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Morning Java: Radio guest Jordy Mercer

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> Today’s TribLIVE Radio show — 1-2 p.m. — will feature special guest Jordy Mercer, the Pirates’ new everyday shortstop. He’s a good kid, and I hope this will give a glimpse of that.

We’ll also talk some minor leagues with Trib baseball writer Karen Price, who’s been making the rounds of the Pirates’ system. And of course, we’ll engross ourselves anew in the wit and wisdom of @Suckmeter.

To listen, just click on the link above. It’s free, easy, no signup. If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad or Android, we’ve got the upgraded TribLIVE Radio app. Also free and easy.

I want you involved, too …

Email: sportstalk@tribweb.com

Call: 412-320-7925

And you can email the show at any time, not just when it’s airing.

>> Here come the Phillies, and here, in all likelihood comes Brandon Cumpton back from Indy. I’ll be at the ballpark working on the Wednesday column.

This was our opening segment on The Final Word on the Pirates’ fantastic first half …

Also today, the Pirates’ top prospect, Jameson Taillon, is updated by Price.

>> The Penguins’ top prospects, Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta are updated, too, by Josh Yohe.

>> Pitt threw an ACC party. And Larry Fitzgerald showed. Jerry DiPaola did, too.

>> The Riverhounds’ Rich Costanzo, a local kid, is ‘humbled’ his teammates chose him to be captain. Our soccer man Matt Grubba looks ahead the next match on the Fourth.

>> Hope you can tune in this afternoon!

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 more, including 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 top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

314 Comments

  1. Flying out to Pittsburgh this week and plan to see the game against the Phillies on the 4th. It will be nice to see Marte and Mercer live and up close. Can’t remember going to a game where the Pirates had a winning record, let alone being in first. This will be my first time out in a couple years but something exciting happens every time. Saw the Daryle Ward bomb straight into the Allegheny for the first home run to reach the river on the fly. I also saw the McCutchen 3 homer night. So this game has a lot to live up to. Can’t wait. Cheers.

    By the way……. FIRST!!!!!!!!

  2. Jordy Mercer — yet another example of things turning up roses for the FO. Last year, there wasn’t enough help from down on the farm when the Pirates needed it. Don’t know what Mercer looked like in Indy last year, but I don’t put *too* much stock in reviews of the farm system anyway until players are panning out at the MLB level. Well, Jordy Mercer now appears to be panning out. Pedro is panning out. Justin Wilson is panning out. Gerritt Cole is panning out. Suddenly, we have home grown MLB players this FO can take credit for. Color me as befuddled as Mr. Fonebone. But befuddled in a good way!

  3. From the Department of Redundancy Department, a sports radio station last night during its news updates continually reported that Pitt had joined the “ACC Conference.” What do they think the second “C” in the acronym “ACC” stands for?

  4. Jordy Mercer?

    Can I join the studio audience?

  5. Is someone hurt for Brandon Cumpton to be on his way back? Sorry in advance if you wrote about it and I missed it somewhere.

    • Wandy had a setback, Matt.

    • No one hurt–Locke was scheduled to start but he warmed up to pitch the 15th inning if the Pirates did not score and they want to hold him back so they need a starter tonight.

      • JAL, as usual, spot on. I see in your links that Wandy got injection of plasma…what is that used to treat??? Help out a newbie please.

      • Ok, so Locke can’t pitch. The Bucs had an off day last Thursday and an off day yesterday. That means the starter from last Wednesday should be ready to go tonight. So why do they need to bring someone up when Gomez should be ready on 5 days rest? That’s the part that makes no sense to me. Then Cole tomorrow night, and bring back Locke on Thursday. After that, your rotation is back in sync.

        Kevin

        • It has to do with when he threw his scheduled bull pen which was Sunday. They like to give them a couple days after their bull pen before they go live. Theoretically he could go today if they would have been planning for it. But they weren’t.

      • Locke is starting tonight.

  6. JAL’s Sloop John B Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubAjEjkJIJo

    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/

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dHVOMzdPYm9wUEJtdVJ0WWUzVWhFc2c#gid=0

    5 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013draft

    BLOGS and such

    6—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Short and Long Term Impact of Wandy Rodriguez’s Injury

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/first-pitch-the-short-and-long-term-impact-of-wandy-rodriguezs-injury.html

    Prospect Watch: Bell Picks Up Two Doubles; Sanchez Continues Triple-A Hitting

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/prospect-watch-bell-picks-up-two-doubles-sanchez-continues-triple-a-hitting.html

    Top Performers: Some New Faces at the Top of the Pitching Leaderboard

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/top-performers-some-new-faces-at-the-top-of-the-pitching-leaderboard.html

    Top Performers: Lambo is the Top Hitter in the System and IL Player of the Week

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/top-performers-lambo-is-the-top-hitter-in-the-system-and-il-player-of-the-week.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    July 10: Pirates v. Athletics to be aired on ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/7/1/4483532/july-10-pirates-v-athletics-to-be-aired-on-espns-wednesday-night

    8 WHYGAVS

    Wandy Rodriguez gets a platelet-rich plasma injection

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/july-2013/wandy-rodriguez-gets-platelet-rich-plasma-injection.html

    9 The Green Weenie

    First Half MVP – Neal Huntington

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/07/first-half-mvp-neal-huntington.html

    Blake Taylor – Lefty In Progress

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/07/blake-taylor-lefty-in-progress.html

    10 Rumbunter

    These Pirates Are Better Than Last Year, But Are They Good Enough?

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/07/01/these-pirates-are-better-than-last-year-but-are-they-good-enough/
    Streaking Pittsburgh Pirates Can Still Improve

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/07/01/streaking-pittsburgh-pirates-can-still-improve/

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    News and notes: Best team in baseball edition

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/07/news-and-notes-best-team-in-baseball-edition/

  7. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Patriot News

    Pittsburgh Pirates could be buyers and deal young talent for a bat with pop — but should they?

    http://blog.pennlive.com/davidjones/2013/07/pittsburgh_pirates_jason_grill.html

    13 Daily Hampshire Gazette

    Proud Pirates won’t rest on their surging success

    http://www.gazettenet.com/home/7264137-95/proud-pirates-wont-rest-on-their-surging-success

    14 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Just Winning, Baby!

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/06/30/pittsburgh-pirates-just-winning-baby/

    15 NBC Sports

    Pittsburgh’s ascension to top of majors makes no sense, but it’s a joy

    http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/52368659/ns/sports-baseball/

    16 CBS Sports

    Phillies-Pirates Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130702_PHI@PIT/philliespirates-preview

    17 KMOV

    Beneath the surface: Why the Pirates caught the Cardinals

    http://www.kmov.com/sports/Beneath-the-surface-Why-the-Pirates-caught-the-Cardinals-213897171.html

    18 PBC Site

    Pirates ink third-round Draft pick Jones

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130701&content_id=52383438&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    Notebook: Hurdle determined to eliminate new distractions

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130701&content_id=52378324&notebook_id=52378946&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    The Baseball Writer’s Biggest Sin

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21099

    20 Fangraphs

    The Dominating Pirates and Whether It Can Last

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-dominating-pirates-and-whether-it-can-last/

  8. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Matt Spaeth is tough, that’s why he has his job

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/7/1/4482270/steelers-matt-spaeth-minnesota

    Whether Jarvis Jones starts for the Steelers is irrelevant; variety and depth key for Steelers’ front seven

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/7/1/4482158/steelers-depth-chart-jarvis-jones-jason-worilds-outside-linebacker

    22 Steelers Depot

    - The Terrible Podcast – Talking 1992 Steelers, 1983 NFL Draft, 2013 Offensive Linemen & More Episode

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/07/the-terrible-podcast-talking-1992-steelers-1983-nfl-draft-2013-offensive-linemen-more-episode/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Mail

    EXCLUSIVE: Offside rule change could cause chaos for new season

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2352258/Offside-rule-changed-FIFA–confusion-Premier-League.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 1 July, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-1-july-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    2013 Pittsburgh Penguins draft recap: a top goalie and collegiate players galore

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/7/1/4483498/2013-pittsburgh-penguins-draft-recap-tristan-jarry-tyler-kennedy

  9. Cumpton did OK in his previous starts, I welcome him back with open arms.

  10. Yesterday, there was much discussion about our RF “problem” or “need”.

    IMO our biggest and most urgent problem now seems to be STARTERS. Wandy is a huge question – already mentioned this morning; AJ might well be a huge question TBD and Morton has still not proven he has successfully returned.

    That leaves these – Locke, Liriano, Cole, Gomez and Cumpton with some doubts among them.

    I’m beginning to feel unsure. AJ can alleviate my doubt soon hopefully, and Morton needs 6 plus solid innings next time out.

    • I’m going to stick with backup catcher as our biggest need. Hope I end up being dead wrong when the season ends.

      • Yes I agree but we have had that problem all season long, and we worked through it, and Sanchez could be an answer; this “problem” with starters just emerged somewhat suddenly, and answers are still be pondered.

        The second half is upon us!

        • We’ve only worked through it because Martin has stayed healthy. I don’t think Sanchez would be the answer if he doesn’t.

          • That was my point – backup catcher is a problem only when he plays. Sanchez is of course a question; The Fort isn’t.

            • What I’m saying though is that I don’t think we can survive a longer term injury to Martin right now.

              • How do you propose acquiring a backup catcher capable of replacing Martin?

              • A trade. I don’t know what you mean exactly by “capable of replacing Martin.” I doubt we could replace Martin seamlessly but I’m looking for someone a good bit better than McKenry.

              • Gotcha. And agreed.

              • Agreed. Martin is irreplaceable at this point. If he goes down, we’re left with the fort and probably Sanchez.

                I don’t like those odds. I would like to see TS brought up and replace McKenry.

                The dude can’t catch and as of late, really can’t hit either.

              • Trouble is, the reports are Sanchez has the yips right now.

          • Something happens to Martin and we’ll once again be a stolen base sieve.

    • Agree with your point. You also did not mention that Cole most likely will be on an inning count which will play a factor near end of the season.

      AJ throws a sim game today, and my belief is he really wants to make a start before the All-Star break, getting him back will help immensely.

      However between Morton and Liriano there are histories of injury problems and as great as Locke and Gomez have been this is the first time in their careers posting these numbers at the MLB level.

      If Wandy were to return in August sometime that would be like acquiring an arm via trade but if he is unable to do so, the team is going to need to add another starter to the mix for insurance and experience for this pennant push.

      • If this entry was addressed to me, I would comment that among the five starters I mentioned, there is a caveat with all of them. Very shaky ground to be entering the second half with only those five names as starters.

        I haven’t given up on Wandy (the bulldog) returning, and I’m counting on AJ and Morton, but what if. . . . . . . .

    • The other scary thing about the starting pitching , is that none of them are on the league leader board for wins. You would think that for a team with the BRIB, there would be at least one in the top 10. I guess you can attribute that to the injuries, but still scary.

      • Injuries, how good the bullpen has been, come from behind victories, record in 1 and 2 run games. Lots of reasons. Plus, AJ got screwed a lot by lack of support.
        Still surprising.

        • Excellent observation, Arriba. Teams that play a bunch of 1-2 run games (which includes the Bucs), end up with a lot of decisions by their relievers.

      • I guess it would be scary, if won/loss record was actually a significant stat for evaluating starting pitchers. Since it isn’t, you have nothing to worry about on that front.

      • The combined won-loss record of the Pirates’ starting pitchers who are still with the club is 31-15. The only one with a losing record is A.J. (4-6) and we know that’s because of low run support, not poor pitching.

        Sure, it would look nice to have a 12-game winner on the staff, but these starters get pulled after six or seven innings because they have such slim leads, if any lead at all, and relievers are needed.

        I can live happily without a 20-game winner on the staff if this bunch of guys gets us a pennant.

  11. Seems Aoki may be traded this year after all….

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/norichika_aoki/

    • He might be on top of my list.

      • As someone mentioned yesterday, if Colorado throws in the towel in July (and I expect them to) Michael Cuddyer also mentioned yesterday, becomes my target and bats right-handed too.

        • The knock against him is that he’ll most likely cost an arm and a leg in terms of prospects to obtain.

          • If as everyone seems to agree that RF is so critical, don’t pretend you can go out and “give up a wiener to get a butcher shop”.

            • Everyone doesn’t really agree that RF is critical.

              • No, YOU don’t agree that right field is critical.

              • Right, as I said, everyone doesn’t really agree that RF is critical. Thanks for confirming that.

                The Pirates are getting production below that of the average major league hitter at two positions, shortstop and right field. The last time the Pirates won a division they received below average production at FIVE positions: first base, third base, second base, shortstop and right field. 1st, 3rd and right were pretty much offensive black holes, all considerably worse than the current production in right field.

                I wouldn’t mind an seeing an upgrade in right. I just wouldn’t give up anything significant to get one.

            • There are more than one who don’t agree RF is CRITICAL.

        • Although Colorado has a below average season, they might not part with them because their division is so pathetic. Arizona is in first and they’re only a game and a half ahead of them.

          If only we were in that division…

          • Colorado is a tough team to trade with…they find players that ‘fit’ their culture and when they get them, they never want to give them up. Cuddyer is part of their core and they wouldn’t give him up unless they were hopelessly out of it (they won’t be)… not much reason to keep pining for him…there are other options that WILL indeed be available.

        • I wanted them to get Cuddyer when he was a free agent two years ago. Really versatile player that can play different positions always has a good bat and doesn’t slump for very long.

        • It is true that Colorado is not a great team, but they are in a division where each of the teams is very close to .500. One of them will win the division, and end up with a better playoff seed than 2 of the 3-headed monster in the NL Central. With Tulo expected to be back in a month or so, if Colorado hangs in there another few weeks, I don’t think they will throw in the towel. They can win a division because no one is separating themselves in that division, and each team has serious issues. SF is not what they have been the last few years.

    • Don’t see how it makes much sense to keep him at this point.

      You don’t entertain offers for your ace starter (Gallardo) with intentions of winning next year.

      Also makes it more likely that Melvin would consider trading within the division since Aoki will be a free agent by the time the Brewers will be back as a contender. That’s an important point for the Pirates, not only because they need a corner outfielder, but also because Cincinatti does too.

      • Seems to make sense from all angles (salary being a huge one). I wonder would it would take to get him – you got to figure several teams would be bidding. I also wonder if he would lead off or if they keep Marte there and maybe bat him 2nd. Would be a nice problem to deal with.

        • No brainer for me. Aoki is a game changing leadoff hitter.

          What it would take is surely a mystery. Aoki has those undervalued skills that don’t jump out of the stat sheet like homeruns and RBI. He also comes with “only” one more year of control, albeit dirt cheap.

          I would guess that it’ll take a top 100 prospect to get the deal done, unless Melvin prefers quantity in order to replenish a very weak farm system.

          If it was me making the offer, I’d send Heredia straight up.

          • I like this acquisition with the extra year. Keeps them solid and manned until Polanco is ready.

  12. We will see how much national respect the Bucs are getting when the all-star team is announced. I think Cutch and Grilled Cheese are locks. In the discusion but not getting in are JL, MM, and Pedro.

  13. Hey guys, I’ve submitted a video to try and win the Dream Job contest at 97.5 the Fanatic (I know, Philadelphia…blech! But hey, it’s where I grew up and reside currently). It’s 2 minutes long, just give it a little watch. We did all the editing, with a little help from our friend with the filming. If you could, please like, comment, and share on social media. Thanks!

    http://www.975thefanatic.com/contests/dream-job/entries/2013/07/01/aaron-and-nate-from-voorhees#.UdLV39gQN8E

  14. Here’s my All Star prediction. It’s a two-parter.

    1. Pedro will be invited to the HR Derby
    2. 647 posts wondering if it ruins his swing

    Ok. Three parts.

    3. Any 0-for-two-games performance will bring 113 I-told-you-so posts.

    • We’ll have to see if the Home Run Derby Captains pick him

      Sometimes, baseball seems like one of those traveling carnivals

      • This was raised before. Is the HR Derby open to any player? I thought it was only players on the All Star team? But maybe I just have that wrong. I remember Jason Bay was picked to be in it when he was an All Star. I remember Fielder picking Weeks, but I thought he was on the All Star team as well?

        • I’m not sure about that AW, it probably wouldn’t make sense to have a non-allstar attend the home run derby

          But with Budmeister, just because it doesn’t appear to make sense would not preclude him doing it ;-)

          • You got that right. :-)

            • Mark Trumbo has already come out and said that he will only participate in the Derby if he’s on the All Star team. So I guess that means you don’t have to be in the game to play.

              • Or it’s like me saying I wouldn’t go out with Christy Brinkley if she asked me. :-).

                Seriously, though, I have heard stuff like that.

              • I think there’s one player that hit in the derby but wasn’t in the All Star Game but then again, I don’t remember what I had for breakfast.

                She just keeps getting better with age.

              • Just a little derby trivia, Inge participated in 2009.

              • As bat boy

              • 21, are you sue that wasn’t the NBA Dunk Contest Ingey participated in?

                The only thing I would add is that I believe Pedro grew up fairly close to the Mets stadium, and would consider it for that reason. I still think he has a decent shot of making the team.

        • I thought it was mentioned on a Bucco broadcast within the last week or so that he could be invited independently of the AS selection, and that Pedro would strongly consider it.

          • ruin his swing??? he either strikes out or crushes it. His swing is perfect for Home run derby.

            • I didn’t say anything about it ruining his swing. Pedro is the ulimate HR Derby guy.

            • Drew said it ^^ up there.
              And it’s tongue-in-cheek.

              • :thwap:

              • lol hey, that’s MY move…get your own :P

              • how the heck are ya Hipposter???

              • I have my own, but sitting on people can hurt. ;)

                I am good.
                Looking forward to the game tonight against another team we owe payback to……the Philthys.

                How are thing in the blog today…… not a lot of comments I see. Are you scaring people off with your thwaps?

              • Ya don’t skeer me, Hippo, my friend :D

                Yes, it’s quiet in blogland today, some trade talk, not much else.

                It’s fine.

                I hope I have some time to watch at least part of the game tonight. Busy, busy, busy!

              • It was tongue in cheek?

              • sure it was. and so was my comment tongue-in-cheek :)

              • Too many tongues, too many cheeks. ;)

                Well, I will pop in here occasionally today.
                I asked a question below on the thread, I dont know if anyone can answer it.

                Take care Jandy, hope to see you tonight.
                Your powers are needed to cheer on the Bucs.

                Oh, and find your Hippie child Brandie, ok?

              • OK Sweetie…I take it you’ll be in and out. I’m gonna try to watch and chime in here tonight. Never know what hubby has on the business burner, tho.
                21 did a good job answering your question.

                I haven’t seen Brandie, and I do miss her! No doubt she is busy with starting the new job. I hope she pops in later on.

  15. Good morning everybody!!

    -I see some continued discussion on trades. I like it, its fun, but realistically, we have no idea what exactly the need could be at the time.

    -I agree with Bob at the top that the rotation could be a target, though the Pirates have been in the rumor mill and I like Bud Norris. My guess is he goes to the Giants if they go after him.

    -I mentioned Cuddyer yesterday, but then had to run out and couldn’t return to get any responses. I think the West is weak and the Rockies will fall, he might be available. I like the addition.

    -I also think that, if I’m the Pirates, Aoki is my top choice for RF, unless someone else emerges over the next few weeks. NMR brought up good points on him already, so I won’t add any to it, other than, I agree.

    -Good Tuesday, or for some of us, Thursday (2 days off) to you all.

    • I will agree that Aoki is a good player and definitely would be a nice addition, but remember that (1) he is cheap (2) he is under team control through next season also….which means that Milwaukee need not trade him but also it means that Melvin will demand one great prospect plus another midlevel prospect for him. Is that a price tag we will be comfortable with? I just feel like the buyer doesn’t have leverage with this player and that worries me that we will get fleeced.

      Colorado is in a very weak division, so I’m not sure why we are so sure they will be “out of it” in 3 weeks time. Plus Tulowitzki will be coming back from injury around then and since Cuddy fits their culture so very very well, they will not likely make him available.

      I think the best comment is that ‘trade deadline talk is fun’ and we ‘have no idea who will be available then’…. so not real sure it pays to get worked up one way or another on these ‘possibilities’….

      I continue to want the Pirates to do something like SF has done in years past… good,smart complementary additions vs. the big splash. Aoki fits that bill… in the past the Giants have added Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro…people like that… we should be looking for the 2013 equivalents of those…..

      • Totally agree on the “West is weak and no one is throwing in the towel just yet” sentiment, cmat. Mentioned that above.

        I have been on the Denorfia bandwagon, and he is a righty. My thinking is that since Tabby may have retired (Kidding, of course! He is owed too much scratch!), we will need a righty hitting platoon guy. He is similar to Aoki production-wise, while swinging from the opposite side, and being 7/7 in steals vs. 9/17. But, since I’m not reading any rumor stuff about him, I assume SD thinks they have a legit shot to win the wimpy west and will keep him.

        I saw Markakis pop up in that article. I don’t trust any offensive stats from Baltimore. The whole team has a bazillion 2b/HR, and they are not 76-5, which tells me everyone’s offensive stats are totally inflated. That means Markakis’ stats are pedestrian if he plays in PNC.

        • I agree that IF we can’t get Aoki, then the focus needs to be on RH outfield options…. not sure I understand the Shierholz, et al discussion since they are just slightly better than Travis Snider and I don’t see the Bucs cutting Snider loose.

          I know people won’t like it, but someone like Marlon Byrd fits the “Reed Johnson” type, Cody Ross type of acquisition that makes a lot of sense… someone like Mark DeRosa would make sense too but he is in Toronto and they may not move him now that they are contending.

          • Those are good, dependable, reasonably priced (in terms of prospects go give up) options.

          • I do like Nate Shierholz, always have. To me, he is a much better upgrade to Travis Snider, except he struggles against LHP.

            Huge arm also. Plus defender.

            • +1

              Schierholtz is like a Garret Jones that can actually play right field.

              I don’t like that you’d be buying him at peak value, meaning you’re paying for a guy who probably won’t be as good as he’s been.

              But still worth a look, the more you keep talking about it, Ryan.

              • I’m trying to reel you in man.

                I actually think he’s better than Jones. More athletic, better arm.

                I watched him play RF at AT&T park, he can throw it.

                To me, he’s a better platoon option with Tabby than Snider or Jones.

                You’re right, he is at peak value, though.

              • He is hitting with power for the first time ever. I always take that into consideration in trades. Wrigley can help your power.

                Very good defensively, and much better than GIJ in that regard. But, he has 35 career HR, with 11 of them coming this year. Aside from this year, I don’t think he is anything like GIJ.

              • In Nor Cal Ryan I trust!

              • Ha ha..and I’ll take your word on the numbers. I’m not a numbers cruncher.

              • Me, too. But, since Nor Cal’s moving East, I will go with stats here.

                GIJ hit more HR last year than Schierholtz had in his whole 1250 At Bat career through last season.

              • No doubt. Jones has better power numbers.

                Not an arguement, but I still think Nate is better overall.

                Do I expect him to hit 30 HRs? No…not at all.

                But i’ll take him over Snider.

      • Hunter Pence last season

        • true that, but i think in general the Giants have scored with incremental acquisitions

          • They gave up their #1 prospect, Zach Wheeler, for Carlos Beltran for 3 months worth of work.

            • I really hate stuff like that. The gift that keeps on giving … in a bad way. In the Giants case, they were able to win a couple of WS titles. So, it is hard to fault them for anything. But, losing Wheeler could pinch a bit.

              • To their defense, they were stacked with pitching at the MLB level and REALLY needed a bat like Beltran’s.

                Bet they’re kicking themselves today though.

            • yes indeed, thanks for the reminder… but beyond Beltran and Pence, they seem to score most with incremental acquisitions… I don’t remember Beltran and Pence being dominant, I can only seem to remember how good Cody Ross and Scutaro were for them in the playoff push… but I’m not a Giants fan so can’t say I followed it closely.

              • And Ross came off the scrap heap. I loved the Scutaro trade.

                I wanted him last year for the Buccos. I questioned the Giants signing of him in the offseason, just as I did with Pagan, but Scutaro is mashing, playing really good baseball right now.

              • Cody Ross was a great pick-up for them. He went nuts!

              • Don’t forget Pat Burrell.

              • exactly..blog assignment, find me the 2013 versions of Ross, Scutaro, Burrell… you have 29 days.

    • I like your Bud Norris mention, Ryan. Doesn’t he have ties to the Bay area?

      • Bud Norris has seen a sharp decline in his K/9. He only has 71 in 102 innings, after being higher most of his career. He’s also being hit at a .274 clip, and has a 1.37 WHIP. His dropoff might be mostly about facing better lineups in the AL. I think Garza is a better pick-up. I wonder who would come cheaper. My guess is either one would cost one of the Big 3 of Taillon, Kingham, Glasnow & I would not do it.

        • No way do I give a big 3 for Bud Norris. Garza, quite possibly yes but I’m still a prospect hoarder…sorry, maybe there is a 12step program for me.

          I’d really want to ensure that we really truly get an upgrade if we part with any of the top prospects…. much rather give 2 of them for a real true upgrade (stanton) then 1 for a ‘hope’ just because of the name on the back of the jersey.

          • I’m a recovering prospect hoarder as well, cmat. Well … actually not recovering so much.

            I know there is a small % of chance that any prospect becomes a star. But, I hate for a small market team like the Bucs to not maximize their opportunities with prospects. I think we are just as likely to win a WS by that route than by “going all in” when we are close. And, if we are smart, the hoarding route can keep a team in the hunt.

            I have no problem with giving up something to get something, but my tolerance for what I’d give up is probably less than for most people. I hated seeing Moises Alou turn into a very good player. I know what we got, and I understood why we did it. I just don’t like doing that unless I really feel we got a steal of a deal.

          • cmat/Jim,

            Have either of you guys changed or adapted your “prospect hoarding” since the Pirates have actually demonstrated that yes, they do have a deep farm system?

            I was like you guys last year. Would’ve been near impossible to pry Taillon or Cole away from me.

            But I’ve found myself wondering more and more this year what the benefit is in holding onto all these prospects now that there is at least a bit of redundancy. They aren’t all going to make it.

            • Agree…changing of the guard it seems.

              I loved the Wandy deal last year, even giving up on Rudy Owens. I liked him.

              • And Grossman was considered a high-floor prospect, too.

                There is sooooo much risk associated with this – and all – teams pitching prospects that the odds of them all reaching potential are almost impossible.

                I’m at the point where I’d rather get SOMETHING for one of them than hoard them all in fear of giving up the one who makes it.

              • Very true that the odds of the Big 3 (and Cole, for that matter) all becoming #1/2/3 starters is remote. But, that’s why I like having a big number of them. If we give one away, maybe it is the wrong one. I think a couple of them will be stars, if I had to predict right now.

              • I figured thats where you stood judging by your post below, Jim. Difference strokes for different folks, right?

                I appreciate your explanation.

            • I think Cole + The Big 3 I mentioned are very possibly a formidable rotation for the next bunch of years, NMR. I think you mentioned possibly giving up Heredia for Aoki. That is a tough call for me, but he would the one potential star pitcher I’d probably part with for the right price.

              I did say yesterday I liked Grossman, but thought getting Wandy was worth it because I thought Grossman was not essential to the Bucs future and Wandy figured to solidify our rotation for 1.5 years (or, 2.5). I see the Big 3 as essential and not to be messed with unless I were blown away, which is not likely.

            • NMR… I would absolutely consider trading ANY prospect if the RETURN IS WORTH IT. I just feel very strongly that we need ‘sure things’ if we are going to give other teams a ‘projectible’ prospect. IMHO Bud Norris is not worth it. Sorry, Bud. Garza is borderline. Stanton? Absolutely, but unlikely he is even available.

              Yes it is true that baseball prospects don’t all pan out. That doesn’t mean that everyone you acquire at the deadline pans out either….I’d just prefer we ‘up the odds’ on the deadline acquisition working out if we give up on the top shelf prospects. And as to hoarding? If there is not a deal proposed to us where we significantly upgrade, then yes, I’d rather have the top 10 prospects in tact and ‘take my chances’ then to trade them out of some sort of desparation to make a deal.

              I think we all are on the same page more or less… I just will cringe if the Bucs traded say, Heredia/Hansen for Garza….

        • Disagree on the cost, but yet, I have no idea. I dont think either of these guys will cost a top 100

          • Yeah, no way Bud Norris pulls a top 100 prospect.

            • I like that phrase – “pulls a top 100 prospect.”

              I was watching Rules of Engagement the other night, and one of the guys takes his very attractive fiance to a hockey game. He sits next to this 12 yr old kid, and the kid looks at her and says, “Who’s that?” He replies, “Oh, that’s my fiance.” So, the kid says, “Nice pull.”

              • Thats the only other context in which I’ve heard that phrase used, which probably says something about how I speak of baseball players, haha.

      • Yes, that’s why I said I’d see him going there. The Giants fall into the Rockies situation.

  16. Ok, here is a question for those who understand the minutae of MLB contracts and the like……

    Say Wandy gets shut down for the year and/or has to have TJ surgery.
    What happens to his contract for next year?
    Can he still exercise his option for next year while injured?
    Do the Pirates exercise an insurance policy if he does?

    Or do the Pirates just buy him out?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    • Wandy can exercise his option at any time, probably prior to the free agency date. No idea if the Pirates have insurance on his contract. If they do, you can usually only get approximately 50% coverage on the largest of contracts. If his contract isn’t insured, they’re not getting it now. And the Pirates have no buyout.

      That’s my take anyways.

      • I do think though, that if the option is picked up, the PBC will get 5 or 6 million from the Astros.

        I think that was part of the original deal for him.

        Still a lot of moolah

      • So Wandy holds all the cards, even if he is on DL with TJ surgery?
        Wow. That is interesting.

        I have no clue when it comes to this stuff……….. one would think that there would be an out clause due to injury.

        But thamks. I just hope he isnt done for the year.

        • “one would think that there would be an out clause due to injury.”

          No chance.

          • Right, the CBA pretty much ensures the players have most of the cards on this stuff. That said, I do believe teams have injury insurance, I think Texeira is a good example… Yanks save a bunch of $$ due to insurance this year on that contract.

            • Actually I think the insurance from the WBC was paying for Texeira until they activated him. Once they did that, WBC didn’t have to pay any more.

              • According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, thanks to Mark Teixeira’s problematic wrist this season, first in the World Baseball Classic and then again on June 16, the Yankees are going to collect nearly $19 million in insurance money.

              • Oh goody! They can keep the lights on at Yankees Stadium another month.

                Actually, I am going to be in NYC next Tues. and have tickets to a box. I’ve never been to the new stadium, and am looking fwd to adding it to my list.

              • It’s kind of interested to think of the Yankees as SELLERS…doubt it can ever happen with that fan base, but they should seriously consider it. That’s one pathetic lineup and rotation for nearly $300M in salary.

        • If he has TJ surgery, the cards he is holding are a two of clubs and a seven of hearts. He won’t opt out.

          • right but I guess I’d say that an injured player triggering an option DOES mean he holds the good cards, perhaps it’s just semantics.

            • Ah, I was looking at it from the other side. This injury could end up costing him a contract worth a good bit of guaranteed money.

  17. Heres a link to a nice article, if its been posted before, I apologize

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9441988/pittsburgh-pirates-hopes-realistic

    • Thanks for the link, Biz.

      Didnt appreciate Hurdle and his “Chicken Littles” comment. Way to go skip, backhand the fans who have endured 20 losing seasons, and team ineptitude. Stay classy, Clint.

      • I don’t think he meant it to be derogatory, Hipposter, he was just admitting that there will still be fans questioning that this is for real, BECAUSE of the last 20 seasons.

        A great link, thanks, Biz :)

        • I agree, Jandy.

          I don’t discount anyone’s frustrations over the past 20 years, or their hesitation to buy into anything just yet Plan. Most of us are there to some degree or another. I had this discussion with my brother just last night. He said to me, “Stop gettting me all excited about this start. There are still 31 more to go, and I just won’t believe it until it happens.”

          So, from his standpoint, it is all about 82 and I totally get that. I honestly do. There have been so many screw-ups over the last 2 decades that he just doesn’t want to hear about any of it right now. 82 is extremely important to me as well.

          As I have said many times, we each have our own unique feelings on this, and they are all totally legit. I just hope we all get to celebrate 82 together, then the playoffs together, then … who knows?

          I think Clint gets that, but he is just trying to tell us it will be ok. Maybe it didn’t come out exactly right from CH.

          • Right you are, Jim. It’s hard for some to forgive/overlook so much failure for so long. Not everyone is a lunatic like most in here.
            But when it happens (not IF, WHEN) I want to be watching so the joy is MORE intense, more satisfying.
            :D

      • Agree. Never ever take any kind of shot at the fans, IMO. Always be gracious.

        Shots should be taken at the media. :-)

      • After all, we all know the REAL “Chicken Littles” are Barmes and Inge. ;)

      • I have no problem with his Chicken Littles comment. It is certainly an apt description for quite a few posters on here and done of the PG sites.

      • He wasn’t backhanding the fans. He was backhanding the sadists who get great joy from complaining about the Pirates. The types who would rather see their prediction of 69 wins come true than see the Pirates in the playoffs.

    • The full answer from Clint, and I do suspect it was an answer to a direct question about the fan support, not an unsolicited comment from Clint to make any sort of point is….

      “The fans are coming out,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Sure, there are always going to be Chicken Littles, because that’s cool for some people. And until you prove something, you haven’t proved it. But we’re just about halfway there. We like where we are. We understand we have more hard work to do and know that we have to finish stronger than we started.”

      I have zero problem with Clint calling out Chicken Littles same as I have zero problem with the Littles having their opinions and viewpoints as well. Clint goes on to say “you haven’t proved anything until you have proved it”.

      I think it’s a bit of a stretch calling this a ‘backhanded’ slap at any fans… I have only seen very positive comments from all of the Pirates players and coaches about the fans, the energy, the support, etc.

      But again, you can parse and inject meaning into any public statement based on your point of view and you won’t be wrong, just as others who have different opinions won’t be wrong either.

      The most important thing is that Clint firmly realizes that this is a ‘good start’ and they need to finish just as strong. He needs to instill confidence in his players, and I don’t expect him ever to say something like “Well, the fans that think we are due for ‘Epic Collapse III” are right… we do fear that… we know how quickly it all can come tumbling down around us… the first time we lose a few in a row, we will be grabbing the bats tighter and worried that the next error, the next HR given up, the next K with runners on base is the thing that unravels all of this mirage.”

      • Exactly. I want this team to have a chip on their shoulder.

        “Hope, but expect” is about the worst state of mind you could put yourself in as a baseball player/coach.

        • it’s safe or leery fans, but NOT for coaches….right on, NMR.

          • Well, if CH had endured 20 years of it, he might also be of that state of mind…

            Just sayin

            • Clint’s endured 9 out of 10, Biz.

              • Here?

                Not getting sucked in, my friend…

              • You’re exactly right, it doesn’t have to be “here” to be in the same boat.

              • Never meant it to be a knock on you, Biz. That’s why I made sure to specify as a player/coach.

                I’m right there with you as a fan.

                And I do believe it is pertinent to point out that Clint, as a coach, has endured almost complete failure when it comes to producing winning teams. All the more credit to him that he can keep his attitude positive.

        • I love the “chip on the shoulder” approach, Plan. I know it doesn’t work on everyone, but it always worked on me. I had a coach before basketball games that used to say things like, “Do you see that point guard for the other team? I guarantee he thinks he’s better than you. You need to go out there and play like he just stole your lunch money.”

          Maybe I shouldn’t have needed that motivation, but it got me every time. I was a sucker for that little extra push, and that coach knew it.

      • I agree. I didn’t take any offense of that statement and to be honest, its true. Whether it was directed at fans or the media. You will always have those.

      • I actually like Brandon Inge’s take on the situation. Remember, that guy went through all that losing in Detriot. He might not bring much to the table anymore on the field, but in the clubhouse he brings a wealth of experience.

        To include the start he had with the A’s last year after being dumped by Detriot.

        • That’s the age old question, isn’t it? How much performance are you willing to give up to keep around a guy you think brings important veteran leadership? One you can measure, and one you can’t very easily.

          I don’t doubt Inge is a great veteran influence. But, I think we have plenty of that (Martin, Barmes, Gabby, AJ, Wandy, Grilli), plus the coaches.

          • Oh I think its about put up or shut up time for Inge, but if the Pirates make the playoffs, I’d take a crusty vet off the bench that has been there.

  18. O’s get Feldman from Cubs

    And you can trade international pool bonus money now?

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/

    • good trade for the Cubs… Feldman is back of rotation at best, and I think he’s a free agent to be…. Arrieta has great stuff, just needs to harness it…. if only the Cubs had Searage to get Jake on track

      • Maybe moves will be made a little earlier this year?

        Probably not though, this will just help drive up prices

      • Took the words out of my mouth.

        I saw my share Feldman last year while living in Dallas. He was only a shade above awful in the AL. This has all the makings of the Ryan Dempster trade last year.

        Cubs have done an awesome job netting two former top pitching prospects for Maholm and Feldman. Just up to development staff to make something of them.

        • Theo and Jed are very, very smart… they also got Dodgers (or are they now the Suckers?) to take Marmol and actually give something for him…. beware in dealing with these guys… remember we didn’t fare so well in the Bay trade with them.. and the Hanny trade was with the new regime in Boston

          • Funny thing to me about Theo is that the more money he spends, the more trouble it gets him. He was the guy that mired the Sox under all those contracts that Cherington snookered the Dodgers into taking and giving +$50m tp perpetual underachiever Edwin Jackson looked questionable from the start.

            But, he was also smart enough to start overslotting guys in the draft before Pirate fans ever even knew who Neal Huntington was AND he’s schooled stingy rebuilding teams like the Pirates and Astros by showing that you can increase your odds at successfully rebuilding by SPENDING money on guys like Maholm and Feldman instead of hoarding it.

            • Who was the Japanese pitcher, pretty much a total bust, who the brilliant Red Sox paid over $40 million to his old team for the right to negotiate with? Not everything they did was brilliant.

              I would also say that Bill James had a big hand in getting Theo where he is today. I’m not saying Theo & Jed are not a good team, but I think they are getting maybe a bit too much credit in some circles.

              • Dice-K.

                And I know what you mean – see the comment about drowning the Red Sox in poor contracts – but Theo’s got two rings, so I have a hard time knocking him.

              • Yes, he does.

      • Didn’t Arrieta shut down the Bucs convincingly last year?

  19. The @Pirates have recalled RHP Brandon Cumpton and have optioned Josh Harrison to AAA. Cumpton will start tonight vs. the @philaphillies.

  20. I guess Cumpton got to the clubhouse. He’s starting tonight.

  21. Brandon Cumpton starting tonight is a prime example of the Pirates over thinking things & trying to be smarter than the room. Keep an eye on that front office.

    • That reaction seems over the top to me Milo. I think a lot of teams would have done the same thing. This is just an example of the baseball era we live in, IMO. They simply believe in a specific routine. Starting pitchers have a specific plan for each day, relievers always pitch from the stretch, Grilli and Melancon always start an inning, etc.

      • It’s inane. This has less to do with Locke warming up than them starting to look for the boogieman where none exists. If they wanted to shuffle the rotation, they could have easily done so. Making a roster move is completely over the top.

        • How? With Locke and Gomez both unavailable and too soon for Cole or Liriano or Morton

          • How would Gomez be unavailable when he last pitched a week ago Wednesday ? And frankly, how is Locke unavailable ?

            • Gomez also warmed up in the 14 inning game. CH said both had ‘heated’ bullpen sessions on Sunday.

            • I think we doth protest too much … I’d MUCH RATHER have Cumpton start then to risk an injury to Locke… I tend to agree that Gomez could go today, but as far as handling pitching staff this year, if anyone deserves benefit of the doubt it’s Ray and Clint…and don’t think for a second that Ray doesn’t have input on this decision.

              If we want to just complain about stuff, there are far more topics than handling the pitching staff that would be more fair and interesting.

              • How is pitching 2 days after not pitching risking injury ? And, after the way they botched the pitching staff last year, questioning their strateegery is completely fair.

              • I don’t know Milo, I’m not in the bullpen watching the pitchers, talking to the athletes, the trainers, etc… so I’m far from qualified to voice an opinion of injury susceptability, but if there is even a shred of a chance of injury then I absolutely applaud taking risk off the table. We’ll never know, fortunately, but as with anything, we can read into this what we want to.

                What reason in your mind would the nefarious, ne’er to be trusted, front office bring up Cumpton to start tonight and push Locke and Gomez back? Maybe if I understood your proposed motive I can try to get on board with you.

              • The same reason both starting pitchers were removed from the game after the long rain delay Sunday even though they only pitched 2 innings. Have to understand starting pitchers. They are not warm up and pitch an inning 3 days in row like a Grilli or Melacon can do.

              • I don’t think it’s necessarily a question of injury. I think it’s routine in between starts and preparedness on the day the start.

            • How thoroughly, and for how long was Locke warming up, the other day? The Pirates may or may not be over thinking this, as you put it. But I don’t have a big issue with bringing Cumpton in for a spot start.

            • Gomez threw his between starts bullpen session on Sunday.

    • One other thought… there is ZERO evidence this decision was made by the “FRONT OFFICE” and not Clint and Ray. this is in response to ‘keep an eye on that front office’

      • Actually, I kinda wondered if the “keep an eye” remark was made while winking. The FO has made a TON of dubious moves. But not this year, really. (Should I cover up and duck?)

      • I side with Milo on the overall issue, but emphatically agree with you here.

        No idea why this move would have anything to do with the “front office”.

        • It doesn’t hurt that whoever trades for Brandon Cumpton in a month gets to see him pitch in another big league game, does it ?

          • YES! And that is one reason I would LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this move by the Pirates. Hard for me to ‘complain’ about this since it would be a very smart move.

          • Interesting point. No, that wouldn’t hurt.

            • Maybe I’m wrong but isn’t Philly a free swinging, swing for the fence type team. Cumpton is a pitch to contact ground ball pitcher. It seems to be reasonable to believe he could match up very well with the Phillies and maybe this move is not that bad of a move and it allows everyone to get a little more rest and be fresh.

          • Nobody is trading for Brandon Cumpton, or at leats not as anything but filler.

            25 YO righties with 90 mph fastballs are not in high demand.

            • He’s the same guy we always got.

              • We at least got other teams former top prospects.

                Brandon Cumpton entered the year as the 39th best prospect in a system that was said to lack depth.

                Two starts ain’t changing that.

            • “25 YO righties with 90 mph fastballs are not in high demand.” Not saying A=B here, but how much faster could Jeff Suppan’s fastball have possibly been when he lept from being an under-the-radar pickup we made to the toast of the trade deadline, this time 10 years ago? Timing is everything. Cumpton could net us something worthwhile if the next few weeks play out right for us.

          • Sure it could hurt. Cumpton could have a lousy outing tonight. He has looked okay so far. Why chance it?

  22. For what its worth, Dodgers get Marmol

    And Cubs trade for more international bonus pool money.

    Hopefully, MLBTradeRumors will post how this bonus pool money works, looks like they are trading slots, not actual money?

    • I think I have a better chance of understanding the BCS computer rankings than this whole international bonus business.

    • I bet Theo doesn’t blow $40 million this time for the right to negotiate with one Japanese pitcher.

      • I think this bonus pool stuff is only for players under 22 or 23, if you are over that age, no controls on what you can spend

  23. Everybody expecting to see Gerrit Cole on Thursday, sorry.

    • Walk-up attendance not pleased.

    • Have they announced the rotation for the whole series? Are they just plugging in Locke in Cole’s spot?

      • According to the Pirates site it is Cumpton, Locke, Gomez, Cole the next 4 games

        • well, there is no cole mania to worry about, so no one should be impacted by moving Cole from 4th start to a Wrigley start…. :)

        • If at the beginning of the season you told me that those 4 pitchers where going to pitch consecutive games at any point during this season I would have asked you how many games the Pirates were below .500 and who did they get in return in the trades. Baseball is a very crazy game that that sometimes just defies odds.

  24. Heres a link to how this bonus pool stuff works, if anyone can cipher it, please try to explain it..

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/how-trading-international-pool-space-works/

    • If teams have a pool to spend from and can only trade half of it how are teams able to spend more than what they have? For instance how are players like Cepedes etc getting 7mil a year if teams only have pools of 4mil. This is totally goofy to me. Can’t trade draft picks but you can trade a fictional pool of money. Brilliant.

  25. Since we have reached the “halfway point” of the season in games played, and the All-Star break, both of which are important mileposts, every start from now on will have its importance magnified exponentially for pitchers.

    The young pitchers, like Cumpton, Locke and Cole.

    There will be a new kind of pressure they will feel. Not just being in the major leagues, but in a pennant race. Championship competition, they previously only heard about, and now are smack in the middle of it. It’s pretty exciting stuff.

    So far they have been fantastic. I hope they think little – and pitch a lot, just the way they know how. This is where Russell Martin will be most valuable IMO.

  26. On the issue above, I know that all starters have a bullpen session between starts. Conceivably Locke’s session there in the 14th inning would have served his needs, and Searage’s, in this regard.

    • If this is on Searage’s advice, then I’m all for it.

    • Locke may have thrown his session, if he had one scheduled that day, prior to the game.

    • Bullpen session between starts is day 2 after start so Locke would have done that. Bullpen session goes about 14 minutes. Warming up for a game goes about 30 minutes. Also, pen session the pitchers only throws about 70% of game intensity while warmup gets the pitcher to game intensity. Very different

  27. Game thread is up

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