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Podcast: Signing injured pitchers as depth? Smart!

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Here’s today’s TribLIVE Radio show podcast, featuring my guests, Brandon Sutter of the Penguins and the Trib’s Steelers beat man Mark Kaboly.

And here’s video of the opening rant on the Pirates signing injured pitchers as depth …

Thanks to all who called and emailed.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. NMR says:

    I think Dejan’s argument is too Monday-morning-quarterbacky.

    What legit starting pitcher is going to come to Pittsburgh as Jmac insurance? Blanton? Mcarthy? Correia? Marcum? That’s the crux of the argument. Once again, who could the Pirate have afforded as a better option?

    Management is knocked for signing a pitcher who will miss one month of the season in Francisco Liriano, bringing back a starting pitcher never intended to start the season, and bringing back a starting pitcher that they were universally bashed for releasing.

    The reason they have a depth problem is because three starting pitchers – Wandy, Jmac, Kartsens – are injured. How many small market teams are 8-men deep?

    DK: Here’s what the ‘Monday Morning QB’ wrote before a single pitch had been thrown:

  2. NMR says:

    Right, after Karstens was already hurt.

    I’ll ask again, what pitcher(s) should the team have brought in as Jmac insurance? How many times have you asked your readers to name names when asking for a Pens top 4 d-man or top 6 winger?

    McDonalds spring ERA was 4.19 with 9 walks and 14 K’s. His 2012 spring ERA was 8.31 with 11 walks and 11 k’s. How do you NOT put him in the rotation?

    You aren’t asking for depth, you’re asking the team to rebuild 3/5 of the rotation.

    DK: Um, why else would you need depth?

  3. NMR says:

    Still no names, huh?

    How many starting pitchers are you gonna carry?

    DK: Name what? Who could have been acquired? Is that a serious question?

  4. NMR says:

    Yes. Yes it is.

    DK: OK, then I’ll actually answer it seriously, even though the hey-what-would-YOU-have-done tactic tends to be the last defense of the sinking argument.

    I’ll try this again: The Pirates had two sure things and three big ifs as their starting rotation. This has nothing to do with the current spate of injuries. That was the case beforehand, whether because of performance or brittleness.

    OK, so on top of two sure things and three ifs, they signed two ALREADY INJURED pitchers to provide depth.

    I’m not suggesting stars should have been signed in their stead. And you’re, in fact, the only one even mentioning free agency. But I dare say that for the roughly $7 million total put into Liriano and Morton that either a signing, a series of signings of 4-A guys or even another cash-dump trade (A.J., Wandy) would be preferable to signing two ALREADY INJURED pitchers. Certainly, the resources were there.

    This isn’t remotely complicated.

  5. NMR says:

    4-A guys? Seriously?! You mean like Sanchez, Mazzaro, and Gomez? Ok, done.

    Liriano will be out for roughly ONE month. You make it sound like he’s out for the season.

    Funny how when a reader uses the hey-what-would-you-do tactic its the sign of a dying argument but you can use it as a legit answer.

    DK: Yes, I used it as an answer because that was the question you asked. I was attempting to be courteous to a valued regular here.

    Have a spectacular evening, NMR!

  6. NMR says:

    Always appreciate your willingness to interact, Dejan.

    Looking forward to your take on the Boston situation tomorrow. You have a knack of capturing the non-sports sports topics extremely well.

    DK: Finishing it up right now, actually. In a weird way, you’ve kind of helped by annoying me this much. :) Distractions are seriously great things when you spend too much time looking at one body of text. Can make you crazy.

  7. NMR says:

    You can make that out to “cash”. :)

    Have a good one.

  8. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Where there is a will, there is a way.
    And when there is a wallet, there is a way.
    The wallet and the will remain “closed” with the Nutting Regime.
    Nutting Much Revered…….

  9. Bizrow says:

    + 100000000000000000000000000000

    Dejan by a TKO

  10. NMR says:

    Aw, how cute.

  11. Thundercrack says:

    I watched the video. You keep mentioning people being surprised by the state of the starting pitching

    I don’t know of anyone who is surprised by this. We knew the options and cast of characters, and I think people knew that this could be happening.

    “Why would you be surprised when it actually plays out?”. I haven’t heard anyone from the FO or the coaching staff say they are surprised. I don’t think they are ‘surprised’ because they seemed to have known about the potential problems and shortcomings. But as you point out – the majority of their contingency plan is injured.

  12. John Lease says:

    Why don’t they just release Morris, since they seem determined to never let him pitch?

  13. JosePagan says:

    In re: Liriano.

    Ok, so he is out for “just one month.” When the month is up, what exactly do we get? The same Liriano that was not exactly setting the world on fire? The Liriano from the season or so that he had where he was actually effective (which was what, 3 seasons ago?) or an ineffective Liriano made more ineffective from rust?

    Now, I do not have in my briefcase the names of 120 pitchers known to be available as free agents or via trade, but I agree with DK on this for sure: Signing pitchers who are injured/recovering from surgery is not a rational plan when seeking depth. You seek depth to deal with injuries to or the ineffectiveness of your current staff. You do not sign people for whom you have no certainty over when they will be ready or how ready they will be. It was as if NH had decided there would be no injuries/issues before June…


  14. carisi_99 says:

    How in the world can a GM be expected to bring in Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray without giving up anything off the NHL roster or mortgaging the future?

    And how can one be expected to get a first-line winger and a top-six defenseman for an equivalent defenseman?

    Seems like good GMs find a way to do what needs to be done. It would have been easy to dismiss Shero doing nothing at the deadline, or overpaying, but he finds a way. Not saying he is perfect, but he doesn’t lament what he doesn’t have; he makes it happen.

  15. WVStarship says:

    He just pitched 3 innings last night, or am I missing something?

  16. Piano Leg Hickman says:

    All one needs to do is look at what has happened to the Dodgers’ rotation. In spring training, people were scratching their heads about how many starters they had, how would they all get enough wok, etc. And then BOOM: Greinke gets hurt in a fight; his replacement Capuano hurts his leg, etc. The old adage still holds true: you can never have too much pitching. Signing injured pitchers for depth is like eating a steak while claiming you’re a vegetarian.

  17. TK39 says:

    Good Morning DK. I posted this in the wake up call too but this might be a better place.

    The podcast download link above downloads the show from 4/2 with Matt Cooke as the special guest rather than yesterday’s show. Just wanted to give you a heads up. I hope the IT people are able to get the latest file up. I look forward to listening to your radio spots every week.

    Thanks for all the great coverage!

  18. Mark says:

    For the moment, TK, you could just change the “02” in the link …/402-DK-13.mp3 to 416-DK-13.mp3 and it’ll direct you to yesterday’s show…

  19. TK39 says:

    Thanks for the tip mark. I dont have the option to change it though. When I click on it I get a pop up that asks me if I want to open or save the file, but I can’t change anything to redirect it.

    Thanks anyway though.

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