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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: Steelers, Steelers, Steelers

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Friday column is about — what else? — the Steelers’ center of attention for the day, Maurkice Pouncey’s mega-extension. And, of course, the extension that still isn’t.

A snippet won’t do Pouncey’s brief press conference justice, so here’s the full reel from the team’s official site. Well worth the view.

And here’s a question about Pouncey I had for Ramon Foster: yesterday:

News coverage of the extension, by beat man Alan Robinson.

LeGarrette Blount plans to play a bunch, by Robinson.

Dri Archer will see time at receiver, by Mark Kaboly.

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

Blogginess from the scene: It was the last day of OTAs, but it might have had the headline items not only in Pouncey’s extension but also Archer’s time at wide receiver. We’re not supposed to get vivid in our descriptions of what happens on the field — the Ravens are reading, don’t you know? — but suffice it to say Archer made more than just a cameo. What’s more, Mike Tomlin zeroed in on him like a hungry hawk and had no issue barking out what he did and didn’t like. It was much more positive than negative. … Every player on the roster showed for at least part of OTAs except Troy Polamalu. It’s voluntary, I’ll remind. … Ben Roethlisberger was at every session but one, and the only one he missed was for family reasons. He also was an enthusiastic, vocal participant. His receivers, in particular, never had to wonder what he wanted after a given route. The whole world knew about it. … The linebackers are a pack. Yes, position players stick with their own at OTAs. That’s the way drills are structured. But these guys are sticking like glue. “We’re a family,” Jarvis Jones replied when I tossed that his way. … Darrius Heyward-Bey drops a lot of footballs. Lance Moore doesn’t drop anything sent within his ZIP code. Speed is overrated at receiver, you know. … So many different defensive sets, so many looks. That’s going to wind up a story unto itself by the time the Browns arrive. Not sure the Steelers will need a nose tackle. … This team is younger, faster and more excited. I could go into all kinds of elaboration, or I could just offer these two words: Ryan Shazier. You’re really going to like this kid. … The three-day minicamp, which is mandatory, is June 17-19.

Oh, and if Ben’s volunteer football work weren’t enough, he joined the Pirates for batting practice and shagging flies before last night’s game …

>> Edinson Volquez and the Pirates beat the Cubs. Karen Price reports from PNC Park. And I’ll add here that Volquez’s ERA is now at 3.89, while his .232 opponents’ batting average and 1.18 WHIP are now best of anyone on the rotation. Someone else isn’t faring as well, except at the bank account.

Cole Tucker, the first-round pick, signed up, by Rob Biertempfel.

Neil Walker is still sore, by Biertempfel.

The bullpen is on cruise control, by David Golebiewski.

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

Here’s Cubs news from the Chicago Tribune.

Here’s Marlins news from the Miami Herald.

Here are official game highlights on

>> Jim Rutherford’s Carolina express continues with the Penguins, by beat man Rob Rossi.

The rise and fall of Dan Bylsma, by Josh Yohe.

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

Here are official Stanley Cup final highlights on, including all kinds of preview material to the potentially climactic Game 5 tonight at Staples Center.

>> Here’s the official World Cup 2014 page and the official U.S. Soccer page.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio today at 11:30 a.m., then will be part of WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word panel Sunday night.

>> 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:

    Firsties.Sure seems like the Pirates can’t quite get back to .500

  2. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I’m excited that the Steelers hopefully had a good draft AND actually signed a good amount of FA’s this off-season.
    I’m well aware that these signings are not earth shattering (though Safety Mike Mitchell might be), but there are some guys there that can contribute to the depth of this team.
    One thing is certain……They will be a lot younger, faster and stronger.

  3. KING says:

    Pirates should be buried with the average starting pitching & injuries to Cole,Liriano,Martin, Walker’s appendix etc. However, they are hanging around at 32-34 & have overcome Shark tonight 4-0.

    Best news for Pirates played Brewers 13 times already. Need to take care of business vs. other NL teams.

    Pirates in a no lose position. They can add 10-12 mill in salary with the wild card in sight. Having Polanco called up & Walker returning is like trading for 2 stars & giving up nothing.

    1B looking good with Davis & Sanchez. Polanco manning RF only hole is SS.

    Expect the Pirates to make a run with the Dodgers,Reds all fighting for the wildcards. KING

  4. Finally, the Bucs won 4-0 after 2 rain delays. I saw the first 7 on WGN Chicago down here in Florida and was glad to see Volquez pitch 7 shutout innings over the last place Cubs.

  5. And as for the Steelers, well, we can all hope that they’ll do as well as their schedule says they should, especially after the Pouncey signining.

  6. Sisyphus says:

    Mercer had an OPS of .404 in April.

    It was .594 in May.

    It’s .950 so far in June.

    He had an awful start that’s going to make it take a long time to get his season numbers up to respectable levels, but I don’t think that shortstop is going to be much of a problem for the rest of the season. I feel comfortable in predicting that his OPS from June 1 to the end of the season will be somewhere in the .725 – .750 range.

  7. kr70 says:

    Can Ben play shortstop?

  8. JoeyBats says:

    Thanks DK for the Pouncey video … ==>

    “so here’s the full reel from the team’s official site. Well worth the view”

    Let’s hope with the the new contract…he shows A LOT more MATURITY with his SOCIAL MEDIA comments ….than in past years. :-(

  9. Thundercrack says:

    Looking at that picture of Ben standing next to Hurdle at PNC Park, Ben doesn’t look like he’s in shape


  10. DJ says:

    Hoping Cole Tucker’s tangibles are as good as his intangibles.

    Kid seems like a winner.

  11. NMR says:

    That hair.

  12. bpn8pitt says:

    Cant wait to see what that kids weight is when he comes up.

    I know the experts say otherwise, but I’ll be really surprised if he stays at SS.

  13. bpn8pitt says:

    Thats a lot of money for a C. Especially one that has missed some time.

    Then again, this offseason taught me, these contracts mean absloutely zilch and probably get reworked 2-3 times over the span, so it probably doesnt matter.

    O-Line is intriguing if they stay healthy.

  14. JAL says:

    JAL’s Mean Eyed Cat Morning Links

    Mean Eyed Cat Johnny Cash


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    4 Pirates Prospects

    2014 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Are the Pirates Going to be Buyers or Sellers?

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates wait out rain, cruise to 4-0 victory

    Jason Grilli: Shark tank mentality ‘never left’



    8 Green Weenie

    Volquez, Cutch Cage the Cubs 4-0

    9 Rumbunter

    Baseball America Draft Podcast Shows Pirates Love

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 4, Cubs 0

    11 Saber Bucs

    Tony Watson to the Rotation? Francisco Liriano to the Bullpen?

  15. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Fox Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates at Miami Marlins game preview

    13 Chicago Sun Times

    Pirates’ troubles in sustaining success offer lessons for Cubs

    McCutchen continues to hammer Cubs in rain-delayed Pirates win

    14 Beaver County Times

    Bucs experiment with Polanco at leadoff

    15 Pirates Site

    McCutchen, Volquez team up to keep Cubs down

    Walker in good spirits after appendectomy

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds top Dodgers, salvage series split

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Four-run 13th inning lifts Brewers to win

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Should he stay or should he go: What’s next for Taveras?

    Strauss: If Wainwright goes, so goes the season

    19 Fangraphs

    The Selling Process: Trade Deadline Season

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Can Do With Your Old Baseball Cards

  16. DJ says:

    No one seeing ball better than Andrew McLockedin.

    Love these annual shred-fests.

  17. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Mike Munchak: ‘I think you’re going to see the best offensive line play’ the next few years

    Can Maurkice Pouncey follow in the footsteps of Ray Mansfield, Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson?

    Steelers OTAs: Will Johnson working as fullback and tight end


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Brazil 3 Croatia 1 – Match Stats & World Cup Projections

    23 BBC Football

    Brazil 3 Croatia 1

    24 World Soccer

    Brazil 3-1 Croatia

    25 Pensburgh

    On the NYR-PIT Series: Scoring Chances, Luck, and Crosby’s Struggles

  18. bpn8pitt says:

    Probably sounds stupid, but Im happy where the Steelers are right now. They have a good mix of veterans and young guys. Veterans probably working on their last hurrah. Young guys eager to earn a 2nd contract and sink their teeth in the league.

    My early prediction is 10 wins and a return to the playoffs. All comes down to that secondary and pass rush; keeping #7 upright.

  19. DJ says:

    A mini-Oscar Gamble fro.

    Love it.

  20. DJ says:

    Right now, every manager should be evaluating walking Cutch each at bat.

    If not, they’ve done no due diligence.

  21. bpn8pitt says:

    I think Davis has been pretty bad of late, and unless the power numbers come around, not sure 1B is fixed yet. At least from the left side.

  22. BillyBaduka says:


  23. chethejet1 says:

    Pitching is the main ingredient in baseball. Pirates with Wandy, Francisco injury and Cole while losing Tallion have just changed the dynamic this year. See where things stand end of June as to the compete level for a playoff run. In all seasons there are periods of time and schedules that give a good indication of the team. The Pens March schedule when they played a number very good teams showed the Pens simply were not cup contenders. Outside of resigning Martin, the Pirates need to determine if Locke, Cumpton can provide the kind of pitching that will fill in the holes as the team moves forward.

  24. Jandy says:


  25. Jandy says:

    Maybe he’ll let it grow and it will be more like Jeff Locke’s then ;)

  26. The Gunner says:


    Ben nevers looks like he is in shape – despite that, he is one helluva QB for sure!

    And how about “Big Ed” Volquez and those 7 innings he gave us last night! Hard to believe but, he has provided better production than AJB for about $11 million less.

    Now it is time for the BMTIB to reinvest that $11 million to acquired some proven starting pitching to go along with Cole, Morton, Big Ed, Locke & Cumpton!!!

  27. bpn8pitt says:

    They need an arm, chet. A David Price would be nice, but probably not feasible. But they need something better than whats in the bargain bin.

  28. NMR says:

    Miguel Sano was at shortstop at Tucker’s present age.

    Tucker will definitely be on the line. All depends on how much he fills out, IMO.

  29. DJ says:

    Josh Bell heating up. .318, 5 for 7, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 runs scored.

    Altoona beckons.

  30. Dom says:

    What are you basing that on?

  31. NMR says:

    He’s gotta find feel for that new swing. You can see he just isn’t comfortable yet.

    But I don’t personally think he needs to show a bunch more power to be productive. It’s not like James Loney has any. Davis is going to get on base, we know that much.

  32. Dcpinpgh says:

    Looking at AJ’s stays, he has pitched more inning then anyone on the Pirates staff. While he is not dominating, he is pulling his weight as a teammate. I would say he is not pulling his weight as an employee.

  33. bpn8pitt says:

    Agree…I will admit, he looks like boom or bust, what little I know about him.
    Could be a heist. Could never come close.

    I just remember when Travis talked about #24 in the draft. It was Trout, Cain and pretty much nobody.

    Saw they signed a bunch of picks.

  34. Jandy says:


  35. DJ says:

    If that’s to me, Dom, what I’ve read and several videos.

    Kid has a presence.

  36. Jandy says:

    and it’s not fun to pitch when it’s raining cats and dogs…just sayin’

  37. bpn8pitt says:

    NMR heart Gaby 4 Ever. ;)

  38. DJ says:

    You’ll have to give us the lowdown, Jands.

    Supple glove, tall, hairstyle? That kind of thing.

  39. I can’t tell you how excited I was——I smiled like a little boy coming down the stairs on Christmas morning——to see Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte, and Andrew McCutchen batting 1-2-3 last night!!!

    How ’bout that catch by Marte in left center?!

    I’m almost ready to see Gaby Sanchez be given a semi-permanent tryout at Clean-up and 1st Base. Such a hole!

  40. DJ says:

    Yeah, looks like Mitch Keller won’t be headed to UNC.

  41. DJ says:

    Like that 1-2-3 as well.

    Sandwiching Marte may keep him focused.

  42. You are continuing a bad rap on AJ, based on rumor mills like the internet. He was a leader, and you STILL do not hear any Pirate players say they were “tired of his act.” Only sports geeks like us who can read players minds while they sit in the dugout!

  43. NMR says:


  44. NMR says:

    I think he might’ve meant that AJ isn’t earning his salary in reference to the employee comment.

  45. Good call, Bullpen Nate!

  46. Nate83 says:

    I think Cole just misses two starts and with the off day that only requires one spot start. Liriano’s production is replaceable. At least the production he was giving us is. The pitching has been really good in June, so I’m not so sure they need to panic just yet. Let it play out a little because Cumpton and Locke could be early season starters next year. They need to see what they have with them and I’m not sure anything they can get would be better.

    As you said any considerable upgrade isn’t very feasible at this point in the year. Let’s not forget Locke has shown he is capable and except for 1 horrible start Cumpton has as well. They may need to have one extra long relief guy to make up for Cumpton’s and Locke’s short outings but hopefully Stolmy can fill that roll and Hughes and Wilson can go two innings if needed.

  47. Dom says:

    Happy Friday the 13th!

    Dri Archer signs with the Steelers leaving just Stephon Tuitt the only draft pick that has yet to reach an agreement.

  48. NMR says:

    Drafting HS kids is so wierd. Guys that don’t physically mature early or don’t have huge tools don’t get invited to the showcases. Guys who don’t get invited to showcases don’t get national attention. Guys who don’t get national attention don’t get ranked highly.

    Seems like the Pirates targetted a couple kids in Tucker and Keller that rose really fast this spring. Like you said, could turn into monsters a year from now…or could’ve had a couple good months in front of the right eyes and end up flaming out.

  49. likeabugonarug says:

    Re: AJ. Even tho I live here, I watch very little Phillies games. But when I do watch, I don’t see the Phils shifting like the Bucs do. To me, makes it hard to compare AJ’s stats with Phils vs. what they would be with Bucs. Whether he liked/agreed with it or not, maybe he’d be lots better playing with a shifting team than a straight-up team.


  50. Hey National Mart of Records,

    I’m looking to impress a girl. What’s the scoop on a restaurant in your neighborhood on the North Side——Acanthus?
    604 W. North.

  51. DJ says:

    Well he better Step Tuitt then.

  52. Stephon will get around Tuitt soon.

  53. Nate83 says:

    I think NMR is correct but I agree with your overall point. AJ was a great teammate and only had issues when his passion stepped over the line a little. All those incident had been blown way out of proportion by multi-media. As far as I can tell all of his teammates have the upmost respect for the man.

  54. Dom says:

    I dont get it.

  55. DJ says:

    Jandy told me to tell you that you’re so cute, Dom.

  56. Roger says:

    Great work as usual. I just wanted to chime in on Pouncey and Ben. Pouncey I believe has the negative aura around him bc of the items you listed. I also think that there are questions about his character bc look who his 3 BFF’s were at Florida: Killer Hernandez, woman beater Rainey(whom he vouched for to mgt prior to draft), and his bully brother Mike. Add in the tattoos and you have a huge negative stereotype. The tats don’t bother me . Missing the games he has missed don’t bother me. Tweeting at trolls don’t bother me. But hanging with those 3 stooges and not mauling and dominating games does bother me . I talk to you and Jim Wexell alot(well, about as much as a fan can to his favorite writers) and you both rave and love him so at the end of the day, it’s good enough for me.

    As for Ben, do you think they are waiting bc they can? Extending him does little in terms of cap relief. They owe him just 23 million real cash over the next 2 seasons. If I’m AR2 I would let it play out bc why give him an extension and have to pay him 35-40 million bonus within 6 months when I just have to pay 23 over 2 yrs and can franchise him. Plus, see where you are team wise. If it appears you can make a legit SB run over a 3-5 yr period after the next yr or 2, write the blank check to him. If it looks like you are several pieces away, start over.
    Anyways, have a great weekend and thanks again for your insight.

  57. Nate83 says:

    While reading the “Rise and Fall of Disco Dan” blog entry by Josh Yohe I started to wonder if the only reason Bylsma player friendly no accountability approach worked so well at the beginning was because it was a 180 compared to the previous coach approach. I think that says more about the players then him. There needs to be leaders on every team regardless of the coaching style.

    There is no doubt in my mind the Popevich sets the tone for the Spurs but without Duncun, Parker and Ginobli constantly reminding players that isn’t how we do thing and making others have accountibility it doesn’t work. Lose your stars lose your team is what they say and I believe that.

  58. chethejet1 says:

    When Hurdle asked the Brass if they were all in, he didn’t realize they were speaking off the kiddie pool. Pirates will never trade for a Price to win today. That is the reality folks.

  59. Jandy says:

    good job DJ ;)

  60. Jandy says:

    Oh I will, count on it ;)

  61. Jim S. says:

    I read a tweet last night that the Bucs scouts felt he would go 5-10 in next year’s draft.

  62. Jim S. says:

    Apparently they went from not calling him, talking to him or acknowledging him at all to signing him in record time.

  63. Pens’ best years were when they had a Gary Roberts or a Billy Guerin in the room. Ironically, Sid seems to need that “Big Brother” type to be focused in the Playoffs.

    I think even missing Pascal Dupuis hurt, not for his speed or his goals but his relationship with Sid.

    Weird to say, because I always think of Geno losing focus, but Sid needs a Big Brother. That was not a totally focused Sid skating around in the Playoffs. His presence only dominated one game against the Rangers. For the other 6 games he could have been Eric Tangradi skating around out there.

  64. Thanks for writing, Roger. Look forward to hearing from you again!

  65. DJ says:

    Yohe: “Bylsma never really changed over the years . . . There is, however, a problem with wanting to be liked, especially when you’re a head coach. His personality with fans mirrored his personality with his players. Eventually, I believe, hockey players will take advantage of such things. They’re generally good guys, but they’re human. Accountability begins to fade. And it did.”

    How very true.

  66. Jim S. says:

    That first double he hit went about 405′. It might have gone completely out of Wrigley. Cutch would definitely hit more HR in a lot of other parks.

  67. Jim S. says:

    Hoping you’re right, thinking you’re wrong, bpn.

  68. And tweets are the new New Testament.

  69. Tom P. says:

    This is the third time they have been to 2 games under .500. The first time they lost to SD while giving up 1 hit. Last Friday, they got back to 2 under by beating the Brewers 15-5. Then they lost the next 2. Let’s see what tonight brings.

  70. bpn8pitt says:

    Im saying more 2015 in regards to the arm. Not a guy “re-establishing his value”…Im talking about a guy that has value right now.

    Although I know “package deal” is like a swear word for the moderator, maybe if they fall out of this thing you could put a decent prospect with one of their pending FAs or someone of even better value (Marte? Pedro?) and get a decent pitcher back….Just a thought. I really think NH is gonna have to make an aggressive move to make this club better in the next 9 months.

  71. chethejet1 says:

    Tim Duncan classy player all these years and would like to see him go out with a championship ring. When is James contract up in Miami? He leaves and the heat will certainly cool.

  72. Nate83 says:

    ++++ Groat, I agree completely about Dupuis. I said the same thing about how his leadership and locker room presence would be missed more then his talent.

  73. bpn8pitt says:

    Yeah, me too. I could see them winning 10, or losing ten. Right now im in optimistic, offseason everyone’s healthy mode. :)

  74. DJ says:

    I know, Jim, but you’ll get to see more triples from him.

    Nothing better in baseball.

  75. Jim S. says:

    How about that throw from Polanco? I’m pretty sure that’s a sac fly if Harrison is out there. And, that is not a slight on Harrison. He just does not have an OF arm.

  76. Jim S. says:

    Nice, DJ!

  77. Jim S. says:

    You’re gonna be out of a job soon, Jandy, if this keeps up. :-)

  78. Nate83 says:

    He can opt out this year if he wants. If he is being honest with himself and looking at the surrounding cast he would opt out. Guys are playing minutes on that team that wouldn’t see the court on other playoff teams. Allen and Wade are both on the wrong side of their prime years. Bosh is Bill Lambeer without the toughness or rebounding. Their interior defense in series is embarassing.

    If I was the Heat I would start Greg Oden in game 5 and hope he can at least plug the lane defensively and hope the Spurs are cold from 3-point which they don’t seem to be often.

  79. Lebron can opt out after this year.

    Seriously, could consider going back to Cleveland, with Kyrie Irving at Point, the crazy-haired guy to rebound like crazy, and Embiid coming in to play Center.


  80. Arriba Wilver says:


  81. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t get it.

    (Am I cute? )


  82. Jim S. says:


    Hopefully, you’ll take her to a nice restaurant that doesn’t have the Bucs game on at a bar area that’s visible from your table. Because we all know, if the game is on, you’re gonna be staring over her shoulder bristling over a base running gaffe by our beloved Buccos while she walks out in a huff. :-)

  83. TRUTH!

    Like a little boy on Christmas . . . . .

  84. Cute is always the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of Wilver Dornel.

  85. Nate83 says:

    Agree I would love to see a move made this offseason or even in season this year that involves trading some of our prospect depth for a top 3 rotation guy with 2-4 years of control. The key is finding a team with a good pitcher that feels like they are a couple years away and would rather have prospects then a pitcher they will more then likely lose before they are good. They may have to overpay but with prospects it’s only an overpay if they end up being good which is never guarenteed.

  86. hockeymonster says:

    So with ROR needing to be qualified at 6.5M I couldn’t help but put together your 2014-15 Cup winning Pens squad:

    This a follow up to previous plan that has less drastic changes. Couldn’t help but run the numbers and if we can get ROR for Neal and Kuni, this is my Cup winning squad:

    ROR(6.8M)-Sid-Chris Stewart(4.15M)
    Super Duper-Malkin-Vrbata(2.8M)


    Cap: $69,500,000
    Cap space: $347,500
    Bonuses: $383,333
    Roster: 23

    So here’s what I did in the event its possible. Traded Piece to Anaheim for a 3rd. Figured if he liked LA he’ll be cozy in anaheim. Traded PM to MN for Coyle and Folin, who would be in NHL in this scenario if Maatta isn’t ready to start the season and then who knows. Other injuries or trades could be in the cards. And you may have noticed ROR in our top 6 for 6.8M.

    Adams contract needs to be dealt with and you may have noticed the low end estimate on the actual cap. But roster is filled out and there’s room for sweeteners. Adams magically turning into Gibby would be nice too. Fayne is signed for depth in hopefully the 1.5M range and Bortuzzo would get playing time if maatta can’t start the season. Nisky can play left side occasionally if need be. We would still have Folin, Harrington, Pouliot and mini ulf(if he isn’t traded or claimed on waivers), McNeil and etc. in reserve.

    Defense would be young but in maatta’s case seasoned. As long as Dumoulin and Despres can master the simple plays and pick there spots and wait for chances on PP, then I think the young D can hold up. And on some level this D corp resembles the worst case scenario simply cuz the cap may actually be closer to 70-71M. Even if you can’t get adams contract off the books, you would still have further flexibility.

    Only question would be what the defense looks like by deadline time. But i like that squad if the trades are possible, especially if the cap hits 70M+. For all i know COL will sign ROR and let stastny walk as a UFA but if they wan’t to sign stastny and explore trade options for ROR than I’d be willing to reshuffle the deck in the above fashion. COL would get 2 big time wingers to play with mackinnon, langeskog and stastny. And we’d get younger by adding a top 6 anchor who can play up and down the lineup, including center.

    And the draft picks wouldn’t hurt either. Especially in this years draft which is supposedly rather deep. The extra cap space we’d get in this trade would allow us to sign Winnik, Goc, Raymond, Vrbata and Fayne. I also magically placed Evil Stewie into the top 9 but i think Buffalo would be open to a deal.

    For the 1st time in since Sid n Geno were on their ELC’s we would have a lineup that can roll 4 lines and attack in waves and occasional tsunamis. Whether or not Nisky signs for 4.5M would determine alot. If he does we can bring in Fayne to stabilize dumoulin and despres who would get a chance to prove that they should still be in the lineup after trade deadline. And if Sill signs a 2 way deal along with Gibby(one-way if we can move adams somehow off the books) being retained we’d have some forward depth available with them, Megna, Payerl, Uher, Zlobin and etc.

    Players mentioned above should have their agents collude with the pens to make one of the 2 proposal a reality.. ..Oops..did i say that out loud?

    So why do they need a 18 headed GM-monster again?

  87. Sweet Jimmie,

    I took her to a restaurant in Ohio recently. Nice place. We are sitting and talking and sipping coffee after meal.

    All of a sudden she says, “Is there a cute girl back there over my shoulder. You keep getting distracted.”

    I could see the bar TV reflected in a mirror, and the sports highlights were on. Backwards. Busted!

  88. bpn8pitt says:

    Marte and Kingham for Henry Owens and Christian Vazquez (Boston)

    just throwing it out there.

  89. Nate83 says:

    Only if Dan Gilbert sells the team. I’ve heard they are leaning towards drafting Parker. Embiid would be interesting. He has so much upside. There is no way to know what he could end up being. He is still learing how to play the game and he is already really good. If his body fills out he could be scary good.

  90. Well, at least J Hey will only be out for a couple of days, which is good since the Pirates will need him in the days ahead. Meanwhile, the Bucs will be in Miami this weekend facing a better than expected Marlins team, and, hopefully, I can watch them on Cable down here in Florida this weekend.

  91. By the way, that TRULY would be a base running gaffe, for her to leave! Good one!

  92. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t think “package deal” ( especially with prospects) is the problem, bpn. It’s the putting together a bunch of bad players we don’t want somehow equals somebody else’s 1 good player that is (quite legitimately) the problem.

  93. You guys are going to regret all this Marte-hate!

  94. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ha! That must be what NMR means when he says “blind ignorance.”


  95. hockeymonster says:

    Forgot to mention that i’d want picks along with ROR for kuni and neal.

  96. Nate83 says:

    Who is ROR???? The hole thing falls apart without knowing that.

    Impressive work, but I question the amount of free time you have on your hands :)

  97. Hakeem Olajuwon.

    Jabari Parker is my boy from Duke, but I would take Embiid.

    Parker to Oshkosh b’ Gosh’s Bucks.

  98. hockeymonster says:

    Good point. ROR is Ryan O’Reilly. It didn’t take long. Copy and paste helps…and mostly i envisioned the lineup and did the math in my head. Or in other words….my crystal balls have spoken :)


    For those of you who haven’t read Josh Yohe’s blog post about Dan Bylsma, I encourage you to do so. Great insight and some interesting personal observations. DK, I think you’ve got the workings of a protege: that post reads like one of your columns, and that’s high praise for both.

    Dan Bylsma’s next coaching job will be the one that truly defines him. The challenge of taking a lineup like Florida’s to the playoffs and beyond may be enticing, but it can also raise much more questions if he fails to make an impact. A team like Vancouver, stocked with a talented group of veterans, may be a better fit for Dan Bylsma’s style and tendencies even if it doesn’t offer him the same kind of challenge. My advice to Dan Bylsma is to get behind the bench of a team on the cusp, get back to playoff hockey, keep in the spotlight, and prove that you can succeed outside of Pittsburgh while you’re still young and hungry. There’s always time to write the rags-to-riches story later on…

  100. Nate83 says:

    I don’t think they trade Marte anytime soon. They like him more then we realize. The only way he gets traded will be at his lowest value before his larger salary years kick in. They made him part of the core with that contract. They won’t trade a perceived team friendly contract just to watch the kid blossom into something they think he can be somewhere else.

  101. You make me smile! Good memory.

  102. bpn8pitt says:

    I like the OF now. But the Pirates seem to be deep in OFs and thats probably the one position you could find on the FA market for a good price with good production.

    Shades of Nady, Bay, Mclouth albeit different skill sets. I’ll take the new one all day. But… Productive OF only can do so much without a decent guy on the mound

  103. Jim S. says:

    Tim Duncan. What a great player he’s been for all these years. What a great guy to have representing your franchise. Class all the way.

    Tony Parker. Still breaking ankles of 22 year olds at 32. Couple of sick crossover moves last night. Anybody with the stones to dump Eva Longoria … enough said.

    It will be interesting to see if Miami can steal Game 5 and still make a series of this. They’ve been blown completely out of the gym in 3 of 4.

  104. Brent says:

    They are on Fox Sports Florida.

  105. hockeymonster says:

    Disco was stubborn? Shocker.

  106. Thundercrack says:

    Your math is a little off. The Phillies offered AJ $16 mi

    The Pirates offered $12 mil and are paying EV $5 mil. That’s $7 million left to spend.

    I care deeply about Bob Nutting’s money. :-)

  107. Jim S. says:

    I hear you, Groat.

    Just last night while I was watching the Bucs, my wife, whom I adore, came down to the basement fan cave to tell me something earth shatteringly important, and I was so engrossed in the ball game that I didn’t hear a word she said. After about 30 seconds … or, maybe it was 3 minutes for all I know … she said, “Have you even heard a word I said?” I had to admit that I hadn’t. I said, “But, honey, Cutch just hit a triple, and it looks like he lifted his foot and got called out.”

    I’ll be stopping for flowers and a card on the way home tonight.

  108. Patrick(RI) says:

    Ever wonder what ex-Pirates pick up in Japan? McGeehee is tearing it up with lots of rbi + ba, and is a big part of why Miami is better than expected. And Voglesong has been excellent since returning. Maybe we should create a deal with a Japanese team to send over some of our borderline guys?

  109. Nate83 says:

    I almost mentioned Olajuwon in my post. I would pick Embiid as well. I think Parker is going to be a tremendous player and is the safer pick. Embiid could end up being a generational player. If I’m the Cavs in that market I take the guy that can become larger then life. The league is littered with talented number 3’s. Little value in having one that is slightly better then the rest. Swing for the fences.

  110. 21sthebest says:

    Jim, the way he apparently rose this year and with him being a full year younger than most high school seniors, I think that’s a reasonable projection.

  111. Nate83 says:

    And just like David Robinson passed the buton to Duncun I think we are watching him pass it to Kawhi Leonard. He truly is looking like a special player that plays the right way and does a lot of thing very well. Really impressive organization and it all starts with Popovich and the humble star players that have played for him.

  112. Monster Mash,

    Lots of homework. Impressive.

    However, Rutherford is not the man to pull all that off. Too much turnover. 8 news guys plus resigning Nisky?!?!?!?! Holy Cow! Resigning Nisky at only 4.5?!?!? Never!

    Keep Neal, keep Kunitz, pick 2 new guys. And get me a cheap Gary Roberts or Billy Guerin!

  113. Rob Ray . . . . . Detroit Tigers bullpen.

  114. 21sthebest says:

    Personally, I can’t tell if he was respected by all of his teammates.

    And showing up the manager and a teammate the way he did on the field, I feel like he was given a pass for that by the multi media. I can’t remember anything like that ever happening.

  115. Nate83 says:

    Great job by Martin handling that throw. That thing got there in a hurry.

    Did you see the throws by Cespedes over the last few days? Really impressive. They have been showing throws by Bo Jackson to compare. I forgot how impressive he was and was probably too young to fully appreciate it. I wish they showed some of Clemente’s throws. I don’t know if there is a more exciting play in baseball then a play at home.

  116. Wide Receiver Nate,

    Embiid could turn out to be Sam Bowie, who was taken before Michael Jordan. But Cleveland needs a center——Michael Bennett could still develop at #3——and Embiid COULD be dominant.

    Let Oshkosh b’Gosh get Michael Jordan—I mean, Jabari Parker!

  117. Thundercrack says:

    I think the whole narrative of how much the Pirates players miss AJ or don’t AJ has been blown of proportion.

    I don’t hear anyone saying they were ‘tired of his act’. But I also didn’t hear any overwhelming complaints about him not returning.

    I believe his ‘leadership’ is overblown. If he tutored any pitchers it seemed to me to be only a few young ones.

    AJ was a veteran player. I think he showed his teammates how a veteran acts and what a veteran should expect (from teammates, coaches and FO).

  118. Arriba Wilver says:

    Most fun to watch triples since the Great One.

  119. hockeymonster says:

    Thanks Groat! Nisky at 4.5M would be ideal but i worked off a cap of 69.5M. If cap is 70-71M we would have wiggle room for sweeteners for him and other UFA’s. Fayne may need 1.7M for example. Vrbata may need 3M. You never want to start too high in a negotiation, right? :)

    And i’d only trade kuni and neal for ROR is we get draft picks coming back. Would be a good hockey trade for both sides.

  120. Clemente’s the Best,

    Have you never played sports? And I do not mean that pejoratively? Seriously. I seen actions much worse than that a dozen times. To me it was and is no big deal.

    Can’t be thin-skinned and be a manager. And a guy who wants to keep playing is never showing up his teammates. No big deal!

    Internet sensation!!!

  121. bpn8pitt says:

    Pop’s post games press conferences are hilarious…He hates journalists.

  122. Dom says:

    With Shazier’s speed, wouldn’t he benefit the team playing OLB? Don’t OLBs typically have to be faster than ILB and used more in coverage?

  123. Poole says:

    If ROR and Stastny are financial problems, why would COL trade ROR and take on even more salary (Neal + Kunitz = $8.8 million)?

  124. Arriba Wilver says:

    Even if they have those complaints, TC, you think they would air them? Walker made a very mild “complaint” on DK’s radio show after 2011 and was skewered.

    I’m just saying I don’t think the lack of “overwhelming complaints” means anything.

    To my eyes as a fan they have missed some of his leadership in the early months, an example being those ill -fated attempts to replace the Z. They can certainly still mature. Martin’s a stabilizing presence.

  125. They miss Burnett taking the ball. Even with starting the season with that hernia, he has thrown more innings than any Pirate pitcher.

  126. Baywatch says:

    Cole Tucker’s talking to Greg and Steve in the booth last night and goes, “I like talking to people. It’s sorta my thing.” Good. Maybe Tony Sanchez will have someone to talk to now! LOL!

  127. Poole says:

    I actually like a number of things about this roster and some of the trades you laid out. I would argue that you are way undervaluing some players cap space so I dont think this would ever fit under the cap. Sutter, Goc, Vrbata at the very least will cost more money than you have listed. I think you need to Let Nisky go to make the cap work and now the roster has some holes. Or even not sign Vrbata and let Coyle/BB slide up.

    I love the idea of trading Martin though. As unpopular as that is, a great return would mean finally wisely controlling a roster. When you consider age, contract, and cap space…Martin could be moved for the right price (i.e. multiple good upside, guys playing on ELC)

  128. Arriba Wilver says:

    I thought it was from Scooby Doo and short for Ruh Roh. ;-)

  129. Jim S. says:

    Doesn’t he have a cooking show?

  130. dcpinpgh says:

    He has a .6 WAR, he is worth about 3 Million a year. He’s getting 16 million. Unless you are saying he brings about 13 million dollars in intangibles to the table, then how do you think he is pulling his weight as an employee?

    On a side note, I never hear anyone saying they miss AJ either.

  131. So am I. All geniuses are!!!!!!

  132. Poole says:

    His speed is just as useful on the inside. Recognizing plays and making tackles laterally (sideline to sideline) is really important. I think Shazier fits a trend around the league as well. Lots of “smaller” quicker ILB’s having success (like Kiko Alonso).

    A lot of people seem to want the best linebackers move to OLB since it is a more glorified position. I remember people wanting to put Timmons outside as well.

  133. Nate83 says:

    Earlier this year his team had a bad first quarter and he did his obligated interview between quarters. The reported asked a really stupid question that he was able to respond with just a NO answer. He then said you have 1 more question. The reporter gave him a weird look and said what? He said that’s the deal two questions and walked away.

  134. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t think anyone is arguing he is pulling his weight as an employee.

    Talking about WAR for this year on June 13 in reference to his salary is even less meaningless than how many player complaints there have been.

  135. WAR doesn’t work for portions of a season, especially 2 months.

    An innings eater is invaluable, especially one who has an ERA in the mid-3s except for 2 outings ago. Makes the bullpen better.

    More innings than any Pirate pitcher.

    Have you heard them say they miss the excellent-performing Marlon Byrd? Did any Steelers say they missed James Harrison? Did the Colts say they missed MVP Peyton Manning? Pro athletes don’t do that. Just the fans.

  136. JohninOshkosh says:


  137. JohninOshkosh says:

    Just tell her you know Dejan.

    LLDK. Ladies Love Dejan Kovacevic.

  138. Thundercrack says:

    I think a player could have made their point about being dissatisfied that he wasn’t returning without coming across as a jerk (not saying Walker was in 2011). I think there could have been an ‘anonymous’ player that spoke up. But there was almost a deafening silence in regards to anyone besides Jeff Locke that said how much they were going to miss him. And was is Locke or someone else that also said AJ could be a jackass at time.

    I just think that we really don’t know what kind of team mate he was and if the players miss him or are glad he’s not back.

    I think they miss a pitcher who gave them the innings and kept them in the game just about every start.

  139. AL says:

    The most important thing I took from the article is that it’s dangerous (I’ll use that word for lack of a better one) for a coach/boss/supervisor to concentrate on getting eveyone to like you as it does breed unaccountability.
    Let’s not confuse “liking” with “respecting”. A perfect example would be Jim Leyland. A players coach and generally nice guy that garnered a lot of respect…….but there was a line you didn’t cross. if the line was crossed, there would be dire consequences. That line was missing with Bylsma.

  140. That’s what HE says.

    Although the catch in his net (Dari) seems to support that.

  141. Thundercrack says:

    Come to think of it you really don’t hear quotes from ‘anonymous’ players anymore.

  142. hockeymonster says:

    Cuz it would be a 2 for 1 that they wouldn’t be able to not consider. Especially with the centers they have.

  143. Arriba Wilver says:

    Also sounds like he potentially could be the LB version of Troy. (And I don’t mean Troy playing linebacker last year).

  144. 21sthebest says:

    Not sure how it’s relevant but I played team sports through college.

    I think showing up your manager the way he did was extremely disrespectful. As I said, I can’t ever remember this type of display before.

  145. Jim S. says:

    Not complaining about him hitting triples or about PNC. Just pointing out how hard it is to hit HR for a righty in PNC.

  146. hockeymonster says:

    Like i said, there would be wiggle room if the cap indeed hits 70M+, which is sounding more and more realistic. And i don’t Goc will get much more than he is getting now. Vrbata will be 33 soon so 3M, give or take, would be fair and reasonable for both sides. Nisky may need a bump but there would be room. And sutter needs a qualifying offer of 2.7M, so would be turn down 2.85M after mediocre offensive season?

  147. T.S. says:

    Craig Adams should play on the 5th line. In other words, his time as an NHLer are over. Total liability now.

  148. bpn8pitt says:

    During that whole conversation I was thinking exact same thing, Bay.

    I want to see that kid succeed. But kinda want to forget about him, like I did with Josh Bell for two years. Wake me when starts to open eyes.

  149. Jim S. says:

    I assumed it came directly from someone in Pirates scouting. From that standpoint, I don’t care if it was reported via tweet or in get your fingers dirty newspaper ink. I think it was the kind of comment that easily could have made it into a Pirates Notes article in the paper.

    Gammons also said the A’s were poised to take him at #25 if the Bucs passed.

    Ultimately, a 17 year old kid is a huge gamble. They are banking on their scouting assessment that he would not be available on their next pick this year, and definitely would go a lot higher next year. Time will tell if he was worth it, but early on the Bucs were being ridiculed for choosing a player that most of the scouting services had ranked much lower.

  150. Jim S. says:

    It was raining cats and dogs, Jandy. I’m pretty sure I saw Ray Searage step in a poodle. :-)

  151. Arriba Wilver says:

    Good post, Jim.

  152. bpn8pitt says:

    I like his speed too.

    I just wonder if he will hold up physically. I remember Dejan showed an OSU pic, and I watched some of him on and youtube. He looks like a safety….No Levon Kirkland thats for sure.

    Thing is Cam Smith, Mclendon Tuitt Heyward gotta contain. Otherwise guards get free, Shazier gets run over. Some other scouting reports said he has coverage issues too, backs and TEs. Timmons had issues with that too his first couple years.

  153. Poole says:

    Good points. I do think Sutter will not accept any less than $3.25. Not that I think he’s worth that per se, but just my opinion.

    So what if Nisky wants $5.5 or $6 million like is rumored he will command on the open market. I dont think they would keep him at that point. What would you do with the roster? Or just let Bortuzzo, Despres, Pouliot fight it out?

    Also, how did we acquire Stewart? Is he a FA? I’m not sure. I’m not a big fan of Stewart. I do love ROR but the price is steep in both assets and salary. Would you do Neal for Cogliano and Etem instead of the ROR deal you proposed?

  154. Jim S. says:

    I’m hoping playing stellar SS and hitting the crap out of the ball are his thing, too.

  155. Jim S. says:

    Last night on the game thread, Brandie said, “Junior Lake sounds like a place kids go to over the summer.” Just a simple, corny joke that made me chuckle a bit this morning. Thanks, Brandie.

  156. 21sthebest says:

    I think everybody is making good points here. I think they looked like they maybe missed his leadership earlier in the year as they were trying to find themselves as a team without him. But what I think any veteran brings to the table more than anything else, especially veterans that have playoff experience or better yet have won a championship, is their ability to prepare for games, seasons, and playoffs. I just don’t think younger inexperienced players really know what they’re getting into until they experience it but I think a veteran can help to show them how it’s done.

    Based on A.J.’s personality, I’m guessing that some players miss him and some don’t.

  157. Jim S. says:

    The Pirates don’t have to face Jose Fernandez this weekend. That helps our chances playing in the big fish bowl.

  158. Poole says:

    One thing that few people talk about with Disco was his change in personality with the media over the few years. In the beginning he was like a politician. He always smiled , said the right things, and was enthusiastic. By the end he was taking 20 seconds of silence before answering any questions in monotone voice.

    Hardly a reflection of his coaching performance, but it rubbed me the wrong way. Like he was faking it in the beginning….or got sick of the pressures of the job eventually….I don’t know I just didn’t like it…

  159. bpn8pitt says:

    A reporter asked him last night who he thought on his team had played the best so far and could be Finals MVP. There was a collective groan from the other journalists followed by Pop staring plainly “Next question.” JA Andade tried him a couple times too, got nothing.

    Sometimes I like Hurdle, and sometimes you get Tomlinism coachspeak from him like, “Barrell the ball” and “Put a foot down” Gets stale.

  160. Someone (Kentuck Knob?) asked yesterday about Josh Bell’s splits:

    .305 BA right/.325 BA left
    3 HR right/6 HR left
    82 ABs right/160 left
    .797 OPS right/.921 OPS left
    .476 SL % right/.521 SL % left
    11 K’s right/24 K’s left

    Numbers are fairly even proportionally right handed and left handed for at bats.

    When I watched him in Spring Training, I thought he had a hitch in his swing right-handed that wasn’t there left-handed . . . . but certainly not a giraffe-envisioning swing. And the numbers above are not zoo oriented.

  161. NMR says:

    Hey Groat! That’s a new one for me, sorry I can’t help.

  162. Arriba Wilver says:

    Good points.

    As an example, one of the things I was looking for this year was whether the starters sat on the bench the days they weren’t pitching. I remember Karstens saying AJ’s first year that prior to him arriving the starters on the days they weren’t pitching would watch the game in the clubhouse or from the bullpen. AJ got them to sit on the bench and try to learn even when they weren’t pitching.

    They are still sitting on the bench.

  163. bpn8pitt says:

    Henderson Alvarez?

  164. NMR says:

    Have both rotations been set, Jim?

  165. Remember I was not being pejorative. It’s relevant because I’ve seen dozens or more worse on teams for which I played. Dozens. Since you played through college I am very surprised you did not also.

    You must have played on better mannered team than I did. Or, your teams always won!!!

  166. 21sthebest says:

    Well I played tennis. :-)

    Still don’t see how it’s relevant here. We’re talking about a major professional sport. Never saw anything like what A.J. did before.

  167. toochca says:

    I did think he carried himself well and should a lot of maturity for a 17 year old kid!! I was impressed with him as a person. Now lets see if he can play ball starting next week in the GCL.

  168. Arriba Wilver says:

    I folla. (Robert Shaw from The Sting).

    I wondered about that description, too, especially after seeing how he did in a double header yesterday. Didn’t seem, on the surface, like a guy who could only hit one side.

    Thanks for the facts. Only “blind ignorance” could argue with that. ;-)

  169. Thundercrack says:

    I had never heard that AW. Good stuff about AJ.

  170. 21sthebest says:

    AW, I remember hearing or reading something a player several years ago said. I can’t remember who but their point was that on the Yankees bench during the game, they talked about the game practically the entire time, trying to help each other. And that wasn’t happening in the Pirates dugout.

  171. Naterosboro says:

    Vlad Guerrero was my favorite. Cannon in RF and could hit anything as long as it was a mile out of the strike zone :-)

  172. 21sthebest says:

    My favorite Prime 9 episode on the MLB Network is the best outfield arms.

  173. NMR says:

    Sample size and competition.

  174. hockeymonster says:

    Well i’m more or less suggesting that if players want to max out it wont be here. So if nisky insists on 5.5-6 then he’s telling the pens he doesn’t want to stay. PM and Orpik had to make the same call years ago. They chose to be paid well and fairly in order to stay on a winning team. If nisky wants to max out he’ll probably discover that the grass isn’t always greener. If he does leave than someone like Nikitin could be an option along with Kostka(tampa) for depth.

    Evil Stewie is signed for one more year at 4.15M. I think we have the assets to make a trade. Buffalo is rebuilding and i highly doubt he’ll want an extension with them.

    And i’d consider cogliano and etem for neal but not sure if that’s enough pure offense. However if they include a 1st and 2nd it would be tempting.

    These 2 links and the comment sections more or less detail my thought process:

  175. NMR says:

    So now we’re scouting A-ball stat lines for short side splits in June?

    Yeah, full proof.

  176. It’s the only sample we have for 2014. That’s the competition he has been given.

    His numbers best phenom Gregory Polanco at a similar sample size and against same competition level.

    The same numbers that led Travis Sawchik to cry for phenom Polanco to be in the Pirate outfield in less than 12 months. Of course, I have yet to hear what John Hart is whispering in Travis’ ear about Josh Bell.

  177. Arriba Wilver says:

    Provide a different sample to prove your point. Or are you going on “blind ignorance?”

  178. Monster Mash,

    But if Nisky takes less to stay, it’s for a different Coach and different mix of players. The grass may not be greener here, even if he stays for less money.

    Bylsma and staff are not given enough credit for taking a salary dump throw-in in the Neal trade and turning him into a stable plus/minus machine.

    I think the coaching change makes it more likely Niskanen takes more $$$ to play elsewhere.

  179. cmat0829 says:

    and the draft analysis are collectively worth about two cents. Easiest job in the universe… spew a bunch of predictions and no one goes back and assesses accuracy. Mel Kiper, who has made a CAREER out of being wrong, once spewed glowingly about Jamarcus Russell. No mention of ‘sizzurp’ in his draft day ‘intangibles’ though.

    The internet has opened up a soap box for any and all to spout whatever pre-formed opinion they want. Doesn’t make me want to react one way or another. Will Tucker as #24 make it to the bigs? NO idea, but history and stats say odds are probably slightly AGAINST that happening. And if he doesn’t , he doesn’t. Wouldn’t make it anything to jump off bridges about.

  180. The Gunner says:


    Whatever the # is, at least we agree it is time for the BMTIB to spend some $$$ to upgrade the starting rotation!

  181. Thundercrack says:

    Of course I also believe the rumor that Burnett didn’t want to make the walk out to the bullpen and hated hanging out with relief pitchers.

    (Kidding). :-)

  182. After BMTIB reached to select #28/#32 prospect Tony Sanchez at #4, didn’t Baseball America all of a sudden move him into their Top 50, and didn’t Peter Gammons say repeatedly Tony Sanchez would be an All Star catcher?

    Took him only 2 seasons to disappear from both.

  183. JRay3 says:

    Eovaldi, Wolf and Henderson for the Marlins

    Locke, Morton and TBD for the Bucs

    Cueto than looms in series opener with the Reds that follows.

  184. NMR says:

    No, I’m going off the opinion of what every single scout who has seen him hit from the right side has said.

    And you want a comparison sample? How bout Neil Walker. Watch big league pitchers eat him up from the right side then tell me Josh Bell, with that swing, is going to be successful.

  185. Maz in Iowa says:

    Loooks like Glasnow and Kingham are back on track.Both could be part of the rotation in 2016.

  186. NMR says:

    Thanks, JRay.

    Eovaldi and Alvarez both seem to be putting it together this year.

  187. cmat0829 says:

    I can’t really follow the logic of this, sorry. I will COMPLETELY AGREE the Pirates need ESTABLISHED, let me say that again, ESTABLISHED starting pitchers for 2H 2014 and for 2015 and 2016. I prefer them to target a true established above average pitcher that will cost some prospects and money than ‘filler’ that you can’t count on anymore than the pitchers they are going with now.

    But to put out there trades for MORE PROSPECTS doesn’t fit this model, does it?

    Marte will not be traded ,and it would be asinine to do so when he is not playing at peak value. I shudder to think but if Polanco goes through similar struggles this year or early next, are we ready to ship him off too?

  188. Sweet Jimmie,

    Not being critical of you or your tweet find. I just don’t believe half the rumors that get circulated (many started by ball clubs looking for justification for their pick) and I doubt the other half.

    I heard Neil Huntington say that their scouts discovered other teams would have selected Tucker before #39 two full days before Gammons came out with his scoop. Truth? Planted?

    Where is Kristy Robinson when we need her?!?!?!?!

  189. cmat0829 says:

    Package deals are not allowed on this blog “NO SOUP”… precisely for that reason. It’s the fantasy sports impact of all of this… quantity vs quality, people try it all the time.

    And let’s not lowball what it will really take in terms of what we trade away to acquire a truly scarce resource…established starting pitchers with more than a half year of control. It will HURT big time and we will cringe when we see what we give up… we just have to remember ‘no pain, no gain’.

    But let’s not stoop to the level of “Snider and a bag of balls for Samardija” crap. It’s beneath us.

  190. Arriba Wilver says:

    Walker’s actually been pretty good from the right side this year. I’d provide a sample, but it would be too limited.

    “Every scout?” Every scout? C’mon. You KNOW that either isn’t true and/or you can’t prove it.

    How bout some facts to disprove the “sample.”

  191. cmat0829 says:

    AJ was given all the credit for Jeff Locke’s amazing first half last year, but boy was AJ’s leadership impact really tested when Locke started losing command and his 90MPH stuff was getting bombed all over the park…. come on guys, this ‘clubhouse cachet’ and leadership impact crap has been debunked ad nauseum. Winning teams have good chemistry, losing teams talk about clubhouse stuff, lack of chemistry, etc. There are loads of examples of championship teams that could’nt stand each other outside the lines, but they had a job to do and they did it.

    And I still chuckle when I remember all the player grousing (and fans also) when we broked up the juggernaut that was the team that had Reggie Sanders on it …don’t remember the exact year but when the deadline moves were made everyone made it sound like we were breaking up the 27 yankees because the team enjoyed playing with each other so much and had such good chemistry.

  192. Maz in Iowa says:

    Kingham pitching tonight for Indy btw

  193. NMR says:

    That’s what peak Brandon Cumpton could look like if he cut back even more on the walks.

  194. cmat0829 says:

    and the fans for the most part are WRONG and overinflate the ‘impact’ of the players that are no longer here. Byrd was great last year, filled his role, and this year he would only be an improvement in RF for April. Not May and I don’t think anyone wants him in RF now and not Polanco.

    As to AJB, the Pirates made a mistake (in retrospect) in not tendering the QO. It’s done and not sure why this debate can’t just die…. they had the $ to have both AJ AND Volquez on this team and it didn’t work out because AJ took the $16M to join the Fossils in Philly because apparently he wanted to pitch in MEANINGLESS GAMES FOR A LAST PLACE TEAM and then drive home after the game. Good for him, now he can enjoy being irrelevant to the pennant race in what may be his final year. Most veterans actually pass up money to play on a winner in their twilight but the awesome teammate and intangibles master did the opposite. Enjoy that AJ.

  195. NMR says:

    Go find one that says he projects as a good hitter from the right side, AW.

    I don’t know what to tell you, man.

  196. Well, shoot, if I had known that you know what “every single scout who has seen him hit from the right side has said,” I would have never brought it up!!!

    Just from my amateur non-scout vantage point in Spring Training, left-handed Josh Bell sprays the ball to all fields more, and has nice power to every field.

    Right-handed Josh Bell seems to pull everything, trying to jerk it out of the park. He hits majestic fly balls right-handed, but I thought I saw a hole in his swing while he pulls everything. Ignore everything to right of shortstop.

    But it was only Spring Training. And I don’t know “every single scout who has seen him hit from the right side.”

    He seems to be progressing well against the competition the Pirates have put before him, right and left handed.

  197. cmat0829 says:

    Polanco now gives us ONE legitimate arm in the OF… and yes, he stopped that sac fly based on reputation and set up, the throw itself actually wasn’t all that great. Cutch is below average (not really sure why) with the arm and even in setting up….and Marte is ok, but not great.

  198. cmat0829 says:

    and the range of the FOSSILIZED team that is the Phillies can’t be helping AJ either. But he sleeps in the bed he made for himself.

  199. Dom says:

    Good news.

  200. hockeymonster says:

    You could be right. But i think he knows how close we are to a cup run. Would 500K or even an extra 1M be worth losing out on playoff runs and bonuses? Especially with cost of living and taxes being higher in other states and markets. With the cap projected to go up maybe we can even add a 300K bonus for 70 games played.

    But you’re correct in suggesting that he’ll want to know who’s coaching and what the roster could look like. I think he’ll like the above options and so should the players listed. Their agents? Maybe not so much, but they’ll have to do as the players say.

    I mentioned during game 3 that John Stevens is growing on me as a option so i hope he’s at the top of the list. He, hynes, JM, reirden and granato would make for a very solid staff. Although i’m somewhat perplexed that S. Neidermeyer isn’t being rumored anywhere. Believe his contract with anaheim expired so i would want to talk to him as well. Even if its for an assistant position.

  201. bpn8pitt says:

    Dom, Jim S.

    Didnt get your takes on Pounceys ext. Read Dejan’s column and a few other takes, and thought about it a little.

    I didnt really see the complete figures on it. I think it was a 13 million dollars signing bonus, which lowers the yearly hit. So I guess as far as dollars go maybe its not too bad.

    But I also feel this is like giving a fairly decent sized contract to a middle reliever, in baseball terms. Yeah its a nice thing to have, but is it really vital to wins and losses? Pretty sure at the end of the year, we are going to be looking for a CB still, maybe safety if Shamarko isnt ready or Troy is done. Maybe OT if that group struggles.

    I just wonder if they could have got away with Cody Wallace, Velasco or a young center, free agent and put a chunk of money elsewhere down the road.

    Guess Im saying Pounceys a luxury more than an important cog. Am I wrong?

  202. cmat0829 says:

    Pop has made this a Sport and I don’t think he’s a bad guy at all he just doesn’t like some of the TRULY STUPID questions media types ask, especially those DURING THE GAME..

    That question of a coach, who should be the FINALS MVP, which is (1) getting ahead of things which coaches are loathe to do (2) is really a media creation and not relevant at all to a true team and (3) requires a coach to single out one player above other is STUPID.

    Maybe that ‘journalist’ can go back to writing articles for the web site with some sort of offseason ‘grades’, top 10 lists of some sort, or comparing athletes that are way different (LeBron vs. Bird, anyone?) or teams of different eras… or playing video games.

  203. 21sthebest says:

    I think Marte’s arm is more than legitimate and Cutch is average.

  204. Naterosboro says:

    Since it’s Friday the 13th, and someone above mentioned great throws and throwing arms….

    I was wondering who everyone’s favorite players were (and doesn’t have to be a player you’ve seen in person, but should be someone who was playing while you were old enough to appreciate it ;-) )…

    In terms of hitting, fielding, pitching, etc.

    My 3 favorite hitters (in no particular order): Ken Griffey Jr., Albert Belle & Manny Ramirez. Barry Bonds & Garry Sheffield round out the top 5. Albert Pujols is probably in there somewhere. I’ll throw some love the way of Tony Gwynn as well (best pure hitter I’ve ever seen). Currently, I’d have to say Andrew McCutchen, Mike Trout & Miguel Cabrera are joys to watch hit.

    Pitching wise, I loved to watch Greg Maddux & Randy Johnson when I was younger. Tim Lincecum was also fun to watch when he was locked in, especially with his motion. Today, Gerritt Cole is a can’t miss for me, as well as King Felix & Jose Fernandez. Yu Darvish down in Texas is also really fun to watch as well. Adam Wainwright’s (hate to compliment anything with the Cardinals) curveball is almost worth the price of admission. Freezing Beltran back in the 06 NLCS with that knee-buckler to end it was sick.

    Ken Griffey Jr. is my favorite defender. I also used to love watching Nomar Garciaparra play SS. Alex Rodriguez was a fun guy to watch play SS in his Seattle & Texas days. Miguel Tejada out in Oakland for an honorable mention. Ozzie Smith was just a human highlight reel, I’m just disappointed I only got to see the back end of his career.

    To close it out, my favorite player overall from my youth was Albert Belle. I wanted to be Albert. I used to practice his batting stance, and envision myself smashing 400+ft. homeruns. Looking at his stats now (, he put up a 1.000+ OPS for 3 straight years (1994-6). He had 36 HRs thru only 106 games in the strike shortened 1994 season, and was hitting .357 that year as well.

    It’s fun to reminisce, and I think a good exercise on this most unlucky, unholy of Fridays.

    I’d love to hear others thoughts, and feel free to include other sports as well (NBA, NHL & NFL), and you can also keep it local and talk about your favorite Pittsburgh athletes. Just looking for some fun discussion, and a chance to maybe think about some old players that we may have forgotten, but hold a special place with others.


  205. Arriba Wilver says:

    You’re the one who’s claiming he can’t hit from the right side, NMR. And you’re the one who is claiming “prove me wrong.” Prove you right, dude, or at LEAST provide SOME evidence.

    The world will end in 2015.

    Prove me wrong.

  206. cmat0829 says:

    EXACTLY. Talk is cheap… people like Gammons and others put stuff out there, so when they are occasionally right, they will point back to ‘when they had it right’. The 97% of the time they are wrong, which is 99.9% if you are Jim Bowden, they say nothing and move on to the next lazy hearsay they spew out there on the web.

  207. NMR says:

    AW’s head will explode with that one legitimate arm comment.

    Not to rain on the Gregry Polanco hype machine, but nobody is going to mention the catcher, John Baker, was on third base?

    Neil Walker and Clint Barmes have both easily been thrown out recently on similar plays. Baker doesn’t have a chance in that situation against a competent right fielder.

  208. Arriba Wilver says:

    I honestly don’t know, but stamping your feet and yelling isn’t very convincing, NMR.

    Call me crazy.

  209. cmat0829 says:

    Cutch’s arm is not average. Unless average has sunk so low that looping throws that draw rain is average. I LOVE Cutch, but come on, let’s not be silly here…. teams run on him like there is ZERO chance he can actually throw someone out. It’s ok… I still love Cutch….

  210. NMR says:

    Do we get to take away all the Pirate pitchers bad outings as well, Groat?

    Boy do you have a way of weaving a tale.

  211. Arriba Wilver says:


  212. If I were Niskanen, I would follow Bylsma to Florida (if he goes there) and sign for the max I can get. There’s no income tax in Florida, there’s lots of young players who will look up to him, (remember how well he meshed with Maata), and Bylsma’s system not only fits him perfectly but it helped make him what he is.

    I think the bonuses you mention cannot be used if they take team over Salary Cap, and we know Penguins will be right up against it.

    This is Niskanen’s Big Contract. Later in his career he can take less to win the Cup if he needs. An extra million a year (times how many years!) is worth risking a lesser team.

  213. bpn8pitt says:

    No argument there have been some dumb questions. Pretty sure the Finals MVP question was not a beat reporter for the Spurs. They all know better by now.

    But I do think dealing with the media is part of a coaches job description and he can at least be professional.

    Had no problem at all with Pop resting those Vets earlier in the year. He got ripped for it, but it absolutely was the right thing to do, and he has been vindicated for it. Both this year and last year.

  214. Maz in Iowa says:

    Rod Carew might be one of my all time favorites.Batting stance was always changing,Stole home 7 times in one year.The guy was a student of the game.Oh yeah All Star 17 straight times.

  215. NMR says:

    YES, AW. YES.

  216. 21sthebest says:

    Sorry. I don’t think it’s below average. I actually think he has improved over the past year. Below average arms that I can think of for comparison would be Brian Giles, Jason Bay, Nyjer.

  217. NMR says:

    Stamping my feet and yelling? You’re projecting, buddy.

    I offered my opinion, one that is backed up by professionals, that scouting A-ball stat lines – especially in such small samples – is not a good idea when it isn’t supprted by actual scouting.

    And you’re asking me for definitive proof? Think about that. Ridiculous question.

  218. hockeymonster says:

    Well now you’re making a big assumption that FLA wants to offer him that much. And Disco and Reirden most definitely deserve credit for developing Nisky. But nisky deserves credit for getting stronger and more consistent in his own right. But he did have success with Zubov on a good team early in his career. He was a 1st round pick after all. Dmen are similar to power pitchers. They get better and more consistent as they get strong and more experienced. And i believe the bonuses carry over to the following season. But not 100% sure on that.

  219. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think you’re stuck in 2012, Cmat. Cutch’s arm (which to me always had more to do with accuracy than strength) has improved over the last couple of years,

  220. Arriba Wilver says:


  221. bpn8pitt says:

    Its a homer pick, but I loved Andy Van Slyke. Guy inspired a generation of W. PA ballplayers. Could hit and was a Gold Glover.

    I liked Hideo Nomo too. At least the early years with the Dodgers.

    Edgar Martinez was a good hitter for a long time that no one talks about.

  222. Arriba Wilver says:

    Really? You are attempting to shoot down a small sample size with no sample size. Kid’s been around for a while. Are you claiming there are no stats to support your claim that all the scouts agree with you? Just asking for some data from a guy who loves stats when they support his position. Seems reasonable to me. Alternative is blind ignorance. Maybe you’re right. Nothing you’ve provided so far supports that, though.

  223. cmat0829 says:

    Yes, he probably could ‘humor’ the media a bit more, especially those covering the Finals who probably aren’t regular NBA media types… sort of like the NFL players put up with the goat rodeo that is Super Bowl media day. He is a great coach, the team is a great team, chalk one up for team-driven championship and limitations of super stars and taking talents to south beach.

  224. National Mart of Records,

    I’m more of a quilter rather than a weaver.

    I mentioned that Burnett had a terrible outing (in which he gave up 8 earned). I did not compare his ERA to Pirate pitchers. AND I did not excuse Burnett. I delineated stats, your own step-children.

    I did definitely say that Burnett is an innings eater, already throwing more innings than any current Pirate pitcher (despite starting out with a hernia). As the Pirates look to add their 8th (or is it 9th) different starting pitcher they could use an innings eater.

    Burnett would also be 2nd among the 8/9 starters in wins (Oh, that’s right: you don’t care about wins) and 2nd among the year long starters in least losses (I suppose you don’t care about losses either.)

    However, let’s not get lost in numbers or ERAs or wins. Let me “quilt” you a tale. AJ Burnett is an accomplished innings eater THIS SEASON that the Pirates could use to solve current team pitching problems.

  225. cmat0829 says:

    my eye test is using 2014 games only, can you cite an example of a good throw he has made of consequence this season or to players not running on him at will? I can cite quite a few lollipop throws and the fact that teams run on him without hesitation. Again, I love Cutch but trying to be objective here guys. The arm is not a ‘plus tool’ he brings to the table, never has been and never will be. Nor does he aggressively charge and set up for throws either. He’s resigned to using his energies in different phases of the game.

  226. Nate83 says:

    Hitting now: Puig. Cutch, Cabrera

    Hitting retired: Madlock, Bonds, Frank Thomas (honorable mention) Vlad Guerrero, Tony Gwynn

    Pitching now: Darvish, Cole, and Felix & Jose

    Pitching retired: Ryan, Nomo, Pedro Martinez, Doc Gooden.

  227. Wilver Dornel,

    Obviously you are speechless because your head has exploded.

  228. Naterosboro says:

    It was right on the plate on 2 hops and got there in a hurry. I think it skipping off the wet grass mad eit look worse than it was. Baker (I think was on 3rd) would’ve been hosed.

  229. dennis g says:

    The 1906 Chicago Cubs had the best record in baseball history and finished first 4 times in 5 seasons and yet it is rumored that their famous infielders, Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers, never spoke to each other off the field the entire time.

  230. Jim S. says:

    I certainly don’t know how to evaluate offensive linemen as well as I think I can evaluate baseball players or the skill positions on a football field, bpn. I’ve read conflicting things about how good Pouncey is from independent scouting sources. Pouncey certainly was viewed by the Steelers right from the get go as one of the top few Centers in the league, and this contract shows they must still feel that way. The Steelers used to be pretty darn good at evaluating Centers, as Webbie and Dermontti were about as good as it gets. These days, though, I don’t have nearly as much faith in their ability to evaluate many positions as I have in the past.

    I was never quite convinced that I should believe the early Pouncey hype that seemed to shape his reputation around here. Our offensive lines have been pretty bad the last few years, and he’s supposed to be the anchor of that unit. I’d say, as best I can tell, he fits comfortably in the top half of NFL Centers. I don’t know that I would consider him elite, but as I say, it’s not my area of expertise.

  231. bpn8pitt says:

    Loved Vlad’s swing. A shame he played to a lot of empty crowds in Montreal for awhile.

  232. cmat0829 says:

    There are probably 10 -12 pitchers we can or could have picked up if the objective was simply to EAT INNINGS and put up below average pitching stats. We could go get Paul Maholm for basically nothing right now and plug him in there to eat innings.

    Let’s not revise the facts of the debate… many were riled up because they thought we were passing up the 2013 version of AJB. That version doesn’t exist, nor ever will again. Is this version of AJB worth $16M? not a chance. never was. Only Ruben Amaro and his lack of baseball IQ made that possible with a huge assist from NH fumbling the QO process.

    Is he worth picking up RIGHT NOW (I’m pretty sure he is most readily available)… I say a resounding NO. but I open it up to AJB’s most ardent supporters… his intangibles as well as his 2014 innings eating are available…cost would be let’s say around $7M for the rest of the season (Phils chip in a couple mil to facilitate the trade) and a non top 10 prospect. Do you want?

    I don’t, but that is the only question worth debating now.

  233. Maz in Iowa says:

    Vance Worley will start for the Pirates on Sunday.

  234. Jim S. says:

    If Kingham does well at Indy, I think he has a decent shot at a mid-season 2015 callup, Maz.

  235. 21sthebest says:

    cmat, the decision on whether or not to take a base is based on several factors like arm strength, the distance the throw has to travel, the speed of the runner, and sometimes the game situation. It’s not just about whether or not to to run on him.

  236. Arriba Wilver says:

    I didn’t say it was a “Plus tool. ” Average to me is not ” plus.” Below average is the term you used. I was at the game Sunday and he threw a strike to Pedro at third from medium center. He didn’t get the guy out, but it was a better than average throw.

  237. Arriba Wilver says:

    Obviously. ;-)

  238. NMR says:

    I seem to remember you usually take up the charge defending Cutch’s arm (rightfully so, IMO).

  239. bpn8pitt says:

    Thanks Jim.

    You always hear franchise QB, #1 WR, elite pass rusher, great LT, lockdown corner: all or a lot of the things you need on elite teams…You never hear about great centers. Maybe im underrating their importance.

    Just think they could have got away with someone else there and upgraded somewhere else later.

    Really dont understand the cap anymore. Im not going to try anymore either.

  240. cmat0829 says:

    Just because I’ve been personally wrong many times this year as I play everyone’s favorite game “Armchair Pirates GM”, I offer up a Patience Plea to everyone as it relates to Starling Marte, Ike Davis, et al. If I were GM, Jay Hey would’ve been released in Spring Training, Jared Hughes would not be stranding runners like an AllStar in this bullpen, and Jordy Mercer wouldn’t have revived his offensive game helping the Pirates and instead be toiling in Indianapolis…. so before we offer up Marte in our favorite ‘package trades’, maybe we can pause and give some credit where credit is due to the people that um, actually make the decisions for this team. I admit more fun when WE are right and THEY are wrong, but fair is fair.

  241. cmat0829 says:

    good for him, hope he can find his way out of the dumpster to make it to the park.

  242. Arriba Wilver says:

    It was the “legitimately” that was key. Nothing like priming the pump. ;-)

  243. Naterosboro says:

    Can’t believe I forgot about Pedro Martinez! Defo 1 of may favorites growing up. A Power/finesse pitcher. He could get it up to 96/97 with movement, his 2ndary stuff was great and he had good command.

    Also Hideo Nomo (good mention as well bpn8pitt)! How could I forget him! Threw 2 no hitters (1 in NL & AL)! Would always do the Nomo wind up when messing around with friends!

    Good names guys, keep em comin!

  244. Arriba Wilver says:

    Good to know. Next time I agree with you, I’ll lead with your head will explode. /*

  245. cmat0829 says:

    JAL: thanks as always for posing the links… my eye caught a St Louie Dispatch article about the Cards’ version of Polanco – Oscar Tavaras – and it seemed to me they are set to send him down once they activate Matt Adams (and in a corresponding move, serious up their clubhouse food order) this weekend. Tavaras hit a HR in his first game but since then has struggled and I think is hitting below .200…. no mention in the article about the Cards’ commitment to winning or saving money… sometimes prospects that are OBVIOUSLY READY for MLB, or so say people like Jim Bowden, are um, maybe NOT so obviously ready. But don’t let that stop them from screaming from the rooftops that teams should be calling anyone and everyone up to the bigs…..

  246. NMR says:

    I was seated directly behind Mr. Polanco as he released the ball. It was in fact an excellent throw.

    But I don’t believe this narrative that the runner didn’t go because of Gregory Polanco. The runner didn’t go because the runner was John Baker.

  247. Maz in Iowa says:

    A bit about Kingham and his promotion to Indy, As for whether he could make the majors this year, it’s not out of the question. Jeff Locke first made the jump to the majors after five starts in Triple-A. Brandon Cumpton only needed 11 starts at the level before first making the jump to Pittsburgh.Hmm

  248. bpn8pitt says:

    The politically correct term is “re-establishing his value” :)

  249. cmat0829 says:

    ok, I will revise my assessment (which is worth nothing anyway) from below average to average, with a nod to a severe league-wide decline of outfield arms in general. so average really does mean an occasional decent throw on a line and a number of lollipops but c’est la vie.

  250. bpn8pitt says:

    Got to give up something good if you want something of value in return.

    Thats all im saying. You can find an OF much easier than a top half of the rotation starter. Thats all im saying.

  251. cmat0829 says:

    right…and team’s decisions to run in that situation, all else being equal, are more on reputation of arm vs. actual quality of the throw… as in fact, they have to make the call to run or not before the throw is even started.

    let’s take Alfonso Soriano… i think his actual arm and throwing are fairly equivalent to Cutch.. yet teams always run on Soriano because of his reputation… much as I see teams running on Cutch. Is Soriano an ‘average’ arm or ‘below average’?

  252. Jim S. says:

    I think Cutch has improved his arm strength and accuracy the last couple of years. I’d put him at about average for a CF.

    Marte has a strong arm. Teams don’t seem to run on him a lot.

    Polanco arrives with the repuation of a good to very good arm, from what I have gathered. I think he made a good throw last night. The catcher did not run on him, but I also think he would have thrown out a pretty fast runner on that play.

    JHay can’t throw well from the OF. I believe Baker attempts to score on him on that play.

  253. Naterosboro says:

    Nutting still needs to spend more.

    Figured I’d get it out of the way early….. ;-)

    And I agree with your sentiments (and posted about Starling last week when he was in the middle of his hitting funk, which seems like he’s coming out of, at least not having ALL terrible at bats now and squaring some balls up).

    The pitching (especially starting) has been much better in June (still need them to get deeper though). The hitting has been better starting in May. That terrible April really put them behind the 8ball, but this next stretch against teams at or under .500 will go a long way to them getting back into playoff (wild card) contention.

    A few Brewers and Cardinal losses in that span wouldn’t hurt either….

  254. I agree with everything Sweet Jimmie said.

  255. Nate83 says:

    It is still way to early in my opinion but does anyone think extending Edinson for two year if he does well into August would be a good move. Pitching is so expensive and I’d be more comfortable with somebody we already know instead of bringing somebody else in. We know the Pirates more then likely are not spending much more then 10 millin per year on any pitcher. That really doesn’t get you much of a pitcher. Maybe 2 years at 15-18 million for Volquez gets it done.

  256. Nate83 says:

    I heard they may send him down as well. I can’t wait to hear all the National guys talk about it when it happens…..Oh wait yes I can. They will be praised for doing the right thing and being patient. Remember when the Cards had been doing it right by disregarding Super 2 and possible bringing him up early. The Pirates need to be more like the Cards is all we heard. You will not hear one person say they screwed up and brought him up to early but if Polanco goes down they will be all over the Pirates.

  257. bpn8pitt says:

    As AW and NMR pointed out to me in the Spring, Volquez certainly still has something left. I was wrong. At certain times this year, he’s been there best pitcher.

    But I want to see how the rest of the year goes. Most guys thought Volquez was a #4 or #5 at best. So far he’s been better than that. But were are just nearing halfway.

    I just think the Pirates have to be cautious about giving 8-10 million dollars a year to a guy that gives them 4.50 ERA. He has danced around trouble at times and avoided the big hit.

  258. Nate83 says:

    He has removed the banana peels and baby diapers and is getting ready to emerge from said dumpster. Hopefully he has time to shower before Sunday.

  259. cmat0829 says:

    Just glanced at the MLB Standings…now that I don’t read a daily newspaper in printed form (sorry DK, live out of the subscription market anyway), I don’t always peruse the standings on a daily basis in detail, except for the NL Central. What jumped out at me:

    1. PARITY. Many teams are jumbled around the .500 mark. In fact, 14 of the 30 teams in the league are within 3 games of .500, above or below. This is what will make trades really tough as many teams aren’t out of it.

    2. BETTER LUCK NEXT YEAR. This group of teams realistically has NO SHOT at postseason and the decision to sell should have already been made. Tampa -17, Cubs -12, AZ -11, SD -10, PHI -8, METS -8, HOU -6. I am pretty sure all of these teams are taking a realistic approach and would sell, even before the deadline. Cubs are on record as wanting to follow 2013 model and move on pitcher now and one at deadline…Hammel, Jason anyone?

    3. PRETENDERS MORE THAN TRUE CONTENDERS. The most critical decision teams face is not overestimating their true place in the postseason race, regardless of what the standings say right now. Teams in this category IMHO are: Rockies -4, Texas -2 (due to injuries), Seattle +2, Twins -2, White Sox -1.

    4. MIGHT MAKE A RUN. Red Sox sit at -6 but doubt they will be selling unless they fall off a cliff like Tampa.

    5. WHO KNOWS. Miami is sitting at +3 despite the devastating loss of Jose Fernandez. How do you pronounce unsustainable in Spanish? Can’t imagine a team being powered past the Braves and Nationals by Casey Mc-frickin-Geehee, but we’ll see. this team is built on young prospects, do they risk that by trading some for a veteran in a possible fools-gold playoff run? Loria will not be swayed by fans I know that much.

    6. WILL THEY EVER START TO REGRESS? Milwaukee and Toronto are both high-powered offensive teams that didn’t figure to have the pitching / defense/ consistency to win their divisions this year…yet both sit atop at this point in the season. Will they regress and fall back? Both want and need to add and both will need ownership to go beyond payroll limits to do so (Jays players famously were ready to defer salary for them to sign Santana earlier this year)…..

    7. WHY ISN’T THEIR RECORD MUCH BETTER? The Tigers are only 6 games above 500 despite having a juggernaut offense and two of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. Is the bullpen the only reason this team underachieves?

    So, thanks for listening/reading, but what does all this mean?

    a) Are the Pirates pretenders that should look to opportunistically sell and reposition for 2015 and beyond…or….
    b) Contenders that should be very aggressive and target early ‘sellers’ to augment the rotation?
    c) Should they strike quick, with someone like Hammel or Feldman or Niese or Kennedy or wait til the deadline and go for a big-name (Price, Shields et al)?

  260. Jim S. says:

    That’s a great question, Nate. I guess it depends on whether the Bucs feel he really has made lasting improvements. He’s pitching like a #4 right now for the year, IMO, but still possesses #2 stuff some nights. They might think there is still more in there, and that with more time in our system he could be even better next year. He seems to stay healthy, and that is a key. Right now, I think I would choose to extend him before Frankie if given the option.

  261. Nate83 says:

    3 of the last 6 starts have went 7 innings I think. That’s a step in the right direction. If I see one of our pitchers go 8 innings I will assume I fell asleep during an instant replay and had been dreaming.

  262. NMR says:

    You still aren’t listening to me, AW.

    I haven’t shared single opinion of my own yet. Only what I’ve read from people that get paid to look at these things.

    You’re right, I am a stat guy. And as a stat guy, I’m telling you it is a bad idea to judge a prospect by his stats at low levels, especially in small samples, without them being backed up by scouting opinion. A small sample is a small sample. You don’t need a larger contradictory sample to say a sample is small.

    I don’t understand why you think I have skin in this game. I’m a Pirate fan. I would love nothing more than for Josh Bell to turn into a monster from both sides of the plate. But it would be disingenious of me to support a guy I like with statistical analysis I know to be lacking, which is why I made the comment in the first place.

  263. NMR says:

    Wouldn’t one have to have first established some for it to be re-established? ;)

  264. Nate83 says:

    Like I said I would like to see him continue this at least into August before considering it but pitching isn’t cheap. Unfortunatley 8-10 million probably gets you a 4.50 ERA pitcher in the current market. If they think that is his low side then I’d be willing to roll those dice instead of constantly playing the bounce back candidate card.

    If you wait until the end of the year to feel comfortable he could be looking for a 3 year contract which doesn’t work for the Pirates for a number of reasons. Showing some faith in him may get him to sign. The guy has been to the bottom and probably wouldn’t mind some security in two more years guarenteed.

  265. bpn8pitt says:

    I guess I worry about the Pirates collecting back of the rotation guys, Nate and Jim.

    Be nice to get some pedigree in there.

  266. cmat0829 says:

    My opinion ebbs and flows on this… my CURRENT view , subject of course to change, because hey , why not? is:

    1) It is becoming really, really hard to project future pitching results based on current. Liriano is all-world in 2013 and regresses; people like Phil Hughes are dumpster-dives and then turn into all stars.

    2) Given #1, you in some or many cases may be better off seeing what’s out there than to lock into a multiyear deal for a pitcher and having to live with that.

    3) I think you probably need to dig deep and pay the big bucks for one established starter to go along with your top drafted/developed pitchers and perhaps one veteran filler (as Volquez was for this year’s squad).

    For the Pirates, Taillon’s injury really hurts, not just in 2014 but also in their plan (presumed plan) to avoid shelling out big bucks for a major league starter for 2015 and 2016. I think their model was to have Cole / Taillon at the top as young aces, then Morton as a stable 3, then have a young option (Locke/Cumpton, etc.) either take the next 2 spots or one spot with a reclamation project in the 5 spot. With taillon delayed, I think they will need to step up and spend big bucks on established starter.

    The Nats have done a good job in acquiring piching aggressively…Gio Gonzalez and then added on with Doug Fister…. NH needs to study what Mike Rizzo is doing and do the same (though not signing guys like Jayson Werth though).

  267. Jim S. says:


    Just my opinion, but I would say the Bucs have higher hopes for Kingham than either Cumpton or Locke. He has reached AAA earlier, and appears to have a higher ceiling. That actually can work against a player reaching the big leagues, as they don’t want to start the clock for Kingham so early, whereas they probably were not as concerned about projected #5 starters like Locke and Cumpton.

  268. Good.

    Now we can start the “FREE JOSH BELL to Altoona” campaign.

    They can get him out of those hot, Florida summer days and into The Curve for the rest of the summer.

  269. cmat0829 says:

    EXACTLY. Pitching ebbs and flows, so keep on reclamating but don’t fixate on locking in for the recurring years, otherwise regression bites you in the ass. And focus on picking up a true established pitcher you can not have to worry about every 5th day.

  270. Jim S. says:

    I don’t think it is possible at this point, but I would so love Bowden to get a GM gig at Milwaukee or again at Cincy. Just bring him back to this division, please.

  271. bpn8pitt says:

    Yep, thats true too. Probably wont be much on the market that doesnt come with question marks.

    The aftershocks of the Taillon injury. That one hurt.

  272. NMR says:

    Thank you!

    Everybody when somebody puts together a hypothetical trade with a bunch of guys no team would want, and then they turn around and act like it’s a slight to include a guy who actually is good in a hypothetical trade.

    I saw you include Marte in a trade for Henry Owens and Christian Vasquez. That’s a #2 starter and the equivalent of what Reese McGuire right now projects to be as a big leaguer.

    That is a compliment to Marte, not a slight.

  273. bpn8pitt says:

    Ha…Adam Wilk is a start away!!!

  274. cmat0829 says:

    Yep I think this is like that study they did a few years ago… measuring the ‘halo effect’ on teachers. They removed the names from assignments and all of a sudden students grades were varying from their ‘norms’.. meaning that reputation precedes you. It is what I have argued for some time now…the Pirates years of futility have certainly been earned…no one to blame but themselves, but now every decision that is made is viewed through that lens.

    As my eye test the past few days, Polanco is hardly a ‘man among boys’ at the major league level. All kinds of raw talent, so easy to get excited about, but I have seen zero evidence he was ‘held in captivity in AAA’. Not gonna nitpick on the kid, but lots of things to work on, defensively especially, before he dominates all he envisions.

    I think Nutting actually summed it up best (egads, he took time away from counting his money in the basement)… he wished they could have given him more time in AAA, but he’s happy he’s here…and worried about the expectations being too high. Exactly right.

  275. NMR says:

    I do not think they projected Jeff Locke to only be a #5, Jim.

  276. Jim S. says:

    Yikes, Nate. Other than the gawdy hitting stats that may have been due, in large part, to corking his bat and possibly taking steroids, what was it about that insufferable guy, Albert “Don’t call me Joey” Bell that you liked? Was it the chasing and threatening kids on Halloween that drew you to him? I thought he was universally disliked.

  277. War_Horse says:

    After doing so well on the West Coast and knocking down the Cubs in Pittsburgh, the Pirates are on a tear this month. 7-4 so far. What’s most impressive are the dramatic improvements in both hitting and pitching statistics. The Bucs now have an average run differential per game of plus 1.82, best in the Central for the month of June. The Brewers (also 7-4) have the only other positive run differential at + 0.82. The Cards, Reds and Cubs have negative stats in this area.

    The differential is exaggerated by the two games in which the Bucs scored a total of 25 runs. But the hitting has been impressive this month, improving steadily through the season. The team leads the league in RBIs (55), doubles (28), On Base Percentage (.363) and OPS (.828). It is second in Batting Average (.282) and Slugging (.464). It is in the top 4 or 5 in about everything else. The solid hitting has raised the team batting average over the 66 game season to .255, making the Bucs #5 in the league. This is much better than last year when the team was hitting .238 on this day.

    At the same time, the pitching has got better this month despite the injuries and a few lackluster performances. Pirate pitchers lead the league in lowest Batting Average allowed (.203), fewest Hits given up (71) and fewest HRs (3). They are second in the league in ERA allowed (3.03) and WHIP (1.08). That’s just for June and only 11 games so far.

    The month started with the last game of the San Diego series and continued through the loss of the series to Milwaukee. The stars of this surge in hitting have been Andrew McCutchen (.429) and Tabata, Snider, Alvarez, Martin, Mercer and Walker–all of whom are hitting well above .300. The pitching aces have been Melancon, Watson, Hughes, Locke, Cole, Gomez, Grilli, Morton and Volquez–all of whom have ERAs this month of 2.50 or less.

    You can pick holes in the analysis because it’s such a small sample, but it does say one thing clearly: the Bucs are on a roll.

  278. cmat0829 says:

    OK, yes, not all package deals deserve NO SOUP, but I still think we miss the point on trading a young player when they are scchrruggaling , classic sell-low scenario. Why is Boston making that trade when they have their hands full already with young outfield phenoms who are struggling too?

  279. NMR says:

    Yeah, despite some good outings, I don’t chance keeping Volquez around long.

  280. cmat0829 says:

    7 is plenty actually…and for some, like Cumpton, who may fall apart 3rd time through the lineup. Just have to avoid the 5 and less than 5s we had been seeing. Wandy being jettisoned helps immensely. As does Frankie sitting until he is healthy again. As does Cholly actually throwing the ball like he has a clue where it might end up.

  281. Nate83 says:

    My two cents.

    2) Mets and Phils are too irrogent to admit they are not good enough at this point. They are probably sellers later. Dbacks and Houston have had nice runs of late and probably want to see where this goes. It doesn’t mean they think they will compete but instead just want to see what they have before deciding if and who they want to move.

    3) The pretenders may be the trade partners when we get to the deadline. At least a few of these teams will fall off the pace. Hopefully the Pirates are not on of those teams that fall of the pace themselves.

    4) I don’t think the Red Sox have enought. Aging pitching staff and devastated their up the middle defense during the offseason. They have some good young arms in the minors. I could see them bringing them up if things keep going south for a few more weeks. Maybe somebody like Lackey becomes available.

    6) Yes I think both will regress because of their pitching. The Blue Jays may have enough offense to withstand. I don’t think they will fall back to the pack as much as just run in place while other teams catch them. I think they both are more .500 type teams that got of to hot starts.

    7) Verlander in his current form is not a dominate pitcher anymore. His numbers are pedestrian. That being said he did this last year then looked awesome in the playoffs.

  282. ERA is down under 4 after last night’s outing, but I agree with you. No extensions, please.

  283. cmat0829 says:

    he’ll never be a GM again. He sucks at it. As does Kevin Towers and Jerry Dipoto and Sandy Alderson. Maybe MLB Network can expand their studios and hire all of them, along with Josh Byrnes, as they will need jobs sometime this summer.

  284. Jim S. says:

    I could be wrong.

    But, I never got the impression anyone thought of him as a very high prospect over the last few years. Kingham seems more highly rated to me, inside and outside of the organization.

  285. SeanAY says:

    Pitching wins and losses aren’t useless stats…but they’re not really all that useful.

    Why do people throw around our in the sky scenarios about trading for Samardzija? His WL record stinks, right?

  286. Nate83 says:

    Thanks for the run down on stats. I posted the pitching yesterday. At the time they gave up 91 total bases in 10 games. That is 9.1 per game which is very impressive. Definately heading in the right direction. Would have been nice to be 9-2. Lost two tough ones this month. 1-0 to the brewers and 3-2 against Padres while only giving up a bunt single. Baseball will do that to you every once in a while.

  287. cmat0829 says:

    never really is discussed, but strength of schedule also has an impact as well. not single-handedly but based on the Bucs level of play, it can amplify a hot or cold streak. For example, Pirates played poorly in April, but if the schedule were weaker they could’ve gotten a game or two here or there just based on that. They blew some 9th inning leads, lost a few 1-run games, etc. Lesser competition means they probably win a few of those.

    The reverse could be true, of course, Pirates could be ‘on a roll’ because the schedule is easing up. What they need to do, to really jump up in this division race, is play really well over the next 3 weeks against the crappy teams in the league… that can lead to a really hot month and catapult them up in the standings. I think it is about to happen…. or maybe that is I ‘hope’ it is about to happen.


    There is no way on this planet Niskanen signs for $4.5M. None. Zero. His market value is projected at $6M, so let’s be realistic. If he decides to take a cut to stay in Pittsburgh, the Penguins will still be looking north of $5.5M per. Even at that discount, I’m not sure I’d sign him.

  289. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    I know that may get a bit stale, but that’s how baseball people talk…they say things that could literally mean anything or nothing, but when they are talking to eachother it’s not cheap or stale at all, it simply gets to the point.

    I will say that when anyone asks Hurdle about an injury and he says he’s doesn’t mess with that stuff, it’s the opposite of coach speak

  290. War_Horse says:


  291. War_Horse says:


  292. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    Kirkland was a freak….only near 300lber that could pick up a back an stick with him most of the time!

    The game has obviously changed a bit though since then, and the usefulness of a run busting ILB may have to go beyond clogging holes.

  293. Nate83 says:

    There is no doubt they have a nice collection of 3-5 starters. The Pirates will never bring in an ace or a solid number 2 through free agency and guys like that are not often traded before their free agent years unless it’s for 1 year and a couple of months. Shields is one of the few pitchers that a team traded for and got for 2 years and they gave a lot up to get him.

    This is why it is so important for the Pirates to get their top of rotation guys from within. They really only need 2 of Cole, Taillon, Glasnow and Kingham to reach their ceiling and be the top two starters in the rotation. The rest can be filled in by the type of pitchers they already have. That being said having pitchers reach their ceiling isn’t as easy as it sounds. Any of those guys are just as likely to become 3 and 4’s as they are top of the line starter. The good news is with Cole it looks like we have a solid 2 at worse.

  294. NMR says:

    You’re taking this way, way too seriously.

  295. Nate83 says:

    It’s there for the taking. If they don’t then it’s unlikely to happen this year. I wish we were playing Tampa right now and Miami at the end of this easy schedule instead of the other way around.

  296. Nate83 says:

    I like that plan except………the next true established pitcher the Pirates pick up will be the first. AJ is the closest they came but honestly nobody thought he had two years left in him as good as the ones he gave us. Plus a team needing to get rid of a guy and willing to pay a large portion of his salary doesn’t happen everyday. I guess Wandy almost fits the catagory as well. Very dependable before he became a Pirate. Didn’t turn out that way.

  297. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    With you on Van Slyke….used to love watching Will Clark hit too – what a SOB he was.

  298. Botherhood of the Redus says:


  299. Dom says:

    Seems a bit much to me for someone who just had major surgery. Based on last season, it appeared there was an abundance of centers in the league and money might be better going in other areas.

  300. cmat0829 says:

    To be honest, AJ was a reclamation project. He SUCKED in NY and the Yankees couldn’t wait to get this ‘good clubhouse guy’ and ‘intangible leader’ off of that team and the Hell away from Yankee Stadium. So not even sure he can be called an ‘established’ starter either.

    I do cringe at what KC gave up for Shields and what that would mean the Pirates would give up for a similar pitcher…that’s why I say be careful what you wish for… picking the wrong guy, or the wrong time, could set this team back many years.

  301. bpn8pitt says:

    Thanks, Dominator. Agree totally.

    Hopefully he stays healthy and helps Bell turn into a star. That has to be best case scenario.

  302. cmat0829 says:

    worley had a decent string of starts for the Phils, so he does fit in a category of ‘been there before’ vs. a young guy like Sadler for example that has no track record at all.

  303. Jim S. says:

    It’s just one game, but that ridiculous loss in SD last week where the Padres got one stinking bunt single and only hit the ball out of the infield once the entire game is what is keeping us below .500 right now. I still marvel at how they could lose that game.

  304. cmat0829 says:

    2011, went 11-3 with an ERA around 3 and finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting. I’ll take that, if he can ‘reclaim’ it.

  305. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    So, everyone done their duty yet and click on the CineSport video up there?

    If so, THANK YOU!

  306. Nate83 says:

    If I remember right it was a little better then decent. I thought he was the 4th spoke in the Hamel, Lee and Holloday wheel and for about a half a season he was actually outperforming or holding his own with those 3. Then he just kind of disappeared much like Kevin Millwood. Maybe they both fell in dumpsters. Millwood if I remember had I nice little comeback and was productive for a few years.

  307. cmat0829 says:

    it is indeed baseball, but if we bundled that one, the frustrating 1-0 to the brewers last Sunday, and the two back-to-back 9th inning blown saves at home vs. Brewers (Braun beats Grilli), we are 36-30. Wouldn’t that be a different perspective, there are only 6 teams in baseball 6 games over or better.

  308. 21sthebest says:

    Well my favorite player of all time was Clemente. My next favorite is Cal Ripken. But I feel like my world in the 70’s as a kid revolved around Clemente, Stargell, Blass, and Sanguillen. I also worshipped Lou Brock when I was a kid.

    My favorite pitchers to watch pitch were John Candelaria and Tom Seaver.


    That’s quite a pie-in-the-sky, hockeymonster. Honestly, I don’t see the Penguins ownership agreeing to huge roster changes before the start of the season. If ownership was ready to rebuild, I don’t think they would have brought in Jim Rutherford to architect it. I think the changes to the roster will a lot more subtle. That being said, there’s a few moves I think the Penguins can make.

    First, I don’t see trading any of the Penguins forwards or Kris Letang. The reality is that salary dumps don’t improve the team, and this team is not looking to rebuild. The only trades I’d look to make are the rights to Niskanen and Orpik, as I don’t think either are worth what they’ll command on the open market… at least not to the Penguins.

    I’d hold on to Martin to start the season, and if Maata makes a successful return from surgery and some of the other young defensemen can make an impact, he becomes a valuable trade chip mid-season.

    I’d look at retaining Sutter, Stempniak, and Goc.

    I’d also talk to Nikolai Kulemin. Geno’s long-time buddy is a UFA, a solid two-way winger, good size, and has the talent to warrant time on a scoring line. Plus, he’ll come in less than his current $2.8M pricetag.

    I’d also look at a guy like Steve Ott. Tremendous leader, tough as nails to play against, good on the faceoff, and about as versatile as they come. He’d be a great 3rd-line winger and PK specialist, especially if he can come in under $3M.

    If Beau Bennett can finally start off healthy, that leaves the lineup…




  310. cmat0829 says:

    aye, aye cap’n.

    Any chance the Trib will embrace the growing trend of product placement/ revenue? I mean we can get a sponsor for the Nutting Apologists (the board games Monopoly and Sorry probably too ‘on the nose’), the Polanco Religion…. surely the Lightning Round on the chats can be sponsored…..

    I’m really serious :) Any product placement ideas?

  311. Jim S. says:

    Worley was an ok pitcher at 23 & 24 for the Phils. Citizen’s Bank is a tough ball park to pitch in. He was horrible last year, but I don’t think he caught a lot of breaks, either. I am not predicting he is going to be great for us, but it would not surprise me if he gave us a few decent starts here. If he can average 6 innings and 2.5 runs-ish per game (3.75 ERA), that would be great from my standpoint.

    Maybe that’s asking too much.

  312. Nate83 says:

    I know it wasn’t directed at me but I didn’t take it as a slight or unrealistic fair return. I just think the FO has envisioned this 3 headed outfield for a while and are very unlikely to move any of those 3 pieces for some time. Alverez, Walker and almost any prospect I would say is fair game. So players they know they can’t afford to resign and prospects. Controllable core pieces don’t seem like the type of players this particular front office would trade. For the right return I would trade Walker in a minute. His value will never be higher and the better he plays the rest of this year the more unlikely it is we can resign him.

  313. NMR says:

    Because Marte is good at baseball! That’s been bpn’s point all along.

  314. 21sthebest says:

    Not sure how you managed to pull it back together so quickly after the San Antonio slip. I’m still laughing.

  315. NMR says:

    Certainly, but I don’t think the gap is drastic enough to keep him from helping the team if needed.

  316. Andrew says:


    I agree with Groat (it pains me to say that) but I have no faith in Rutherford to be involved in this many movements and it end well. That Rossi report on the newest hire is f*#$#*@#* joke. He hired the freaking Hurricane owners son to be VP of hockey operations.

    “With Carolina, Karmanos took the lead on analytics, contract negotiations and salary-cap management and also worked as a scout. He was to the Hurricanes what Botterill has been to the Penguins. Their paths even crossed during trade talks between the clubs.”

    “Quite honestly, it hadn’t reached that level yet in Carolina,” Karmanos said. “It’s something I’m really excited to be a part of here, that total integration of analytics from management to coaching staff.”

    So the Penguins already have someone if your area of expertise, and they hired you to do a job that you admittedly failed to do. Solid hire. (end rant)

  317. chethejet1 says:

    I wished for more in the off season, But after a couple of reclaimed pitchers and Loney no one else was in the mix. would prefer to go with upside at the bald spot. Tallion, Cole, Morton, and then see who emerges from four guys. Alvarez is the issue. 2016 is his last year and that should be enough time to develop or some sticks at third and first. Either Bell plays 1st if he continues to rake or a trade of prospects for a proven vet. Martin at catcher will buy time for someone who emerges from the pipeline. I’m sorry Sanchez is not the answer.

  318. NMR says:

    And this is where it becomes a necessity to continue hitting on these “reclamation projects” and yes, taking on all the risk involved.

    Volquez has value now to the Pirates because he’s only making $5m. Not so much at $10m.

    James Loney was a great value to the Rays last year at $2m. Now they’re paying him $20m+ and getting less production.

    It sucks. It is difficult. But this is just how it has to happen with budgets like ths.

  319. cmat0829 says:

    we need to keep young players with team-friendly contracts that are good at baseball.

  320. NMR says:

    He needs to study the Doug Fister trade? And what would he learn from that?

  321. Jim S. says:

    Oh yeah, last Sunday … ugh! The Brewers keep winning games like that, and we keep losing games like that.

    They won again last night in similar fashion. Mets were batting, bottom of 11th, tie game, bases loaded, one out. Brewers had a sinker ball guy pitching, brought Braun and someone else into the infield, great strategy. They got a ground ball for a force at home for the 2nd out, then the Mets batter got a 2-1 count and took two borderline pitches that both went the Brewers way. Mets batter went nuts and got tossed. Then, the Brewers scored a bunch of runs the next inning to win.

    Magical year for them so far.

  322. Jim S. says:

    +++, NMR.

  323. NMR says:

    The two players he proposed trading for are both younger and cheaper.

  324. Sisyphus says:

    In case you hadn’t noticed, free agency is over for the year.

  325. Jim S. says:

    The young guys in the system have to pan out. They have no other means of collecting top of the rotation guys. They don’t have $175M like the Yankees to buy studs.

  326. Jim S. says:


  327. hockeymonster says:

    I echoed same concern late yesterday after reading that article. I try to be optimistic but the front office expansion is starting to come off as a over-compensation for previous mistakes and blunders. If they do what we think they’re about to do than the phrase “tail wags dog” comes to mind.

    And based on those quotes it seems like Mario and Burkle just authorized a metric oriented experiment to commence in the midst of Sid and Geno’s prime years. Now that’s a effin joke. Especially if those are the analytics they used to gauge Semin’s value. I wonder what our ‘particular consultant’ had to say about that signing at the time?

  328. NMR says:

    Going after “established players” just isn’t going to get you much value. You’re most likely going to pay for what you get. And the Pirates just do not have the budget to play the same game as the other markets who set prices.

    Again, this isn’t absolute, but it is the reason they take the approach they do.

  329. Sisyphus says:

    Won’t be seeing many more triples out of him until he starts running right out of the box when he hits one to the wall. His double should have been a triple as well, but he didn’t start running hard until he rounded first, and it cost the Pirates a run.

  330. Nate83 says:

    If the crop of pitcher is thin next year I don’t think it’s unrealist for Kingham to come up as soon as year of control passes. I think that is after like 20 games or so. If he has 15 nice starts to finish this year in AAA and shows he doesn’t have much to work on. Unlikely yes but not out of the question.

    I look at it this way. Why spend 5-10 million on a back end rotaton type just to delay Kingham’s arbitration by waiting until Super 2. Save the 5-10 million and use it towards something else to improve the team. This all hinges on Kingham maintaining his stats in AAA this year. It’s different then Polanco because he will have had way more games in AAA and they spent zero dollars to take care of right field while waiting for Polanco. They will need three starter next year and will have to spend money if not going with Locke, Kingham, Cumpton or Stolmy. In an ideal world I want them to go with two of those guys and pick up one pitcher. I wouldn’t want those guys taking up 60% of the rotation.

  331. hockeymonster says:

    I disagree. I think they clearly want trades if the right ones can be made. It didn’t sound to you like they would consider trading neal? Are they really hell bent on keeping PM in his final year and letting nisky walk? And clearly Nisky will have a decision to make which may affect whether or not we trade PM. But Orpik and PM had similar decisions to make and they chose to come and stay here.

    And not sure that kulemin will be 2.8M or less but even so i’m not too enamored with him. Stempty in a 4th line role? I dunno bout that. And would re-signing him and and signing Ott address getting younger? Is ott really worth the 4M+ he’ll get? 3m or less wont happen.

    If we can bring in legit talent like ROR and picks for neal and kuni, or Coyle and Folin for PM, than i say DO IT! Or maybe PM and Neal to MN for a package of players? DO IT!!!

  332. Maz in Iowa says:

    I wouldn’t mind having Taillon,Kingham, and Glasnow join the rotation mid June next year.

  333. Arriba Wilver says:

    Edinson won’t be back. Either he will continue at his late pace and price himself out of the Pirate’s “budget” or he will fall back and they won’t want him.

    That’s the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    Who’s the next Searage reclamation project?

  334. Nate83 says:

    I guess the question is are you more worried about regression at a higher price or the ability to continue to hit on these reclamation projects. I’m not sure what the odds are of hitting on those year after year.

    I’m a big believer of understanding what you already have. If the Pirates chose to keep Edinson it would lead me to believe they think the odds of him replicating this year are much better then finding Edinson 2.0 and trying to fix him.

  335. hockeymonster says:

    I just read somewhere a convincing argument stating that 5M for nisky should be a ceiling more than a floor based on fact that he’s only had one big year. Players like macdonald who got 5M for 6 years were playing bigger minutes for several seasons. Would i consider 4.8-5M to get a deal done? Yes but not in a vacuum. I want 4 line forwards depth and would hope that nisky would too. But if he or anyone else wants to max out than it wont be here. IMO the lineup you posted below doesn’t do a whole to address grit and character. So IMHO making trades isn’t an option. Just depends on options.

  336. The Gunner says:

    yep, Sis – but the trade season will be upon us shortly

  337. Andrew says:

    I saw some Rutherford comments on Semin and something about analytics proved he was clutch, that is a wholly ignorant statement. I have no problem with getting some better data analysts in the office, metrics are not really prescriptive, but more to prevent mistakes. But this nepotistic hire is not how to do it, the Devils just hired a guy who has been writing on numbers in hockey on the internet for over 10 years. Far better hire.

  338. NMR says:

    Excellent comment, Nate. I’m sure this is what gus like bp are alluding to when they say they’d prefer to go after established players, and they’re absolutely correct. It is extremely difficult to hit on reclamation projects year after year.

  339. Nate83 says:

    The Shields trade could be a lot worse except for Shields has been very good for them. At the end of the day it got them nothing because their GM was unable to accurately access the rest of the team. They have 5 or 6 guys on the team that are essentially the same type of hitter. Not much speed, warning track power, decent average, low on-base. Then they go and pick up a light hitting right fielder in Aoki. A good player if mixed with the right type of players around him but not a good fit for them.

  340. Baywatch says:

    Tooch, in the clips I’ve seen of him I’ve sort of envisioned him looking like Dave Concepcion at short IF he fills out! If I remember right, Concepcion was pretty tall for a shortstop. Hold one, I’ll look :-) … Well, Concepcion was 6-2, Cole’s 6-3.

  341. Baywatch says:

    That Brandie! I’m tellin’ ya … she keeps things loose around the clubhouse! :-)

  342. NMR says:

    To be clear, I’m not continuing to conter each of your comments to prove you wrong and bpn right.

    You’re absolutely correct in everything yuo’ve said. But so is bpn.

    More tan one way to skin a cat.

  343. Jim S. says:

    Hope this works. If so, enjoy! Cutch happens!

  344. Nate83 says:

    It came out after the trade that the Tigers never actively tried to trade Fister to anyone else. They for some reason had been enamored with Rob Ray and made the offer to the Nats. The Nats said hold the line let me discuss it and then covered the phone up while they laughed for about 10 minutes and then said well you drive a hard bargain but what the hay lets do this.

    The only thing to learn from it is to be in the right place at the right time.

  345. Arriba Wilver says:

    No offense, NMR, but you haven’t supported your position with one thing. Not a link to even one scout. Just looking for some evidence to counter the only evidence that has been submitted. This isn’t a “Pirate fan” thing, it’s basic “what’s ya got.” And, so far, you got nothing.

  346. NMR says:

    Rather arbitrary point to chose, and only five starts, but Volquez has struck out 7.76 per 9 an has a 2.48 ERA since that four homer game in Yankee Stadium.

    8.22 K/9 since that start against the Mets where he let seemed to just let it fly lighting up the gun at 98/99 mph.

  347. Can’t here at work. Will click at home, though.

  348. hockeymonster says:

    Just looked up it and you’re spot on about that. I just hate the concept of kids born into NHL families and hockey royalty getting chances handed to them on a silver platter and fed to them with a silver spoon. Anyone really think Ray Shero would be ray shero if his dad wasn’t Fred? I guess there’s a chance, but minuscule. Same thing with karmanos. Stan Bowman has justified his standing but would he even have his foot in the door without papa scotty?

    And actually one of the things that led to the Soviets downfall and failure of their 5 year plans was promoting too many cronies and kids of communist leaders into positions of power. If mario and burkle want to know why the soviets 5 year plan didn’t end well, that’s why.

    It’s almost like they can’t wrap their head around the idea that other people or even random bloggers can know the game and understand metrics as well as them. Or in some cases better. The sooner they can wrap their heads around that and move on, the better off they and the rest of us will be.

  349. Nate83 says:

    Maybe he’s becoming more comfortable with his mechanics. Muscle memory. It’s a huge undertaking for a guy who has been in the league and thrown as many innings as him. I remember some of us telling bpn it wasn’t going to happen overnight. I have to admit it happened quicker then I thought it would. I’m sure his BB rate is down as well which really is his most important stat. His stuff is good and has great movement. It also seems like he gets more strikeouts with men on then he does with the bases empty. Almost like he is saving something.

  350. Jim S. says:

    Good post, War Horse. They are playing much better. It feels like they have played more games already in June of the variety of last year’s consistent formula than in April & May combined. By that, I mean taking control fairly early, getting a solid starting pitching effort and getting shut down bullpen work all in the same game.

  351. Andrew says:

    Hockey I side more with Forecheck as far as the roster goes, I think you have too many moving pieces and I fail to understand some of the movement.

    1) Niskanen is gone, if the cap goes up so do other teams spending limits, MacDonald’s 6 years $5 million/year is the floor for him. Additionally, Niskanen is only a borderline top four defense-man.

    2)I am not trading Martin with Matta and other depth options out with surgery, Fayne is a good option if the Penguins need a guy on 2 year deal.

    3) Bennet is going to have to play on one of the top two lines, that is where he has value and when you commit so much to your centers you cannot bring in top money wingers like O’Reilly.

    4) You haven’t really cleared in cap space switching in O’Reilly and Stewart for Kuntiz and Neal. Additionally guys like Steward and Vrbatat are in the last year of their deal and will require a raise next season which the Penguins cannot afford. I am fine with trading Neal, but it has to be realized that he is underpaid given his current scoring ability.

    5) I know I sound droll repeating this but build a bottom six. If the Penguins want to move on from Sutter, I’d targeted Bryan Little. I do like Goc, Winnik and Raymond in bottom six roles, Stempinak will be too expensive. I would love to be able to sign Benoit Polluiot, but the Cup run might have driven up his price. Sill can easily replace Adams minutes. And Gibbons can fit in there somewhere.

  352. Andrew says:

    I come to accept that sports front offices are all about connections and not ability. It is not like these teams are going to go out of business if they fail.

  353. Andrew says:


  354. Arriba Wilver says:


  355. Thundercrack says:

    Did they send Sadler down yesterday? With the threat of rain delays this weekend in Miami, you would think they would want the reliever in the pen.

    Maybe JHay can’t play the field

  356. Nate83 says:

    Wow that would be awesome if that happened. Glasnow seems to be 1/2 year to a whole year behind Kingham. I’ll be happy if Taillon is pitching period in June and came up sometime in August. There is still a chance he doesn’t come up until 2016. He losses more then a year with TJ because he has to rehab and then prove himself in AAA.

  357. Nate83 says:

    I can’t check this out at work but I’m sure it’s more propaganda from Cutch’s campaign manager :)

  358. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I hope and think they did send Sadler down to Indy.
    I read where he was one of the best pitchers down there.
    If he was….I’d hate to see the worst.

  359. JRay3 says:

    Miami’s new stadium has a retractable roof, will not face any rain delays this weekend.

    I think Martinez was brought up for late inning defensive replacement if needed. Probably is sent back Sunday when spot starter called up, as JHay was already showing improvement in the ankle.

  360. Maz in Iowa says:

    . Jeff Locke first made the jump to the majors after five starts in Triple-A. Brandon Cumpton only needed 11 starts at the level before first making the jump to Pittsburgh.Hmm

  361. Arriba Wilver says:

    I thought I heard on the broadcast last night that they had already sent back (or didn’t end up activating Martinez) Martinez because JHey wasn’t going on the DL.

  362. JAL says:

    Van Persie showed what a world class striker can do. Brilliant goal

  363. hockeymonster says:

    Well i certainly dont think the moves i suggest would be easy to pull off. But i do think the trades themselves can be done if the will from both teams is there. But for all I know COL will sign ROR and let stastny walk so it could be moot. And imo PM and Neal to MN for a package of players can be done. And the math does add up. I wouldn’t really mind seeing harrington and/or dumoulin get TOI if maatta can’t start the season. Especially if we get a dmen from MN.

    I got Raymond, Goc and Winnik all making 1.8M which i believe to be realistic, give or take for each player. I think sutter stays. I like Bryan Little and his offensive upside but he’s not big and makes 4.7M. If nisky walks i guess its doable but who do you trade for him? And he has a limited NTC.

    ROR for 6.8M might be less than he can get but if COL trades him he’ll have to risk a hold out again to get more. My other proposal is less drastic. This one involving ROR is in case he’s available and willing to workout a long term deal. Stewart IMO isn’t optional. We need someone who can play with and protect sid.

    In general, all i’ve proposed in trading some combo of PM and Neal, and maybe Kuni for the right return. IMO that’s hardly a huge overhaul. Just necessary assets to be on the table if we in fact are going to get younger with grit and character. As for the UFA’s i’ve suggested, they would simply replace the UFA’s we’re losing so that’s not really in the ‘overhaul’ category.

  364. JRay3 says:

    Martinez is listed on the active roster and Sadler is not. Move had been announced and processed and Martinez was in dugout last night.

  365. Nate83 says:

    What in horrible bullpens throughout the league is going on. Vin Mizzaro cleared waivers a second time and accepted assignment to Indy. I know he isn’t great but nobody can make room on their team for this guy. Miami could have had him for free instead of trading for Morris.


  366. Nate83 says:

    I just can’t believe cheap Nutting is flying these guys all over the place. I hope he is making them fly coach or even drive their own cars without reimbursing them for mileage.

  367. JAL says:

    His $950,000 contract even prorated is a bit much to most teams for a middle reliever

  368. Nate83 says:

    I think/hope he only pitches one game for them. Unless of course they like him more the Cumpton or Locke.

  369. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Actually….In many cases I believe they do drive their own cars.

  370. Nate83 says:

    I thought about that but it’s really not much more then $400,000 more then minimum. That seems like peanuts to me for some of these teams. There are bullpen arms throughout the league with ERA’s in the 4’s and 5’s.

  371. Arriba Wilver says:

    We’ll see.

  372. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’ve heard that, too.

    Not to Miami, of course, ;-(

  373. Thundercrack says:

    I forgot that they had to retractable roof. Thanks

  374. JAL says:

    true but all the Pirate middle relievers are at or just above minimum. Mazzaro way above everyone else

  375. Arriba Wilver says:

    You really didn’t read the previous posts, did you, Cmat?

  376. Arriba Wilver says:

    Not offering the QO is NOT a retrospective mistake. It was a mistake.

  377. Arriba Wilver says:

    That’s me, serious Arriba.

  378. Nate83 says:

    24/7 had in his pirate notebook today that Martinez was up until possibly Sunday when they have a spot start.

  379. Arriba Wilver says:

    Just going by what they said last night in Root. 24/7 probably has it right,

  380. cmat0829 says:

    It is really not about being able to afford Volquez in his next contract, it is about whether it is WISE to spend the money on it. ie. if Liriano had signed a 1-year pact with us last year (and kudos to NH for it not being so), we’d have pounded the table for NH to pay out and re-sign Frankie…and that would have been rewarded with projectable regression. It isn’t always about “Pirates can’t afford it, woe is me”

  381. cmat0829 says:

    I guess being open to acquiring established starters for prospects…. not saying it was a great trade or awful trade, I dont spend any time studying Pirates stats much less other teams, but it seemed like that trade came out of nowhere, wasn’t necessarily a ‘need area’ for the Nats but fortified their rotation, etc.

  382. cmat0829 says:

    My guess (though it doesnt fit the cheap narrative) is that players choose to drive so they can move their personal stuff, etc. I mean either the team or the player makes enough to pay for movers but that is a process and takes many days, etc. and it is easier to load up what you need and go on a drive.

  383. Arriba Wilver says:

    Didn’t mention anything about not being able to “afford” it. Certainly didn’t say anything about ” woe is me.” I’m one of the few who didn’t complain about signing Volquez for $5 mil this year.
    I’m just suggesting reality.

    What’s your point?

  384. cmat0829 says:

    LOL, you mean the CHEAP Pirates have priced a player out of the reach for all the other teams?? No way cost is an issue for about 15 of the teams out there and that would include Detroit. Agree with the rag arms out there Mazarro HAS to be an upgrade. Brian Morris, who we all know and love, is doing well for Miami since the trade… and many of us would prefer Vin to Brian at this point.

  385. Arriba Wilver says:

    Bryan, with a “y”

  386. cmat0829 says:

    Right. It appears they won’t need Martinez but they’ll need the spot for Vanimal at this point so that’ll be the move. Pen is actually pretty rested. Pimentel hasn’t pitched yet since being activated…. my guess is that if Cole has a good side session on Sunday, they will sent Worley back down and recall Mazarro at least until Cole can be activated next Thursday. But then I’d also suspect they may end up jettisoning Gomez and keeping Vin this time, but who knows.

  387. cmat0829 says:

    Sorry, sucks with a c-k-s. LOL, just kidding, I actually wish Bryan well, he just didn’t give me any confidence pitching in games. In terms of ‘my confidence’ which is obviously the only stat that matters, Mazarro > Pimentel > Morris > Gomez.

  388. NMR says:

    Ironically his walk rate is up a bit compared to the beginning of the year, but that is even skewed a bit by that one 5 BB outing.

    I definintely agree with you, though. He seems to find an extra level of focus with runners on. And his pure stuff has been phenomenal. Fastball has aveaged 95 mph and curveball has the highest whiff rate of his career.

  389. cmat0829 says:

    nope he’ll be going back to Indy if/when Cole’s side session goes well.

  390. Arriba Wilver says:

    Since you like to be precise, I thought I would help.

    I have no problem with the Morris move, no matter how you spell it.

  391. toochca says:

    6’3″ 185lbs He looks like he has to jump around in the shower to get wet!! The clips I’ve seen he does look fundamentally sound for a tall SS. However Ive never seen a highlight reel of anybody that shows them making errors!! Funny how that works that way!

  392. Andrew says:

    I don’t mean to pick away at your plan when I don’t really have much to offer. I just have big picture ideas

    I really don’t think Crosby needs some particular skater, if the Pens want to find a younger Kuntiz or Dupuis I’m all for it. But he doesn’t need elite wingers, one it is not practical, you cannot afford elite wingers in the cap era unless you have Hossa on a cheater contract, which cannot be signed anymore, or you develop them. Stewart and Vrabata are due raise next season and with the addition of any expensive winger makes the Pens more top heavy.

    Neal’s contract is going to look nice as the cap expands, so if there are some younger players to be had in a trade sure but I cannot get on board with O’Reilly or Kane, they will cost more. Sorry I don’t have any targets.

    What Crosby needs is a solid third line so his line does not have to be deployed like a checking line like this past season. I like Little if the Penguins want the three center model, less expensive than Kesler. But maybe that idea died with Shero, I’m fine with Sutter if the Pens get him some quality 3rd line wingers. My main focus would be to find undervalued depth players.

    I am all for Harrington and Dumoulin playing. Shero had the odd strategy of drafting defensemen but then going out and signing UFAs so the younger guys were buried on the depth chart. I think Scuderi is here next year, for better or worse.

    I have to ask what is the appeal of Chris Stewart? Big right handed shot? I don’t get to see much hockey outside the what was the old Atlantic and Northeast Division.

  393. hockeymonster says:

    You can pick away. :)

    Regarding wingers for sid, i’ve just identified stewie as one of the few players that can skate, take up space and produce with sid. While also bringin the beef and providing the presence that’s been lacking. Or a form of character. Stewie won’t have to display character often as i’m sure he’ll make his point early in the season.

    Result? More space for sid and fewer scrums. Not to mention a player with reach when time and space is at a premium in the playoffs. So a centering pass possibly connects cuz anticipating passing lanes for a 6’2 winger is easier than trying to anticipate with gibby or stempty. It’s easier cuz the at that point the passing lanes actually exist. Gibby and stempty aren’t SO fast or physical enough to compensate for their lack of reach simply cuz opposing dmen are just as fast but with reach. This becomes a greater and greater problem when facing better teams. Inconvenient but true.

    I guess we just simply disagree on what Vrbata and Stewie can get. Vrbata will be 33 so will he get 4-5M after having an off year? 19 goals i believe. I could live with 3/9M for vrbata. And if he wants to win at this stage of career he should consider it too.

    Stewie is signed for one more year at a number that fits within this years cap for posted roster. If we’re losing Engo and glass and we’re gonna need some that grit n character. And now it’s my turn to sound droll, in the process you have a winger that’s scored 28 goals twice without high level Center support and was on pace for 30+ during lockout year. He and Vrbata both project to be excellent fits in top 9. Especially with vrbata having a QoC of 30%. All my suggestions are bill james approved. Just a question if the trades can be made.

    And yes Neal’s contract is cap friendly but have been turned off by his senseless and lazy penalties. Instead of moving his feet, he hooks and hacks. And he’s not bad at moving his feet which is the shame of it. But I also dont like the habit he’s developed of swooping behind geno instead of center lane driving. There are times the swoops are fine and the right play. But he’s gotten too reliant on it and it’s just too easy to defend. At least in the playoffs by good teams. I’ve always said i’d only consider it if it was for the right package. Same goes for Kuni and PM.

    If you went ahead and signed up for that SB account you could checkout some of my posts there.

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