Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: Always separate coach, GM

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The weekly chat will be today at 1 p.m., right here on this blog. The post should go up two hours beforehand, at which point entries can be submitted.

>> The Riverhounds fired Justin Evans after four-plus seasons as coach and a disastrous 0-4-3 start in this one. Beat man Matt Grubba reports.

I’ve got a bit to say here, and it doesn’t all have to do with this decision.

It’s vital in any sports organization to know who does what. Otherwise, accountability gets muddied. Who does the drafting? Who develops? Who teaches? Who motivates? Who counts the cash? The clearer those lines, the easier it is to tell what goes well and what goes poorly.

So when we ask Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert who’s responsible for the draft and both will answer with the standard ‘I take full responsibility,’ neither the public nor — and this is infinitely more important — the team itself can know how to apply credit/blame. It’s messy. It’s unkempt. And when things don’t go well, in particular, answers are hard to find.

The 2014 Riverhounds are terrible. They’re 0-4-3, and in that span they’ve gone from bad on the back line to miserable in the midfield to now one-dimensional up front. Meaning Matt Dallman’s services account from pretty much all the offense anymore. They’re a bore. They lack ambition, they lack creativity, they lack direction. Worst, in my view, they lack any semblance of passion, in large part because management decided to stuff the roster with a bunch of mercenary types up front. About half the roster seems like it couldn’t care less, a stark contrast to the joy and passion we saw most of last summer, the first one for the franchise right Downtown. They came with high price tags but apparently low levels of pride. They can’t leave the team soon enough. All of them. And the same goes for these loaners from Houston of MLS, this being the first year of that arrangement. They don’t want to be here, either.

But as the saying goes, you can’t get rid of all the players, so you get rid of the coach, in this case an intensely competitive, intelligent and experienced soccer man in Evans. He’s local, too, from Peters Township. He was an original Riverhound as a player, and his heart was in this.

So, what went wrong?

The correct answer is this: Nobody can know. Because we don’t really know who picked the players.

I had a long talk last night with CEO Jason Kutney, and he explained that some players were procured by him, some by Evans, some by others, and it was just this general mish-mash. All had input, including Evans. The owner, Tuffy Shallenberger, authorized the spending. (Before Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it should be noted.) ‘We’re a small organization here,’ Kutney correctly noted in our talk. And he’s right. That’s fair. Not every franchise can afford to break it down into super-specialties.

But there’s no outfit so small — or large — that it can’t have a clear separation between a GM and coach. That’s got to be in place, whether it’s our local football or futbol teams. Work together, sure. Plan together on a type of team or type of preferred athlete, sure. But just mashing up some hodgepodge of players, then rolling them out for the coach to build something in a month or two … that wasn’t going to work.

The Riverhounds are in a lousy spot. They drew very well last summer, introduced a lot of local fans to the world’s game. And to their credit, they aimed very high to build on that by competing for a USL championship this time. That it’s gone this badly is a shame on more levels than one.

That no one can say why is all the more a shame, because this won’t exactly foster confidence in the franchise moving forward.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Riverhounds page.

>> The Pirates are back home, and Edinson Volquez hopes to get back on the right foot. Travis Sawchik reports.

I’ll be writing a bunch of baseball myself later in the week. A bit overdue, what with the Penguins in the playoffs and the Pirates having been on the road a lot.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page, our Bucco Blog and our photo gallery.

Here’s Orioles news from the Baltimore Sun.

Here are official game highlights on

>> The Steelers seal a deal to privately finance the expansion of Heinz Field. Tom Fontaine reports.

Two draft picks sign quickly, by Alan Robinson.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Steelers page and our Steel Mill blog.

Here’s our Subway Final Word panel Sunday night on WPXI-TV debating Tomlin’s status in 2014:

>> Pat Brisson, who’s Sidney Crosby’s agent, takes his name out of the running for the Penguins’ GM vacancy, by Rob Rossi.

And that, of course, is assuming anyone really believed he was in the running. At the risk of ruffling feathers here, the national writers on any beat need agents the way babies need milk. The national hockey writers had everything to gain by stroking Brisson’s ego and allowing him to engage in this fantasy for a few days. It was stupid all along.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page and our Chipped Ice blog.

Here are official game highlights on, including the suddenly-steamrolling Rangers taking Game 2 in Montreal.

>> Please see a special message on my Facebook page about the ongoing crushing floods in Serbia, Bosnia and part of Croatia.

>> Hope to have you in the chat today. And thank you, as always, for reading.

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. Wild Bill says:

    Lundquist vs a 24 year old rookie. Yahtzee. This could have been a really good series to watch. Instead, it could easily be over already.

  2. Wild Bill says:

    He Who Must Not Be Named went 2 – 3 with another double last night. Between his growing number of at bats and his already obscene average, his BA only went up two points.

    Can’t wait to see who the Pirates flank Cutch with this evening.

  3. Thundercrack says:

    In the clip from The Final Word, MM says that one of the reasons Mike Tomlin won’t get fired if they miss the playoffs again is because the Rooney Rule is still around.

    I thought the Rooney Rule was about hiring a coach. It’s not about firing or retaining a coach.

  4. Wild Bill says:

    Has Hockeymonster applied for the Pens GM job yet? Sarah could be the coach for Flower, if the monster doesn’t trade him.

  5. Wild Bill says:

    Agreed, Tc.

  6. Jandy says:

    We’ll have to ask the Monster Mash himself….well, HM???

  7. JAL says:

    JAL’s City of New Orleans Morning Links

    Big hit by the Arlo Guthrie, written by Steve Goodman


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    4 Pirates Prospects

    Pittsburgh Pirates Organizational Probable Pitching Chart

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Super Two Unfair For Gregory Polanco; MLB Unfair For the Pirates

    Top 10 Hitters: Big Week For the Top Prospects, Led By Gregory Polanco, Of Course

    Top 10 Pitchers: Edinson Volquez Has Several Indianapolis Starters Gunning For His Spot

    Prospect Watch: Home Run From Josh Bell, Reese McGuire Extends Hit Streak

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Ask Bucs Dugout: Polanco, prospects, the Pirates’ offseason

    7 Rumbunter

    Comparing Gregory Polanco to Barry Bonds, Andrew McCutchen, and Ryan Braun

    8 Green Weenie

    Monday Wash: Injuries, Huntington On the Bucs, Marte, Polanco…

    9 Sports on Earth

    The Long Way Home!OYRoR

    10 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Depth Being Tested As They Try To Get Back In Division Race

  8. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Beaver County Times

    Pirates Spotlight: Tweeting their disdain

    12 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Orioles Game Preview

    13 Chicago Sun Times

    Starlin Castro can’t imagine starting career like Derek Jeter did

    14 Baltimore Sun

    As Buck Showalter’s right-hand man, John Russell helps Orioles in many ways,0,3600906.story

    15 Pirates Site

    Notebook: Walker has legitimate case for All-Star nod

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Frazier’s two-run shot in 15th lifts Reds over Nats

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Wang struggles mightily in Brewers’ loss

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Bird Bytes: Matheny’s senseless risk with Rosenthal

    19 Fangraphs

    A Response to Bob Ryan

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    Don’t Take Two Close Ones, Part One

    Don’t Take Two Close Ones, Part Two

  9. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Heinz Field to tack on additional seating

    Max Starks says neither he nor his agent knew what the transition tag was in 2008

    Report: NFL Draft 2015 likely to move from Radio City Music Hall


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Premier League 2013/14: Passing – Arteta, Koscielny, Silva & Nasri

    23 BBC Football

    Manchester United: Louis van Gaal confirmed as new manager

    24 World Soccer

    Wayne Rooney lashes out at media


    25 Pensburgh

    Unconventional Wisdom – Round 2 Results

  10. scapper says:

    DK, I think there’s a typo in this blog sentence: “The Riverhounds are in a lousy spot.”

    “Spot” should be “sport,” right?

  11. Jandy says:


    scapper is on a roll ;)

  12. radio wave says:

    As a rangers fan I should be thrilled, it doesn’t feel that way. Was the Kreider Price play a cheap shot dirty play?

  13. Thundercrack says:

    No public money going to pay for the expansion project at Heinz Field.
    But it looks like the ticket buying customer will be paying for it.

  14. DJ says:

    “They’re a bore. They lack ambition, they lack creativity, they lack direction. Worst, in my view, they lack any semblance of passion, in large part because management decided to stuff the roster with a bunch of mercenary types up front. About half the roster seems like it couldn’t care less . . .”

    Wow, for a minute there I thought DK was describing the Pens. Whew!

  15. likeabugonarug says:

    It’s the NHL. No play is considered cheap this playoffs season. Unless, of course, you’re Matt Cooke.


  16. likeabugonarug says:



  17. Jandy says:


  18. Jandy says:

    the last sentence…you took the words right out off my keyboard ;)

  19. DJ says:

    Gonna be awfully frustrating contemplating what might have been if Rangers take out Habs.

    If only we had balled Gibby up and shot him like a cannon into NY’s crease.

  20. Dom says:

    I wonder what Max Starks is up to nowadays.

    I know he was signed by two or three teams after leaving the Steelers, so I presume he either planning on making one last attempt at playing or he’s retired.

  21. BillyBaduka says:

    Nice, I thought the same redwing the blog entry this morning.

  22. BillyBaduka says:

    He tried that in game 6 or 7 but missed Lundqvuist.

  23. Dom says:

    It’ll be a squash match for whomever comes out of the West.

  24. scapper says:


  25. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    It’s actually about INTERVIEWING a coach.

    To put it more specifically.

  26. DJ says:

    Another reason for bigger wingers.

  27. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    One thing I always liked about NH as a GM is that he seemed to take responsibility on his players. Whether through the draft, development or his FA signings.

    You always seem to know that he was the man in charge. The way it should be.

  28. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    One thing I always liked about NH as a GM is that he seemed to take responsibility on his players. Whether through the draft, development or his FA signings.

    You always seem to know that he was the man in charge. The way it should be.

  29. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Delete delete delete

  30. BillyBaduka says:

    Good article. Thanks scapper.

  31. Jandy says:

    Thanks for sharing, scapper.
    And Steigerwald…walk…whatever…is right.
    This is prolly one of the biggest issues at the root of Sid’s tanking in the playoffs.
    At least, in my opinion.

  32. Jandy says:

    A sure sign of old age…repeating oneself.

    A sure sign of old age…repeating oneself.


  33. DJ says:


    Others have said this but it’s high time for Pens’ roster to be geared to way the game is played rather than the way Pens wish it were played.

  34. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    So sitting around here bored, got to thinking about the chips the Buccos have IF they’re sellers, though I’m still not sure if they will be.

    They have some pretty good talent that should bring back some decent future prospects.

    Deadline trade candidates:
    Wandy (if healthy)
    Barmes (no big return)

    That’s a lot of money off the books for next season if they sell or don’t resign these guys, setting them up for what I would think as a busy off season.

    If they’re buyers, I’d like to see a SS, SP added

  35. Jandy says:

    yeah about 5 years too late….better late than never, eh?

  36. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Or poor reception

  37. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Still very early, I know.

  38. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    If I make a cryptic post that suggests I have inside information every day for the next month about Polanco being called up, I’ll be right one of these days…..

  39. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Start the countdown

  40. Dom says:

    When is the date that GP will get promoted? Is it the 11th?

  41. JohninOshkosh says:

    Riverhounds former coach can now get in line with rest of the creditors in the bankruptcy and hope he gets something, anything at all, from the salary he contracted for.

  42. TK says:

    Why couldn’t Sarah be the GM? Or the head coach?

  43. Dom says:

    I doubt really any of those guys will warrant much of a return.

  44. TK says:

    How about Tabata and Snider? Couldn’t they be traded?

  45. hockeymonster says:

    Definitely 3 seasons too late…

  46. Jandy says:

    or poor output

  47. hockeymonster says:

    Flower stays. And I don’t want to be GM. Not qualified for that. Just want to help scout draft and and do pro scouting.

    And this is the roster i want next season:

    And thanks for the vote of confidence Untamed William! :)

  48. Jandy says:

    She’d rather be the goalie :)

  49. Arriba Wilver says:

    There’s no solid date. It’s educated guesswork, but the 11th has been mentioned.

  50. AJS says:

    True, but I thought with the Tomlin hiring when it happened that it was a put up or shut up move by the Rooney’s. The rule is about creating opportunities that may lead to a hiring. So many teams interview the token minority to meat the requirement. The Rooney’s put their money where their mouth is.

    Now turning around and firing that man could lend the appearance of just that, hiring him because he was a minority not because he was the best man for the job. I think there is plenty of evidence to support that he isn’t the best man for the job, or at least justify a firing, but perception doesnt always reflect reality.

  51. Nate83 says:

    Martin and Liriano could get a pretty good return but if the return is not equal to the first round pick they would get with the qualifying offer they would just hold onto those guys unless of course either of those guys have such bad years it would be dangerous to make the QO.

    It is very early. The Brewers are starting to show they are more of a .500 club then what they showed the first 25 geams. If the Pirates win 14 or 15 out of 20 they can still salvage this season. However the deeper they get into the season the more we need to start to ask if they are capable of putting together such a run of games.

  52. Tom P. says:

    The Pirates are four games out in the loss column for the second wild card spot. The leaders for the second wild card spot are the Cardinals and Nationals.

  53. Nate83 says:

    Groat started one about 20 days ago. I think it’s down to 18 days or something. I’m guessing it will be a few days longer then that but as AW said it is strictly and educated guess.

  54. AJS says:

    Are you looking for a box of baseballs in return? Then sure!

  55. DJ says:

    Hilarious. Kyle Stark on The Fan talking about the many things Polanco needs to work on.

    Surprised Stark did not mention his signature skills.

  56. AJS says:

    Ya people keep talking about June 1st. I thought the date was something that floated based on how many prospects are called up and had service time clocks start. So you have to really wait it out and be 100% positive to make sure you don’t get super 2 so we could be waiting until sometime in mid to late June. Use whatever Cole’s call up date was last year as a bench mark, and remember he was called up earlier than anticipated due to injuries on the big club.

  57. hockeymonster says:

    Can somebody explain to me how Ron Cook is allowed to talk hockey on the radio and in print???

  58. Nate83 says:

    I’m usually glass half full guy but I’m guessing we haven’t seen the best of the Cards or the Nats this year. They have kind of stumbled out of the blocks along with the Dodgers. I think it is more likely the Brewers, Braves or Giants fall back to the pack and are the teams fighting for wild card spots. At the end of the day you need to get to at least 87-88 wins to consider yourself in the running.

    The longer the Pirates take to show some life the more unlikely that number becomes. At a certain point you can’t expect your team to go 51-30 the second half of the year to get to that number. If the Pirates play about .500 ball until game 81 that is what it will take. Very soon they need to have a 13-5 stretch over one of those 18 game stretches you break the season into. I love looking at a season like that by the way.

  59. JAL says:

    Martin’s trade value is solely linked to a contender having an injury to their starting catcher.

  60. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m glad I listened before posting, because the “Rooney Rule” being used in this context sounds racist on its face, and MM is no racist.
    After listening, I think it was typical MM joking, probably trying to bait the people who are a little racist. He used the “Rooney Rule” to describe the Rooney’s record of not firing coaches. That’s all. He wasn’t talking about the way most people would interpret the Rooney Rule regarding interviewing coaches. That’s my take anyway.

  61. Nate83 says:

    Cole was June 11th. I think the 15th for Polanco sound about right.

  62. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t repeat myself because I forget what I just said. That might be a worse sign of old age.

  63. Milo Hamilton says:

    Last year the Pirates pitchers struck out the 3rd most batters in the National League. This year they’re 14th. The best shift is the strikeout.

  64. NMR says:

    He’d be a major upgrade for the Rockies, Dodgers, Braves, Nats, Orioles, Blue Jays and Angels.

  65. 21sthebest says:

    I know it’s cliché but there’s still a long way to go. I don’t think the Cardinals or Reds look very good. Hopefully that doesn’t change.

  66. 21sthebest says:

    There’s no scenario in which I want Martin traded away this year.

  67. Jandy says:

    He’s good for the Penguin’s “image”???

  68. Arriba Wilver says:

    I like the 18 game stretch thing Tom P. Reports on, too.

  69. NMR says:

    Now there’s a name you haven’t heard in about a year and a half…

  70. Nate83 says:

    If you are able to can you list some of the things he said he needed to work on?

    It is obvious the super 2 date is the reason he is being held back but it’s not as if there is no value to him staying in the minors. He will have stuff to work on since he has fewer then 600 at bats above single A. Every game he plays in AAA will prepare him better for the majors. That’s not enough to justify it as being the reason he’s being held back but they really can’t say the real reason. The players union would go crazy.

  71. 21sthebest says:

    I’ll place my guess on the 17th.

  72. Nate83 says:

    I was hoping he was fired or left to join the Navy SEALS.

  73. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yes. I was thinking with the discussion about Melancon, his strikeout numbers being down could be the key, despite all his other “sabers” being similar to last year.

  74. NMR says:

    NL West is scary this year. Wouldn’t surprise me to see both wild cards come from that division.

  75. Thundercrack says:

    Here’s what will happen.
    The Pirates will start to get healthy, the players will play better, Polanco will be called up, and they’ll start winning more than they are losing. They’ll fall a few games short of a wild card slot. And everyone will point towards April & May. With good reason. But I still think the players should be pointed at. They’re record should be better at this point.

    Just my two cents.

  76. Arriba Wilver says:

    Most, if not all, players on the MLB roster have “things to work on.” ;-)

  77. Nate83 says:

    Spot on. Strikeouts would have saved a few more of these games or let some of the starters go deeper in games. Big innings less likely when striking hitters out.

  78. Thundercrack says:

    The genius Jim Bowden thinks the Reds are better than the Pirates and will finish ahead of them.

  79. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Martin and Liriano would be the best possibilities

  80. Nate83 says:

    I think that is a very possible scenerio on how the season will play out. I almost don’t want that to happen because of all the if GP was up earlier comments that will be made.

  81. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Snider will be DFA’d on that one guys call up

  82. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I’m not about to guess what the return would be

  83. 21sthebest says:

    Why would the players union go crazy? This organization has a history of financial mismanagement but have fairly recently signed Cutch, Tabata, Morton, and Marte let alone the acquisitions of Burnett, Wandy, Liriano and Martin.

  84. Nate83 says:

    I just can’t figure the Giants out. Can they really be this good. Isn’t their run differtial pretty low for a team that many games over .500.

    I have to imagine the Dodgers will be better. I also think the Rockies may just hang in and be a factor in the Wild card.

  85. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Of course they are, I left the area.

    Giants are an even year team.

  86. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Giants have always thrived on pitching and defense.

    Buster Poseys numbers are down and he should get better, same with Pablo Sandoval. Good pick up of Morse in the offseason

  87. Arriba Wilver says:

    Less errors, too, except when Tony’s behind the plate. ;-)

  88. NMR says:

    Not about the organization, about the situation.

    They looked into filing a grievance against the Astros when it first came out that they offered George Springer a long-term deal while holding him back in AAA.

    The issue is purposely holding back a player for financial reasons.

  89. 21sthebest says:

    I think everyone will point to the casual offseason before they point to April and May.

  90. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    True Nate, but the flip side of that coin is that nobody signs them because of the QO, like Drew and…..I forgot the other guy

  91. Nate83 says:

    You can’t admit you are keeping a player back because of Super 2. If you find one team that has admitted that ever I would be surprised. If NH came out today and said Polanco is ready but we are waiting 3 more weeks to save 10 million which would cost Polanco 10 million in earnings you don’t think the union would have an issue with that?

  92. NMR says:

    Makes me feel better about the Pirates chances.

  93. NMR says:

    Are we going to have the whole ridiculous 2012 trade deadline conversation again?

    When is this team gonna show up and play like professionals without some sort of magical intervention?

  94. Nate83 says:

    He scares that crap out of me. That 3 hopper against the Yankees was horrible. That being said Barmes needs to throw his body in front of that and keep it from going into the outfield. You could tell Barmes knew that. He looked very upset at himself immediately after it happened.

  95. Arriba Wilver says:

    With the recent stuff with the player in Houston and Polanco’s rejection of the $25 mil deal, which we can kid ourselves, but would have him up here right now, there has been renewed speculation the Union might challenge some of these. Plus, there’s a new Union head, so I don’t think it’s out of the question. And I do think that’s probably why they are twisting themselves in knots to try to set forth another rationale than Super 2.

  96. 21sthebest says:

    “They looked into filing a grievance against the Astros.”

    You believed that?

  97. NMR says:

    Well, I mean, I sure we could think of a few ridiculous ones.

    But outside of something stupid, I agree. ONLY, that is, if the team makes a QO.

  98. NMR says:

    Haha, fine. You win, once again.

  99. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Boom and totally agree

  100. 21sthebest says:

    Sure the Union would have an issue. But would they have a grievance they could win?

    “You can’t admit you are keeping a player back because of Super 2. ”

    Where is this written? Teams don’t admit they’re doing it because of financial reasons because it would create a PR nightmare. Teams have been holding back players for Super 2 reasons for how long now?

  101. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    I was watching a bit of the Tigers game the other night. They were talking about one of their OF prospects who recently got called up.

    His stats weren’t as good as GP’s of course, but the announcers brought up the super 2 thing.

    It’s easy to forgo those details when you have a $100+ payroll

  102. 21sthebest says:

    I think if Polanco signed a long term deal before he got to the Majors, they’d keep him in the minors for a bit to hold off a potential grievance.

  103. NMR says:

    Um, what?

  104. 21sthebest says:

    ? I’m not trying to win anything.

    Did you believe that or not? Looked like the agent was posturing to me. They didn’t end up filing a grievance. Why?

  105. Arriba Wilver says:

    I was thinking of the one where the pitcher struck the batter out, Tony dropped the ball, and proceeded to throw it into right field.

  106. Dom says:

    That’s nearly a month away. Entirely too long away. If that is the case, we should have promoted him months ago.

  107. hockeymonster says:

    Is ROOT sports gonna televise Baby Pens game 7 against Providence? Looking forward to seeing all those AHL FA’s play.

  108. NMR says:


    Because the team never admitted to holding him back for financial reasons!! This is what every one of us has been saying.

  109. NMR says:

    Gonna have to be more specific… ;)

  110. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t follow Dom. I’m saying they’ll promote Polanco about a week later than they did Cole. Some projections have the Super 2 date moved back a few days this year.

  111. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m still frosted about the lack of overall commitment and urgency by this organization. And that certainly manifested itself with their decision to sit out the off season. And that continues with the current handling of Polanco.

    But none of that is any excuse for the way these guys have played so far this year. They’ve frankly embarrassed themselves. Their job is to go out & play, not critique the front office. It’s like last year never happened. It’s almost like we just put the losing streak on pause for a year & picked up right where we left off. It must be really tough to get up for these games in April & May after finishing 2nd once.

    Look, I generally hate the way this organization is run. Winning is given lip service. Sure it’s nice, but it’s not really a priority. And that’s their prerogative. But the disaster that was the off season & the way the players are grossly under performing now I think are two separate issues.

  112. 21sthebest says:

    No team is going to admit that’s why they held a player back. And the agent knows that. So why would the agent make what I think is an idle threat?

  113. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Just like a 1B that can’t make a scoop at 1st.

    The poor throw is the root cause, no fielder wants to let a teammate down like that

  114. 21sthebest says:

    Um, can you be more specific?

  115. hockeymonster says:

    Aren’t the pirates and GM NH playing moneyball? Is there a chance we’ll go on one of those runs the A’s went on back in the day?

  116. Milo Hamilton says:

    + a million.

  117. Arriba Wilver says:



  118. NMR says:

    Yes, Milo. Yes.

    @hm – I keep telling myself that if that weak 2011 team could play like they did through June then these guys certainly can as well.

  119. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m not following how that would hold off a potential grievance.

  120. 21sthebest says:

    I hope they negotiate this Super 2 nonsense out of the next CBA along with the Qualifying Offer and draft pick dollar limits.

  121. Arriba Wilver says:

    How did the bullpen do?

  122. Dom says:

    Polanco was ready months ago.

    Beyond the money thing, there was no reason to keep him in Indy for another month.

  123. NMR says:

    21, what the Houston Astros did with Springer was unprecedented in the history of Major League Baseball. Sure agents and everyone else knows players get held back, but never had a player being held back been offered a Major League deal while being held back.

  124. Jandy says:

    Looks like Goaltending help is on the way in a couple years:

    Jarry seems to be a good goalie…good thing for the Pens’ fugure.

  125. Jandy says:

    I’m sure the Buccos will be on ROOT

  126. NMR says:

    Super 2 is the absolute most overblown story in baseball.

    It helps that vast majority of players and doesn’t actually hurt any of them.

  127. chethejet1 says:

    Tomlin signed through 2106. Steelers won’t eat 13 million unless things go really south. The caveat is that the Rooneys are no longer the Rooneys as to ownership exclusivity. They have investors who may get a little antsy with things after year three of the non playoff unleash hell standard. Ben staying upright would help. A month from now Buccos may be struggling with wins and Polanco will be a able to get 250 bats in the bigs. Unfortunately, the Pirates will not afford Francisco, with that arm risk. Wandy is gone, Volquez can go with them. Cole, Morton and Locke, Stormy and a possible Tallion isn’t the best rotation but it is what next year looks like.

  128. NMR says:

    Oh come onnnn! The season isn’t two months old!

    The legend of Gregory Polanco grows by the day…

  129. Nate83 says:

    My point still stands. I never said anything about a grievance. They shouldn’t say it wether it’s PR or legal they can’t say it. No team ever has and no team ever will. I’m not a lawyer but I’ve seen unions file grievances for a lot less then preventing a player form earning an extra 10 million and admitting it.

  130. 21sthebest says:

    I’m not sure how we know he was ready months ago. Polanco hit .263 in Altoona last year and had 9 at bats in Indy at the end of the year.

    Dom, are you saying he should have been on the 25 man roster to open the season? Do you think these at bats in Indy this year are unnecessary?

  131. Arriba Wilver says:

    Not sure I agree here. The teams have a PR nightmare either way, that’s one reason I’m thinking it’s the grievance possibility issue. They’re lying to their fans. That’s not good PR in my book, unless you think most are lapping this up. And it is BS. So, there must be another reason. That’s my take.

  132. hockeymonster says:

    I like demeanor, quickness, positioning and moxy. But he needs to work on his glove hand. I original suspicion was confirmed. That’s the whole he needs to fix.

  133. hockeymonster says:

    But i want to see tom kostopolous play.

  134. hockeymonster says:

    Damn you jandy…i like HIS demeanor…..and my original suspicion

  135. Jandy says:

    Plenty of time to do that….just need a coach to make sure it happens.

  136. Nate83 says:

    Wandy, Liriano and Volquez = 26 million I think. They will use some of that to get another FA pitcher. Possible a pretty good one. Don’t count Kingman out of the equation for next year if he turns it around during this year. Tiallon won’t be ready until close to the all star break. Typical Tommy John is 12-15 months I think.

  137. Sarah says:

    Good lord No. In my beer league last night I got run over again and nursing a stiff neck this morning. Ugh.

  138. Sarah says:

    Ehh, they could get someone as average as MAF for cheaper prolly.
    Much depends on what happens w Letang and his 58mil…..

  139. Jandy says:

    LOL! As many times as you damn me, I should be in hell by now LOL!

    I followed what you typed, HM, no worries.

    Hubby uses this phone to do speech to text and it always butchers it, but I manage to decipher it. Your typos are a breeze :D

  140. Jandy says:

    OOps, spoke out of line…sorry, ok it’s Sarah for GM then!

  141. 21sthebest says:

    There have been lots of changes in Major League Baseball NMR. The TV contracts are changing the way business is done to some extent, newer rules on signing draft picks, caps on what you can spend in Latin America.

  142. hockeymonster says:

    Coach Sarah?

  143. NMR says:

    I’d have to think Brandon Cumpton has earned a shot at a rotation spot, as well.

    The hole is between Cole and Morton. Plenty of back end depth, but need something with upside at the top.

  144. Milo Hamilton says:

    Read your first two sentences back to yourself slowly.

    The same way they used the $25 million of extra TV money last winter ?

  145. Nate83 says:

    Yes but I was curious as to what they felt he needed to work on. My guess is despite his low amount of swing and misses he still is striking out more then you would think. Maybe he is looking at too many strikes. Maybe it’s a certain pitch that he isn’t recognizing. I’m not saying this is a reason to hold him back but instead something he can work on since he is being held back. Then he can be Puig like when he comes up :)

  146. Jandy says:

    works for me :)

  147. NMR says:

    I still don’t think you understand the issue, 21.

    If a team demotes a player in order to miss an incentive clause in his contract – without any baseball-related reason – you can absolutely bet the Union would file a grievance. This is the same situation, but reversed.

  148. hockeymonster says:

    Speaking of image…ahh nevermind…biting tongue…

  149. NMR says:

    Or you’re smarter than everyone else that has weighed in on this issue.

    Your choice.

  150. 21sthebest says:

    I think it’s a total bunch of BS. But you can’t come out and say it’s for financial reasons, and we’re far from the only team that has done this.

    I just don’t see how a business managing their cash flow could create a grievance situation. Promoting a minor leaguer the day after they sign a long term contract looks like that contract was being held over their head in order to get them to sign. That looks like coercion to me and a grievance possibility. That player is making like $60k in the minors.

  151. NMR says:

    But but but NOBODY used that $25m, Milo! Clearly that means the Pirates couldn’t, either.

  152. 21sthebest says:

    See my post above at 10:46.

  153. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  154. Nate83 says:

    Ha…..I get your point but sadly this is the most they have spent on a starting pitching staff in a long time maybe ever. I have to imagine they will not go with a starting staff that cost 10 million next year. I can’t imagine they don’t reinvest the starting money back into starters or at least a good portion of it.

  155. Milo Hamilton says:


  156. Jandy says:

    Careful, I warned you before, you might bleed :P

  157. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t think every offseason is built the same.

  158. Dom says:

    I guess saying he should have been promoted months ago was a stretch.

    However, he certainly seems ready now. Beyond the money issue, why keep him in AAA for a month longer?

  159. Sarah says:

    Madden had a very interesting quote from a non-star Pen re the lack of sticking up for Crosby.
    The player basically said “yeah but if we stick up for him and take a penalty, we’ll get benched and then scratched.”

    Sound familiar?

    I dunno, I think they’ve been coached to Not Retaliate, and since DB only punishes the youngsters, they very easily could get to that impression.

    Meanwhile Sid gets mauled.

  160. 21sthebest says:

    NMR, I’m just tossing out theories. Possibilities. I don’t know why you feel like you set the rules that the choice is only one of two: 1) Your demoting a player scenario – same situation in reverse or 2) I’m smarter than everyone else.

    I don’t think it’s the same only in reverse. And why didn’t Springer’s agent file the grievance? Could the media reports have been wrong about that?

  161. Jandy says:

    And then Sid gets frustrated, disgusted, fed up, and tanks. Then everyone disses him.
    Vicious cycle.

  162. JohninOshkosh says:

    On a happy note, the Brewers are regressing to the mean with great aplomb.

  163. Sarah says:

    Seriously…..was Cook always this bad? the Fan has jumped the shark when it comes to hockey….

  164. :D

    And a plum for you, John.

  165. Sarah says:

    Well….MAF is now in his theoretical prime as a goalie.
    I saw an article w video showing him back in 2008 and 2009…. Wow. Fab athleticism, all in the service of wildly over shooting lanes and angles.

    He really is much, much more contained now. Far improved technically.

  166. Sarah says:

    The highest I ever coached was Midget!
    Sorry, Peeps!!

  167. 21sthebest says:

    We agree there Dom.

  168. Sarah says:

    No he bounced off the seven Rangers defensemen standing in front of Henry…

  169. Milo Hamilton says:

    They liked to be called little people.

  170. NMR says:

    Even I didn’t think it would happen THIS quick, John.

    And guess what, it’s gonna get worse. Brewers still have 4/5 of their starting rotation with ERA’s a run or more lower than their peripherals. The regression hasn’t even started, but you can be sure it is coming.

  171. NMR says:

    You’ve clearly made up your mind, 21.

  172. Now Dom, he was 0-4 in the first game of their DH last night. That ought to buy him another week of adversity training.

  173. Dom says:

    What is the Pirate’s rationale for keeping Polanco in Indy? I know it’s the money but did they ever give any explanation whatsoever?

  174. 21sthebest says:

    It was a fun evening. Chapman blew a save but unfortunately, the Reds pulled it out in the 15th.

  175. Can’t come soon enough.

  176. NMR says:

    We’re gonna look back in October and see it was awfully unlucky to get the Brewers 10 times in the first six weeks of the season.

  177. His routes on fly balls in RF, as he is a CF by trade. His baserunning needs honing. He only has 5 triples and should have 6. And he has to learn to face adversity. (Growing up in abject poverty isn’t enough).

  178. JohninOshkosh says:

    Actually just got invited by a buddy and fellow Bucks fan to attend a NBA draft lottery get together at a sports bar.

    What does one wear to convey the celebration of failure ?

    Reading this blog, I guess a Pens sweater ?

  179. Sarah says:

    We all do!!

  180. 21sthebest says:

    I haven’t made up my mind NMR. As far as I can tell, there doesn’t seem to be any precedence in this area in MLB so all I can do is throw out possibilities.

    I still haven’t heard how a business managing their cash could create a grievance or why Springer’s agent never filed a grievance.

  181. JohninOshkosh says:


  182. Blew it last night.

  183. Jandy says:

    We have a winner! :D

  184. Jandy says:

    Tell him to shine Frank’s shoes…that should be plenty of adversity…lotta crap there ;)

  185. Jandy says:

    Sarah, where’s your sense of adventure? Consider it a challenge ;)

  186. Jandy says:

    You won’t hear me disagree!

  187. 21sthebest says:

    I was going to suggest a plaid sports coat, T shirt and black tennis shoes. The uniform of a sports writer.

  188. hockeymonster says:

    Been meaning to write about this all morning….THIS IS VERY VERY IMPORTANT!!!

    Mr. Burkle and Mario:

    I’ve heard grumblings that the Pens DON’T want to hire an established GM who has “his way” of doing things and has an established structure. If the pens are looking for candidates based on this criteria, Ladies n Gents, we’re EFFF’d to the Nth degree.

    If Don Maloney from phx is disqualified as a candidate cuz of this than the Pens are committing a blunder of GINORMOUS proportions. Having this criteria is UNACCEPTABLE. And Mr. Burkle if you’re going along with this after saying “it starts at the top” than you are grossly misinformed about hockey operations. No offense and no disrespect(in a jon stewart jersey accent).

    Mario comes off as a delegator, which is fine. But Mr. Burkle, you need a hockey adviser to provide an outside perspective.(Didn’t your buddy in boston hire Bill James?) Just sayin…

    Pens need to cut out the root of the problem. Keeping the same corp structure in place and bringing in a GM who isn’t established just because you want status quo at the top is UNACCEPTABLE. No GM with any import will ever come here just to be your “Yes man”. And neither will any advisers who have any amount of confidence in their hockey acumen.

    If there is any truth to any of this, it needs end. NOW. I’m not saying that Don Maloney is the only candidate out there, but if he’s not being looked at just because he won’t be your “yesman” than my friends, we have many issues, and they are great.

  189. Jandy says:

    I have a Pen’s hoodie I’ll donate to the cause.

  190. DK can’t wear that. He’d be rooting, but John could.

  191. Jandy says:

    I’d love to hear Dejan’s take on this subject…

  192. Milo Hamilton says:

    Lyle Overbay pitched to one batter last night & got him out. Ryan Doumit.

  193. Jandy says:

    I meant for Oshie, silly Revvie!

  194. hockeymonster says:

    Actually i wanna see how my boye Harrington is progressing. Along with despres and our future d corp. And i wanna see if Zlobin is more than a one trick pony. And i wanna see if Sill’s all around game is getting better. And i wanna see how my boyes Payerl and Uher look(who both stood out to me in that one scrimmage post lockout).

  195. JohninOshkosh says:


    But, I’m guessing we wear different sizes.

  196. Jandy says:

    Did they set off fireworks???

  197. Jandy says:


  198. NMR says:

    In relief of the kid the Brewers took from the Pirates in this years Rule 5.

    Baseball, man.

  199. hockeymonster says:

    You give him some blocker love in the crease?

  200. Jandy says:

    I have a men’s Large, I love them big…they fit over multiple layers :)

  201. hockeymonster says:

    Thats alot easier said than done.

  202. Jandy says:


  203. Jandy says:

    OK…meeting hubby for lunch…later Loonies!

  204. JohninOshkosh says:


    Made my morning to see this in print.

  205. hockeymonster says:

    I change the station when someone other than Starkey is talking puck…just sayin…

    Josh Miller is at least entertaining and knows his limits when it comes to puck.

  206. Milo Hamilton says:

    Yes, Some Young Guy.

  207. Nate83 says:

    How was Godzilla????

  208. hockeymonster says:

    Remember when Despres took a penalty defending front of net when a player tried to crash the crease? Disco benched him and scratched him next game i think. Despres got his arms up a bit, but any defensemen would’ve done the same thing. Despres got the penalty cuz he’s a youngster.

    That was disco’s chance to stick up for his youngster and say good job, but next time be careful with your arms. What kind of coach doesn’t want his young dman defending crease and goalie?

  209. hockeymonster says:

    She knows what that means :)

  210. Arriba Wilver says:

    Last year they spent more with AJ, Nate. I know Liriano’s base was low, but with incentives I have to think he cost $5 to $6 mil last year.

  211. Dom says:

    Didnt Josh Harrison pitch last year too?

  212. Arriba Wilver says:

    But there’s no damages there. No reason to file a grievance because no one’s out, even theoretically , any dollars.
    Still thinking you are barking up the wrong tree here.

  213. lupesanchez says:

    It was dirty-ish, if you look at his history. Has an obligation to at least try to get out of the way, no matter how fast he’s going. He did not try.

    No one will remember it tho if the Rangers win the cup. Oh, except for teams strategizing to win the cup next year.

  214. JohninOshkosh says:

    It was enjoyable. Redemption for the 1997 reboot debacle. I try not to take these big summer releases too seriously. I certainly don’t use them as a measuring stick against the films that are released at Christmas.

    The Golden Gate Bridge is not safe in movies anymore! Like most summer popcorn movies, character development was thinned somewhat to accommodate showcasing the phenomenal computer generated special effects. My goodness, Juliet Binoche still brings her French good looks at age 50.

    Seeing “Neighbors” this weekend along with “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. I’ve enjoyed almost all of the X-Men films and their progeny. X-Men so enthralled a young JohninOshkosh that it launched a lifetime love affair with comic books. Thus, the avatar featuring the fabulous Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in tribute.

  215. Sarah says:

    Is Harrington a kin of Bah?

  216. 21sthebest says:

    Not even if you promote a minor leaguer like Springer or Polanco immediately after signing a long term contract? Doesn’t that smell?

  217. Serious question: Have you tried TribLIVE Radio at all, HM?

    We’re loaded with hockey people, not just on staff but also with guests from across North America.

  218. He is a cruel, cruel Milo, this Milo.

  219. hockeymonster says:

    After reading Mr. Burkles comments and hearing further commentary I’m thinking that fan side of his brain is thinking he can fix the hockey side of things. Mr. Burkle, you can’t. Mario, you need to take control. And if that means telling Mr. Burkle “I got this”, than so be it. We can’t afford to waste anymore seasons and bringing in Sid’s agent is a laughable suggestion. And Pat Brisson is smart enough to know it.

    Mario, let the professionals take over. Shero had his flaws but he was a pro. And if you think Millhouse is anything more than a corp handler…oh boy i better stop there.

  220. Sarah says:

    And Borts had a nice physical (but made some mistakes) game v PHL and he disappeared for like 3 weeks. Honestly I give these guys credit. It’s like a bad HS coach playing favorites with his kids.

  221. Jandy says:

    Indeed he did Dom

  222. hockeymonster says:

    Can’t say that i have. And contrary to what you may think i do work, so i usually just run 93.7 and 970 on stream. Prefer Stan and enjoy starkey but can’t say i browse beyond that. I listen to Madden but he loses me after the 5th stripper or porn reference. The 1st 4 are usually funny though. Don’t always agree with madden’s hockey assessments but he has the right discussions. Stan’s da man though.

  223. Jandy says:

    What’s a Bah?

  224. hockeymonster says:

    Was just about to ask same thing :)

  225. Jandy says:

    Getting skeery now ;)

  226. Sarah says:

    Yeah I love Stan….is TribLive only avail through an internet connection? Not an on-air broadcast?

  227. Sarah says:

    OMG you young PUPs!

    Bah Harrington of the 1980 Miracle on ice team…..

    Part of the Conehead line with Buzzy and Pavs.

  228. cmat0829 says:

    OF COURSE it was the original cryin’ Ryan that Overpay struck out!! ha ha fun times baseball can be, says yoda

  229. Sarah says:

    And prolly 90% of the Peeps on this blog have no idea what I just said LOL!!!

  230. Jandy says:

    Supe Duper aiming to be ready for Training Camp:|PIT|home

  231. Jandy says:

    Actually I know what you said…and who are you calling a young pup? I’m a Grandmother! lol

    I don’t remember the names of all the guys on that team. Give an ol’ lady a break!

  232. On stream?

    Come on, man, seriously!

    One click:

    Let me know.

  233. hockeymonster says:

    My soviet bloodlines just started to boil…

  234. likeabugonarug says:

    I agree. Good commentary. And he’s right. And unlike the NHLN analyst, to me there isn’t such a thing as too many penalties in a game. If you commit an infraction, you go to the box. As easy as that.

    They say “Let the players decide the game”. And this kind of mess is exactly what you get out of it.


  235. Jandy says:

    OK Bah born in Minnesota, and Scott in Ontario, I don’t think any relation at all.

  236. Jandy says:

    ha! better duck, Monster is about to Mash!

  237. hockeymonster says:

    I dunno DK, i consider myself to be pretty loyal. Stan’s on during lunch when i have time and Starkey is on when i’m driving around running errands. But i guess i can consider it… :)

  238. cmat0829 says:

    Mark it down, two teams that will NOT finish within 4 games of the wild card this season, Milwaukee and Colorado. Colorado is an easy one, can’t see why anyone would think this team can stay in the race…. and Milwaukee is about to go Tom Petty on us…. “Freeeeeee, Free Fallin….”

    In the West, Dodgers and Giants will go all the way to the end, can see both in the playoffs…. in the East, it is the Braves and it isn’t close… Nats will compete for wild card..the other 3 are toast…. which brings us to the Central.. no reason to not think this is the Cards division… Bucs can compete if all the teams stay jumbled in the 85-win range.. that also keeps the Reds in it all the way….. I’m disappointed in the Bucs, but see no reason they can’t get better from here…and stay with the Reds at least..they are only 1.5 games back of them right now, and the team has sucked.

    Long, long, long way to go… Bucs clearly need a sustained stretch of good baseball… no reason to look at records per se… I will look only for (1) clean starting pitching from all 5 starters (2) clean defense that needs to rise from its current level of embarrassment…first to “I didn’t see the ball bouncing around like Little League” level…then to “major league average” level to “it’s a plus for this team and a reason for their success”.. like last year… I’ll take baby steps on this one, but it needs to happen starting now…. and finally (3) some better at bats with RISP and a tad more consistent offensive production.

    Funny thing is, typically, we bemoan the offense… and with the pending additions of Martin and eventually Polanco, this offense is definitely competitive in the NL… if ever the pitching and defense regress up (progress?), this team can definitely sustain a good run. Will they? Only if the PLAYERS step up…. as much as people love to bag on Clint, it must be a helpless feeling being a manager of a team whose players are sucking it up… what trigger can you pull if the gun is full of blanks?

  239. hockeymonster says:

    No worries, really am ANTI-soviets. But in case you haven’t noticed there’s a very good and logical reason why I know hockey the way i do. Certain individuals would be wise to recognize. ;)

  240. Sarah says:

    Lol you guys!
    Yah looks like no relation…..

    Since we all really ARE that old…..remember where you were when they beat the Russians????

  241. Jandy says:

    Let’s see, I was a newlywed (married 4 months) in my first marriage. I can prolly guess where I was…

  242. Jandy says:

    May 20, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    Let’s see, I was a newlywed (married 4 months) in my first marriage. I can prolly guess where I was…

  243. cmat0829 says:

    The one challenge when talking about finances and the Pirates is we tend to lump multiple ‘issues’ together… (1) how much Ownership is willing to spend on major league payroll and (2) how much the FO actually spends on major league payroll.

    Even this year, has it been documented that the FO wanted to spend additional $s and was denied by Ownership? Has it even been documented that the FO has actually spent all the money that has already been approved for major league payroll?

    This post essentially says that the Pirates have a good chunk of available dollars to spend next year on the rotation… and that is a true statement. Zero reason to believe that Ownership will vacuum that money up and deny Neal Huntington from spending it on major league payroll, at least in my opinion. Now, if we want to debate issue 2 and whether Neal will spend it one ONE pitcher (say acquiring Cliff Lee THIS year at the trade deadline and making him a cornerstone of the future rotation) or whether he will spend $7M on 4 pitchers, then let the debate begin. I just think it is too easy to essentially post “Nutting is cheap” as the answer to any thread on future roster moves.

  244. Naterosboro says:

    If I may, I’ll offer some suggestions (on when this team is going to show up & play like professionals without some sort of magical intervention)….

    Frank Liriano needs some warm weather. When’s their next trip to the West Coast? Or down South? At the very least, I hear it gets pretty warm in June so it shouldn’t be too much longer.

    Charlie Morton needs a hug. I think he can find 1 of these in the home clubhouse.

    Edinson Volquez is scheduled to meet with the Dalai Lama on their next off day. He’s seeking inner peace.

    Wandy Rodriguez will have a meeting with Dr. James Andrews. Nothing structurally wrong. They’re just looking into ways to shave 4-5 years off of Wandy’s age (an important stat these days).

    Gerritt Cole needs some help. He’ll be talking with the other 4 members of the starting staff to see if he can get some.

    Jason Grilli needs a new ego. His current 1 isn’t quite big enough, plus, it’s injured. At least he’s got time to work on his memoirs.

    Jeanmar Gomez needs a few days in Cleveland (or at least the threat of being traded back there). A few days in Cleveland will make anyone fly the straight and narrow.

    Travis Snider needs a solid 8Hrs. sleep, a hot shower, & 3 solid meals. And a trip back to Las Vegas.

    Starling Marte needs a cricket paddle. And to stop taking whatever supplements Jose Tabata is giving him.

    Jose Tabata needs whatever transplant they gave to Logan. Adamantium I think it was.

    Jordy Mercer needs more BP.

    Tony Sanchez needs a new subscription to Playboy.

    Gaby Sanchez needs a LH platoon.

    Ike Davis needs a RH platoon.

    Josh Harrison needs about 3-4 inches of height. That way he won’t have to go full stretch all the time.

    Smile today people :-) Life’s too short

  245. cmat0829 says:

    Read some of the back and forth above about whether the UNION or specific player agents could file a grievance on teams for keeping their players in the minors purely because of Super 2 reasons…

    I’d find it very implausible anyone with a legal background would ever file such a grievance and there is zero chance it gets awarded if it is filed. The players are within the teams’ control, as per the CBA. Deciding where players play is part of the team purview. Even if NH were to say “Sure, financial considerations factor into our player development process” that is akin to the CEO of WalMart saying “Yes, we take financial considerations into account when we introduce products or discontinue them… or make hiring decisions, etc”. So, yes, employees at WalMart can file a grievance that the company is more interested in financial bottom line than what is best for the employee development, but unless the company actually broke a rule, it goes nowhere.

    What ‘rule’ are MLB clubs breaking in deciding a player needs more time in AAA? And even further, what ‘rule’ are teams breaking by making that decision partly and even FULLY due to financial reasons?

  246. bpn8pitt says:

    Morneau in Colorado, I can understand. But this ..

    I dont get.

    Its those blasted Pirate hitting coaches, lol.

  247. Arriba Wilver says:

    Where’s the DAMAGES?

    File a grievance, what’s the remedy?

    Don’t do it again?

    You can’t change the CBA with a grievance.

  248. bpn8pitt says:

    As far as Polanco is concerned?

    Im always a little leary of AAA numbers. Wasnt it last year the pitchforks and torches were raised for Andrew Lambo?

    Again, if he was starting pitcher, closer in waiting or SS, different story.

  249. cmat0829 says:

    makes me better understand continuing to give at bats to Travis Snider, though that is coming to an end…. and to some extent Ike Davis at 1B (though he has way more major league success)… as much as most of us want to see Snider go somewhere else, I want to file this away if and when he goes “Brandon Moss” at his next stop…sometimes you just say “good for them” and not lament or MondayMorningQB every move.

    Bautista is a unique case and I posit the only one that is a legit look-back criticism of the Pirates.

  250. 21sthebest says:

    I’m saying that by promoting him immediately after signing a Major League contract, it could give the appearance that he was held down until he signed that contract and should have been promoted earlier. So the damages would be between the date he was actually promoted going backward to a date that the arbiter or whomever determines that he could have been promoted. During that period he would have been making a minor league salary.

    The remedy I’m thinking would be compensatory damages.

  251. NMR says:

    “Colorado is an easy one, can’t see why anyone would think this team can stay in the race…”

    Haven’t watched them this year, have you?

  252. cmat0829 says:

    Full disclosure… I WANT POLANCO HERE, NOW (as a fan)…. as a GM-in-hiding, I want him the day after Super2 has been cleared….

    That said, the expectations are out of control. I think we have to factor that in… that said, even factoring in that inevitable regression (from unrealistic expectations to reality), Polanco seems to have what it takes to be successful. A Marte-like start, with far fewer Ks, is more realistic.

  253. cmat0829 says:

    I lived in Colorado for 10 years. I follow the Rockies closely. I watched them last year have about the same start and fall apart in the summer…. I watched them do the same thing pretty much every year…. And the regression is coming, you can mark it down. They dont have the pitching to sustain the success and they will start losing games in bunches especially on the road. I like the Rockies, I do…and I hope they do well. But it is probably the easiest thing to predict in the sport… that the Rockies will fade to oblivion.

  254. Arriba Wilver says:

    First, the obvious—Walmart isn’t unionized.

    Second, why don’t the teams just admit it is financial considerations? The next time a team does that will be the first to my knowledge.

    Third, anyone with a legal background would never say there is zero chance a grievance could be sustained.


    {because NOW is not nearly as important as 6 seasons from NOW———8 games under .500 just an inconvenience}

  256. Andrew says:

    21, both Polanco’s and Springer’s offers were during spring training/off season, so the potential of signing a contract then promoting them did not exist. Longoria’s contract, they only long term extension for a just promoted player signed in-season I can think of, had a Super Two clause that gave additional compensation if he was a Super Two player.

  257. NMR says:

    That’s not how the CBA works, cmat. If the team deliberately cuts a player’s pay for financial reasons, it is a violation. That’s fact.

    If a guy is about to trigger an escalator clause in his contract, the team can’t just send him to AAA. If a team doesn’t like a player, they can’t just cut him and refuse to pay his salary.

    The situation with Springer and Polanco, had the teams admitted they were being kept down for financial reasons, could be argued to be the same.

    MLB is not Walmart or any real world situation. Any analogies like that are going to be false.

  258. NMR says:

    Thank you.

  259. cmat0829 says:

    I realize this supports MY opinion on Polanco and not others, but this is an excellent article by Tim Williams on the current status of the Polanco debate… I personally love how a FAILED GM, Jim Bowden, can ignore market factors in his hot-air “analysis”… I especially love the “If Polanco were with the Yankees, he’d be in the majors right now”…. um, ignoring a few of the Yankees-Pirates differences there, and that have NOTHING to do with Ownership commitment to “winning, all day, every day”. Bowden is a loser, but the article is very good and thorough.

  260. bpn8pitt says:

    Ive been to Victory Field in Indy…It was a few years ago, when Alvarez was down there.

    It ended up being a 10-9 win for the Indians. Not so much HRs, but a ton of hits. Lot like PNC, I think they are designed very similar. Especially in left.

    But the biggest thing I noticed, was the pitching itself. Not a whole lot of swing and miss stuff, there. Lot of pitch to contact guys, has beens and never will bes.

    Thats why im cautious with Polanco. Not sure he has seen a whole lot of blue chip pitching down there…Just an observation. Hope the guy kills it.

  261. cmat0829 says:

    I am still waiting for the specific PROOF of a RULES VIOLATION that would be the basis of a legitimate grievance. One has not been issued and WILL NEVER BE unless there is a specific rules violation and proof thereof. That was my main point. Polanco, I guess, in your view, would be able to claim that his earnings were being unreasonably held down by the teams…that would have to argue that the next few seasons he is guaranteed to perform at a level worth of major league status… he would never fail, like Pedro did, and have to be sent back the minors…. can’t see how that claim would stand up, but to each his own opinion.

    The Walmart example was invoked IF the major league team were to fully admit to making decisions for financial reasons… I would argue a violation would STILL not be in play but realize that enterprising agents might try to challenge it. It’s a moot point..teams won’t just flat-out say it and therefore it won’t be challenged.

  262. NMR says:

    Wow, and you think the Pirates can compete?

    Great logic there, buddy.

  263. cmat0829 says:

    I mostly HOPE the Pirates can compete… as a FAN of the Pirates, not everything I think about them is 100% based on logic. I will point out that my hope was caveated on sustained improved starting pitching and on the defense progressing to above major league average level. If those things happen, then LOGICALLY yes this team can compete in a division where perhaps 85 wins is what it would take.. … there is more logic in that post than hope, let’s say 60/40. Fair?

    As to Colorado, not sure what the sabremetrics say, but I have 21 years following this franchise and I’ll just go with my gut feeling and loads of history that the team in that park cannot keep up the pace they are on. We can pick it up in August and see who’s right. I HOPE I’m wrong and the Rockies win the west… much prefer them to the Dodgers or Giants

  264. Arriba Wilver says:

    Agents don’t file grievances, but you’re changing the rules of the debate in any event. If the ultimate question is would a grievance be successful we get into what “rule” is violated. You went way beyond that in your post ridiculing the idea of even filing one in the first place.

  265. BillyBaduka says:

    Well said.

  266. 21sthebest says:

    I understand Andrew but I was thinking that the hypothetical we were talking about would be if Polanco signed a contract today for example, or recently, then was promoted for say tonight or tomorrow’s game. At least that’s what I was thinking.

  267. 21sthebest says:

    “You can’t change the CBA with a grievance.”

    I don’t know if this applies AW but after the Union/Boras filed the grievance in the Alvarez negotiation, they came up with formalized procedures to submit the contract to MLB offices when signing draft picks.

  268. Andrew says:

    I don’t think that is plausible, the player wouldn’t have a grievance, he signed a contract with full knowledge that he was forfeiting any chance of being Super Two. Why sign the contract in the first place, I think the most likely situation would be a clause like Longoria.

  269. Andrew says:

    As I understand it there are no specific rules in the CBA about service time manipulation. However if a player and their representatives believe that a demotion/lack of promotion is the result of service time manipulation and they have some circumstantial evidence they can file a grievance, if it gets to this stage the grievance would be handle arbitrator who handle similar labor negotiations in other industries.

    Arbitration process take some time and are mostly kept quiet, Ruben Tejada discussed filing a grievance because he was demoted leaving him a day short of service time last year, we won’t hear if he filed or the outcome for some time. Grievances appear to be public posturing in the Springer case, the Astros eventually promoted him, assuring Super Two status and removing a large source of the complaint.

    I took over a year to resolve this grievance.

  270. Andrew says:

    I heard a reasonable explanation for Morneau, he is a good contact guy who no longer has power and those type of guys thrive in the Colorado’s elevated BABIP environment.

  271. Arriba Wilver says:

    But, 21, they didn’t have to offer the contract. No damages.

    The Alvarez grievance didn’t “change” the CBA, it just was a settlement that clarified the procedures. Filled in the blanks, if you will.

  272. NMR says:

    Biggest thing to watch for when Polanco comes up will be if he can turn around velocity inside. With his long swing, you can bet that’s where pitchers will target him. I suspect he struggles a bit against lefties, as well.

    Won’t surprise me at all if he strikes out somewhere around a 20% clip initially, and he sure as heck isn’t going to post a +.400 BABIP.

    I think a reasonable expectation will be something like .270/.320/.430.

  273. bpn8pitt says:

    He’s healthy too. I know the last few years he had a lot of issues.

  274. Jandy says:

    I’d be thrilled with that.

  275. NMR says:

    John Rocker is the most famous one I can think of when the Braves suspended him for those comments and the Union eventually got it shortened, I believe.

  276. cmat0829 says:

    I’ll take that. :) Has to be a pretty huge difference between MLB and AAA pitchers…and the game plans and ability to sequence the atbats the way they need to…..

  277. cmat0829 says:

    yep, when Leyland managed there (if you can call it that) he made it a big point to have the outfielders play shallow to take away the ‘pop fly’ hits that happen b/c everyone plays so deep in that outfield… he figured (and I think he’s right) that balls over the head of the outfielder have a good chance of being gone anyway, so might as well take away the baserunners on bloop hits.

    But Coors Field will giveth and it will taketh… lots of articles written about the Rockies still not figuring out how to build a winning team in that altitude…. the pitching won’t last, but good chance Morneau can keep it going there, be interesting to see how his road splits hold up.

  278. cmat0829 says:

    i will stand by my ridiculing a grievance being actually filed, as i think the union for the most part makes things a bigger deal than they are… I think it is most correctly labeled ‘public posturing’ at this point.

    I think the rule should be addressed and cleared up in the next CBA so that this ‘nuanced’ song and dance doesn’t have to be an issue for the teams…. I again refer to Tim Williams’ good article today on the topic.

  279. 21sthebest says:

    That makes sense to me Arriba.

  280. Nate83 says:

    What??? You are talking crazy. His stats will be the same as his AAA stats and if he was up here right now this team would easily be above .500. Polanco = all problems solved :)

  281. Naterosboro says:

    You’ll all be happy to know that Tony Sanchez has plenty of Uncrustables. No word yet on his improved defense.

  282. Dom says:

    DK sure told it like it is. Although I still feel that the Buccos should have promoted GP, there is more than adequate rationale to keep him in the minors:

    “It’s a bad system, a terrible system. Like everything else about baseball, it favors the teams with the most money.

    Some like to complain about symptoms. I don’t mind complaining, but I prefer to do so about causes. Baseball needs a salary cap. No team should have an edge with Super-2 or arbitration any more than it should in signing Japanese or Cuban players or general free agency or the draft or anything else monetarily.”

    “Best figure I’ve seen so far estimating Polanco’s total cost to the Pirates as a Super-2 is around $15 million, and that was one of the lower ones. Because if Polanco is genuinely a superstar, it could actually be much higher.”

    For $15 million I would really like us to obtain a solid FA in addition to Polanco not instead of him.

  283. bpn8pitt says:

    :) I know right. Never mind 10 blown saves or a starter without a complete game.

    Im with NMR’s stat line with some Anti-Lunchbox Defense.

  284. Jandy says:

    +++ both of you

  285. 21sthebest says:

    The one relevant thing I think Tim Williams is forgetting in his article, especially when he makes comments like these:

    “But the league isn’t fair. Not to Polanco, and not to small market teams like the Pirates.”

    is that those larger market teams are sending beaucoup $$$$ our way and have been for years.

  286. Dom says:

    This should be the next item that gets addressed in the new CBA.

  287. 21sthebest says:

    I think Starkey is a good enough writer, but man, him and Mueller are like two trainwrecks colliding together and neither one comes to a halt.

  288. Bizrow says:

    The Super 2 cutoff date is pretty much a guess, from what I’ve heard. Betcha Polanco doesn’t get called up until closer to July than most are thinking right now

  289. Nate83 says:

    The starters have 5 wins total. 4 by Cole and 1 by everyone else. That is crazy. They are on pace to have 20 wins as a staff this year.

    I don’t know how many times this year they have had a 1 or 2 run lead just to blow it the next inning. There overall pitching stats are bad but they are not that bad. They have an uncanny ability to do just barely not enough this year.

  290. Arriba Wilver says:

    It would seem that if the union makes things bigger than they are then they would be more likely to rather than less likely to, file a grievance,

    I recognize that “good article” usually means someone else who says something “I” agree with (and that includes DK’s columns), but if I get a chance later I’ll read it.

    Our posts stand on their own.

    Be careful what you wish for in terms of clearing this up in the next CBA. They were aware of this issue at the time of the last negotiations. Sometimes both sides agree that ambiguity is best. Or, at least can’t agree on the resolution.

  291. 21sthebest says:

    Seems ridiculous to me that you can be credited with a blown save for giving up a lead in the 7th or 8th when it’s rare for anyone to get a 3 or 2 innings save these days.

    Btw, blown save is not recognized by MLB as a stat.

  292. 21sthebest says:

    Is that in the clubhouse or did he go to Chuck E. Cheese?

  293. cmat0829 says:

    I posted June 13 a few weeks ago, I will stick with that.

  294. Bizrow says:

    You might be right, but whats a week or so when you are talking 15 million?

  295. cmat0829 says:

    I’m pretty sure the Pirates , and other like-revenue clubs, will trade a reasonable economic structure (that includes a salary FLOOR and CAP), for the revenue sharing model of today. Point is, even with revenue sharing, the Yankees and Dodgers and others enjoy a HUGE competitive advantage.

  296. cmat0829 says:

    I agree, they should pick the date that is securely past Super 2 deadline… if that is July 1, then so be it. I THINK it is closer to when Cole came up last year, so that’s why I picked June 13…

  297. Milo Hamilton says:

    How’s September 1st. Is that safe enough for ya ?

  298. Bizrow says:

    Not disagreeing, I just think NH will be ultra conservative on this move unless his hand is forced by injury

  299. bpn8pitt says:

    Gregory Polanco pitches 3 innings for a save.

  300. 21sthebest says:

    Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Stephen Drew signed with the Red Sox.

  301. Jandy says:

    pot stirrer! :P

  302. Bizrow says:

    So he signed back with the club he left?

  303. 21sthebest says:

    It would appear so. Assuming the media is correct on this and they’re always correct.

  304. 21sthebest says:

    Somebody asked a question in the chat as Nutting Hostage. That’s just wrong to me.

  305. Jandy says:

    I’ve seen him on the chat several times. Some people’s sense of humor is just different…

  306. Nutting Hostage is one of most creative posters here ever. He’s been gone 2-3 years. I miss him!

  307. Dom says:

    I thought he last left the As

  308. Dom says:

    I have a hard time believe that Nutting is really keeping the guy hostage.

    If he was, how would he be able to post questions in the chat???

  309. Jandy says:

    Dom, you are sooooo cute! :*

  310. Sarah says:

    Not just an obligation, it’s in the rule book. He must make a clear “effort to avoid” the goaltender, failing that, it’s a penalty.

    Like my getting choo chooed last night, my D nudged the guy who was coming full steam. He just took the excuse and went straight through me.

    Should have been a penalty, but because the D touched him, the ref chickens out.

  311. NMR says:

    Ha, absolutely 21. Blown save is a ridiculous stat.

    Half of the Pirates 10 blown saves have gone to pitchers who have never once pitched the 9th in a save situation.

  312. MLB Rumors projects 128 (out of 181) days of service will be the Super 2 cutoff.

    They were exactly right on in predicting 126 days last year. Enough rookies have already been brought up this season for that date to be actualized: however, no one knows if 1-2 might be sent down before season completes.

    My countdown for the last month has been based on Friday, June 6———two days (safety) after the projected date. Bucs brought up Gerrit Cole 2 days after last year’s projected date.

  313. 21sthebest says:

    He was with the Red Sox last year Dom.

  314. Domske,

    You have to be extremely intelligent . . . . to come up with such dumb responses!!!

  315. Bizrow says:

    Our Nutting Hostage passed away on May 8th

  316. NMR says:

    Seriously, Biz?

  317. Bizrow says:

    Yes, Dejan posted it on a thread, I knew the fellow via e-mail and Linkedin. Found his Obit, he was 49

  318. bpn8pitt says:

    He’s also a GM candidate for the Cole Harbour 87s :)

  319. He may be a FAILED GM, but he has been there and originally got the job.

    None of the rest of us have, including Tim Williams. I wouldn’t mind being a “loser” of a GM job.

    Super Two was negotiated by the Players Union, and it’s not going away unless something else is substituted. Players wanted Arbitration after 2 seasons; owners kept it at 3 but allowed Top 22 % of 2nd year players (originally 17 %) to qualify for Arbitration. No going backward with Players’ Union.

  320. Jandy says:

    Now that you mention it , Biz, I remember you posting about his death. Plan was very shook up over it.

  321. Jandy says:


  322. Did the Pirate pitcher pitch in the 7th, 8th, or 9th inning with the Pirates in the lead?

    If he did not do his job and lost the lead, he gets a blown save. What’s so hard about that?

    Next you’ll be complaining that if the ball hits the batter’s bat but he didn’t mean to swing, he shouldn’t be charged with a strike.

    Let’s not overthink it, folks!

  323. hockeymonster says:

    Ok, checked with my sources and confirmed the following:


  324. Bizrow says:

    He was one of the original posters on the old blog

  325. Jandy says:

    CAN NOT does not mean WILL NOT


    Tell your sources to get busy!

  326. Jandy says:

    so now there is an imposter….not cool.

  327. Milo Hamilton says:

    They can’t be right about last year’s Super Two date. No one knows what it is (was) yet. No one can know what players from the class of 2013 will be Super Two until the 2015 season is complete.

  328. Bizrow says:

    They may not know?

  329. Bizrow says:

    Bad omen, Millhouse was Richard Nixon’s middle name

  330. JohninOshkosh says:

    2018 Super Bowl to be held in Minneapolis.

    Don’t forget to pack your swimsuits.

  331. Jandy says:

    Possibly. Just weird.

  332. Is the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome still there or did they demolish it? Otherwise, how could they do that? Why not Anchorage or Juneau?

  333. hockeymonster says:

    Bad omen indeed. Did Gore know his middle name is millhouse?

  334. Bizrow says:

    They got the game in part due to the new domed stadium they are building. Until its ready, I think the Vikes are playing at the University of Minnesota’s outdoor stadium

  335. Bizrow says:

    No, Al was too busy inventing the internet ;-)

  336. cmat0829 says:

    If Bowden is going to make provocative comments that aren’t based in fact (which me may see as part of his media job) it is fair grounds to point out he failed as GM of the Reds, in many ways because he ignored some of the market realities.

    If we are going to refrain from criticizing someone’s opinions (because that is what they are, Bowden is giving his opinion) just because we never held their job, then we probably don’t have much to talk about on a blog.

  337. Thanks, Biz. That would be murder on fans and players. Look how much effort it took to get that SB ready in NY. Can’t imagine the cost of all that snow removal, etc.

  338. Bizzy,

    I am VERY sorry to hear that. I’m numb.

    He was a great supporter of the Pirates, Beaver County sports, and deer hunting.

    Reminded me of Milo. Very witty, although somewhat acerbic at times!

    Bizzy, I would love to visit that Obit if you could give me names.

  339. Dom says:

    This is not a joke: Who’s Millhouse?

  340. cmat0829 says:

    You’re both right… someone who pitched late game with a lead and gave up that lead did not do their job. And a blown save including anything other than the 9th inning is a ridiculous stat. The team’s record with a lead after 7 and 8 innings is a good barometer and it isn’t necessary to keep track of anything else.

    In some games, the offense inability to add on, despite valuable chances, contribute as much to the eventual loss as the reliever, who, gasp, gave up a run or two. The game in Milwaukee recently was a good example. In that case, Melancon blew the save in the 9th, but the offense squandered good chances to add runs.

  341. He hails from a town in TN, Carthage, only about 20 miles from where we live here in KY. Been there a few times for various things. The locals there aren’t impressed with him.

  342. Yet they already know who has been brought up, and can predict who will be before August 31.

    Top 22 % will be Super Two.

  343. Bizrow says:

    ESPN also reported that the area has 8 miles of indoor pedestrian walkways that connect to over 5000 hotel rooms.

    My Dad was born and grew up in Minnesota, he had some stories about the cold and snow up there (usually told when we would whine about having to walk to school :-)

  344. Bizrow says:

    Don’t know, saw the name and thought of two things Nixon and Bart’s buddy on the Simpsons ;-)

  345. hockeymonster says:

    Morehouse is Millhouse from the simpsons :)

    He makes fun of Rossi, we make fun of him. Karma.

  346. NMR says:

    Damn shame, Biz. 49 is too young.

  347. JohninOshkosh says:

    Called the Skyway. And, if you arn’t familiar with it, the system can be maddeningly confusing.

  348. NMR says:

    Overthinking is better than not thinking at all, Groat.

  349. JohninOshkosh says:

    “Up in the Skyway. It don’t move at all like a subway. It’s got bums when its cold, like any other place. It’s warm up inside.”

  350. Arriba Wilver says:

    You might want to talk to Frank and BN, Cmat. They had no interest in pushing for a cap and floor during the last negotiations. You can think what you want, but they seemed perfectly happy with the economic structure as agreed to in the present CBA, including the draft structure. Remember, look at what They do, not what They say.

  351. Bizrow says:

    Regarding Super 2, didn’t Springer, at least make noise about filing some sort of suit/grievance?

  352. Arriba Wilver says:

    I wasn’t aware of that, NMR. Who got blown saves not pitching the 9th? Not knowing the answer, how can a pitcher get a blown save prior to pitching the 9th inning? Seems incomprehensible since a pitcher can’t be credited with a save prior to the 9th inning.

    But, not doubting you, it IS baseball. ;-)

  353. Arriba Wilver says:

    Agree, 21. That’s just wrong.

  354. Thundercrack says:

    Love the replacements

  355. Bizrow says:

    No, sorry, no names

    I would not feel right doing that

  356. Bizrow says:

    Me too, its wrong

Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports
News: This Just In | Trib List | ICycle | Flow Back | Stories Behind Trib Stories  

» Top Sports
» Top News
» Top Breaking News