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Morning Java: Steelers speak up

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> Off for a couple days after returning from 12 in Florida, but the rest of the week — and, of course, the blog — will go on as scheduled.

>> The Steelers’ brass has this regimen for when they do and don’t speak, and it sure is a lot more of the latter than the former. So when three or so months go without a peep from Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert, it can be pretty jarring each year at the opening of the NFL owners’ meetings when tons and tons and tons and tons of stuff spills out, as it did yesterday with our Alan Robinson in Orlando reporting it all via three news articles and a blog entry.

What struck my interest most was Colbert’s stated openness toward extending Ben Roethlisberger this summer, a point I kind of pounded in the March 10 column. Oh, Colbert reiterated Art Rooney II’s recent comment that they might wait until next year, but Colbert also said, “We’ll get through free agency, get through the draft and see where we are.” Those were the strongest remarks yet from anyone with the Steelers indicating at least an approach will happen before the coming season.

Honestly, not sure why even have that charade. It’s got to happen.

James Harrison should be welcomed home, writes columnist Joe Starkey.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Steelers page.

>> The Penguins lost by a goal to the best team in hockey. Rob Rossi reports from Consol.

And yeah, I know the Blues are tied atop the NHL’s overall standings with the Bruins, just as I know the Sharks, Ducks or Blackhawks might be better than either of them. But what that sentence right there tells me is that the local team needs to carve out a playoff-type identity here in a hurry to not get left out once the real games get going. Matt Niskanen’s quotes in the above article spell that out quite nicely.

A terribly sad stat from our weekly AHL report by the Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice’s Jonathan Bombulie: The Baby Penguins’ leading scorer is 35-year-old Tom Kostopoulos, and their top scorer among all of the young forwards — and, yes, those apparently exist — is Jayson Megna, with nine goals in limited action.

I don’t care that defensemen are always prioritized in the first round. That’s perilously close to scandalous.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page.

Here are official game highlights on NHL.com.

Here’s Blues news from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Here’s Coyotes news from the Arizona Republic.

>> Jameson Taillon, the Pirates’ top pitching prospect, was shut down yesterday by a sore elbow — always the reddest of red flags in baseball — and will miss the start of the Triple-A season. Rob Biertempfel reports from Sarasota.

Jeff Locke is set for a step back, by Biertempfel.

If you missed it, Biertempfel broke news Sunday about the Pirates making Starling Marte a multiyear offer. Marte, to his infinite credit, rejected it.

Can’t help but wonder: Would the Pirates ever make Gerrit Cole such an offer? Or would they presume that Scott Boras, unlike Jose Tabata’s agent, isn’t brain-dead? Or will only the Latin American players be approached in such a manner?

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

The Pitt column is about Pitt peaking. Which I’m not sure they’ve done just yet.

>> Pitt was left wanting more from its first ACC season, by beat man Kevin Gorman.

If you missed it, my Sunday column broke down facts vs. narrative about Jamie Dixon and his program’s progress.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pitt page.

>> I’ll call in to TribLIVE Radio 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. Mike Vee says:

    Sure seems like the team has been backed into a corner with the last 4 drafts. Is there anyone that wasn’t disaapointed Saad wasn’t drafted? How many 6′ 190-200LB defensemen do we actually need? Can someone explain the power play that cannot score on 5 on 3? I’ve never seen a set-up like we did today. Let’s not put someone in front of the net, let’s put them on each side of the posts. It’s just ridiculous, there’s no discipline, no sense of urgency and no accountability. When they play an aggressive forecheck and I don’t mean pounding into the defense at every chance but just disrupting the play and taking pressure of of the defense with the odd man rushes, this team wins. It just seems like the team has no direction. It’s unfortunate because this team as is can and should still win the Cup, but they won’t until there’s a change at coach. I’d can Db and let Martin take over from here. I’m looking forward to watching the playoffs this year with a pack of Rolaids by my side, yet again.

  2. Rbilak says:

    - as for the Pens, 1-5-2 vs Playoff teams since break. That is a trend. Shero added depth, what he failed to add was grit and size. Both much needed by this team. One question that has been answered is when will the Pens quit taking so many undisciplined, frustration penalties, the answer is NEVER! The coach nor the GM seem to care.

    - the Pens rely too much on their powerplay and when it goes bad they lose. Even-strength they are at a disadvantage, made more apparent with Dupuis out.

    - as for Kostopolous leading in scoring, my fears are this, the play of Scuderi has been poor, Orpik is no longer what he was but Shero loves to sign guys in mid 30′s long term. Neither are part of the future and accordingly moves need made next year. If not, why continue to draft D in rounds 1and 2?

    - the love for small forwards has got to stop. We are man-handled by other teams. I am sure if Conner were healthy, he would team with Gibbons to form the smallest line in the NHL. We need larger, physical, wingers who hit defenseman on forechecking and knock pucks loose.

    - the “only one game comments” need to look at trends. 1. Stupid penalties never stop, coach and GM fail to address the issue. 2. Physical teams, Boston, Philly, St Louis, Chicago, expose the Pens. 3. Rely on powerplay way too much, less penalties called in playoffs. 4. Point play on power play allows way too many short handed opportunities, the coach fails to even address it. 5. Scuderi and Orpik on Penalty kill fail, they allow forwards in front of them, coach unaware of this.

  3. Mizery says:

    First!!! Great stuff on the Marte attempted extension. He absolutely should not sign right now. He is setting himself up for a nice payday that unfortunately the Pirates won’t be a part of. My heart sunk in my chest when I read Taillion is being shut down. Praying the second opinion is the same conclusion as the teams docs. Don’t miss the spring premiere of LAMBO: FIRST DUD.

    Good to hear from Colbert. I like the idea of signing Blount. Great back-up that can spell Bell. I also want them to still sign Carrington but that looks like it isn’t going to happen now. Still plenty of time before really talking about the Steelers though.

    Penguins better get going. This Stanley Cup playoffs might be short this year if they can’t handle all the traps they will face this time of year

    Happy Monday and take care Lunatics

  4. Mizery says:

    And I guess I was third. Scratch that.

  5. Stetson says:

    I just don’t get why the Steelers didn’t work harder to extend Ben and reduce his cap number for next year immediately after the season ended. As far as free agency is concerned, it is now apparent (and was all along) the Steelers wanted to make splashes and fill holes, hence the Mitchell and Worlids signings in particular. Obviously, it would have been much easier to fill more holes (DB, WR, and backup RB come to mind) had they had an extra three or four million in cap.

    To me, if you are going to wait until this summer to extend Ben, there is really no reason to bother doing so this offseason. He wants to stay here, and I doubt him hitting the open market is going to exponentially increase how much money he gets (I assume the Steelers are going to give Ben upwards of 20 mil a year over three or four years regardless).

  6. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I don’t see much sense in bringing James Harrison back to the Steelers.
    I like the fact that they have been adding youth, and discarding age.
    I would highly recommend they stay on that path.

  7. Mike Vee says:

    Not sure what games you’re watching but, without Orpik, you’d have the other team standing in the blue paint with Fleury and would have about the softest D squad in the league. He may not be what he was a few years ago, but he’s still way more physical than any other D-Man. I’m glad 41 and 47 are finally starting to come around since they at least have the size. I agree, though, Scuderi is not near what he was in L.A. or in Pittsburgh before he left.

  8. Stetson says:

    Same narrative as last year’s ECF in regards to refusing to screen the goalie on power plays (or any situation really.)

    The Penguins scored 2 goals in 4 games in large part because their forwards decided to try to skate through the neutral zone and go 1 on 5 against a Boston team camped out in front of the net.

    The Blackhawks scored 17 goals in 6 games because they got traffic in front of Rask and established puck possession.

    Bylsma will need to adjust if the Penguins have a shot at defeating a Boston, or, hate to say it, a team like the Flyers in the playoffs.

  9. MARK MCFADDEN says:

    What this retard and other lazy writers (they want an easy story which by the way in clearly untrue) keep trying to say is the Steelers have intention to sign Ben THIS OFFSEASON. NO THEY DON’T!!!! THEY HAD NO INTENTIONS THAT IS WHY THEY KEEP SAYING MAYBE!!! When this question came up at the end of the season Rooney stated Ben’s cap hit is only 13 million this year and there was no urgency to definitely re-sign him this year, HENCE NO STORY!!!!!!! SO QUIT BEING LAZY ASSHOLES AND COME UP WITH A REAL STORY THAT TAKES SOME WORK AND SOME DIGGING!!! THERE IS NO STORY HERE, AND I HATE WHEN THESE WRITERS PRETEND THERE IS OR THINK BY BEATING A DEAD HORSE THEY CAN FORCE ROONEY TO DO SOMETHING THAT IS UN-NEEDED AND THAT HE NEVER INTENDED TO DO in the first place. That is the reason he is a retard, he can’t read between the lines and will no do his historical homework. Ben is still here for 2014 and 2015 when his cap hit will be almost 18,000 in 2015 plus any dead money. Then his NEW CONTRACT cap hit with dead money will be around 10-12 million which is where you want to try to keep it. They’ll give him a new contract early in 2015. This year they had a lot of free agents, and giving Ben a new contract may have only saved 2 mill. The older Ben gets the less they can offer to pay him. So signing him next year when he is 34 or 35 makes more sense. Now, the Rooneys or Colbert could try something slick, by taking a first round QB and use that as leverage to give Ben a smaller contract in 2015, although I don’t think that is their plan or have the balls to do it, or that there is a QB worth the risk. My guess is, if they are smart, they sign a RB and inside LB in free agency, possibly Harrison at league minimum (which doesn’t raise the cap) and another DL at league minimum after the draft, and during the draft draft a corner in the 1st, then use 3 picks to move up early in round 2 to get NIX NT or who ever is left at NT, than take 2 wide receivers and De and RB giving them a total of 6 player out of 9 picks. I am prognosticating here. Wish I could help them pick the wr’s because they picked wheaton over woods when I told them not to. Wheaton can’t avoid or fake out tacklers, horrible in the open field, watch his film, but woods had the same 40 time and he was hard to get on the ground like Corderalle Patterson. They missed on that pick. OK Markuse Wheaton, prove me wrong!!! Learn dime cuts, another name is one step cuts, like brown and Hines employed religiously! Get disciplined at it and prove me wrong. Any of you readers don’t Know what I mean, Google wr woods and wheaton college film and you’ll see the difference. Part of the reason Wallace was a one trick Pony he wasn’t good after the catch, only if he had an angle and was outrunning someone. Wallace could never fake anyone out or out cut someone (meaning cutting quicker than they) like brown invariably does almost every play. He reminds me when I played Basketball, I could cut so quick from a standstill that nobody could stay with me to the hoop. Talk about quick twitch fibers. Played for Penn State in 80 or 81. Beat our Big mouth arrogant starting point guard one on one in front of whole team 10-6. He finally stopped running his mouth at everybody. He also thought he was good looking. You were ugly Red!

    DK: Dear God. I think this is real.

  10. MARK MCFADDEN says:

    You better believe it’s real lazy ass!!! Yeah, we all know you get paid even when you write garbage. Thief. You worked for me I’d fire you. Your not the only person that keeps bringing up resigning Ben like it’s real. If they had that intention they would have done it early to make room for free agent signings, but instead said again and again that after the draft and the signings they might look at Ben’s contract. Read between the lines retard. There is no intention to do so and they said so about 4 weeks at the end of the season around final meetings with players. I have friends on the Steelers who I am in communications with. It is obvious to me, you do not.

  11. Stetson says:

    Tell the Rooney’s and Colbert I said hi!

  12. walt says:

    DK How can you say Marte was stupid and talk about Jose it looks like Jose got the best of the deal right now 15 to 20 millions a lot of money to anyone ?

  13. Stetson says:

    Marte is a guy everyone graded out as an A prospect. Marte has pop, tremendous speed, and a quick bat. Marte will more than likely win a Gold Glove in his career. Marte has the potential to hit near .300 and steal over 300 bases over his whole career. Marte, assuming he stays healthy, could get 7-10 million per year on the open market when he becomes a free agent.

    Tabata was a guy who had, at the time of his extension, average speed, no pop, and average fielding ability. Tabata, however, looked early in his career like a guy who could get on base, hit for average, and set the table for McCutchen and Alvarez.

    Tabata signed for what he did because the Pirates saw the opportunity to lock up a guy with promise on he cheap, and Tabata saw a chance to earn guaranteed money. And, in retrospect, that was a smart decision (he would never make more than 2 mil in arbitration).

    The two situations are 100 percent different. Just my two cents.

  14. You better believe it’s real, lazy ass!!! Yeah, we all know you get paid even when you write garbage. Thief. I read your earlier story. You’re still trying to prove your earlier story like Locanfora! You worked for me I’d fire you. Your not the only person that keeps bringing up resigning Ben like it’s real. If they had that intention they would have done it early to make room for free agent signings, but instead said again and again that after the draft and the signings if they have time, they might look at Ben’s contract. Read between the lines retard. There is no intention to do so and they said so about 4 weeks at the end of the season around final meetings with players. I have friends on the Steelers who I am in communications with. It is obvious to me, you do not.

    I’m going to tell you why you pissed me off, Mr Arrogant!! Quote: “Honestly, not sure why even have that charade. It’s got to happen”. Really?? A charade?? Really?? So, Colbert is manufacturing a charade, a con, a lie??? So he is a liar now facilitating a charade, so he isn’t speaking truthfully. I happen to like and admire Kevin Colbert very much. He is much better at his job than most everybody else who does that job, doesn’t mean he can’t miss a pick occasionally. Last years draft was one of his best. Drafts are never perfect, but to say it’s got to happen (resigning Ben this year) when it doesn’t, when an idiot knows there is little to no fiscal benefit to signing Ben this year, and they made that clear 2months ago, and to say that Kevin is lying. Creating a charade, intentionally deceiving everyone is an insult to Mr. Colbert. If you knew him, you would not say that about him. Not in his character. What would his wife say about your insult towards him? If he wants to do something, he’ll tell you “yeah that is something we are looking to do”. But, when he is not sure or it is something not on his radar, he will say ” Yeah its’ something we might look at, maybe after the draft and getting everyone signed. Any idiot can understand his inferences. No one needs to insinuate that he is intentionally deceiving you or us with a charade. Again, Kevin is not a liar by any stretch, it’s not in his character. You see, I am one of the 100% supporters of Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert. I don’t ask for their head when they make an occasional or rare mistake. You writers do. And, for some reason your particular articles have always rubbed me the wrong way. It is because you often write some offhanded arrogant insult at someone in you articles and take liberties with your stories by bending the truth, or take liberties with your subject when you shouldn’t. When you have an opinion, try posturing it in question form. Or say, “if I am reading between the lines he might be saying this” or “he might be saying that . . . ” You writers have gotten so far afield from being ethical responsible writers. You try to create stories so often where there are none, like the fake rift between Ben and Haley. We all got so sick of hearing all the lies you people kept propagating between Ben and Todd. Look at the writers who reported the FBI had found the Boston Bombers and had them in custody and they were pictures of 2 innocent men. I am so sick of you people having no integrity and then go on to insult someone who never intentionally deceives anyone ever. I’ll bet you’d call the pope a liar too. WELL, IT MAKES FOR GOOD HEADLINES, DOESN’T IT.

    P. S. IF YOU REDO BEN’S CONTRACT THIS YEAR AND YOU ADD TO HIS 13 MILLION THE DEAD MONEY THAT WAS SPREAD OVER 2 YEARS NOW COMING DUE (7-8 MILLION) THIS YEAR, YOU HAVE 7-8 MILLION DUE THIS YEAR WITH HIS SALARY OF 3-4 MILLION OR MORE OF A NEW CONTRACT, YOU HAVEN’T SAVED ANY MONEY UNDER THE CAP. YOUR AT 10-11 MILLION MINIMUM). ESPECIALLY A BAD TIME WHEN YOU HAVE 23 FREE AGENTS TO TRY TO GET UNDER CONTRACT THIS YEAR. DO YOU SEE HOW POORLY YOU HAVE THOUGHT THIS ALL THROUGH? DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB THAT KEEPS YOUR MIND OCCUPIED? YOU MUST. KEEP YOUR DAY JOB!

  15. cherokee23 says:

    Why so angry, man?!

  16. JAL says:

    JAL’s Gimme Some Lovin Morning Links

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxA3atHD2QM

    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: The Impact of the Injuries to the Top Prospects

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/first-pitch-the-impact-of-the-injuries-to-the-top-prospects.html

    Jameson Taillon Sidelined With “A Little Bit of Elbow Discomfort”

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/jameson-taillon-sidelined-with-a-little-bit-of-elbow-discomfort.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Jameson Taillon has sore elbow

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/3/23/5540262/jameson-taillon-has-sore-elbow

    7 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates Neal Huntington Show Notes

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/03/23/notes-pittsburgh-pirates-neal-huntington-show/

    Will the depth at pitching produce a bat for the Pirates this year?

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/03/23/will-depth-pitching-produce-bat-pirates-year/

    8 Green Weenie

    3/23: Mike Smith, Ray Kremer, Wendell Smith, Johnny Logan, Lanny Frattare…

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/03/323-mike-smith-ray-kremer-wendell-smith.html

    9 SaberBucs

    Well, if You Insist on Extending Starling . . .

    http://saberbucs.net/2014/03/23/well-if-you-insist-on-extending-starling/

    10 ISports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Pedro Alvarez- What is he?

    http://isportsweb.com/2014/03/23/pittsburgh-pirates-pedro-alvarez/

  17. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 NY Daily News

    Nolan Ryan and Tommy John flush notion that babying pitchers staves off elbow surgery

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/madden-nolan-ryan-tommy-john-babying-pitchers-doesn-work-article-1.1730546

    12 Sporting News

    Pirates 2014: One-year wonder or can Pittsburgh do it again?

    http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2014-03-23/pirates-2014-preview-fantasy-lineup-mccutchen-liriano-martin

    13 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Brewers’ bullpen battle nears end

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/brewers-bullpen-battle-nears-end-b99231457z1-251834811.html

    14 Pirates Site

    Cole finds positives in outing against O’s

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140323&content_id=69943272&notebook_id=69943818&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    15 Beaver County Times

    Low-key Martin steadies Pirates’ pitching staff

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/pirates/low-key-martin-steadies-pirates-pitching-staff/article_d586fd1a-39e1-5539-b377-539fea216003.html

    16 About Baseball

    2014 National League Central preview

    http://baseball.about.com/od/newsrumors/fl/2014-National-League-Central-preview.htm

    17 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds’ Aroldis Chapman in good spirits after injury

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2014/03/23/reds-aroldis-chapman-good-spirits-after-injury-surgery/6796825/

    18 St. Louis Post Gazette

    Cards pick Kelly as fifth starter

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cards-pick-kelly-as-fifth-starter/article_c5bee8e0-b68d-53df-a0a9-7d40d35c6d04.html

    19 Fangraphs

    More About Bunting and Beating the Shift

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/more-about-bunting-and-beating-the-shift/

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23109

  18. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Mike Tomlin doesn’t view a back-up running back as a necessity

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-steelers-free-agency/2014/3/23/5540330/steelers-free-agency-rumors-running-backs-available-updates

    Ravens acquire Jeremy Zuttah for a 2015 5th round pick

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-steelers-free-agency/2014/3/23/5540266/ravens-free-agency-jeremy-zuttah

    Soccer(football)

    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    The 80th Minute and Beyond: The Most Important Time in the EPL

    https://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/80th-minute-beyond-important-time-epl

    23 BBC Football

    Referee Andre Marriner apologises for Kieran Gibbs red card error

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/26699009

    24 World Soccer

    In defence of the football fanzine

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/blogs/defence-football-fanzine

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Hitchcock’d. Blues 1, Penguins 0

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/3/23/5540088/hitchcockd-blues-1-penguins-0

  19. Jandy says:

    Has anyone called Orkin yet?

    Man, what an arrogant little man. (I use the term loosely)

  20. Jandy says:

    I agree, Daq.

  21. Jandy says:

    Looks like the Pens will have a short playoff run. I hope they prove me wrong. I’ll even eat my hat!

  22. The Czar says:

    Hope Taillon is ok and the rest clears up the elbow!
    At least like the attempt to lock up Marte, its a shame there is very little that are loyal to the team that drafted them. I think Longoria and McCutchen are a rare few!
    Let’s Go Bucs!

  23. Jandy says:

    I hope he (Taillon) is, too, Czar.

    Have you posted your hometown so that Biz can add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum? We loonies welcome you :)

  24. Mark says:

    While I appreciate your passion, calling the writer ‘retard’ and ‘lazy ass’ is probably not the most effective way to make a point.

  25. Jandy says:

    Mark, I don’t appreciate misplaced passion. Calling others a retard and belittling their opinion is immature. This “person” OBVIOUSLY has issues. Maybe he should see a professional and learn how to communicate in a civilized manner?

    Anyway, good morning to you, Mark, and welcome to the Asylum :)
    We loonies welcome you.

  26. cherokee23 says:

    Hey Jandy. Have you welcomed the angry one yet asked for hometown. Lol! After reading his posts I wasn’t sure the sun was gonna come up…..but, it did!

  27. Sarah says:

    Believe you’re referring to Orpik v 2008-2009.
    Despres way more physical in front of the net. Brooks simply does not move guys anymore like he used to. Scuds and Orpik on The PK have been poor recently and that is putting it nicely.

  28. d says:

    This Pens team is built for the regular season plain and simple! The difference between the Pens and the elite teams of the NHL is that the elite teams use the regular season as a rehearsal for the playoffs and the Pens do not. Chicago, Boston, St Louis, they all play the same way during the regular season as they do come playoff time. The Pens are just now realizing that hey the playoffs are going to be starting soon, we better “tighten” things up! This team will fail miserably in the playoffs this year because sadly, they just don’t get playoff hockey.

    They lack size, strength, discipline, mental/physical toughness, coaching awareness, defense etc, etc. And these shortcomings fall squarely on the shoulders of THE GREAT, ALL IN ray shero and Disco Dani. Why they keep getting a free pass year after year is just mind boggling! But, that’s ok, because that window just closed a little bit more on the Crosby/Malkin era…aka “The Buffalo Bills of the early 90′s”.

  29. Arriba Wilver says:

    He sounds like the guy who TC said yelled at AJ over the weekend.

  30. Jandy says:

    Cherokee, I don’t believe we invite vermin to the Lunatics’ Asylum ;)

  31. Jandy says:

    Did AJ tell him to STFD and STFU?

    LOL

  32. Turner Ward says:

    DK – am I misreading your point on the Marte extension talks? When you question whether the Pirates would approach Gerrit Cole about a similar extension, it sure looks like you’re making a pretty bold accusation about the Pirates front office. To suggest that they think only Latin players are “stupid enough” to sign pre-arbitration extenstions is a pretty bold claim, not to mention a fairly inaccurate historical accounting.

    Didn’t they at least talk to Neil Walker the past couple offseasons? I’m assuming they low-balled him, and similar to Marte, he told them no, and they’re now going year to year through arbitration. No big deal, really; I’m sure this happens all the time. On the other side, Evan Longoria comes to mind as a player with another team that actually signed an early, big-money extension. This has almost become the new template for locking up young players before they hit free agency.

    In light of the genius who posted earlier, I don’t want to sound too crazy in accusing you of anything, and maybe my question gets lost in the sea of comments here, but I’m hoping you could at least clarify what you meant by your comment, because on the surface, it really looks like you’re calling the Pirates racists.

  33. NMR says:

    Hahaha, Dejan is killing it lately…

  34. Jandy says:

    Genius. Love it :)

  35. Wild Bill says:

    Jandy, you were gracious to offer a welcome above and DK was gracious to not simply delete.

    When I see personal attacks and long all caps tirades, I’m done reading that commenter until behavior changes. Their content doesn’t matter to me at all. Be a citizen or be gone.

  36. Jandy says:

    We all disagree with Dejan at times. Some more than others…but man…some people really should take a course in communicating with others. We even get heated. but the immature name calling is totally uncalled for.

  37. NMR says:

    I took DK’s comment as more of a poke at OTHER people who seem to think that Latin Americans are more likely to take extensions than good ‘ole white kids. Always have felt this was ignorant, at best.

  38. Jandy says:

    If I’m Dejan,and I don’t get an apology from this…err..person…for subjecting all of this to his hooey, I’d delete and ban him.
    Like I said above, we all disagree, sometimes heatedly, but we don’t resort to immature name calling.

  39. Wild Bill says:

    This March Madness thing is fitting its nickname. Almost no high seed is safe, but ‘Zona is still looking good.

  40. There goes our status as a “family blog”.

  41. Wild Bill says:

    Watching the Pens game yesterday was like watching the playoffs. But five forwards and lefty shots on the 5 on 3?

    The teams with bigger players are an issue. St. Louis loses to the Flyers by 3 goals and then shuts us out the next day.

  42. 21sthebest says:

    We don’t resort to immature name calling very often.

    Fixed that for you Jandy! Good morning!

  43. Jandy says:

    LOL I thought we lost that a loooonggg time ago ;)

  44. Jandy says:

    Happy fackin Monday, 21, my friend :D

  45. d says:

    DK:

    Your new “friend” sounds like a huge fan! :)

  46. Jandy says:

    Industrial-sized…spews lots of air…oh wait ;X

  47. 21sthebest says:

    12 f****** degrees.

    Hope I got that right Arriba!

  48. Nastynate82 says:

    Agree with turner ward on your comments. Not only were dk’s comments bold, they aren’t really true either. Cutch signed an extension, so how does he fit into this theory? I think they tried to sign him because…ya know he’s a good player.

  49. 21sthebest says:

    They’ve looked up and down since losing Ashley. Not sure they can play 2-4 more good games in a row but I hope so.

  50. Jandy says:

    18 f*kkin degrees here. I don’t care if I got it right ;)

  51. Brandie says:

    We never clarified what kind of “family”

  52. Jandy says:

    LOL Sistah, good morning to you :)

  53. Johnstown says:

    I was taught a long time ago, that when a person resorts to name calling and insults, it only proves two things, they know they are full of crap and-or they have a very limited vocabulary.

  54. Brandie says:

    Good morning everyone. My my but Mr. Mark McF is a fuzzy ball of comfort, a fuzzy ball of venom spewing comfort. I think he needs a bit of aromatherapy to settle down.

  55. Jandy says:

    I wouldn’t even get my size 9 wides dirty on him lol

  56. Baywatch says:

    Peepa ain’t right! Guy shows he ain’t right by calling insulting DK, then ILLUSTRATES his issues with that goofy story about what a hot-shot basketball player he thought he was! LOL!

  57. Thundercrack says:

    I didn’t read it that way NMR.

    I think the Pirates should add $10 million to their offer to Marte. So that they don’t look like racists and their agent doesn’t come across as brain dead.

  58. Wild Bill says:

    Sorta inclined to agree here. My take on the Bucs is they’ll try to do a low cost extension with any good player if the agent is flexible. Some agents, they know, aren’t flexible.

    But maybe DK is seeing that the Latin player’s agents are more often approached?

  59. Baywatch says:

    LOL!

  60. NMR says:

    Is this the thread where we wait to pounce on Dejan for the first not-so-nice-even-if-misinterpreted Pirate comment of the year?

    SEE! DK hates the Pirates!

  61. Baywatch says:

    +++

  62. Baywatch says:

    Brandie called me Baydro! And I loved it! :-)

  63. NMR says:

    I’ll bet anything that Dejan’s tongue was planted firmly in his cheek with those comments.

    He’s not an idiot.

  64. Jandy says:

    sounds like a little guy with a big attitude
    smh

  65. Wild Bill says:

    Greetings, Brandie. Been thinking of ya without sinkin’ my spur into your business too much. Hope stuff is leveling out.

  66. TJA says:

    Morning All – How has everyone been? Hope well. Have not been on for awhile and come back to see these inappropriate statements from Mark. Wow. I’ll just say to Mark that the “retard” comment we can do without. There are so many people in our world that have true disabilities…I know that…I work professionally with them each day. People with disabilities are a special group. Please be respectful…
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Before I saw that post and had to respond to it, I was going to mention that it was a treat last evening to watch the replay of the Pirates/Reds Wild Card Playoff game from October 1st again on Root Sports. And other games leading up to last night from 2013. Don’t know if anyone else saw it, but knowing the outcome and not being so nervous, I was able to watch the game again with enjoyment. Pirates looked really good that night. What a special night and season 2013 really was. Looking forward to getting things rolling again next Monday.
    That was it.
    Have a great day everyone.

  67. Jandy says:

    Sure he is, he’s racist too!!!!!

    (DISCLAIMER: THESE COMMENTS ARE PURELY SNARK)

  68. Baywatch says:

    I know, right Wild Bill? I think Virginia, Florida and Arizona are the only well-adjusted superpowers left in the tourney.

  69. Jandy says:

    TJA, bless you for working with people who have disabilities and still appreciating them.

    Happy Monday to you :)

  70. Wild Bill says:

    Well said.

  71. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    Agree 100%….two different situations…completely different players. Tabata made the correct move, and at the time, the Pirates were not counting on Polanco to be the stud he’s turning into, making an affordable contract to a servicable RF platoon guy a decent move.

  72. TJA says:

    Thanks, Jandy and you have a great Monday, too!

  73. TJA says:

    Thanks, Bill.

  74. Brandie says:

    So glad for the shout out Untamed William!

  75. Thundercrack says:

    Did anyone find out what the numbers were that they offered Marte? Then we can determine how low-ball they are.

    I don’t think DK is an idiot and I can’t see his tongue …but when I read & retread his comments I don’t think it was in his cheek

  76. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    Turner…I feel like maybe DK’s comment was more of a shot at Scotty Too Hotty Boras as the game is changing right in front of him…Tabata made a wise decision to sign early and take guaranteed money. Marte, barring injury has not yet shown enough to field a fair offer. The “stupid” comment is pointed directly at Boras.

  77. Brandie says:

    As someone who has worked with those with disabilities I say bless you for your what you do!

  78. TJA says:

    Thanks, Brandie and to you, too!

  79. Jandy says:

    :D You have been baptized by Brandiskaya!

  80. The Detroit/Pittsburgh exhibition game will be on ESPN at 1:00, weather permitting.

  81. Thundercrack says:

    I see Jonathan Sanchez didn’t make the Cubs. Any word on JMac?

  82. Damon says:

    I tell you what – I hope to God I don’t ever get that angry that I need to spew that kind of venom to someone who wrote an article for a newspaper. Can’t imagine that guy when he gets cut off on the parkway…

  83. NastyNate82 says:

    Haha no. I just think the reason is simple: lots of marte’s value is tied up in his defense and defense hasn’t gotten too pricey yet.

  84. hockeymonster says:

    :thwap:

    Jandy, we’re still working on ironing out the kinks. Don’t be negative nelly!

  85. Karen22 says:

    Who can take anyone seriously who screams, rages, and name calls? If there are valid points in those rants, Mr. McFadden, you’ve rendered them invisible. Sheesh.

  86. Arriba Wilver says:

    No way was DK calling Boras stupid. Or mocking Boras. No way.

    I interpreted it as a swipe at the FO. And, as Turner pointed out, kind of a needless and demonstrably wrong one.

  87. Karen22 says:

    +++++++++++ and Amen to that!

  88. Karen22 says:

    ONE WEEK TIL OPENING DAY!!!!!!

    I LOVE BASEBALL! :)

  89. Karen22 says:

    YAY, Brandie!

  90. JAL says:

    JMac left his last start after 2 pitches with right shoulder soreness

  91. bpn8pitt says:

    I dont blame Marte at all for taking the wait and see approach. Its always been my opinion that the team friendly deals are going to swing back the other way, and more agents will take their clients through arbitration, probably get traded with a year or so left, then test the market. Unless the original team makes a decent (and sometimes risky) offer. Which is what the agents are going to bank on, making the team sweat the process out a little longer.

    Regarding the Steelers, Im still against taking a WR with that #1. Biggest reason being, if its a draft as deep as everyone is saying, they can find that player later, and cheaper…and add another CB, MLB or DLineman. Maybe even tackle if one falls in their lap….I just think WR is a hard position to learn in the first year, and the Steelers have a good history of getting them later. Besides I dont think Watkins or Evans will be there, and Benjamin may be big but he is far from quick (4.61)

  92. NMR says:

    Stinks.

  93. Jandy says:

    Oh My

  94. Jandy says:

    scary huh>?

  95. Karen22 says:

    No disclaimer from you necessary, Jandy – Queen of Snark! ;)

  96. NMR says:

    Still can’t figure out what the “swipe” would even be.

    That the front office would not offer Gerrit Cole an extension everyone knows he won’t accept?

  97. Karen22 says:

    Yep!

  98. Jandy says:

    OUCH! lol

    OK I’ll hang in there…but time’s running out, Monster Mash!

  99. Arriba Wilver says:

    I thought this was the thread where there’s one nut and others just trying to express their opinion.

  100. Rbilak says:

    Thank you Sarah, that is the same game I am watching. I cringe when 44and 4 go on penalty kill. Go back to Flyer games Simmonds stood behind both of them and neither did anything. I laughed when I read Orpik dominated Ovi, it was simply Ovi did not care. If Dan and Ray go into playoffs thinking they are the shutdown pair, they are going to be surprised. I do not question Orpik effort, just the results. His style of play has taken a toll. Not close to Cup years as a player.

  101. hockeymonster says:

    I know…but yesterday during and after the game i think they got some good tips on what to do against team that bring the block party from all angles. Here’s hoping to work on expanding the their ‘set play’ playbook.

  102. NMR says:

    Yeah, either I’m dead wrong or Dejan and I have an oddly unique sense of humor, eh?

  103. Karen22 says:

    OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMM…

  104. NMR says:

    Either way, all I’m really worried about right now is feverishly compiling my list of talking points for the Tigers bullpen discussion during today’s game.

  105. hockeymonster says:

    Damn jandy typos…

    Here’s hoping they work on expanding their ‘set play’ playbook.

  106. Jandy says:

    it’s the results I want to see….when I see them, I’ll be happy!

  107. Wild Bill says:

    Like your thinking, BPN, if Evans and Watkins aren’t there – and I agree with you they aren’t likely to be. Top shelf WRs aren’t usually available to the Steelers when they draft.

    Like your prioritizing of the players we might really get to choose from.

  108. Jandy says:

    They make medication for that! ;)

  109. Tim says:

    MM:

    I feel your frustration. Never have been a fan of the superior attitude of journalism. If you want to make something better, do it, don’t complain how others are doing it wrong and your idea is so right, especially when you don’t really know all that person has to do to get their job done.

  110. hockeymonster says:

    Playoffs haven’t started yet. There’s still time to iron out the kinks.

  111. Baywatch says:

    LOL! By IMMERSION!

  112. tdb1977 says:

    My wife and I watched the game last night, and when the chants of Cue-to started, we both got goose bumps again. Knowing what was just about to take place from that point on. We both were giddy, watching the game. And we both were like, we cant believe we were actually at that game. Those memories will stay in our mind for a long time.

    We have the game DVRed and we still haven’t watched it. We have decided that we are going to keep it on the old DVR and watch it when needed. Oct 1, 2013 will always be a special day, not only for being our 12th anniversary, but for the beating we handed to the Reds night.

  113. tdb1977 says:

    Isn’t that game to be played tomorrow?

  114. NMR says:

    Daq is my NUTTINGZ CHEAP barometer. If Daq doesn’t take the opportunity to call Nutting cheap, then the opportunity simply never existed.

    Scientific.

  115. Brandie says:

    I like you Tim. Welcome!

  116. bpn8pitt says:

    There is a lot of stuff out there that Eric Ebron is a stud TE. The only problem is hes not the blocker the Steelers normally like to have at that position.

    But to me HE could be the big pass catcher, especially with so many teams running two TE sets these days. What does it matter anyway, they could always send him out in the slot like Saints and Pats do with their TEs.

  117. tdb1977 says:

    Nope, I’m wrong. It’s today.

  118. Nate83 says:

    While the Pirates are wasting time finding a solution at first they have already fell behind the Dodgers by a game. This team is horrible and impossible to root for. They also assume all Latin American players are stupid. At least that is what I’ve heard.

    Also none of this post is real or serious. Happy Monday.

  119. TJA says:

    Awesome idea, tdb! And congrats on heading to 13 years!

  120. Jandy says:

    Dittos,..pull up a chair and sit a spell. :)

  121. chethejet1 says:

    I am a little surprised that Marte would be offered a contract that I assume buys out some FA years. He has exactly one year of service and has many more years before arb 2 and arb3 kick in. I don’t see the reasoning here. They must have low balled an offer to him and he on advice rejected it. For me, with Polanco, Meadows, maybe Bell the buccos have OF talent in the pipeline. The Pens are just not good enough under today’s game to beat the elite. Dan and Ray have simply taken a team full of incredible potential and with injuries and under performance, put together a roster that is full of holes. As to Ben, he may extend later this year. To me, watching Ben play in the Super bowl in 2010 and now, he is not as mobile or athletic as then. In fact he is now starting the inevitable decline in play. Not an issue for next year, but the Steelers are banking on Ben playing very well for another three to five years. I am not sure that is an automatic.

  122. Jandy says:

    ZING!

  123. Arriba Wilver says:

    Don’t bother. It’s just Spring Training. :-)

  124. Baywatch says:

    I saw where the Angels released first baseman Carlos Pena from their camp yesterday, a spring training invite. He had a HORRIBLE spring and hasn’t really been on any serious radar, production-wise, since he was with TB his last time in 2012. Still … I don’t guess we taken on hitting projects like we do pitching ones, do we?

  125. Arriba Wilver says:

    Paragraphs are your friend.

    (Since Drew’s not here someone had to say it.)

  126. Arriba Wilver says:

    Searage can’t hit.

  127. bpn8pitt says:

    He’s an absolute K machine. Marte and Alvarez will do that enough for them this year.

    Like it or not, they are rolling with Gaby.

  128. Nate83 says:

    But we don’t know what they offered. Until we know that how can we judge if it was an insult or a low-ball offer. The guy is 5 years away from cashing in so the risk is more on the Pirates then him so the offer doesn’t need to be that high.

  129. NMR says:

    TIGERS BULLPEN.

  130. NMR says:

    Indy already has their fill of crappy 1B.

  131. 21sthebest says:

    I feel bad for JMac. I watched his start before this last one. It was just really sad to me.

  132. Turner Ward says:

    @NMR – The swipe at the front office would be that they think Latin players are stupid enough to sign below-market contracts to buy out arbitration years; white players (inferred from the Gerrit Cole supposition) are smarter than that. Therefore, they’ll try and “fleece” the Latin guys, while not even making the attempt with the white players. Those seem to be the words DK is putting in the FO’s mouth.

    DK – I’m still not accusing you of anything necessarily, but it would be nice to have you clarify – we’re all confused!

  133. Mizery says:

    Thanks for the insight Uncle Rico. Does this give me reign to brag about my college football days now? Nevermind that it was division 2, and I hardly played. I’ll tie it into a comment about Crosby and Malkin being buds so it looks a little less conspicuous. Great stuff.

  134. Arriba Wilver says:

    My crystal ball says it was obviously not an offer that he couldn’t refuse.

  135. bpn8pitt says:

    Speaking of which, where is the Hit Collector these days?

  136. Jandy says:

    :snicker:

  137. Nate83 says:

    Would you like to talk about them?

    Interesting Max turned down 6 years 144 million from the Tigers. His agent is Boris. Maybe the Pirates should offer an extension to Cole I’m sure it will be accepted.

    For what it’s worth I think he should turn it down. Another year like last year he will clearly be viewed as a top 5 starter in the league and get something like 8 years 220 million. Yes there is risk in turning down 144 because he could get hurt this year but even if he has a year that is down from last year he will get at least the 24 million per that the Tigers offered.

  138. Jandy says:

    LOL!

  139. Jandy says:

    My darn crystal ball is broken :/

  140. Brandie says:

    Watch your language…poking the bear like that! :)

  141. bpn8pitt says:

    Chet-

    I think Bell could go to 1B eventually.

    Not a big hockey guy, but the Pens only have to beat 1 team from the Western Conference when it matters. Getting there is the trick.

    I think part of the reason the Rooneys want to go back to running the ball is to preserve Ben. But I also think he finishes his career in another uniform.

  142. Mizery says:

    Win/ Win for the asylum. Penguins win and the asylum watches Jandy eat a hat. Can’t wait.

  143. Jandy says:

    LOL! :P

  144. Scott Stout says:

    Dejan,

    If I remember correctly … and I’m pretty sure I do, Tabata insisted on signing the contract in order to be a part of Clemente’s team for such an extended period of time. Tabata’s agent resigned representation when Tabata ignored his advice to reject the contract. I believe the agent did not want to be associated with such a poor decision and have it reflect poorly on him as an agent.

  145. Arriba Wilver says:

    I take it you never saw the Godfather? ;-)

  146. bpn8pitt says:

    Scherzer will eventually have some shoulder problems with that arm slot.

  147. Nate83 says:

    What’s the point of offering something he couldn’t refuse when the Pirates are at this point taking on a majority of the risk. If they went one year into free agency and offered 6 years for 36 I could see him turning it down but I think that’s about as much risk a team like the Pirates should be taking on to gain just one more year of a player that they already of the ability to keep for 5 more years.

    If he has another good year this year and shows he can be healthy then I could see something like 5 for 40 million but anything after this next off season will be too late. He will already be collecting arbitration in a year and feel much more confident in what his eventual value will be.

  148. Nate83 says:

    That’s the risk. Fortunately for him he only has to make it through this year and somebody will be willing to roll those dice. Many teams are willing to give out 6-8 year contracts knowing full well that those players most likely will not be worth it at the end of the contract.

  149. Arriba Wilver says:

    It was a joke, Nate. A play on the famous line from the Godfather. (Have you seen my avatar?)

    And besides, he didn’t accept it—so obviously it was something he could refuse.

    This isn’t that complicated.

  150. theplanisworking says:

    Monday, Monday………. always loved me some Mamas and Papas….

    Marte took a correct gamble not signing so soon. If he continues to grow as a player, the money will be there for him. The Pirates were smart trying to lock him up so early, but the player always has the right to refuse any deal. But without any concrete numbers on what the contract contained, this is a non-issue……… for now.

    Taillon’s injury……… this is why one cannot get too excited about players coming from the minors. Polanco and Taillon were “guaranteed locks” to come up this June………… but injuries seem to be a great equalizer. I hope this isn’t a serious injury, but ALL arm injuries scare me.

    Pens………. don’t get me started on them. They need to get healthy and wake up…………. the sooner the better. Disco needs to lean on coach Martin a little more…….. or we could be looking at another early exit.

    Oh, and did I happen to mention New Castle won a State basketball title?

    :D

  151. NMR says:

    Ha! Completely forgot about The Hague. Figure he’ll be kneck and kneck with McGuiness and Ishikawa for the title of Absolutely Last Resort Pirate 1B.

  152. NMR says:

    I’m just getting a kick out of the very public nature in which the Tigers Front Office has chosen to express their displeasure.

  153. JHadar says:

    Don’t you mean gneck and gneck?

  154. Nate83 says:

    I think they know they can’t or won’t go any higher then that so they are realizing they will lose him and get nothing in return. So they are putting the number out there so the fans see what they offered and maybe they will think he’s crazy for not taking that financial security. Less blame on the front office and more towards the greedy player type of thing.

    To be honest I’m not sure what Verlander got for his contract but he did it for numerous years and Max has only did it for really 1 year. His 2012 was good but hardly reached ace status. I would be reluctant to pay him more the Verlander especially after seeing Verlander have a little bit of a step back year. Verlander’s a competitor and I do think he will do everything he can to get back to his 2011-2012 self. If his body lets him I have know doubt he will be more consistent this year. The guys a winner and hates to lose. He lost Kate Upton and then got her back.

  155. dormontgeorge says:

    I hate to call names, but I’m going to anyway… Dejan didn’t write the article or break the news about Ben, loser… Alan Robinson did. I guess you would know that if you actually did your homework and did even a cursory read-through.

    I hate angry yinzers who post here (or any online forum) feeling they can start up something and troll until their fingers fall off. What a society we live in today…

  156. NMR says:

    Thats exactly why I think they did what they did.

    Take the pressure off them and put it squarely on the player. Publicly. The week before the season starts.

    Say what you will about Huntington, et al, but they’ve NEVER done that to one of their guys.

  157. bpn8pitt says:

    Have you watched Tanaka at this Spring? I think Cashman was right when he tried to downplay him as a #3. I thought hes been just a bit better than pedestrian, and he got the 5th largest contract for a pitcher all time.

    I think you can get away with overpaying a position player. Because you can eventually pawn them off and only eat some of that contract. But you overpay a starter and he blows out his arm or is downright terrible, you cant give them away. Barry Zito and Johan Santana are prime examples of that. How the Tigers flipped Prince is the opposite side.

    I like Scherzer but I can think of a few other ways and players I can spend 150-200 million with.

  158. bpn8pitt says:

    Think you were the first to bring up Taillion. Im in “wait and see” mode on that.

    But thats where I get nervous with Cole. I hope the Pirates are still careful with him in 2014.

    I cant remember who said it, Jim S. or NMR, but getting 50 starts out of Morton/Wandy could be a stretch. With Liriano down, Locke hurting, Volquez ineffective so far…I hope the Pirates dont ride Cole too much…not sure what the Indy rotation looks like, but I think all them guys are going to get a look and then some this year.

  159. Nate83 says:

    I agree 100% with everything you say. I’m just saying there will be a team out there that makes that mistake.

  160. Nate83 says:

    Do you think they should? It may save some face but how do the players like the numbers being released? Ian Kinsler just ripped his former team. Do you think that has an effect on other players an what they decide in free agency? I’m not saying I’m for or against it. I’m just curious on others thoughts.

  161. NMR says:

    Hey, like I told AW, I could very well be the one that is wrong.

    But I’m still gonna side with not believing Dejan is one to throw around accusations of racism willy nilly.

  162. Jandy says:

    Congrats to New Castle :)

  163. bpn8pitt says:

    Bad News Mcfadden, DK…

  164. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, getting 50 starts would be a stretch……. especially since we don’t know how severe/not severe Wandy’s injury is. Now, Taillon has “soreness”. This is why I don’t get excited as many others over the “prospects” until they get up here. This is the first time Taillon has had any troubles, right?

    And, let’s see what Polanco does at AAA before we rush him to the starting OF in Pittsburgh. He certainly looks like he will do fine, but I again will wait and see.

    Of course this is where I have to act like someone pooped in my cereal this morning, like “Mr.” McFadden above, and call DK “lazy” in his Marte opinion? That was just a little overboard, but what do I know?

  165. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks, Mother Teresa. :)

  166. Arriba Wilver says:

    They’ve never offered enough money to make it work. :-P

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

  167. Andrew says:

    That contract is effectively 4 years $108 million, 4 years $88 million plus $20 million posting fee because the options are player options, meaning the team assumed all the risk. That is terrible, even for the Yankees.

    Agree big money for pitchers assumes health, which is a terrible assumption.

  168. Jandy says:

    Hey hey, long time no see, George. Nice to see you :)

    And you’re right. Trolls are not cool.

  169. Jandy says:

    I happen to agree with that, NMR.

  170. NMR says:

    Haha…

    I honestly don’t believe a GM or owner’s demeanor has much of an effect on free agents. I think money solves 99% of the issues out there regarding player acquisitions.

    That being said, I don’t think Dombkowski’s last year and a half has been very appealing personally or professionally. Started with everyone in baseball – including Jim Leyland – telling him they needed bullpen help before last season only for him to insist Rodon was the answer. Then came the ultimate smartest-guy-in-room performance revolving around the Fister trade. And now trying to publicly save face over a contract negotiation.

  171. Andrew says:

    Honestly why have these posts not been removed?

  172. NMR says:

    I’ll give my buddy Jim credit for that one, bpn. I’ve been more bulish on Wandy and Morton’s health than most.

    I think the Pirates, as an organization, have too much of a focus on health to allow Hurdle to push Cole too far – nor do I particularly believe Hurdle is one to do that in the first place.

    I’d bet what you see is more bullpen use. Keep Wandy under 100 pitches, and keep a short hook on Volquez. Similar to what Hurdle did with Morton and Locke/Gomez at times last year.

  173. NMR says:

    Dejan doesn’t play that game.

  174. 21sthebest says:

    NMR, what do you mean exactly by too much focus on health? Are you saying they’re overly cautious?

  175. Jandy says:

    nate, I don’t think it’s a good idea to air dirty laundry :)

  176. 21sthebest says:

    Never shoot pool with anyone named for a state, city or town.

  177. Jandy says:

    he’s an equal opportunity troll-tolerator ;)

  178. bpn8pitt says:

    Does Cole qualify for the Verducci Year After Effect yet?

  179. Andrew says:

    I guess I can understand that, but repeatedly questioning the intelligence of the blog’s moderator in a venomous fashion, would be grounds for removal for me.

    Anyway already given this post more time than it was worth.

  180. NMR says:

    No, since that is a complete myth.

  181. Arriba Wilver says:

    I didn’t look at it as a racism implication necessarily, but attempting to take advantage of the players from a different, underprivileged socioeconomic background because of where they are from. More from a money first perspective. But, what do I know, just how I see it.

  182. Jandy says:

    Agreed.

  183. NMR says:

    “…to allow Hurdle to push Cole too far…”

    I think the organization is smart enough to balance the long-term risk of over-working a young pitcher for short term benefits.

  184. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree they are unlikely to push Cole too much. What he wants to do may be another matter. Guy is a beast.

  185. NMR says:

    I think he’d still be pitching right now if the Orioles continued to send batters to the plate.

  186. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t know about his motivation one way or the other, but my recollection on the agent part is the same. Just don’t remember if he quit or Tabata fired him so he could sign it. My other recollection is they were talking to Walker and Cutch at the same time.

  187. JoeyBats says:

    …..sorry guys….my personal +/- on Wandy is 15 starts this year……I sure hope I am WRONG :-(

  188. Andrew says:

    One thing I noticed in digging around in the minefield that is Volquez statline, is that in his rookie year and only effective year he threw more than 100 pitches in 21 of 33 starts, over 115, 4 times. Cole last year threw over 100 pitches twice, 101 and 102.

    The comparison is far from perfect, and all measures of pitchers workload are flawed. Also, no one has a good idea for where the line of overworked is, but the current Pirates would never have used Volquez in that fashion.

  189. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

  190. Arriba Wilver says:

    :-)

  191. NMR says:

    Tommy John in 2009.

  192. 21sthebest says:

    Dejan has appropriately, IMO, removed a post or two in the past.

  193. Nate83 says:

    And it all comes full circle and we are talking about the Tigers bullpen.

    Speaking of the Fister trade. They turned around and traded Lombardozzi who they got in that trade for a very poor Alex Gonzalas from the Orioles. He hasn’t done anything worth mentioning in the Majors since 2008. I hope that isn’t their answer for a starting shortstop for Iglesis being out for 4-6 months.

  194. Andrew says:

    Dusty Baker. Cannot be conclusively be proven, but he continually used pitchers above the league average, so I am going to blame him.

  195. NMR says:

    Hahahaha, oh man, I had a big laugh at that trade this morning.

    A couple months ago Lombardozzi was part of the unique package no other team could match for Fister’s services.

  196. Baywatch says:

    Snicker II! Coming to a theater near YOU!

  197. Baywatch says:

    Just so I know if I missed something: BPN above said “they’re rolling with Gaby” at first base, but no mention of Lambo. Have they decided against a platoon? Plus, Pena hits (and strikes out) from the left side.

  198. Arriba Wilver says:

    No, I think it was a prediction.

  199. Baywatch says:

    Shade of Steve Pearce, Batman, I hope Lambo can turn on the jets!

  200. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    All:

    I expanded a little on the Marte/Tabata comparison on TLR about an hour ago. Here’s the podcast: http://sportstalk.triblive.com/download/324DK14.mp3

    The idea of anything at all being racist is outright ridiculous, unless, of course, you’re new to following the Pirates and aren’t aware that Pedro Alvarez is also of Domincan heritage. And, like Cole, he’s represented by Boras and never was approached for an extension at this stage.

    As far as the King of Hoops up there, let’s just say his comment might not have made the cut if not for the basketball tale. Sorry, but that deserved to be shared with the world. :)

  201. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Also, more than anything, it’s good to sense that NMR and I are back to sharing whatever weird wavelength we might happen to share.

  202. theplanisworking says:

    Good == scary now?

  203. King of Hoops, that’s great. I blew by my nephew once in the driveway. He was 400 pounds at the time.

  204. hockeymonster says:

    Who is this “Dejan Kovacevicsky” person posting on the blog? And is comrade Bizrovsky aware of his location with the asylum?

  205. theplanisworking says:

    A legend in his own mind……

  206. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Biz: Please add, all on one line, Pittsburgh-Sochi-Moscow-New York-Fort Myers-Port-Charlotte-Bradenton-Sarasota-Clearwater-Tampa-Orlando-Chatlotte (no port)-Pittsburgh. That’s just the past six weeks.

  207. NMR says:

    It’s a curse and a blessing, my friend. ;)

  208. Jandy says:

    bahahaha Monster, I guess Comrade Kovacevicsky told YOU! :P

  209. Jandy says:

    Awww, I love seeing my boy getting along :D

    (pssstt…Monster Mash, that’s NOT Boyes)

  210. Jandy says:

    LOL! Gooooo Revvie!

  211. wally says:

    Yep. You obviously certianly did go to Penn State, Richard….

  212. bpn8pitt says:

    I’ll be really, really surprised if Lambo comes North after hitting .095 without an XBH, all the while trying to learn 1B. Heck he’s been DHing a lot recently.

    But who knows? We are probably going to have to suffer through 4 or 5 Volquez starts through April too.

  213. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks for sharing. :-)

    My favorite line was that Penn State’s point guard in 1980 or 1981 was ugly.

  214. I feel bad that he forgot how to pitch, too. Seemed to be a nice guy.

  215. Turner Ward says:

    Thanks for your clarification. Obviously the team isn’t racist in that it employs plenty of players from multiple ethnic/racial backgrounds. But the way I read your comment was that there is a gap in how they approach certain players in contract negotiations. But, from your radio clip, I can see that you’re clearly saying they understand Boras is much too smart to sign something like that for one of his players, no they never bothered calling. Thanks for clearing it up.

  216. scapper says:

    That MM guy who went all “retarded” and such on DK? Next time he should just post the following clip and tell DK to listen to the first 32 seconds. Man, those posts….whew. Saw they were banged out in the wee, wee hours. I keep picturing the Son of Sam dog next door while he’s slinging the “retarded” and “a-holes” all over the place.

  217. hockeymonster says:

    Well Nisky, it was nice knowing you…

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=447191

    Hope you still like it enough here to sign for something fair and reasonable to both sides. Girardi’s contract hasn’t helped chances of brooksie staying either.

  218. Arriba Wilver says:

    All I was doing was answering Bay’s question. I heard/saw that Neal said that whatever they did right out of Spring Training might not mean that was final plan. Does that mean Gaby only, Lambo or Ishikawa comes North? I don’t know. Not like Neal has a history of being crystal clear.

  219. theplanisworking says:

    No, they will unveil a 1B that was secretly acquired AND extended.

    Hi Frank ! ;)

  220. Arriba Wilver says:

    If the point was that Boras wouldn’t let his players sign something like that, it was an odd way of putting it. Even Mark McFadden would probably agree with that.

    This was the part that caused the confusion, “Or will only the Latin American players be approached in such a manner?”

    DK: Here again, elaboration helps: Latin players tend to have some of the worst agents when they break in, which is why you’ll see so many of them changing. These agents, not because of race but because of lack of familiarity with the system, can be pounced on very badly.

  221. NMR says:

    @bpn – I’m trying to come up with any examples of players the Pirates did not keep due to Spring Training stats.

    Can you?

  222. bpn8pitt says:

    Did the Dodgers not give up on Lambo? Did he do anything in the ABs last year to deter them from acquiring Byrd and Morneau? Did he do anything in Winter Ball? Is he not learning on new position?

    If this was a 94 loss team, id say “Hey, why not.” But they won 94 games, NMR.

    You cannot rule out he’s destined to be one of these AAAA players that cant hit ML stuff. Its almost as foolish as giving 5 million dollars to the worst pitcher in the NL.

    Whatever happened to trying to acquire guys that, you know , are already good? Or currently good? Why does everything have to be a project?

  223. bpn8pitt says:

    Another thing im confused on…

    Why in the hell does someone decide that Garrett Jones or Justin Morneau is too expensive but then hands 5 million dollars to Volquez?

  224. NMR says:

    First, take a deep breath.

    Now, read my question.

  225. NMR says:

    Neither of those guys were not retained because they were too expensive, bpn.

    They were not retained because they were not very good baseball players anymore.

  226. bpn8pitt says:

    Off the cuff, I cannot. But Im sure there are a half a dozen.

    Now, are you telling me the Andrew Lambo is a better player than Garrett Jones and Justin Morneau, right now?

  227. bpn8pitt says:

    NMR, you think im looking only at 2014 Spring Training stats. The reality is Volquez’s problems go back a few years now. Lambo? He very well could be Travis Snider 2.0.

    Sorry man. Im not buying. I hope you and Wilver are telling me how wrong I was in a few weeks.

    I mean what does it say about a guy when Travis Ishiskawa beats him out for a job?

  228. Bizrow says:

    Will do

  229. NMR says:

    I’m not arguing anything at all, what-so-ever with that question, bpn. Just asking if you can think of a guy who has lost his job due to spring training.

    As for your questions, I am not telling you that Andrew Lambo is a better player than Garrett Jones or Justin Morneau. Nor can anyone. Since nobody knows how good Andrew Lambo is right now, nor how bad Garrett Jones and Justin Morneau will be moving forward.

    And at this point, can we just assume you’re trolling Arriba and I? You have to be smarter than to still believe what you’re writing.

  230. Baywatch says:

    +++

  231. I just want to see “Red,” the ugly point guard. That’s all.

  232. Thundercrack says:

    Bummed that my last spring training game of my vacation was rained out.

    No scouting report today.

    I did see the other side of town (Cortez Ave in Bradenton) and the brewery a few blocks from McKechnie is pretty good.

  233. Jim S. says:

    Bay:

    I saw your comment yesterday regarding former Dayton guards, and you correctly hit on the Paxson family. The father originally played there, and the family is from Dayton. The oldest son, Jim, was a really good NBA player for Portland. He was a GM in the league for awhile – I want to say Cleveland, maybe? He was an all-american at UD. The younger brother, John, has been a player and GM with the Bulls. He played on the Jordan championship teams. He played in college at ND, and was more of a role player, designated shooter in the NBA.

    Sorry, I didn’t get back sooner. Extremely busy day for me today.

  234. Thundercrack says:

    Didn’t you go back to Pittsburgh after the Olympics?

  235. Thundercrack says:

    They also play different positions

  236. Sarah says:

    One can only hope….

  237. Thundercrack says:

    Marte took a correct gamble not signing so soon. If he continues to grow as a player, the money will be there for him.
    ————-
    A couple people seemed to have this sort of opinion. And we all seem to agree that since we don’t know the exact figures in the offer, it is difficult to judge.

    But I would think Marte’s yearly salary would be at or just above what he might get every year in arbitration. Plus there is usually a ‘signing bonus’. And all the money is guaranteed. So signing early might not be a bad thing for him (if he feels it’s fair and he’s not being taken advantage of)
    He could crack an ankle and then the year-to year thing is riskier and so is the payday when he hits free agency

  238. scapper says:

    What cracked me up was that the thing that most offended me was the word “lazy.” Disagree with the columns and blog items all you want, but ain’t no one can every accuse DK of laziness. Good lord.

    As for Red the Ugly Point Guard, he hasn’t shown his face in public since being humiliated on the court like that.

  239. Bizrow says:

    Hows this?

    • • Welcome Lunatics, if you don’t see your current location below, please add a reply to this post

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    • 3/24/2014 6:26 PM

  240. Bizrow says:

    Betcha Tabata is glad he signed right now ;-)

  241. cherokee23 says:

    Missed the basketball story, didn’t read that far, but just went back to read it…..Great Stuff!

  242. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks. Just to be clear, I wasn’t suggesting race was the issue or that it would be with you.

    I was suggesting pretty much what you are saying in your elaboration, without the specific knowledge about the agents.

  243. Arriba Wilver says:

    Can’t agree with the part about at or above what he might get in arbitration. We don’t know what was offered, but I’m dang sure it wasn’t that. What’s the incentive for the Pirates then? Cost certainty, with nothing built in because of uncertainty about his development? Why not wait, then? That isn’t how these guys do business, whether you agree with it or not.

  244. Mark says:

    Thanks. I was trying to be polite. Lol

  245. Dom says:

    The Steelers obtained three extra draft picks. They obtained a 3rd, 5th, & 6th. I assume it was for Wallace, Lewis, & Mendenhall respectively.

  246. bpn8pitt says:

    Woulda thought Lewis was at least a 4th. He played well for Saints. They missed him when he got knocked out of the playoff game.

  247. Thundercrack says:

    You’re right.
    If you take into account what he will get during the pre non-arb years, he could still be making a lot- and not be a bad deal for him.

  248. Barb says:

    I am with DK about wanting to see Red and MM needs to take a chill pill before he explodes. Sheesh.

  249. NastyNate82 says:

    Thank you, I was confused by your comments on the Tabata/Marte extension but understand what you’re getting at now. Sorry about that.

 
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