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Morning Java: Hometown discount?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column takes a topical theme and weighs the merits of drafting the hometown kid. And yes, the column was written before Brandon Saad scored another brilliant goal last night for the Blackhawks:

So, is it really as meaningless as sports execs tend to claim?

Let me hear from you on this one. It’s anything but a clear-cut issue, at least from this viewpoint.

>> Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates played more terrific ball last night at Dodger Stadium. Rob Biertempfel reports from Los Angeles.

Bryan Morris was dealt for a comp pick, by Biertempfel.

Gregory Polanco builds to a crescendo. Travis Sawchik reports from Indianapolis, and I recommend it highly. It’s about actual baseball, a rarity when discussing this extraordinary young man.

To wit, here from last night’s Subway Final Word on WPXI-TV are Mark Madden and I discussing — not of my choice, mind you — the standard fare:

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

Here’s Dodgers news from the Los Angeles Times.

Here’s Padres news from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Here are official game highlights on

>> And the Cup final is set: Kings vs. Rangers. The Los Angeles Times has tons on this topic, too.

Not sure how many words are needed, anyway, when one will do: Classic. This Game 7 capped as good a series as the NHL has seen — any teams, any round — in a long, long time. And unlike so many other great series that somehow end up with anticlimactic duds, this one was perfect. It had it all. It had the incredible crowd in Chicago. It had the home team staking a quick two-goal lead, followed soon by the first and second and third examples of both teams’ resiliency. And as you can see above, it had a hardscrabble goal with Alec Martinez’s point shot ricocheting through traffic in overtime.

Here it is in motion:

It’s a genuine shame this wasn’t the Cup final. Really is.

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

Here are official game highlights on

>> A look at Darrius Heyward-Bey, the Steelers’ wild-card receiver, by Mark Kaboly.

A return to the rush? More from Kaboly.

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

photo 2

>> Another rotten result for the Riverhounds, this a 1-1 tie with Harrisburg on a late brown coverage. Matt Grubba reports from Highmark.

I was over at the match, as well, so …

Blogginess from the scene: This is just a bad team. That’s not to say the Hounds can’t turn it around to some extent. Insanely, they’re only eight points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in USL Pro. But that doesn’t change that, right now, they’re bad. You can see some connectivity in spurts, but both forwards are flat — Collins John floats, and reigning league MVP Jose Angulo looks fatigued — plus the midfield flanks are awful, even at rudimentary elements such as controlling the long ball, and there remains barely a trace of trying to move through the midfield. … Add to this a decidedly blah Harrisburg side that had just played the previous night, then bused here, and you’ve got a better idea of how lousy it was to concede an 85th-minute goal to Jimmy McLaughlin essentially waltzing to the top of the box. … I wrote when Justin Evans was fired that it wasn’t the coach. It was the paycheck-collecting mercenaries. Still waiting to see that proven wrong. Anthony Obodai, one of those hired guns, had three options on one sequence at the left midfield in Harrisburg territory and turned and lazily fired the ball all the way back to his goalkeeper. Yeah, let someone else deal with it. … There aren’t easy answers for this. The front office needs to step up its coaching search and cut interim man Niko Katic a break. From there, it needs to tell about half this roster to pack the bags. They’re hurting the franchise. … It’s still a really nice place to go. I snapped that shot up there during the Anthem.

>> I’ll join TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. today.

>> 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. Maz in Iowa says:

    Pirates looked like the 2013 version on Sunday.Hats off.Just wish they could develop some kind of consistency.

  2. Maz in Iowa says:

    Guess this is why Nurse Ratchet rules this place with an iron fist.It is why this is an asylum-like place.The Bucs just drive you crazy

  3. Ghost says:

    Ask and ye shall receive. ;-) The consistency, it’s a-coming. Cutch is making hay with the single good pitch per at-bat he gets. Pedro is slowly getting an uptick in results in return for his patience in buying into what Clint & Co. have been preaching. Petey used the whole field last night, not missing much on the down and away stuff with stubborn pull swings, but going with the pitches. The demise of Josh Harrison has been most prematurely declared by several around here, recently. I’m happy to see that Josh, himself, failed to take note. And the starting pitching is beginning to find itself. Volquez bent but he never broke last night and gave his team a chance to win. Biggest source of consistency is having Martin back as quarterback. Everyone else is just more competent at what they do when Russell is around.

  4. Damian Panek says:

    The hometown discount depends completely on the individual and their desires.
    When I was young and day dreamed about playing in the NHL, I not only dreamt of being a Pen – but even being a Sabre would have been awesome – anywhere that parents could be nearby.
    But some kids may just not care.

  5. Matt says:

    You can see the difference in every position when 55 is the quarterback, I mean catching. Pitchers are focused, opposing batters are not, umpires are, well “talked” to. He deserves a contract offer after his MMA debut following the season vs. Maldonado. On a serious note, how much longer does Marte not care?

  6. JoeyBats says:

    BUCCOS — Down on the Farm
    (We’ll keep you apprised of how some of the top prospects are doing; …..this week the position players. Games played through June 1).
    RF — Gregory “the Great” Polanco — Triple A – Indy – Bats : L
    .350/ .411 / .548 … HR 6, RBI 46… G 55 , AB 217, R 41, H 76, K 40, BB 22, SB…14
    1B/OF – Andrew Lambo – Triple A – Indy – Bats: L ….on the DL
    .344 / .430/ .570 … HR 2, RBI 19… G 26, AB 93, R 18, H 32, K 22, BB 13, SB 3
    3B – Stetson Allie – Double A – Altoona – Bats: R
    .207 / .324 / .431 …HR 10, RBI 28, ….G 49, AB 174, R 22, H 36, K 53, BB 28, SB 3
    SS – Alan Hanson – Double A – Altoona – Bats: S
    .252/ .291/ .421 … HR 6, RBI 27,… G 52, AB 214, R 26, H 54, K 45, BB 11, SB 11
    OF – Mel Rojas, Jr – Triple A – Indy – Bats: S …just promoted to Triple A (53 games @ Altoona)
    .307/ .383/ .446 … HR 5, RBI 36,… G 55, AB 202, R 27, H 62, K 37, BB 24, SB 7
    OF – Josh Bell – Single A – Bradenton – Bats: S
    .299 / .344 / .456…. HR 5, RBI 33…. G 52, AB 204, R 21, H 61, K 33, BB 14, SB 4
    .OF – Harold Ramirez – Single A – West Virginia – Bats: R
    .278 / .351 / .371…. HR 0, RBI 12…. G 24, AB 97, R 15, H 27, K 14, BB 8, SB…5
    SS – JaCoby Jones – Single A _ West Virginia Bats: R
    271 / .350 / .430…. HR 7, RBI 28…. G 55, AB 207, R 34, H 56, K 60, BB 22, SB…12
    3B -Wyatt Mathisen – Single A – West Virginia – Bats: R
    .237 / .316 / .321….. HR 3 RBI 17… G 53, AB 190, R 18, H 45, K 29, BB 21, SB 2
    C – Reese McGuire – Single A – West Virginia – Bats : L
    .291 / .350 / .333 …..HR 0, RBI 17 …. G 36 , AB 141, R 17, H 41, K 16, BB 13, SB 2
    OF – Austin Meadows –XXXXXXXXX – Bats: L (Injured…rehabbing)
    BEAT ‘EM BUCS !!

  7. JAL says:

    JAL’s I Love My Dog Dog Morning Links

    I Love My Dog Cat Stevens


    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: Breaking Down The Musical Chair of Relievers

    Prospect Watch: Josh Bell Homers During Jason Creasy’s Gem

    Pirates Claim Pitcher Wirfin Obispo From Atlanta Braves

    Draft Prospect Watch: What the New Draft Pick Could Mean For Pirates

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Andrew McCutchen paces Pirates in 5-3 win


    Game 56: Pirates 5 Dodgers 3

    8 Green Weenie

    Pedro & Cutch Gang Up On LA To Take Series With 5-3 Win

    9 Rumbunter

    The Pirates Dismantle The Dodgers at Chavez Revine

    10 Saber Bucs

    Pirates Hitting and Pitching Rankings for May

  8. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 LA Times

    Dodgers can’t overcome Edinson Volquez, fall to Pirates 5-3

    12 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Padres Game Preview

    13 Chicago Sun Times

    Samardzija hears trade talk, won’t listen

    14 Orange County Registerb>

    Pirates get to Greinke in Dodgers’ loss

    15 Pirates Site

    Bucs rattle Greinke behind Cutch’s big night

    Hughes regains edge to tighten bullpen roster

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds’ 4-3 win caps off successful road trip

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Brewers turn the tables on Cubs with rout

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards suffer another ‘ugly’ loss

    19 Fangraphs

    In Defense of Jeffrey Loria and the Marlins

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week in Quotes

  9. Jandy says:

    The article on Polanco is excellent reading. I really can’t wait to see this kid play baseball.

    Tried to stay up and watch the Bucs last night. Flipped between that game and the Hawks/Kings amazing game 7. Rangers…well..all I can say is good luck.

    Couldn’t make the finish line on the Bucs’ game. Read that Grilli got himself into and out of a jamb. Glad to see Volquez do well. Cracked up laughing when JHay hit the foul long ball, then hit one immediately after in fair territory :)

  10. Jandy says:

    Pens signed prospect forward Oskar Sundqvist to an entry level contract. at 6’3, 184 pounds, here’s hoping he fills out and makes an impact in a couple seasons.
    Info here:

    Maybe Monster Mash can let us know what he thinks of this Swede :)

  11. DJ says:

    Wondering if Marte will be the Bucs long-term answer in left with guys like Bell and Meadows in the system. Kid still has a long way to go. And it begins with Marte thinking every aspect of his game. Natural talent only takes you so far.

    Hats off to the Kings. The team never wilts. And we thankfully avert Hawks “dynasty” rhetoric for another year. That said, maybe Geno and Sid got reacquainted with the value of going directly to the net, a la Toews, Kane and entire Kings team.

  12. Robert says:

    The Pirates are 16-12 over the last calendar month (5/2-6/1). Lou Brown turns to his bench coach and says, “It’s startin’ to come together, Pepper.”

    AJ Burnett: 3-4, 3.79 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, $16 Million.
    The guy who, essentially, replaced him…Volquez: 3-4, 4.25 ERA, 1.188 WHIP, $5 Million.
    Not listening to fans who only look at the payroll and not value: Priceless

  13. The Gunner says:

    Maybe they rushed Allie to AA ball. Any word on the PTBNL in the Ike Davis deal? Let’s hope it’s not JaCoby Jones!!

  14. DJ says:

    The Avatar description was dead on.

    Polanco’s lower half proportions — especially his legs — conjures up the image.

  15. The Gunner says:

    I like AJ a lot. However, I really think the BMTIB made a good move not bringing him back. He has certainly scuffled his last few starts. His skills could be starting to diminish – after all, he is close to 40 years old!

  16. bpn8pitt says:

    What about the value of Jordy Mercer?

  17. Jandy says:

    Pot stirrer! ;)

  18. Jandy says:

    Love the nickname for him :)

  19. bpn8pitt says:

    I dont like the BFD manifestos that get posted, but I also dont like apologizing for a payroll that has sat near the bottom of baseball for decades.

    The Pirates may have a good team for a few years. Cost money to keep a good team together.
    We’ll see.

  20. DJ says:

    Picking Joe Morrow over Brandon Saad because the latter was not tough enough? Really, Ray?

    Wasn’t a major rap on Morrow that he fancied himself an offensive D-man, shying away from responsible and physical D-play?

  21. The Pirates have needed consistency from the very beginning. You kept hoping they’d show it more in LA but then there was that lousy Saturday game. Hopefully, the Bucs will show more consistency this time in San Diego although you never know. with them anymore.

  22. Jandy says:

    True, no arguments here, bpn

  23. Naje says:

    Three excellent games and one clunker against one of the best lineups in baseball is inconsistent?

    I’ll take that definition of inconsistent anytime.

  24. Joe D says:

    I don’t think that teams should draft a player because they are local. Drafting should be based on talent alone, especially for the Penguins and Pirates where the local amateur talent pools aren’t that deep. If the top two players on the board are equal and one of them is a local guy, then take the local guy.

  25. DJ says:

    On Saad, it’s amazing what one less than stellar season can do to your draft order. Beyond a certain point, scouts and front offices overthink it — looking for reasons not to trust a track record they’ve witnessed for 3-4 years.

    Same thing happened on Marino, although appreciating the other rumblings. But were his abilities to see the entire field, to think the game, his incredibly quick release and arm strength suddenly going to go away? We’ll take a flyer on a Kordell Stewart first — in an effort to mine gold — and yet not select a proven talent like Marino.

  26. MJT2989 says:

    Wasn’t Jonathan Toews guaranteed another Cup, along with a Blackhawks dynasty? I thought all he does is win. I’m sorry, Toews is a top 5 player, but I’m sick of hearing that “best in the game” hogwash. He’s averaged over a pt/game just once in his career with quite a few loaded teams. Sid could score 100 points in his sleep. This is NOT defending Sid’s playoff performance. He was awful, period. But let’s not go passing torches again.

  27. Sarah says:

    Incredible series for the WCF…..the most amazing thing for me was the nbr of goals allowed, esp by the likes of Quick.

    Crawford gave up 28 in 7 games….he should thank God he doesn’t play in Pgh LOL!!! MAF gave up 14 in 7 v NYR.

    And while The NYR won’t bring the offense like CHI did, neither will they blow multiple leads. Hawks lost no fewer than 5 2-goal leads in that series, and lost 3 leads in G7 alone.

    LAK should not take Henry and the Bluehsirts lightly.

  28. NMR says:

    In a season of lousy baseball, Marte has stood out recently for his unattentive, uninspired play. And that says something.

    Guy is just not very good right now. At anything.

  29. Jandy says:

    Maybe time to bench him and let someone else play?

  30. DJ says:

    Agreed, NMR. On hitting, how about a plan before you walk to the plate? Not always going to execute it, of course, but would be nice to have one in your back pocket before you step in.


  31. DJ says:

    This is always a touchy thing for fans but I’d be in favor of it.

    Same goes for Pens and their stars. There are ways to get players’ attention and I think managers and coaches don’t use all tools at their disposal.

  32. Jandy says:

    I know it’s touchy, but…when do you make him accountable? And how?

    I’m sure he WANTS to do better…if he doesn’t, then MAKE him want to ;)

  33. SeanAY says:

    Best part of the Polanco article was Sawchik explaining there are no degrees of uniqueness. One is unique, or one is not.

    There was some other part about a baseball player, but I don’t remember any of it.

  34. SeanAY says:

    Last night was the first game I’ve gotten to watch in a while, and you’re right. Marte looks terrible at the plate. They had Greinke on the ropes early on and he basically bailed him out by flailing at breaking balls. He’s been up for what, two years now? He looked like he had NO CLUE what was coming.

  35. NMR says:

    Lowest strike out rate and highest walk rate of his career, and a couple mph missing from his fastball.

    All the stat guys who said there should be no reason Burnett isn’t still an elite pitcher this season were laughable over the winter. You simply never ASSUME anything with 36 yo pitchers.

  36. Thundercrack says:

    Wondering if Marte will be the Bucs long-term answer in left with guys like Bell and Meadows in the system. Kid still has a long way to go.

    Isn’t this the same Marte that everyone went crazy over his Spring Training stats in 2012 and couldn’t believe he didn’t make the team out of ST?

    Wasn’t the ‘Starling Marte Watch’ one of the first watches….just two years ago?

    The kid is scuffling, and still needs to learn a thing or two about the strike zone, but I don’t think he has a long way to go. And he may eventually be better than this Polanco guy

  37. NMR says:

    So much agreed.

    I’m far from Clint Hurdle’s biggest fan, but I just cannot believe Marte has a shred of coachability as his approach at the plate is completely devoid of thought.

    The whole allow Marte to be a “free swinger” thing is ridiculous, mainly because Marte is not nearly talented enough to actually be successful doing that. Major League pitchers are just too good.

  38. Milo Hamilton says:

    When the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 they breezed through the playoffs playing only 20 games. This year they’ve already played 21 & the finals haven’t even started.

  39. Thundercrack says:

    Jim Colony must have gone to bed early last night ( not that I blame him)
    During one of his sports updates this morning he said “Edinson Volquez was lifted for some reason only after 77 pitches”

    If you watched the game you knew that Volquez danced around some danger throughout most of the game. Hurdle handled the situation masterfully

  40. NMR says:

    Your argument is that the guy was good in Spring Training?

    I think you’re missing the forest through the trees.

  41. NMR says:

    So glad somebody else picked up on that. Genius, Travis.

  42. Thundercrack says:

    I heard that on the radio this morning. Amazing.

  43. Karen22 says:

    YES. JHey! When Polanco comes up, Harrison takes stupefied Marte’s spot in the outfield. He’s gotta be in the lineup until HE realizes he’s “not an every day player.’ And he sure can teach El Snoozehead a thing or three about hustling, inspired baseball. I’ve about had enough of NO partay Marte at this point.

  44. Thundercrack says:

    No. My point was that people were very excited on Marte’s ST stats in 2012 and were clamoring for him to make the team out of ST that year.

  45. Thundercrack says:

    Fans tend to go extremes – The guy is AWESOME and should be signed to a long term deal / The guy STINKS and has no future – very quickly.


  46. NMR says:

    Volquez was filthy last night.

  47. Karen22 says:

    Marte has oodles of talent and tools, but comes across to me as a total AIRHEAD on the bases and at bat. I think you have to sit him and make him want (and EARN) that starting spot in the lineup. A third of the season is gone, and he’s been dreadful through all of it.

  48. NMR says:

    But it absolutely was the right move going to the pen in the 6th.

  49. Jim S. says:

    Maybe our next GM should be someone from the Blackhawks organization. I don’t know who their Asst GM is, because I really don’t follow such things. But, they seem to have a nice track record of developing forwards.

  50. NMR says:

    You’re certainly correct on that, but is what we’re complaining about really a “snap shot”?

    No more than complaining about Pedro’s low average and Voquez’s walks.

  51. Karen22 says:

    HA! Jordy has options and at this point his problems appear mental. Send him down and get his head right. He’s more of an automatic out than the pitcher’s spot.

  52. Thundercrack says:

    I get the impression – from my couch and seat on the first base side – that Marte still thinks the game is easy for him. He hasn’t quite realized how hard the game is and that it takes total concentration and effort.

    I think he is really finding that out this year. Hopefully he is smart enough to get the message the game is sending him and figures it out soon.

  53. Dom says:

    I think they’ll win it in five games.

  54. Jim S. says:

    Even with the great arm, Clint knows Edinson generally loses effectiveness by the 80 pitch mark. I thought Edinson pitched very well, making only one real mistake against a tough lineup. But, Clint knew the pitches were beginning to mount, the lead was slim, and the better decision was to allow the bullpen to bring home that W. Great decision by Clint.

  55. Thundercrack says:

    Did Marte look this bad last year?
    Sure there was times he chased – and dropped a fly ball.

  56. NMR says:

    He absolutely did look this bad last year.

  57. Thundercrack says:

    I thought he pitched really great. And was surprised that he was able to get 6 strikeouts

    But it seemed like the Dodgers had a runner on second base every inning. Or Puig was walking to the batter’s box

  58. Thundercrack says:

    Marte has looked bad for two months now.
    I don’t think he had a 2 month stretch like this last year.

  59. Arriba Wilver says:

    The 1960 World Series winning Pirates were VERY inconsistent in that Series. ;-)

  60. Jim S. says:

    * JHay’s at bat that culminated in the HR was very impressive. He crushes one to LF that easily has HR distance, but goes foul. That didn’t bother JHay much. He just crushed the next pitch to RC. I hope people realize just how impressive that at bat was. A lot of good hitters will never do that in their careers.

    * Puig is a scary good hitter. The stat they showed last night that his rate of chasing pitches has improved every month since he got to LA shows what a monster he is becoming at the plate at 23. He is on every pitch. He’s on pace for something like 90 XBH. This guy is truly special.

    * Impressive and enjoyable performance by the Bucs in LA, except for Saturday of course. That is a good team they just took 3/4 from. It makes things like the 2 consecutive clunkers in NY all the more frustrating, but maybe things are slowly turning for this team. The issue, for me, continues to be the starting rotation’s consistency.

    * I don’t like “no doubles” defense very much, and it isn’t just because a routine fly to left dropped in last night in the 9th inning. It just seems like a lot of balls drop in when OF are positioned near the warning track. I hope when we have our all speed OF in place, we will employ that strategy less and less.

    * 2/3 in San Diego now, guys!

  61. Karen22 says:

    I hope so, too. It would be a travesty to waste all of that talent.

  62. Jim S. says:

    Plus, over his last 6 starts, AJ has a WHIP of over 1.7 and his ERA is 6+.

    And, he’s pitching with a hernia.

  63. Karen22 says:

    Have you seen interviews of him? VERY likeable guy. Easy to root for. I thought he was handled well last night and removed in time to enjoy his eventual successful outing.

  64. SeanAY says:


    After that Harrison HR, I said out loud to no one in particular, “He hit the $*!% out of that ball.” Saying it with an exclamation point would be too strong a phrase; it was more wonderment, like, “How in the world did he do that?”

    The 13 broadcasters on the game seemed similarly impressed, especially Glanville. The temperature had dropped and the balls weren’t carrying as well at that point, and Harrison hit a SCUD to right-center. Really impressive.

  65. NMR says:

    I disagree that Marte has been bad for the entire season.

  66. Jandy says:

    He’s signed for 6 seasons and 5+M per…he needs to better than he is.

  67. Sarah says:

    Yeah it’s hard to pick against LAK. But Quick has been giving up rebounds, and Lundquist isn’t giving up 4 goals per game. I think it “might” be interesting.
    Hope so, anyway!

  68. DJ says:

    Not ready to give up on Marte at all. Original point was only if he’s long term answer. Glad we have other options coming through the system, even if a few years away. Competition will be good down the line.

    I’d like to see Marte adjust per at bat. It looks to me he decides whether to take or swing before every pitch is thrown, regardless of location.

  69. Jim S. says:

    It sure was impressive. One pitch after crushing the ball to LF.

  70. NMR says:

    I generally consider Braun, Votto, and Cutch the three best pure hitters in the National League. Puig is better than all of them right now.

  71. Jandy says:

    I DID say that to hubby…and looked over, and he was sound asleep…lol

  72. Agree, DJ. On that bunt attempt for a hit, he showed it way too early and Greinke got a good jump off the mound because of it. For a sacrifice, fine, but when bunting for a base hit, he needs to use the element of surprise along with his speed.

  73. Karen22 says:

    Love the Polanco article, too! Maybe the Bucs are hitting their stride just in time to get that extra jolt of El Coffee to launch them toward a winning season! Waiting in excited anticipation for his arrival!

    I was also bouncing between the two games – thrilling late night sports entertainment. And JHay’s at bat – what can you say? Amazing! :)

  74. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m thinking some powerful sheik in Qatar is behind this Pierre McGuire candidacy.

  75. Nate83 says:

    He probably is but I don’t want to hear about it 24/7. At least his stats are matching the insane hype unlike Harper who by all means is a very good player and still has time to develope into a great player but isn’t close to the endless hype.

  76. Jim S. says:

    I agree, and I also think the gap is widening. His rapid development is astounding to me.

  77. NMR says:

    There was far from unanimous agreement, outside of Pittsburgh, that Marte would be any more than an average regular. Seems about right.

  78. Jim S. says:

    Good stuff, Joey!

  79. Jim S. says:

    If McGuire gets hired, do the Pirates fast track his son, Reese?

  80. Jim S. says:

    But, he’s a WAR guy, right?

  81. CraiginVA says:

    No rooting interest in either team, and so no preference in the outcome, which maybe made watching the Kings-Blackhawks series even more enjoyable. That was some great hockey. I love the Pens, and watch as many games as I can from outside the Pittsburgh viewing area, but the Kings and Blackhawks were playing on an entirely different level than anything I saw this year.

    Hockey produces some funny outcomes – maybe more than any other sport – so I would not discount the Rangers chances, but based on my small sample size of viewing, the Kings (or the Blackhawks) should make short work of them. Should…

  82. 21sthebest says:

    I thought Marte’s bunt attempt would have been a hit off of pretty much any other pitcher. Greinke made such an unbelievable read and play, IMO, that I can’t criticize Marte for showing it too early. He rolled that bunt up the line perfectly.

    I don’t ever recall seeing a pitcher cover a bunt like that before.

  83. Jim S. says:

    So, this was bugging me from the first inning on last night. What was Dee Gordon thinking when he squared around for a bunt on a 1-2 count to lead off the game? The Boone brother (not Bret, but the one who didn’t take PEDs) that was one of the 14 announcers for ESPN immediately lept to his defense and said that Gordon is so confident in his bunting ability that he was willing to take a gamble there. I say it was one of the dumbest plays I can think of. Did anyone else notice that? Very strange.

  84. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’ve seen that 80 pitch theory a couple times on here, but is that really true of Volquez? I know Clint said last year that Jeanmar lost it after 70, but I don’t recall hearing him say it on Volquez. Doesn’t mean it isn’t true, but I just haven’t seen that with Volquez. Sometimes he’ll get in trouble in the first inning and then settle down. Sometimes, like last night, he’ll get in trouble throughout without pitching badly. And his number of pitches don’t seem to track that either. But maybe I’m missing something.

    I agree Clint was right last night to pull him when he did.

  85. 21sthebest says:

    And he has performance incentives tied to games started.

  86. Jim S. says:

    Ugh!!! So many Saad jerseys surround me here in the Chicago area, DJ.

  87. Jim S. says:


  88. 21sthebest says:

    “The 13 broadcasters on the game seemed similarly impressed”

    :-) :-)

  89. Jim S. says:

    I agree that Marte’s bunt was very well placed. But, I also agreed that he showed bunt a tick early. Greinke made a tremendous play there that just about no other pitcher would have made.

    Marte is still doing a lot of learning, and bunting for a hit is one of the toughest things to master in the game. I actually think he generally does a great job of it. I don’t think he is used to a guy like Greinke, with such good reactions.

  90. Robert says:

    Norm Maciver is supposed to be a candidate and my favorite for the Pens GM spot.

  91. Jim S. says:

    I thought the Pirates have said that about Volquez this year, Arriba. Either Clint or Neal.

    But, he was throwing great last night and I thought he just made one mistake. Maybe he could have gone one more scoreless inning. I was sitting at home thinking this was a pretty important game to not allow to slip away – not that every other game doesn’t count just as much of course – but, I was thinking yanking him after 5 was the right call. Taking 3/4 in LA and possibly having a winning road trip could be something to build off.

  92. NMR says:

    Yeah, it’s not a pitch count things. It’s a third and forth time through the order thing. Which makes Volquez exactly like the vast majority of major legaue pitchers.

  93. That’s what AW said. Good to see someone with a personality rather than arrogant jerks dominating the roster. (Not referring to the Pirates necessarily, just any team).

  94. dennis g. says:

    The argument is that the first two times through a lineup his BA against is under .200, the third time through it is over .300. It is not necessarily a pitch count issue.

  95. NMR says:

    I think you need a lot more than one year of track record to be considered a “WAR guy”, Jim.

    Peter Bourjos was also a 4-win player his first full year in the bigs.

  96. Baywatch says:

    Boy, I tell you Cutch was the star last night but that JHay just continues to amaze me!
    Will the run ever come to an end for this Cinderfella? What a feel good story and a difference maker he has been!

  97. Jim S. says:

    There you go, Robert. I couldn’t think of his name, even though I live near Chicago. I speculated last week that maybe the supposed delay in hiring a GM was to allow someone from one of the two remaining teams in the West to finish their team’s season.

    I don’t know if that’s the case, but I don’t think it is a bad courtesy to delay the decision to this point if you really want someone, while being respectful of their organization. Now, if they had to wait all the way through the finals …

  98. dennis g. says:

    The argument is that if Gordon gets a bunt down it is a double after he steals second and that the likelihood of a successful bunt on a good pitch (with Pedro well back) is greater than the likelihood of a base hit. Maybe pitchers are getting better in pitching to likely bunters but it is only the past few years watching the Pirates that bunting suddenly seems so hard to do.

  99. Jandy says:


  100. 21sthebest says:

    Agree Bay but I’m afraid that teams will start paying attention to him and that could be an issue for him.

  101. Baywatch says:

    (In between snores) “It’s just the Pirates, Dear. Leave me alone.”

  102. Jim S. says:

    I guess that was his thinking. But, I don’t think the likelihood of a guy hitting close to .290 getting a good bunt down for a base hit on a 1-2 count is as good as him getting on some other way there. If he fouls it off, he is automatically out. That’s why only weak hitters who are trying to sacrifice should be trying it with 2 strike counts.

  103. bpn8pitt says:

    I thought because Pedro was pretty much conceding playing deep at 3rd.

    I dont like bunting with 2 strikes, nor did I agree with Boone, but could see what he was saying.

  104. Maz in Iowa says:

    First game I ever saw where there were more announcers than fans.Srsly.

  105. Jim S. says:

    Too bad he can’t play SS well enough to get some starts there. :-(

  106. NMR says:

    Nice idea for an article, Dejan, and I think you nailed it.

    “No, it’s because they were local and, as such, it shouldn’t have surprised that they’d be good.”


    The old mantra is that good organizations scout their own prospects better than anyone else, and I think this applies to drafting local kids as well. Most glaring example I can think of is Mike Trout. Part of the reason so many teams missed on him is said to be that as a northern high school player he didn’t get as many eyes on him as kids in the baseball hotspots. Should’ve been no reason for half a dozen MLB teams in that area not to have a scout at every game.

  107. Nate83 says:

    Reese has looked good since his slow start offensively earlier this year. His defense is solid. I’m not so sure we don’t see him as early as end of the year 2016. He could be something very special. Much more confident someone like him can reach his potential then a Glasnow, Bell or Meadows. One way or another he will become a productive player.

  108. Jim S. says:

    The biggest knocks on Marte all along were that he strikes out a lot because he bites on the low and away breaking stuff, and so he likely would not hit for a high average unless he got better at recognizing pitches off the plate.

    But, the counter argument was that he was valuable enough with his legs, glove and arm that he would still put up a nice WAR. He did that last year, and I think he has been ok in that regard this year.

    I think Marte has to get better in his plate discipline, but I also think he’s a pretty valuable player if he can make a few adjustments. It’s not that much different than Pedro, who has plate discipline issues and is not a very good fielder because of his erratic arm. Pedro is actively making adjustments in his hitting flaws to improve. He’s been around longer than Marte.

  109. JohninOshkosh says:

    Just an observation. I’ve certainly been guilty of it, as well, but folks love to complain about broadcast production styles and broadcasters.

    Milo, hope you know you can’t please all of the people all of the time!

  110. Milo Hamilton says:

    Stephanie Abrams is a giantess. Or Al Roker is really short. Or both.

  111. JohninOshkosh says:

    I don’t know how many here watch “Game of Thrones” but last night’s episode was crazy amazing!

    Almost as good as the hockey game.

  112. Maz in Iowa says:

    It was great watching Cutch advance to 3rd with uber hustle on the sac fly.Here’s hoping he is seen with Polanco in the the dugout “discussing” things.Cutch is still young but he personifies what all young players strive to be.Thanks Andrew for all you do!!

  113. Milo Hamilton says:

    Truer words were never spoken.

  114. Dom says:

    I apologize if this has been brought up before but the topic of debate over the past week or so has been when (and not If) to trade Pedro Alvarez. Some feel that the best time to do so is after this season.

    The sentiment around here is that Pedro will diffidently be gone after the 2016 season.

    Although dealing Pedro after this year might be the best plan of action, it produces at lot of questions.

    Who will play 3B next season and years to come?

    If he is to be traded in the offseason, why didn’t they go all out to sign in the last offseason to compete this year?

    Are we not planning on competing in the upcoming season? If so, why would we deal away our best power threat?

    Will the trend EVER going to change? Are we always going to have to deal our best players in exchange for prospects who more often than not, don’t pan out? Will there ever be a run of consecutive seasons when we’ll be able to compete? If not, why should the fans bother following the team?

  115. Poole says:

    I think that the best theory I’ve heard on Pierre McGuire to the Pens was that it is just a great distraction, i.e:

    1. Fans are clamoring for change and most want someone external
    2. Pens create a distraction on social media (where Moorehouse explicitly said ‘dont believe everything you read on twitter’)
    3. Pens promote Botterill to full time GM
    4. Fans are so exhuberant to not have Pierre, that they praise the hiring of Botterill

  116. AJS says:

    JayHay in left and Polanco in right on some days? at least on the road. Jayhay trying to man the notch gives me nightmares just thinking about it.

  117. Jim S. says:

    So, maybe they have their internal GM promotion already decided and the debate is about Bylsma’s future, Poole?

    I still say don’t rule out the Asst GM of the Hawks. That’s just a shot in the dark guess on my part, and possible reason for the delay.

  118. AJS says:

    How much of that has to do with him trying to pitch through a hernia as opposed to him being 36?

  119. Jim S. says:

    They wisely extended Cutch, Dom. And they gave an extension to Marte. They are apparently already trying to extend Polanco, and he has not even arrived yet. They extended Morton.

    But, the Bucs will never resign everyone. And, maybe Pedro doesn’t want to be extended. Maybe neither does his agent.

    Maybe if/when they trade Pedro, they get a future 3b in the trade.

  120. NMR says:

    As I said, Jim. Average regular.

  121. AJS says:

    Sounds like Frankie’s start the other night. Runner on second every single inning.

  122. Maz in Iowa says:

    The theory of drafting the BPA is most of the reason why the Pirates have very little depth in the minors at SS/3B/C.However they could use some of the depth (De LaCruz/Harold Ramirez/Rojas etc)to correct/trade some of these shortcomings.Pedro knows there is no one in the wings and lord knows Mercer has a hole in his swing that even the Army Core of Engineers would have no hope of fixing.At least Reese McGuire shows hope at catcher(sorry Tony Sanchez).The Pirates giveth and the Pirates taketh away.Thursday will be interesting.

  123. Thundercrack says:

    I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of 7 announcers for last night’s game.
    But I did compliment the production of the broadcast. They never seemed to talk over each other.

    Some producer was doing some pretty good quarterbacking of that broadcast

  124. Maz in Iowa says:

    Pot stirrer?Sorry….guilty as charged

  125. NMR says:

    Dom, do you know when Polanco will be up?

    What did you think about the Jason Bay trade?

    Should Nutting continue spending our hard earned money on ski lifts or give AJ a QO?

  126. Thundercrack says:

    Do you think Pedro cares that nobody is waiting in the wings that can play third?
    Do you think that makes him try less hard?

  127. Andrew says:

    Pirates WAR leaders for May,

    McCutchen: 0.7
    Harrison: 0.7
    Marte: 0.7
    Walker: 0.7

  128. Maz in Iowa says:

    I do like the idea of Polanco.Walker.Cutch at the top of the order though.The rest of the order? meh

  129. Stuart says:

    Dom, this is one of your better (or worst) questions. To answer it truthfully requires that we give up one of our most important self-deceptions. That is the belief that we can overcome a thrifty businessman owner (cheap guy), a smaller than optimum market size, relatively poor income from our TV contract, and a history rife with well-demonstrated failure to develop the few prospects we have had, and win it all despite our many handicaps. Although the former might be a good definition of a fan, the attitude hardly qualifies us to live in the real world. Another major example of self-deception we indulge in is the wacky belief that we can get a lifetime Pirate from any player that has Boras for an agent.

    You can’t be a grown up and still be a committed fan of the Pirates. I guess in the end we have a harmless self-deception. The Misters Nutting and Boras are counting on us to continue our fandom.

    Just sayin….


  130. Milo Hamilton says:

    I am very intrigued with the idea of McCutchen batting 2nd.

  131. Poole says:

    I really hope that is the case. I don’t care much about the delay. It sucks as a fan because I’m actually excited for all the change….but I really do hope Blackhawks asst. GM is the guy because:

    1. I want someone from the Western Conference. Its not a determining factor of qualifications, but in general, they build better teams out West.

    2. I want someone with a strong drafting track record and ability to negotiate trades. Thats it. Forget the “Capologist”. If we hire someone external, Botterill can stay as assistant GM.

    new GM with new vision PLUS Botterill as our financial guy >>> just promoting Botterill

  132. JohninOshkosh says:

    Kyle Lohse is this year’s AJ Burnett.

  133. Andrew says:

    The Blackhawks picked three players before Saad.

    The absolute worst analysis in all of sports is retrospective looks at the drafts.

  134. Maz in Iowa says:

    Not sure.He is kinda laid back.His body language after a K looks like he doesn’t care(much like John Russell on the bench).However he didn’t pitch a fit when they dropped him to 6th.He cares,but he seems like he can’t figure it out.Much like Brandon Moss and Joey Bats

  135. JohninOshkosh says:


    You can play that game all day with every sport.

  136. Jandy says:

    LOL! That’s about it, Bayman!

  137. Jandy says:

    maybe the hernia has more to do with him being 36?

  138. Maz in Iowa says:

    Me too,but the Bucs(Hurdle in this case)insist that Cutch will stay batting 3rd.

  139. Dom says:

    Are you mocking me?

  140. Jandy says:

    Uh oh NMR, now you did it!

  141. Jandy says:

    Actually Dom, NMR is trying to make you think about things…read the questions slowly…

  142. 21sthebest says:

    I thought that was an excellent observation TC.

  143. Arriba Wilver says:

    As you might have guessed, I do. But I’m 3 weeks behind, so no spoilers. ;-)

    Emilia Clarke is certainly an extremely attractive woman with her natural brunette look, but that platinum blonde wig on Game of Thrones (and maybe other cinematic tricks) transform her into something else. Queen of Dragons? Wow.

  144. Andrew says:

    Alvarez when he makes contact hits the ball far. He is a slightly above league average hitter and a slightly below league average fielder at 3B, these are not the type of players that Pirates or any team outside the ones paying $60 million for four outfielders should extend.

  145. Milo Hamilton says:

    Karl Ravech had a lot do do with that too. All of that traffic can’t be directed from the truck.

  146. Maz in Iowa says:

    ESPN is prolly still telling us the names of even more announcers from last night’s game because they ran out of air time.:)

  147. Dom says:

    I know we cant extend the contract of all of our stars but if Pedro is dealt, he would have only spent 4 ½ years on the team. That is not acceptable for someone who we made the #2 overall draft pick. I know this falls on the league more so than the Buccos.

    Do you agree that if we trade Pedro in this upcoming offseason, we’re essentially saying that we’re not going to compete in 2015?

    If we’re not going to compete at that point in time, then when are we going to compete?

  148. NMR says:

    Marte on pace for 2.4 WAR/600 PA. Average regular.

  149. Milo Hamilton says:

    Just flipped my Pirates calendar over to June and there’s Bryan Morris.

  150. Jandy says:

    It would mean that TBMTIB isn’t going to overpay for an average player.

  151. Dom says:

    I still cant figure it out. Can you explain it to me?

  152. Jandy says:

    I think I’ll leave that to NMR, he’s so much better at it then I

  153. 21sthebest says:

    I hope ESPN uses this idea during football season because they don’t analyze football games enough as it is.

    *sarcasm alert*

  154. Andrew says:

    But, if the Pens hire an outside GM, he likely to bring in his own staff, so I don’t see Botterill and others sticking around, I have no idea if that is good or bad.

    The odd thing about the Blackhawks is they built a roster on skill, speed, and scoring, going against the grain of some of the other Western teams to go “heavy” and utilize a crushing forecheck. Also as big as the Penguins depth issues are, and that is their biggest problem, the Blackhawks were effectively playing with 10 forwards against the Kings.

  155. NMR says:

    That’s just so baseball.

  156. Andrew says:

    It is fun to talk about, hypotheticals are fun, but it is just not analysis.

  157. 21sthebest says:

    Calendars still come in paper form?

  158. Maz in Iowa says:

    Put a goatee on him like Hugo Weaving in “V for Vendetta”

  159. The Gunner says:

    Here’s hoping Charlie Morton can give the Bucs 7 strong innings tonight.

  160. Arriba Wilver says:

    Pass the popcorn. ;-)

  161. Maz in Iowa says:

    Just had the crap scared out of me.Tornado sirens just went off!Duh…..1st Monday of the month.Sucks to be old and have a bad memory,*sigh*

  162. Naterosboro says:

    Monday musings…

    * In regards to the Monday column, sports franchises SHOULD know their areas the best. But as both Ray Shero & Neal Huntington iterated, it [being local] shouldn’t outweigh any sort of talent evaluation. Draft the most talented players, with the highest ceilings. Those are the players that return championships. And that’s what the fans and local public care about most.

    * 3 of 4 in LA. A sweep in SD gets them to 7-3 (which is what I wanted on this 10-game road trip). With that said, the way this season is going, they’ll drop 2 of 3 most likely.

    * Is it just me, or can everyone else not stand Karl Ravech?

    * And a note to ESPN…you don’t need a crew of 8 people [commentators] to cover a baseball game. The game became secondary to the constant “What is Mulder doing? What is Boone doing? He’s eating a hotdog! Now Mulder wants a hotdog! Eric Wedge is behind home plate! And Doug Glanville’s in the outfield! How cool is this?! We’ve got people EVERYWHERE!”….hopefully the Pirates aren’t on Sunday night baseball anymore, at least not when they’re doing that nonsense.

    * ESPN decided not to use the “John Kruk stationed in the Section 105 Men’s Restroom” feed. Shame. I actually would’ve liked that aspect of the game coverage…

    * The ESPN broadcast team addressed Gregory Polonco, basically saying that the player needed to season himself at AAA, and it’s better to hold a guy back, so he doesn’t need to be sent back to AAA if he fails (because you NEVER want to do that….), and said it had nothing to do with money. Did the Pirates give them this script? MLB? It’s not 100% about money, but, yes, there is a financial aspect to his call up. Don’t tell us there’s not. That’s lying.

    * Bryan Morris is now the Marlins problem. And maybe this will keep Vin Mazzaro on this team. Jeanmar Gomez’s poor performance sure can’t….

    * Do we give credit to the NY Rangers yet? Or was it still the Penguins not being able to play hockey that lost that series?

    * I expect Stan Bowman to be fired in the next couple days. Joel Quenneville’s future will be decided by the new GM.

    * I want Lebron James to win his 3rd straight championship. But I think the Spurs will win the rematch. So I guess I will not get what I want.

    * The United States opens its WC Campaign against Ghana on June 16. They’ll need to play defensive, organized, counter-attacking soccer if they hope to make it out of the group. Not including your best & most experienced midfield player probably will not help.



  163. Jandy says:

    Old? What’s old????

    Relax, and have a shot of Jim Beam :)

  164. Please don’t hold your breath until he does. You may turn purple.

    I think the best we can hope is he has some location. Wild pitches have a tendancy to be costly.

  165. Jandy says:

    What? You don’t have the SI Swimsuit one on your wall in your office????

  166. JohninOshkosh says:

    Broadcasting entities are trying to figure things out in the new media era.

    Just in the last 10 years, look at the dizzying changes. So many people watching stuff on DVR delay. Or, with their phone or laptop at their side. Or watching on their phone or laptop.

    I know my viewing behavior has changed. Usually have twitter and the blog fired up during sports. Watch other events while monitoring live tweeting as well. Maybe ESPN was trying to capture a twitter or blog like group feeling with all the reporters; attempting to capture the group watching experience that is played out now online.

    Did get a kick out of Dejan sparring with all the commentators regarding the telecast. Even tweeted a picture of a mute button. The irony, of course, is that someone could have tweeted a picture of his phone’s power function as well.

    Broadcasters are throwing darts at the dartboard right now. Trying to navigate the new, mysterious waters.

  167. Jandy says:

    Maz, I’m sure you can think it thru, but if you look at Pedro’s eyes, he cares…A LOT. It really gets to him when he strikes out. And believe me, he could just kick himself in the can when he makes an error. But…as all baseball players know, you have to move on to the next at-bat or the next play and try to do better. Pedro cares,.,..a lot.

  168. Jandy says:

    Isn’t it Good Charlie’s turn to show up?

  169. Agree with you on Mazzaro, Nate. The big thing was that Gomez could start and Mazzaro couldn’t. Who cares if Gomez starts and goes 4 innings? Some start. He should have been released before the first Mazzaro release.

  170. Jandy says:


  171. Overdue to make an appearance.

  172. Jandy says:

    cross your fingers then, that way you won’t have to worry about turning blue ;)

  173. Dom says:

    Would you all recommend dealing him after the season?

    Based on our track records of dealing big league talent for prospects, I would much rather have us hold on Pedro for two more years until his certain departure after the 2016 season.

  174. bpn8pitt says:

    Dom, I think they should just ride out their time with Pedro, make him the QO and waive goodbye. Either that or deal him for something before that last year or arbitration.

  175. Andrew says:

    WAR is descriptive not predictive, and average regulars can still be very valuable players.

  176. NMR says:

    Who said they aren’t, and why so defensive?

  177. Maz in Iowa says:

    Old is…..remembering when you were a kid and having to put the leash on the family dinosaur taking it for a walk and mom saying”watch out for any tyrannosaur rex” in the swamp”. :)

  178. Dom says:

    Another factor to consider would be our good friend Budd Selig or whomever will be the new commissioner whenever we’re attempting to deal Pedro.

    I cant imagine Budd is going to be too happy with us if we attempt to trade away our best players years before free agency as it will make the league look even more pathetic than it already is.

  179. Jandy says:

    LOL Maz…. ;)

  180. Andrew says:

    I think this is most likely, which isn’t the worst option, I think extending a player at near free agent market rates because of loss aversion would be the worst.

    It could certainly change maybe there is a breakout prospect, but you don’t just trade player because you cannot sign him. The Pirates currently don’t have any prospects that could play third and you are not going to get a major league ready third baseman or shortstop in a trade, because those player would be much more valuable than two years of Alvarez.

  181. 21sthebest says:

    I’m not saying Charlie hasn’t dug some holes for himself, but I have no complaints really. His ERA is 3.29 and he has had some lousy defense behind him.

  182. Naterosboro says:

    Does PNC’s spacious left field factor into this discussion at all?

  183. Jandy says:

    Very true on the defense. If you’re inducing ground balls, they infield has to play them properly to get the out. We know that doesn’t happen with regularity.

  184. Maz in Iowa says:

    Ouija board says …Good Charlie..Tea leaves say..Good Charlie…Crystal ball…say Good Charlie,,,,,,,,,…Magic 8 ball..”Good Charlie not likely” …….

  185. NMR says:

    The entire Gomez-can-start narrative was based on about one month of baseball last year and ignored three years of failure.

  186. cmat0829 says:

    if brock holt is a regular for the Red Sox past July 1, I’ll buy you all a drink.

  187. JohninOshkosh says:

    The Milwaukee Bucks will play one of their regular season “home” games in London next season.

    Finally, they might get to play in front of a sold out home crowd!

  188. There you go lettin facts get in the way again.

  189. NMR says:

    Charlie narratives are precious.

    Morton goes 5 1/3 giving up three runs his last outing and is labeled as bad Charlie.

    Cole goes 6 1/3 giving up three runs his last outing and is labeled as a stopper.

  190. cmat0829 says:

    ABSOLUTELY THE RIGHT DECISION by Clint last night. Glad to see someone post that, typically we only get Clint posts when his decisions backfire. It was really simple. You had a chance to win the game, win a series, and your option was Wilson or Volquez for the 6th. No brainer.

    Good for Volquez, his stuff continues to look very good. I also see some confidence building in him…ump squeezed the plate on him a bit, especially to Puig, and he and Martin reacted.

    As to reactions, Zach Greinke is a former Brewer. Enough said. He acts like a spoiled 13-year old girl on the mound. Just because the ump doesn’t give him every pitch 3-4inches off the plate he goes off like a diva. Jerk.

  191. NMR says:

    Apparently Huntington’s metrics missed that one.

  192. Naterosboro says:

    Actually they were consistent. Win close, lose by a lot…

    Game 1: Yankees 4 – 6 Pirates (W)
    Game 2: Yankees 16 – Pirates 3 (L)
    Game 3: Pirates 0 – 10 Yankees (L)
    Game 4: Pirates 3 – 2 Yankees (W)
    Game 5: Pirates 5 – 2 Yankees (W)
    Game 6: Yankees 12 – 0 Pirates (L)
    Game 7: Yankees 9 – 10 Pirates (W)

    Totals (runs scored): Pirates 27 – Yankees 55 ((-28) differential for the Pirates)
    (wins): Pirates 4 – Yankees 3

  193. Dom says:

    Does anyone know of the success rate of dealing solid MLB starters for prospects? Anyone ever read any articles on the subject?

    I’m only guessing but I would certainly think the team that is dealing for the MLB starter is much more often than not the winner.

  194. cmat0829 says:

    Good recap Jim. Even if you are a ‘glass half empty’ guy, as some are with the Bucs, impossible not to see a series W in that place, against that lineup, as a very nice weekend indeed. I’d have been happy with a split and some well-played games…..

    Great point about the no doubles… some will point to Grilli getting into trouble last night, but looked to me that there was a 3rd out there with the pop fly that Marte had to run way in on that dropped in that started the ‘rally’….

  195. Jandy says:

    Hey! Quit picking on 13 YO girls! :P

  196. Andrew says:

    I just read some the Marte comments as overly negative, or at least that was my interpretation which could be wrong. Pining for a prospect who has yet to play a game this year and one who has yet to justify is bonus because Marte has had a couple of bad weeks of baseball is an overreaction.

    Marte’s biggest problem, with lack of contact being number two is he plays next to McCutchen.

    I want to rag on Alvarez, but the 3 RBI performance has put that on hold.

  197. cmat0829 says:

    bunting there would have been STUPID. I think, and I don’t know, but think, he would’ve done an Inchiro if the pitch was a strike and slap at the ball, vs. bunting, but no idea.

    Gordon is fast and he does what he should do with his speed. Players like Alex Presley should take note… don’t just try to hit fly ball HRs, your only path to major league relevance is slapping, bunting, walking, stealing bases like mad….

  198. Dom says:

    I never thought London as a basketball town.

  199. cmat0829 says:

    Baseball on TV can be boring, especially if you are not a fan of the two teams. I give ESPN credit for trying something that was innovative. I liked the various vantage points and especially liked Wedge giving the manager’s perspective, Mulder the pitching perspective and Boone the hitting perspective. I could do without Larkin who added nothing and Glanville who kept talking about the sun even though the sun was over the 3B dugout and last I checked balls don’t come flying out of that spot in the stadium.

    I don’t think they need those people to be perched where they were, but I like the various perspectives. Especially the manager one… he’s been there… liked his comments about how to get Pedro going, etc.

  200. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t think the Gomez can start narrative was that he could be plugged in as a #5 starter. I think it was that if a spot start was needed, he could do it. But, he’s pretty much sucked at everything this year.

  201. cmat0829 says:

    oh, and the real negative i have for espn is how they relentless ‘congratulated themselves’ all telecast long for this approach… have an idea, execute it and shut up about it. It’s why I don’t watch espn that much anymore… it isn’t just about their coverage it’s the self-congratulations they do every minute they are on the air. It’s the only thing I criticize about Greg Brown… is when he goes off into ‘amazement’ over the top at all things pirates and NH.

  202. 21sthebest says:

    And if I hear one more nitwit on The Fan refer to Charlie as a head case….

  203. Arriba Wilver says:

    Agree with you there, NMR. Put Volquez in that category, too. But, Charlie as a number 3 has been pretty inconsistent this year. But the name on the back of the shirt affects the perception.

  204. NMR says:

    “overly negative” is obvious subjective, but I think those comments happens because Marte was turned into more than he was from the start.

    This is Starling Marte. Always has been. And that is disappointing to some after the prospect hype and contract extension.

  205. Jandy says:

    Charlie is NOT a headcase >:< GrrRrr!!

  206. 21sthebest says:

    How do you determine the winner Dom?

  207. Jandy says:

    OK fine, then in your garage :P

  208. Maz in Iowa says:

    I wish the Bucs would also be getting ready to promote Taillon. **double sigh**

  209. NMR says:

    Oh, it was the no-doubles defense that started the rally, not the back-to-back 2-out walks with a freaking three run lead?

  210. Sarah says:

    Heaven help us, Milo…..

  211. Dom says:

    It would have to be a matter of opinion.

  212. 21sthebest says:

    Marte’s numbers last year were a good bit better than they are this year, IMO. So I don’t think what we’re seeing right now from him is what he has always been.

  213. ++++++++++++ on the three above posts.

    I don’t think he’s a head case anymore. He’s matured. But, he also needs to command his pitches and stay in the game longer.

    That pen with 5 Volquez innings, 5 Lirano innings and 5.2 Charlie innings (not to say how many Cole will throw or Cumpton) is gonna break down. Their arms will……………

  214. NMR says:

    Amen, Maz.

  215. Sarah says:

    I dunno, I think they want to keep Botteril for the draft and for cap mgmt….maybe just as an Asst GM.
    And To be clear, I think McGuire could help w drafting and scouting, where IMO re scouting we need help.

    But for GM, no.

  216. Sarah says:

    And NO IDEA why Bylsma is allowed to hang around. Sends entirely the wrong message, and in fact counters the “we made a mistake keeping him” msg they sent a week or two ago.

    Can only think they really believe they might keep him, at which point if I am Geno or Sid I request a trade.

  217. Maz in Iowa says:

    Taillon next year.Kingham 2016.Glasnow/Holmes 2017

  218. Couldn’t agree more, AW.

  219. Jim S. says:


    Buster wrote an article on the day the Bucs hosted St. Louis on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN basically arguing that all the Pirates’ problems at that time were that Polanco was not on the big club. So, they haven’t exactly been on board with the handling of Polanco.

    Have you heard Jim Bowden rip the Pirates nearly every day on his MLB Radio show for keeping Polanco down? He’s also the same guy, incidentally, who wanted them to trade Hansen, Polanco and more for Rios last summer.

    The only ones being consistent about how to handle Polanco have been the Pirates. And, of course, their decision has been mainly about money. But, how do they dare say that?

  220. NMR says:

    You’re right, good sir!

    5 inning outings will be pen killers until managers learn to use their bullpens more efficiently. Hurdle has been talking a good game in that regard, but seems to prefer letting guys go multiple innings when the team is down instead of ahead.

  221. Naterosboro says:

    And I guess ignored the fact that Mazzaro was a failed starter too in KC & OAK I believe.

  222. The Gunner says:

    Looks like my wish for 7 innings started quite a discussion. I just hope the Bucs don’t take the Padres too lightly and do what they did vs. the Mess.

  223. Jim S. says:

    It is true that Charlie leads the league in unearned runs allowed. But, he is also the most extreme groundball pitcher in the league. And, the majority of errors are on grounders to the infield. So, to some degree, I think that is expected just by the law of averages.

    Charlie also hits a lot of batters and throws a lot of wild pitches.

    I think he has pitched in bad luck this year. But, he has some part in it just by how he throws.

  224. NMR says:

    .363 BABIP will do that to you.

  225. Naterosboro says:


    I don’t have a problem with the way the Pirates are handling Polonco. I have a problem with a broadcast team straight up lying. And if Buster Olney had a dissenting viewpoint, ESPN made sure his opinion did not make it into that segment.

  226. cmat0829 says:

    lots and lots and lots of examples… three come at top of mind… back in ’91 or ’92 (cant recall which season), Pirates traded prospect Moises Alou to the Expos for Zane Smith. Smith did his job, Pirates made the playoffs. Alou went on to a very solid major league career. Worked for both teams, though Pirates lost out on productive cheap seasons of Alou.

    Way back when, Braves trade Doyle Alexander to the Tigers for prospects including John Smoltz. Alexander was terrific in Detroit, they made the playoffs…. and you know about Smoltz I would assume.

    And there was the Bartolo Colon to Montreal trade where Cleveland received Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee.

    So, I think you will find examples that fit your theory…that the teams that acquire the ‘veteran’ player win the trade…and I know you will find examples that counter it… like the Bartolo Colon heist where Cleveland won the prospect lottery x 3.

  227. NMR says:


    And arguably a better one than Gomez.

  228. Dom says:

    I couldn’t find the answer I was looking for but I did come across the following article about the success rate of prospects through the years:

    According to Matt Perez of Camden Depot, MLB prospects had a success rate of 20.3% from 2003-2006. All the more reason to keep Pedro till the time he leaves in free agency.

  229. NMR says:

    Can’t let myself speculate and pitching prospects anymore. Too much disappointment.

  230. Jim S. says:

    Depends which team is your trading partner. There are big market “win now” teams that might give up a good 3b prospect, expecting to sign Pedro to an extension.

  231. cmat0829 says:

    1) which of the 8 announcers opined that Polanco was being handled correctly for baseball reasons and it wasn’t about money? I don’t know for sure but it sounded like Wedge, the manager.

    2) if that is Wedge’s opinion, how is it ‘outright lying’? Are you insinuating that Wedge was incented somehow to ‘lie on TV’ by the Pirates? Seems like a pretty out there conspiracy theory, but to each their own.

    3) I believe Karl Ravech chimed right in there also and said something about money has something to do with it, but there were so many analysts I may have lost track.

    4) Who really cares anyway? We all know the facts, which are that Polanco is being held back due to Super 2 but also that (egads) he does still have things to work on in his development. You probably want to hear NH or EvilNutting come out and say that but we know they won’t (can’t) because of the repercussions from the union. So?

  232. Arriba Wilver says:

    The general feeling I’ve been getting since at least the Bay trade is that teams, even the rich teams, are prizing their prospects much higher that previous to that. While it sometimes seems like the big guys have unlimited resources, that isn’t really true, and any good businessman is going to go for the route that seems more economical to them.

    Doesn’t mean you don’t pay Pedro whatever Boras wants, but it does affect when you move him. To me, assuming that’s true, it means later rather than sooner.

  233. 21sthebest says:

    He’s also striking out about 15% more.

  234. NMR says:

    And we’re still dealing with sample size issues if we’re using numbers as the judge.

    Marte will likely still have a couple month long stretches where he mashes and elevates his overall numbers. Just like last year.

  235. cmat0829 says:

    I don’t think that is the most logical conclusion, Dom, but I respect that it is your opinion based on the facts. There have been many many many good trades for prospects and I listed some up above. And most major league teams prefer trades than letting players walk via FA, so I will defer to their expertise on this vs. my own gut feel.

    But I’m 50/50 on Pedro… I think the main reason I am is because trading him would not be a ‘sell high’ moment and therefore we may underdeliver on talent we acquire. Now, if we can move him during a hot streak, maybe next year at the trade deadline? That may make more sense.

  236. Got a couple in Indy pitching fairly well now. Even beyond the recently promoted Sadler and Cumpton. Not our draft picks, but both only 26 and some potential, Andy Oliver and Jake Brigham.

    May not be long-term, but could help sooner rather than later. Oliver in particular has really gotten his walks under control with only 20 to 44 K’s.

  237. cmat0829 says:

    Started the rally, yes sir. it preceded the walks. I didn’t say Grilli was a saint last night, I just said the pop fly was catchable in a regular defense.

  238. cmat0829 says:

    Loved the point on the broadcast last night about Cutch moving in the order due to the way he is being pitched. I’ve been on record as saying he should bat leadoff in this lineup, but I’d be ok also with Polanco-Cutch 1/2 in the order. So I guess the lineup would be:

    Polanco RF
    Cutch CF
    Walker 2B
    Ike 1B
    Martin C
    Pedro 3B
    Marte LF
    Barmes SS

    Or do we need to move Walker to cleanup and Ike to 3rd? Moving Cutch up in the lineup is good but it does require Ike/Martin/Pedro/Marte to drive in runs and they call can be very streaky… maybe we need to move Walker to 5th just so we don’t have so many holes lower in the order…..

  239. 21sthebest says:

    What do you mean we’re dealing with sample size issues NMR? All I’m saying is that his numbers are down from last year so far. I didn’t close the book on this year.

  240. cmat0829 says:

    Different topic… does anyone else notice that Gerrit Cole is starting to take on a more vocal role as a leader? Could be because he talks to the press, but seeing some comments recently about the team approach, etc. and not just his own starts and pitching minutia….

    If and when this team gets back into this, it will be because players like Cole and Cutch and Martin set the standards…

  241. Jandy says:

    I agree and I like it.

  242. Milo Hamilton says:

    Another one bites the dust. Astros will promote first baseman Jon Singleton tomorrow. A 5 year contract with 3 club option years will be waiting for him before he even dons his Astros uniform for the first time. $10 million guaranteed, $35 million if the options are exercised.

    Polanco will be here this weekend with a contract in hand.

  243. Jim S. says:

    Exactly, Dom. Sometimes it works for either side, and sometimes it doesn’t.

    The Bucs would have to feel really good about who they would get for Pedro.

  244. Jim S. says:

    And the repercussions from the fans.

  245. Andrew says:

    Bryan Morris trade closed the book on the Altoona four for the Pirates.

  246. Thundercrack says:

    That calendar stinks

  247. NMR says:

    “Streaky” players like Marte do not consistantly perform to their season-end stat line. They have peaks and valleys, sometimes severe, that average out in the end.

    Saying that Marte’s numbers were a good bit better last year and comparing that to a sample size 1/3 as big isn’t necessarilly commenting on his skill or player type. Good chance you could isolate 200 PA last year and come up with a guy that looks an awful lot like the Marte we’re seeing now.

    That’s Starling Marte.

  248. pants-n-at says:

    My take on it is it took 7 guys to do the job of one 86 yr old Dodger announcer. I’m a Buc fan thru and thru but I’d have preferred Vin Scully over any of the ESPN announcers.

  249. Thundercrack says:

    It seems that there are some , especially agents, that think he signed for an amount that was too low ( or so I saw on my twitter feed)

  250. Jim S. says:

    I don’t know what the answer is to that, Nate. The Pirates seemed to be getting almost universally ripped for the handling of Polanco when he was hitting .400. Now that he has fallen to .350, suddenly it seems ok to these so-called experts that he get another few weeks of seasoning.

    I’ll just be happy when he arrives and starts playing everyday, because I am of the opinion that, like almost every rookie, he needs time to “settle in.” I want that “settle in” time to begin soon.

  251. NMR says:

    Marte had two sub-700 OPS months in 2013 plus a September in which he struck out 38% of the time.

    This is Starling Marte.

  252. pants-n-at says:

    I liked the Giles for Bay trade…….we got the best years out of Giles. If I’m not mistaken, Bay’s numbers were better than Giles each year (as a Bucco) after the trade

  253. Milo Hamilton says:

    Considering I never heard of the guy until about 15 minutes ago, I thought it was too much.

  254. Andrew says:

    Dom, I would read that again, the success rate for top 20 hitting prospects is 50%, the falls off through into 30s then low 20s. Pitching prospect success rate never get near 50%, and after the top 20 is below 20%.

    The other factor is years of control, even this off-season Polanco was more valuable than two years of David Price.

  255. 21sthebest says:

    “isn’t necessarilly commenting on his skill or player type. Good chance you could isolate 200 PA last year and come up with a guy that looks an awful lot like the Marte we’re seeing now.”

    Of course. But to me, you were saying that the Marte we’re seeing this is the Marte we’ve always seen. I’m referring to this: “This is Starling Marte. Always has been. ”

    That’s what I’m disagreeing with.

  256. NMR says:

    *single tear*

  257. Pete in Dayton says:

    Local guys 1st? I think that GMs may end up being scared to pick the “local guy” if it’s a reach, or if general scouting doesn’t have someone high. Hockey scouting usually ends up being pretty consistent- Red Wings aren’t really pulling Hall of Famers from lower rounds anymore. The past few drafts, the top 15 (or so) picks usually don’t differ that much from NHL Central Scouting, and by the time they get past that, it’s all pretty much a crap shoot. If Shero had taken Saad, and he didn’t make the “leap” to quality NHLer, Shero and the Pens would have had media all over them, saying that “the only reason he was picked was because he was local” or “just a PR move to sell tickets”. Also, think of all the pressure that say a Montreal kid has when he’s picked by the Canadiens, etc. Teenagers aren’t necessarily reliable, look at college football recruiting vs the draft- just because someone has talent at 18 doesn’t mean he’s going to make the leap when he’s 22.

  258. NMR says:

    Vance Worley replaces an injured Francisco Liriano and pitches to a 3.50 ERA over the last three months of the season.

    Just for the exploding of heads. ;)

  259. cmat0829 says:

    of course agents will think anything is too low, not sure that is a very credible source.

  260. Greg says:

    Can’t stand martes lackadaisical attitude. Y not the pine? Let him think about it.

  261. Jandy says:

    :uploading single tissue:

  262. cmat0829 says:

    one dumpster dive replaces another?

  263. tdb1977 says:

    We won’t know until after the year is up on who is going to the Mets.

  264. Jandy says:

    Oh lady that last line is so true…

  265. 21sthebest says:

    Jim, Bowden was on Pompeani’s show on Saturday. He said Polanco should have been up here by now and still wants him up here. In fact, he said, “Promote Polanco please.”

    Then he said you can save service time by sending him back down in September if we’re out of it and/or starting him in Triple A next year.

    As to A.J. Burnett, he thought A.J. had as much value every fifth day as he does in mentoring the young pitchers. I’m not sure though if he interviewed Jeff Locke during the second half of 2013 or James McDonald in the second half of 2012.

  266. Jim S. says:

    This has nothing to do with the pop fly single, but I did think Grilli had one of the guys clearly struck out. The appeal was rejected, though. It got worse from there.

  267. cmat0829 says:

    just like most topics we debate on the blog, it’s more fun to be ‘back and white’ or ‘all or nothing’ but isn’t the truth that all elements of this are in play? i.e. Super 2 but also preparation to succeed from get-go in the bigs and not have to go back down again?

    On April 1, I surmise the “Why is Polanco not on the Pirates” meter would have objectively read: “Not Ready” 75%, “Super 2″ 25%. On May 1, it was likely “Not Ready” 40%, “Super 2″ 60%. On June 1, it is likely “Not Ready” 10%, “Super 2″ 90%.

    So when someone says that there are things Polanco is working on to be ready, that was very on-point on April 1, reasonable on May 1 (though less so) and ridiculous on June 1. But to me the most balanced way to say this is “Polanco will be called up after the estimated Super 2 cutoff and/or he signs a contract. He is ready now to come up to the Pirates and if the Super 2 deadline were May 15, instead of likely June 15, he’d be up already. That said, the Pirates did want to make sure Polanco was in position to succeed, not just survive, on the major league level… He is a unique talent, but when he comes up, even on June 13 or so, he will do so with a very low amount of total minor league atbats. The PIrates think – and hope- that his talent is such that he doesn’t need any more minor league at bats… that is probably right, but not 100% guaranteed”.

  268. NMR says:

    That’s exactly what I said and meant.

    This Marte isn’t appreciably different. The timing is.

    When Pedro eventually goes on a three week bender and hits .300 with six homers, it’s still the same Pedro.

  269. Poole says:

    I think to DK’s point, it should be less of a crap shoot if the kid is right under your nose. You should have the most accurate read on the kid, whether it be boom or bust.

  270. Jim S. says:

    My mistake. You are both correct that Clint said it was a 3rd time through the order thing.

  271. Jim S. says:

    Popular theory: Pats are geniuses at drafting because they got Tom Brady in the 6th round.

    Belicheck: “If we were so brilliant, do you think we would have waited until the 6th round to grab one of the greatest QBs of all-time?”

  272. NMR says:

    Preceded means came before, cmat.

    Van Slyke’s single did not come before those two walks. It came after. Which would be the opposite of preceded.

  273. cmat0829 says:

    I think we are reading too much into bullpen usage, not in terms of the effects of overuse, but to the reasons why. When the Pirates, especially now with little margin for error, have a chance to win a game, you pitch your best pitchers in the best situations you can put them in. Period. When you are losing a game, not always but depending on dynamics, you save the best bullpen arms and go with the other guys.

    Right now, Clint has (and for good reason) ultimate trust in Grilli/Melancon/Watson/Wilson. Building confidence in Jared Hughes, especially to get ground balls, strand runners. Lower confidence in Jeanmar Gomez, and a clean slate for Casey Sadler.

    Not sure I can argue with that. And I’d rather, like last night, go with 1 inning apiece for those pitchers, then to pitch one 2 innings and let the other one rest. Not sure it matters over long haul anyway.

  274. Thundercrack says:

    My eyes are telling me the Marte we’ve seen isn’t the same as any Marte we’ve seen before.

    I’m sure there is a stat line that will prove me wrong an a post saying that thinkin that is ridiculous.

  275. Jim S. says:

    2013 Liriano suddenly replaces 2014 Liriano, as he did on Friday, and remains for the rest of the season.

  276. Jim S. says:

    As long as Cutch and Polanco bat somewhere between 1st & 3rd, I’m ok.

  277. bpn8pitt says:

    How did Cumpton do Saturday?

    AAA numbers matter about as much as Spring Training numbers, right? ;)

  278. bpn8pitt says:


  279. cmat0829 says:

    is that true for polanco too or just everyone else?


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

  281. NMR says:

    It would be fun to dig up threads from last September when Marte was striking out 38% of the time and read what everyone’s eyes were telling them.

  282. Dom says:

    Would we be able to obtain a top 20 hitting prospect for Pedro? Is there a good trade partner who has either a SS or 3B and willing to deal him away for someone who will be gone in two years? Would the Sox be willing to part with someone like Xander Bogaerts? I would want someone who is in AA at the lowest. Any A ball fielder would be too risky for me.

    Plus, why take the risk on someone who has a 50/50 chance on making it in the big leagues when we can have two seasons of Pedro?

  283. NMR says:

    It ended up being a rally killer, in fact. ;)

  284. Andrew says:

    I’m not sure anyonenoticed, Byrd and Tabata were hitting well and Marte had the lingering hand issue.

  285. Jandy says:

    Hey, TC, pass the popcorn! :D

  286. Andrew says:

    Same thing with Pujols and Cardinals, 13th round pick, a lottery ticket.

  287. 21sthebest says:

    Marte only had 27 at bats last September.

    *small sample size argument*

  288. Nate83 says:

    Bowden ripping them = right move by Pirates. Everything the guy says is 100% wrong. If he told me tomorrow the earth was round I would instantly believe it was flat. If he told me I had two sons I would start saving money to pay for my two daughters weddings.

  289. 21sthebest says:

    Arriba had it last.

  290. NMR says:

    Right. AA numbers between May 15 and the all star break.

    Those are the ones ya gotta look at.

  291. Andrew says:

    My understanding is that the GM would want to bring in his own people, can ownership force an assistant GM on a new hire or make Botteril’s retention conditional when hiring a new guy?

    I would think that GM would have final say on the hockey staff under him, but who know how the organizational flow chart looks over there.

  292. NMR says:

    AW is making my argument for me and doesn’t realize it.

  293. National mart of Records,

    I left you this message on Saturday morning, but apparently you did not deign us with your presence.
    I’d hate for a compliment to go to waste!

    May 31, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    National Mart of Records,

    Great find on the stats through May 30 on Pedro the last 3 years! Excellent!
    Your find does not make me happy . . . . it just makes me a little bit less unhappy!

    Also I haven’t had the chance to congratulate you: Just as I insisted all off-season from the November GM meetings (when AJ’s agent attended the last 2 days) that AJ Burnett was not retiring and that BMTIB needed to negotiate seriously, you insisted all off-season that Wandy would not be up to snuff and would be gone by June.

    Bye-bye Wandy! You prescient little Stat-Head!!!

    Maybe we could be Co-General Managers! I’ll even go get your coffee———what d’you take in it?

  294. Nate83 says:

    I don’t think Xander Bogaerts for Pedro straight up would ever happen. Bogaerts is controlled for 6 years and already might be a better player then Pedro. It’s kind of hard to gauge what value Pedro has on the trade market. I’m starting to think it is possible they find his value to the Pirates for the next 2 years could be greater then any return they can get. Too many holes in his game but the one thing he does really well is very valuable to the Pirates.

  295. bpn8pitt says:

    Its true for Polanco too.

  296. Andrew says:

    I am with you there, I have no problem paying Alavrez through arbitration, then letting him become a free agent.

    Alvarez is not getting a top hitting prospect, maybe something like the Mark Trumbo trade in which the Angles got Tyler Skaggs from Arizona, who is a top #20 pitching prospect, but it was a trade with a lot of pieces and the Diamondback’s GM is probably going to he fired at some point.

  297. JohninOshkosh says:

    So my brother is in town for his yearly visit from Alaska. We had one of those stupid sports discussions last night during the hockey game. Both of us grew up North Stars fans and hold a degree of disdain for cities that poached franchises, for example, Dallas. Discussed which poaching cities have had most success (excluded the Dodgers and Giants because of the spectacular cultural change the jet era brought. Too early to tell for cities like OKC and Winnipeg).

    Game up with this: NHL: Dallas NBA: Utah (Lakers excluded due to jet age exception) MLB: Texas NFL: Indianapolis

  298. JohninOshkosh says:

    *Came up*

  299. NMR says:

    Too kind, Groat. And I lose any Winter Wandy points by thinking he’d bounce back after his DL stint this Spring. Didn’t work out so well on that one!

    I really enjoyed all the conversation after that Pedro post. Lot’s of good stuff. Wish you could’ve joined!

  300. Jandy says:

    OK, too late of a night last night. Gonna get a “Foglifter” K-cup of coffee ;)

  301. 21sthebest says:

    Thought I’d provide a summary of Apple news from the developer’s conference today:

  302. Jandy says:

    Dang it, AW, pass the friggin popcorn!

  303. Maz in Iowa says:

    I look for the Bucs to look less for pitchers early in the draft because last year eight of their top 15 picks were position players -and just for example Stanford third baseman Alex Blandino, or Kentucky first baseman A.J. Reed are samples of BPA .Two positions of need. JMO

  304. Jandy says:


    Blocked here at work

  305. Jim S. says:

    Personally, for Cumpton, I take the entirety of his work for the Bucs over the past 2 years into the equation. He has had exactly 1 blowup so far, and a bunch of passable performances. And, FWIW, he seems to be throwing harder than last year, and the reports I have read is that he is a more polished pitcher than last year.

    I have no illusions that he is going to be a 5 year fixture in the rotation. I know he has things to work on, and his ceiling is not particularly high. I’m hoping he can be a serviceable #5 for the rest of the year. I’m not going to stop believing he can do that because he had a bad outing. I think he deserves several more starts at a minimum.

  306. Jandy says:


  307. I don’t love em. I just watch to see what people are doing. Some potential there. Everyone isn’t a bust or great either one.

    I think to be fair to Cumpton, a few more starts will tell if he can cut it or not. He can learn from Saturday and move forward or that may begin the standard. Too small a sample size to tell either way.

    Obviously, AAA isn’t the majors or they could combine the 2. MLB is watered down enough now.

  308. No tears from me. Feel bad for JRay, as he was actually acquainted with Morris and had dinner with him.

    But JRay gets around. He may yet see him play with the Fish.

  309. JohninOshkosh says:

    Nice to see Youppi getting work.

  310. bpn8pitt says:

    Im sorry that I want better for my team than Brandon Cumpton and Vance Worley.

    I truly am.

    Promise not to say sp**d anymore either.

  311. Murray is the semi-retired former lead baseball writer for the New York Times. He’s from Pittsburgh.

    Here’s a portion of his June 1st column:

    “Unfortunately for the players, there apparently is nothing illegal about the practice. The clubs, though, must have trouble accepting that because they lie about the reason for the delayed call-ups. Yes, I am saying Coonelly is lying when he says the reason Polanco remains in the minors is he needs more experience and development. If the Pirates were trying to turn the good-hitting, good-fielding outfielder into a ballet dancer, maybe he would need more lessons, but baseball is his game and he plays it extremely well.

    In the latest International League statistics, Polanco was leading the league with a .348 batting average, 45 r.b.i. in 53 games and .556 slugging and .411 on-base percentages. He was tied for the lead in home runs with 6 and also had 15 doubles and 5 triples.

    That Coonelly, when talking about Polanco, can say “experience and development” with a straight face is a testament to his acting ability. If in their place he said salary arbitration and free agency he would get higher grades for honesty and candor.”

    You can find the whole column at Murray Chase on Baseball He somewhat compares Puig and Polanco.
    Or, maybe JAL or Jandy can link it for us.

  312. Jandy says:

    Is it Conrad or Andy, Groatie?

  313. I’ll get my violin out.

    Mercy. Too low.

  314. Jandy says:

    Nevermind…is this it, Groat?

  315. Jandy says:


  316. TK says:

    Didn’t the Baltimore Orioles use to be the St. Louis Browns?

    I would think the Orioles had better success after taking over for the Browns than the Rangers had after taking over for the Senators.

  317. Jandy says:

    Well, the Hartford Whalers moved to Carolina (Hurricanes) and they haven’t had success…

  318. Naterosboro says:

    I believe it was Larkin at the very end of the discussion that said it had nothing to do with money. And that is outright lying. B/c he and everyone else knows that there is a financial aspect to it.

    I’m not sure the Pirates would have anything to do with it, but MLB could certainly make sure their affiliate broadcasters didn’t say anything to upset the union. I don’t think this happened either. My post from earlier was more hyperbole.

    If Ravech did say there was something to do with money then I take back a sliver of what I said about the man. He should stick to BBTN and highlights.

    And I don’t REALLY care, I’m just nitpicking on things from the broadcast last night because I was none too enamored with it (while they sure were tooting the horn….).

  319. Oshkosh b’Gosh,

    Dallas stealing the North Stars was ludicrous!
    Texas stealing the Senators should never have been allowed.

    (I’m sensing a pattern here with the highly moral Lone Star State owners.)

    The New Orleans Jazz weren’t drawing well. Utah deserved a team after the Stars.
    I think the worst NBA is definitely the theft of Seattle to Oklahoma City. Seattle was still drawing; it was just politics, trying to get a newer arena, that turned into a move.

    #2 in NBA was Atlanta stealing the Hawks from St. Louis. To heck with Bob Pettit and Sweet Lou Hudson and Walt Bellamy.

  320. 21sthebest says:

    “Yes, I am saying Coonelly is lying when he says the reason Polanco remains in the minors is he needs more experience and development. ”

    This is a shocking revelation!

  321. Sarah says:

    Wow, DK and Jesse getting into it over Saad and Gibson drafts…..
    Jandy you know Jesse yes?

    Weigh in?

  322. Jim S. says:

    Nothing he says surprises me any more, 21. I think he talks out of both sides of his mouth, quite frankly. Or, he just doesn’t keep track of the things he says from one week to the next.

    Last year he said he didn’t see Polanco ever being more than a .280 hitter with 10-15 HR power. Then, early this year, I heard him saying for weeks that Polanco needed to be brought up immediately. Then, I heard him a few weeks ago say that he agrees with Huntington that Polanco needs more seasoning. Now, he is back on the “bring him up yesterday” bandwagon. I just give him zero credibility.

    I wish he could be the Reds GM again.

  323. Jandy says:


    Pass the popcorn, please ;)

  324. Jandy says:

    Jesse Marshall? Only from FaceOffFactor, never meet him. he knows hockey, tho. It’s opinion, Sarah, and like buttholes, everyone has one :) Right, SPunky?

  325. NMR says:

    Chass has riden out the last 20 years on similar work.

  326. JohninOshkosh says:

    Nice one, TK. I think you’re right!

  327. Thanks JandyGirl,

    I just reread my post and realized I left off the last name.

    You rescued me!!!

  328. Jandy says:

    OK so I found the proper one…good :)
    Glad to be of service to the Asylum!

  329. JohninOshkosh says:

    NHL is a hard one. A few poachers have gone on to win SC. Not too many with sustained success.

    Avs are certainly a legitimate choice.

  330. 21sthebest says:

    Hey now don’t be bagging on Allderdice grads!

  331. Jandy says:

    Avs are a good one, Oshie.

  332. TK says:

    And the Oakland A’s did a lot better than when they were in Kansas City.

  333. Thundercrack says:

    Murray Chase has long seemed to have something against FC.

    And he knows they can’t say it’s because of salary arbitration and free agency.

  334. Jandy says:

    Sarah is this a Twitter war? I don’t Tweet lol

  335. Sarah says:

    Oh! Sorry thought you knew him personally! My bad.

    Now I can opine freely that I think he’s just a sycophant toeing the Pens party line. Never read a comment or a thread from him that strayed.

    And on Twitter now he is reinforcing that.

  336. Sarah says:

    Not really a war Jandster but a difference of opinion for sure!
    Nor do I tweet!!!

  337. Jandy says:

    LOL! Well, I respect Dejan, and I’ve read Jesse, so I don’t wanna pick sides…yet.

  338. Thundercrack says:

    21, where do you Chase and Smizik meet for coffee?

  339. Sarah says:

    But I gotta say every day that goes by and Bylsma is still HC makes me think he will be behind the bench next season.

  340. Thundercrack says:

    Yea Murray. The Pirates really manipulated the service time clocks of Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer.

  341. TK says:

    The North Stars became a better team when they merged with the Barons/Seals.

    The Scouts became a better team when they became the Rockies and the Rockies became a much, much better team when they became the Devils.

  342. Andrew says:

    Chase Murray is an ancient crass curmudgeon who the game passed by at least two decades ago. Any appeal to his authority in the Polanco situation is laughable. In fact I may head down to the Pirates front office to volunteer to man the barricades and keep the likes of you from this well run Regime.

  343. SeanAY says:

    The ‘Canes have made the Cup finals twice since the move, and won once.

    Overall, though, not a paragon of consistency.

  344. Opinions I can vouch for, the other, I only know of a few for sure. (5 kids, 4 grandchildren, wife and I). The rest, I have to take your word for it.

    Shame on your orneriness!


  345. Sarah says:

    And re Saad/Gibson DK refrained from giving details ( which I HATE) but called it a “massively embarrassing mistake” while Jesse was saying he was praying that they bypassed Saad.

    Of course hindsight is what it is, but I’d be QUITE happy with either or both Saad/Gibson at this point.

    Though I fully believe there’s every chance Bylsma would have severely retarded Saad’s development, see Lovejoy, Despres…..

  346. Sarah says:

    ER – was that for me?

  347. Stealing the Quebec Nordiques to become the Avalanche was American Imperialism!

  348. Stuart says:

    It was a high school nerd joke link. Don’t bother.


  349. Jandy says:

    That was what I was thinking, SeanAY

  350. Jandy says:

    Thanks Stu, I have plenty of those here at work …

  351. Jandy says:

    LOL Spunky, now Sarah thinks you called HER ornery ;)

  352. Jandy says:

    Yeah and hindsight is always better than foresight.
    Who knows?

  353. 21sthebest says:

    Old sportswriters go to McDonald’s for coffee. EYE go to Starbucks.

    Smizik is a Peabody grad.

  354. Jandy says:


  355. Perish the thought. Only 2 ornery people on this here blog and their names rhyme.

  356. Jandy says:

    UGH! Gotta get some stuff done, so I can go home…later Loonies!

    be good ;)

  357. Jandy says:


  358. See Alex Goligowski and Noah Welch and Joe Morrow.

  359. NMR says:

    Andrew, is that you?

  360. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t think that was what John was saying, Dom. I think he was saying they liked losers.

    (I’m making this up as I go along.). ;-)

  361. Naterosboro says:

    Starling Marte is the bridge to Josh Bell or Austin Meadows (which moves Polonco to LF). Love him or hate him, he does cover a lot of ground in LF. And, let’s face it, due to how PNC is constructed, you essentially need two CFs to cover the whole of LF.

    Yes, he’s [Marte] a frustrating player right now, but I do not want to see JHay in LF everyday. Continue to take the contributions he’s [Harrison] giving, but do not treat him more than a bench/utility guy. Harrison has become a valuable member of this team in that role. I feel it would go down significantly if handed an everyday role.

    You live with Marte’s warts until Bell or Meadows is ready. Or maybe Marte adjusts his game to the league, and you can move Bell or Meadows for help somewhere else.

    For as much as we like to get on the kid, he’s young, and he was at the top of the lineup basically all of last year, and did a pretty good job. I don’t think we’ve read the last chapter in Starling Marte’s career yet. And, fwiw, I think he’ll be an above-average player over the length of his career. Not a star, but a good, solid major league player. Certainly better than league average. I think his defensive capabilities make him 1 already, despite the occasional drop ;-)

  362. Botherhood of the Redus says:


  363. Naterosboro says:

    I’m not sure if it was discussed here today or earlier, but what to make of Mel Rojas Jr.? Kid seems to be having a “breakout” year, and just earned a promotion to Indianapolis.

    I’m not sure what his speed or arm is like in the OF, but is he a possible 4th OF for this team next year? Maybe even a September call up, depending on how the rest of his and the Pirates season goes?

    I’ve not see the kid play other than the odd highlight, and I already would prefer him to Travis Snider….


  364. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    Well put Nate….fact is Marte is pushing…you can see it, that and he’s not had anything fall in this series. He’ll be fine. JHay is great in the dose that we are seeing him right now and just in time too becasue I noticed Snider is back to hitting balls one handed again….

  365. Andrew says:

    Citing Chase Murray as an authority on the business of baseball is so absurd the only response was absurdity. It is just another example of someone seeking out information to confirm their preexisting bias, we all do it, but I just found this example ludicrous.

  366. Nate83 says:

    He has looked very good. I don’t think the Pirates keep anybody like him as an option for a 4th outfielder. There are a number of very good OF prospects moving through the system that are not to the level of Polanco or Meadows but could definately be valuable to other teams. I don’t think a guy like Rojos ever wears a Pirate uniform. I think he will be traded at some point this year or next.

  367. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, true.

  368. Naterosboro says:

    I think ESPN cited a stat that said opposing players are hitting like .365 off Edinson the 3rd time through the lineup.

    He’ll just have to get more efficient to pitch past the 5th… ;-)

  369. DK liked him a couple years ago in ST if I recall. Not much else said about him since.

  370. NMR says:

    “…keep the likes of you from this well run Regime.”

    Might have been sarcasm, but most definitely out of character.

  371. dennis g. says:

    So the odds are three to one that Morton pitches a good game. That is acceptable.

  372. Andrew says:

    Failed attempt at sarcasm, I’m just fatigued with this debate, I’m not even going to look DK’s newest post.

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