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Morning Java: Who’s your non-Cutch MVP?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …


>> The Thursday column touts Andrew McCutchen for MVP … and so much more.

I’d ask if any of you felt another National League player deserved it more, but that’s not likely to lead much conversation. So I’ll put it another way: Which other player is most deserving?

And it certainly doesn’t have to among the names cited in the column.

Here’s some of what Cutch told me before the game last night …

Cutch did his part in the game, too, with his 16th home run, but the big story was Charlie Morton grounding his doubters to dust. Rob Biertempfel has details.

>> Those violent hops you saw at third base last night, affecting both teams, are nothing new. Jose Bautista was the first I heard complaining about that PNC Park

Here’s the rest of our baseball coverage.

Here’s Marlins coverage from the Miami Herald.

Here are official game highlights from

And here’s a rank amateur trying to take his own team photo yesterday …

>> Shamarko Thomas has made for one of the neatest stories of the Steelers’ camp. Ralph Paulk tells it well from Latrobe. Another rookie making an impact yesterday was Jarvis Jones, per Mark Kaboly.

>> Todd Thomas clearly had no use for being demoted by Pitt. Jerry DiPaola reports.

>> I’ll be at the ballpark for the matinee today, aimed at a Friday column. There also will be an 11:30 a.m. check-in with TribLIVE Radio.

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.


  1. FIRST!!

    Great win last night.
    Cutch with a HR.
    Walker great defense.
    “Good” Charlie Morton showed up last night.

    One game at a time. Smash 82, fellas.

    • “ ‘Good’ Charlie Morton showed up last night.”

      Usually, “Good Time” Charlie’s Got the Blues. (Danny O’Keefe version.)

      • That’s a great song from 1972 or so. Morton was certainly having a good time last night and so were the all the fans. We can only hope there is more where that came from for Charles.

        Let’s hope the momentum continues today. Maybe Daydro will put one in the Allegheny today!

  2. Great column!

    I’ve seen Kershaws name thrown around as an MVP/CY, but I really hope Cutch wins the MVP. And we win the World Series!

  3. Paul Chryst is willing to make some tough calls that have significantly weakened his own team. I can respect that. I’m also going to give him a break with the growing pains that will be on display-especially against Florida State in front of a national audience. Ouch, that young and inexperienced linebacking crew will be hard to watch.

    I’m not waiting for Sagarin. I put FSU as a 40 point favorite.

    Boy, it doesn’t take long for stuff to happen at these camps-whether it be the NFL or college-does it ?

    DK: Forty? Wow!

  4. Most Valuable Player in the league outside of McCutchen is Yadier Molina.

  5. Kershaw will be Cutch’s only rival 4 the MVP.
    and he Does have a legit case, ala Verlander few years ago.
    I still think it’s Cutch’s to lose, but Kershaw has been a s dominant a pitcher as one could hope to find.
    could be another exciting mini race at the end
    it’s all up to the voters now.

  6. I like the way Morton looked tonight. Pirates already reached the win total that I predicted for the season. Amazing.

    I like what Paul Chryst is doing at Pitt. Todd Thomas is showing why Pitt has been terrible the last couple years. They roll over when faced with any adversity. Quitting when things get tough is not the trait of a winner. We never respected guys like that in our locker room when I played and we made sure they knew how we felt about quitters. Good riddance.

  7. Yesterday on MLB Network, they were debating NL MVP, and Cutch seemed to be getting the slight nod over Goldschmidt. I think if the Buccos make the playoffs and Cutch just stays solid, he’s got it in the bag.

    The only guy I worry about stealing it away is Yasiel Puig, crazy as it sounds. It seems like every year there’s some guy the writers fall for who really shows his value by missing part of a season (or even slumping in the early season) and then turning his team’s performance around later in the year in dramatic fashion. That guy, this year, is Mr. Puig. It’s particularly possible given the fact that somehow the Dodgers, the new Yankees West, have suddenly somehow become THE story in baseball despite a roughly $6 billion payroll. It’s possible that Kershaw might steal some votes from Puig, but if the Dodgers keep flying high, it could get pretty interesting between Puig and Cutch.

    • Barring a collapse, Puig will definitely be Rookie of the Year. Unless he plays at a superman pace the rest of the season, though, I doubt he’ll have a shot at MVP. He may not even get enough PAs to qualify for league leaders in stats.

      Kershaw’s is one of, if not the favorite for the Cy Young. Having a great season. But the year that Verlander won, he won the so called Triple Crown of pitching, something Kershaw will not do.

      Cutch is one of the favorites for MVP, but I don’t necessarily agree that it’s his to lose. He’ll need to finish strong to win, as will the other candidates. A spike in the power numbers will greatly help his cause.

      Non-Cutch MVP: If it was a healthy Yadier Molina, I’d say him. But the rest of the season is in question for him (and hopefully, for the Pirates sake, it is) Given that, I’d say Goldschmidt. Strong numbers all around. But I think his chances rests with how the DBacks finish.

    • I agree about Puig. He was at it again, propelling the Dodgers to yet another win. If he keeps this up for the rest of the year, he’s the man.
      I’m on the road and probably only checking in this one time this week, so I won’t be able to follow up, but here’s my MVP vote if the season ended today:

      1) Paul Goldshmidt (Perhaps a quaint thought, but in its original sense, Goldshcmidt is the “most valuable” player of them all from opening day until this point.
      2) Clayton Kershaw
      3) Franciso Liriano (that’s right — Cutch is great but he’s not even the foremost valuable player on his own team; If Cutch were to go down, we would scrap and get by. Liriano goes down, we lose our ace who single-handedly wins games and who I’d want more than anybody else to start a one-game wildcard playoff. Chew on THAT, sports fans.I won’t be around to feel the wrath for the rest of the week.
      4) Cutch
      Charlie Day Wild Card) Yasiel Puig

      • I kind of like Goldschmidt too. May be blasphemy to say that on a Pittsburgh blog though ;)

      • I love Liriano too, but your argument just doesn’t add up. If Liriano went down, the team would get by with Cumpton, Gomez, and others in his spot, just like they did earlier this year when Liriano wasn’t available (surely you haven’t forgotten that?)

        If Cutch went down, this team would be in huge trouble. Suddenly you’d have Presley and Tabata playing everyday, with one of them having to bat in the middle of the lineup. They’d be hard pressed to play .500 ball without Cutch.

    • One other thing to consider about Puig. Dejan didn’t mention him and I didn’t think about the guy myself until I just read Smizik’s piece for today. As good as Puig has been, his teammate, Hanley Ramirez, has been even better. He’s in the same boat though of not enough PAs.

      Concerning any chance Liriano may have for Cy Young, he also will have to make sure he has enough IP by the end of the season to qualify. He has 10 starts left and needs to average 6 IP per start to get enough in.

  8. Notice Lock is standing beside AJ in the team picture. I think AJ is a big reason for Jeff’s break out year.

  9. J. Upton as a non-Cutch MVP.

  10. I see Dejan will be joining the Marlins television broadcast team.

  11. Jose Bautista was the first I heard complaining about that PNC Park

    That’s why he’s not here anymore.


  12. Interesting stuff from Charlie Morton in TS’s article this morning. Reminds us that he is coming off major surgery.

    And someone mentioned that “Good Charlie” showed up last night. That is great to see.
    But I’m not getting super excited about it. Because at this point in his career we STILL don’t know who will show up for the next start.

    I like Charlie but I am beginning to think he won’t progress to more than a 4th or 5th starter. Which is fine because you need one of those and he may be better than the opponent’s 4th or 5th starter.

    • Agree all the way around. SOMEbody has to pitch 4th or 5th.

      And at, what, $2M? Cheap by MLB starter standards.

      And only a one year contract? Good value AND low risk.

      with the Ps holding the sole discretion whether to bring him back (arbitration), seems like the Pirates hold all the…(wait for it)…Cards.

      (That was for my no good St Louis native boss)

  13. Hoka Hey everyone!
    Pirates win…Pirates win!!! ….LXVIII wins down, …and XIII to go.
    Yes, GM Neal and Mgr. Clint ….82 wins DOES make a difference.
    Beat Em’ Bucs !
    PS. Best record in all of baseball …MVP in the NL (Cutch)…..doesn’t get any better than this. ;-)
    PSS: As for the PITT PANTHERS…..lots of work remaining to do there…………… :-(

  14. Wandy had some encouraging news throwing off a mound yesterday.

    If he comes back, who goes, Morton or Cole?

    I’m guessing Cole. Assuming the Pirates make the playoffs, Charlie won’t start anyways, so I’m not as worried.

    Locke, Liriano Rodriguez and Burnett are your starters there.

  15. JAL’s Time for August Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    5 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    6—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: How Many Teams Around MLB Would Charlie Morton Start For?

    Charlie Morton Grounds Marlins in 4-2 Pirates Victory

    Prospect Watch: Tyler Glasnow Sets a Record; Kris Johnson Pitches a Gem

    Why the 2015 Pirates Could Be a 100-Win Team

    7 Bucs Dugout

    Charlie Morton, Pirates whip Miami, 4-2


    Game 113: Pirates 4 Marlins 2

    9 Rant Sports

    When Will Pittsburgh Pirates Promote Andrew Lambo?

    10 Rumbunter

    Andrew McCutchen Is Going To Need A Bigger Mantel

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 4 Marlins 2

  16. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Fish Stripes

    Fish Cap: Pittsburgh Pirates 4, Miami Marlins 2

    13 Forbes

    What the A’s, Rays, and Pirates Remind America

    14 Beaver County Times

    Pirates Insider: Bucs win fourth straight

    15 Miami Herald

    Miami Marlins fall to Pittsburgh Pirates for fourth straight loss

    16 CBS Sports

    Marlins at Pirates: Game Preview

    17 KDKA

    Resurgent Pirates Pitcher Liriano Taking Page From Morton’s Book

    18 PBC Site

    Morton quiets Fish, chips in at plate for Pirates

    Notebook: Locke learning as league ‘counter-punches’


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Is it Time to Lift the Ban on Left-Handed Catchers?

    20 Fangraphs

    And The Worst Bunt of the Year Goes To…

  17. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers OC Todd Haley feels 2012 problems were a matter of trust

    Steelers rookie WR Markus Wheaton is making missing OTAs a non-issue

    22 Steelers Depot

    Sacman Jones Turning into Batman Jones


    23 Daily Telegraph

    Monaco (£128.6m) – Europe’s biggest spenders: in pictures

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Face to face: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

  18. Cutch certainly has put himself near the top of the MVP list. I think it will be a 2 man race between Cutch and Molina. That’s assuming Molina comes back next week.

  19. Liriano is my MVP

    And there is a crazy fight for Pirates Pitcher of the Year: Grilli, Liriano, Locke, Melancon

    Non pitching MVP outside Cutch is b/t Martin and Alvarez. One has the numbers and one has the defense and stability this team needed (and lots of clutch hits).

    Funny thing when a team is going like this is there are plenty of accolades to go around.

  20. Ray Searage if they hand out “Pitching Coach” awards. And Russell martin re: catchers. Those two, to me, are as much a part of this special season as anyone else name we can throw out.

    I agree with others that suggested Molina for the League MVP. That Cards team is pretty solid.

  21. I’ve thought that the biggest non-pitcher impact on the team is Martin, by a wide margin. Twenty-two extra outs by throwing out guys attempting to steal is HUGE. And that doesn’t count the impact that has on the overall running game of our opponents. There are fewer attempts, because the chance of success is so much lower. Teams aren’t willing to try to steal as much. I don’t know what the numbers are, but I’d love to see a comparison of attemptedsteals against the Pirates for June/July 2012 to 2013.

  22. Dear Frank Coonelly,

    Listening to your appearance on The Fan this morning it’s apparent you read everything so I figured I’d take a minute to say hi.

    If I wasn’t already convinced you read everything your constant references to “someone in town” wanted us to blow it up & “someone in town” pushed a review really sealed it for me. Wonder who you meant ? But that’s neither here no there. I especially liked the reference to “some blogger” who said Andrew Lambo didn’t walk enough. Thank goodness you’re paying attention to the important stuff. Where on earth do you find the time ?

    I hope you have a second for a word of advice. Now that things have apparently turned a corner, try not to get to chesty. Remember where you’ve been on this long journey and that you meet the same people on the way up that you meet on the way back down. There’s going to be a lot more national attention on you so have those Armani suits cleaned & pressed and stock up on Pepsodent because this is YOUR time Frank.

    So in closing, thanks for the classy leadership & keep up the good work. Maybe we could have lunch some time ? I know this great little pizza joint in Kennedy Township that maybe you’d like to try.

  23. I caught the tail end of an interview with Frank Coonelly on the Fan on the way into work this morning. I have had an open mind on Frank, although I know that many on this blog despise him, simply because my exposure to him has been so limited. ( I get the DUI, believe me but mostly I have ignored him). After hearing the interview, I now understand why he is so disliked. If smug could drip out of a radio, I would have been immersed in it up to the dashboard. He went out of his way to take a couple of shots at a certain unnamed media member (Mr. Kovacevic, please stand for a short bow. Careful, don’t spill the coffee) whom he blamed for precipitating a more intense post season review than normal. (that is a bad thing???) And he credited Mr Nutting for having the “fortitude” to stand up to this ogre (my word) who was calling for the entire management team to be fired. You could almost sense that he wanted to say neeter, neeter, neeter, we are winning and screw you, media member.

    So if you didn’t like Frank as a loser, you may really hate him as a winner. I think I will just go back to ignoring him. Oh and thanks DK for wielding such power within the organization. If you have that much influence, perhaps Frank should give you some of the credit too (riiiiight). :)

    MVP choices:

    1 Cutch
    2 Goldschmidt
    3 Kershaw
    4 Melancon (way off the board I know, but think about it)

    • So I guess it wasn’t just me. :)

    • I’m not defending Frank when I say this because I think he speaks when he should just take the high road and not respond and stay professional. The decision to retain the front office is looking like a good one but DK was only doing his job and if Frank believes the indepth investigation happened because of DK he needs to look in the mirror. It happened because of two straight seasons of collapses and some suspect things happening within the minor leagues in terms of methods used to train the players.

      An indepth review of how the front office was doing was needed and warrented. Very little that Nutting did is affecting this year. Drafts picks made years ago and trades made years ago are now paying off. The front office hit on a few free agent signings this year as well. In my opinion changes he made such as tactics used to teach fundamentals and more baseball people making baseball decisions will affect the team going forward in a good way. It was not a useless exercise and Nutting would not have been doing his job if he stood by idle watching his company fail in back to back years without investigating why it happened and what needed to change.

    • Way to go…Frank the Skank!

    • I know Frank is hard at work on the DK bobble head night at PNC for next season.

  24. Morning to the Crue!
    Hipposter, Brandimal, and Rad Lad :)

  25. Morning all -

    Another great night for the Bucs. Just find ways to win. Charlie pitches 7 innings and records only 1 out that was not either a strike out or a ground ball; that’s impressive.

    Unfortunately I don’t see ESPN taking the Pirates seriously still. They now have a 3 game lead in the central but not even a mention in the baseball section this morning. I can understand how the return of JA Happ for the Blue Jays would be more important.

    • To be fair I heard one ESPN analyst predict the Pirates in the World Series for the NL during the Cards game last night. I almost fell off my seat. It’s hard right now to get much publicity in baseball. Atlanta has won 12 staight, Tigers 11 straight, KC, Tampe and Dodgers are hotter then the Pirates, great race between Tampe and Boston in the AL East, steriods, steriods, steriods, A-rod, A-rod, A-rod, Piug, Piug, Piug. I know the last three things I’m tired of hearing about as well but the rest of the stories are interesting as well and we are playing the Marlins right now. When we play the Cards again in 5 games it will be the lead story again.

      • I agree Nate; just amazing that you have a division leader winning and extending its lead in a division and stories of JA Happ and the silly twitter war between the Braves and Nationals.

    • Who cares what ESPN thinks?


  26. You guys (and gals) need to leave ‘Ol Frank alone. It was early. He was probably still tuned up from last night. How would you like to have a microphone stuck in your face when you still have “hot pipes” from the night before?

    Seriously, could he be any more “unlikable”? I bet he has DK’s picture on a dartboard somewhere. The only bad byproduct of the Pirates winning is now Slick can say, “I told you yinzers I was the smartest man in the world. How dare you question my methods!!”

    Actually, there are no bad byproducts of a winning Pirates team. Annoying is a better word. Extremely annoying.

  27. Marte, Walker, Cutch, Pedro, Jones, Sanchez, Harrison, Barmes, and Cole today.

  28. Thanks for the posts about FC’s radio appearance, Milo.
    It’s why the Loonies rally around Dejan. In addition to being a great columnist, it is apparent that important, or self-important, Pittsburgh sports figures concern themselves with his writings.

    Glad and scared that he reads blogs. Would it have killed him to have referenced my astute pop culture observations ? :)

  29. I could honestly care less about the attitudes and personality of NH and FC. Perhaps they work well together because they are total opposites. FC is a arrogant POS while NH is more laid back and someone that looks like he might be beat in his office every day by FC.

    The person who really and I mean this honestly that has made the biggest impression on me out of any coach in Pittsburgh sports recently is Clint Hurdle. He’s really embraced this city. He’s become an honorary “yinzer” in my opinion. He’s always positive; and just wants to be a part of it. The man truly impresses me.

    Oh and by the way he also has a WINNING record as manager of the Pirates.

    • Clint cares. That’s the difference between him and the rest of the…uhh…personalities ;)

    • I don’t care

      • Oops, that’s supposed to say I don’t care about FC or NH personalities at all. They’re bringing a winner to town. That’s all that matters. I haven’t seen or heard an FC interview in probably 2 years and that’s great. If he starts showing up on TV every day now that the Bucs are doing well, then I’ll have a problem. But he can continue to do whatever it is he does, and a slong as we’re inthe playoffs, it’s all good.

  30. Crap I keep forgetting to mention this…

    Mark Melancon is a true example of why Bobby Valentine is not in Boston any more. How this guy ended up in the minors for a period of time last year and the rarely used by Valentine when he returned is beyond me.

    • Melancon ended up in the minors because he pitched very poorly.

      • And I guess Ray Searage fixed that?

        let’s hear it for the Great White Shark!

      • He had games last year. He gave up 31 total runs. 23 of which were given up in 7 games (not in a row obviously). He appeared in 41 games which means he gave up 8 runs in his 34 other games. He was sent down to AAA after 4 games in April. Did not come back until June 4.

  31. And to me NL MVP goes to Russell Martin. I know it will never happen but to me he’s been the glue this year.

    Essentially the same roster as last year; the pitching staff has been even more filthy than last year and he come through in the clutch.

  32. Ok Loonies, got some stuff to get done…later…hopefully catch some of the game thread :)

  33. Game thread is up…..

    And I just barely finished my morning coffee….

  34. Scotty Smalls from The Sandlot was arrested for felonious assault of a law enforcement officer.

    Feel old, now ?

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