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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: The show’s back

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The TribLIVE Radio show today — 2-3 p.m. — will feature you. It’s been six weeks since I’ve had a show, and there are acres of ground to cover, so I’ll open by taking your calls on any topic. Undisciplined Penguins. Pitt hoops going down. The Steelers’ signings. The Pirates’ first-base puzzle. You name it.

So do it. Call me at 412-320-7925.

Feel free to email if you can’t call. But I’d really rather hear from you.

At 2:30, we’ll have an in-studio visit from Justin Evans, coach of the Riverhounds, who open their 16th season Saturday in Orlando.

At 2:44, we’ll have more wit and wisdom from our @SuckMeter.

And at 2:45, we’ll be visited by our station’s newest feature attraction, Chris Peak of Panther Lair. His show airs tomorrow at 2 p.m., but he’ll jump on with us today to talk all things Pitt.

To listen, just click on the link up top. If you’re mobile, try the iPhone version of the TribLIVE Radio app, or the Android version. Both are free and ridiculously easy to use.

>> The Penguins did absolutely nothing to deserve anything other than a loss to the Coyotes last night. Rob Rossi reports from Consol.

But hey, everyone! Good news! Moments after Dan Bylsma questioned his players’ effort, the team announced that its scheduled practice for today was canceled. A day off!

Evgeni Malkin is out 2-3 weeks, by Chris Adamski.

Kris Letang tells Josh Yohe he’s cleared to return when he feels ready.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page.

Here’s Coyotes news from the Arizona Republic.

Here’s Kings news from the Los Angeles Times.

Here are official game highlights on

>> Robert Morris hockey’s first foray in the NCAA Tournament is wonderfully documented by columnist Joe Starkey. For those unfamiliar at all with the story, this is the place to start.

A former Robert Morris player who fought off cancer is now fighting his way up the pro ranks in Las Vegas, by Bob Cohn.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Robert Morris page.

>> Andrew Lambo is sent to the minors after the Pirates gave him every reasonable chance to stick. Rob Biertempfel reports from Bradenton.

I gather I’m in the minority here, but I have no problem with how the team has handled any aspect of this, if only because, as I wrote in the March 13 column from Fort Myers, Lambo’s got to get his chance. At least as long as he shows that he’s hitting his head on the Triple-A ceiling and showing the kind of power he did in 2013, he’s got to get his 400-500 big-league at-bats. That simply must happen for all the reasons outlined in that piece.

Besides, who needs a first baseman at all when you can score 22 runs?

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page.

Here’s Cubs news from the Chicago Tribune.

Here are official game highlights on

>> ‘That doesn’t dance in Western PA,’ Mike Tomlin responds to reporters at the NFL owners’ meetings asking about the Steelers’ 6-2 finish. Alan Robinson reports from Orlando.

Still seeking a running back, by Robinson.

How six trophies influenced Lance Moore, by Robinson.

Our WPXI-TV Subway Final Word panel tackled the NFL’s new rules:

Here’s TribLIVE’s Steelers page.

>> Thank you, as always, for reading. Hope to hear from you on the show.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, 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.


  1. JD says:

    Good stuff DK. Looking forward to the show!

  2. Mizery says:

    Shows finally back. Good stuff. Love Tomlin’s comment about 6-2 not flying in western PA. Mostly because it’s true. How many other franchises are like this? Not many.

    I don’t want to talk about the penguins. Effort was bad, and if they don’t care then I don’t either.

    Glad to see LAMBO sent down. Get his swing straightened out in Indy. Pirates should be competing. Not throwing prospects to the wolves to develop. Liked the Worley pick-up. Low risk. Let’s see what he can do. Might need him in a pinch if the rotation goes down.

  3. JohninOshkosh says:

    Just wanted to note the passing of a gifted hockey writer, Tim Sassone. , He covered the Hawks for Chicago papers and also wrote for the great, The Hockey News. RIP.

    Like many of a certain age, I think I was a fan of newspaper writers almost more than the teams and athletes they covered. He’ll be missed.

  4. bpn8pitt says:

    I heard the Steelers met with Aaron Donald. I wouldn’t have a problem if they took him at 15, honestly. I doubt they will. But something about that dude makes me think he’s gonna make a lot of teams regret passing him on him.

    As far as Volquez and Worley are concerned. Having a hard time wrapping my head around one thing. What other teams were interested in these two? The BMTIB talks about winning and championships. I just can’t see championship caliber teams, Cards, Braves, Rays, Red Sox wanting anything to do with guys who have pitched recently like these two have.

    I’m tired of the dumpster diving. Especially when multiple teams have given up on the guy.

    Might not matter anyway, because if these two do see a lot of innings, Clint Hurdle wont just be yelling at John Shumway.

    Sorry, I just don’t get it.

  5. NMR says:

    “I’m tired of the dumpster diving. Especially when multiple teams have given up on the guy.”

    This whole “dumpster dive” meme is so, so sooooo played out. Look around the league.

    Red Sox picked up Mike Carp for cash. Grady Sizemore peanuts.

    Rays signed James Loney for $2m after being traded by the Dodgers and cut by the Red Sox.

    The Rangers just signed a pitcher who was cut by the M’s and hasn’t pitched for two years.

    This is called Major League Baseball. Get used to it.

  6. NMR says:

    “What other teams were interested in these two?”

    I’ll take “Comments from 2013″ for $200, Alex. We heard the same thing this time last year about Liriano.

  7. theplanisworking says:

    Actually, there were multiple teams interested in Liriano.

    The following link lists the Mets, Twins, and Red Sox.

    Other teams I remember were the Padres, Indians, the Yankees and of course the Pirates.
    That’s 7 I can remember.

    Do I win the $200? ;)

  8. Jandy says:

    RIP Mr. Sassone

  9. Jandy says:

    If you win, you’re taking me to lunch! ;)

  10. theplanisworking says:

    Well, if you like fileted flu, then it’s a go.

    I just wonder if the $200 would be in 7 Springs Bucks…… ;)

  11. bpn8pitt says:

    Yep. And your wasting contract years of Cutch and Alvarez, and Cole etc on cheap, low quality talent. Wonder how they feel about that off the record?

    Again, who else wanted Volquez? When Worley went on waivers a few days ago, anyone claim him? No. That’s why he’s able to be sent to the Minors after the trade.

    There were teams that wanted Sizemore, and Loney. Nevermind the Rangers or Red Sox payroll and prospects in their system. The fact that Seattle acquired 15 1st basemen while the Pirates try to teach the position.Cardinals and Braves, for 500.

    3rd lowest payroll in baseball. Year in and year out this BS. And guys like you apologize for it.

  12. bpn8pitt says:

    You get 8 Dbacks corn dogs from me.

  13. Jandy says:

    LOL aren’t you feeling better yet my friend?

  14. JoeyBats says:

    Spot on!

    ………………….and yes… is “Dumpster Diving”……you can’t “dress up this pig” …..some of us call it as we see it :-)

  15. Thundercrack says:

    Yes. Where do I apologize for the Pirates signing Vance Worley who will be pitching in AAA this year?

  16. JoeyBats says:

    Steelers could do a lot worse than taking Aaron Donald @ #15…..the guy has tremendous amount of HEART….and the PERFORMANCE ARROW on him is straight up!

    I’ve been pulling for them to go Wide Receiver to build an elite OFFENSE ..but if Mike Evans is gone @ spot # 15…and if they don’t think TE, Eric Ebron is worthy if an 15 selection……the debate becomes……are the corners good enough for the 15 slot selection (Dennard and Gilbert) …and are one of them still available?

  17. JAL says:

    JAL’s Try a Little Tenderness Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Pirates Need to Trade For a First Baseman

    The Pirates Could Be Active on the Trade Market in the Next Week

    6 Bucs Dugout

    An excerpt from Dry Land

    7 Rumbunter

    Wandy Rodriguez Flexes His Muscles in Pirates 22-5 Win

    Pirates Acquire Vance Worley from Twins

    8 Green Weenie

    3/25: Mazzilli, Mazeroski, Jay Bell…

    9 SaberBucs

    Vance Worley Acquisition is not Surprising

    10 PBC Asylum

    2014 Prediction Contest

  18. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    The Qualifying Offer Era

    12Minor League Ball

    Pittsburgh Pirates Top 20 Prospects for 2014

    13 The State

    Pirates looking for repeat after breakthrough year

    14 Pirates Site

    If Liriano returns to full strength, Bucs’ rotation is set

    15 Beaver County Times

    Ishikawa could win a surprise spot with Pirates

    16 Miami Herald

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Preview

    17 Bradenton Herald

    Five years later, inaugural Bradenton Marauders contributing to Pittsburgh Pirates’ resurgence

    18 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Strauss: Cards are risking players’ trust

    19 Fangraphs

    The Most Interesting NL Contender: St. Louis Cardinals

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    10 Players Whose Seasons We’re Excited About

  19. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Lance Moore signs 2-year, $3 million contract with Steelers Tuesday

    Steelers Markus Wheaton had surgery on a finger this offseason


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Just how important is possession of the ball?

    23 BBC Football

    Man City too good for Man Utd

    24 World Soccer

    Questions over future of ethics chief raises doubts over FIFA reform process

  20. theplanisworking says:

    Love me some corndogs, but those things look ominous !!

  21. theplanisworking says:

    Plus, there is 3 inches of snow down, and more falling.

    Nice Spring we are having…………. at this rate, Summer will be here for 3 days in July, then more snow! :(

  22. Jandy says:

    OH My Goodness!! 3 inches? We have a dusting…or had when I came in to work at 6am. But it was snowing like crazy, which sucks…big time :(
    Feel better!

  23. Thundercrack says:

    The Rays had Erik Bedard in their camp up until just a few days ago. He had a legitimate shot at being their #5 starter. On their major league team.

  24. Thundercrack says:

    Nice weather to come home from Florida to.

  25. Nate83 says:

    Ummm….a very good team with a very good starting 4 last year picked up Jonathan Ssnchez after we waived him and then later picked up Volquez. It happens all the time. Teams need depth. I get it, 5 million was a lot for Volquez. I agree but let’s not pretend other high caliber teams don’t ever feel out their starting 5 and minor league depth with these type of pitchers that at one point showed promise. There is absolutely nothing to lose with the Worley pick up. He cost hardly nothing, is going to AAA and hasn’t lost his velocity.

  26. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks J-Dog.
    Or is it J-Sizzle?

  27. AL says:

    “Harlem Globetrotter hockey”…..God, I love that analogy.
    Spoken by a guy whose won a cup with both Pitt and LA. The man knows what it takes to win; so does Brooksie.
    When the quiet veteran leaders have something to say, guys better listen.
    Just sayin’.

  28. theplanisworking says:

    That’s the 3rd door down on the left.

    1st door is the closet with the shovels and the salt.
    2nd door is the room where people have to apologize for having an opinion on Worley, Volquez, and Lambo.

    So you get the 3rd door. Just do not, I repeat do NOT , go across the hall.
    That is the “bold reaming” room.

  29. Wild Bill says:

    Bob Knight is a guy I don’t like much, and his use of the word “rape” to describe what the NBA has done to college basketball was another big mistake by him. But the underlying point is there to be seen. The “one and done” rule has damaged both college and pro basketball, I believe.

  30. Jandy says:


  31. theplanisworking says:

    Morning, Mr. Bill. :)

    The NBA has discussed a rule that would prohibit any player from entering the league before they are either 20 years old, or 2 years removed from high school. Don’t know how serious this is, or how close they are to enacting it.

  32. theplanisworking says:


  33. Jandy says:

    Right now the veterans are stinking as much as everyone else. Two of them cost us last night.

  34. DJ says:

    Is it just me or did it seem Dan B went a little out of his way to directly target Jussi as the culprit in last night’s loss?

    A stupid penalty? Undisciplined play? Sure. But how many times have we seen that over the last 20 games without Geno, Neal and even Sid being publicly chastised?

    Maybe Dan feels he has to start somewhere.

  35. theplanisworking says:

    Go Man City!

    They appear to be in very good shape to take the Crown this year.
    And, how United has fallen so far so fast this year.

  36. DJ says:

    I counted three vets, Jandhi.

  37. Wild Bill says:

    Oh Noooo, Mr. Plan! I wish I thought they were serious; they’d get a better game and seeing that, might improve on it still further.

  38. Wild Bill says:


  39. theplanisworking says:

    I have heard Silver mention it in the past.

    But if this were to be enacted this year, almost half of the 2014 draft class would be ineligible.

    And, tomorrow night, my Sixers go for a record-tying 26th loss in a row. :)

  40. AL says:

    wonder if that’s why Ollie has been struggling the past few weeks. Has to be his worst stretch of games all year.

  41. Nastynate82 says:

    Yes cause a high payroll guarantees a playoff spot. Like last year when the Yankees and Angels met in the ALCS. Oh wait…

  42. Wild Bill says:

    Another area of concern as I watch the Pens. Crosby got roughed up (again) after a whistle last night, and no one went after the guy who did it. That’s something to take a penalty for, to establish that you don’t touch our captain. Instead, we get a lot of offensive zone crap penalties. Lord, I miss Roberts and others who established boundaries.

  43. bpn8pitt says:

    There it is. “Low risk”.

    Its why I love Pirate blogs. One day, everyone’s bitching about the fact they dont spend. The next day, we applaud the “low risk” move.

    I’ll ask you. Who else was interested in Volquez and Worley?

  44. Wild Bill says:

    And if the Sixers get one or two of those kids, they’ll be almost past their first contract before they are starting to matter much, if they cut it at all.

  45. DJ says:

    He’s hit a little wall bouncing between D pairings, the Olympics and all the games he’s logged, plus some added PP time now.

    All that being said, Olli is the least of my concerns on D headed into the playoffs.

  46. Jandy says:

    Dan is getting on my last nerve.

    Jussi always busts his butt…he makes a mistake, and WHAM. That’s just hooey.

  47. bpn8pitt says:

    Thanks Jayson Stark. And what were the payrolls of the teams in the World Series last year?

  48. Jandy says:

    Dan B has the ability to match up lines to his liking at home. All night Crosby had to deal with Ekman-Larsson and Michalek.
    That’s on Dan.

  49. hockeymonster says:

    I hear they needed to cancel practice so staff could re-paint the walls in locker room after post game meeting players supposedly had.

  50. Jandy says:

    Agree with you DJ. Even when he makes a mistake, he straightens himself out next shift.

  51. bpn8pitt says:

    “up until a few days ago”


  52. Jandy says:

    DJ…I’ll agree to that…Nisky isn’t a vet in my eyes tho.
    Orpik and Scuds are.

  53. Thundercrack says:

    I’ll ask you, what does it matter who else was interested in Worley pitching for their AAA team?

    Do you think Worley would not have been picked up by anyone…to pitch in the minors? He would have retired?

  54. Jandy says:

    Is he related to Tony Stark????

  55. Jandy says:

    It’s whatever you want it to be, Planimal :)

  56. DJ says:

    I am sure Jussi was hanging his head apologizing to everyone in the locker room well before Dan even said a word.

    In the pecking order of undisciplined play, he would be close to or at the bottom.

  57. Jandy says:

    I read about that meeting…but like I said, the vets doing the admonishing had better look in the mirror, too.

  58. Jandy says:


  59. TJA says:

    Morning All – Just something I wanted to throw out, that I have been thinking about, as we soon begin the 2014 baseball season. I am not “taking sides” on this or am I defending NH and the scouts, but, curious of your thoughts: The Pirates lost 3 free agents (all pretty important to their playoff run) to other clubs in the off season and brought in a couple pitchers and not too much else occurred. In the off-season of 2012 they brought in a couple guys named Liriano and Martin. Most of us kind of went “huh…what are they thinking?” Pirates win 90 plus games. Liriano and Martin were the battery for the October 1st WC Game and we saw how that came out. Does last season make us “trust” NH and his team a little more? Does last season make us patient that NH and his team will find the right guys to move this team forward? Does last season make us a little more “patient” until Polanco and Taillion come up or that the Pirates make other moves at the trade deadline? I guess I think that last season raises the Pirates stock (not laughing stock anymore) around MLB and that they will get the guys they want/need when the time comes. Am I off base (pun intended) with this? Out all day on the road…may not check back to later in the day. Have a good one everyone.

  60. Jandy says:

    Hey Justice Avenger! Be safe in your travels.

    I’m willing to be patient and see how things go with the Buccos…for a bit.

  61. theplanisworking says:

    Very good point!

    I do not understand the fascination with “tanking” for a player, unless Kareem or Magic is coming out. These kids will still be learning “on the job” the first 2 years in the league, and may not be the savior these teams are hoping for ( see Bobcats, Charlotte)……… (or late 90’s Celtics, who had 3 of the top 10 picks one year, and got squat).

    I cannot recall a team that has been so blatant in their stated goal of tanking as Philly. This had better work out…..

  62. theplanisworking says:


  63. DJ says:

    I had Jussi as my #3.

  64. DJ says:


  65. theplanisworking says:

    I see your point.
    But, consider martin was clearly the best C available that offseason.
    And, as I noted last week, Liriano, even though he was very inconsistent in the past, benefited from Ray, the Pitcher Whisperer, and switching leagues.

    But, hey, what do I know?
    Good to see you, TJA.

  66. hockeymonster says:

    Breaking news:

    You need to shoot to score with Geno out.

    I didn’t see the whole game but early on it just seemed like PHX was real aggressive on forecheck and we just didn’t move the puck fast enough to beat the pressure. Nisky and maatta were off early and we were in chase mode rest of game. When did jussi get so agitated? Chill out dude…aren’t finnish players known for their discipline? We got the one finn who wants to goon it up. Perfect. :)

    Looks like we got outshot too. Without seeing whole game I’m willing to bet they passed up on chances to shoot just to make extra passes. Pens need to take this opportunity with Geno out to shoot and crash the net as much as possible. Working on high slot tip plays and Center point plays are now mandatory since finding ways to manufacture shots will be paramount with Geno out.

    Actually saw real deal shadow the puck to high slot then take a pass at center point from dman which led to great chance by the net. Plays like that and shot/passes into the slot need to be the norm now that it’s crunch time and teams are looking to block shots and limit chances.

  67. DJ says:

    Well, on the high slot and crashing the net, here’s my post from last night:

    “I would like to see the Pens place a transponder on every player — similar to what the Bucs are doing with their outfielders — and then log the amount of time we spend between the circles on offense.

    The results would be revealing.”

  68. Jandy says:

    Jussi made a mistake. One. He’s fine.

  69. hockeymonster says:

    Just saw replay of 1st GA and looked like Sutter wasn’t deep enough in the zone to help nisky and maatta who were under heavy pressure. Silver lining was that flower in the cage looked sharp.

    I’m temped to go on and on about all sorts of stuff but gonna bite my tongue…

  70. Jandy says:

    Neal and Sutter both had many quality chances, but did not cash in. They hit the goalie’s chest more than anything.

  71. Jandy says:

    it will bleed…

  72. hockeymonster says:

    I hear…Sometimes you don’t notice a player is by the net cuz the shot gets blocked at the point but overall you need to have options in your back pocket in case that keeps reoccurring.

  73. The Pens have been going through this post Olympics slump long enough, and they now have got to start playing good, hard nosed hockey again. There’s been no excuse for these embarrassing losses and the wretched play, and that’s got to stop if they’re going to get anywhere in the playoffs.

  74. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    With you on this sentiment NMR….ask the Braves how many “Dumpster Dives” they’d like to be working on about now with their pithing already hurting

  75. hockeymonster says:

    Good thing we have scuderi and pyatt to come thru in the clutch.

  76. hockeymonster says:

    Whoa nelly…just heard disco’s post game press conference…and the vibe does not feel good. Rossi’s question was either way out of line or right on the money. Not sure what to think about it…

  77. bpn8pitt says:

    So why didnt they claim Worley when he was on waivers a few days ago?

  78. Arriba Wilver says:

    Martin’s signing was roundly panned around here, based on the price tag and his average going down over the previous 3 seasons. There were even reports that he wasn’t good at handling pitchers. (I think those were quotes from NY blogs.

    The boss wasn’t a fan of it, either.

    I’ve still seen people say they overpaid for him (not necessarily here). And he was following Barrabas.

    Liriano’s wasn’t praised, either, at 13+ mil, but that one’s a little harder to gauge because he broke his arm almost immediately and then they reworked the contract.

    No biggee, but there’s a lot of misremembering going on IMHO.

  79. DJ says:

    Of course, but keeping it real.

  80. Jordan White says:


  81. hockeymonster says:

    I gotta watch the 2nd period before I decide whether or not to go off. But I gotta admit…I’m getting less and less motivated to keep doing this.

  82. bpn8pitt says:

    I think it very well does matter. There was a market for Liriano. Burnett’s preference to pitch on the East Coast enabled the Pirates to land him, limiting the market on him.

    Volquez? Worley? Not so much.

    I dont understand how someone can complain about losing AJ and not adding a bonafide ML 1st basemen, but then shrug their shoulders when the Pirates pick up two pitchers who got shelled in 2013, and it appears anyway…no one else wanted. At least on their ML staff.

    By the way if Liriano’s groin gives him trouble all year, like it has in the past, Worley very well might get a look at some point.

    Hey, hopefully Ray works his magic. But like I said, I cant get my head around other teams giving up on these guys, or not wanting to pick them up. But the Pirates thinking they are somehow smarter and can fix everyone all of a sudden. Its not all Ray Searage. Its PNC Park, the OF, the NL as opposed to AL, so on and so forth.

    Had they lost 94 games, hey why not…But they won 94, man. Sorry dont get it.

  83. DJ says:

    Yeah, but that wasn’t really the case last night. I made it a point to focus on the O-zone play between the circles.

    If we had someone in black and gold there I guarantee I would have spotted him.

  84. Jandy says:

    I was very pleased with Pyatt last night. He was noticed.

  85. bpn8pitt says:

    We have a Vanimal…:)

  86. Jandy says:

    You and me both, HM, you and me both.

  87. Jandy says:

    Where would you bet YOUR money?

  88. theplanisworking says:

    Oh, agreed………… both signings were panned.

    But my original point was/is Martin was by far the best option available at C. Following Barajas, and contract has nothing to do with that…………. those are completely separate issues.

    Liriano, again benefited from changing leagues and the injury (which allowed the Pitcher Whisperer to work with him some more). Besides, weren’t some of the more SABR-inclined saying Liriano would be a good pitcher based on some of his #’s?

    Besides, you want a rough blog crowd? read a NY blog of any stripe.
    They have fistfights over knitting ! ;)

  89. Brandie says:

    Seems like a broken record with the Pens…no discipline…need to adjust with injuries…need to shoot the Puck…Disco is stubborn…ad nauseum. It is definitely spring.

    Pens are rounding into early Playoffs exit form. They are definitely playing Linda Blair hockey…fine one minute, then speaking in tongues and spitting up pea soup the next! The Winter of Malkin-tent AKA Malkin Malaise has spread among the players like common black shower mold.

    The solution? A come to the fork in the road meeting where RDJN needs to be told he will be fired if his petulance and disregard for player safety continue. That did a lot to round out Matt Cooke’s game. Then the veteran leadership needs to get its head out of its collective rear and cut the snobbishness. They need to play the game they get paid 6 figures to play or have Gary Roberts and Billy Guerin come to dole out some true justice. Rob Scuderi was not the piece…Guys like that Robert Morris kid who want to play and know what it’s like to have the game, and almost life taken away are. Our stars are coming across like spoiler lazy whiners who are making it hard on those who actually want to be there.

    Don’t get me started on HCDB who plays favorites, which is so good for building team chemistry. Trying to create grit out of dysfunction is like trying to create an underwear model out of Mark Madden…AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!!!! Either you have grit, discipline, leadership, and passion on the ice or you have a bunch of John Russells, mumbling, stumbling, bumbling, while the fans are grumbling…leading to another playoffs humbling

  90. Jim S. says:

    I didn’t see the game, but listened to part of the 2nd period on XM. Bourque was pretty critical of MAF on goal #3. Didn’t close off the short side. He said something to the effect of “That goal can’t happen.”

  91. Jim S. says:

    Knitting can get violent, especially when they break out those needles. ;-)

  92. theplanisworking says:

    But B-Dog, the pens sell out every game!
    All is well !!

  93. theplanisworking says:


    Especially in the back seat of a Subaru! ;)

  94. Jim S. says:

    You should said Barrabas. Haha! He was released, just like the original Barrabas.

  95. Jim S. says:

    The PSU alums may also think you are talking about them when you mention “Nitters.”

  96. hockeymonster says:

    Whatever happened to the center lane drive plays we had on the rush? Seems like we’re playing cutsie drop pass hockey on the rush instead of driving the net and looking for garbage.

  97. NMR says:

    I’m sure Cutch, Alvarez, and Cole are absolutely livid about winning 94 games last year!

    The nerve of that cheap, greedy Nutting!

  98. NMR says:

    God you’re insufferable.

  99. Brandie says:

    Tom Plandiotti,

    Oh Goody Goody! The Pens sell out. They have also sold out on playing meaningful hockey as well. Dang Them!

  100. JohninOshkosh says:

    I liked the Martin signing at the time, but I recall thinking they paid too much. I also was swayed by Dejan’s opinion at the time. I liked Liriano’s signing, even with the initial contract.

    For the record, so that it is archived, I liked the Volquez signing then and still now. I like the Worley signing as well. Bodies are needed and so are innings pitched. I will also state that I think they should have signed Loney (have from day one of free agency) and also Garza after AJB fell through. I think this was a year to open up the payroll and see what happens. The off season proved to me that baseball is awash in money and that the Pirates payroll is inadequate to keep pace with the competition.

    I yield the floor.

  101. theplanisworking says:

    + many.

  102. NMR says:

    Don’t worry, bpn will disappear once the season starts. Just like last year.

  103. hockeymonster says:

    I don’t bet on other people ;)

    Does anyone know how to stitch a bleeding tongue? Mine is bleeding…

  104. Nate83 says:

    What are your expectations out of a 5th starter???? They seem to be a little unrealistic. I am not even sure how Burnett and Liriano have anything to do with Volquez or Worley. Not every move is to fill a top 3 starting pitching spot. I don’t like the Volquez signing but you are not comparing apples to apples. It’s not even possible to debate this with you. If Volquez performs for the Pirates to the level he did for the Dodgers (a playoff team) at the end of last year then he will be an adequate 5th starter.

    I’m skeptical myself if he can do that but I’m willing to let this thing play out before I say it’s the worse move ever made. Volquez would have gotten a contract from another team. It probably would have been 2 or 3 million with incentives to get to 5 million but their are plenty of pitchers throughout the league starting for teams with much worse stuff then Volquez has.

  105. hockeymonster says:

    Boedker made a nice shot but it did seem like flower was a little lackadaisical on that one.

    Thank goodness for spell check.

  106. Jandy says:

    That may be the case, but MAF kept them in the game. He wasn’t dazzling, but he was adequate.

  107. Jandy says:

    Stitches will hurt, HM :D

  108. hockeymonster says:

    Disco is stubborn?

  109. theplanisworking says:

    I prefer Plandy Moldanado when I am ill. ;)

  110. JohninOshkosh says:

    I don’t understand why people belittle the attendance point. My boss used to have a Latin inscription in his office. Everyone thought it was something pithy and guiding. It translated as, “the purpose of this business is to make money.”

    Do we really want to return to the days when high schoolers like Milo went to the Civic Arena and did their homework, and the Pens were on the fast track to bankruptcy ? Don’t think it can’t happen again!

  111. Brandie says:

    Crazy Glue and/or Gorilla Glue work in a pinch. And as far as veteran admonishment…Bad Penguins! Bad Penguins! (Sound of slap on the wrist)

  112. Jandy says:

    Again, Sistah, you outdid yourself! bravo!

    But….this: Trying to create grit out of dysfunction is like trying to create an underwear model out of Mark Madden

    made me lose my breakfast!!!!

  113. Brandie says:

    That is my point….something in the foundation is cracking and that needs to be addressed or you may have a return to the Bad Old Days.

  114. hockeymonster says:

    Madden wears underwear? Rossi can probably confirm….

  115. Jandy says:

    Good points, Oshie. But it WOULD be nice to see them play passionate, meaningful hockey in the postseason….we haven’t seen much of that for a few years.
    I won’t ever grumble about the sell-outs tho. We came too close to losing this franchise.

  116. Jim S. says:

    Good post, TJA.

    My take would be that Huntington worked the same strategy this winter as last winter. The difference is last winter he got all the guys he wanted, and most of them worked out very well – most notably, Martin, Liriano, Melancon. But, other acquisitions also contributed (Gomez, Mazzaro). He deserves credit for that, IMO, because those acquisitions really helped the team get over the hump to the playoffs.

    This winter, from what I can tell, he tried hardest for Josh Johnson and Loney. He didn’t get either of them. As a result, we have to rely on Volquez and some question marks at 1b. I like the Chris Stewart trade this winter, but overall I don’t see how we can say Huntington has gotten much accomplised to take a very good team to the next level this year. And, I didn’t even touch on the AJ situation.

    I’m trying to fairly judge what I see, and I see no way that Huntington has had a successful off-season. Last year, he had a stellar off-season.

  117. theplanisworking says:

    ** Scurries up to the mic **

    I will go on record as saying both the worley and Volquez signings stink…. but so do my shoes. Worley appears to be filler, so i guess that is harmless. Volquez was being counted on for a spot in the rotation, despite being one of the worst, if not the worst starter in the league the past 2 years. But again, it appears that Mr. Volquez will be a spot starter, or a convenience list candidate, so no big shakes there either…………. I just think Mr. Volquez could have been gotten for cheaper than what he signed for.

    I wanted Loney also, but the Pirates don’t seem to put any value on the 1B position, and really haven’t for years now……….. nor do they have anything in the minors. So I guess we just have to go with what they have, which isnt much, unless Gaby shines.

  118. Jandy says:


  119. Jim S. says:

    Have you ever used Jonathan, Tony, Gaby or any of the other Planchezes, Brandie?

  120. Brandie says:

    I would request hazard pay for that! :)

  121. hockeymonster says:

    You know…I’m glad Mario & Co. are doing well HOWEVER with the prices for tix being so out of whack I could care less about ticket sales. Maybe if they didn’t price out fans who know the game in favor of the corporate hair cuts there would be more ‘passion’ at Consol Dome.

  122. Jandy says:


  123. Jim S. says:

    Yes, and I should point out that right after goal #3, Lange described a great save by MAF that could have been goal #4.

  124. bpn8pitt says:

    Yea. I wonder if right after game 5 of the NLDS, I would have told you they were gonna let AJ walk, and bring Volquez and Worley in for rotation depth, what you would have said then?

  125. Jandy says:


    Whole lotta zingin’ goin’ on today!

  126. theplanisworking says:

    Oshie, you might be misinterpreting my point, or I am not clear in my explanation.

    I am not belittling attendance. Every team wants to sell out every game…… that is just common sense.
    It’s just sometimes it seems that the Pens value being just good enough to play good regular season hockey, get past the 1st round of the playoffs (which is the break-even point financially), and everything else is gravy.

    We are told every year that the Cup is the goal, yet the pens exit early from the playoffs. The roster is not constructed to win the Cup. Sid and Geno’s window to win the Cup is closing. The players seem disinterested many nights. Stupid penalties and head-scratching coaching decisions…………… and the beat goes on.

  127. Jandy says:


  128. Damon says:

    I agree with all of these excellent points/observations.

    It’s been a long time since I was that ticked off after a regular season game. The Pens – in theory – should have mopped up a team battling for the #8 spot, played the night before, lost their best player (Smith), didn’t have Riberio, and had their back up goaltender in.

    Not sure if they are feeling sorry for themselves because Malkin is now out, but they need to wake up or it will be another playoff year lost. Maybe if Letang and Bennett are back soon it could give them a lift, but they shouldn’t need stuff like that to get up for these games.

    All that said, I thought Sutter played well….

  129. Jandy says:

    I know I can’t afford it :/

  130. theplanisworking says:

    Or Planquez. Edinson? ;)

  131. Brandie says:

    Rock on Jim! That is good for Plantasy Island….or John Plangelosi or Plandre Dawson!

  132. Jandy says:

    I just wish Sutter had hit the net I instead of the goalie’s chest once or twice in his several quality scoring chances. But yeah, Sutter looked much better than he has.

  133. Damon says:

    Sid and Stempniak had great chances too – Sid passed them up, Stempniak just seems to be oh so close to being on the same page but is just a little off.

  134. hockeymonster says:

    I like spending my money on quality things and every now and then I don’t mind spending a few hundred bucks on quality tix but I can’t imagine taking a whole family like my dad and uncle used to do back in the Mario and Brownie days.

  135. Jim S. says:

    I thank the gentleman from the great state of Wisconsin and gladly take his remaining time on the floor.

    I just want to say that Worley has been good more often than bad in his career, and he is only 26. He was horrible last season, and his strikeout rate has taken an alarming dip recently. So, he’s not trending well. Something is not right, and maybe they won’t be able to straighten him out.

    But, he has had success and did so at a young age. I think there is hope for a turnaround, and without risk. He throws strikes, although maybe too many of them in the heart of the plate recently.

  136. Jandy says:

    Yes! They were all snakebitten last night.

  137. Damon says:

    The hitting-the-chest-logo thing was definitely an epidemic last night….guess that happens when the goalie sees the puck and has time to react too.

  138. Brandie says:

    Good to see Worley has an upside.

  139. Brandie says:

    Or Plance Law!

  140. Damon says:

    Man this blog is on a roll today….zings all over the place.

  141. AJS says:

    that was an awesome article by Starkey today. I couldn’t believe RMU found itself in the hockey dance. At one point this season Penn State had 3 hockey victories. 2 of those were against RMU. PSU found a way to beat michigan 3 times later in the season and OSU once but that about wraps up the Ws for the Lions. RMU found a way to bounce back and play their way into the NCAAs. Great stuff.

  142. Jim S. says:


    Those guys would have ended up somewhere.

    Freddie Garcia keeps finding homes on contenders. Eric Bedard is usually gainfully employed. We could name 50 guys circulating at any one time who are flyers. Paul Maholm signed very late with the LAD. The LAD, btw, are still giving guys like Josh Beckett a shot, and look how good they are. The list goes on and on.

    It would be nice if the Bucs were in a position where they don’t need anyone like that. The Cardinals don’t have anybody like that right now, which is good for them. But, even they had Jake Westbrook make 19 starts for them last year.

  143. Jim S. says:

    Thomas Alva Edinson Planquez.

  144. Jim S. says:

    I liked John Plangelosi. Tiny little guy, but he was a fighter.

  145. Jim S. says:

    And a downward plane.

  146. BillyBaduka says:

    That’s a false dichotomy.

    No one wants to go back to early 2000’s or pre Mario.

    There are countless options in between.

  147. theplanisworking says:

    You mean downward Plan?
    Is he as tall as me?

  148. JohninOshkosh says:

    “False dichotomy”

    I like that a lot, Billy. I’m going to try to use it in a sentence today.

    Fine post.

  149. hockeymonster says:

    Was just recently informed that PSU played the 2nd toughest schedule in the entire NCAA behind Clarkson. PSU played just about all the teams going to the big dance and beat some of them. That’s at least just as impressive as anything RMU did and probably even more so when you factor in the level of competition.

    Was also impressed with the individual improvement of the PSU players. Especially the younger dmen(talking to you Thompson) who got their act together in time for the Big Ten tourney to give WI all they could handle and end Michigan’s season. And if PSU got any coverage at all we’d know that Coach Guy sent some messages to players that resulted in W’s being left on the table. But big picture, he had his reasons and was looking out for the programs integrity long term.

    But Loik not getting PP time was hard to watch.

  150. Jim S. says:

    Bring back Sir Alex, post haste!

  151. BillyBaduka says:


    Thanks John, you know that is a response to your “status quo or hockey gulag” post?

    I really enjoy your posts but we disagree on the Pens.

  152. Andrew says:

    Rangers just signed Scott Baker, who had one strikeout in 64 batters faced in spring. Cardinals signed David Aardsma, who was released by the Indians because he never regained velocity after UCL reconstruction.

    Worely is AAA, depth not MLB depth, Locke and Tallion will unlikely be stretched out to start the AAA season.

  153. cosmo says:

    I wanted them to sign Josh Johnson also, However it may turn out to be a blessing that he didn’t sign here.
    Isn’t he hurt again. Volquez they may have overpaid for him, considering what the Dodgers signed Maholm for. Worley was out of options when placed on waivers, I think that is why no one claimed him initially. Once he was reassigned to minor leagues made him attractive to PBC. Low risk move. We can all debate wether these moves were good or bad now, but only time will tell if they work out or not.

  154. Jim S. says:

    TC is the expert on player heights. I’ll defer to him.

  155. Brandie says:

    Always looked like a little kid coming to play! Good memories!

  156. JohninOshkosh says:

    Falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus, as I recall, is the fancy way to put it.

    Somewhere, my late Philosophy professor at Madison and Aristotle are having a drink and pleased with our exchange!

  157. Thundercrack says:

    What makes you say that the Pirates don’t put any value on the 1B position?
    Garret Jones was a decent hitter when he played there. And they did trade for Morneau.

  158. cosmo says:

    2 days in a row, you may have that Planfluenza bug.

  159. Arriba Wilver says:

    I hear what you’re saying, Plan, but 90% of the time Volquez’s name comes up, it is paired with $5 million, so the issues are intertwined. And all these other situations that are being discussed were 2 year deals for more than twice as much.

  160. cmat0829 says:

    Worley has been a starter in the bigs, has a decent arm, and yes has fallen off in terms of being able to win a starting spot for a major league team. I don’t see any reason to bitch about the Pirates acquiring him to stock in AAA and to see if he can continue to work to recover his very good ability he showed while in Philly. To say that no other team was interested in signing him is ridiculous. The Twins gave him a lot of chance to win a spot on their team… and yes, if the Pirates didn’t take him, someone would have… in fact, the Twins would have kept him in the AAA as depth, same as the Pirates will do.

    It’s fun I suppose to single out the Pirates FO of acquiring players that ‘no one wants’ and ‘can’t play’, like John McDonald…who did indeed suck… but who has now played for THREE OTHER MAJOR LEAGUE TEAMS since departing the ‘Burgh. He has made the roster of the Angels, who are hardly a dumpster diving haven. Problem with this tired debate about dumpster diving…there is no substance to it.

  161. bpn8pitt says:

    I hope, in a month Jim, I’m being called an idiot. But I really do think the conversation is going to turn to the Pirates being cheap. And maybe a little arrogant with Searage and Benedict.

    Marines are insufferable. Its in our nature. Wouldn’t be here without being stubborn.

  162. JohninOshkosh says:

    Oh, and I knew it was in response to me. Although, the blog’s format does make to whom responses are directed sometimes confusing.

  163. theplanisworking says:

    TC, name the last good Pirate 1B.

    I got Stargell in the 70’s

  164. Brandie says:

    The Boo Hoo Hippo Flu!

  165. Nate83 says:

    Agree 100% Jim. It’s interesting that Worley’s fastball has not lost much velocity over the last 2 years. The Twins do preach pitch to contact so that may have something to do with. I think I saw somewhere that he had a .401 BABIP against last year with a 47% ground ball rate. That would seem to suggest there is upside. That BABIP has to regress to something more reasonable and with the Pirates defensive shifting the ground ball rate is nice.

  166. Damon says:

    Another note on the Pens last night – something dawned on me that was almost as frustrating as watching that game. The refs were letting go a TON of interference. The refs will let go a TON of interference in the playoffs because they just don’t call as many penalties. Interference slows down and cripples teams built for speed. The Pens are a team built on a speed system…..

  167. Jandy says:

    yeah they did, and that frustrates the h*ll outta Sid.

  168. Milo Hamilton says:

    Ken Rosenthal reporting a 6 year extension with Starling Marte is nearly done.

  169. Jandy says:


  170. theplanisworking says:

    Obviously money talks.

  171. Milo Hamilton says:

    By the way, which local paper does Rosenthal work for ?

  172. JohninOshkosh says:


  173. Nate83 says:

    I can’t wait to see what sort of insulting offer he ended up signing.

  174. Damon says:

    Definitely Sid.

    The worst I saw last night was when Sutter was face to face with a Dman at the blue line, dumped the puck behind him on his left, then went right to get around the defender, and the Dman practically picked Sutter up off the ice to stop him. Nothing called….

  175. Andrew says:

    I think you mean what local blog does he post on.

  176. 21sthebest says:

    Heyman is reporting it’s done. 6 plus at least 1 option year, pending physical.

  177. Milo Hamilton says:


  178. cosmo says:

    I believe the locals stayed to watch Liriano and Volquez throw a simulated game today.

  179. tdb1977 says:

    According to Jon Heyman of CBS – deal is done for 6 years and at least 1 option year also. Saw on twitter.

  180. cosmo says:

    Is it more than Cutch’s

  181. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t remember if it was here or the old PBC site, but once Rod was signed a bunch of us referred to him as Barrabas. I think Drew started it, I just never let it go. ;-)

  182. Milo Hamilton says:

    Heyman, is he Trib or PG ? :)

  183. Jandy says:

    that was terrible. that’s why I like my avatar ;)

  184. Nate83 says:

    If they got 2 years of free agency from him that is really nice. That signs him through 2020.

  185. cmat0829 says:

    Jon Heyman, who I think works for the Trib, right?, says the deal is done, pending only a physical. Six years, which buys first 2 years of free agency plus perhaps a club option on a third year of FA.

  186. Milo Hamilton says:

    Speaking of extensions, I’m expecting Hurdle & Huntington to have them announced on Opening Day.

  187. Arriba Wilver says:

    F’in Pirates. ;-)

  188. cmat0829 says:

    no way.

  189. cmat0829 says:

    MLB TradeRumors speculated a few days ago that Julio Teheran’s extension, 6 years total $32.4M, has set the bar for a Marte extension…. be interesting to see where it comes in $ wise.

  190. 21sthebest says:

    I just like accuracy. I don’t give a hoot who reports it first.

  191. cosmo says:

    weren’t they signed in October?

  192. 21sthebest says:

    Hey I posted that the other day!

  193. Arriba Wilver says:

    I like your use of “announced.”

  194. cosmo says:

    I thought I read it somewhere. Like they say if it’s on the internet it must be true.

  195. Milo Hamilton says:

    I can give it to you accurately after somebody else does the work. As a matter of fact I just did. :)

  196. Nate83 says:

    I think it has to be right in that range. 5-6 per year over the life of the contract seem about right.

  197. Naterosboro says:


    Well, most likely not (with the way the 2 teams are playing at the moment)…

    but a Gooner can dream, can’t he?


  198. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’ll always remember where I was when I learned that Gwenneth and Chris announced their separation.

  199. Milo Hamilton says:

    …as first speculated by 21 on a day I wasn’t reading the blog.

  200. Jim S. says:

    Seems about right to me.

  201. tdb1977 says:

    Looks like its a 31 MM deal for 6 years with an option for a 7th year

  202. Thundercrack says:

    Me too….and probably a lot of other people.

  203. Jim S. says:

    I wonder, though, what he is expecting. I was thinking he fits nicely between Tabata and Cutch. Not sure he sees it that way, though.

    Also, things have gone up in price since Cutch signed his deal.

  204. Milo Hamilton says:

    We can’t go through a day here in western PA without hearing from her mother. She’s the voice of all the UPMC ads.

  205. cmat0829 says:

    Who broke that one? Rosenthal or Heyman? Or did Peter Gammons scoop them all to follow up that “at least 17 actors are in play for Gwynneth”

    I think I read on that Chris Martin had made it known that Gwynneth was available and that Gwynneth turned down the qualifying offer of marriage counseling to test the separation market.

  206. 21sthebest says:

    Hey my high school graduation was in the Civic Arena!

  207. Nate83 says:

    I was right here on this blog. What do you mean Gwenneth and Chris are separated??? I thought they would last forever like every celebrity couple. Seriously I did think they where going to beat the odds and at least last longer then this.

  208. cmat0829 says:

    very smart investment indeed.

  209. Thundercrack says:

    Does Heyman or Rosenthal know if Ben is mad at anyone on the Steelers and if he is refusing to sign a contract extension.

  210. 21sthebest says:

    No. Just you and me.

  211. theplanisworking says:

    Over/under on when the local journalists will report this??

  212. Nastynate82 says:

    It’s just a lazy argument to just say “spend money!” When money, by itself, guarantees nothing in terms of making smart decisions.

  213. Milo Hamilton says:

    Now I see why Marte was a late scratch from the lineup today. He had other business to attend to.

  214. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hey, “Futureworld” was a great flick.

    Is Ms. Danner from Pittsburgh ? Otherwise, seems odd UPMC would pay for such a curious spokeswoman.

  215. Jim S. says:

    Seems like a good deal for both sides to me.

    – A guy just became a multi-millionaire with lifetime security.

    – A team signed a key player to a reasonable contract for the next 6 years.

  216. JohninOshkosh says:


  217. Jim S. says:

    Are they the ones who named the kid after a fruit?

    Yeah, I thought they would last forever.

  218. JohninOshkosh says:

    If those crazy, insanely wealthy kids can’t make it, what hope is there for the rest of us ? :)

  219. Sarah says:

    What was Rossis question?

  220. Jim S. says:

    Now, if they can just add 3 or 4 more years to the Volquez deal. ;-)

  221. theplanisworking says:

    Yes, Jim.

    $31MM seems fair.

    I didn’t see what the option year was.

  222. theplanisworking says:

    For the same $5 million? Yes.
    That is not $5 million a year……………..

  223. Nate83 says:

    6 years 31 million. You can’t be unhappy with that if you are the Pirates or a fan. That works out to a little over 5 million a year. Or to put it in simpler terms one Edison Volquez per year.

  224. Arriba Wilver says:

    Beat me to it. He’s from the Dominican, too. ;-)

  225. Jim S. says:

    Well, that would be team friendly.

    Hi Neal!

  226. Naterosboro says:

    Fun picture I just saw from Rumbunter on twitter:

    “‏@rumbunter 4m

    Marte and Cutch…get used to it MLB. …”

  227. Thundercrack says:

    Are you reading Huntington’s talking points?


  228. 21sthebest says:

    She’s from Philly.

    I would have put her on the cover of People ahead of her daughter.

  229. Jim S. says:

    Merely a clever distraction. ;-)

  230. 21sthebest says:

    And not everybody can even do that!

  231. Jim S. says:

    Reading them? I’m writing them, TC.

  232. theplanisworking says:

    Ok, now I understand your point.

  233. Thundercrack says:

    I can’t wait to see if this raises our payroll so we can be higher than #27 in MLB.

  234. Jim S. says:

    Loved her in Meet the Parents.

  235. theplanisworking says:


  236. Jim S. says:

    Please define “in play” cmat.

  237. Thundercrack says:

    “Now, if they can just add 3 or 4 more years to the Volquez deal”

    I’d rather see if Marte can pitch.

  238. JD says:

    Ha! Good one!

  239. Jim S. says:

    Of this season?

  240. Brandie says:

    Awesome take. Looks like Gwynneth may be looking for an agent to negotiate a deal somewhere else. I wonder if Drew Rosenhaus is available?

    I wonder if their next mates will have Super Two Status? Poor Moses and Apple.

  241. Milo Hamilton says:

    This won’t make a dent in actual payroll numbers until the free agent years. What would those be, 2019 & 2020 ?

  242. Nate83 says:

    It will not because by 2019 the 10 million we give to Marte will be the going rate for a 4th outfielder.

  243. Jim S. says:

    Soldiers and Sailors for me.

  244. Milo Hamilton says:

    And that should actually be 28th. Those figures aren’t counting the $5.5 million that Astros are kicking in for Juan D..

  245. theplanisworking says:

    Now for something completely fun………………….

    If the Pirates would have kept AJ, or gotten Loney, would they have extended Marte this year? Or did not committing those dollars facilitate this deal?

    I always wanted to use facilitate in a sentence here on the blog.


  246. Jim S. says:

    Amen, Cosmo.

  247. Jim S. says:

    I think extending Marte was in the cards all along, plantanimo bay.

    Hey, I combined the names of two bloggers there.

  248. Milo Hamilton says:

    Heyman now reports that the deal begins with this season, which only pushes back his free agency by one more year than before. Need to see the option numbers before we can judge if this is anything substantial.

  249. Jim S. says:

    ++++, TC.

  250. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    It’s nice to see a special player like Starling Marte signed long term.
    However….The Pirates rank #27 in team payroll going into the 2014 season.
    That is a disgrace for a team that was on a playoff run last year that was heavily backed by its fan base.
    The Nutting Regime once again thrives on cheapness in MLB.

  251. theplanisworking says:

    Oh, no doubt Jiminy Crickets.

    I was wondering if it would have had to wait til say next year if we had gotten AJ/Loney. I agree an extension was in the plans all along, I just feel it was sped up so to speak.

  252. Nate83 says:

    I personally do not think one has anything to do with the other. Marte is still getting paid the same amount this year and 80% of the contract will be paid in 2019 and 2020 when AJ/Loney would have been long gone. Someone like Loney may have effected extending Walker because that is money being spent in the immediate future during Loney’s contract.

  253. theplanisworking says:

    You are correct.
    The payroll is certainly underwhelming.

    Now, for a 1B. Maybe Volquez? ;)

  254. Milo Hamilton says:

    It’s really 28th (see my post above). Only the Marlins & Astros are spending less on major league payroll.

  255. Baywatch says:

    Morning, All! Ballgame thread up … I mentioned the Marte deal. I used my FIND feature to see if it had been mentioned here yet, and came up with nothing on “Marte.” I must’a been on a hockey thread!

  256. Arriba Wilver says:

    Always lookin’ for the silver lining.

  257. Thundercrack says:

    It’s kinda funny because I was going to pose the question if the Pirates extended Marte and another current player would that make fans happy because the team was spending money?

    But I think the payroll should be higher. And along with extending some players the team needed to upgrade…using free agency or trades (which would have pushed the payroll higher too).

    But I didn’t ask the question because I was fearful of starting a craptastic daylong debate.

  258. Thundercrack says:

    Viva la Regime!!!

  259. Andrew says:

    I think this is correct, a Burnett commitment was only a year, and the Pirates did not want go past two years with Loney. They should still flexibility to add a first baseman who can hit RHP because Ishikawa ain’t going to fly.

  260. Jim S. says:

    Well, now we know the answer to whether the Pirates think Spring Training stats matter. No way they sign Marte to this deal if he didn’t go 5/6 yesterday with a jimmy jack. ;-)

  261. Jim S. says:

    You’re right. They should have insisted on giving Marte $100 million. That might have boosted them up a notch or two in the payroll standings.

  262. Naterosboro says:

    If they can stay healthy, a top 4 of Liriano, Cole, Morton, Rodriguez ain’t too shabby. I think we need not fuss so much over Volquez and the 5th spot in the rotation.

    No team in the MLB has aces up and down.

    The Pirates are no different…but as stated above, they do have a pretty solid 4, and that’s more than can be said of some major league teams.

  263. DemonDachshund says:

    As others have said, this shouldn’t really affect payroll much over the years that Loney or Burnett would have been on the team, so I don’t think that was a factor, unless you want to go the NH felt the need to do SOMETHING route.

    This is WAY more about wrapping up a good young player for “cost certainty” through his arbitration years though. There’s no reason to attach other motives to what is a smart business move.

  264. Nate83 says:

    I agree completely. I would have expected them to end up between 15-22 based on the “money will be spent when the time is right” comments. I do believe money was left on the table and that it will be spent at some point during the season. Maybe even in the next week. However even if it was spent I don’t think it would have put them much higher then 24th behind the Cubs 89 million. That just isn’t high enough for a team that is currently a playoff contender.

  265. DemonDachshund says:

    I think they should sign the entire Volquez family, $5M each.

  266. 21sthebest says:

    I’ll take Kevin Young from around 98-00

  267. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t see any connection. My guess is this year wouldn’t be more than $1 mil, if that, and the minimum’s .5 mil. To this year’s payroll it’s probably de minimis. I was reading Osh’s posts. ;-)

  268. Arriba Wilver says:


  269. cmat0829 says:

    In all seriousness, today’s GM, especially that of a resource-limited franchise, needs to balance both short term budget and spending with mid to longer term planning. The blueprint is there…. draft/scout/develop well, identify your core, extend them as early as possible, then have at or below market contracts in the latter years of the deals. If that model can be executed, it is the way a team like the Pirates can compete year after year.

    The part that NH hasn’t yet learned how to do….or been allowed to do by ownership…. or had the guts to roll the dice and do….. (take your pick) is to aggressively spend at market rates for current season (Russell Martin the lone exception). Liriano was a bargain play (and an AWESOME ONE), and NH was outbid for Josh Johnson (another bargain play) and James Loney (market based deal).

    I want no part of Kendrys Morales (nor does 29 other teams it seems); it is fun to hate on NH for not trading for people like Smoak or Lind (but who knows if either is really available? and at what asking price?), but I think the most glaring missed opportunity this offseason was one of the FA pitchers who ended up signing for about $12-13M per. Not only for the 2014 season (depth is needed), but for 2015 and 2016, when Liriano and Wandy are gone, you could really use a Garza or Santana or the other guy I can’t think of right now…..

    So, where we stand today… NH is figuring out the extension thing…. he is figuring out the draft/develop thing… he excels at building bullpens…. now he just needs to be more aggressive in the market for short term and medium term needs…

  270. Arriba Wilver says:

    C’mon Nate, get real. We’re agonizing over whether Worley should have been given a minor league contract. ;-)

  271. Jim S. says:

    Interesting. The Indians released reliever David Aardsma, and noted dumpster divers, the St Louis Cardinals, signed him to a minor league deal. Came off TJ surgery to get knocked around last year, with a 4.31 ERA (5.27 FIP and 4.63 xFIP). Issued 4.3 BB/9 and had a ground ball rate of only 32.8%. Has not regained his former mid-90’s fastball.

  272. DemonDachshund says:

    The “If they stay healthy” part is the one that makes me worry about 3 of those 4 guys.

  273. cmat0829 says:

    Wandy’s health is critical. People forget that a healthy Wandy is an ADD to this team from last year… he did not pitch after early May…..

    just like a full year of Cole is an ADD to this team…..

    Injuries are part of baseball but we lost Marte for the stretch run last year, Walker for a key stretch, etc…. 2014 was magical but it isn’t like the Pirates had a full complement the whole year….

  274. Thundercrack says:

    The next time Marte closes his eyes and drops a fly ball we can add “See, he gets his guaranteed money …..”

  275. Nate83 says:

    I’m guessing your talking about Ubaldo as the guy you can’t remember or maybe Kazmir.

  276. cmat0829 says:

    NO, say it ain’t so…the Pirates are the only ML team that does this!!! I read MLB Rumors this morning and it is chock full of dumpster dives and they were all the Pirates, right?

  277. Arriba Wilver says:

    There could be a clause, though, about no bouncing eyeballs.

  278. cmat0829 says:

    Ubaldo, but he’s a distant 3rd in my opinion… he has his issues to be sure. But Garza and Santana would be a nice bridge to the post-Liriano era…. but I guess the counter argument is mid-rotation innings eaters can be had on the market (like Maholm’s deal with the Dodgers)

  279. Milo Hamilton says:

    By the way, while we’re spending Bob Nutting’s money – Rene Gayo deserves a raise.

  280. Nate83 says:

    Anytime I see you start a post with C’mon Nate I assume you are talking to me. This time I was like what the heck. I didn’t even say anything but then noticed it was another Nate you are talking to.

  281. Arriba Wilver says:

    Nobody has forgotten that here.

  282. Brandie says:

    U mean 2013. Unless you ate forecasting. :)

  283. Arriba Wilver says:


  284. Nate83 says:

    +++ I’m not sure what he gets paid but it’s probably not enough. NH has been doing a better job of recognizing his efforts publicly lately. The Pirates are lucky to have Gayo.

  285. Naterosboro says:


    I remember when he was helping the Phillies win games, and some Phillies fans were upset that he was traded to Minny (for Ben Revere).

    Not a bad option for depth, that can make a spot start if injuries dictate, or perhaps pitch out of the pen (ala Mazzaro, Gomez).

    If he ends up having to be a mainstay in the rotation, then something will have gone horribly wrong.

  286. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Bonsoir Nutting!

  287. theplanisworking says:

    I forget what day it is.
    Jandy normally has to remind me………

  288. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    No….They should’ve added (instead of deleted) to a playoff team.

  289. Nate83 says:

    I think the Pirates are skittish on any pitching contract longer then 2 years at this point. They have 4 really good pitchers in Cole, Taillon, Kingham and Glasnow all due to be in the majors by end of year 2015 or middle of 2016. All 4 could be middle of the rotation or better pitchers but 3 of them may end up being back end starters or worse. I think they are willing to tread water until some of the things answer themselves and I really can’t blame them to be honest.

  290. theplanisworking says:


  291. Naterosboro says:

    While I could agree with that sentiment, the way he’s made to look in the Pelotero documentary is just so shady. Granted, I know it’s edited a certain way, and we don’t have anywhere close to all the facts, but still.

    Is there anything to be said for ethics in this discussion?

    Ahhh, screw it. This is Major League Baseball. Talent must be procured from anywhere, at any time, at any cost. Give Rene his raise, and keep the steady stream of good young Latin ballplayers coming into the fold.


  292. Thundercrack says:

    If this current injury is really minor and he gets healthy soon, I would like to see them try to extend Liriano’s contract. But I would guess that after seeing the money the pitchers got this past offseason, Liriano is going to see what is out there as a free agent.

  293. cmat0829 says:

    he’s Latin so they should offer him a low-ball extension and insult him into signing it.

  294. cmat0829 says:

    I get your logic but respectfully disagree. A 3 year deal, including this season, only goes through 2016…. Assuming Taillon is healthy and comes up in June this year…. you will still have holes in the rotation that need to be filled.

    Locke? Pimental?

    Kingham or Glasnow

    I think one of the pitcher signings would have worked PERFECTLY>

  295. cmat0829 says:

    oops, yes 2014 WILL BE MAGICAL but 2013 was meant there.

    btw, when do we do the annual ‘predict the record’ blog-a-thon?

  296. Jim S. says:

    A big one, at that.

  297. Milo Hamilton says:

    I knew you’d come around. :)

  298. cosmo says:

    Off subject here, but NFL moving extra point attempts back to the 20 yard line (38 yd kick) for the first 2 pre-season games.

  299. Jim S. says:

    Nope. The Pirates popularized it last year, and now the Cards have jumped on the bandwagon.

  300. Jim S. says:

    Sorry, I mean to say the Pirates pioneered it last year.

  301. Jandy says:

    And I’m good at that ;)

  302. Jandy says:

    Musta been really hungry ;)

  303. Jim S. says:

    Also, this Cumpton guy has apparently not gotten the message that he is not part of the plan.

  304. theplanisworking says:

    No camels were harmed in the making of that, right? ;)

  305. Arriba Wilver says:

    Of course, there is probably a signing bonus, too, but I can’t see how this deal would be affected. A Pedro deal? Yes, but not this one.

  306. theplanisworking says:

    You rang, Jim?

  307. theplanisworking says:

    Glad you caught that also. ;)

  308. Naterosboro says:

    Since some seem to be talking about payroll today, can I ask a question…

    does it REALLY matter what that number is?

    Perhaps spending more will get you more wins, but that is no guarantee. Isn’t the most important thing the Ws & Ls that this team accumulates this year?

    Yes, I’ll agree that they could’ve done more to shore up their 1B situation, but I also see management’s side of wanting to try and get Lambo in the lineup. You don’t go out and sign someone like a Loney or Morales if you’re looking to give a younger guy his shot. And, from all accounts, Lambo will get his shot (barring injury or poor performance at Indianapolis).

    So do people want them to sign players for the sake of signing them? You’re not going to have all-stars at every position, and a team like the Pirates (again, barring change in ownership) will never compete for those players on the open FA market.

    Can’t we just acknowledge the payroll number and then focus on baseball? If they’re winning games, people don’t really care.

    I guess my final question is, have you ever said to yourself when the Pirates were losing games “If only they spent more…..”

    I haven’t. Don’t know why anyone would. It’s about talent. No matter the cost (high or low (basically old or young haha!)). The Pirates seem to have some of this talent right now, and a lot of the talent is int he prime of the career.

    I think that’s what was missing over the previous 15-20 seasons, not some arbitrary dollar amount we’d like to see them spend.

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014: Talent, NOW we’ve got it.

  309. Jim S. says:

    I thought they should have added as well, Daq. But, the tone of every one of your posts is the same, regardless of the situation. They sign Marte to an extension and you use it as yet another opportunity to say they are cheap. I think it has been well established that they are cheap, and it bothers all of us. But, this was a smart move.

  310. Jim S. says:

    Wait … the Cubs are only spending $89M? Those cheap b*stards. Their fans have been through 100+ years of futility. They are in a mega-market. How dare they be so cheap.

  311. Jim S. says:

    What if he gets hit in the hand on an inside pitch again?

  312. Jim S. says:

    Yes, I wanted to make sure you included Brandon Straight Out of Cumpton in all of your future plan fan club newsletters. That is all.

  313. theplanisworking says:

    Is he a “thug”, Jim?? ;)

  314. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    This is a Regime that can’t be let up on because they never change their tone for very long.
    A decent signing or two this off-season would’ve made a ton of difference.
    But no…..

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates take the field, I’m totally behind them.
    But I can never get anything but a feeling of severe selfishness and cheapness from this ownership and front office.
    They’ve fed it to Pirate fans for years.

  315. Jim S. says:

    That’s a good point. I also mentioned that some may consider this a clever distraction. But, a smart one nonetheless.

  316. Jim S. says:

    Wasn’t that de minimis guy a big time movie director or something?

  317. theplanisworking says:

    I might also interject here that when Tabata signed his deal, it was hailed also. Now, some are saying he isn’t worth the money, and his contract is less than Marte’s extension.

    Just have to wait and see, but…………….

  318. Andrew says:

    Cmat I agree Huntington could be missing out on signing free agent pitching, I think Graza is the best example because he signed with the Brewers and did not have draft pick compensation attached. However, I see little evidence that this Pirates front office is going to pay the free agent market rate for pitching. I’ll speculate that they believe in their system of defensive shifting, groundball heavy pitching, and pitch framing, combined with a power suppressing park. The most the Pirates have committed to an individual pitcher is around $8 million/year, (I forgot what the Burnett rumor was $12 million?)

    I am not saying it is a correct strategy but that is my impression of the strategy. Also the front office has appeared more willing to pay free agent market rates when there have been a serious hole, Barmes, and Martin, and no internal options.

  319. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    The funny thing is that Marte is not approved by many Nutting based propaganda bloggers, etc.
    I praised the guy all last year, and I was constantly told of all of his statistical short comings.
    We’ll see if that changes now that he has a agreed to a “Nutting friendly” contract.

  320. Nate83 says:

    The time is not right for them. Trust me when the time is right they will be above 150 with it being closer to 200.

  321. Jim S. says:

    I agree with you on them thinking the system is strong enough with pitching that they don’t need to sign any free agents to market value, multiple year deals, Andrew.

    And, the Brewers, on the other hand, don’t have much starting pitching talent in their system so they felt they had no alternative but to sign Lohse, and now Garza.

  322. Jim S. says:

    No, I think you’d be proud to have him as a member.

  323. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, I know. Once they have their guys, they will never lose a player they want to free agency.

  324. buggee says:

    To Hades with all that; the Badminton World Federation is conducting their 2014 French International Challenge tournament in Orleans from march 27-30.

    Nuttin(g?) like watching a bunch of smoking hot chickas wearing flannel chasing around after fluttering shuttlecocks. Some actually grunt, which only enhances the action.

    Sadly there’s not much teevee coverage.

  325. BillyBaduka says:

    Lol on the professors, good stuff.

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