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Morning Java: First priority

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column rates No. 7 as the Steelers’ No. 1 priority for this offseason, but it’s tough to tell if they concur.

Very much looking forward to your feedback on this in the comments: What, to you, is the right time — if at all — to extend Ben Roethlisberger?

Free agency can be perilous, beat man Alan Robinson writes.

The Steelers have been timely with their farewells, columnist Joe Starkey wrote for Sunday’s paper.

Here’s the Trib’s Steelers page.

>> The Penguins have some serious pucks ahead this week, beginning tonight in D.C. They go back-to-back with the Caps, then back-to-back with a team they hate even more over the weekend. It’s compelling, to say the least, to see how they’ll handle it as a collective.

Brandon Sutter has become a pivotal piece, Rob Rossi reports from Washington.

Beau Bennett returned to practice, if you can believe that.

Here’s the Trib’s Penguins page.

>> Edinson Volquez has been lousy in the very early going for the Pirates, Rob Biertempfel reports from Sarasota. It’s crazy to take stuff like this too far, especially when it’s expected that Ray Searage will make mechanical changes. Go easy.

Time for the pitching-heavy drafts to pay off, Travis Sawchik reports from Bradenton.

Tony Sanchez went deep again yesterday and discussed it with our guys …

Here’s the Trib’s Pirates page.

>> James Franklin’s past in Pittsburgh is examined in-depth by Penn State beat man Chris Adamski. This is good stuff.

>> Pitt hopes the ACC Tournament can raise their profile, by Kevin Gorman. We’ll see. What I wonder right now is how the NCAA people would react to the Panthers flaming out of the ACC in one game.

>> The Riverhounds keep adding pieces, Matt Grubba reports, and I’ll keep advising caution on this.

It was no more or less a big deal than any exhibition, but the Hounds lost to Virginia, an NCAA final four team, by a 2-0 count Saturday at Highmark. That’s telling about the importance of chemistry, if nothing else. The Cavs had played together. The Hounds keep adding and adding. At some point very soon, Jason Kutney, Justin Evans and crew need to quit scouring the globe for ringers, identify their roster and just go with it. The opener is 19 days away.

>> If you missed last night’s Subway Final Word on WPXI-TV, we covered the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and probably the Ukrainian revolt somewhere along the way. I was on with Adamski, Mark Madden and Bill Phillips. We had lots of fun.

>> I’ll visit with my friends at TribLIVE Radio today at 11:30 a.m.

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. Mizery says:

    First!! Can’t wait for the NCAA tournament. I don’t think PITT belongs. They are a poor shooting team that can no longer rebound or defend. An early loss won’t be a surprise this time,

    I am excited for the Pens this week. Should be some quality hockey. I am not that excited for the Pirates this year. They did nothing to fill their holes at first base and short isn’t a proven commodity either. 14 million plus could fill some of these holes. It feels like the Pirates are the only ones that don’t realize that they are in a position to contend this year. I expected a little more urgency.

    Good stuff Dejan!!

    DK: Thanks, Miz!

  2. DJ says:

    DK: I’m sure Brees went to Purdue, unless he obtained a post-grad degree at Stanford. I recall him beating Pitt while a Boilermaker.

    DK: He sure did. Took business classes later at Stanford.

  3. DJ says:

    Enjoyed The Final Word.

    DK: Glad you watched! Thanks!

  4. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I’ve always been a pretty big fan of Ben Roethlisberger, but I’m not totally convinced that he has more than two “real good” years.
    However….I won’t be surprised if this extension issue gets done before the season starts.

  5. kr70 says:

    Any chance Ben just wants to play out his deal and retire? He has a young family and I would think a boat load of money. Didn’t the pirates Richie Zisk say, ” you can only spend so much.”
    The last couple years his offensive line at times has been offensive and the toll on his body can add up. He wouldn’t be the first person to walk at the top of his game.

  6. JoeyBats says:

    Quoting from Rob B’s article ==>

    “The erratic but talented Volquez is the Pirates’ latest pitching reclamation project. And it appears to be quite a project as Volquez struggled again in his third spring training outing Sunday at the Orioles.

    In the first inning, Baltimore star Chris Davis sent a Volquez fastball about 400 feet over the left-center wall at Ed Smith Stadium. In the third inning, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy smashed a Volquez curveball for a three-run homer to give the Orioles a 6-0 lead. The home run knocked Volquez from the game.

    Volquez allowed seven hits, six runs — five earned — and struck out three over 22⁄3 innings. Volquez has a 14.28 ERA and 2.3 WHIP this spring. He left the clubhouse before speaking to reporters. ”

    I am hoping we have not signed the next Jonathan Sanchez :-(

  7. Jandy says:

    Good to see the Boss back :)
    Gonna read his stuff with my morning bagel and coffee.

  8. I suppose that the Pirates usually know what they’re doing, right? But then, concerning Endison Volquez, well, here’s a pitcher they’d signed during the off season for $5 million and he got bombed in a spring training game yesterday. I know that the Bucs pitching coach Ray Seerage said before the game that you’ve got to have faith in these pitchers, and the Pirates will have to figure out how to accomodate him this season, and it’s only a spring training game after all. And yet, this is certainly embarrassing, to say the least.

  9. Anyhow, it’s most interesting to note that Rashard Mendenhall is retiring from the Steelers and the NFL at the tender age of 26.

  10. Hopefully, the Pens can beat Washington tomorrow since they no longer lead the East since Boston beat Florida yesterday.

  11. Jandy says:

    How about they beat Washington tonight first? :)

  12. The Gunner says:

    At least, Jonathan Sanchez had a decent spring with the Bucs but, he stunk when the season started & was quickly given his walking papers.

    Someone on either this blog or Travis’s blog mentioned that there is a $1 million buyout in Volquez’s deal that allows the Bucs to walk away. Does anyone out there know if this is true?

  13. bpn8pitt says:

    I just don’t see Roethlisberger playing at 38 years old. 5 years 100? 4 years 85? With two little boys and two rings, hard to see the Steelers getting a discount either.

    Its funny. A guy on the Final Word wasn’t taking it easy on Volquez last night. Saying it had been almost four years from his last productive season…How many teams had given up on Edinson Volquez? The NL Central knows this guy all to well.

  14. Andrew says:

    Johan Sanchez was actually competent in spring training, hence he made the injury depleted rotation being a NRI. It’s 2 1/3 innings on March 9th, it is myopic to take much any from that performance. Over in Clearwater, A. J. Burnett has been tagged for 8 hits and 7 runs in five innings of work.

    I am going to assume that buyout does not exist until proven otherwise.

  15. bpn8pitt says:

    I don’t agree with that Andrew. We aren’t talking about a guy who was 17-5 with an ERA of 3.00 last year. Or even 10-10 with ERA of 4.00. We are talking about a guy who walked a ton of guys, had an ERA near 6 and had three teams give up on him in a calendar year.

    Spring training might not mean much, but for years now it didn’t matter whether it was March, June or September. Volquez has stunk.

    And THIS was their biggest offseason addition.

    Where are you NMR and Wilver? Write the narrative with that 4.34 ERA over 180 ip. Lol

  16. Jandy says:

    NMR will prolly check in soon.
    meantime…if anyone has a chance to “fix” Volquez, it’s Searage. Let him have his chance :)

  17. Brandon says:

    With the current Pens line-up, post deadline, they have serious problems with forward depth, scoring depth, blue line toughness (and puck handling w/ Orpik) and potential goaltending issues. I currently tank them behind Boston, Montreal, Tampa and possibly Philly & Washington that are improved and better constructed for the playoffs. Equalizer could be coaching adjustments and special teams in a short series, but our coach doesn’t believe in adjustments based on past history. Here’s hoping that some of the depth and defensive issues get cleaned up over the next several weeks or this will be a very short spring.

  18. Dejan, dvr’d the final word. Why didn’t they invite the reporter who predicted the Goc trade? :)

    Oh wait…

  19. bpn8pitt says:

    C’mon Jandy! Lol. You replaced one of the best right handers in the NL with one of the worst.

    Shouldn’t the Pirates be beyond reclamation projects after 94 wins?

  20. NMR says:

    Grow up, buddy.

  21. JAL says:

    JAL’s It Takes Two Morning Links

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URU-gWAOlDM

    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 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dDNkaWxFNWIwNDVUQzEwYXp5SlpGNkE&usp=drive_web#gid=0

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2014

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Clint Hurdle’s Awareness of the Minor League System

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/first-pitch-clint-hurdles-awareness-of-the-minor-league-system.html

    Draft Prospect Watch: Virginia Is The Team To Watch This Year

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/draft-prospect-watch-virginia-is-the-team-to-watch-this-year.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Should Gregory Polanco start the season in the big leagues?

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/3/9/5488758/should-gregory-polanco-start-the-season-in-the-big-leagues

    7 Rumbunter

    Edinson Volquez Project: The Cure

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/03/09/edinson-volquez-pittsburgh-pirates-cure-project-theres-simple-fix/

    Tony Sanchez Shines On & Off Field as Bucs Rocked By Orioles

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/03/09/tony-sanchez-shines-field-bucs-rocked-orioles/

    8 Green Weenie

    3/9: Billy Southworth, Joe Dawson, Arky Vaughan, Ronnie Kline.

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/03/39-billy-southworth-joe-dawson-arky.html

    9 SaberBucs

    POLL: 2B/SS vs. Left-Handed Pitchers?

    http://saberbucs.net/2014/03/08/poll-2bss-vs-left-handed-pitchers/

    10 Pirates 101

    Pittsburgh Pirates Drop Two Against Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox

    http://www.sportsmedia101.com/pittsburghpirates/2014/03/09/pittsburgh-pirates-drop-two-against-baltimore-orioles-boston-red-sox/

  22. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 IS Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: first base options

    http://isportsweb.com/2014/03/09/pittsburgh-pirates-first-base-options/

    12 Mass Live

    Defining an approach: One game, four at-bats, 12 pitches with Jackie Bradley Jr.

    http://www.masslive.com/redsox/index.ssf/2014/03/a_day_at_the_plate_with_boston.html

    13 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Bullpen Continues to Impress in Spring Training

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/03/09/pittsburgh-pirates-bullpen-continues-to-impress-in-spring-training/

    14 Pirates Site

    McGuiness tries to spark Bucs late vs. Red Sox

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article/pit/chris-mcguiness-gives-pirates-their-only-run-in-loss-to-red-sox?ymd=20140309&content_id=68987070

    Using spring to sharpen up, Marte eyes improvement

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/pirates-left-fielder-starling-marte-aims-to-build-on-2013-season?ymd=20140309&content_id=68987328&vkey=news_mlb

    15 Bradenton Herald

    Starter Charlie Morton has found a home with Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.bradenton.com/2014/03/10/5037382/starter-charlie-morton-has-found.html

    16 Sporting News

    Reds 2014: Window may be closing for Cincinnati

    http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2014-03-09/reds-2014-preview-lineup-votto-bruce-chapman

    17 Fox Sports

    Morosi: Pirates OF prospect Polanco may be ready for the majors

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/morosi-pirates-of-prospect-polanco-may-be-ready-for-the-majors-030914

    18 St. Louis Post Gazette

    Looking for ‘big splash,’ Cards sign Diaz

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/looking-for-big-splash-cards-sign-diaz/article_756982c5-fa80-5a43-89a2-3268d01899b9.html

    19 Fangraphs

    Jason Collette – Baseball Chat

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/jason-collette-baseball-chat/

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    Overthinking It The 10 Phases of Phil Hughes, Compulsive Pitch Tinkerer

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22978

  23. Jandy says:

    That may be, bpn, but I can’t undo what they did. I can, however, see what magic Ray Searage can work with this guy.

    I’m thinking AJ wore out his welcome. Nothing anyone can do about that.

  24. Jandy says:

    Good morning, NMR :)

  25. JAL says:

    I am on the road and in another time zone so links are on tim for me but later than usual for you.

  26. Jandy says:

    reporter Pootin? ;)

  27. Jandy says:

    safe travels, Joe, and as always, thanks for posting the links :)

  28. Arriba Wilver says:

    Nah, he’ll just keep making stuff up and ignore any facts to the contrary.

  29. ISADan says:

    Spot on evaluation of the Hounds. At the scrimmage on Saturday, if was very clear that the team was still in a feeling out process with each other. Furthermore, and maybe more worrysome, it looked like there was a real lack of lack of fitness from some guys. If that doesn’t improve in the next couple of weeks, it might be ugly.

    Some of the guys that were struggling last season looked to be continuing that this year, but there were some bright spots, as well. New signing, Anthony Obodai was a welcomed sight. A big body in the midfield that looked like he was stalking prey. UVA didn’t want any parts of him after he was on the field for a few minutes. Joesph Ngwenya, who was looking sluggish, did show the technical skill that will make him an asset. UVA knew this as well, as there were usually two guys on him when he had possession. The one time there wasn’t and he had a little space to work with, he ripped through the middle third of the field and was waiting on the other end to feed someone the ball inside the box. Finally, and were the lack of cohesion on this team was most strongly felt, was up top. When Angulo, Dallman, and company get that timing back, this will be really fun to watch. The crosses into the box and through balls off of set pieces were missing their intended targets by inches. They were maybe a combined 18 inches away from throwing a four or five spot on the board. If that timing comes together sooner rather than later, we may see a team that won’t be afraid to get balls into the box from any angle and know that there will be someone there to give it a chance of finding the net.

    I’m most interested in seeing where the fitness level improves between now and the final scrimmage. If they go into that last tune-up, against Robert Morris, with their legs under them. They should handle themselves well when they head down to Orlando to open the season.

  30. Steve says:

    “I think Ben knows that it’s our intention to have him here beyond his current contract.”

    Based on the above comment I have to say this article seems to be very premature. I agree with the premise that they should sign him to a long term deal that does, in fact, enable Ben to retire a Steeler. I happen to think the people on the Steelers’ staff – Rooney, Colbert, etc. who control these things will address it, all in good time.

  31. Ya i wouldnt want him on the air either i guess :)

    You see game thread from anaheim game? ;)

  32. Arriba Wilver says:

    BTW, when I first saw that picture above I thought, why is Russell Martin wearing a Steelers throwback jersey. ;-)

  33. Jandy says:

    No, what did I miss? lol

    I watched the game, but wasn’t in the mood for chit chat. should I go look?

  34. Jandy says:

    LOL AW, ;)

  35. Just make sure you’re seated…yes take a look and scroll thru :)

  36. You a bad mood? Beyond comprehension. ;)

  37. The Gunner says:

    Actually, we have no choice but to see if Uncle Ray Ray can work some magic on Volquez. Then, there is the other potential #5 starter Jeff Locke’s oblique issue. The good news is they can always plug in Stolmy, Gomez, or even Cumpton into the 5 slot if Volquez & Locke can’t cut it.

    So, the situation isn’t as bleak as it could be.

  38. Rob says:

    The thing I don’t understand about not signing Ben this year is it will very likely cost them more next year. If you figure in inflation as other qb’s get their new deals it will only drive up the cost of resigning Ben.

  39. bpn8pitt says:

    What facts are those?

    So on one hand you bitch because they don’t resign AJ. Then they sign a guy who was statistically the worst starter in the NL last year, and you cross your fingers?

    You re the one ignoring facts.

  40. 21sthebest says:

    I can’t find anything that says there’s a buyout. Cot’s doesn’t have it.

  41. Sarah says:

    Speaking of Goc, is he seriously going to stay on 4L?
    Can somebody say why we spent a 3rd and a 5th on a 4C who’ll play maybe 6 mins a game??

  42. That’s right. The Pens play Washington at the Consol Center tonight and then at Washington tomorrow night, and, hopefully, they can win both of them, if possible.

  43. He’ll be moved around. He’s too much of a swiss army knife to not be.

  44. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t think Volquez stunk in 2012 or in his 6 appearances with the Dodgers last year.

  45. Brandie says:

    As the Goc Monster finds his way I bet he does not stay on the 4th line permanently.

    Hopefully Plancakes and Sausage had a good move to Irwin.

    Good morning all.

  46. Gmornin brandicita :)

  47. The Pirates have just announced they are sending Jameson Tailleon back to the minors along with another player.

  48. Sarah says:

    Well RS kept saying Top Nine and it hasn’t really happened yet….

    I have a queasy feeling it’s so Bylsma can keep Gladams out there more….

  49. JohninOshkosh says:

    Spotrac has the contract at 5 million guaranteed. Nothing I looked at mentioned a buyout. Additionally, it would be extremely odd if any such buyout existed.

    So, I’m confident in saying no buyout exist, Gunner.

  50. Brandie says:

    I like the image of Goc as a Swiss Army knife. The Pens need that due to multiple player injuries…will he find his way despite Bylsma? Enquiring minds want to know.

  51. Brandie says:

    Goalie Goddess!

  52. DJ says:

    You’re almost there, JT.

    Verizon Center tonight, Consol tomorrow.

  53. I saw him out there with sid n kuni, geno and real deal, and sutter. He’s too good on draws to not help geno out in the circle and he’s too responsible defensively to not be out there with sid n kuni in certain situations. Like when protecting a lead late. He has IQ too so dont be surprised to see him pick up some points and loose change around the net.

  54. BillyBaduka says:

    Actually, Washington tonight then in PGH tomorrow. Either way it will feel like one long road trip.

  55. BillyBaduka says:

    Still plenty of time to sign him this year. Off season just getting started.

  56. Come on brandie, disco isnt that bad. We’d be dissecting the actions of any coach, we’re just fortunate to have a coach who wins and has a fun nickname like disco :)

    I’m gonna stay positive and hope disco learned from previous playoffs. Having a few more chess pieces to work with should help.

  57. Sarah says:

    I had hoped he would help Sutter out. In any case he’s our best FO guy and he’s not taking a lot of them.
    Of course Vitale is 60+% and he’s in the press box.

  58. Jandy says:

    Planimal said all went rather well. He is settling in, and will see about internet connection. He’ll check in when he can :)

  59. Jandy says:

    Not a bad mood, SPunkster, just not in the mood for chit chat :P

  60. Well Goc went 10 for 13 against anaheim i believe. Not bad considering he only played 11 minutes. Lets see what happens after a few practices and games.

  61. DJ says:

    To the blog’s baseball heads:

    What’s the signing of SS Aledmys Diaz do for the Cardinals? Glove guy, hitter or both? Thought that was one of the soft spots in their line-up.

  62. Brandie says:

    Disco Danny D has plenty of experiences to take lessons from. He is not the worst ever as records and the championship prove.

    I think the worst ever was John Russell. (mumbles passion)

  63. Jandy says:

    Dayum,. good call, Comrade Pootin!

    Sid and Sutter sealed the deal. :)

  64. Brandie says:

    So glad Planford made it in one piece. Thank you for the update Jandalissima!

  65. Jandy says:

    I’m willing to give new players more than one or two games to get into sync with the team.

  66. DJ says:

    I thought you said before he only plays checkers while other coaches play chess.

    You can’t “king” a pawn.

  67. Jandy says:

    You got it, Sistah :)

  68. Why thank you jandiskova :)

  69. Trying to be positive DJ, lets hope we’ve learned from history.

  70. DJ says:

    You would have thought he’d have his internet connection in place before his refrigerator was stocked.

  71. You mean we shouldnt judge stempty yet after he just had twins and now all of a sudden has some crosby guy lining up at center with kamakaze kuni on the other wing? I can’t possible imagine why he would need a few games or weeks to recalibrate. :)

  72. Dom says:

    Could Tony Sanchez make the team?

  73. Anyhow, the Pirates play the Baltimore Orioles again this afternoon. And, hopefully, they don’t get bombed again like they did yesterday. And, by the way, these same Orioles bombed AJ in his last start for 6 runs and beat him and the Phillies 15-4. And so, we probably shouldn’t take yesterday’s spring training game that seriously.

  74. JAL says:

    Cards signed Peralta to handle SS. Diaz better hitter than fielder and many scouts see him as a utility player

  75. pattonbb says:

    From what I’ve read, he has a mlb-ready bat, but some questions about his glove-work. I also read there are doubts about his age.

  76. NMR says:

    Or, you know, any of them.

  77. Jandy says:

    Do I detect sarcasm? ;)

  78. Jandy says:

    Ahh another new name for me….Jandiskova :D

  79. Jandy says:

    But glad someone missed me :D

  80. Jandy says:

    +++++

  81. DJ says:

    I hear ya. It’s going to be interesting the rest of the way — more intriguing than last year.

    Let’s hope they dig deep and surprise a lot of people. At least this year there will be no feeling of having a stacked roster headed into the playoffs. No more sense of “If I don’t do it, another guy will.”

    I kinda like that.

  82. Jandy says:

    LOL…yeah, really ;)

  83. Thundercrack says:

    I heard on MLB XM that he is going to start in the Cards’ AAA team

  84. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m taking it somewhat seriously since they charged me so much for a ticket. :)

  85. Anyhow, the Pens are hopeful that they’ll get Beau Bennett back soon since they certainly need him.

  86. DJ says:

    He’s like the Mark Twain of the blog, Jandhi.

    No topic too esoteric for Plan.

  87. Ya last seasons trades were overkill but that was then and this is now. We’ve expanded our playbook this season so lets see how we do this time around.

  88. NMR says:

    Now I do think that is crazy. I had no idea spring training tickets were just as expensive as regular season.

  89. Jandy says:

    Mye-lo! How are you, friend? :)

  90. Jandy says:

    I appreciate him, DJ. I know sometimes he can be more touchy than I am, but the man is a font of information. If he weren’t baited so much he wouldn’t be so cranky. But what do know?
    :D

  91. Jandy says:

    *what do *I know even?

    lol darn jandy typos!

  92. NMR says:

    Seems like a lot of money for what outwardly looks like a backup, considering Peralta, Kolten Wong, and Matt Carpenter already on board.

  93. The Gunner says:

    Thanks for researching this, John.

    Like I said in another post, the Bucs have some depth & can always plug in Stolmy, Gomez, or even Cumpton into the 5 slot if Volquez & Locke can’t cut it.

  94. Jandy says:

    LOL! Ya nut :P

  95. scapper says:

    Here’s to kr70 for quoting Richie Zisk near the top of the comment section. I would have bet good money I could have lived three lifetimes without reading the words, “Didn’t the pirates Richie Zisk say,..” Classic stuff.

    Seeing Zisk’s name put me in mind of DK’s “Put Down the Pen” column from a couple of years ago. At one of the very few games where I was lucky enough to have a box seat back in my childhood, Zisk was signing autographs for a group of us kids, I still have the one he signed for me, but the signature means nothing compared to the memory.

    There he was, a real live Pittsburgh Pirate in that bright white uniform, standing right there in front of me and having an actual conversation with us. He wasn’t condescending or sarcastic. He was answering questions, asking us questions, cracking jokes…at that age, it was a magical 5-10 minutes.

    Have a few other memories like that (teasing Don Sutton after his locker room fight with Steve Garvey comes to mind first…he was a good sport about it), but the Zisk conversation stands out the most. Had to smile when I saw that name today. Thanks, kr70!

  96. Milo Hamilton says:

    Just peachy Miss Jandy.

  97. Brandie says:

    The blog is a different place without Professor Peter Potamus for sure. I like the comparison to Mark Twain DJ Blogs N Stuff!

  98. Jandy says:

    warm and fuzzy all over????

  99. Arriba Wilver says:

    You said yesterday that NMR or I “lauded” Volquez’s signing (you never specified). Neither of us did.

    You said that Volquez has a $1 mil buyout. Still waiting for any backup for that, but I don’t believe any exists.

  100. Milo Hamilton says:

    A little rough around the edges after last night but I’ll recover.

  101. Jandy says:

    Woah! glad to hear that lol

  102. 21sthebest says:

    It’s going on two days in a row that I’m agreeing with pretty much every word NMR types. It’s starting to freak me out.

  103. Jandy says:

    Armageddon!

  104. Scott says:

    I agree the first three teams you mention appear to be better suited for a deep playoff run than the Pens, but the good news is that the Pens will only have to play one of them, at most.

    The playoffs could go either way for the Pens this year. It all depends on the matchups. They could lose early to the Flyers. Or they could draw Columbus in the first round and the Rangers in the second, which would most likely result in another conference final appearance, and anything can happen from there.

  105. Mye-lough, dont know if you heard but henceforth jandy shall be referred to as Jandiskova :)

  106. Sounds good to me, Comrade. That’s better than the Spanish names, right? And it’ll be Brandiskya, too?

  107. Nothing wrong with some cultural variety…brandiskya sounds like a keeper to me :)

  108. Jandy says:

    I’ll have to answer to a lotta names henceforth!

  109. Andrew says:

    If two and third innings of spring training work is going to cause you discount numerous example of the pitchers the Pirates have turned around I am not going to convince you. Liriano had back to back seasons with ERA>5.00 and was walking five batters/9, Burnett had two season of ERA over 5.00 and had given up 56 homeruns. Melancon’s ERA was 6.20, and somehow the Pirates got <4.00 ERA out of Gomez.

    Volquez is a project but he can (not will) provide back end of rotation innings and remember we did not see this adjustment period for Burnett and Liriano because they were injured in their first spring training with the Pirates.

    Prior to first start with the Pirates, Burnett threw 4 innings in AAA, struck out none, walked 4 and gave up two homeruns with a 11.25 ERA.

  110. Brandie says:

    That’s me…The Black Russian Brandie! :) We may all go through an identity crisis on the blog due to our multiple personalities.

  111. Jandy says:

    nah.no identity crises, our alter egos will just talk us out of that ;)

  112. Like Vlad the Impaler said, nothing wrong with some cultural diversity.

    Brandacevic and Jandacevic will be next.

  113. Brandie says:

    I could be one of Dejan’s lost relatives? Cool!!!!

  114. Jandy says:

    No No I can’t be related to Dejan! No!

  115. Andrew says:

    Cardinals do have a history of developing hitters from less than heralded stock. However it does seem like a significant amount of money for a player they do not have a spot for.

  116. Whoa whoa whoa…my impaling days are in the past…recent past…but past nonetheless. Unless we’re not talking about hockey :)

  117. Brandie says:

    Thank you for that fair assessment based on facts…not emotion.

  118. Thundercrack says:

    That’s one of the things people seem to be forgetting. They are asking Volquez to be a #5 starter. Not lead the rotation.

    The only thing that concerns me about yesterday is the reports of how ‘dejected’ he seemed in the dugout. If a guy was going out to work on his fastball or curve and got lit up – he probably wouldn’t really care about the results (especially so early in the spring). My fear is that he may be realizing that he doesn’t have it anymore. But I also still think it is still a bit early.

  119. Wait a sec, i think we’re leaving sarah out from the cultural variety show. Any suggestions for sarahichka? :)

  120. Jandy says:

    Woah!!!!

  121. Jandy says:

    (that was for the impaling)

  122. Ya i thought that was a lil much but couldn’t think of anything better or funnier to lucky’s post :)

  123. It’ll be NFL Free Agency time tomorrow, although it’s expected that the Steelers will be quiet on that front.

  124. Brandie says:

    I like the effort Vladimonster.

  125. Thanks brandiskaya, but from now on im authorizing you to write my jokes for me :)

  126. Andrew says:

    There is a good chance that Volquez’s turns out bad, I just do not think it is a certainty that he blows up. It is a calculated risk, however there are quite a few teams giving one year deals to risky/underwhelming pitchers.

  127. Jandy says:

    LOL Pootin Monster, not too much, and a good laugh ;)

  128. Andrew says:

    I agree with this but think the Flyers are fairly mediocre.

  129. Jandy says:

    I would say not to overlook Columbus, I think they’re this season’s Cinderella.

  130. Arriba Wilver says:

    Out of ST? I doubt it, unless someone gets hurt.

  131. Brandie says:

    How about Maria Sarahpova for our resident Goalie Goddess?

  132. Arriba Wilver says:

    No one has ever accused Nutting of not knowing how to make money. ;-)

  133. Jandy says:

    ZING!

  134. NMR says:

    In other news, the sun came up this morning.

  135. I like the Maria Sarahpova for Sarah. Good name for a goalie, Brandiskaya.

  136. Jandy says:

    LOL! I actually laughed out loud at this one! Thanks, NMR :)

  137. Dom says:

    Who needs Ike Davis when you got Gabby Sanchez?

  138. Sarahpova…done. Sounds good to me.

  139. NMR says:

    Ha, seems like both occurances happen with similar freqency. It’ll be breaking news when Davis is NOT nursing something.

  140. NMR says:

    @TC – I read that as well, although I’m thinking not having it anymore is a bit much to read into it. The guy just got knoccked around all of central florida. Good to see a pride factor there, regardless of scrimmage or real game.

  141. Brandie says:

    Ike Davis is Soffff!

  142. NMR says:

    I think there’s a cream to treat that debilitation, 21. Share some with AW.

  143. Dom says:

    Yeah but so is a polar bear.

  144. Brandie says:

    Though Davis may not have the constitution of said polar bear.

  145. Brandie says:

    I could float all day on the Revvie seal of approval. :)

  146. Dom says:

    True but Ike Davis doesn’t have to worry about the ice in the arctic from cracking below his feet.

  147. JHadar says:

    You know the way this winter was out on the prairie, the sun coming up may be the more noteworthy of the two stories if you’re talking visibility.

    Enjoyed the Volquez discussion above, too. I don’t he’s a lock (or a Locke) for the fifth starter job especially once the need to back the investment wears off — but show me any club anywhere that only signs surefire can’t miss players, One of the reason big budgets succeed — after their ability to cherry pick the free agent market — is that they can take more flyers on guys like Volquez. And yes Searage is a factor — but probably not an equalizer.

  148. Thundercrack says:

    Not only do they charge a lot for the ticket, but also an extra $5 to buy them early.

    Two weeks from now I will be there too!

  149. Brandon says:

    I agree that Columbus could be a threat – I didn’t rank them as high as the Pens have not had issues with them and I think they match up better., particularly the forward line matches. The likely match up will be the 1st round 2-7 as the Pens will be a #2…..we’ll see about the Flyers this weekend, but they have been playing much better and will be a tough match up because of their size….I truly hate their organization and culture, but could be a problem.
    Big test moving ahead will be the development of Depres, Bortuzzo (assuming he is back sooner vs. later) and Dumoulin if he is brought back up. I realize that Disco wants to stay with experience, but Orpik continues to be weak & the splitting of Nisky-Maatta to accomodate the Scuds & Orpik scenario will need to improve quickly….they’ve got time, but it needs to work out.

  150. Brandie says:

    No. That is true. He just worries about the dreaded wasted potential.

  151. 21sthebest says:

    Ice cream would be awesome!

  152. Jandy says:

    :snicker:

  153. Dom says:

    Something a polar bear doesnt have to worry about.

  154. Sarah says:

    Sarahpova LOL!!

    In fact, I studied Russian in school. And I do like Maria. Her nickname is Masha BTW.

    And Geno’s is really Zhenya, a diminutive like Johnny. I guess Geno is close!

  155. Sarah says:

    Honestly, I’ll believe Bennett when I see him. I’m saying 30 days. And I think that may be why we’re seeing Stemp get a look with Sid.

    I just thought JJ looked so much better w Sutter…..but oh well.

  156. pattonbb says:

    It’s the “spending of money” he has problems with.

  157. NMR says:

    I think the part of Volquez I like the least has to do with roster rules.

    I really like what I’m hearing Stolmy Pimentel and Jeanmar Gomez. Pimentel is supposedly up to 97 mph and Hurdle has had some great things to say about Gomez getting ahead of hitters to the point that his stuff is playing up to swing and miss.

    I would love to see either of these guys get the chance to start, but that leaves you in an uneviable depth position if they fail.

  158. Jandy says:

    DOUBLE ZING!!!!

  159. NMR says:

    Must read article for Pirate fans by Travis Sawchik, linked by Dejan above. Really, really good work by the Trib, once again.

  160. Arriba Wilver says:

    One of the reasons Sanchez didn’t work out last year, I believe (based on some quotes of his), was that he really didn’t buy into the fact he needed to change anything. Volquez sounds a little more open to it, plus he talked to Liriano. But I agree with NMR, again, that I’d rather have him looking dejected than looking like everything is peachy keen after an outing like yesterday. And I also think they are working on his mechanics, which isn’t an overnight thing. Not saying it will work out, but it’s darn early to draw any conclusions.

    One other thing I’ve noticed not only here, but elsewhere, including the talking heads, is that Volquez’s situation is being compared to Liriano’s on how much they paid for the risk. A lot of people are saying they paid Liriano $1 mil plus incentives for the risk. That’s not the relevant comparison. Frankie originally had agreed to a 2 year guaranteed contract for $12.75 mil. Emphasize guaranteed. The ONLY reason they got the deal he ended up with for the $1 mil plus was because he broke his non-pitching arm before signing the contract. The original deal is the correct comparison.

  161. Dom says:

    We’ll probably obtain a backup RB, CB, WR, and an OLman. I really don’t see any other position being addressed.

  162. JohninOshkosh says:

    Very fortunate to have Travis and Rob covering the Pirates.

    Although, reading Travis’ blog entries and its comments, has me paying attention to Sabermetrics. That has me a bit worried, I must say.

  163. NMR says:

    Boy do I agree with the comparison comment, and I’ll extend it to include the aforementioned Jonathan Sanchez.

    I get it, familiar comparisons are easily understood. But the odds of Volquez turning out to be Liriano OR Sanchez are extremely rare, because both of those players represent extreme ends of the spectrum.

  164. NMR says:

    Ha, just follow that up by reading 24/7. He doesn’t get bogged down by the numbers, as anyone that listens to the radio in the Pittsburgh market surely knows.

  165. Jandy says:

    Ahhh I did my homework, NMR, and learned more…thanks for the tip :)

  166. JHadar says:

    I’ve felt that the pitching depth has been adequate to consider dealing a prospect or two for a position player if the right deal came along. A failure by one of those two would weaken it, but pardon the semantics, not to the level of unenviable.

  167. Naterosboro says:

    I think Jeanmar should be in the role he was last year. Long relief/spot start, and the occasional “mop-up” relief. I use “mop-up” there more in terms of “once-in-a-while” when some of the middle relievers need a day off. I think too much exposure to big league hitters would expose Jeanmar.

  168. Jandy says:

    Indeed, Dom, but polar bears don’t play MLB, either :)

  169. NMR says:

    I agree, JH, and I think Wandy’s apparent health is a game changer in that regard.

  170. JHadar says:

    Interesting… but the thing I took away from the article is that the Bucs have taken a step beyond traditional scouting in identifying athletic traits, developable athletic traits at that, rather than relying on pure performance whether you are evaluating by eye, radar gun, or sabermetics.

    Add an appendix to Moneyball. This seems like a real breakthrough in scouting.

  171. theplanisworking says:

    Good afternoon !

    Pirates playing, gonna be warm the next 2 days, Milo terrorizing Bradenton.

    Pens have a chance to go 3-1 on this road trip, which would be excellent.
    Ben—- not worried about his extension at all. They will get it done.
    Pirates —- beware Edinson Volquez. But, I do hope they can fix him.

    Shoutout to all the Loonies, especially Lad9, who wished in vain for his HS victory. ;)

    Will only be on sporadically the next week or so, but wanted to come on and say Hi to the Boss. Bout time he got to workin’. ;)

  172. theplanisworking says:

    Oh, and now I get the “joys” of the Fan.
    Need cotton for my ears bleeding, but I will give them a chance.
    ( Looking forward to Cook spontaneously combusting )…………………………

  173. Jandy says:

    hey hey, Planimal! Good to see you, thanks for checking in :)

  174. pattonbb says:

    per Adam Schefter, “Steelers will release LB LaMarr Woodley at 4 ET Tuesday”

  175. theplanisworking says:

    Jandy, nice avatar!
    Mario would be so proud…………..

  176. Hey its the hip hop hippo…

  177. Jandy says:

    Thanks, Planimal :)
    I rather like it!

  178. theplanisworking says:

    Another nice avatar!
    Bout time! Really, about time !

    Catch you later.

  179. Jandy says:

    I bugged HM and told him he had to top my garage league avatar…and he did :)

  180. Jandy says:

    wow. had such high hopes for Woodley. What a waste.

  181. cosmo says:

    I thought they would wait til june to save some cap hit

  182. Nate83 says:

    “Fixing” a pitcher doesn’t happen overnight. They are completely changing his mechanics. He first has to embrace that mentally and trust the ball will go where it should he then has to physically repeat it over and over before he has a chance of repeating it without thinking about it. I would think it’s a much longer process then 3 spring training games spanning 5 innings.

  183. Anything for my favorite hippo. :)

  184. Nate83 says:

    Free agency starts Wednesday I believe. They must have their eye on some targets that are only available if they make the move now. It’s the right move. It feels like linebacker is the one position this team continues to give bad contracts out the hamstring the team later. I’m really not opposed to them going away from the 3-4 and running a 4-3 now that they lost the advantage of drafting undersized athletic LB’s later in the draft.

  185. BillyBaduka says:

    The report says they will designate it for June 1st.

    This allows Woodley to negotiate and sign with other free agents.

  186. BillyBaduka says:

    Should be “along with” other free agents.

    Obviously, the free agents will sign with teams.

  187. cmat0829 says:

    Um it is even MORE interesting to note that Mendenhall retired from the ARIZONA CARDINALS where he played last year.

 
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