure out when the talk of collapse began.

  11. Mike Hudock says:

    If he SERIOUSLY looks into all this stuff, Stark’s craziness, Hurdle’s ineptitude (one winning season in the 10 he has managed and inexplicable managerial moves), Huntington’s deadline moves and steadfast support of failure, Coonelly’s drinking problem and lack of baseball knowledge, and his hiring of them all, I don’t see how ANY of them can keep their jobs!

    Where else in the world, other than politics, does that much failure earn you ANOTHER chance?

  12. Ed says:

    Nutting says that changes could come but I doubt it. Maybe a sacrifical lamb like one of the baserunning coaches but nothing of great significance. We’ll probably hear something to effect of: ‘The front office and manager will be back next season but they better win and I really, really mean it’

    They’re all under contract for next year. For Nutting to fire them would be to admit that he’s failed. And I still believe that money is the ultimate factor.

    Yeah, he fired Littlefield and Tracy but they weren’t his guys. And the only reason Russell was fired is because of the uproar over the secret contract extensions and extremely pathetic record of 2010. Someone had to be a sacrificial lamb there.

  13. Ed says:

    I think, even more fittingly, Tabata making the last out.

    Someone who supposedly part of the future who was declined so rapidly.

  14. Jose Lind's Pants says:

    Bob Nutting doesn’t care. He stands behind Frank’s statement, or whatever the latest BS to come from Federal St. is. Bob Nutting doesn’t care about the Pirates and neither should we.

  15. T.S. says:

    DK, from reading Nutting’s words, I do believe in what he’s saying. To a point.

    From the end of his interview though, it sounds like some of this FO’s usual double speak, like where Nutting says “Are we, are they looking at adjustments…” and “My job is to have the backs of the people who need to lead us forward…”

    Seems like these two parts imply that the current management team will be making the changes. But maybe I’m reading into it too much. I hope I’m wrong.

  16. Drew71 says:

    Dejan – I broke your code. You made my day.

    You. Da. Man.

    For those who missed the signal…

    “We’ll see” = 9 spaces = Neal goes” (Yep. Nine.)

    The Phoenix Rises At Midnight.

  17. Thundercrack says:

    Neil Walker can talk until he’s blue in the face about he and anyone else on the roster were disappointed at the trade deadline.

    But I suggest he take another look at the teams and the quality of the starting pitchers that he and his teammates faced in August & September and try to explain how they only won a combined 20 games in those two months.

  18. JAL says:

    JAL’s The Loco Motion Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Burnett and McCutchen Finish With Ovations

    First Pitch: Reviewing the Pre-Season Over/Unders

    Polanco and Hanson Make the South Atlantic League Top 20

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates quietly lose season finale, finish at 79-83

    6 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates Keep Losing in Free Agency So Why Not Try This Idea

    Pittsburgh Pirates: What We Will Miss and What We Won’t Miss

    7 McEffect

    Another Offseason Begins

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Go Quietly Into The Night 4-0

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Finally finished

    10 WHY GAVS


  19. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Chipper singles in regular-season farewell; Braves shut out Pirates

    12 Pittsburgh Business Times

    Pirates ratings up 32 percent on Root Sports

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report,0,5692265.story

    14 Atlanta Journal Constitution

    Braves tune up for Wild Card with shutout at ‘Burgh

    15 Litchfield County Times

    Pirates Major League Baseball Legend Steve Blass Returns to Hometown of Falls Village for Book-Signing Saturday

    16 KDKA

    McCutchen Tries To Look Past Bittersweet Finish

    17 Grantland

    That’s Right, the Pirates Had Another Losing Season


    18 PBC Site

    Burnett walks off to ovation, even without win

    Hurdle already has a plan for ’13 lineup

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Need to Know

    20 Fangraphs

    Safeco, Citi, and the Complexity of Ballpark Adjutments

  20. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Week 5 Injury Report: The Daily Status of Mendenhall, Harrison and Polamalu

    Isaac Redman Says Eagles Defense ‘Not Really Worried About The Run’

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Eagles TE Brent Clark has Been Explosive

    23 Steelers Gab

    Eagles vs Steelers Week Five Capsule

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Which Steelers RB Sees The Most Action Against Eagles?

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Keeping The Orange Down

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Tino Sunseri embracing villain role at Carrier Dome despite tough career road record

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Texas Ends Take Aim at Geno

    28 WV Illustrated

    Q&A With Texas Beat Writer


    29 Sky Sports

    Hero Hart saves City

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Arsenal v Olympiakos: Steve Bould blames Chelsea defeat for defensive frailties in Champions League

    31 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 3rd October, 2012


    32 Pensburgh

    KHL, ESPN Agree to US Broadcast Deal for 2012-13 Season with NHL Lockout Implications

  21. JAL says:

    “The Loco-Motion” — Little Eva (1962) and Grand Funk (1974), this is the Grand Funk version of not very good song that two different artists took to number 1.

  22. Drew71 says:

    Thunder’s got it, too.

    “Blue in the face” = “Please fire Neal” (16!)

    Good for you, Thunder. Good for you.

  23. Drew71 says:


    “The Loco-Motion” = “Fire Huntington” (15)

    You guys are AMAZING

  24. Thundercrack says:

    Here is another suggestion: Listen to the interviews with Walker and Brown.
    Judge for yourself.

  25. The Gunner says:

    Probably what will happen are some changes in CH’s coaching staff (Leyva & Ritchie will be let go) and possibly BN will order FC to tell NH that either you fire Stark & Smith or “I’ll fire you!” And that will basically be it.

    2013 will be more difficult for the Bucs than this year but Nutting doesn’t care. I am just glad I didn’t give Nutting one red cent this year.

    @ Ed – 13

    If you have to make a choice between Tubata & Presley, #7 is the obvious choice. Somehow, NH will package Hustlin’ Jose in one of his off season trades and be rid of that underachiever forever.

  26. Drew71 says:

    To be honest, I think I am judging.

    And I feel a little bad about it.

    A little.

    But after all the interviews and opinions and word games, there is only one man’s judgment that matters now.

  27. Leefoo says:


    Huntington Must Go!

    As most of you know by now, I am a Neal Shill. However, I have been persuaded by something I just read about a GM candidate that I think would take us to greater heights.

    Who might that be? Christine Ng, current VP of MLB Ops (or sumthin’ like that).

    Neal maybe pretty good in my eyes, but I want Pretty AND Good….dam ette!

    Since I think the draft is one big crapshoot anyway, esp after the 1st round, who would you rather see taking a crapshoot? Ms Ng or Opie???!!!

    **********FREE CHRISTINE NG!!!!!!!!!**********
    What did you say her first name was?

    Oh….sorry, gang….never mind! CRAP!

    Ennn Guhh Foo



  28. Dave G says:

    It’s already been reported (right here in The Trib) that Ritchie has accepted the head baseball job at his alma mater, George Washinton.

    He’s gone.

  29. BFD says:

    Richie was already made the scapegoat, so nothing else will change. The buffoonary will continue at the GM, and assistand GM postions. Frank will continue to talk nonsense. and Nutting will continue to field a team comprised of many minor league caliber players due to handcuffing the team with a puny payroll.

    20 consecutive losing seasons doesn’t happen by accident and is not easy to do. An organization has to me inept in every facet starting with a owner who talks a big game after each losing season yet does little to correct it.

    Put 2013 in the books as consecutive year…. XXI. Bank on it. Nutting sure is banking on all of you gullible “fans”….

  30. Dave G says:

    (I spelled Washington wrong to throw off Drew’s code cracking…)

  31. Leefoo says:

    #26…Gunner…you might be on to something there. Greg Smith does a lot of the heavy lifting with the draft (Jack Z was Doug Melvin’s ‘Greg Smith).

    Perhaps he should get replaced?



  32. Leefoo says:

    ED…I am with you on # 12.

    Btw, I hear Bob has already secretly signed his crew to lifetime contracts, so it is a moot point.

    Read about it on



  33. Leefoo says:


    “But after all the interviews and opinions and word games, there is only one man’s judgment that matters now.”



  34. Leefoo says:

    #35…meant to add “well said”

    too early.


  35. Thundercrack says:

    “I am so glad Teddy won so we can stop talking about Teddy,” Zimmerman said after the game. “People get more excited for a mascot race than a game. Yes, I’m excited Teddy won. I’m ecstatic.”

    Teddy Roosevelt finally won the mascot race.
    Zimmerman…we know how you feel.
    Actually we don’t – you’re going to the playoffs.

  36. Leefoo says:

    Congrats to Miguel Cabrera

    “Cabrera finished the regular-season hitting .330 with 44 homers and 139 RBIs, leading the American League in all three statistical categories, making him just the 15th player to achieve the Triple Crown and the first since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.”



  37. Milo Hamilton says:

    Gregg Ritchie was #1 on my list of ready scapegoats. Let me add that just because I call them scapegoats, doesn’t mean I think they don’t deserve to be fired. Since he became the first of an off-season of what I believe will be mostly cosmetic changes, here are my other scapegoats:

    2. Luis Silverio – 1st base coach / baserunning
    3. Kimera Bartee – minor league baserunning
    4. Jeff Livesey – minor league hitting

    Silverio should be next.

  38. Jandy says:

    In hockey news:
    “The operators of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum was cited for 16 violations of workplace health and safety standards, including exposing workers to asbestos. The facility is home to the Islanders.”
    Real classy, dimwits.

  39. Drew71 says:

    About to fly to NYC to visit our oldest for the first time since he moved there this summer.

    As we were packing up, it became evident that my wife, the dear woman, has lost her mind.

    She asked me (i kid you not) if we could carry on a space heater “because it gets cold up there”.

    She tried to explain it by saying “it’s for him, not me”.

    Oh. That explains it.

  40. Jandy says:

    lol Drew. Mothers worry. Trust me.

  41. keebbuc says:

    The only way huntington stays is if he believes a “five year plan” should instead be a “seven year plan”. That’s outrageous job security for a highly competitive, high risk/reward executive position.

  42. Leefoo says:

    I REALLY enjoyed Joe Starkey’s column today.

    Well….maybe not enjoy, but it was well written.



  43. keebbuc says:

    *he meaning nutting

  44. Leefoo says:

    TC…#37….wanted to say something similar, but you beat me to it.
    Hooray for Teddy.
    I wonder if we can get that ‘Gumby’ character who knocked down all the other runners for us? He swung a mean ‘bat’!!



  45. Leefoo says:

    Drew…safe travels.
    keebbuc…NH, to the best of my knowledge, never mentioned any timeframe at all. Only the media and fans chanted the 5 Year plan ‘thingie’.

    Jandy…suffering from cranky sinuses and a cough this morn. Can one ‘catch’ something on this blog? :)



  46. The Gunner says:

    @ Leefoo – 32

    Thanks, Leefoo.

    Maybe today will be the day the firings start. Nutting may to do it quickly in order to give the terminated employee a jump on getting their next gig and to send an urgent message within the Pirate organization.

    Or, possibly BN will get sidetracked either (1) counting his money and/or (2) sobering up FC, thus delaying the needed changes.

  47. Leefoo says:

    JoeyBats….#41….Christine is still prettier.


  48. Jandy says:

    Dang, Foo, that just depressed me.

  49. Leefoo says:

    Gunner…#49….#2 COULD take awhile!!!!

    :) :) :)

    How Dry I Am Foo


  50. Jandy says:

    Foo, the article did that is.

    Hey listen, go to the doc. Don’t mess around, you’ll have that cough for 2 months+ !!!!!

  51. Leefoo says:

    Jandy…Thx….I’ll survive…at least I don’t have to go to work….lol

    However, my mantra when I got sick was “If I’m gonna be miserable, might as well BE at work”



  52. diehard says:

    Cabrera wins the triple crown,Tigers win their division. Mike Trout has an amazing rookie year and the Angels finish 5 games back and out of the wild card. Supporting staff (Fielder/Verlander vs. Pujols/Weaver) put up remarkably similar numbers. Yet there’s still debate about the AL MVP because of WAR. Not a huge edge there either (Cabrera was 3rd in the AL). For those voting for Trout, I guess stolen bases are the deciding factor.

  53. Jandy says:

    Hackin’ Foo, well, I try to be at work too, but sometimes, my get-up-and-go got-up-and-went.
    Made it all this week tho lol.

    There are 3 others in this place coughing. But none as long as I have been.
    Drink lots of fluids and rest often. Feel better, friend.

  54. Leefoo says:

    Jandy….I have bad sinuses….inherited it from my folks….I get lots of sinus drip when they flare up. Never a rhyme or reason why they do…they just do.
    Usually miserable for 2 or 3 days, but, like you, I just push through it.

    Thx foo your concern. You’re the best!

    Achoo Foo


  55. NMR says:

    The depth of this team is certainly an issue, but personally, I believe you’re still missing the point if you accept that as the CAUSE of the collapse.

    Why? Because it doesn’t even begin to explain why the original 25 failed so epicly in the first place. Shouldn’t THAT be the first question?

    If the Pirates had simply faded down the stretch and didn’t have a bat off the bench or an arm in the bullpen, that would be one thing. But this team literally played the worst baseball in the history of the game. Claiming that they failed because they didn’t have anyone to step in their place is missing the point entirely.

    The San Diego Padres, Oakland A’s, Milwaukee Brewers, and Baltimore Orioles all played better baseball in the second half than the first despite not having huge contributions from their minor league and zero at the trade deadline. Yet, somehow, miraculously, they didn’t crash and burn.

    Hell, if the Pirates would’ve just played as well as the Astros and Cubs, the streak would’ve at least been broken. You can’t possibly claim those teams had more depth.

    Again, we’re talking about unprecedented failure. No organization has the depth to replace half of the 25-man. Nutting can do all the firing he wants, but he better start by asking why the players who you all said were good enough failed in the first place.

  56. Leefoo says:

    “Drink lots of fluids and rest often. ”

    Beer and naps it is!!!!!


  57. JoeyBats says:

    Foo…# 50…AGREE !!

    Maybe we get Christine to be the new Prez. &
    Kim as the GM ! ;-)

  58. The Gunner says:

    @ Leefoo – 49

    Ha ha ha ha ha! I agree with you 100% on that!!

  59. NMR says:

    On another note, what kind of sense does it make for Bob Nutting to be on a personal investigatve misson?

    Bob Nutting does not know baseball. Period.

    That’s not a knock on him, that’s fact. He’s a businessman. What possible faith should the fan base have in any kind of personel decision that comes from his?

    And it continues to baffle how Frank Coonelly gets a pass from Dejan in all of this. You want accountability? How bout explaining why you signed the worst TV deal in Major League Baseball?

    Yeah, take away Frank’s keys to the clubhouse. That’ll show him.

  60. Jandy says:

    Drinkin’ Foo ~ lol…just make it GOOD beer, not colored water ;)

  61. Thundercrack says:

    a space heater “because it gets cold up there”.

    Drew, are you sure your wife wasn’t talking about the plane? I would check on that.

  62. Jandy says:

    NMR, a lot of good points, friend.

    The players’ accountability should also come into play.

    Tankin’ it isn’t cool. But I don’t know that anyone tanked it, do I? DO I???

  63. Jandy says:

    LOL @ TC!

  64. Naje says:

    NMR – #58: yep… and a big one at that.

    So easy to displace blame. So easy to do it the Pittsburgh way: blame management. Always.

    The players play. And they stunk in August and September. Apparently you can’t write more than one glaring negative story/headline on Mssrs. McCutchen or Alvarez per season. Honestly, that gets you nowhere with the fans who love those players and doesn’t do much for good will with the players themselves.

    If NH was so bad, sure, skewer him. But McCutchen? Can’t do that more than once during his second huge collapse (knowing full well that you simply can’t sustain a .400+ tear, but really, dropping 45 points off your average in August/Sept? Yeah, epic fail. Again.). The very clear rift between the coaches (Hurdle and Ritchie) and Alvarez’ development…? Not worth delving into.

    But Huntington? Coonelly? Yep, they make their (many) mistakes too. And they get the brunt of the criticism. It’s Pittsburgh. Players: right. Coaches and management: wrong. Almost always.

  65. 21sthebest says:

    “Here is another suggestion: Listen to the interviews with Walker and Brown.”

    I didn’t hear Brown’s interview, but as I recall Walker prefaced his comments by saying, “From a player’s perspective…”

    Was he talking about himself or more players? I think it’s probably that he was referring to more than just himself and even in that case, I wonder how players who might not agree with him feel about him talking on behalf of the players.

  66. Thundercrack says:

    Part of the ‘hidden’ point to my post was that if they think Walker was yelling, pounding his fist, or all worked up about it – he wasn’t. He certainly didn’t make it sound like he thought that the trade deadline was the main reason for the ‘collapse’.

    A good follow up question to Walker may have been “You’ve seen Marte. Would you have been comfortable with the team trading him, Tailon or Cole at the deadline?”

    Not part of the script :-)

  67. Leefoo says:

    TC…#69…how true.

    Depends on perspective doesn’t it?


    NMR…you go guy….got your back!

    Joe Bucco….Having TWO Ngs? Hmmmmmmmmmmm…:)


  68. Leefoo says:

    Just read on MLBRumours that the Az Diamondbacks are having a rift with their #3 pick in 2011

    “Kendrick seemed to give a less-than-enthusiastic evaluation of right-hander Trevor Bauer. “In an employer/employee situation it’s incumbent on employee to make adjustments to satisfy the needs of the employer,” said Kendrick, according to Piecoro (via Twitter).
    When asked if Bauer has a future with the D’Backs, Kendrick responded, “Well he has talent,” (via Twitter). Kendrick wasn’t asked to expound on his specific issues with the former third-overall pick.”

    Sure glad we didn’t take him, but I wonder if they’d do a Sanchez for Bauer deal?



  69. Jandy says:

    I gotta pass bibs out to some of you guys! ;)

  70. Drew71 says:

    At airport. I think Thunder is right about the space heater.

    At 8:30 on the drive to the airport, which is also the way to downtown Tampa…

    Her: “Look at all the cars. They must be going to Keiser University.” (which, coincidentally, is on the way.)

    Me: “This is the way to both downtown and the airport, and it’s rush hour.”

    Her: “I hear Keiser University is very popular. Maybe morning classes are about to begin.


    Her: “blah blah blah Let’s Make A Deal blah blah blah The Price Is Right”

    Me: Not a d*mn word. At this point I’m not even listening. But I nod my head occasionally so she won’t ask me a question.

  71. Thundercrack says:

    NH traded for Brandon Moss in 2008.

    Billy Beane picked up Moss this year out of the scrap heap and got 21 home runs and 52 home runs from him.

    Huntington’s timing is way off.

  72. Leefoo says:


    “Huntington’s timing is way off.”

    I hate when that happens.

    I live near Philly. One of my Phil Phan Friends actually said to me a month ago “How could Amaro let this guy (Moss) go??!!!”

    He wants Amaro AND Cholly gone.


  73. Jandy says:

    Drew, you really need to get your wife interested in sports. It’s much better than game shows…

  74. SJB says:

    “It’s Pittsburgh. Players: right. Coaches and management: wrong. Almost always.”

    I know and it’s terrible. Of course we know the players hire themselves. Geee, if only there was a position in the FO of this team who’s responsibilities were to put the best players out there, then we wouldn’t be in this situation every year of relying on players to dictate how well this team does.

    I know where I work, I hire my boss and if I do a bad job it’s his fault. I wish it was different but it is what it is.

  75. florida steeler says:


  76. Milo Hamilton says:


    It’s probably a good idea to take away Coonelly’s keys, period.

  77. SJB says:

    “He wants Amaro AND Cholly gone.”

    I live near Philly too…sadly.

    Amaro should be gone…and he can take Rollins with him.

  78. Arriba Wilver says:

    As my best friend used to say, it’s time to kick a$$ and take names.

  79. Jandy says:

    AW~ line ‘em up!

  80. Michael says:

    I love how Frank Coonley is slipping under the radar again. What exactly is his role and how is he being judged in this fiasco? When is his day of reckoning?

  81. 21sthebest says:

    I really liked how I thought the ball jumped off of Brandon Moss’ bat the first year he was year, but I had no problem letting him go. I really think the knee injury, surgery, and subsequent inability to lift weights for months really took it’s toll.

    I wouldn’t say he’s the classic Beane Moneyball player, although his minor league OBP has always been very good, but this year he also had 15 homeruns in 51 minor league games.

  82. Leefoo says:

    “. I really think the knee injury, surgery, and subsequent inability to lift weights for months really took it’s toll.”

    good point


  83. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t know if this math is right, but they said on the Fan that 71% of Neal’s free agents did not finish out their contracts on the roster. Guys like Vazquez, Bedard, McLouth, etc. That’s something I think BN can understand.

    Foo–FA’s must be a crapshoot, too.

    DK: Right. And almost all of these deals were for a year.

  84. NMR says:


    Again, you’re not addressing the point. The players put on the field in the second half that failed were the same ones that succeeded in the first half.

    Simplifying the situation down to your point is admitting they were never good enough in the first place. More than not good enough. Historically bad. You’re welcome to have this opinion, but it has repeatedly been rebuffed by Dejan and just about everyone else.

  85. Arriba Wilver says:

    Meant to add a :-). (Drew’s probably looking for space heaters in downtown Manhatten)

  86. Leefoo says:

    AW….got this from JAL over at Plus:

    “No idea what the number is but there are 3 who lasted this season–Barmes, Barajas, and ,from a previous year, Correia were FA signings. Not sure if they count Jones, who was a minor league FA, as was Grilli.

    Ryan Church and DJ Carrasco were not released, they were traded the season they were signed. So even if you discount Jones and Grili, that is at least 5 who were not released so 17 of 21 not right unless pitchers do not count.

    Then there is Ramón Vázquez who was signed in 2008 and released in 2010 so he lasted the entire season. Eric Hinske was traded so now even just position players count 17 of 21 is incorrect. Doug Mientkiewicz also lasted the whole season, as did Chris Gomez.”

    Maybe apples and oranges again???



  87. NMR says:


    Look at the list of under producing top tier contracts.

    How is it surprising that the bottom shelf ones are even worse?

    This is not a defense or indictment of Huntington, like ever single point must be defined. I refuse to do that anymore.

  88. Leefoo says:

    AW…also, since we have to shop at the Salvation Army of Baseball FA’s all the time, that doesn’t surprise me.

    When you’re trying to recover from a desolate organization, you have to take chances and hope and pray that some of these guys can ‘bridge a gap’.

    IMHO, when all you’re left with Cutch, Walker, Marte (took 5 years…), some 4th OFer types and some relievers, you got LOTS of holes need plugging. LOTS and LOTS!! People fooget how bad our system was after 2007.

    Now if more of those players DL ‘left us’ were the caliber of even Walker, I doubt we’d have made some of those signings…maybe the majority?

    Just my POV.



  89. 21sthebest says:

    Looks like they’ve completed their internal investigation in Philadelphia and determined that Pete Mackanin, Sam Perlozzo, and Greg Gross are the problem.

  90. Leefoo says:

    NMR—–# 89. GOOD point.

    Tom Verducci has done some articles on that for SI



  91. Leefoo says:

    21s—-# 91….lol

    DK must been doing double duty for the state of Pa baseball.

    :) ;)

    Pa Foo


  92. 21sthebest says:

    I’m really not sure what the point of this exercise is as far as looking at what percent of free agents have been let go and who is and is not a free agent. Doesn’t take a rocket surgeon or a brain scientist to see we’ve stunk for the better part of 5 years and NH’sfree agent signings haven’t been very good.

  93. Arriba Wilver says:

    NMR—what are you saying, then? And what do you think should occur?

    What’s the percentage of underperforming contracts at the top tier? What have other teams done, and how have their FA ‘s done? Is 71% the industry norm?

    So far, you have said BN can’t do the evaluating because he doesn’t know baseball, FC gets a paas and should go (I agree), the same players performed in the first half and second half. What’s your point?

    I’m cool with trying to put everybody under the microscope on this, including Hurdle, although I personally don’t think he’s the problem (been wrong before).

  94. Arriba Wilver says:

    21–apparently some people need numbers to be convinced. :-)

  95. Leefoo says:

    AW…kinda backing off defending NH. I see no point in doing it any more. Doesn’t matter what I think, or you or DK or anybody. Only thing that matters is what Nutting thinks.

    And, has anyone changed their minds? And if they have, did it have any affect on anything?

    I’m just going to try to state my views if asked. Other than that….I’m gonna just try and have some fun here talking with my blog buddies.



  96. Leefoo says:

    AW…numbers lie…a lot.

    :) :)


  97. 21sthebest says:


    I hate numbers. Unless they’re on spreadsheets.

    And as they say, statistics are like bikinis. They show a lot, but not everything.

  98. Milo Hamilton says:

    I can’t believe Bobby Valentine hasn’t been fired yet. Oh yea, maybe their owner has yet to his exhaustive painstaking research. Should take months I suppose. :)

  99. Milo Hamilton says:

    Look, I’m glad Bob Nutting is going to do an exhaustive examination of the baseball operation. Wait til he finds out Frank Coonelly had a DUI.

  100. Arriba Wilver says:

    Foo–at #85 I said: “I don’t know if this math is right, but they said on the Fan that 71% of Neal’s free agents did not finish out their contracts on the roster.”. I thought they said roster and contracts, maybe they said “released.” and/or didnt finish out the year. And that that was something BN could understand. If you or he want to go behind the numbers, you should. But if I were Neal, I wouldn’t be banking on making the argument that Ryan Church was traded to say he wasn’t a failed free agent signing, or some of the others, including Hinske.

    JAL and I are definitely talking apples and oranges.

  101. NMR says:


    Regarding free agents, my point goes back to our discussion of what COULD occur with greater payroll.

    Free agents are not an equal commodity. The quality increases with the price. With greater financial flexibility, it only makes sense that a GM will be able to attract better quality. And at this point, that last sentence is worded EXACTLY how it will play out with the Pirates. The Pirates have to be the ones to attract free agents, and the best way to do that is with money.

    “So far, you have said BN can’t do the evaluating because he doesn’t know baseball, FC gets a paas and should go (I agree), the same players performed in the first half and second half. What’s your point?”

    My point is that unless you do this process the correct way, you’re just rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.

    I said weeks ago that I won’t feel one bit more optimistic than I do now if the entire FO is gutted UNLESS Bob Nutting shows he can find competent replacements AND somebody comes up with a half logical reason the team sh*t the bed in the first place.

    Is that clear enough?

  102. Arriba Wilver says:

    Foo @98–I agree about numbers being only one piece of data. Tell that to your evil twin about the draft. :-)

  103. casper in a-town says:

    Assuming CH is gone, why not interview Tito Francona? Haven’t heard his name mentioned in relation to the Bucs. Local guy, proven track record. Apparently the Indians are interested in him but he’s still a free agent. If I were BN, I’d conduct my “exhaustive examination” ASAP so I could at least explore the opportunity to bring in Tito if a decision is made to let CH go.

  104. Arriba Wilver says:


  105. 21sthebest says:

    “The Pirates have to be the ones to attract free agents, and the best way to do that is with money.”

    Sure, money is a big factor. But I don’t think it’s the only factor. For example, the Brewers didn’t really spend until they went 81-81. The Twins had a rough period throughout the 90’s while they were trying to rebuild, then did some winning and then some spending. Look at the Rays.

    I’ve long maintained that they won’t be able to attract the quality free agents that we want to see here until they have an at or near .500 season. Now with the way the last two months went, I think that might be an issue going into next season if my theory holds water.

    Could they throw a ton of money at a player and get him to sign here regardless? Sure, that’s possible. But I think it’s an uphill battle.

  106. Jandy says:

    “And as they say, statistics are like bikinis. They show a lot, but not everything.”

    Haha, I like that line.

    Milo’s at 101 is good too ;)

  107. Arriba Wilver says:

    NMR– actually, I agree with a lot of what you said. I’m just not a fan of the way you say it. I guess it’s the delivery (including the condescension).

  108. Jandy says:

    AW, are you saying NMR delivers more like Correia than AJ? ;)

  109. NMR says:


    “So far, you have said BN can’t do the evaluating because he doesn’t know baseball, FC gets a pass and should go (I agree), the same players performed in the first half and second half. What’s your point?”

    What’s my point?

    You honestly don’t think that came across as condescending?

    Wear the other shoe for a moment before casting the first stone.

  110. Kenerdivanis says:

    @Milo – LMAO re: 101.

  111. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jandy–I like Kevin. :-)

  112. Jandy says:

    AW, so do I but a lot don’t appreciate him.

  113. Jandy says:

    I like NMR too. He has tons of patience with me.

  114. NMR says:


    Honestly, patience never even crossed my mind. I garuntee I learn more from you than I can reciprocate. We’re all in this together.

    *Cue Milo with the acoustic guitar and Drew on vocals.

  115. Jandy says:

    Thanks friend, but you’re too generous :)

  116. John Lease says:

    Oh my, Neil’s FA signing must be defended? I just don’t get it. The team is barely any better than it was under Littlefield, and had spectacular collapses along the way. Barmes,Barajas and Bedard weren’t good enough examples?

  117. Drew71 says:

    The pilot just landed this big space heater.

  118. Arriba Wilver says:

    What time does the game start?

  119. pattonbb says:

    Good bye Bobby Valentine.

  120. Jandy says:

    lol Drew, what was the extra charge?

  121. Jandy says:

    Oh Man Dejan just jinxed hockey being played in 2012.

  122. Jandy says:

    AW, what are you drinking?

  123. cosmo says:


    Believe in the hidden vigorish, Dejan is bound to get one right.

    DK: Hey, 79-83, pal! Look it up! Steelers lose big in Denver. Look it up!

  124. Jandy says:

    cosmo, we can hope!

  125. Jandy says:

    Dk, are you saying that this is “3rd time’s the charm”????

  126. nate83 says:


    “If the front office doesn’t believe the team is good enough, why should the team?”

    The above is from the chat transcript which by the way I love and thanks for taking your time to do it every week. You said this when referring to the trade deadline, but doesn’t this statement drip with irony. I mean isn’t management telling the players they are good enough by not making moves. At the end of the day those same players that were 16 games above only had to go 25-29 the rest of the year to make the playoffs.

    I hardly consider getting Wandy and adding two players to the bench giving them the depth everyone speaks of as doing nothing. Wandy was our best pitcher the last 40 games. Should they have picked up two starting pitcher? Should they have traded away Hanson, Marte, Cole, Heredia or Taillon? I personally see those 5 as untouchable for a team like the Pirates.

    DK: There’s a thread up now for chat discussion.

  127. Fat Jimmy says:

    May I write something blasphemous?

    I was thinking this morning about the collapse and blame. Take a look at these numbers:

    .756 .954 .908 .902 .808 .824

    Those are Andrew McCutchen’s career OPS per month (Apr/May/Jun/Jul/Aug/Sept).

    Here are the numbers for 2012, specifically:

    .723 1.134 1.096 1.249 .693 .861

    And for 2011:

    .747 .853 .942 .868 .811 .671

    Cutch is the most talented Pirate since Barry Bonds. He’s the most explosive offensive player since Brian Giles. The writer of this blog is very effusive about Cutch’s talent, and his path toward a transcendent career.

    But if Cutch doesn’t learn how to hit right out of the gate and down the stretch, he’s going to be taking the Alex Rodriquez path toward transcendence … inflate your numbers when they don’t matter.

    In all seriousness, when do we consider this a problem, in the same way that Adam LaRoche was a problem? When I look at these numbers, and the fact that April, August and September are so much more poor than the middle months (and not to mention that he has hit a little better the last couple weeks after we were out of it), i think:

    1. Best case scenario: this is a guy who puts too much pressure on himself and can’t live up to it.

    2. Worst case scenario: he’s a choke artist.

    Again, I know this is blasphemous talk. But if we’re sincere about rooting out the cause of these collapses, we would be disingenuous to not look at all possible causes.

    DK: I agree with everything there, James, except for the part where I ever used transcedency to describe Cutch. I save that term for Mario Lemieux, Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, etc.

  128. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jandy–rum and coke.

  129. Jandy says:

    AW, ahhhh now you’re making me want some of my Cap’n Morgan’s ;)

  130. nate83 says:


    Good info. It looks like maybe Cutch needs to play in a city with nicer weather year round. He may get his chance in 3 years when Nutting can’t afford him.

  131. Jandy says:

    Fat Jimmy, man, did you ever open up a can of worms there!

  132. JMB says:


    My take — this is a guy who puts too much pressure on himself and IS LEARNING TO LIVE UP TO IT.

    He’ll be 26 in a week, so for a 25 yo ballplayer in 2012, he was phenomenal. He is entering his peak time in 2013, and I expect great things for the life of his contract.

  133. Fat Jimmy says:

    Maybe, nate, but the weather isn’t bad in August in Pittsburgh and most cities in North America. If he stunk in April and October, I’d agree, but August and early September are just as warm as June and July.

  134. Fat Jimmy says:

    JMB, I’d change your wording to say that he “NEEDS to learn how to live up to it”. I don’t think anything of what we saw this year suggests that he has learned how to do that yet. If anything, he was worse this year than last.

  135. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jimmy–I don’t know what the problem is, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t Cutch’s Sept numbers this year–.861 OPS, or his August ## last year–.811 OPS. Talk about numbers not telling the whole story.

    But, IF, that is the problem, what do you do? Trade Cutch, and keep Neal? Send a memo to BN? Fire DL again for picking him? Send Cutch back to the minors so he can be schooled in Hoka Hey?

    (NMR–this isn’t condescension, this I call, maybe lamely, humor)

  136. JMB says:

    I’ll agree with that.

    Cutch doesn’t seem to have the overall swagger of some of his peers, but he “needs” to grow into a clubhouse presence & leader.

  137. Arriba Wilver says:

    But if I accept what I think you’re saying, Jimmy, Neal should be fired for giving this bozo the $51 mil contract.

  138. Arriba Wilver says:

    FJ–I don’t know if you’re just trying to be provocative, but in what way was Cutch “worse this year than last?”

  139. NMR says:

    @JMB, re: 134

    Great post, and I think you can substitute most of the team for “guy” in your first sentence.

    In my opinion, the one thing that was clear to my untrained baseball eye was the difference in style of play after the losses started.

    For all the lip service that the mental aspect of the game receives, I feel it should be an obvious place to start when trying to fix this problem.

  140. NMR says:

    “But if I accept what I think you’re saying, Jimmy, Neal should be fired for giving this bozo the $51 mil contract.”

    This must be the condescension, because it is certainly not funny.

  141. Milo Hamilton says:

    Wait a minute, Bobby Valentine was fired ? Today ? The day after the season ended ?

    Oh yeah, that’s right. This is the day that owners that pay attention to their team everyday make personnel decisions.

  142. Fat Jimmy says:

    Arriba, I’m honestly not SAYING anything. I really mean that as a question. Look, Cutch is awesome. I love the guy. He carried this team from May-July, there are absolutely no questions about that.

    But what about the other months? Do we look the other way and say “Even God took off on Sunday”? Does this fit Dejan’s narrative around the lack of organizational depth? (Cutch takes these months, the rest of the team takes the others)

    Or does it mean that he is a flawed player and one that we can’t rely on?

    One of the things I’ve always written about the Streak is that we’re like an early settler struggling to climb up a mountain. Eventually, we’ll get to the top, and we’ll realize that was just a foothill and we’ve got the Rockies in front of us.

    Playing .500 baseball SHOULDN’T be hard. Winning championships is hard.

    Who can forget how small Bonds and Van Slyke were in those three postseasons? Based on Cutch’s numbers, if we ever made the playoffs, he sure looks like he’ll pull a Bonds…

  143. Fat Jimmy says:

    Arriba, to #140: Cutch’s drop in performance from July 2012-August 2012 was much worse than his drop in performance from July 2011-August 2011. I wasn’t trying to be provocative. Those are the facts.

  144. Bradthedad says:

    Put Cutch’s stat line for 2009 thru 2011 next to his line for 2012. You’d think they were for 2 different players. The team has warts but he ain’t one of them.

  145. Fat Jimmy says:

    Brad, I did put his stat lines for other years against this year. The water level rose, but the drops were consistent when they occurred. That was the point of my post.

  146. NMR says:


    I don’t believe Jimmy is saying Cutch is the problem. He’s pointing out a sharp decline in performance that coincides with a decline in the rest of the team.

    Sure, even Cutch’s “bad” numbers this year were not terrible, but this makes me think of Milo’s line the other day about poor fundamentals. It’s amazing how talent can overcome them.

  147. Bradthedad says:

    Agreed. But even the drops are better than the .230 something corner outfielders they trot out. It’s tough carrying a franchise on your back. I’d like to fix the corner outfield problem and take my chances with Cutch growing into having better Augs and Septs.

  148. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jimmy–I’m not challenging your numbers,. But like so many things they don’t tell the whole story (I know you weren’t saying that). One of the reasons Cutch’s numbers fell off so much was because they wer so much better this year. Dude ha 3 consecutive months of OPS over 1.000. Is it rational to think he’s not giving to have an off month? August he had a . 693 OPS. But his next lowest was April, and he had a .861 OPS in September. Do I hope he’ll move those numbers around? Sure. But he sure isn’t in the top 10 list of problems for this organization. And if they banked on him having 6 months of 1.000+ OPS, shame on them.

  149. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    It’s nice to see that “Thank you fans!” message on

  150. NMR says:

    With all the talk about causes and symptoms, why not look at the correlation between Cutch’s “slump” and the decline in team play.

    No, the team did not tank because Cutch did. I think we can all agree on that.

    But if you can find the root of what is causing Cutch to slump, don’t you think it’s possible that it is also affecting the rest of the team?

  151. Bradthedad says:

    Sorry if I went off in a wrong direction – I think we’re all in violent agreement that Cutch is a cornerstone.

  152. Arriba Wilver says:

    NMR–like I said, I’m cool with looking at everything. Which is what I thought I was doing in responding to Jimmy.

    My perspective is, though, that in spite of how great he was, even Clemente did not carry the team every month of every year. One of the things that sticks out to me is hearing and reading that Clemente said to Stargell in 1971, If you get us there I’ll win it.
    Clemente had Stargell. Stargell in 1979 had Dave Parker. Who does Cutch have? Maybe, hopefully, Alvarez? But despite Pedro’s numbers this year, and I think he did pretty good and is a possibility, he wasn’t, and nobody else was, that fallback.

  153. Arriba Wilver says:

    Bonds in 1990-1991 had Van Slyke and Bonilla. And then in 1992 still had Van Slyke. They didn’t win the WS, but they competed. Just not sure the focus on our best player will lead to anything very helpful. But not to say don’t look at it.

  154. bpn8pitt says:

    Who takes over in the interim if Huntington, Stark and Smith are fired July 1st 2013?

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