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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: Are you ready for some?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The weekly chat will begin at 1 p.m., and it’ll be live from the Steelers’ headquarters on the South Side. OTAs begin this morning, and there surely will be much to share from over there.

Let the offseason evaluations commence, by beat man Alan Robinson.

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

>> Gaby Sanchez and Jose Tabata notch one for the Pirates’ bench, by Travis Sawchik in New York.

Ike Davis takes center stage, by Sawchik.

If you missed Subway Final Word on WPXI-TV on Sunday — and we’d love to have you every week — this was WXDX-FM host Mark Madden and I getting rather spirited on the topic of Gregory Polanco:

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

Here’s Mets news from my friend Adam Rubin at ESPN New York, and you will want to check this today. Amazin’ stuff about releasing Jose Valverde, firing the hitting coach and the hitting coach blaming the fans. Only in New York, as they say.

Here are official game highlights on

>> Latest on the Penguins’ GM search. Rob Rossi reports.

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

Here are official game highlights on And if you aren’t watching the Kings right now, you’re missing on some of the most complete hockey you’ll ever see from one team. They aren’t just Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick. They’re big, strong, tough, smart … you name it.

How much of that is Darryl Sutter?

I asked that very question last night of Rick Tocchet, one of the toughest men in the Penguins’ history and a former head coach of the Lightning, how much starts with the coach: ‘It definitely helps. It starts in training camp. It’s hard to play the right way every game, but if you’re conditioning your mind from the start so when April comes around, you’re mentally tough as a team . You can’t just turn it on and off when you want.’

Yes, he’s available.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 from the Steelers’ HQ.

>> Hope to hear from you in the chat! 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:

    Glad to lead off with giving the Pirates credit after accusing them of stinking at daytime baseball. The games aren’t over after six after all, even when looking bleak against less than stellar opposition.

    And yes, DK, the Kings are looking like a well oiled machine tonight, especially so in the first period.

  2. chris says:

    Hey Dejan,

    Reposting this again hoping you take a look at it and give your take.

    You have quickly become my favorite Pittsburgh reporter/analyst. Anyhow two big things that concern me going forward. One is of the near present and one is for next year. For the present, what will happen when Polanco comes up in 3 weeks? Our big problem in the beginning of the year was the lead off man not getting on base be it Marte, Tabata, Snider. When J Hay showed he had the ability to get on base in the leadoff spot, that’s where the offense really started turning around. So what will happen? Will Hurdle find a way to work J Hay in every day, will polanco lead off, or will it be back to the Marte experiment? Those are the only 3 options I see. Whatever the move is, I think our season will depend on its success.

    My question or more of a concern for next year is that do you think the pirates will re sign Russell Martin? He is truly the backbone of this team and I hope the front office can see that. I hope that just because they drafted Tony Sanchez in the first round does not mean he gets grandfathered into the starting role next year. Watching Tony play the game behind the plate makes me cringe sometimes. Martin makes the defense seem so effortless with picks in the dirt, throws to 2nd, etc. Tony Montana on the other hand seems to go all out but, it feels he does not have the comfort level and confidence to make plays. I see if the pirates are unwilling to extend Martin for 3 years 35 million then this team will be below .500 for the next 2 years or longer until Reese is up here or another catcher comes into play with the pedigree of Martin. Again, I hope the front office will pay this man the money he wants, because our winning baseball in the Burgh will suffer if they don’t.

  3. Bizrow says:

    Bucs won, I will sleep well

    I thought of a lot of things to say for all here, both friends and now not so much friends.

    But I will check and pass

    I thank you all, good and not so good, this is the best blog and home I know of.

    476 strong

  4. DJ says:

    Marian Gaborik: “Once you start playing with him, you start to see how good he is, how much professionalism he has. He can do it all. He has finesse. He plays hard. He plays physical. He’s got a great shot. Great hockey sense. He sees the ice very well, very smart. That’s what you want from a defenseman. He’s the whole package, that’s for sure.”

    Ponder that Drew Doughty is only 24 years old. Hope to be saying the same about Olli in just a few years.

  5. Wild Bill says:

    Would Tocchet actually leave his cushy studio gig with the Flyers on Comcast?? Watching him there has almost made me forget he was a Penguin.

  6. Bizrow says:

    And a few other Pens Dmen +++

  7. DJ says:

    Loved Tocchet as a player.

    Don’t want him as head coach but would like to see him as an assistant.

  8. DJ says:

    Would be a real achievement for Olli.

    Don’t see anyone else on our NHL roster holding this level of promise. I’d take one.

  9. Bizrow says:

    You might be right, I drink Kool aid on the Pens and their depth at defense.

    Hence Shero is sh&& canned

  10. DJ says:

    Yeah, who knew Doughty would not miss Scuds?

    I know — shocking.

  11. Chris, I appreciate the kind words. Sorry for missing this yesterday. Either one of those Qs, in much shorter form, would be very much welcome in today’s chat. Hope you can join in. The post will go up right here around 11 a.m.

  12. JoeyBats says:

    BUCCOS — Down on the Farm
    (We’ll keep you apprised of how some of the top prospects are doing; …..this week the PITCHERS. Games played through May 26).
    P – Jeff Locke – Triple A – Indianapolis – Throws: L (includes rehab appearance)
    W- 2, L – 2, ERA 3.80…..G 8, IP 45, H 41, ER 19, K 41, BB 16, HR 6, BAA .241, WHIP 1.31
    P- Casey Sadler – Triple A – Indianapolis – Throws: R
    W- 6, L – 1, ERA 2.66…..G 8, IP 50.2, H 44, ER 15, K 36, BB 9, HR 4, BAA .238, WHIP 1.05
    P- Vance Worley – Triple A – Indianapolis – Throws: R
    W- 1, L – 1, ERA 4.32…..G 2, IP 25, H 27, ER 12, K 17, BB 1, HR 2, BAA .276, WHIP 1.12
    P – Nick Kingham – Double A – Altoona – Throws: R
    W- 1, L – 5, ERA 3.00…..G 10, IP 57, H 55, ER 19, K 41, BB 24, HR 2, BAA .251, WHIP 1.39
    P – Joely Rodriguez – Double A –Altoona – Throws : L
    W- 2, L – 4, ERA 4.11…..G 9, IP 46, H 48, ER 21, K 24, BB 14, HR 3, BAA .268, WHIP 1.35
    P – Tyler Glasnow – Single A – Bradenton – Throws R
    W- 0, L – 3, ERA 3.00…..G 6, IP 27, H 18, ER 9, K 25, BB 20, HR 0, BAA .196, WHIP 1.41
    P – Luis Heredia – Single A – West Virginia – Throws : R …..ON THE DL
    W- 0, L – 1, ERA 7.20…..G 2, IP 5, H 6, ER 4, K 3, BB 2, HR 0, BAA .286, WHIP 1.60

  13. kr70 says:

    JHay could sub in for 3rd, short, second, and the outfield. The days off would help as it is a long season. He does seem to have sparked the team. Keep it up!

  14. Thundercrack says:

    I watched the Final Word. Why do super geniuses like MM automatically think that Pedro wants to play in New York just because that is where he’s from? He may end up signing a free agent contract with a NY team but the main deciding factor will probably be $$$$. How do they know this? According to John Perratto, Pedro doesn’t talk to the local media.

    Maybe Ike Davis will talk with Pedro about what it is like to go into a hitting slump in NYC

  15. Jandy says:


  16. JAL says:

    JAL’s Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back Morning Links

    Life is a Lemon Meatloaf


    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: What is Brandon Cumpton’s Upside?

    Prospect Watch: Alen Hanson Homers, Nick Kingham With a Strong Start

    Top 10 Hitters: Everything is Coming Together For Mel Rojas

    Top 10 Pitchers: Cumpton Dominates in Final Triple-A Start; Sampson Breaking Out?

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Late rally pushes Pirates past Mets, 5-3

    Neal Huntington, Pirates preparing for upcoming draft


    Game 50: Pirates 5 Mets 3

    8 Green Weenie

    Bucs Rally To Batter the Bullpen In A 5-3 Win

    9 Pirates 101

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Offense Catalyst for May Improvement

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 5, Mets 3

  17. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 NY Times

    Mets Have a Trying Day From Beginning to End

    12 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Mets Game Preview

    13 Chicago Sun Times

    Jeff Samardzija earns first win of season

    14 Beaver County Times

    Cumpton strong for Pirates again

    15 Pirates Site

    Pirates rally behind Gaby’s clutch performance

    Cumpton looks to find long-term home in Majors

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds rally from no-hitter but fall to Dodgers

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    K-Rod blows save; Brewers waste chances

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Yankees think small, beat Cardinals

    Burwell: Years roll back as 1964 Cards get together

    19 Fangraphs

    Pedro Martinez on the Art and Science of Pitching

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week in Quotes

  18. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Film Room: The Horizontal Stretch

    Steelers Film Room: Finding fault in decline of Steelers deep passing numbers among Ben, WRs

    Steelers’ offense should focus on versatility in 2014


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    David Luiz – has Chelsea’s depth set the market for defenders this summer?

    23 BBC Football

    Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham in talks with Southampton boss

    24 World Soccer

    Lionel Messi: a global icon but Argentina remains immune to his charms

  19. Wild Bill says:

    Didn’t anyone tell you, Thunder, that NYC is the navel of the universe? That the sun can’t rise in the east until the mayor of NY releases it each morning? That all the cities of the world combined can’t begin to approach the sophistication of NY?

    Wake up, man. Pedro could never wish to play anywhere else.

  20. DJ says:

    And who’d really want to play for the Mets?

  21. Wild Bill says:

    Thanks as always for the links, Joe. The Reds, Cards, and Brewers all lost while we won yesterday. A few more days like that, please, Bucs!

  22. Brandon says:


  23. Jandy says:

    I know Altoona is on the list, Biz, but did you see the other one?

    May 26, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    Rector. PA


    Mark E Mahan
    May 26, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    add Altoona,Pa. please i will join the Lunatics bcuz of roll call AE Graham ha


  24. Dom says:

    Mark Madden looked to be peeved.

    I hope you two can work through your differences!

  25. DJ says:

    Beginning to inch towards the trade option with Pedro.

  26. Wild Bill says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the argument. People disagreeing with you is not a personal attack unless we choose to make it into that.

  27. DJ says:

    Too many “Tabata Moments” lately for Marte.

    Hope Amalia Tabata Pereira is not in town.

  28. Dom says:

    And not enough “Marte moments” lately for Tabata.

    Don’t forget, he’s here through 2016.

  29. Sarah says:

    I was poking around a Blackhawks blog last night… should hear them rip into Q.
    Strangely familiar!

    But boy the LAK were making CHI look ordinary. Hawks were able to dominate towards the end but only when LAK went into turtle-mode.

    That was scary in the first period. You just knew they would score on every PP. And tbh the Hawks were just standing around in front of Crow.

  30. Thundercrack says:

    When MM’s volume goes up, he knows he’s ‘losing’

  31. Jandy says:

    I don’t listen to MM, but I’ll bet that volume goes up rather often ;)

  32. BillyBaduka says:

    Loved Tocchet as a player too.

    This team could use his attitude/voice.

  33. NMR says:

    Maybe the morning after the guy notches a pinch hit RBI single isn’t the best opportunity to rag on him?

    This place…

  34. JohnS says:

    I will never get all the disdain for Tabata that Pirate fans have. He will never be a guy that drives the ball and will always have an OPS around .700 but he can also hit a little. He is a good fourth outfielder to have.

    The bigger problem is the left side of the infield and the starting pitching.

  35. Thundercrack says:

    You should watch the clip. I actually think that Madden brought up some good points (re: Polanco). But DK seemed to rattle him with some good points of his own. And that’s when Madden’s volume went up. :-)

  36. Thundercrack says:

    I think a lot of fans had high hopes for Tabata….wanted him to be more than a 4th OF.

    But I think you’re right – he could be a good 4th OF to have in the future.

  37. Arriba Wilver says:

    Good point, WB.

    Personally, I think MM’s happier when his volume’s up. Usually, anyway, and definitely with DK.

  38. 21sthebest says:

    I thought Madden brought up some good point too but the whole, “it’s not your money” spiel he threw at DK, well there’s a reason nobody around here suggests we go after Pujols, Hamilton, Greinke, and other elite free agents. So with respect to Polanco, I think it’s reasonable for DK or anybody to consider the financial impact of bringing him up now versus later next month. All we’re doing is putting ourselves in Huntington’s position.

  39. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think that year he had a couple years ago when Cedeno was still here kind of cemented a certain feeling about Tabata in some. And not without reason. There were reports (including from DK) that his teammates weren’t real happy with his effort at that time, either.

  40. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yeah, I heard him on Madden a couple weeks ago. Sounded like a guy who would like to coach again.

  41. Dom says:

    I wasnt insulting anybody. I’m a fan of Tabata.

  42. Stuart says:

    Tabata seems to havea limited attention span. I think playing only occasionally might allow him to get more ramped up when he does play. Like yesterday’s PH in a clutch sit. Let’s hope he makes an ideal 4th OF.

    Hey Groat, what is the status of the countdown?

    Is it better to bring a rook up on the road, or home?


  43. Dom says:

    I wonder what went on during the commercial break…

  44. Dom says:

    I don’t think so. I’m a big fan of Double M and a longtime listener. He raises his voice when he’s upset.

  45. Nate83 says:

    Nothing wrong with your 4th outfielder batting .270. I can’t figure out why Tabata is viewed as some kind of anchor holding this team down until 2016 with a terrible contract (it’s far from terrible).

    I’m also not sure why everyone wants to suddenly anoint JHay a staple on the team for the next 4 or 5 years as some kind of super utility can play good defense at multiple positions type guy. Is this based on 1 week of really good baseball with two tremendous catches in the outfield. This completely disregards everything he has done in the past and is very short sighted. I’m thrilled with what he is doing and hope he can continue it for 3 more weeks when Polanco comes up but I certainly do not expect it.

    Maybe if Tabata smiled more or overran bases and got tagged out he would be viewed differently.

    On another note I can’t figure out how the cheap pirates can just throw money away and release Wandy while at the same time not waste money and bring up Polanco:) Maybe just maybe both moves where made because they are what is in the best interest of the team in the long run and not because the Pirates are cheap. Giving up on Wandy couldn’t be an easy move. It’s empty money spent with nothing to show in return but it was the right move. They could not afford to allow him to continue to lose games in 20% of the Pirate games. They literally are throwing money away but it’s because it was in the best interest of the team.

    Bringing Polanco up would also be throwing money away and you could argue it would be in the best interest of the team but he wouldn’t impact the team nearly as much as Wandy was. There is nothing wrong with the Pirates offense in the month of May. Throwing away 10-15 million for 3-6 weeks of marginally better play from 12.5% of your team is not good bussiness and won’t win you many more games if any.

  46. I’m not. Glad to see him get some hits in clutch situations, though. That’s what he gets paid for.

    Now that ought to get NMR going.


  47. Thundercrack says:

    It didn’t sound like Rob Biertempfel is a big fan of how the Pirates are handling Polanco – or the way they spend money.

    And I still don’t know why exactly he brought up Yasiel Puig.

  48. Arriba Wilver says:

    As far as Wandy’s situation, not in any way comparable to Polanco’s. That money’s spent whether they keep him or cut him. That move cost them a portion of $5-600,000, the cost of his replacement. Not arguing Polanco, just the Wandy move doesn’t move the “cheap” meter much in either direction. Basically irrelevant.

  49. Thundercrack says:

    The thing about the Wandy move is do you cut him and get nothing for your investment, or do you try to ‘fix’ him and get some return on your investment? It can’t be easy for anyone in that FO to determine that they will get nothing for their investment.

    But I wouldn’t doubt that they didn’t somewhat plan/talk about this scenario coming true when they traded for Wandy 2 years ago. They probably have machines & calculations going on for every type of situation.

  50. Naje says:

    And Tabata countered that chatter AW, saying he was injured. Yeah, he probably moped a little, but that’s nothing compared to what Cutch did in the first six weeks of 2011.

    Go back to 2011, Hurdle’s first year… go back to the scorching start of the season Tabata had in the leadoff position. And then, because Cutch wasn’t doing diddly squat in the No. 3 spot in the order, Hurdle satisfied Cutch and moved him to leadoff… where, for about four or five weeks Cutch was still awful at the plate. He hit .219 through the end of April, with more than half his at bats in the leadoff spot. And then in the next week or two Cutch got hot and got moved back down to the 3 spot.

    During the time Tabata was “demoted” for lack of a better word, the leadoff spot was doing nothing and Tabata pulled a hamstring in, I believe, San Diego. Whatever the case, people can dump on him all they want, but he is what he is: an inexpensive 4th OF that stays right around .700 OPS.

  51. Dom says:

    Really? I thought he agreed with DK when the issue of Polanco was brought up.

  52. Jandy says:

    Happy belated birthday Stuart :)

  53. Jandy says:

    Pot Stirrer! :P


  54. Jandy says:

    Thanks TC, I just might do that ;)

  55. Nate83 says:

    So you think it’s an easy decision to give up on a guy that is making the second most money on the team and have all that empty money? You don’t think Nutting had to be convinced that Wandy wouldn’t bounce back and make that money useful? I get what you are saying in the grand scheme of things but a cheap person would say nope I already paid for this and we are going to squeeze every last possible drop of production out of this investment.

  56. Wild Bill says:

    Likely to be in the ‘burgh on the 11th and 12th to see the Bucs vs Cubs, and hoping that He Who Must Not Be Named will be there too.

    Which means they’ll wait until the road trip after.

  57. Dom says:

    How did you know it was his birthday?

  58. Jim S. says:

    I love it when they (localy NY media types) assume Ike feels like he was banished to Pittsburgh. Yeah, it must have been tough leaving all of the prestige of the NY Mets.

  59. Jim S. says:


  60. Jim S. says:

    Agreed. I never was a Madden fan. He just rubs me the wrong way, and he always has. To each his own, I guess.

  61. 21sthebest says:

    “Throwing away 10-15 million for 3-6 weeks of marginally better play from 12.5% of your team is not good bussiness and won’t win you many more games if any.”

    Nobody knows if Polanco would help or not. I’d say it would have been worth the risk. If we wait until Super 2 passes to bring him up and miss the playoffs but a very small margin like 1-3 games, I think it would have been a shame to not have brought him up because of what his salary will be in a couple of years.

    Also, nobody knows what’s in their bank account.

  62. Jandy says:

    A little birdie told me ;)

  63. Jandy says:

    Ditto here Jim.

  64. Nate83 says:

    “Nobody knows if Polanco would help or not”.

    Exactly and that is why you can’t just foolishly throw away that money. It really doesn’t matter what their bank account is. Whether they have a payroll of 80 million or 150 million it’s not a good idea to just not have that money available later because you wanted to play roulette with 10-15 million.

  65. Jim S. says:

    I’m not really disagreeing with your post, John. But, I would like to offer a possible explanation about why some fans have been frustrated with Tabby over the last few years.

    Tabby hasn’t exactly proven himself to be durable or dependable in his time with the Bucs. He seems to have a lot of leg injuries – like every season.

    And, we were pretty much told by the team that he was sent back to Indy for maturity reasons. Was that 2 years ago or last year? I can’t remember now, but it happened.

    So, it isn’t as though fans are making everyting about Tabata up. Contrast it with JHay, who seems to be ready to play every chance he gets. He seems to seize every opportunity, no matter what it is. Clint talks repeatedly about how JHay will do whatever it takes to help the team. That has not been said about Tabby. So far as we know, the team has never had to consider sending JHay back to Indy due to immaturity. I think it is easy to see why fans are behind JHay and not so much behind Tabby.

    I said that I thought Tabby had turned a corner late last season. He has not started out great this year, but I take it as a good sign that he had 2 terrific PH at bats this week to help the team win both games. To me, that shows he really may be turning a corner. I have said all along, and still believe he is the logical extra OF when Polanco arrives. I like what I’ve seen of Tabby this week. Just doing his job, playing his role. That’s a sign of maturity, to me.

  66. Thundercrack says:

    Didn’t RB make a crack about them bringing him in 2018?

  67. Milo Hamilton says:

    Former Riverview football coach Jake Cappa has died, he was only 68. Jake coached the Raiders for 16 years, won 5 conference titles, made 3 trips to the WPIAL Class A Championship game winning the 1997 title. And more than all that, he was just a great guy. It’s a very sad day in Oakmont & Verona.

  68. If it makes anyone feel any better, Polanco is “down” to .354 and his OPS is “only” .991 after a day off yesterday when he was 0-1 as a pinch hitter.

    He’s only hitting .309 for May and his OPS is only .895 for May with 18 RBI in May.

    Not worth anywhere near $15 million, right?


  69. Jandy says:

    RIP Coach Cappa :(

  70. Arriba Wilver says:

    He is what he is. I agree. Was just trying to explain to JohnS why people might have some “disdain” for him.

    But you’re right. It was all Cutch’s fault. ;-)

    And Clint doesn’t put up with lack of effort, as he showed in how he treated all his players that year, including dumping Cedeno at the end of the year,

  71. Jandy says:

    SPunkster, you are quite the pot stirrer today! :P

  72. Got to get people’s blood flowing after a 3-day weekend, J-girl.


  73. Arriba Wilver says:

    BN’s a better business person than that, Nate. IMHO

  74. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t think it would foolishly throwing away money and I’d hardly classify it as playing roulette, especially if it helps to get you to the playoffs. You can make a decent profit in the playoffs. We’re 6 back. More than in it, IMO.

    And I think what they have saved in the way of cash reserves is extremely relevant. If we’re always worried about saving money for later, we may never win today.

    . . . . JHay’s “Use By” date should be just expired by then, if not before

    {because NOW is never as important as 6-7 seasons from NOW}

  76. +++++++++++++++++++

  77. Dom says:

    I heard it was late June. How do you know it is the first week of the month?

  78. Stuart says:

    Thanks J. Both my boys were home, and my brother also. Had a good visit & got a present with a Bucs win.

    PS they generally do well on my birthday, Harvey Haddix pitched his perfect game on my BD in 1956 (I was a mere child of course). Still, one (BD) per year is enough. Sounded like you had a busy weekend as well.

    I see there’s been a bit of a Kerfluffle on the blog. Looks like someone may have forgotten their meds. Hope our friend Biz doesn’t take it too seriously, as it is cyclical. I have noticed that some of our younger compatriots are often amused by poking the bear, so it can be prolonged for a while.

    Have a good one!


  79. Jandy says:

    You’re doing a good job, Spunkster, keep up the good work :D

  80. Jandy says:

    Glad you enjoyed, Stu :)

  81. Jim S. says:

    I feel like the Bucs started to look a bit more like the Bucs of 2013 this week. They actually had a few wins where the starting pitchers pitched well, left with a lead, and turned it over to the bullpen to have it closed down. They also had a win yesterday of the “never say die” variety, which happened frequently last year.

    I believe the offense will be ok the rest of the way, and Polanco should only add to it. Cutch is heading into the time of year when he really heats up, and he is already hitting about .310. Pedro should start to have a few more balls drop in, as long as he maintains his improved plate discipline. Walker is on pace for a pretty big power year. Davis is not crushing HRs, but he is getting on base. I wasn’t expecting James Loney when we didn’t actually sign James Loney, but if Ike can maintain an OBP of .360+, that works for me. And, Gaby is mashing as the other side of the platoon, and even hitting well against RHP off the bench. Martin seems to be healthy again, and we really need him to stay that way. Stewart is proving to be a decent back-up. Jordy isn’t getting it done, plain and simple, and we know Barmes will not provide offense. JHay has really provided a great spark, and Tabby seems to be accepting his role and doing his job. I think the bench has produced well. Lunch Box’s time with the team is down to a few weeks, I think.

    The starting pitching has always been the issue, and still is to me. Morton is doing his job most nights, as is Cole. After that, it is a crap shoot. Volquez has done about what we expected, overall. Unfortunately, we now need more from him than was orginally expected. Cumpton needs to give us 6/7 innings with 2/3 runs just about every time out. I don’t know that he can do that, but it’s what we need now. Liriano absolutely has to not only pitch better, but pitch well from here on out. We can’t expect him to be a #1, but he has to be a 2/3 the rest of the way. I no longer have any faith that he will snap back to 2013 form. I’m assuming we’ll need Locke and others at some point.

    The bullpen is holding up pretty well. We need Grilli to perform well, although not at last year’s 1st half level.

    I think they can still get in the 85 win range this year and contend for a WC spot, but the starting pitching just has to be much more dependable. I think the offense is better than last year, but the dropoff in starting pitching has been dramatic.

  82. Milo Hamilton says:

    Since Mr. Groat mentioned Josh Harrison, here’s my idea. If he’s still producing when it’s time for Polanco to be unveiled, why not use him as a sort of super sub ? Much like the Rays have used Ben Zobrist in the past. maybe one day in right, another in left, another at 3rd. You get the idea. It also serves to rest guys that may be dragging a little, slumping or banged up. You could leave him in the leadoff spot if that continues to work. And you can always scrap it if / when he reaches his expiration date. They always talk about having to think outside the box, this would certainly fit that description.

  83. Stuart says:

    Dominator, Groat has his mysterious ways, but I think the date for super-2 status is changeable. I could say it is too complicated to explain on a blog, but I would just be covering up my own lack of knowledge! Maybe Dejan or Travis can explain how the date is arrived at.


  84. $10-15 million spread over 4 seasons, starting 3 seasons from NOW. (if he is as good as we hope———if he’s no good, no $10-15 million risk!)

  85. Milo Hamilton says:

    It’s the top 22% of this year’s rookie class in terms of service time. Those players won’t be determined for sure until after the completion of the 2016 season.

    Happy Birthday Stu.

  86. Jim S. says:


    I believe a certain faction of fan attention will now turn to “Nutting wasted Polanco’s hot streak by leaving him in the minors just to save money.”

  87. JohnS says:

    Do you think McCutchen will have a problem moving out of CF once Polanco is up and he is then the third best CF on the team? Great team guys like JHay are that way because that is how they get into the lineup.

    Going off topic a bit but I do hate how management of sports teams do things to appease stars at the detriment of the team. Whether it is playing McCutchen in CF over better outfielders or playing Crosby in a shooting spot instead of in a puck retrieval/distributing spot on the power play coaches and managers do things for thier stars egos all the time.

  88. Jim S. says:

    I agree with that. JHay hits lefties well, so there will be opportunities to spell Pedro and/or Walker on occasion.

    He’s becoming our Don “Pittsburgh’s own” Kelly, right before our very eyes.

  89. 100 % agree!

    I fear it won’t be too long, however, that JHay begins to smell like sour milk. Or at least his glove does. Or, like yesterday, his arm.

  90. Baywatch says:

    Hey, Milo! Like your idea. I mean even Michael Jordan’s act got old after awhile! In an unrelated thought: If Edinson shuts out the Mets tonight, will they show new Hitting Coach Lamar Johnson the door? :-)

  91. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jim—that thought has crossed my mind, too.

  92. Baywatch says:

    And he AIN’T no Michael Jordan!

  93. Nate83 says:

    I’m not sure JHay has seized every oppertunity. Yes he has seized the last 7-10 games. Clint speaks very highly of him as a spark plug but I don’t think Clint has any illusions of JHay getting any more then 200-300 at bats on a competetive team.

    I can’t agrue the man’s energy or effort it is right there for everyone to see. He gives 110% every time he plays and I really respect that. It also gets him in trouble sometimes. He has been picked off a number of times. He is a little too hyped up when he bats and often falls behind in counts.

    The last year and a half I have seen Tabata stretch singles into doubles, go from 1st to 3rd on singles and get down the line to prevent double plays. I personally do not have an issue with his current effort. He will be a solid 4th outfielder going forward and I feel comfortable with him starting when somebody gets injured.

  94. Stuart says:

    Thanks Milo. And, Leave it to you to explain it simply. I guess if EVERYBODY starts delaying their callups the date could get later and later as time goes on.

    Thanks agin


  95. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hey Bay !

  96. Jim S. says:

    I got home from my son’s game yesterday just in time to catch the 6th inning on of the Bucs game, followed by the Brewers implosion, then the Yankees pulling out the extra inning affair in St. Louis, and the Hawks getting steamrolled in LA. I topped it off by catching the Ryu flirtation with perfection that resulted in a Cincy losss.

    By my sports fandom standards, it was a very good day.

    Good luck with KRod and his regression, Milwaukee. He can’t seem to find his smoke and mirrors these days. Baltimore pounded him. That bullpen could really use another arm, rather than have to babysit the kid Wong that they stole from the Bucs. I still expect him to come up with a mysterious arm injury pretty soon here, btw.

  97. Nate83 says:

    Groat if he is no good then why are we having this discussion. He obviously won’t make a difference for this 2014 team.

  98. Stuart says:

    Here’s a question. Will Alan Hansen turn out to be the kind of SS they figured Jordy would be? You know, good hit, not terrible on defense. ID settle for that.


  99. You steal that idea from yesterday’s blog?


  100. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’ve never understood the disdain some people have for Cutch in center. No less an expert than Adam Jones called him the best center fielder in the league a couple years ago. He won a gold glove 2 years ago (I know, so did Nate McLouth). He was better than that last year. Has Marte’s play in left convinced you he’s a better center fielder than Cutch? I just don’t get this Cutch is only in center because he’s a star.

    I suspect it is shooting at the best player. (Sorry, this is twice today alone Cutch, who IS the best player on the team, has been shot at). Weird dynamic to me, although not unusual.

  101. Jim S. says:

    In a year or two, we will know for sure just how good of an OF a guy like JHay is when the new tracking system in MLB parks is fully implemented. I wonder if he is he really playing well, or just making athletic plays that cover up his lack of range? I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling Polanco, Marte and Cutch would be making most of these plays with relative ease.

    This is not meant as a slap to JHay, but you don’t learn to play stellar OF like it’s an Evelyn Wood speedreading course. It takes years to become a great OF, just like any position. He is doing very well under the circumstances, though, IMO.

  102. Milo Hamilton says:

    And we’re right about at the point where it becomes a game of chicken. It’s not only when you decide to call your player up, but you might be waiting on a team or two to call up their guy first just to be safe. The system stinks.

  103. I think they think he’s terrible on defense right now, Stuart. Projected as a second baseman. If Pedro bolts and we still have PRNW, people are chortling moving Walker to 3rd then.

  104. Arriba Wilver says:


  105. Great Evelyn Wood line, Jim. How about RosettaStone? Also, agree with your premise above about people saying Neal wasted Polanco’s hot streak. Sounds par for the course.

  106. Jim S. says:

    That’s the hope, Stuart. I think the consensus all along is that the bat will be just fine. And, he can fly. So, that part is good.

    I always read that he only has an average arm, but it is passable. I also read he has the range needed for SS, but not the consistency right now. He really needs work on the routine plays.

    But, he’s more than a year younger than Polanco, I believe, and showing nice pop at AA. So, there is a lot to like about him. I would think, at worst, he takes over for Walker at 2b, if necessary. Maybe Walker gets extended, and moves to 3b? Just guessing on that. Pedro won’t be here for another contract. I think we pretty much know that.

  107. Milo Hamilton says:

    I didn’t see but whoever suggested it, I agree ! Who was it ?

  108. 21sthebest says:

    I’m not suggesting that Cutch should move out of center and I don’t want to move him out of center, I just don’t like his arm there. And I don’t know if it’s him or not, probably not, but he plays so deep a lot of the time. No chance throwing out anyone at the plate on a single, IMO. He has zero assists this year for whatever that’s worth.

  109. NMR says:

    Excellent idea, Milo. Same role that Jordy Mercer should’ve been used in this season.

    But I think Groat has this one pegged. We know who Josh Harrison is, Enjoy the guy currently playing right field while it lasts.

  110. Dom says:

    Does anyone know if Gerrit Cole made the super-two cutoff last year?

  111. Arriba Wilver says:


    1. To chuckle gleefully.

    2. to express with a gleeful chuckle: to chortle one’s joy.

    3. A gleeful chuckle.

    blend of chuckle and snort; coined by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking-Glass (1871)

  112. Milo Hamilton says:

    Won’t know until after the 2015 season.

  113. Arriba Wilver says:

    He did not. He’s not a Super 2.

  114. Strangeglove,

    There are around 40 rookies presently on Major League 25-man rosters, accruing roster time.
    Last season 126 days ending up being the time spent on roster to qualify as within the top 22 % and receiving Super Two status. It was 125 days the season before.

    This season is is estimated (ESTIMATED!) BY MLB Rumors, with the higher # of rooks already on rosters, that the magic # will be 128 days on Major League roster. The season started earlier this year, in March.

    Gerrit Cole came up on June 11 last season and missed the June 6 Super Two day by 5 days.

    This season, with the earlier start and more rookies on rosters, I have predicted June 6 as the “Safe By 2-3-4 Days” target to bring Gregory Polanco up and still save the BMTIB their dang crap $$$.

    June 6 also begins a 7-game homestand, which would be a smart time to put Polanco in right against the Brewers. That fact may speak most strongly AGAINST my predicted date, since BMTIB frequently makes debuts a secret to inhibit ticked sales rather than assist! BMTIB may choose to bring Polanco up on the road on June 13, but they are due to get ONE RIGHT! Right?!?

    Milo is correct that rooks can go up and down during the season, so the actual 22 % cutoff cannot be 100 % determined until after the season.

  115. Nate83 says:

    They won’t know until after next season. It is highly unlikely he is super 2 because they waited a good amount of time after the historically estimated cut off date. The Pirates generally have waited a week or two just to be safe since it is a moving date.

  116. Arriba Wilver says:


  117. Naterosboro says:

    Tuesday tidings….

    * I’d like to 7-3 from this club on this 10 game road trip. A good come-from-behind victory with the bench chipping in with some big hits late is a good way to get it started.

    * Brandon Cumpton got his tenure in the Bucs rotation started nicely. We know from his starts last season and this that he’s shown fairly capable of getting major league hitters out. Going 6 solid innings was a nice shot in the arm for this rotation.

    * Ike Davis is one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Anyone think that would be said at any point this season? That said, I think we need to see a little bit more power from him.

    * On a day following Memorial Day, I propose the nickname of “The General” for Ike Davis.

    * Clearly there is something to playing in a bigger market. It might not be more intense media scrutiny, but it’s something, or players wouldn’t mention it. Whether its that things seem faster in the big cities, and slower in the smaller markets, I don’t know, but it’s something. #itssomething

    * Franky Liriano (0-5, 5.06ERA) looks like he’s going to have a year full of struggles. This is not all that surprising, but it is frustrating for Bucs fans. I’m not even thinking about the fact that he hasn’t put back-to-back good seasons together. I’m thinking of his poor fastball command, and his less-than-stellar secondary pitches. If he can start to execute better, he’ll rebound quickly. He certainly still has the stuff.

    * The Pirates and Russell Martin need to be working on an extension right now. I don’t have much faith in Tony Sanchez being the everyday catcher. He’d be an Ok backup for Martin. I’d also like Russell to be here to mentor Reese McGuire as he matures.

    * I loved the article on Daniel McCullers from Mark Kaboly yesterday. At 6’7”, 350+lbs, he can be a real force on the defensive line and could be a huge steal for the Steelers in the 6th round (215th (or somewhere around there) overall). He’s extremely coachable and will do exactly what the coaches ask. I look forward to seeing his development under DL Coach Mitchell & DC Dick LeBeau.

    * Joe Starkey’s column yesterday was also in line with my thinking from last week. Yes, the responsibility of knowing what is going in your body is ultimately on the player. But, if NFL teams were knowingly supplying their players with painkillers that weren’t safe, or their risks were not discussed with the player, then I think the players have a right to sue.

    * In reading Rossi’s blog entry, it looks like there is a possibility that Dan Bylsma will be back as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ultimately, it is the new GM’s decision, but, according to Rossi, ownership is Ok with Bylsma returning as HC. I’m Ok with it too, as I think Bylsma is a good HC. I just would like to see a new coach b/c I want the new GM to have his guy in place.

    I didn’t get to say it yesterday as I did not post, but to all US Military veterans, past, present & futute…


    And finally….

    HAVE A GOOD DAY ALL! LET’S GO BUCS! Take the series tonight in Citi!


  118. pattonbb says:

    “Navel” isn’t the first word I came up with.

  119. NMR says:

    Ha, thank you, Nate. Has Jhay ever siezed an opportunity? More than enough chances to hold down a position over the last three years.

    But hey, he’s been great this month and he hustles.

  120. Milo Hamilton says:

    Then I wholeheartedly agree. With the people I like, of course. I feel like I was just taken to the principal’s office or something.

  121. Stuart says:

    Both of those moves would be OK with me, but still doesn’t solve SS. Maybe trade Pedro for a “can’t miss” Venezuelan SS
    And a starting pitcher to eat some innings?


  122. NMR says:

    Can anyone explain what this Sooper-too busniess iz?

  123. Just pullin your chain. Several said the same thing between picnics.


  124. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sorry, I saw something that said he was safe, but you guys are right. It’s players with more the 2 but less than 3 years service time who are in the pool, and that can change over time, until it’s decided,

  125. ROFL.

    I think it really was chortling, AW. And it came from a hooka-smoking caterpillar.


  126. Arriba Wilver says:


  127. JohnS says:

    I agree McCuthcen is the teams best player and he is by a good margin, but he is not a great fielder. He has very good speed to makeup for the routes he takes to the ball. He also doesn’t get great breaks on the ball. He doesn’t throw particularly well either.

    The best defensive OF the Pirates have had in recent years was Gorkys Hernandez. His routes and breaks on the ball couple with his speed made it very impresive watching him play the field. Shame he couldn’t hit a lick.

  128. Dom says:

    I’m a big fan of Daniel McCullers but I’m worried about his size.

    His weight is ideal if not a tad too heavy but his height is his biggest enemy.

    A man of his height is really going to struggle getting low enough to play NT.

    He would be a much better prospect if he was ½ a foot shorter but if he was he would have been gone well before we took him with the last pick in the sixth round.

  129. Adam Frazier and JaCoby Jones are on their way, Stuart. Unless Jones is the PTBNL in the Ike trade. But Frazier is a couple years away and Jones is, too, most likely.

  130. NMR says:

    Good rundown, Jim.

    Jordy Mercer, ironically, has renewed my hope in Hanson as a shortstop. Jordy, to his credit, has seriously sharpened up his focus at short and cut down the unforced errors. Not sure you can call this an increase in skill, but he’s a completely acceptable defender right now.

    This seems like exactly what is needed from Hanson.

  131. NMR says:

    Frazier or Jones: take your pick between no bat and no glove.

  132. Arriba Wilver says:

    He’s an “acceptable” defender, IF he can hit.

  133. Jones is a work in progress with the glove. Has 11 errors already, like Pedro. But he was an outfielder by trade. Frazier may yet hit.

  134. NMR says:

    Just talking gloves, AW.

  135. Dom says:

    Is that a legitimate question?

  136. Cmat0829 says:

    Mets are an embarrassment. Alderson is about as smart as Jim Bowden. Poor Terry Collins.

  137. Arriba Wilver says:


  138. Jandy says:

    Dom, there you go, being cute again :*

  139. Dom says:

    Thanks everyone

  140. Bautista the Animal,

    I always appreciate and look forward to your homework.

  141. Naterosboro says:

    Yes, at 6’7”, NFL O-lineman may be able to get underneath him and move him around. But his athleticism for a 6’7” man is pretty good. Combine this with the fact that he’s already aware that he needs to get & stay low off the ball, and I think we may have good recipe going. He’ll also be getting instruction from some of the best in the business.

    The Steelers D-line needs to get back to taking up the 5 O-lineman, and allowing the linebackers to run around, cause havoc & make plays. McCullers can go along way to replacing Casey Hampton.

    What’s also good about the kid is his athleticism will allow the Steelers to move him to DE. If he can’t stick in the middle, perhaps he can make a home for himself as a 3-4 DE, finally replacing either Aaron Smith or Brett Kiesel (when he retires).

    At the very least, Daniel should be able to get his hands up and knock down a few passes.

    If he stays away from the Doritos…. ;-)

  142. JohnS says:

    Agreed. If he is going to hit like he is currently he needs to be an elite defender not acceptable.

  143. NMR says:

    What in the heck is everyone gonna talk about between June and October, when we have the same exact conversations regurgitated all over again?

    Oh, who am I kidding: Nutting’s Money.

  144. NMR says:

    My goodness…

  145. 21sthebest says:

    Todd Haley.

  146. Kentuck Knob,

    I see you mention this frequently. Hanson still projects as a shortstop, the best Pirates have.

    Sure he still makes errors, but Derek Jeter made 56 errors one Minor League season! And Jeter made 29 errors in AAA the year before the Yanks brought him up. How many Gold Gloves does Jeter have?!?!

    Hanson has really fine range——no, excellent range——and a very strong arm for shortstop.
    Quit communicating the gossip that Hanson would be a better 2nd baseman.

    Pirates have a 2nd baseman. Pirates NEED a shortstop, and Hanson could be a good one.

    (Then again, I like Chase d’Arnaud!!!!)

  147. Jandy says:

    Hanson has bad last season at SS, and he’s just as bad this season at SS.
    But yeah, give him time, he may come around.
    He can hit the ball rather well.

  148. Jim S. says:

    He’s a candidate for shin shortening surgery, I think. It’s still experimental, but worth trying in this case.

  149. SeanAY says:

    David Morehouse?

  150. You’re right, it is gossip. I have never seen him play short. I don’t know how many Gold Gloves Jeter has.

  151. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, I was not expecting to be saying Jordy has been a better defender than hitter this year. But, that’s where we are, I guess.

    I think, as a hitter, his true level is probably midway between what we saw last year and what he’s done this year. If he can be that for the rest of the year and continue to just be competent defensively, I guess it’s not awful.

  152. Bizrow says:

    I’m fine ;-)

  153. Jandy says:

    But I have :D

  154. Jim S. says:

    Answer: Not enough. He’ll get another one this year just because.

    Actually heard on MLB TV yesterday: “Derek Jeter is embarking on his final series in the new Busch Stadium.” I haven’t looked it up, but this can’t be more than his 2nd or 3rd series there all-time.

  155. Bizrow says:

    The guy we gave up for Ike ;-)

  156. Jim S. says:

    If we could just stuff Omar Vizquel in the way back machine, Stuart, we’d have something. Or, were you thinking Davey Concepcion? Luis Aparicio? Were they all Venezuelan?

  157. Andrew says:

    Derek Jeter is/was a terrible defensive shortstop, using him as a comparison is an indictment of Hanson fielding ability.

  158. hockeymonster says:

    And no kerfuffle is complete without one side questioning the other sides sanity. Resorting to name calling is always a sign of strength when the facts are in dispute.

  159. NMR says:

    Ha! Yes. I’d gladly discuss wild hypotheticals for the mysterious PTBNL at this point.

    BTW, keep up the good work and way to stay out of the fray yesterday, sir.

  160. NMR says:

    James Neal’s meth addiction?

  161. Jandy says:

    May 27, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    I know Altoona is on the list, Biz, but did you see the other one?

    May 26, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    Rector. PA


    Mark E Mahan
    May 26, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    add Altoona,Pa. please i will join the Lunatics bcuz of roll call AE Graham ha



  162. Jim S. says:

    I probably should have said “embraces every opportunity”, Nate. JHay truly hasn’t played well in every opportunity over the last few years. But, this year he has.

    But, does anyone really think Tabata hasn’t at least played a role in why fans have not embraced him as they have JHay? Fans didn’t send him to Indy to get an attitude adjustment. Fans didn’t keep pulling his hamstrings.

    It has never been about Tabata’s ability. I think it has purely been attitude (or immaturity) and durability that have held him back. I also genuinely think he gets it now. I saw a guy this week who seemed to accept his role and excel, and then be very happy with how he contributed on both PH occasions. If there really was an issue in the past with teammates, as someone mentioned above, I think what he did this week will help in that regard. I think he is a key guy on this bench moving forward.

  163. Jim S. says:

    I like the Fray. Good band.

    Missed them on the blog yesterday, though. I didn’t realize it got nasty here again.

  164. NMR says:

    Definitely agree there, Jim.

    My biggest worry about the halfway between here and there logic is that his overall line last year was skewed so, so heavily by what he did against lefties.

    Covered up generally terrible hitting against righties, and that certainly hasn’t changed. Unfortunately I think we’re just seeing a guy that isn’t being put in a position to succeed and trying to do too much to make up for it. Snowball ensues.

  165. Andrew says:

    Good stuff, the Pirates offense has been the 2nd best in the NL in the month of May, starting pitching still near the bottom of the NL. I disagree at bit on Morton he needs to pitch like the mid-rotation guy the Pirates signed him to be, not the back end guy, the Pirates have penalty of back end options.

    The bullpen has been better in May but most of that is just stranding runners, which is not particularly a skill, still not really striking any one out, and it ranks near the bottom of the NL. So if the Pirates want to get series about this season it all starts with pitching.

  166. Bizrow says:


  167. Andrew says:

    Tabata’s issue is he has never been as good as when he first came up, I think he is an okay but limited fourth outfielder. He never was a great fielder and is now a liability on the bases unlike when he first came up. He can be a productive hitter when he is driving the ball the opposite way and does an okay job of getting on-base. So he does some things not terribly and others around league average, compare that to Snider who if he isn’t hitting for power brings nothing.

    If Harrison can maintain 3/4 of this pace the Pirates have a couple productive bench players, now about the starting pitching.

  168. True and Groaty’s infatuation with Chase doesn’t reflect the opinion of the heirarchy either. He was DFA’d and he’s still with us, passed over by everyone else and is playing mostly the OF.

  169. Andrew says:

    It was rumored to cocaine, lets not start spreading falsehoods.

  170. JohninOshkosh says:

    Just read a Hockey News link a Kings fan sent me from 2011. Went on and on about Darryl Sutter being a terrible hire for the Kings. Also, sent me a blog piece about how Sutter was horrible with his decision making during first two rounds of this year’s playoffs.

    Now everyone thinks he, or someone like him, is the answer. Win and the world rejoices. Lose and it’s your head. Wonder if the Hawks think they are entitled to a SC championship ?

    Hockey fans.

  171. Jandy says:

    I missed it as well. Was busy with company and having some relaxation. Glad I missed it!

  172. Jim S. says:

    I believe you may have just spawned a fake twitter account.

  173. Jandy says:

    All rumors. Could be all hooey…but somehow I doubt it…

  174. Nastynate82 says:

    I wouldn’t go at it with an aim of kind of ticking off the best player on the team. Part of a great player’s DNA is pride I think. Many stars would look at it as a demotion.

  175. Jandy says:

    LOL @ JimS!

  176. Jim S. says:


  177. Andrew says:

    Great stuff, we gone from citing the Canadians and their character to the Kings and their toughness as the model to follow, could it get anymore results based. Great thing about playoffs is there are a lot ways to lose but only one way to win.

  178. Jandy says:


  179. Jim S. says:

    Did Vin “The Maytag Repairman” get scooped up yet this time?

  180. Jim S. says:

    I’m starting to wonder if the poor guy has chronic halitosis or something.

  181. Jim S. says:

    Great post, Andrew.

    JHay and Tabata are what they are – role players with the potential to be good role players. We need that from both of them.

  182. Stuart says:

    Jim, don’t all SSs come from Venezuela?


  183. Jim S. says:

    I don’t claim to have scouting abilities, AW, but I thought I have read that the Pirates, internally, believed both Marte and now Polanco were better CF candidates in the high minors than Cutch was. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because I believe they rate both of them very highly as OF and Cutch just a shade below.

    I’m ok with Cutch playing CF. I think he is one of the Top 5-7, defensively, in MLB right now. But, I do believe Marte would actually be better there. I guess we’ll have to see with Polanco. That said, LF is so important at PNC that I don’t know that the team even benefits by switching Cutch to LF and Marte to CF.

  184. Jim S. says:

    Gotta have a narrative ready for any situation. ;-)

  185. Jim S. says:

    Did I hear the Collins press conference correctly? Did he praise Valverde’s professionalism, but then go on to call him Alaverde? That’s what it sounded like to me.

  186. SeanAY says:

    Too late for that.

  187. Dom says:

    He’s still in Limbo.

  188. Milo Hamilton says:

    Some solid blogging today. Especially the James Neal stuff. But hey, at least we’re all getting along.


  189. JohninOshkosh says:

    Not a single post about Kimye, though.

  190. Sarah says:

    I have a pal in LA and it’s funny how he bashes Sutter. I just yell at him and say “you could do a lot worse!”

    Look at how the guy has brought his younger players along since last year, now contributing important minutes.

    Would take him in a heart beat. He and the GM have done a great Job IMO.

    So Trotz to Wash?

    Is there any remaining GM spot for Shero? I think not, except here, and I doubt Mario takes him back.

    Bylsma still here. Dunno what that means exactly.

  191. cmat0829 says:

    this is deja vu..werent the Pirates in town a year or two back and the Mets dumped coaches then too,….and Collins went off in the press conference?

    It may be time to pull the plug, though Collins is a good man…. I’d clean house if I owned the Mets.

  192. Jim S. says:

    A lot of really good ones do, Stu. I thought Vizquel, who I think is Venezuelan, was about the best I ever saw with the glove. Maybe Ozzie was better, but not by much.

    When you add the bat in, it is hard to say Michiganite Derek Jeter is not the best of the last 50 years at least. He is a shell of his former self defensively now, but there was a time when he was a pretty good fielder. And, he has monster offensive stats for the position. I kid about his farewell tour, but the truth is we won’t see another guy like him at SS for a long time, probably.

    I remember a time when San Pedro DeMacoris (sp) was the hotbed for SS. I think that is in the Dominican Republic.

  193. Jim S. says:

    He’s not great, but he had a really nice year for us last year and he’s done OK this year – especially compared to some of the relievers in MLB who just plain stink.

  194. cmat0829 says:

    Happy Tuesday one and all…. my musings from Denver International Airport as I wait out a flight delay…..

    1) JayHey is a useful sub.. no question right now he needs to play everyday while he is contributing, but KEEP CALM on the “he needs to be an everyday player”… if JayHey is an everyday player, we are a mediocre at best baseball team. Period.

    2) His role moving forward needs to be 3B vs left-handers, with occasional starts in the outfield here and there (after Polanco Arrives).

    3) Tabata is plenty good as a 4th OF. Anyone opining to the contrary does so either because of the ‘contract’ (which baffles me because it is not a lot of money and don’t we all want Nutting to spend his money??) or his past ‘lack of focus/hustle/durability’ etc. I think on this player we need to live in the here and now… he is superior to Snider and anyone else the Bucs can employ as the 4th OF. Period.

    4) Cumpton — LOVE the command of this kid and his cool demeanor on the mound. I hope the league doesn’t adjust to his ‘fastballs inside’ mentality, though in this league that is a rare breed indeed that relishes pitching inside on these hitters.

    5) This road trip. Saw someone hope for a 7-3 trip…not gonna knock it because I’m hopeful as well, but at this point wouldn’t we all realistically take a 5-5 trip? The team has been woeful on the road and this one goes cross-country to another of our ‘house of horrors’ – Dodger Stadium… just setting a realistic expectation. They just need to get through this one and then turn on the jets at home. (That said, if they can avoid the sweep at Chavez Ravine and win the series vs. SD and the Mess, they can get to 5-5, so it CAN be done).

  195. cmat0829 says:

    Kimye is dripping with power.

  196. NMR says:

    Including one or two on the current 25-man.

  197. Jim S. says:

    So, it appears we are in a bold, new era where rookies start on a Dick LeBeau defense. Interesting.

  198. Jim S. says:

    There’s also that. Maybe he doesn’t throw enough grounders for their tastes.

  199. Jandy says:

    he’s just a drip…

  200. Nate83 says:

    “compare that to Snider who if he isn’t hitting for power brings nothing”

    This made me laugh because he hasn’t ever really hit for power at the major league level so he has brought nothing except the hopes and promises of dripping with power.

  201. Thundercrack says:

    speaking of which….what is the deal with Lambo? Is he still on the DL.

    J-Hay stole his chance.

  202. Nate83 says:

    I’ll agree with that Jim. I like a bench of Gaby, Tabata, JHay, Stewart and Barmes/Mercer. Especially if they can go get a legitimate SS to start. This team offensively seems to be more complete then last year at this point in the season. Maybe close to being equal to what they had after the Byrd, Morneau pick ups. Polanco could definatley be the piece that makes them a top 5 or 6 offense in the NL.

    I however would be more comfortable with Tabata starting everyday in the event of an injury as opposed to JHay. It’s just personal opinion but I just don’t see JHay as anything more then an occasional spark plug. I can see Tabata as a contributing piece to a winning team.

  203. 21sthebest says:

    D-III University of Wisconsin-Whitewater today became the first NCAA school in history to have won the baseball, basketball, and football national championships.

    And if anyone is interested, Seton Hill College is currently 1-0 in the D-II World Series.

  204. Dom says:

    Mark Madden said that DK will be on his show later in the week for a second edition of the Polanco debate.

    He didn’t give an exact day/time.

  205. He must have stoved that finger pretty badly.

  206. JohnS says:

    I always thought the complex defense was a euphamism for, “oops we drafted the wrong guy again.” Rookies are seldom all pros. Woodley, Timmons, Polamalu, Taylor, and Smith all found ways to contribute before their third or fourth years in the defense. If a guy isn’t contributing by year 3 he was most likely a miss.

  207. NMR says:

    Snuck him through once, sneek him through twice. Right? Riiggghhht.

  208. NMR says:

    And for that matter, Stolmy where art thou?

  209. Arriba Wilver says:

    JohnS. Agree with you on Gorkys 100%. In his short time here he made some amazing plays. Fun to watch in the field.

  210. Thundercrack says:

    J-Hay playing third base tonight. Pedro sitting against the left.

    Tabata in RF.

    (source: Pirate fbook)

  211. Arriba Wilver says:

    DK’s favorite subject. ;-)

  212. Nate83 says:

    I hate seeing Pedro sit, especially after getting two hits but it’s hard to disagree with the move. Both Tabata and JHay are playing well enough to earn some starts. It wouldn’t hurt to rest Cutch, Marte or Walker before making the cross country trip. That will be a big 7 games on the west coast.

  213. Arriba Wilver says:

    Someone’s been reading the Blog!

  214. Jandy says:

    Bitter beer face…


  215. Arriba Wilver says:


  216. Arriba Wilver says:

    Which is stronger, “Period” or “Write it Down?”

  217. Jandy says:

    Write it down. Period.


  218. Arriba Wilver says:


  219. Another bad stove.

    “He’s too stove up.”
    –Carl Childers, Slingblade

  220. I’m sure Hurdle is a big fan.

  221. buggee says:

    just when there’s a plate full of french fries in front of him

  222. 21sthebest says:

    I wish I could watch the Pirates without ever seeing Tabata again. I don’t think he has earned a thing.

  223. Arriba Wilver says:

    I just saw some of that again recently. Not a big Billy Bob Thornton fan, but when he’s good (like the TV series Fargo) he’s good. He was robbed not getting the Oscar for his acting in this. He did get writing, though, as something of a consolation.

  224. Agree with you on that. Not a huge fan, either, but Sling Blade stands alone. Real acting involved in that movie by many.

    Even Dwight Yoakam was good in it and he’s about as good an actor as Glen Campbell.

  225. Thank God. Someone with some sense. Let him pinch hit for the rest of his career–sommers else. If he’s only ever gonna be a 4th OF, there are plenty of those around.

  226. Jim S. says:

    I heard he never makes a baseball-related decision any day w/o at least checking here first for direction. ;-)

  227. Jim S. says:

    That’s impressive.

  228. Jim S. says:

    Absolutely, especially if he was drafted fairly high. Low round picks and F/A might not ever be expected to contribute on much more than special teams.

  229. Jim S. says:

    I like both of them equally, but personally I side with “that is all.” ;-)

    “Nuff said isn’t bad in a pinch, either.

  230. Thundercrack says:

    If Hurdle does read the blog he has a standing invitation to join my “group”.

  231. Thundercrack says:

    He got his first stolen base yesterday!!!

  232. Jim S. says:

    I worked some Sling Blade into the blog not long ago myself. I thought that was a great movie, and Billy Bob was terrific.

    “Some folks call it a sling blade. I call it a kaiser blade. Mmm-hmm.”

  233. 21sthebest says:

    And he let everyone know it.

  234. TC and the Pot Stirrers or your “group” group?

  235. What did he do, take the base back to the dugout with him, ala Lloyd Mac?

  236. NMR says:

    You missed a lot of good baseball last year, 21.

  237. Thundercrack says:

    Ha!! Both :-)

    But especially my ‘group’ group

  238. bpn8pitt says:

    Tough luck. Good player who just cant stay on the field. Hope its nothing serious.

  239. 21sthebest says:

    That one is going over my head NMR.

  240. Andrew says:

    Nate there was a solid 300 PAs once in Toronto, but Snider’s power is an albatross.

  241. Nate83 says:

    4th outfielders become starters at some point during the year for most teams because of injuries. Good luck finding a 4th outfielder that outperforms Tabata. There are few in the league. The Dodgers have 1 outfielder batthing above .250.

  242. Andrew says:

    Sutter is definitely a good coach. But he walked into a good situation and I would like someone to figure out why his teams produce elite possession numbers but some middling to abysmal goal numbers. He also has some ridiculous talent to work with, Kopitar, Richards, Carter, Brown, Gaborik and Doughtly and Voynov on the blue line (you know those guys who carried Scuderi) both only 24.

    If available he wouldn’t be a bad hire, but I have to say its funny how the Kings were on the brink of being swept a couple weeks ago.

    I mostly have a list of coaches I don’t want to see, Caryle, Tortorella, then another group I cannot really differentiate among, Trotz being in the later group, he would have been another not bad hire.

    Regardless of coach Pens need a 3rd line and to figure out the defensive situation.

  243. Andrew says:

    Tabata effectively replaced Marte’s production when Marte was hurt down the stretch. I think Byrd and Marte played like 3 games together.

  244. “I like the way you talk.”

  245. Jim S. says:

    Nice, TC. I’m sure you would be handsomely rewarded by Clint.

  246. Jim S. says:

    I think Tabata’s key PH this week earned him the shot tonight. He’s my pick to click.

  247. Jim S. says:


  248. 21sthebest says:

    I think he’s playing because Pedro is sitting against a lefty.

  249. Tim says:

    Dejan, what makes you think Tocchet will click with the Pens? I’m all for the change of direction with implementing a stronger work ethic along with grit and character but why was Tocchet released from Tampa Bay if he was so good? I guess you could say the same about Bylsma. People will wonder why they let a Jack Adams coach go, but we know that answer. What makes you think Rick can steer this team to a Stanley Cup?

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