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Morning Java: Deep thoughts on deep threats

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

WASHINGTON — Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Friday column looks into the case of Clint Hurdle v. A.J. Burnett and comes to the conclusion that this was an excellent thing for these Pirates.

Here, too, is game coverage of this really weird game by Rob Biertempfel.

And here are official game highlights from MLB.com.

Here’s some of what Burnett had to say afterward …

>> The weekly chat is today at noon, right here on the blog. You can submit entries within the field as soon as the post goes up. No need to wait on me.

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls

>> Today is the day the Steelers report, and tomorrow is their first practice at Saint Vincent. Alan Robinson provides all you need in that piece, as well as 10 musts and a few questions.

Duly inspired, here’s a question for you: Do you feel Ben Roethlisberger has any legitimate downfield threat with Mike Wallace no longer around?

If so, which of Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Plaxico Burress, Jerricho Cotchery or rookie Markus Wheaton would be the best bet?

Anyway, I’ll cover practice and write a Sunday column. Initial plan is to do one of those vignette-type pieces, just collecting a bunch of different scenes. We’ll see. Those are no picnic if the material isn’t there.

Oh, and check out the Steel Mill blog this weekend. You’ll see why.

>> Hope to have you in the chat!

And if you’re out in Latrobe and see a guy in a Green Lantern T holding a venti Starbucks drink, by all means, stop and say hello.

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.

Comments

  1. Ghost says:

    It was an ordinary day in July in the Capitol City. It’s on days like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. The the purple-faced gentleman at the top step was as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food cake. Number 34′s was not a fragrant world. He was staring down a muzzle that looked like the mouth of the Second Street tunnel.

  2. JohninOshkosh says:

    Great to see that picture of the coach patrolling practice. Only 15 days until the Steelers “play” the Giants.

    I’ll be in Green Bay scouting the Packers today. Nothing like seeing really, really big humans huffing and puffing in the summer heat (although the weather is supposed to be pleasant).

  3. Ghost says:

    The weather outside is what?

  4. Ed says:

    He said STFD!

  5. theplanisworking says:

    DK, while I technically agree with you about the Clint-AJ incident being not a big deal by itself, if Clint hadn’t been as aggressive with A.J. as he was, it could have been a very big deal.

    There is a fine line between being a passionate team leader, and an embarrassing jerk.

    Consider:

    AJ mentoring McDonald, Locke, Cole — good.
    AJ showing passion and fight — good.
    AJ addressing teammates when appropriate — good.
    AJ conducting team-building activities in the locker room — good.

    Then consider:

    AJ constantly showing up the umpires — bad.
    AJ acting petulant when things don’t go his way — bad.
    AJ reacting poorly during the rain delay last saturday — bad.
    AJ’s antics yesterday regarding the use of bullpen — bad.

    Recently group 2 behavior has been more prevalent than group 1 behavior. This cannot be considered good in any way. Yes, we want a passionate AJ…….. but we don’t want him crossing that fine line into “punkdom”. Consider that the younger members of the team look up to him, especially one Gerrit Cole. Cole has some attitude issues of his own, so anything bad shown by AJ could have a profound impact on him.

    I was told yesterday in here that there is nothing wrong with AJ’s behavior……… he was just being passionate, and AJ wasn’t a robot. I have never implied any player has to be a robot. I just want smart players, who stay on the “right” side of the “passionate” line, and don’t become a distraction themselves. With the recent behavior by AJ, I feel we have a right to be concerned. How much of a concern is left up to each and every one of us, ourselves.

    DK: Hadn’t really thought of it from the what-if-he-hadn’t perspective. That’s an interesting way to approach it.

  6. Ghost says:

    When you lay it out as you have, it’s hard to disagree that A.J. ‘could’ veer too far off course. But Clint did lay down the law and he did it at just the right time, yesterday. This team still needs A.J. to be A.J. — that they came back and tied that game up shows that his fire in the belly and will to persevere is still a great asset for this team. Clint has to be the last word and the adult among adults, though. If you let the inmates run the asylum, well, then you get THIS place! ;) Lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) got nothing on Hippos and Branimals and Ghosts and Sand Crabs running amok in the same room!

  7. Ghost says:

    That said: A Mother Theresa “thwap!” = Purple-faced man on steps. Bold-face Man carries authority, too. However, this authority is often diluted by the mischievous Sand Crab/Drewp Dogg and his impersonations of Bold-face Man.

  8. Drew71 says:

    So you’re saying AJ got a bold reaming?

    I liked his video comments. Essentially said what I think you’ve posted once or twice…”that’s baseball”.

    We’ll have to start to refer to AJ as Casper, a chip off the old Ghost.

  9. War Horse says:

    A lip-reading friend of mine and a couple of the technicians who witnessed yesterday’s interaction between Hurdle and Burnett have passed along this version of what was said:

    Clint: (As A.J. came to the dugout after motioning to the bullpen pitchers to sit down) “What the f*ck was that?”
    A.J. (Silent)
    Clint: “C’mon. I want to know. What the f*ck was that thing you just did?
    A.J. (Mumbles, undecipherable)”
    Clint: (Following him into the dugout) “If that was what I think it was, I want to know what else you have in mind for the game. Are you gonna make the calls from now on?”
    A.J. “I was feelin good about gettin out of the inning.”
    Clint: “Well, fine. I’m happy you’re feelin’ good. But telling the pen when to sit down isn’t your call. You do not tell them when to stop throwing. Unless you wanna be the manager.”
    A.J. “(Silent)
    Clint: “You might not get to bat this inning. If we get a chance to score.”
    A.J. “O.K.”
    Clint: (Smiling, now) “Someday, maybe you’ll get to manage a ball club. When your playing days are done.”)
    A.J. (Head down. Silent. Mumbles.) “They don’t give me any support.”
    Clint: “It’s not you and them. It’s us. The whole gang. We play together. Sh*t like that happens.”
    A.J. (Silent)
    Clint: “If you want to manage, maybe I can find you a job in the instructional league.”
    A.J. (Smiling)
    Clint: “In the meantime, let me run the show. If I get thrown out, maybe you can tell them what to do. But not in the meantime.”

  10. Mike says:

    Personally, I like AJ’s attitude – I think he brought a much needed “mean streak” to the pirates last year, and it has meant a lot to the team. I don’t want him to chance one bit.

    And I think it’s too late in his career for him change anyway.

    Talk back to the umps, get mad, whatever he needs to do is fine with me. I’m sure he does enough mentoring behind the scenes with guys like Cole and Locke that how he acts on the field won’t have a negative impact with them.

    Besides, I’d love for Cole to have the exact same attitude as AJ does on the field. I think he pretty much already has it. Being cocky to an extent is a great thing if you have the talent to back it up.

  11. Drew71 says:

    You’re friends are pretty good.

    But they missed where AJ and Clint burst into song.

  12. JoeyBats says:

    Hoka Hey everyone!
    .
    PROSPECT UPDATE:
    Here’s an update of the performance of top picks in the recent Pirate drafts:
    .
    2013: (1st round, 9th pick) Austin Meadows….OF…GCL Pirates …. .263/ .344 / .544 … 2 HR, 8 RBI, 16 K, 6 BB, 0 SB, in 14 games and 57 AB’s. Austin bats from the LEFT side.
    .
    2013: (1st round, 14th pick) Reese McGuire…. C …GCL Pirates …. .429/.481/ .557 … 0 HR, 10 RBI, 5 K, 6 BB, 3 SB, in 17 games and 70 AB’s. Reese bats from the LEFT side.
    .
    2012: (1st round 45th pick) Barrett Barnes…OF…West Virginia…. .268/.338/.399 ….5 HR, 24 RBI, 48 K, 17 BB, 10 SB in 46 Games and 183 AB’s (Mark Appel was selected #1 and went unsigned). Barrett bats from the RIGHT side.
    .
    2011: Gerritt Cole…RHP…pitching with the Pirates
    .
    2010: Jameson Taillon …RHP … Altoona…4 W, 7 L, 3.76 ERA …..105.1 IP, 108 H, 100 K, 36 BB, 8 HR….1.37 WHIP
    .
    2009: Tony Sanchez…. C ….Indy…. .293/.371/.512 … 10 HR, 42 RBI , 58 K, 27 BB, 0 SB, in 75 games and 256 AB’s. Tony bats from the RIGHT side.
    .
    PS: Stetson Allie (2010 draft…2nd round) was moved up to Bradenton about 5-6 weeks ago. His line there is .246/.366/.390 … 2 HR, 12 RBI, 45 K, 22 BB, 0 SB in 33 games and 118 AB’s. He bats from the RIGHT side.
    .
    Beat Em Bucs !!

  13. 21sthebest says:

    Half Breed?

  14. Drew71 says:

    Lola

  15. Jandy says:

    A Ghostie reference! I’m honored :)

  16. Thundercrack says:

    and the don’t-wake-me John Russell era.

    That just made my day.

  17. Jandy says:

    Priceless!

  18. Jandy says:

    Good stuff, Hippo!

  19. Thundercrack says:

    Really like today’s column DK,

    But I do slightly disagree regarding last year. Clint deserves blame, but I believe more of it rests with that they lacked talent and depth.

  20. JoeyBats says:

    Hmmmm…when Manager Clint got thrown out of the game….was it AJ that decided to bring in Bryan Morris to pitch the bottom of the 9th ?? ;-)

  21. Naje says:

    Nice read, DK. One of the things to take into consideration was the 55 players that paraded through the PNC clubhouse in 2011 and nearly that many in 2012. And many of those players, especially the younger ones, were fairly wet behind the ears.

    Don’t you think Alvarez and Cutch and others could have used a good, “Hey, get your act together!” purple-faced lashing last year during the collapse? A lot of us would have loved that. You probably would have said that’s the wrong thing to do with young, developing stars. But he did bench Cutch two years ago… and he maintained an inordinate amount of patience with Alvarez.

    Last year’s lessons were this year’s catalyst for his player committee. I’ll take that trade. Seems to be working out pretty well.

  22. kr70 says:

    3-4-5, 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position , that’s a concern. anyone in Miami that might be switching dugouts? they certainly ought to be sellers.

  23. JAL says:

    JAL’s Slip Slidin’ Away Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_H-LY4Jb2M

    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: You Can Never Have Too Much Depth

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/first-pitch-you-can-never-have-too-much-depth.html

    Harper’s Walkoff Homer Lifts Nationals 9-7 over Pirates

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/harpers-walkoff-homer-lifts-nationals-9-7-over-pirates.html

    Prospect Watch: Altoona Throws No-Hitter, Indianapolis Gets No-Hit

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/07/prospect-watch-altoona-throws-no-hitter-indianapolis-gets-no-hit.html

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates lose 9-7 in strangest game of year

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/7/25/4557428/pirates-lose-9-7-in-strangest-game-of-year

    8 WHYGAVS

    Game 100: Nationals 9 Pirates 7

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/july-2013/game-100-nationals-9-pirates-7.html

    9 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Fall Behind, Rally, Lose 9-7

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/07/bucs-fall-behind-rally-lose-9-7.html

    10 Rumbunter

    Marlins Maniac Analyzes Fish, Pirates Series; Giancarlo Stanton Trade Questions

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/07/25/marlins-maniac-analyzes-fish-pirates-series-giancarlo-stanton-trade-questions/

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Nationals 9 Pirates 7

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/07/nationals-9-pirates-7/

  24. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Washington Post

    Bryce Harper’s walk-off home run against Pirates ends Nationals’ six-game skid

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/bryce-harpers-walk-off-home-run-against-pirates-ends-nationals-six-game-skid/2013/07/25/7dec4f0a-f567-11e2-9434-60440856fadf_story.html

    13 H4TV

    Who is Baseball’s Toughest Division in 2013?

    http://www.h4-entertainment.com/2013/07/who-is-baseballs-toughest-division-in-2013/

    14 Washington Times

    Bryce Harper’s walk-off homer saves Nationals after Rafael Soriano’s meltdown

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/nationals-watch/2013/jul/25/bryce-harpers-walk-homer-saves-nationals-after-raf/

    15 City of Champions

    MLB Trade Rumors: Nate Schierholtz, Raul Ibanez best fits for Pirates

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2013/07/25/mlb-trade-rumors-schierholtz-or-ibanez-are-best-fits-for-pirates/

    16 CBS Sports

    Pirates v Marlins Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130726_PIT@MIA/piratesmarlins-preview

    17 Grantland

    Forget PEDs, Baseball Is Fun As Hell Right Now

    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/69554/forget-peds-baseball-is-fun-as-hell-right-now

    18 PBC Site

    Bucs rally late, but win streak snapped on walk-off

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_07_25_pitmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Notebook: McKenry, Liriano working well as battery mates

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130725&content_id=54706064&notebook_id=54707174&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Development Disasters

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21357

    20 Fangraphs

    Daily Notes: Statistical Update on 2013s First-Round Picks

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/daily-notes-statistical-update-on-2013s-first-round-picks-2/

  25. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    The down times are often enough to make fans appreciate the success

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/7/25/4555208/the-down-times-are-often-enough-to-make-fans-appreciate-the-success

    Behind The Steel Curtain announces ‘The Renegade,’ a day-long season-preview issue

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/7/25/4555668/steelers-season-preview-the-renegade

    22 Steelers Depot

    - The Terrible Podcast

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/07/the-terrible-podcast-talking-steelers-training-camp-preview-outside-linebackers-long-snappers-more-episode/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Mail

    BT Sport aiming for ‘inner sanctum access’ to improve Premier League broadcasting… and here’s a look at their new studios

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2378077/BT-Sport-want-access-teams-dressing-rooms-interviews-ambitious-plan.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 25th July, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-25th-july-2013

  26. JAL says:

    Slip Slidin” Away Paul Simon 1977 For the Pirate’s first inning yesterday where the ball kept slip slidin’ away

  27. Jandy says:

    fitting!

  28. Jandy says:

    Congrats to Billy Guerin – elected to the US Hockey Hall of Fame:
    http://www.ushockeyhalloffame.com/news_article/show/272881?referrer_id=843486

  29. Jandy says:

    Billy is first class, here’s his response:
    most isn’t the accomplishments. Rather it’s the friendships he’s built along the way.

    “The best thing about playing hockey is the people,” Guerin said. “I played on eight teams and came in contact with some incredible people that have become life-long friends. The game’s given me everything and owes me nothing. I owe the game everything. From the experiences of winning Stanley Cups, winning World Cups, participating in the Olympics, bringing my family to different places because of hockey. Hockey has given me everything in my life.

    “So many people in the game have given me more than I can ever give. I’m eternally grateful to be in this world. Hockey is a small world. There are a lot of special people in it that have helped me and supported me along the way.”

    http://penguins.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=678950&navid=DL|PIT|home

  30. meglasdad says:

    I also believe Huntington deserves blame. He didn’t kill chemistry, that’s overrated (remember the A’s of the early ’70′s? The 25 guys 25 cabs Red Sox of a few years ago?). Huntington killed morale. The players were looking for help. Wanted help. Instead, they got years of control. Absolutely killed them. Ripped out their hearts. IMHO

  31. meglasdad says:

    Oh by the way DK, you NAILED IT! Good job as usual.

  32. Drew71 says:

    I don’t know if I agree with Dejan.

    I don’t know if I DISagree.

    It was a thing that made me go hmmm.

    One of my definitions of a good column: gets me to think about something in a different way, or consider something new. Agreement not required.

    So yes. I liked it, too.

    I’ll do an adjective count later. Just to be sure.

  33. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks, jandy.

    You know me, never looking for accolades in my writing. I just see something, and comment.
    I hope I am wrong about AJ’s behavior, but ever since he came off the DL, I have noticed more of a bad edge to his behavior. Maybe its nothing, but this team is young, and it needs the “good” type of leadership in the final 60 games.

  34. John Diulus says:

    I was really disappointed to read about the Braves losing their 1st baseman for the year due to a broken ankle. As one who believes strongly that a trade for a power/productive 1st baseman/RF (and possibly even bench bat) could push the Bucs in to solid contention for a World Series bid, it is now clear to me that prices will probably go even higher now. I gotta believe that the Braves, who may not have been in trade market before the injury, are now going to looking if not actual buyers. One knows what any market says about supply and demand…..
    However, I’m still holding out hope that a reasonable bat will become available at reasonable price for the Bucs!

  35. Thundercrack says:

    Sorry, I don’t buy that.
    Plus they, the players, had 2 months to fix the morale.

  36. Thundercrack says:

    The column made me think about it a different way too. And provided good insight into the clubhouse and Clint.

    The way I read it and interpreted DK’s writing was that he seemed to put too much blame on Clint. Maybe that wasn’t his intention but that is what I took away from the column.

  37. Wild Bill says:

    Loved both the column and tpiw’s thoughts as well. Most of the time, I don’t take too seriously anything that happens in a testosterone laden dugout. But yesterday showed why Clint and A.J are both cool with me. That little fracas happened in the fifth inning of a sloppy, day after night game, lousy umpired ball game that the Pirates of the past might have just mailed in from there – ala the John Russell era. Instead they fought like heck the rest of the way and the loss will be remembered among them for that reason and should not be a problem going forward. There are some fearsome competitors in that dugout, and everybody else will get in line.

  38. Jose Bats,

    Thanks for this ‘stuff!’

    It is ALWAYS appreciated!

  39. NMR says:

    Cue Michel Therrien. If that is true, these guys are SOFFFFF.

    Grow up, wipe your nose, and go play some d*mn baseball.

  40. NMR says:

    They score SEVEN runs and we STILL b*tch about RISP?

  41. Patrick says:

    I think all of the young pitchers that belong to The Reformed church of STFD got a great lesson yesterday. How NOT to react to a series of errors. How far you can push a manager, even a player friendly one. Overall just what is and what isn’t allowed. Hopefully AJ will make sure that they also know that they will need to pitch a decade or so before even attempting to do what he did, and even then they can expect to skip a notch in their belt after the manager chews some of their *** off.

    I was at work so I missed the whole event. Saw it later last night though. Whenever stuff like this happens I always wonder…”I wonder what would have happened if player X had done that when Billy Martin was manager…?”

  42. I agree with Cracker.

    The reason you remember the 70′s A’s and punk Red Sox is because they WON. Few teams with their disunity win. You went back 40 years!!

    Clint certainly deserves some blame for “falling off cliff” two straight seasons, but not even Oshkosh b’Gosh in the hinterland of farming Wisconsin can “make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

    Depth!

  43. NMR says:

    Emphatically agreed.

  44. TJA says:

    This was perfect yesterday. Hurdle indeed showed who is the boss. To have this happen to a veteran starter who has been through a few rodeos….perfect. What an excellent example that was set for the rest of the team and organization. And, maybe a few young fans (or old like me) who saw an example of “accountability”. Great stuff!
    _____________________________________________________________________
    On another topic: Big series this weekend in Miami. Milo brought a good point up yesterday on this blog that they cannot look too far ahead with the Cardinals coming in for this 5 game set next week. But, seeing what we saw yesterday…I am guessing Clint will make sure they play ‘em one at a time vs. the Fish and not look ahead.

  45. National Mart of Records,

    Yes! When that famous Rogers Hornsby impersonator Josh Harrison drove in 4 of the runs!!

    I’ll quit worrying about RISP when Rogers—oops, I mean JHay—repeats that performance 3 more times.

  46. Patrick says:

    I don’t think it killed morale as much as they just got mentally exhausted. It’s not groundbreaking to mention the importance of mental toughness in baseball. Fighting ‘mental fatigue’ of a long season is very real.

    There is no metric to measure it, but I’ve always believed that the trade deadline brings and added element of excitement and energy into a locker room in which those things might are starting to wane. Typically players coming to a team in contention are from teams that are not, and they are good, veteran players (usually). Veteran players coming from a bad team to a good team that are excited to leave a losing team and come to a team with a shot at October.

    An emotional boost so to speak.

  47. NuseUSMC says:

    Great column. I agree with the Hurdle insights. You can see him taking controll of the team. I just wonder if with the way the inmates ran the asylum before Hurdle if it took those 2 years for him to be able to assert his controll. And if the lessons he learned were not already there from his time in Colorado but he was not able to completly put them in motion till now. You can be the greatest leader in the world but if no one follows it doesnt make a difference

  48. NMR says:

    Completely different types of behavior, Naje.

    IMO, you cannot berate a player into hitting better.

  49. Mr. Plan,

    Really excellent evaluation of AJ above. Excellent perspective, excellent and concise presentation.

    Made me think! Made me nod my head. Many folks do not do that! Thank you.

  50. John Diulus says:

    I agree that Hurdle HAD TO say something to A.J. As valuable as A.J.’s mentoring may be to the youngsters, I can be pretty obvious that A.J. “loses” his perspective a bit when pitching – albeit to his competitive nature. I can appreciate that he thought that he had re-gained control of the/his game, but a player such as he can not tell the bullpen to sit. We never were shown whether anyone who may have been warming up actually started to step towards their folding chair or not – but given A.J.’s stature amoung the pitchers, I can believe that the pen may have followed his instructions (unless if course the pen coach stepped in). Hurdle WAS CORRECT. But I did find it interesting that Clint followed A.J. To the on-deck circle, constantly smiling, while seeming to attempt to ensure all was good. Think that shows how much Hurdle was attempting to cause no waves in a pool where the water us currently just fine!

  51. NMR says:

    So now we get production from the bench but we’re b*tching about who produced it?

    Man.

    This team cannot win with some people.

  52. Nate83 says:

    Plus they where 16 games above .500 and controlled their own destiny. All they had to do is continue playing the way that they had up until that point.

    This wasn’t a team just outside the wild card spot that needed something to get over the hump. They were already over the hump and simply playing .500 ball the rest of the way against an easy schedule would have got them in the playoffs easily. I feel and always will fill that the second collapse was completely on the players.

    I still like every single last one of the players. Really good group of guys that are easy to like. I can’t say the same about the Steelers even though I watch ever game and yell like a crazy person everytime something good or bad happens.

  53. NMR says:

    Thats great.

    Except it doesn’t explain how SELLERS last year somehow managed to show up to work everyday and do their jobs better than the Pirates.

    How did the Brewers and Phillies ever manage to go on without Grienke and Pence?

  54. Nate83 says:

    Ha, first time I read this for some reason I read it has cue Micheal Bolton. I know it says Therrien but in my head I was thinking Bolton. Must be my love of the movie Office Space.

  55. NMR says:

    I’m just surprised Dejan didn’t give Nutting’s Investigation credit for changing Clint’s demeanor.

    Ahhh, just kidding.

    I thought this was an excellent column. Really.

  56. JAL,

    Waiting impatiently here for your personal ruminations on games from last two days.

    You were physically present, right? Tell us what your eyeballs affixed on. Especially at yesterday’s Armageddon.

  57. Nate83 says:

    If they take 2 out of 3 from the Marlins that is a 6-4 record on a 10 game road trip. They win with me for that alone. Any team in baseball would take that 10 game road trip record even if it was agains 3 below average teams which these games are not.

  58. NMR says:

    You know, I started to write something contradicting your point about “inmates running the asylum” because I just assumed the 2010 and 2012 teams were so different, but I was surprised to see the number of key contributors who were on both teams.

    You could be on to something.

  59. John Diulus says:

    Since I’ve already posted about my hopes for a trade, I’ll keep this post limited to yesterday’s loss: in a sport where losing games is as much a part of winning as anything else, I gotta write that the game was a fun loss to watch. If Bucs can make losses that much fun to watch, I know we are having a very good year!
    Good teams will lose 60-70 games during a season, so knowing that we are going to lose our share, I had no bad taste in my mouth after the game. The Bucs played well despite 1st inning errors and some continued runners left on base. It was a fun game to watch. I wish that I felt the same way after most of our losses!

  60. Patrick says:

    Well I wouldn’t expect a team that sells its players to simply mail it in for the rest of the year. As you put it: Wipe your nose and go play some baseball.

    I don’t blame the entire collapse on a lack of acquisitions at the deadline. Or all on Hurdle. Or all on the players. I don’t think it was any ONE thing, it was all of those things. And others.

    It’s impossible to say that even if they had gotten Grienke and Pence it would have been different. Maybe it turns out the same. But if they had brought in more players, and the team still collapsed, at least we would have a better idea where to lay the burden of blame.

    Meh…that was last year. I’m over it.

  61. Wide Receiver Nate,

    I just read today on another page at Trib that you as a GM would trade PEDRO ALVAREZ . . . . . today . . . . . straight up . . . . . . for GREGORY POLANCO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Dude!! Too many concussions playing football!! Get checked!

    “Prospect” vs. “Production.”

    That’s like marrying the fat girl while saying you know there is a skinny girl inside. [no offense, Hippo!]

  62. OK Milo!

    Today is game #101. Your countdown begins!!!!! You stated the firs’ hunnerd was just “Preface.”

  63. Thundercrack says:

    +1

  64. Patrick says:

    Some players are different. I knew a coach once who would snap at his best player (this was Palamino, mind you. Kid was 17) and chew him out whenever he had a string of bad ABs and started draggin his feet.

    In his words: “If I chewed him out he is thinking about how how angry he is at me, and not being 0-4 last game.”

    I remember Ozzie Guillen saying something similar a few years ago about Carlos Quentin. It depends on the player, but some guys can’t get themselves out of a funk and need someone to kick them in the ***. I’m sure those guys at the ML level are very few and far between though.

  65. Dom says:

    If I’d select an underdog to be our biggest downfield threat this upcoming season, I’d go with Wheaton. Brown will go up against the #1 CB, Sanders has had a below mediocre career, Plex and Jericho are #3 caliber players.

    Wheaton might not have Mike Wallace speed but he did run the 40 in 4.45 seconds and he was disappointed about that.

    To be honest, I really don’t see a solid group of receives on our team and that could spell disaster in the fall.

  66. Bizrow says:

    Always looking for new sign ups of current residences of folks that post here

    Don’t be shy, if you haven’t logged in, please do.

    I’ll post the list of lunatic locations tonight on the game thread.

    Sure wish the PBC could have pulled that one out yesterday.

    Do the Cards ever lose??

  67. ONCE is not a trend. Awaken me when bench does it again.

    However, RISP from “big boys” is a frightful trend.

    A baseball season is lon-on-on-ong. A team builds to get better. For this team to continue to improve in its last 62, the Big Boys must begin to drive in runs———more than just singleton homers.

  68. Bizrow says:

    Per MLBTradeRumors, Soriano to Yankees is a done deal, pending budmeister signoff of cash part

  69. TJA says:

    Sure seems the Cards never lose. I was hoping the Phillies might help their cross state foes.

  70. Nate83 says:

    A little context is needed there Groat. You were questioning Travis putting Polanco ahead of Alverez on the top 25 pirate most valuable commodities and asked would he trade them striaght up. I did not say I as GM would do it.

    I said I have to believe some GM’s would do it based on Alverez having Boris as an agent, Polanco’s ability to get even better because of how raw he is and how good his approach at the plate is already and the fact the two months of Pedro does not mean that is the Pedro we will get going forward.

    I also mentioned that if Pedro continued this and finished the year batting .260 with 40 HR’s I may have to rethink it but until he does that I can’t assume his June and July will be his normal production going forward.

    I was hit in the head a lot playing football but the comment isn’t as crazy as you suggest or make it sound when taken out of context.

  71. Domske,

    So, what you’re really saying about “Star Trek” Wheaton is: a 2 at 10 is a 10 at 2!

  72. Dom says:

    Boo. We should have obtained him.

  73. Thundercrack says:

    Right.
    ‘Win or be fired’ may light a fire for some people.

  74. Space Cadet Soriano goes to Evil Empire Yankees. Seems appropriate.

    Bud’s delay in approving only because he dropped his cell in the toilet because he was so excited Yankees get to spend money to improve.

  75. Jandy says:

    You know I always appreciate your perspective, even if I don’t agree with it. In this case, much like Dejan and Groat, you presented an angle I hadn’t seen, and made me think.
    I hope the Pond is swimmingly good today :)

  76. NMR says:

    Haha, I think I’ve commented three times about last years issues, but yeah, I’ll certainly agree with your last sentence.

    Good conversation, though. Thanks, Patrick.

  77. Dom says:

    Oh, I forgot that he nixed a trade to us last year. Maybe that’s why we never pursued him this year.

  78. NMR says:

    I’d be shocked if most, if not all, GM’s would refuse to trade Pedro for Polanco in a heartbeat

  79. Bizrow says:

    I think last year, Soriano nixed all trades, I know the Giants got nixed by him

  80. NMR says:

    The Yankees kill me.

    Russell Martin was too expensive to keep at $16m over two years, but now they’re going to pay Soriano $18m for one year and two months?

    Yep. Perfect sense.

  81. AJS says:

    OK. I have been pondering this for a long time. And yesterday it just boiled over. WHY HAS THE SAVE STAT BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN WINNING!

    More precisely why was Mark Melancon not in the game in the 9th? Well because if, that’s IF, the Bucs ever get the lead he needs to be available for that all important save of course!

    Would you rather have your BEST RELIEF PITCHER on the mound when:

    a) You absolutely HAVE to shut the other team down or you lose OR
    b) When you have a lead of a run and need 3 outs to end the game…a run scores…you play another inning. A little bit of wiggle room if you will.

    I’d rather have him out there in scenario a. Most managers in this league would apparently rather wait until b. Just mind blowing to me that something as silly as an arbitrary statistic like the save perpetuates this notion.

  82. Dom says:

    I read that the Cubs are paying the majority of Soriano’s salary.

  83. Bizrow says:

    Yanks are picking up about 6.8 million

  84. kr70 says:

    we have to lead the league in homers with none on.

  85. JohninOshkosh says:

    Samir: No one in this country can ever pronounce my name right. It’s not that hard: Na-ghee-na-na-jar. Nagheenanajar.

    Michael Bolton: Yeah, well, at least your name isn’t Michael Bolton.

    Samir: You know, there’s nothing wrong with that name.

    Michael Bolton: There *was* nothing wrong with it… until I was about twelve years old and that no-talent ass clown became famous and started winning Grammys.

    Samir: Hmm… well, why don’t you just go by Mike instead of Michael?

    Michael Bolton: No way! Why should I change? He’s the one who sucks.

  86. Bizrow says:

    It was a rest day for Melancon, he would not have pitched no matter what, at least that was my understanding

  87. AJS says:

    OK so it wasn’t Clint who made this call as he was in the room watching the broadcast, but I guarantee it would not have been any different with him in the dugout.

  88. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hi Groat. Hope you are well!

  89. AJS says:

    that is a good point that he had pitched two days in a row. But, I bet even if he were available, Morris pitches the 9th. We have seen it over and over again. The only time they ever use Grilli(now Melancon) in the 9th in a tie game is at home when a save will NEVER be availiable. Even then they usually use Melancon(now wilson/watson/morris) in the 9th and the closer in the 10th if it is still tied. If the save still has a shot at happening they will save the closer for it. Even if it means putting a lesser pitcher out there n a “get three outs or we go home” situation.

  90. Thundercrack says:

    AJS,
    You and Biz are correct. Yesterday was a rest day for Melancon.
    And no matter where Clint was watching the game from – Melancon was not going to pitch in yesterday’s game.

  91. Wild Bill says:

    Best thing about it – a notorious Pirate killer is gone!

  92. Dom says:

    Now that Soriano is gone, who is on the top of everyone’s wish list?

    In no specific order, I want Marlon Byrd, Raul Ibanez, and/or Kendrys Morales.

  93. pattonbb says:

    Pirates were on his no trade list

  94. Nate83 says:

    Fair enough but maybe at the end of May when Pedro was hitting .180 you would have felt a little different. People wanted him off the team at that time. He was getting booed at home games. When I suggested he would get his average back up to .240 by the end of the year I was told I was crazy. Probably by Groat ironically. Our perception of him is clouded based on the last two months. I like him and I’m rooting for him but I have no idea what he will become. I have less of a clue on him then almost any other player on this team.

    At the end of the day if he ends up being good enough to not be traded for the 22nd ranked prospect in all of baseball I don’t think we will be able to sign him with Boris as his agent.

    Not to mention this was a hypothetical and not based on the Pirates being in a pennant race and making that exact trade right now. Obviouly right now I would not make that trade because as Groat said current production for the Pirates is much more valuable then potential. For another team maybe not so much escpecially if they know they are not going to compete for a couple of years and they have no chance to re-sign Alverez.

  95. Bizrow says:

    Um, Roberto Clemente??? ;-)

  96. NMR says:

    I think my response was confusing, Nate.

    Let me rephrase: I’d be shocked if most GM’s wouldn’t prefer Polanco over Pedro.

  97. AJS says:

    Can you please elaborate as to why in the world you would want a 90 year old outfielder with ho hum average and moderate power with a tendency to get hurt?

  98. Nate83 says:

    Panic!!!! They need to win it’s what they are use to doing and what their fans expect. Sadly getting Soriano does not make them good enough to compete with Baltimore, Tampe Bay and Boston. Their record is actually better then their stats show they should be. Luckily for their fans they will realize they don’t know how to build a team the right way and they will just go back to overspending for free agents next off season.

  99. NMR says:

    Oops, I’m an idiot…read the teams backwards.

    Ok, I feel better now.

  100. Jandy says:

    My perspective is, if the Big Boys get hits with RISP, then we win the game yesterday.
    Nuff said.

    Another perspective….we won’t be taking 3 of 4 from St. Louis, so you gotta get the ones you can.

  101. Jandy says:

    hey John Diulus, I may have missed you posting before, but want to welcome you to the Lunatics’ Asylum. Dejan is the head lunatic.
    Bizrow (a famous poster on this blog) keeps a record of hometowns represented by the loonies who comment here.
    Have we included your home town? Just let us know and we’ll be sure we do.
    :)

  102. NMR says:

    We’re going to ignore the fact that yesterday was only a rest day because Melancon was used with a four run lead two games ago?

    There is the problem.

  103. Nate83 says:

    My fault. I read it as you saying there is no way anyone would trade Alverez for Polanco.

  104. NMR says:

    Correction, TWO 90 year old outfields with ho hum average and moderate power.

  105. Arriba Wilver says:

    “And if you’re out in Latrobe and see a guy in a Green Lantern T holding a venti Starbucks drink, by all means, stop and say hello.”

    Sheldon Cooper’s going to be there? :-)

    Excellent column.

  106. AJS says:

    I kinda got that move. At the time. They wanted to get himout there in the ninth in his new role in a situation with a little less stress. But if they start making a habbit of it then i will have a problem.

  107. Jandy says:

    Nuse…welcome to the Asylum. We Loonies here love to share thoughts (especially NMR!). Bizrow (another loonie) keeps a record of all the inmate’s hometowns. If you haven’t posted your hometown, let us know and Biz will add it!
    :)

  108. Nate83 says:

    Makes me smile every time. Thank John.

  109. Jandy says:

    ++++

  110. I prefer last season’s Garrett Jones, last season’s Neil Walker, and last season’s Michael McKenry———along with 3 seasons ago Gaby Sanchez. Some wild-and-crazy Serbian plotted similar thoughts recently.

    The questions is: do those 4 individuals still exist?!

    How about Carl Crawford to play rightfield and leadoff? Dodgers have excess of outfielders. If they ate half his salary and took Nick Kingham, he could make our line-up dynamic.

  111. Jandy says:

    Priceless!

  112. Jandy says:

    Their loss is our gain :) (Martin)

  113. Dom says:

    I assume you’re referring to Ibanez. Of those three, I suppose he would be last on the list.

    I want him because he has 24 homers this year. He’s a lefty who I think will shine in PNC park.

    Who do you recommend?

  114. AJS says:

    I was ignoring Byrd as I think that is just hilarious and speaking more towards Ibanez who some people are in love with. He is essentially another Pedro Alvarez. .259 and 24 dingers though he hits lefties and righties about equally. I am not looking for another all or nothing bat. And I am not looking to trade anyone away for a guy who could break down any day now.

  115. Thundercrack says:

    I may be in the Latrobe area today.

    I hope DK has his camera

  116. Jandy says:

    ZING!

  117. AJS says:

    I really don’t have any solutions to be honest with you. This market sucks. I think DeJan got it right with the best trade they could make is to trade Jones for last years version. And last year’s version is much closer to the real Garrett Jones than this year’s. I really think he will have a much better second half. I’d be wiling to bet on that over taking Ibanez.

  118. Dom says:

    Byrd is 35. He’s not that old.

    He has 17 homers and a .282 BA. I don’t how that is mediocre.

  119. Thundercrack says:

    Not going to speak for ‘We’, but I didn’t have a problem with Melancon going into the game with a four run lead.

    And I don’t have a problem with the use of the bullpen yesterday.

    162 games. As someone once said “That’s baseball’.

  120. Oshkosh b’Gosh!

    Some say our civilization is still evolving.

    Thank you for proving that is not true by quoting verbatim the “Office Space” dialogue above.

    By the way, I was quoting it with you.

    Devolution!!!!

  121. Jandy says:

    It’s always good to see Groat “pop” in

  122. Dom says:

    Well, I agree that this market is not too good. However, I like our chances a lot more if we add someone of the caliber of Byrd than to keep someone like Snider who will keep getting decent playing time.

    What’s the harm in obtaining someone like Byrd?

  123. Bob Hasis says:

    For NH to throw in a bid for Soriano and have him (Soriano) reject us, to me is akin to asking the ugliest girl for a dance and have her turn me down.

    Even to be on his no-trade list is disconcerting. NH could develop a complex.

  124. JohninOshkosh says:

    It was always my experience, me being the one wearing the amusing t shirt, that kids wearing such shirts got beat up by the kids on the football team.

    Be careful, Dejan.

  125. Dom says:

    I don’t understand your logic. What’s the harm in adding him? I’d rather have two Pedros than one Pedro and one Travis Snider.

  126. JAL says:

    Was only there yesterday. My impressions–pretty good team if they keep their heads in the game. First inning was awful. The botched rundown was more than Pedro missing the throw. You move the runner back, not forward. Barmes should have thrown the ball much earlier to move the runner toward 2nd where Mercer would move for throw. after runner is more than halfway to 2nd Pedro throws to Mercer, Barmes goes to third and so on. Certainly a play that should known from high school if not earlier.

    For a team that K’s a lot Pirates really work the count. Gonzalez was over 50 pitches in the 3rd.

    Can’t blame the players for most of the called 3rd strikes. The strike zone was a mystery to both teams.

    AJ pitched well. Should have been out the first with 1 run at most.

    Pirates hit several line drives that Nats made above average defensive plays on to keep runs from scoring.

    Nats 3 run 8th was more luck than skill.Nothing was hit really solid, just in the right spots.

    Jordy Mercer can develop into a solid MLB player. Not a star but certainly good enough to have a nice career.

  127. Bob Hasis says:

    I think I remember the Carl Crawford who went from Tampa Bay to Boston, and turned out to be a mere shadow of his former self

  128. JAL says:

    Soriano has a lot teams on his no trade list.

  129. Dom says:

    I meant to say, “I don’t know how that is mediocre.

  130. Thundercrack says:

    When people ask me what 3 people would you like to have coffee with at Starbucks, I always say:

    Dejan Kovacevic
    Sheldon Cooper
    Greg Brown

  131. Nate83 says:

    We actually play 5 against them because of the double header on Tuesday. We are home so I will be dissapointed if we don’t win the series and take 3. There is no reason to believe we are not just as good as them. The Pirates record 100 games in says they can hang. Their record this year against really good teams has been good. They have stepped up to the challange more the a few times this year.

  132. NMR says:

    Overpaying for a guy based on three months of performance that far outpace anything he’s done in his career, let alone recent history, and expecting it to continue?

    35 may not be that old compared to Ibanez, but it is well on the wrong side of prime in todays post-steroid era.

    Byrd and Ibanez both may very well continue their surprising seasons. But a 35-40 yo body in September is a lot different than April.

  133. The Gunner says:

    The Bucs can do without Soriano. Let’s hope the Cubs send him back to the AL, he always kills us when we play the Cubs.

  134. I have no problem with Melancon being used 2 games ago with a 4 run lead. Hurdle wanted to get his feet wet right away pitching in the 9th. Melancon had failed badly at it last season early with Red Sox.

    Hurdle tried NOT to have him pitch in 9th the next day, sending Wilson back out for the 9th . . . . . but Wilson gave up the 2-run dinger to Werth, forcing Clint’s hand.

    Dat’s da breaks ub da game! No problem! No problem at all!!

  135. Nate83 says:

    So Sheldon Cooper in character or the actor. I am assuming in character but just wanted to make sure.

  136. NMR says:

    Melancon already had two saves before entering the 9th two games ago.

    His feet were dripping.

  137. Thundercrack says:

    If they ask me if I had to pick one person to have a drink at Starbucks with, I always say PENNY!

  138. 21sthebest says:

    :-)

  139. He sure beat the Pirates tail almost singlehandedly when the Bucs went to Dodger Stadium and were swept earlier this season.

  140. Tony Watson has 2 saves also, but not as the “Designated 9th inning Guy.”

    Big difference! HUGE!

  141. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++++

  142. Patrick says:

    A lot of teams had Soriano on their “No way in ****” list

  143. NMR says:

    I won’t speak for AJS, but the situation isn’t just two Pedro’s or one Pedro and one Travis Snider.

    There are more players available.

  144. Dejan swears he’s 6’2″ and 240 pounds. Big Nerd!!

    Hope it’s a XXL Green Lantern tee.

  145. Dom says:

    Ok, I can kind of see what you’re saying.

    I don’t know what you define as over paying but I think we could obtain him for someone of the likes of Dilson Herrera. Although, Herrera might have decent numbers, chances are he will not amount to much. If you look at the guys whom we’ve had in Baseball America’s top 10 prospects, most of them have not amounted to much.

    I can understand your reluctance to obtain him due to his age but wouldn’t these guys be a better option than Snider?

  146. Nate83 says:

    20 saves with Houston as well. It’s not his first rodeo.

    Clint said they where facing the middle of the lineup in a hitter friendly park so he didn’t want to take a chance. I don’t know if I agree but definately understand the logic and think it is understandable. I guess the fact that they had the same 4 run lead the next night and gave up 2 runs supports his theory a little.

  147. The Gunner says:

    I guess I missed that Soriano is going to be in the Yankees lineup tonight per Yahoo.

  148. Dom says:

    Who do you recommend, then?

  149. Thundercrack says:

    I agree that this year’s trade market stinks.

  150. AJS says:

    Ummm…Freddy Freeman did not break his ankle…Tim Hudson broke his ankle on a play at first, he’s a pitcher. Pretty sure Freeman is OK unless I missed something.

  151. AJS says:

    Especially if the QB mopes every time a run play is called and he isn’t allowed to throw it 35 yards at a clip all the time. Or if the running game continues to be as putrid as it has been.

  152. JohninOshkosh says:

    AW:

    I saw a report from Comic Con that the “Big Bang” producers are working on getting a script put together for the new season where Amy Farrah Fowler and Shelden Cooper consummate their relationship. That could be a classic.

    Fun fact: Sheldon and Leonard are named after the producer, Sheldon Leonard, who produced such greats as the Andy Griffith Show, Dick Van Dyke Show, I Spy, among many others.

  153. 21sthebest says:

    We have 60 games left, we’re in a pennant race and IMO it’s time to stop treating these guys with kid gloves. i think it’s as plain as day that Melancon has the mental toughness to close. I have no idea why Hurdle felt it was necessary to use him with a four run lead.

    Yesterday he said they were looking for the right situation to use Black. I’d rather send the kid a message that you’re confident in him from the outset by using him in a close game.

  154. You Da Man, JAL.

    I had to be at a funeral yesterday, so saw zero. Caught bits and pieces on radio driving from church to cemetery (the deceased was a Pirate fan——he would understand).

    Your words helped me “see” the game, JAL. Thanks!!

    By the way, I agree 100 % with your 1st paragraph!!! Bugs the heck out of me! Rule # 1 in rundowns: “Run him back toward the base where he was!”

  155. AJS says:

    +1. There has to be a better option than Ibanez. That is my point. A younger less likely to trail off in September option.

  156. Bob Hasis says:

    How did he do that?

  157. 21sthebest says:

    “Last summer, most of what you heard from players was second guessing.”

    That line from DK’s column struck me. I wonder if those players now realize that they didn’t handle things as best they could and that they’ll behave differently this year? At least that’s my opinion on it. I still think they came off making excuses for their own failure over the last two months. Leave the front office decisions to the front office and if they come to you for input, give it. Otherwise give it the old company line and be supportive.

  158. AJS says:

    Being a better option than Snider is somewhat short sighted. If you think Snider hit his ceiling and we know what you are going to have from him than yes he is a better option than snider. If you think that there is something left in Snider we haven’t seen yet based on the power he exhibited in the minors then maybe you don’t throw him out with the trash.

    In a pennant race it is hard to justify the latter unless you think the price tag to acquire a better player is too high. And in todays trade market most prices are too high.

  159. Wide Receiver Nate,

    If you think being the Closer for a last place club is the same as being the Closer for a team battling for 1st Place and the best record in baseball, well . . . . . you leave me speechless.

    Melancon also had 11 “Blown Saves” in Houston with his 20 Saves.

  160. Bob Hasis says:

    He also has a contract which pays him 20 million + for the next four years

  161. Dom says:

    I apologize if this was brought up before but the bleacher report predicted that we will obtain Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios from the White sox. We will be parting with just Luis Heredia, Nick Kingham, and Jose Tabata.

    Sounds good to me.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1708948-mlb-trade-deadline-2013-team-by-team-predictions-and-preview#/articles/1708948-mlb-trade-deadline-2013-team-by-team-predictions-and-preview/page/23

  162. Armeen says:

    especially one Gerrit Cole. Cole has some attitude issues of his own…

    What? Cole is young and a bulldog. See no indications of an attitude issue.

  163. theplanisworking says:

    Knock, knock, knock……… Dejan!
    Knock, knock, knock……….Dejan!
    Knock, knock, knock……….Dejan!

    :)

  164. John Lease says:

    + infinity

  165. Jandy says:

    I’m not saying we aren’t as good as them, but I don’t see us sweeping them, do you? I’d be happy with 3 but I’d like to see 4.

    But I’m disappointed we didn’t sweep the Nats.

    Get my drift? ;)

  166. John Lease says:

    I wish Vin Mazzaro hadn’t sucked when he came in, or it WOULD have been a sweep.

    And trust me, he sucked.

  167. A1C McG says:

    John, i think you misread about the Braves. Tim Hudson, a pitcher (I believe their Ace), broke his ankle on a play at first two nights ago. It is by far one of the worst things i have ever seen in baseball, but also one of the classiest as the Mets player who stepped on his leg unintentionally appeared to be the first one beside Hudson checking on him to make sure he was ok and apologizing the entire time. If you havent seen the video I only suggest watching with a strong stomach due to the slow motion replay. Again one of the worst baseball related injuries i have ever seen.

  168. theplanisworking says:

    To:
    Ghost, Jandy, Drewby Doo, Mr. Hickock, Billy Groat, and others………….

    Thank you for the kind words at the top of the thread today.
    My post was not intended to be some deep, nebulous brain-teaser……… just an observation from yesterday’s game.

    This Hippo thanks you.

  169. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks Ghostie.

  170. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks Billy Groat.

  171. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks Jandy.
    The Pond IS swimmingly well today!

    Glad to be in here for some good interaction.

  172. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks, Mr. Hickock.

  173. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks Patrick.

  174. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks John.
    And welcome to our little home here.

  175. theplanisworking says:

    +4.

    I am not much of a “prospect man”….. err Hippo, but I do like to see how the kids are doing occasionally.

  176. theplanisworking says:

    Much like KMart in Rain Man,

    Michael Bolton Sucks.

  177. Dom says:

    In the past five years, Snider only hit above .250 once and had just one season when he racked up a decent amount of homers.

    Meanwhile, in the past five years, Byrd hit above .250 four out of five times and had a decent amount of homers in 3 of those years.

    What makes you think Snider could ever be the better option through the rest of the season?

    In my mind, the price should not be a factor unless we’re parting with Polanco or Taillon. We could very well not be in this position next year so we have to improve every position even if it is by just a slight amount.

    If you don’t want Byrd that’s fine but we can’t keep this as is.

  178. Dom says:

    Who would you want AJS? Who is a better option?

  179. theplanisworking says:

    +21. :)

  180. AJS says:

    I don’t have much of a problem with that. I know some say there is no way they would give up Heredia or Kingham. I think these guys are far enough away from the bigs that replacing them through the draft isn’t out of the question.

    I do question how a career .250 hitter hits .325 in 50 games this season but hey sounds like an improved bench bat to replace JHay to me.

  181. Nate83 says:

    He had 11 blown saves with an ERA of 2.73 on the year? I can only take you on your word since that particular stat I can’t find with my limited work web capabilities. That seems like a lot of blown save with such a good ERA.

  182. Wild Bill says:

    If Amy and Sheldon do it, she’s going to be the one giving directions.

  183. NMR says:

    For an “old school” guy, you really surprise me sometimes, Groat.

    This whole “designated 9th inning guy” mumbo jumbo is a blip on the radar screen in the history of the modern game.

  184. See above: “If they ate half his salary . . ” You may not be aware since you root for the Pirates, but many teams in the Majors have stars who are paid $10 mill a year. Even more.

    Bucs still need a Leadoff hitter and Crawford’s defense in rightfield would be a plus . . . . . right now AND for the next 3 years while Polanco is learning to be a player above A ball. {He of the .259 average, 2 HRs, 3 CS in 8 attempts, in 30 games and 108 ABs at AA}

  185. NMR says:

    Nate,

    Melancon blew 5 saves in 2011, not 11.

  186. Sisyphus says:

    He’s been out there in that role 24 times before in his career, including three times this year. It’s not new to him, and it isn’t really any different from pitching in the 8th.

  187. NMR says:

    Dom,

    I’m certainly not claiming to know the whole truth, but there are reports that both Jack Z. and Sandy want to keep bot players unless they are “blown away” by an offer. Lord knows why, but thats what they’re saying.

    Any normal year I’d agree with you, but IMO this is not the year to whip it out and have a contest, if you know what I mean.

  188. NMR says:

    Hahaha…

  189. NMR says:

    I got this one, Dejan.

    Bleacher Report.

  190. National Mart of Records,

    You and I appear on opposing sides a lot today. Not usually the case!

    So . . . I thought I would go on record as agreeing with your comment here!

  191. Drew71 says:

    So trade for last year’s.

  192. Nate83 says:

    Well, I guess I can’t take Groat at his word anymore. 11 seemed really high. Even 5 sounds high for such a good ERA but the Houston defense was probably pretty bad and he may have just given up runs when they only had 1 run leads. Bad luck sometimes plays a part.

  193. 21sthebest says:

    Crawford has 1 stolen base since May 22 and spent all of June on the DL with a strained hamstring. Seems too risky to me right now. And he’s never played right field in his entire 12 year career. Maybe not a huge issue but still.

  194. Drew71 says:

    He’s busy filming a new episode.

  195. AJS says:

    As I stated earlier. I don’t know. I’m not the GM though. It is his job to know. i don’t have time to research every guy that may be available and how much he might cost. All i know is that if Ibanez is the only option I wouldn’t be trading much away to get him.

  196. AJS says:

    i actually was about to reply to my own post with that when I got distracted with actual work.

  197. NMR says:

    I hate when that happens.

  198. Bleacher Report is just above Sulia and just below Anthony Weiner for accuracy!

  199. AJS says:

    The M’s claim they aren’t selling yet. that’s funny.

    And Dom you are right. Ibanez and Byrd likely are better options than Snider. Though I don’t know that i would ever want Ibanez at any price. You have made a case for Byrd though. But this season is an annomaly with him.

    I ust don’t see shelling ut prospects for either of these guys. The M’s seem like they are going to have a pretty high asking price for Ibanez if and when they decide to sell. I’m thinking C level prospects for these guys tops.

  200. Dom says:

    If their asking price was outside of Taillon, Polanco, and Glasnow would you be interested?

  201. theplanisworking says:

    Consider Sulia and Weiners everywhere duly insulted. ;)

  202. AJS says:

    Not to mention I don’t see the Dodgers and Pirates trying to help each other out here. I mean it is pretty rare that you would see two “buyers” hook up at he deadline.

  203. NMR says:

    Hahaha, I always love your humor, Groat.

  204. Dom says:

    Certainly nobody is taking this prediction seriously and I doubt it was written to be taken seriously.

  205. theplanisworking says:

    Cole pouted when sent back to AAA at the end of spring training.
    Cole showing up the umpires when he disagrees with calls.
    Cole losing focus when disagreeing with the umps.

    Cole does have some attitude issues…………….. he just needs to focus on the pitching and he will be better for it.

  206. I don’t want to see it.

    I just want to hear the noises!

  207. Bob Hasis says:

    I’d say Sulia and Bleacher Report should be insulted.

    At least when Bleacher Report speaks, they aren’t drooling and breathing heavily – it has been presumed

  208. theplanisworking says:

    With Penny?? ;)

    ++++++++++

  209. theplanisworking says:

    Do Sulia and Bleacher Report like feet too? ;)

  210. NMR says:

    I’d be willing to give up any one of our top 10 prospects not name Taillon or Polanco plus two prospects ranked 10-30 (Or Snider/Tabata) for Aoki as a “big splash” move.

    Nate Schierholtz would likely provide better all around value than Byrd/Ibanez and currently plays for a reasonable General Manager.

    Otherwise, I’d only be interested in a bench bat, preferably one that doesn’t strikeout much.

  211. theplanisworking says:

    You mean the snoring/moaning combo noises?

    You can have it !!!!

  212. NMR says:

    Dom,

    I wouldn’t give up any prospect above A ball that profiles to be a big league starting pitcher or position player.

    And thats more of a reflection on the risk I believe comes with older players performing out of this world than with my love of prospects.

  213. scapper says:

    I was just going to add this same thought but you beat me to it. Was at the game and all five of us were wondering WHY he was being used in that situation. Sure paid off (for the Nats) yesterday. I don’t like to go after too many managers’ decisions because the average fan really has very little idea about what goes into such decisions, but using Melancon on Monday just made no sense.

  214. Lad9 says:

    knock knock Amy.. knock knock AMY…. knock kn AAAAAAAAAAMMMMMYYYYYY

    Bazinga!

  215. Sisyphus says:

    Perhaps the GM knows that there is nobody better at a price he’s willing to pay.

    I doubt that Huntington would be offering much for Ibanez, assuming that he’s interested in him.

  216. Jandy says:

    Hipposter, your DID have a well thought out post.
    :*

  217. Jandy says:

    Rad Lad! hey :)

  218. Sisyphus says:

    I can see them giving up Heredia or Kingham. I can’t see them giving them both up for this return, though.

  219. Brandie says:

    Go Ghostie! Go Ghostie!

  220. cmat0829 says:

    The Fish just took 3 of 4 from Colorado at Coors (those Rockies are done, toast, sinking to the bottom just like the Padres and the delusional Giants).. and if memory serves they won a series from the scorching Cardinals earlier this year at home. We absolutely need to take one game at a time and hope for a series win.

  221. cmat0829 says:

    Righto. And somehow the Phillies still think they may be ‘buyers’ at the deadline. It’s really hard to read this deadline crap, if I have to read one more “Player X is not going anywhere unless we are ‘blown away’ by an offer’… I think we will see a number of these players go at the deadline for a bag of balls and a low-level prospect. I guess the bag of balls is really nice enough to ‘blow them away’.

  222. Brandie says:

    Spot on observations, Plan. Take all of the fire you can get from that behavior and apply it to the field. Buccos hitting with RISP is like kryptonite to them. Gotta work on that.

  223. cmat0829 says:

    This deal was a good one to the buyers, but Yanks are the wrong team IMHO. They give up only a midlevel pitching prospect and pay about $7M over next 2 years for Alfonso. Yanks are clearly inferior to the Sox, Rays and Orioles in that division, so folks, there won’t be any pinstripes in October this year.

  224. Brandie says:

    Thanks for the update man.

  225. Brandie says:

    Thank you sooooo much!

  226. cmat0829 says:

    Yanks deserve what they are getting and I couldn’t be happier. They should have done what the RedSox expertly did last year, unload a ton of contracts and remake the team for the 21st century. The Yanks will learn that you can’t just fill a roster of HR hitters and hope for the best. With ARod done, Rivera in his last year, and Jeter a shell of his former self, now is the time for them to unload players like Texeira (if they can), Granderson, Sabathia et al and start to build the right way.

    Yes, Soriano is cheap really and definitely worth what they are paying him…but he is exactly the WRONG type of player for them…. he fit better in Texas frankly….

  227. Jandy says:

    Green slimy pond scum….not offense to the Pond ;)

  228. The Gunner says:

    Supposedly, the Rangers are after Rios, also. NH is going to have to move quickly & swiftly if this is the case. Rios is clearly a better option for the Bucs. And, Tabby needs a change of scenery. I wonder if the Sox will fund any of Rios $10 million salary?

  229. cmat0829 says:

    OK guys, will try again… MELANCON can’t pitch every inning of every game. The way the Pirates play, guess what, there will be tight ‘high leverage’ bullpen innings every night, starting in the 6th or 7th inning and going from there. On the road, in a tie game, typically you don’t use your closer as you hope to score in the top of 9/10/11 inning and then close it out for the win with your best pitcher.

    Now, I would understand if the Nats heart of the order were up in the 9th, then maybe you go with closer (this is in general not yesterday as Melancon was righly unavailable), but yesterday the BOTTOM of the lineup was due up… so if I were managing, I most certainly would NOT pitch my best bullpen arm there and save for the 10th when Zimmerman/LaRoche/Werth would be due up. Just my two cents.

  230. cmat0829 says:

    Did i really read someone is willing to give up one Pirates top 10 prospect PLUS two Pirates prospects ranked 10-30 for Mr. Aoki??

    Wow, I am glad you aren’t the GM because Doug Melvin would be dancing all day at that one.

  231. Brandie says:

    Thank you NINO (Nun In Name Only).

  232. likeabugonarug says:

    Since you brought up RISP, here’s an interesting thought. This is also a mis-leading stat. The other night Bucs had runners at 1st and 3rd or 2nd and 3rd and 0 or 1 outs. Somebody hit a ground ball that caused an out. That was officially an 0-1 with RISP, however, the runner from 3rd scored. So while the batter caused an out, he did a good job because he got the run home.

    I’d like to know how the Bucs are doing with getting the run home even though they are making an out.

    Kevin

  233. Brandie says:

    Could not have said it better myself…

  234. The Gunner says:

    Beckham makes $3 million a year vs. Tabata @ $1 million a year. Looks like the Bucs will have to pony up some dinero to make this happen.

    I think this is a pipe dream.

  235. Jandy says:

    Welcome, Brandimal! Hope your day is going Funday Friday well :)

  236. Nate83 says:

    He hit his 3rd HR last night and went 3 for 4. The 30 game sample is kind of small to suddenly think it will take him 3 years to reach the majors. I think they begin their 2015 season with him as their starting right fielder.

    I suppose it could take him until middle of June like it did for Cole this year because of arbitration concerns but since the team seems to be heading in the direction of being competitive every year I would think they bring the best 25 players to the majors at the beginning of the year going forward.

  237. Brandie says:

    Bill Mazeroski? Bill Madlock?

  238. Brandie says:

    Hipposter,

    Your post made me think. I not only come here for the hijinks. I come here for knowledge and to be challenged to think. Thank you for helping me do that.

  239. If you have time, check out Stephen Colbert’s “Word Segment” from last night. The word is “color-blind.” You may laugh out loud. If you do not, check for pulse.

    The guy is crazily brilliant!!

    Probably wearing a Green Lantern tee today.

  240. Lad9 says:

    Hey Jandy! How goes? Getting crushed today as I am leaving for vacation in Clearwater tomorrow. Going to take in a Rays game on Tuesday and a Bradenton Marauders game Thursday. Anyone want me to pay particular attention to a player? I will definitely be looking hard at Allie and Hanson and hoping to see one of the many Zach’s pitch. Will try to report from the ballpark a la JRay.

  241. Brandie says:

    Amy and Sheldon…have relations? Oh dear heavens!

  242. Brandie says:

    Raaaaaaaaddddddd Laaaaaaaddddddd!

  243. Jandy says:

    Lad, yes! Please zero in on Allie for sure…I’m fascinated with his story. Won’t hurt to have a view from your eyes on what the kid has. Enjoy the vacation!

  244. Lad9 says:

    What Brandie and Jandy said. Your posts are spot on – you can tell you are a Pitt man! :) It is nice to have a place where you can have a mix of the hard core serious sports stuff and the whimsical, or as Brandie said the hijinks. You guys rock!

  245. Brandie says:

    It’s funny because my husband is color blind. People often ask him, as a joke, if he realizes he married a black lady. Hilarious.

  246. Lad9 says:

    Will do blogmother. Hopefully will around tonight between packing. Have missed a lot of games lately….

  247. Jandy says:

    lol too funny. People crack me up!

  248. Lad9 says:

    Brannnnnnnndie! How you doing dynomuppet?

  249. Conversely, a hard hit with a runner on 2nd that does not score the run still gets a positive score.

    Still, RISP is one of VERY BEST indicators for Clutch hitting. Pirates are woefully short in that category.

    What is McCutch——approx. .210 with runners in scoring position and .330 with bases empty? Too big a discrepancy!!

  250. Brandie says:

    That is how Planimal keeps the pond clean. Let’s face it…Michael Bolton needs the work.

  251. Brandie says:

    Going to drive children home soon. Enjoy your vacay.

  252. Jandy says:

    LOl ewww..Brandie, that’s gross!

  253. Jandy says:

    have fun ;)

  254. Bizrow says:

    MLBTradeRumors has a post saying the PBC and Rangers are frequently checking with the Marlins to see if Stanton is available.

    He would cost an arm and a leg, not quite sure I’d go after him were I NH

  255. Naterosboro says:

    If anyone uses twitter, Mike Tomlin has created an account. You can follow him here: @CoachTomlin. DK has already followed.

  256. Jim S. says:

    We have a low OB%, and we hit a decent amount of homers.

  257. Wide Receiver Nate,

    Starling Marte spent all of 2011 season at AA, where he won the batting title.

    He then spent 100 games at AAA before coming up to Pirates and adding very little to Pirates last season but promise.

    Let Polanco learn to master AA. He certainly has not as of yet. He will be 22 years old in September. Let his body mature; allow him to slowly cook at AA for the next 5 weeks, start him in AA next season, then move him mid-season 2014 to AAA when he obviously masters AA.

    His true timetable should be to bring him up to Pirates in June/July of 2015, with him contributing fully (as Marte has done so well this season) in 2016 season. Let him cook!

    Half hardened jello is not palatable!

  258. Dom says:

    I’m expecting a lot of, “We don’t live in our fears, we live in our hopes” and “The standard is the standard.”

  259. Dom says:

    That was supposed to be a reply to Natesboro.

  260. Jim S. says:

    Marlins are a rapidly improving team. Pay no attention to their record after 75 games.

  261. Naterosboro says:

    Got ya, Dom.

    And if you’re wondering, here’s his 1st tweet: “@CoachTomlin: Hello Twitter. Expect no BS from me. Just straight fire”

  262. Jim S. says:

    I watched most of the Cards game last night, and was surprised at how workmanlike and drama-free that game was. They are a very professional team.

  263. Jim S. says:

    ARod is going to be freeing up a lot of their money soon, I think.

  264. AJS says:

    Dom,

    Not necessarilly. I wouldn’t give up say Heredia for Ibanez. He appears to be the name that is thrown around as a potential trade piece due to his high upside. I think it would have t be a complete no name or at most a high A ball player to take on the risk of Ibanez. Or we could trade Snider strait up. but if we don’t want him why would they?

  265. NMR says:

    Don’t know where Groat is going for his stats today, but Polanco is hitting .284/.380/.422 over 32 games while walking 13.1% (!!!) of the time and striking out 11.7% (!!!!!) of the time.

    For a kid his age to make the jump to AA and walk more than he strikes out is amazing.

    Marte is the perfect example of why Polanco WILL be ready far sooner than Starling was. Starling took so long because the Front Office was worried his poor plate discipline would lead to big league pitchers exposing him. They were correct last year (and parts of this year).

    Polanco does not have that problem.

  266. AJS says:

    Depends on which arm and which legs. The issue there is the salary. Lots of years of control. Getting Stanton is like gettinga prospect who is ready right now and actually has experience. The real shock to me with Stanton would be the payroll jump. Miami isn’t going to eat a large part of that salary.

  267. NMR says:

    Did you miss the Rangers giving up a bigger package than that for two months of Matt Garza?

    Aoki is a legit .350 OBP leadoff hitter with a year of control and miniscule salary.

    This is reality.

  268. Jim S. says:

    NMR:

    I like Aoki, but you are wa over-valuing him. Any 2 prospects outside of Taillon and Polanco, plus 2 prospects #10-30?

    He has 20 XBH. He would be great for this team, but giving up that much talent is the kind of thing that got Milwaukee into its current predicament.

    Would Tampa make that deal? No. Would St. Louis make that deal? No. Should Pgh make that deal? No.

  269. JRay3 says:

    Lad9…look forward to your report, also take a peak at RF Willy Garcia interested in your take as he has been a fringe top 20-25 prospect for the Pirates and wonder how he looks/fits with the mix of Polanco and Bell.

    Sounds like a great time!

  270. Jim S. says:

    Polanco is back up near .280 in AA, Groat. Homered and doubled yesterday.

  271. Jim S. says:

    No, that’s what the Rangers do because they can buy their way out of giving up their farm system with free agency. We can’t and should not.

  272. Jim S. says:

    Actually, I thought it was 2 top 10, plus 2 in 11-30.

    Glasnow and Heredia, gone. Or, would it be Meadows and the catcher?

  273. Jason81 says:

    He should have been on the Pirates Do Not Want list.

  274. NMR says:

    I suggested giving up one top 10, not named Taillon or Polanco.

    That would equate to either Glasnow, Hanson, Bell, Heredia, Kingham, or Herrera if we’re using Pirate Prospects mid-season rankings.

    Plus two guys from the 10-30 range.

    With the caveat that none of them could be above A ball.

    If that package comes anywhere close to equating to “giving up their farm system”, then reports of the Pirates great system are terribly exagerated.

  275. pattonbb says:

    Loria just said Stanton isn’t available. Of course that could change in 5 minutes.

  276. NMR says:

    First, read what I actually wrote.

    When you realize your mistake, then we can have an actual conversation.

  277. Bizrow says:

    I don’t think Stanton is in arbitration yet, this years salary is peanuts

  278. AJS says:

    Right but you’d be taking him on for the upcoming years as well where he IS arbitration eligible. I assure you his arbitration salaries won’t be peanuts.

  279. Thundercrack says:

    I can’t wai for the twitter battles between those two

  280. NMR says:

    Exactly.

    Hunter Freakin Pence is a $14m player this year because of arbitration.

    Stanton may very well set arb records by the time he’s done.

    No way he’ll be a Pirate.

  281. Dom says:

    MLB trade rumors states, “the Rangers and Pirates regularly check in with the Marlins in regard to Giancarlo Stanton but are turned away each time.”

    This came from Marlins management.

  282. AJS says:

    Hnson is actually a name that I hears someone throw out yesterday a s a like piece of any package. That probably is the asking price for a guy like Aoki. A top 10 and 2 guys in the teens to 20s. For a guy witha year of control that isn’t bad. I would prefer to keep Bell. i woudl give up one of Glasnow of Kingham. Those guys are far enough away that you wouldn’t have to make up for them by over paying in free agency and could uinstead just replenish through the draft. It sets you back a couple years of development but you are going to have to eventually make a sacriice somewhere if you want to better your current team.

    i liked DKs comments today about a big splash move not nexessarilly being what is best for the team. There is a lot more that goes into a trade decision than does this help me today or not. The level of prospects you give up is obviously a big concern. But you can’t be so married o them that you rely on them and them alone as your future.

  283. Reading says:

    The Pirates should be looking to acquire a future HOFer, in a cash-only transaction, from a team whose owner needs some jack to finance a production of “No No Nanette.”

  284. AJS says:

    He said one of the top 10. He kind of snarkilly asks you to reread his post. i will save you the trouble. It was only one of the top 10 not 2. And not necessarilly any of 10-30 if they were to trade tabby or snider instead.

  285. AJS says:

    Set the salary aside NMR. Would you be willing to trade for Stanton knowing he had three years of arbitration controll left? What would you give up. I struggle mightilly with this. He is having a somewhat down year but has shown in the past what he is capable of. You would have to think Polanco would have to go in that kind of trade. Would you do it?

    I would really have to heavilly consider it…again if pay roll concerns did not exist.

  286. Bizrow says:

    Game thread is up

  287. NMR says:

    Whew, no salary? Boy…

    I still do not make the deal.

    I simply do not believe the massive prospect package it would take could ever be made up through free agents or Stanton’s own production.

    My gut feeling is that at some point in those three years the team would end up needing one of the pieces they already traded away. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

  288. NMR says:

    I thought DK’s comments were spot on as well.

    I think my proposal pretty much follows that line of thinking.

    The only guy in my list of prospects who does not have at least one other quality prospect at the same position within the system is Hanson, and that is only if A) you think he’s actually a big league defensive shortstop and B) he develops above average offensive skills.

    Otherwise he’s not nearly as valuable of a prospect.

  289. Jim S. says:

    Sorry, I was mistaken. You only suggested one in the top 10.

    I’ll refrain from responding to the rest of your comment.

  290. Jim S. says:

    I agree. I was wrong.

 
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