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Morning Java: Hey, give a shout!

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show today — 2-3 p.m. — will feature you again. Call 412-320-7925. Feel free to email sportstalk@tribweb.com if you can’t call. But I’d really rather hear from you.

What’s more, at 2:30, we’ll check in with Trib beat writer Alan Robinson at the Super Bowl in New York. And, of course, we’ll have more wit and wisdom from @SuckMeter.

To listen, just click on the link up top. If you’re mobile, try the TribLIVE Radio app.

>> A.J. Burnett will pitch in 2014, our Travis Sawchik reports in a Trib exclusive, and it won’t necessarily be in Pittsburgh.

The Pirates look pretty bad right now, columnist Joe Starkey writes.

My thoughts on the team’s offseason, expressed in last Friday’s column, remain unchanged.

Here’s our full Pirates coverage.

>> Peyton Manning, best of all time? Robinson writes that Sunday will go a long way toward furthering that debate.

On the local NFL front, the Steelers and Vikings essentially swap running backs coaches, by Robinson.

Ike Taylor talked Super Bowl on his TribLIVE Radio show …

Here’s our full Steelers coverage.

>> Tanner Glass feels all the way back, by Josh Yohe.

Here’s our full Penguins coverage, including Tomas Vokoun facing live shots at practice. What a boon his return could be.

Here’s Kings news from the Los Angeles Times.

Here are official game highlights from NHL.com.

>> How Duke shut down Pitt’s Lamar Patterson, by beat man Kevin Gorman.

Here’s our full Pitt coverage.

>> Hope to hear from you on the show!

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.

273 Comments

  1. I get how the Pirates don’t want 20% of their payroll being consumed by one player. But not being willing to do it for A.J. for just one year — this year — seems to me to be a miscalculation. After 2014, Liriano and Wandy are also presumably gone. Can we interpret the non-QO of A.J. to mean the Pirates believe they have a better chance of competing for a title AFTER 2014, and without A.J., Liriano and Wandy? Seems like the squandering of a window of opportunity to me. But if anything, the Pirates have taught me to watch and keep the faith.

    • I realize the time for a qualifying offer was at the beginning of the off-season, not now. But it is now we are finally realizing the failure to make A.J. the QO really has probably cost us getting him back. Hope I’m wrong and that I wake up to find yesterday’s reports was just postering by his camp in a bid to negotiate with the Pirates.

      • Each side has been posturing since the end of last season. And now, the time is fast approaching for this game of chicken between AJ and the Pirates to end, whether or not they really want it to.

    • I agree totally with your first 2 paragraphs, Ghost. This is not a commitment of more than 1 year for AJ, so the risk is limited. Presumably, all of their other expensive outlays for the year have been met. The only possible salary expense they could still be adding that I can think of for opening day would be a LH-hitting 1b, and I don’t think anyone believes they are looking at an expensive proposition there. In other words, they won’t be signing Kendrys Morales.

      AJ could add 2-3 wins to the team’s bottom line this year vs. Volquez or whomever else they replace him with. If it takes $12-14 million to do that, I believe it is worth it. That could mean the difference between making or missing the Wild Card. Ownership needs to step up for their fans, just as they promised they would. Their revenues will be greatly increased this year.

      Now, if AJ and his agent are working off some strict WAR calculation and believe he is worth at least $20 million for this season, then I guess I don’t blame the Bucs for not doing it. There is a limit in this market.

  2. JAL’s The Boxer Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3LFML_pxlY

    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 MLB Important Dates

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/schedule/important_dates.jsp

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2014

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Recapping Actual A.J. Burnett News

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/01/first-pitch-recapping-actual-a-j-burnett-news.html

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #4 – Austin Meadows

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/01/pittsburgh-pirates-2014-top-prospects-4-austin-meadows-of.html

    Winter Leagues: Polanco and Escogido on Verge of Elimination

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/01/winter-leagues-polanco-and-escogido-on-verge-of-elimination.html

    6 Rumbunter

    Four Words Everybody Forgets About A.J. Burnett

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/01/28/four-words-everybody-forgets-j-burnett/

    7 Rant Sports

    Worst Case Scenario Occurring For Pittsburgh Pirates With A.J. Burnett

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/01/28/worst-case-scenario-occurring-for-pittsburgh-pirates-with-a-j-burnett/

    8 Saber Bucs

    Is Adam Lind a Fit at First for Pirates?

    http://saberbucs.com/blog/2014/01/28/is-adam-lind-a-fit-at-first-for-pirates/

    9 Green Weenie

    1/28: Emil Yde, Spittin’ Bill Doak, Bill McKechnie, Kiki, Chris Peters…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/01/128-emil-yde-spittin-bill-bill.html

    10 Bucs Dugout

    What can we learn from the Milwaukee Brewers?

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/1/28/5354676/what-can-we-learn-from-the-milwaukee-brewers

    A.J. Burnett to pitch in 2014, but maybe not for Pirates, according to report

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/1/28/5355198/a-j-burnett-to-pitch-in-2014-but-maybe-not-for-pirates-according-to

    11 Pirates 101

    Source Reveals A.J. Burnett Will Explore Free Agency and Pitch in 2014

    http://www.sportsmedia101.com/pittsburghpirates/2014/01/28/source-reveals-a-j-burnett-will-explore-free-agency-and-pitch-in-2014/

  3. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Bloomberg Sports Stats

    Characterizing The Sustainability Of Left On Base Percentage

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/mlb/characterizing-sustainability-left-base-percentage?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Bloomberg%20Sports%20&utm_content=

    13 Batting Leadoff

    Marginal Win Value and Dollars Per Win

    http://battingleadoff.com/2014/01/28/marginal-win-value-dollars-per-win/

    14 Bleacher Report

    Breaking Down Top A.J. Burnett Suitors, Potential 2014 Impact

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1939916-breaking-down-top-aj-burnett-suitors-potential-2014-impact

    15 Huntington Herald Tribune

    Reds start spring training, Bailey critical of timing

    http://www.herald-dispatch.com/sports/x238620762/Reds-start-spring-training-Bailey-critical-of-timing

    16 Fangraphs

    Spending $50 Million on Two Very Different Pitchers

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/spending-50-million-on-very-different-pitchers/

    17 Cardboard Connection

    2014 Topps Series 1 Baseball Variation Short Prints Guide

    http://www.cardboardconnection.com/2014-topps-series-1-baseball-variation-short-prints-guide

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    MLB notes: Baseball will test protective cap for pitchers

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/baseball-will-test-protective-cap-for-pitchers/article_d7710336-7049-5cd1-baee-03091e2a06fd.html

    19 Baseball Nation

    There will always be room for Jamie Moyer

    http://www.baseballnation.com/2014/1/28/5353092/baseball-moneyball-statistics-future-jamie-moyer

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The Top 101 Prospects of 2014 Sliced and Diced

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22664

  4. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    James Saxon Hired as Running Backs Coach

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/1/28/5355116/james-saxon-hired-as-running-backs-coach

    Steelers Mike Tomlin second coach players want to play for the most

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/latest-news/2014/1/28/5355514/popular-coaches-nfl-steelers-mike-tomlin

    22 Steelers Depot

    Steelers 2013 Player Evaluations By Position – Inside Linebackers

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2014/01/steelers-2013-player-evaluations-by-position-inside-linebackers/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Ole Gunnar Smeagol and Cardiff’s Quest for Precious League Survival

    http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/ole-gunnar-smeagol-cardiffs-quest-precious-league-survival

    24 NBC Sports

    Premier League Roundup: Liverpool, Man United, Palace, Swansea win, Arsenal held

    http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2014/01/28/premier-league-roundup-liverpool-man-united-palace-swansea-win-arsenal-held/

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Tuesday Slew: The Penguins Have their Own Trade Deadline

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/1/28/5351736/tuesday-slew-the-penguins-have-their-own-trade-deadline

  5. I don’t think AJ would have signed the QO. Now, I’m disappointed they won’t see the pick, but the fact he doesn’t require draft pick compensation makes him a lot more attractive, than if he did.

    I don’t know what he’s gonna cost but if its gonna be two or three years, which a lot teams go the extra year to get there man. At somewhere between 12-16 million a season? To a guy who’s 37? I’d rather seem them use that money to buy some FA years off of Marte or somebody else.

    If AJ goes to the AL East, by mid summer we could all be saying whew, glad we they didn’t do that. It might be wise to get off the train now.

    But I definitely see the other side.

    • I thought if he decided to pitch again it was only going to be a year-to-year thing? I don’t think we know yet that he wants more than a 1-year deal. I’m not saying he won’t negotiate for an extra year or two, but then I guess we know what AJ’s definition of “considering retirement” means. It means “definitely not ready to retire any time soon.”

      I also think AJ could potentially get more money over the next 2 years by going a year at a time. If a team offers him, say, 2/$28, they might offer him 1/$18 this year, and then if he pitches well they might offer another 1/$15 next year. That way, neither side is obligated for the 2nd year up front, and AJ gets a little more for each year.

      • If if turns into a bidding war, I bet he gets another year. Thats how these teams seal the deal. Maybe a player option, your right.

        I didnt know that Burnett’s ERA away from PNC was above 4. Very interested what ballpark he goes too, (league especially).

        • Great points, bpn.

          Ball park is always a huge factor. As I have said many times here, the Bucs offense gets more criticism than it deserves, and their pitching staff got more praise than it deserved last year.

  6. FOX NHL rankings:

    Ducks, Pens, Blackhawks, Blues…see here:
    http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/powerRankings

    • Jands: Saw that the link states: “The Penguins really miss injured winger Pascal Dupuis.”

      I was lamenting his loss yesterday or the day before on this blog. Even though goal-wise he’d gotten off to a slower start than last year, really miss what he brings and watching him play, to say nothing of the ripple effect on our 3- 4 lines.

      • DJ, that’s an understatement, for sure. Duper always did all the little things that made a huge difference and made everyone else’s job easier on the ice. The guy just did it all. Details, none were too small to merit attention. He’s gotten some attention, but he’s still one of the most under-rated players in the NHL. Not many can keep up with Sid, but Duper has done it well.

        • Agreed.

          Plus a first-class person.

            • Honestly, when Jordan Staal got nominated for the Selke for best defensive forward, I thought Pascal Dupuis was the more deserving player. I still hope someday he gets some press for the award.

              I agree with the above comments completely. He’s not a pure goal scorer by any stretch, but he’s worked hard to improve his passing game and his awareness offensively. He can now legitimately keep up, and not just with his legs. He knows his role, he knows his limitations, and he doesn’t let his ego get in the way of either. Guys like Dupuis are never going to win you a cup, but you’re not going to win a cup without them.

              • RF, very well stated. I love the guy, wish he’d never have gotten hurt. Rotten luck.
                Only thru hard work did he get to the level he was playing with Sid.

    • The Hawks have patented the fine art of getting a point and then losing in OT or shoot out this year. I go back and forth about whether the regulation tie should earn a team a point or not.

    • Immature idiot. Ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Grew up in just about the worst country for human rights and freedom in the world, comes to the US and instantly receives millions and fame, but risks blowing it all if someone doesn’t sit him down and shake some sense into him.

      • hope it’s not too late. I’d hate to see him take some innocent people out with him when he’s on his “death wish” rides.

        • His mom was in the car with him on at least one 100+ occasion.

          I get that he came from nothing, and now he has everything. I get that superstar players in their early 20′s feel invincible. But, there are plenty of people who should be able to sit him down and rationally explain things to him. Maybe they have already done that a bunch of times and he just won’t listen. I hope that isn’t the case, because aside from the speeding incidents he has been linked to big time partying with other celebrities in LA. He arrived very late to the stadium for a game one day, supposedly because he had been partying all night.

        • I didn’t read the whole article, but, based on everyone’s comments, this sounds like how many Pens fans felt about Jaromir Jagr in his early days…afraid he would ruin a once-promising career by wrapping a sports car around a pole.

      • His actions sound just like Jaromir Jagr way back when.

  7. And I honestly dont think the Pirates look bad unless Burnett pitches well. If he leaves the National League I think he and the American League team that signs him, is making a mistake.

    • That could be true, bpn. But, his improved pitching the last 2 years has also been about the Pirates convincing him to go with his 2-seamer. He has cut down on the gopher balls quite a bit. Pitching to all 9 batters in an AL lineup does raise the ERA, though. No doubt about that.

  8. Joe Starkey is right on this A.M. I’m sensing the pirate brass feel like last year bought them enough good will that they can go back on the cheap.

    • The only time you can really judge payroll, and whether they are ‘cheap’ or not, is at the end of the season. If the Pirates pass on signing AJ, but then use that money to make acquisitions during the season, then it isn’t being cheap. But yes if they don’t use the obviously available $10-14M as of right now on major league payroll, then that $$ is being pocketed and that is unacceptable. But to me there are options to spend this $$ that don’t include AJ. He’s a good pitcher, still has some left in the tank, but I don’t think he has any less 2014 questions about what he will deliver than Liriano, Morton, etc. and maybe more. He may repeat 2012 and 2013… he may lose a little but still be very worthy… or he could fall apart as he did with the Yankees. who knows. Is it worth $12M to find out? Sure. But that’s me. I don’t have any idea what the tradeoffs are for how the Bucs can instead spend that money.

      • The way some of these deals go, AJ is probably going to get an extra year or two. At that point to me, he gets risky at 37. Id love to have the pick, like I said. But I think what makes AJ attractive to other teams now, is that he DOESNT require compensation.

        Hopefully he goes to the AL, gets shelled and it doesnt matter.

      • Nice post Cmat. I think he would be worth 12 million maybe even 15 million. If he truly wants to test the open market I think he will get more then that in which case I agree the money can be used for an in season trade or other free agents although not much is left that I’m interested in.

      • Crematorium,

        What you say sounds good. However, Charlie Morton has never pitched a compete season. Francisco Liriano has never put back-to-back good seasons together in his career. There’s a whole lot of questions with them.

        AJ Burnett has been excellent for two straight seasons for the Bucs, giving them about 200 innings each season of K’s and low 3′s ERA. Plus, he’s a Leader. That’s a good bet to spend $$$$ on.

        It’s 15 days until Spring Training and BMTIB has not improved the club yet. Why would you think they are going to spend AJ’s money on someone else, when all the someone elses have already signed with teams?

    • And that would be a mistake – especially if they miss the playoffs by just a few games.

  9. ok so who broke the blog??

  10. I have a suggestion for local school districts. Maybe some of them should consider the use of actual heated buildings rather than conducting classes outdoors. This way they wouldn’t have to cancel school on very cold days.

    Just my two cents.

  11. My nephew is a curler. Quite good at it, in fact. Competes in national and international competitions. I’ve been to several of his events, and he has spent painfully many hours trying to explain all the nuances of the “sport” to me.

    That being said, it’s about exciting as as watching the opposition party (doesn’t matter which party) give a SOTU response. B-O-R-I-N-G.

  12. So, supposedly AJ has decided he wants to pitch after all. How convenient.

    If the Bucs really only offered $8.5 million, then they have set themselves up for another PR nightmare IMO. I get the explanation of not wanting to allocate as much as 15-20% of the payroll to one guy. I don’t think that is a good long term practice, either. But, I think they should consider at least $12-14 million on a 1-year deal. He could mean 3 more wins to the bottom line over his replacement(s), and that could easily be the difference between a WC vs. no playoffs. I believe the fans have proven they deserve this sort of a short term commitment from the team. I also believe the extra money coming in this year gives them plenty of room to make this offer and still turn a good profit.

    The part we don’t know is whether AJ would consider any sort of a hometown discount. Estimates say he could earn $20 million on the open market this year, and we also know some team or teams will feel enough pressure to have him that they would probably offer 2 or even 3 years. I don’t think the Bucs should offer anything more than 1 year right now, given their young guys coming through the system. And, I think $20 million is too much. So, my disclaimer is that if AJ is asking for more than 1 year and more than $15 million for that one year, I would not fault the Bucs for letting him walk.

    But, I don’t see how they justify $8.5 million, if in fact that figure is accurate. No matter how I slice that, it makes them look cheap and I believe it is disrespectful to their fans. I believe their payroll should be at least in the $90 million range this year, given what we know about increased revenues and their statement that they would up the payroll when the revenues justify it. The revenues justify it. The payroll looks pretty stagnant right now.

    • Jim your thoughts and mine on this topic couldn’t be any closer. I agree with everything you posted.

    • Jim,

      last year payroll…….. $75 million.
      Payroll so far this year…… $74 million.

      You say not to offer more than 1 year/$15 million? What was the qualifying offer again? :)
      I think the Pirates didn’t want to offer the QO for fear AJ accepted it. Looks like a bad decision from this peanut gallery today. But, things could always change…….

      • “I think the Pirates didn’t want to offer the QO for fear AJ accepted it.”

        This is exactly right, IMO.

        Doesn’t make any sense to me when people like Starkey claim the team should’ve given him the QO, given that no player has ever accepted it. This logic completely dismisses the top reason players reject the QO, which is contract length. They turn down the one year offer looking for long term deals on the open market. AJ BUrnett is obviously not in a position to do so. Giving him the QO would’ve forced him to accept, or else take a ridiculously low offer from another team as a free agent seeking a one year deal with draft compensation attached to him.

        The Pirates fault was that they clearly didn’t want AJ’s personality around anymore.

      • I agree, plan. I thought the QO should have been made at the time, and that they should have been happy to have him take it. I think he was worth it, and they knew a lot more money was coming in. So, they blew that decision, and that is water under the bridge now. I would make him an offer now at around the QO range.

        Unless Clint, some coaches and some portion of the team do not want him around now to the point where they just won’t make close to a reasonable offer. We may never know that part.

        I do understand AJ’s thinking, though. I think we’ve all been in that situation where the money just isn’t right. I mean, my company offered me a paltry $5 million for this year, and I told them to shove it. I was just going to retire until they came back and threw in an extra week of vacation. Principles are principles! :-) :-)

    • Jim, I’d go $15M as well. But I think the $8.5M, if that’s even accurate, is just a starting negotiation point.

      • Maybe, but that’s a pretty low starting point to have me believe they would end up anywhere near $15 million, 21. Also, they presumably have $5 million less now that Thomas Alva Edinson Volquez has been signed.

  13. Wouldn’t you all know this: While waiting in the Capitol Hold Room last night to give the State Of The Union address, President Obama wanted to watch the Iowa/Michigan State basketball game on ESPN but said his staff wanted to watch them filing in. Gee, Mr. President, too bad.

    • As the resident Hawkeye fan, I opted for the game . . .

      And the Hawks were, to put it mildly, just not sharp. And still it came down to a blown lay-up with no time left.

      • I did not see the game, JHadar. But, I have seen a handful of Iowa games this year, and I love watching that team. So much athleticism. They play really exciting basketball, especially by B1G standards. I’d like to see them go far this year, and I could easily see it happening.

        Marble looks better than his dad to me.

  14. You have all posted good stuff about the A.J. situation. My only thought watching all this is that the Pirates didn’t really want him back this year, but were hoping to avoid a public relations problem if he’d only retire. Bluff called.

  15. Woke up this morning to read that AJ probably won’t be pitching for the Bucs, and the Steelers and Vikings swapped running backs coaches.

    Sheesh.

    By my humble estimation, the Pirates will have roughly $35 million extra dollars this year ($25MM in national TV deal, $5 MM from extra attendance last year, and $5MM from ticket price increases.). If we take out the signing of the Great Edinson Volquez ($5MM), that money could have been used for AJ’s qualifying offer. Doesn’t matter if he signed it or not, at least a pick would have been gotten if AJ decided to go elsewhere.

    Now, it is basically AJ for Volquez in the rotation. That is a significant downgrade. I am not going with the “cheapness” factor, I am just saying, Volquez appears to be a bad pitcher.

    Oh, and in Nkvember, I said AJ would get $18-19MM a year if he went on the open market. Looks like Mr. Starkey agrees.

    Not having much faith in the PBC this morning.

    • And, I just created the 13th month……… Nkvember.
      Guess it was in honor of the Sochi games?

    • At some point you have to trust the young pitching you have invested in. Taillion will be here by Summer. Probably see Glasnow in September.

      The Pirates do have other needs. That AJ money might be allocated to resign someone else or get a catcher for 2015.

      I think we are all going to be a little surprised at how much AJ gets.

      • Very good points.

        The only way I would be surprised at whatever AJ gets, is if he gets less than $10MM per. But, guess we have to stay tuned…..

        • The Pirates are quietly hoping he gets ridiculous money – and then pitches like crap for it.

          • Bill, you may have hit the button on this.

            All around, not exactly sound decision making from the PBC on AJ. Now, we will just have to see what happens. Or should I say, just how much he signs for.

          • AJ pitched like crap when he opened the playoffs last year versus the Cardinals, and then, he got mad when the Bucs wisely refused to let him start game 5, so I’m not inclined to trust that he’d come through when it counts. Of course his agent will go for all that he can get, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that AJ would be worth that, although some other team might pay him more.

        • As ive thought about this, the Pirates gave up nothing for him, two no-name prospects. Yankees paid half of his salary for two years. Thats house money. Time to walk.

          If he goes to the American League, by summer we could all be saying “Thank God that didnt overpay for AJ.”

          Spending 16 million or more on a 37 year pitcher with some clubhouse issues is something the Pirates cant do. They milked this cow for all it was worth in my opinion.

      • Not this year for Glasnow, bpn. Possibly, Kingham.

        • I gotcha. They built this system. Its where there high talent has to come from. You got to trust it.

          As much as there was talk of AJ being a mentor, maybe they didnt want him around Cole and Taillon. Im with NMR all the way on that.

          • Quite possible. He seems like a guy who speaks his mind. That can work great a lot of the time, and then it can go bad. I don’t know if that is what happened.

          • FWIW, I’m actully a fan of AJ and his personality.

            Too much circling of the wagons and groupthink going on from Clint all the way to Nutting for me. I like an outspoken personality, especially one with the edge that AJ shows.

            But to your overall point, I strongly agree. Yes, the team should’ve tried to bring him back. But whomever signs AJ is spending a lot of money on a 37 year old pitcher with about 2000 innings wracked up since his last Tommy John surgery and a questionable desire to keep playing the game.

            There is plenty of risk involved.

    • There have been several reports that MLB holds back some of the TV revenues for player pensions and that the $25M figure could be received by teams by the end of the current deal, and that currently teams will receive up to $20M.

      I have the increase in attendance from last year including ticket price increases and concessions at an increase of $7.1M over 2012 as I have been tracking this since the audited financials of 2008 were leaked.

      • I have heard the extra money on the national TV deal is approx. $20 million after expenses off the top as well.

        • Ok, $20MM + $7MM + $5MM == $32MM.
          Close to my original fuzzy math.

          Tell me again how that $3MM is going to hurt?
          Bottom line, the money is there. Always has been.
          Payroll is roughly the same as last year’s.

          • My $7M figure includes 3 components: attendance increase, ticket price increase, concessions. So I’m saying $27M in increased revenues 2013 over 2012 from the national TV contract and gate.

            And I’m not accounting for possible expense increases in the approximate $90M of other than major league payroll expenses.

    • Plan, I won’t attempt to defend the front office on this issue; but I will state this as it relates to Volquez…at this time last year, HE appeared to be a bad pitcher. I’m at least willing to give EV the benefit of the doubt (and a few weeks in Bradenton under Ray Searage’s tutelage).

      • I hope that one comes through, Mike, because it is starting to look like we really need him to pitch a LOT better than he has for several years now.

        • If Volquez can do for us what he did for the Dodgers, I’d take it.

          • Bingo. Volquez is going to surprise a lot of people.

            I don’t think he’ll be as good as AJ or Liriano, but he’ll be in that 4-4.2 ERA range.

          • I agree with you guys on Edinson.

            • Groat–I don’t think the talk on Edinson had anything to do with Burnett.

              And I don’t think the $5 mil they gave him impacts whether they will pay AJ. I just think he has more potential upside than a lot of others seem to think.

          • So . . . let me get this straight:

            ——AJ has been very good for the Bucs for TWO years but he may be bad this season
            ——Volquez has been very bad in the Majors for TWO years but he may be good this season

            That’s your justification for liking Edinson Volquez over AJ Burnett?

            • “That’s your justification for liking Edinson Volquez over AJ Burnett?”

              How could you possibly come to this conclusion based on what was written above?

            • I didn’t think Volquez was very bad in 2012.

              • He had the worst ERA in the National League for a starting pitcher.

                I would call that “bad.”

              • In 2012, Volquez’ ERA was 4.14. I don’t think that’s very bad. And it wasn’t the worst.

              • Ok, here’s Edinson Volquez, who turns 31 on July 3, 2014:

                Going left to right – Year, Team, IP, H, HR, BB, K, WHIP, ERA

                2005 TEX 12.2 25 3 10 11 2.76 4.21
                2006 TEX 33.1 52 7 17 15 2.07 7.29
                2007 TEX 34.0 34 4 15 29 1.44 4.50
                2008 CIN 196.0 167 14 93 206 1.33 3.21
                2009 CIN 49.2 34 6 32 47 1.33 4.35
                2010 CIN 62.2 59 6 35 67 1.50 4.50
                2011 CIN 108.2 106 19 65 104 1.57 5.71
                2012 SD 182.2 160 14 105 174 1.45 4.14
                2013 SD/LA 170.0 193 19 77 142 1.59 5.71
                TOTAL 850 830 92 449 795 1.51 4.75

                There it is, warts and all. It is true that he pitched fairly well in his 28 innings with LAD last year, but he did manage to give up 5 HR in those 28 innings.

                He does still have a good arm, he does generally not give up a ton of hits, and he strikes some guys out.

                But, he also has a tendency to give up HR and he walks a ton of guys.

                I read that they will focus on having him throw the 2-seamer more, and that has worked for other Bucs pitchers.

          • Small sample size, guys. I’d take that as well. But, the larger sample sizes have not been kind to him for a bunch of years now.

            But, I don’t rule out something similar to the transformation of Jeanmar last year.

            • “Small sample size, guys”

              Absolutely but because it came at the finish of the year, gives me a little hope.

              • I really don’t think many people are actually looking at his history. You keep, correctly, pointing out that he was a completely serviceable mid to back end starter just two seasons ago, yet everybody talks like this guy hasn’t been worth anything in a while.

                Just not true.

              • He kept the walks down in those 28 innings. But, he still managed to give up 5 HR in the 28 innings, which is awful. Only 25 hits and 8 walks in those 28 innings. So, yes, he improved down the stretch. But, he got rocked for the season overall, and 80% of his innings were as a Padre – which mean Petco Park (a pitcher’s park).

                I want him to do well, and I see some reason for optimism. But, I hope no one has allusions of him replacing AJ.

  16. It looks as if AJ ‘s trying to see just how much he can get before making a final decision, but then, that’s the way it’s been all along.

  17. In the 3rd round of the 2011 draft (95th overall), The Pittsburgh Steelers select cornerback Curtis Brown – Texas.

    In the 4th round of the 2011 draft (128th overall), The Pittsburgh Steelers select cornerback Cortez Allen – The Citadel.

    In the 5th round of the 2011 draft (154th overall), The Seattle Seahawks select cornerback Richard Sherman – Stanford.

    OOPS.

  18. I’d like to see AJ back.

    But I think he shot himself in the foot, performing poorly in the series with the Cards and then complaining about not getting the start.

    Then the Bucs threw an insulting offer at him.

    His body of work, he got us there . . . but then he wasn’t sharp when it mattered.

    If I had been Hurdle I would have picked Cole.

    But the offer was an insult — and I don’t think Volquez is the answer.

    It looks like a little squabble that got out proportion with both sides posturing.

    They need to put it behind them and work on a deal based on his body of work, not one game.

    That;s my take.

    • And I left out, AJ’s stated intention to play for the Bucs only, or retire probably didn’t help his negotiating position.

    • I’m not big on Volquez either. Maybe the worst starter in the NL last year, pitching in pitchers parks.

      Starkey, for months on the radio, you were saying patience was the key to AJ. I disagreed with that from go. The longer he was out there, when other teams missed their target, I thought it was likely someone else would go after him.

      I’m fine with the Pirates letting AJ walk. But maybe something better than Volquez or a true 1b upgrade might make this easier to swallow.

  19. Be it AJ Burnett or somebody else , I think the Pirates need another pitcher.

    • I would really like to know the answer of the $64,000 question – Are they going to get 25+ starts and a healthy season from Wandy? If they don’t get that, I might take a run at Maholm. We will need another lefty.

      This assumes, of course, that AJ is pitching elsewhere.

    • I think the Pirates need a GOOD pitcher. Somebody that can reasonablybe expected to put up a sub-4 ERA.

      I don’t think that pitcher exists, at least at their self-imposed price point.

      The organization has plenty of back-end guys to eat starts, at least until Taillon and/or trade deadline moves come up.

      • Agree NMR… Maybe they should have tried to strike early on some guys like they did with Martin a year ago.

      • I think a lot depends Locke — if he is healthy and can pitch the way he did before his injury I like our chances. Liriano/Cole/Morton/Rodriguez/Locke with replacement parts in Taillon, Cumpton, Gomez, and who knows what may show up in spring training — you can leave Volquez out and still have some hope.

        But more offense is still a bigger issue to me. If the Marte, McCutchen, Polanco outfield becomes what it could be this year there’s hope, but I would like to see Pedro improve his average without losing power and see better hitting at every infield position.

        All of that doesn’t have to happen to make the club good — but most of it does. Whether or not it will will be seen on the field.

      • I think, at this point, the free agent 1 year variety are starting to get slim. And, I don’t think they want a free agent for more than 1 year.

        They could trade for someone with more than a year left if they want more quality. But, they’d have to give up quality prospects.

        Lefties still do better in PNC, and Wandy possibly not being able to be counted on is why I suggested Maholm. Plus, Cincy, even without Choo, might still be susceptible to lefties. St. Louis struggled vs. lefties last year also – although Beltran was part of that issue.

  20. I have a request of Mr. Kovacevic. I hear there are palm trees in Sochi. Could you please send pictures back of palm trees at the Winter Olympics ?

  21. Gotta hit the road, folks. Don’t go ordering any Russian curling calendars. See yinz later.

  22. If Duke shoots as well as they did at the Pete the other night, they will beat Syracuse handily as well.

    Duke has not always played at or near the top of its talent this year. But, when they do, they look like a Top 5 team for sure. I think they may be rounding into shape at the right time. That darn Coach K! He always seems to have a plan.

  23. Any thoughts on the Northwestern Union?

    The only way I would agree with it, if it ends up protecting all college athletes over all sports in every division.

    If it turns into the Mens College Football/Basketball Players Union, no way.

  24. 15 DAYS UNTIL PITCHERS & CATCHERS (SANS AJ BURNETT) REPORT TO PIRATE CITY IN BRADENTON FOR SPRING TRAINING

  25. Some people still hold his comments about the Pirates needing to pony up against him, but I found this story on Michael Keaton very interesting.

    http://www.esquire.com/features/michael-keaton-interview-0214?src=nl

  26. I’ve got it trade Kris Letang, Matt Niskanen, and Brooks Orpik to Edmonton for the next 5 #1 overall picks that they are a lock for…

    Sorry felt like we needed some hockey talk to brighten the mood or at least change it from the Pirates ownership who we can spend all summer complaining about

  27. Well, in case you are all interested, Jonathan Martin, formerly of the Miami Dolphins, wants to return to the NFL next season although, naturally, not to his former team since, in a recent interview, he once again said that he left because he couldn’t bear the Ritchie Incognito led locker room bullying. Meanwhile, the Dolphins owner said that he doesn’t expect either Martin or Incognito to be back with the team next season.

    • Yeah, that was a HUGE issue when it first happened, now its basically swept under the rug, and I haven’t heard any resolution to this.

  28. I think the Penguins need a blockbuster and infuse some forward (winger) depth into the team. Kunitz, Dupuis, and Jokinen are older guys. I just can’t envision this team’s forward depth in a few years. I think Kuni and Duper will eventually be third line guys as they get older and slower. And it takes time to draft and develop forwards (particularly if we are picking in the 20s each year). That’s why I think we trade a veteran D or two and try to get more than just a stop-gap. I know we are in win-now mode but I think we can do both. If we traded Letang for someone like Eberle/Kane/Wheeler…this team will be just fine defensively and we could easily afford the wingers we need. One top 6 forward would do wonders for the short term. Bennett on the third line would be a big improvement on our bottom 6.

    Not just citing Letang though. Orpik/Scuderi/Martin…any one of these players could be moved and replaced to create a more well balanced team.

    • Of the four major sports, i understand hockey the least so forgive my ignorance.

      Every year it seems like the Pens need to go get that “scoring winger”. They do that. Then the playoffs roll around, everybody clamps down defensively, making the guy you just swung a deal for not as significant as they were in the regular season. I realize there are exceptions to that.

      But to me, if im the Pens I go get a great two way forward or a good blueliner that plays well against Boston’s forwards and do it that way.

      But hockey is not an area of a lot of knowledge for me.

      • bpn, you’re reading the situation pretty well. The Pens have a big blueliner…Borts…they just don’t play him.

      • BPN, you’re on to something there for sure. No all star has ever won squat. Fits and chemistry is as important as talent. Kind of why i envision trading for Boyes and Goc as working out better than if we trade for Moulson or wheeler.

    • ok i joked about the trade earlier but on a seious note tell mewhat you think about this trade. samuleson(sp) for max talbot. hear me out talbot can play a bottom six forward spot, contribute offensively, and play solid defensively and in pk situations. can play either third line wing and bring grit and speed or 4th line and provide shut down defense with the ability to take draws as a second center if someone got tossed. not to mention he was a huge impact on fluery, seriously does anyone else realize that talbot left and then fluery started to sruggle at times. he keeps the mood light and was extremely focused, and scored 2 goals in a stanley cup finals game 7. and as much as everyone talks about shipping dmen out and why did we stock pile dmen if they are just going to sit in the minors, this is why. its a small move but the impact could be huge, we ship a shut down defenceman type to col and probably a mid draft pick (maybe 4 or 5 rd) for a guy with playoff pedigree, knows the system and can fill an immediate need of bottom six forward.

  29. The NHL has said that they would not go to Sochi if a major incident occurred before they were due to leave for there next month, so I would hope that Sochi is as secure as people have said it now is.

  30. I posted this above, for those interested in the career stats of one Thomas Alva Edinson Volquez. But, it was sliding pretty far up the thread, so I copied it down to here.

    Ok, here’s Edinson Volquez, who turns 31 on July 3, 2014:

    Going left to right – Year, Team, IP, H, HR, BB, K, WHIP, ERA

    2005 TEX 12.2 25 3 10 11 2.76 4.21
    2006 TEX 33.1 52 7 17 15 2.07 7.29
    2007 TEX 34.0 34 4 15 29 1.44 4.50
    2008 CIN 196.0 167 14 93 206 1.33 3.21
    2009 CIN 49.2 34 6 32 47 1.33 4.35
    2010 CIN 62.2 59 6 35 67 1.50 4.50
    2011 CIN 108.2 106 19 65 104 1.57 5.71
    2012 SD 182.2 160 14 105 174 1.45 4.14
    2013 SD/LA170 193 19 77 142 1.59 5.71

    TOTAL 850 830 92 449 795 1.51 4.75

    There it is, warts and all. It is true that he pitched fairly well in his 28 innings with LAD last year, but he did manage to give up 5 HR in those 28 innings.

    He does still have a good arm, he does generally not give up a ton of hits, and he strikes some guys out.
    But, he also has a tendency to give up HR and he walks a ton of guys.

    I read that they will focus on having him throw the 2-seamer more, and that has worked for other Bucs pitchers.

    • Thanks for authenticating these facts here for us.

      Looks like he was only “pretty” one year, in 2008. Scary!

    • Jim, the interesting thing about Volquez is that he already bought into throwing the sinker last season. Nothing new there. His biggest challenge will be sequencing, which means it is a good thing we have Russell Martin.

      • I did read that, NMR. They improved Jeanmar pretty quickly. There’s no doubt the Pirates have a recent history of taking guys with good arms and, voila, those guys pitch better immediatley – Jonathan Sanchez notwithstanding.

      • I might consider Stewart for Volquez’s starts if I were Clint. I believe he is known to call a good game. But, best of all, I saw a graph recently of best pitch framers in MLB last year. Those are the guys who get the highest % of strike calls on balls that should have been balls. Stewart was the best in MLB. I think he was around 18%.

        Martin was also pretty high on the list.

        • I don’t think the research has shown there is enough of a defensive difference between Stewart and Martin to make up for the fact that Chris is an awful hitter.

          • I know. His hitting is downright scary. .214/.287/.288. And, there’s very little discernible difference vs. RHP or LHP. And, what is most amazing to me is, he actually strikes out at a pretty low rate. Teh BABIP gods owe this guy big time one of these years! He’s obviously slow as a molasses, with a low line drive rate I’m guessing. He just must not hit the ball with authority very often.

            But, he steals 18% of balls if I recall. And, he wasn’t just #1 in MLB. I believe he was #1 by a decent margin. Or, maybe the Yanks just tend to get more calls from umps! Martin, and now Stewart? Do I sense a conspiracy developing?

  31. Just as a throw-in on Volquez, last 2 years of home vs. road stats are not pretty for his road games. Since his home park was mainly SD, and that is an extreme pitcher’s park, I think the road stats are much more indicative of how he pitched overall.

    2012 IP H HR BB K WHIP ERA

    Home 100.2 74 3 56 99 1.29 2.95
    Away 82.0 86 11 49 75 1.65 5.60

    2013

    Home 86.2 91 11 41 80 1.52 5.50
    Away 83.2 102 8 36 62 1.65 5.92

    He has not fared well, especially away from Petco.

    IRIT! Please, Ray. Work your magic!

    • Using counting stats to predict future perforemance? Come on now, Jim!

      • I wasn’t really predicting anything, NMR. Just thinking that I have not liked what I have seen from this guy for awhile now. So, I decided to look it up and see if anything jumped out at me. What jumped out at me is that he has earned all those bad ERAs by putting way too many people on base.

        If they can get him pounding the ball low in the strike zone to where he is not giving up a lot of bombs, and he can get the walks down near 3.0 per 9, then I think we may have something. But, those are big ifs – especially the walks part. Not many guys can be successful when they walk 449 in 850 innings.

        Now, if AJ were on the roster and Volquez was not being counted on as heavily as I feel he now may be, I’d be ok.

        • I’m just saying that maybe it’s better to look at the stats that have proven to be good indicators instead of he traditional counting ones.

          xFIP of 4.20 or lower in 5 of the last 6 years, K/9 between 7.5 and 9.5, GB Rate above 50%

          • That’s fair. There are underlying stats that look better for him. I was trying to list the common ones that are most often used on the blog here.

            I still think hits/9, walks/9, HR/9, K/9, WHIP are very important stats. They all can be derived from the stats I posted.

            Things like high GB% give me hope – especially given the Bucs track record. I think the K/9 dropped a bit, but there’s no doubt he can miss bats.

            I think the Bucs like the sink in his 2-seamer, and they like their catchers to improve just about anyone, and they like their defensive shifts to help.

            I really think much of it hinges on the walks. Does he trust his stuff?

          • Those must be the ones the Pirates used. I can hear Neal now. ;-)

            • Haha, cliche by now, I know.

              But when it has worked so many times, why would one NOT look at those factors when evaluating if there is room for improvement?

    • But this was the best the Pirates could do this offseason??

      You are right………… in Ray We HAVE to Trust!

  32. Dear Abby:

    Am I just remembering incorrectly but wasn’t the blog community pretty much uniformly opposed to EV’s signing ?

    I remember thinking he was a decent acquisition until I got onto the blog to read the comments.

    After all, the boys here are my go to for opinions about players. :)

    Now, some of yinz, who know a lot more about baseball than me, are OK with it?

    -Confused in Oshkosh

    • Dear Oshie:

      If it makes you feel any better, I am still opposed to that signing.
      Oh, and I think he stinks, but Ray will have to work magic.

      Signed,
      Free AJ !!

    • I was extremely opposed to it, Osh – mainly because he allows 1.50 runners on base for his career. But, there are some smart baseball guys here, NMR among them, who convinced me that there might be something the Pirates see in Volquez that points to improvement this year. The recent track record is excellent with reclamation projects. I would say, though, that even those who said this was a decent move, are only expecting him to be a 5th starter – maybe a 4.20 ERA type this year.

      So, I think we all agree he does not make up for the loss of AJ even if he is an effective #5. That will have to come from a combination of things – Cole continues to get better, Morton pitches like he did the last half of 2013, Wandy is Wandy of pre-2013, Liriano is close to what he was last year, etc. We don’t need all those things to happen. But, I’d say our chances at the playoffs might hinge on at least most of them occurring in our rotation.

      • I would say so Jim…

        When you look at the batting order…it is pretty offensive, no 4 or 5 hitters but several 2, 6 and 7 hitters and when you combine that with what have to be concerns about the two closers from last year…will Grille find that 3 -4 mph he lost off his fastball at his age and why did Melacon end so poorly…just run out of gas?

        So unless one of the yungen bullpen lefties can pick up some of that slack, then the W/L record will be largely dependent on the starting rotation. If the starters can’t reproduce what was contributed in the first half of last season, then the trade deadline and callups aren’t going to matter.

        IMO, we do need damn near all those things to occur, if not it may not be just a regression, but a significant one.

    • Dear Confused –

      “You have no complaint
      You are what your are and you ain’t what you ain’t.
      So listen up Buster, and listen up good
      Stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood.”

      signed – Dear Abby

    • I was pretty silent. I wanted people to like me. ;-)

      Have no idea, though, where this notion came from that people are saying or have said he would be a good replacement for AJ. Don’t remember seeing that from anyone. Except maybe in jest or sarcasm. He’s been looked at as a back end starter IIRC.

    • Fair enuf, everyone.

      Believe it or not, I am often persuaded by posts made here.

      • FWIW, I think the vibe your getting of some thinking it was a decent signing is a combination of expectations and a general difference to the VUOYEBF-ERA-WERST-PITCHER-IN-THE-LEAGUE opinion shared by what seems to be the majority.

        No, he’s not going to replace Burnett. But it’s not going to take miracles for him to throw 180 IP with an ERA around 4.2, which is plenty adequate for a back end starter considering there were only 56 guys in all baseball to fit that criteria last year.

        • Part of it, I think, was the letdown after Josh Johnson signed with SD. Many of us saw him as the perfect signing for the Bucs, and they obviously thought the same thing. When he accepted an apparently lower offer to pitch near home, that was deflating.

          Then, a period of inactivity as other guys signed with other teams.

          Then, the Volquez signing, which many saw as a bargain basement purchase.

          • Ha, I was borderline apoplectic when it happened. He was literally the last pitcher I would’ve wanted to be signed.

            The more I dug the more I saw that changed my mind.

  33. A quick glance of Volquez’s career numbers, tells me he gets worse as the year goes on.

    The other thing I dont like, is the fact that the Reds and the rest of the NL Central are familiar with him. The National League has seem him. Its not like Liriano coming to a new league, facing the pitchers spot, instead of DH, ect. Not to harp on it, but he spent 2013 in probably the best two pitchers park in the NL and still got shelled, home and away. I dont see it. But I was wrong about Liriano.

    Liriano scares me a little too. Comeback player of the year TWICE, doesnt happen without a long fall.

  34. The other thing for me in this situation is that I have come to trust this organization a great deal with pitchers the last few years. They seem to have a blueprint that works in a pretty high % of the cases. I think it is more than just good fortune at this point. So, although I am scratching my head a bit on this one, I am willing to give NH, Searage and the scouts the benefit of the doubt. There were other guys who may have jumped out a bit more for many of us that were still available and could be had for $5 million. They chose this guy for a reason. I think they believe he can hold down #5, at least until Taillon arrives. If it blows up, I think we’ll see Cumpton, Locke, etc. very early in the season.

    Has anyone else watched that show, American Restoration, on History Channel? Rick Dale takes in formerly great appliances, motorcycles, coke machines, pinball machines, etc. that have turned into rusty, dented pieces of crap, and they restore them to their former glory. Maybe the Bucs are MLB Pitchers’ Restoration.

    • I do think Jim Benedict and Searge have done a good job fixing some guys. But I think going from AL to NL and ball park factor definitely benefitted Burnett and Liriano, maybe Melacon if you want to include all pitchers…I dont see that with Volquez. He very well could wind up like Jonathan Sanchez. What you see is what you get…But NMR’s points are valid and he was right about AJ two years ago.

      • I’m in the ball park factors and switching from league to league camp, bpn. But, I recognize there is a lot more to it than just those things.

  35. Jim mentioned trades a ways up there and it got me thinking. One silver lining to significantly under-funding the opening day payroll is that there SHOULD be plenty of cash to throw around in mid-season trades.

    The Pirates should be looking for evey soon-to-be-free-agent pitcher, shortstop, and first basemen on teams that aren’t expected to contend and use that money to dangle instead of prospects.

    • Thats if they are in the race, personally, I’d rather start the season with a strong roster and worry about trades come trade deadline. Not arguing, just sayin.

      Much like prospects, there are no promises, you never know.

      • AGREE Biz.

        This team, as currently constructed, has a very fine line between the glass being half full or half empty…inspite of the Matt Hague invitation.

      • I personally agree with you, Biz. Especially considering the amount of faith I have in that extra money being reinvested.

        But I also think there would have to be a mountain of injuries and poor performances to put this 2014 squad out of the race by June, which is the latest I’d be comfortable giving the current options at the positions I listed a try.

      • I totally agree with you Biz on this one.

        The games in the beginning of the season count as much as the one after the trade deadline.

        Start the season with the strongest roster you can.

    • Agreed 100%, NMR.

      • The White Sox alone have Adam Dunn who hit .250/.354/.469 after June 1st of last year and Alexei Ramirez who has been >3 WAR shortstop in three of the last four seasons.

        There will almost certainly be options available. Always is.

        • But one has to be confident the powers that be realize this.

          I am sure performance will dictate needs, but I am just not confident that moves will be made. Of course, the kids could come up from the farm, perform well, and render this all a moot point.

          I just thinks fans will be less forgiving this year, due to the extra cahs coming in. Raises expectations, ya know……

          • Lee, Wandy, and Byrd. Three good deadline trades in three years. I think it would be difficult to find a team has done better.

  36. The Pirates also need to hit and score runs more often than they did last year so the pitchers will have more to work with. They need to raise their batting average from last season’s .235 and Pedro Alvarez, for one, needs to strike out less.

    • Pedro HAS to raise his average to at least .250 to be a legit #5 hitter or .260 to be a legit #4, otherwise he is not even averaging 1 hit per game. You can stick him in one of those slots, but that doesn’t make him one. If he does, and I do hope he does, then who is batting in the other slot. Tablata? Lambo? Gabby? – starts getting sticky.

      It’s a lot easier suggesting where those guys might fit in the field. The actual batting order, not so much.

      • When will people realize that what we have with Pedro is what we are going to get. He is going to strike out a lot and he isn’t going to hit for great averages. Its really, all or nothing with him. He is our version of Adam Dunn and Jay Bruce. Big home run hitters, low average, and lots of strike outs.

        • That’s fine, then he is not and cannot be a #4 or #5 hitter. That is my point. And then the Pirates do not have either currently on their roster.

          Sorry if you misunderstood.

  37. I know this has been brought up before but I really doubt AJ pl;ays in Pittsburgh. If he was going to he we would be talking about him resigning with us and not about how he will return to no specific team. He’s as good as gone.

  38. The Pirates now say that they haven’t conceded AJ to anyone else, and Assistant GM Jeff Smith says there’s still a strong interest in the Bucs signing AJ, and Assistant GM Smith says he thinks that AJ will either sign with Pittsburgh or Baltimore.

  39. I don’t know how accurate this is, but they’ve been reporting on the Fan that AJ’s looking for around $14 mil.

  40. Anyhow, it’s good to hear that Penn State beat Ohio State tonight 71-70; thus breaking the Buckeyes’ winning streak against PSU at 18 and Ohio State’s winning streak against non conference teams at 80.

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