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Morning Java: The Raleigh Syndrome

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Tuesday chat will run from 1-2 p.m., right here on the blog, though entries can be submitted as soon as you see the post. That’s usually around 11 a.m.

>> The Penguins still don’t have a coach, but Jim Rutherford kept right on making waves by openly discussing the imminent fates of Matt Niskanen, Jussi Jokinen and even the team’s first-round draft pick, as beat man Josh Yohe reports.

Some will find that off-putting, Rutherford’s candor. Myself, I’ve already found it ill-advised on at least a couple occasions, not least of which was the blurting out that Willie Desjardins had been his No. 1 choice for head coach before bolting for the Canucks.

The GM has come across as looking like he’s got no filter. And maybe he doesn’t.

But I’d like to toss in here this morning that it’s possible Rutherford is simply conducting business as he’s always needed to do in trying to sell hockey in North Carolina.

Think about it: Rutherford wasn’t just the Hurricanes’ GM. He always was team president. He ran everything, including the business side. And he always had to be in tune with the fact that the only way to get more hockey revenue was to sell more tickets. So, in his dealings with the extremely small media contingent there — almost never more than one reporter traveling with the Canes, even in their Cup year — he surely had a set way of handling things, one that clearly doesn’t fit here. He likes to be honest with reporters. He likes to have trust. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as any of us will tell you. But he’s also got to understand that in a market with much greater interest and much more competition between the many outlets covering the Penguins, the stuff he says is going to get out. It won’t be filtered.

Not making excuses for Rutherford here. Just trying to underscore that being the GM in Raleigh, or even Hartford before that, isn’t the same as being the GM in Pittsburgh.

Elsewhere, R.J. Umberger for Scott Hartnell? Yes, really. And wait till you read what the Blue Jackets have to say about their motivation for acquiring Hartnell.

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

>> Pedro Alvarez and the Pirates rout the Rays and climb back to .500. Rob Biertempfel reports from St. Petersburg.

Neil Walker returns today, by Biertempfel.

Here’s Rays news from the Tampa Tribune.

Here are official game highlights on

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

>> 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. Bizrow says:


  2. DJ says:

    From “Desjardins has a four-year contract with the Canucks . . . but the coach said term and money were not the reason he chose Vancouver over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Without getting into specifics about the Penguins job, Desjardins hinted it involved being able to choose his assistants, something he will do with .”

    Not surprising Pens did not sign him given their likely shorter term parameter. Not being able to choose assistants is a different animal, but other than Tocchet, don’t believe Pens were being unreasonable. Couldn’t find room for even one, Willie? Have fun your next TWO years in Vancouver.

  3. Ogre says:

    Rutherford is mentoring Botterill on what not to do..

  4. DJ says:

    From “Desjardins has a four-year contract with the Canucks . . . but the coach said term and money were not the reason he chose Vancouver over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Without getting into specifics about the Penguins job, Desjardins hinted it involved being able to choose his assistants, something he will do with .”

    Not surprising Pens did not sign him given their likely shorter term parameter. Not being able to choose assistants is a different animal, but other than Tocchet, don’t believe Pens were being unreasonable. Couldn’t find room for even one, Willie? Have fun your next TWO years in Vancouver.

  5. DJ says:

    Last try given an unknown snafu in prior posting.

    From “Desjardins has a four-year contract with the Canucks . . . but the coach said term and money were not the reason he chose Vancouver over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Without getting into specifics about the Penguins job, Desjardins hinted it involved being able to choose his assistants, something he will do with .”

    Not surprising Pens did not sign him given their likely shorter term parameter. Not being able to choose assistants is a different animal, but other than Tocchet, don’t believe Pens were being unreasonable. Couldn’t find room for even one, Willie? Have fun your next TWO years in Vancouver.

  6. Hankpsu says:

    If Rutherford isn’t savvy enough to know the new market he’s working in and how to navigate these sorts of dealings, that’s all kinds of concerning. This whole process from the time shero was fired has screamed of settling for second (or third) best

  7. DJ says:

    Last try given an unknown snafu in prior posting.

    From “Desjardins has a four-year contract with the Canucks . . . but the coach said term and money were not the reason he chose Vancouver over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Without getting into specifics about the Penguins job, Desjardins hinted it involved being able to choose his assistants, something he will do with” current Vancouver management.

    Not too surprising given Pens’ likely shorter term parameter. Not being able to choose assistants is a different animal, but other than Tocchet, don’t believe Pens were being unreasonable. Maybe Willie thought having an ex-NHL head coach would be unsettling during his first NHL head coaching stint.

    Couldn’t find room for even one, Willie? Have fun your next TWO years in Vancouver.

  8. DJ says:

    DK: Please delete this post and the two “empty space” ones below as well. Stumbled on a posting quirk in the use of a bracketed portion of a quote which apparently caused the issue. Ugh . . . and my apologies.

  9. hockeymonster says:

    No pressure.

  10. DJ says:

    Not as much as Pittsburgh, sure, but also certain there is pressure in Vancouver, as Torts found out.

    But if it was purely a pressure concern, glad he moved on. Don’t want him.

  11. Maz In Iowa says:

    Hey DK…..when they say a simulated game and both Walker/Cole participated…..what do they BOTH do?(yeah I know,stupid question)

  12. cobra39 says:

    Blue Jackets acquire Scottie Hartnell to make Columbus “faster.” I suppose it’s theoretically possible. If a turtle joined a team of dead turtles, the team overall would be “faster.”

  13. DJ says:

    Cole pitched and Walker batted.

    No word, however, if Cole had his stone-cold, pre-start look on.

  14. Maz In Iowa says:

    Do they do situational stuff?Pretend to advance runners(hit behind runners)sac flies, etc?

  15. DJ says:

    Heard on radio Cole threw 85 pitches (everything went well) and apparently Walker batted. I believe Walker did some fielding as well. Unsure of other details.

  16. Maz In Iowa says:

    Josh Bell needs to be promoted to AA.Hitting .335.Splits show him hitting over .300 against both LH and RH pitchers.47 RBI …17 2B…3 3B….9 HRs…only 38 Ks…OPS over .900..hitting well over .500 his last 10 games

  17. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Just means Walker took some of the at-bats once the L-screen came down.

  18. Dcpinpgh says:

    I could be stretching here, but ever since the GM has been so ‘open’. There has been a lot less talk of , ‘what’s wrong with Sid’

  19. BillyBaduka says:

    Yeah I don’t buy that Hartnell is faster than Umberger.

    Hartnell couldn’t keep up with Giroux last season and was moved off his line.

  20. Roger says:

    It amazes me how blinded the Pirates fans are when it comes to Alvarez. I noticed several fans submitted him as the top star to you last night DK. That’s laughable. He hit a 3-run HR in the 3rd inning when the Bucs were up 3-1. No way he hits it out if they were down 3-1 in the 7th inning or any inning for that matter. He is fools gold. They need to deal him ASAP bc someone will be enamored by his power potential and will give up a competent player in return. I’m tired of Alvarez. If anyone thinks his 3-run HR last night had more impact on them winning that game than the performance of Volquez, then you are delusional.

  21. Wild Bill says:

    Agreed. Some folks seem to think the Flyers got hosed. I’m not one of them.

  22. Mike says:

    Ah ha! I was wondering what was going on with GMRJ volunteering all that insight rather forcing you reporters to grovel, scratch and claw for every little morsel of information! Not as sophisticated as the rest of his new organization yet.

  23. Wild Bill says:

    The other factor besides speed – Hartnell has five more years on his contract.

  24. Jandy says:


  25. Jandy says:

    wow, that’s whack!

  26. Pedro only did as well as he did last night because the Bucs were up against a team that is now 31-47. His batting average vs.lefties is.204 and vs. righties .240.’And after he homered in the 3rd, he was the usual easy out, and it’s enough to drive one crazy. I’d trade him at first opportunity and I’d hope they eventually do so. And as for his fielding last night, remember who they were up against.

  27. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Kelvin Beachum must focus on technique to overcome his physical limitations

    2014 Steelers season scenarios: Ryan Shazier wins defensive rookie of the year award

    Pittsburgh Steelers ‘really needed’ Munchak

    Steelers’ ILB Vince Williams knows nothing is guaranteed in the NFL


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Croatia 1 Mexico 3 – Post-Match Stats & Projections

    Netherlands 2 Chile 0 – Post-Match Stats & Projections

    Australia 0 Spain 3 – Post-Match Stats

    Cameroon 1 Brazil 4 – Post-Match Stats & Projections

    23 BBC Football

    Neymar sends Brazil into last 16

    World Cup 2014: Your guide to the beautiful, the terrible & the funny

    England Make 9 Changes for Costa Rica

    24 World Soccer

    World Cup Day 12

    25 Pensburgh

    Pittsburgh Penguins rumors: Pens to lose Niskanen, Jokinen to free agency

    Coachgate – Day 8</b?

  28. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    12 Tampa Bay Times

    Rays hot streak ends with Pirates rout

    13 CBS Sports

    Rays v Pirates Game Preview

    14 Chicago Sun Times

    Respect for players union plays part in Samardzija’s contract situation

    15 Pirates Site

    Sharp Volquez, slugging Alvarez help Bucs to .500

    Hurdle to face questions with Walker’s return

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Mesoraco’s grand slam in ninth lifts Reds over Cubs 6-1

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Three-run jack is all Nationals need

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Adams, Lynn lead Cards over Rockies

    Burwell: Cards aren’t about to panic

    19 Fangraphs

    The Padres and Unrealistic Expectations

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    Dale Sveum and the Royals Remedy

  29. JAL says:

    JAL’s Tell Me All the Things You Do Morning Links

    Tell Me All the Things You Do 1970 Off the album Kiln h
    House. Peter Green had left the band and the players, in addition to the two constants of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, were Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan. Christine McVie did some background vocals on the album but was not a full band member until the next album, Future Games. This is a Kirwan song.


    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: Don’t Look Now, But the Pirates Have an Offense

    Prospect Watch: Cole Tucker Makes Debut, Bell and Ramirez Extend Hit Streaks

    Minor Moves: JaCoby Jones to Disabled List, Wholesale Changes For West Virginia Roster

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Alvarez, McCutchen, Volquez key Pirates’ 8-1 rout

    Notes: Polanco, Walker, Wacha, Correa

    7 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 8 Rays 1

    8 Green Weenie

    Bucs Cruise Behind Volquez 8-1



    10 Rays Colored Glasses

    Game 78: Alex Cobb, Offense Both Struggle in 8-1 Loss

    11 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates – 75 Games Later, One Question Looms Large

    Where Neil Walker Fits In the Lineup

  30. Gavin says:

    Rutherford reeks of Jim Tracy nuff said.

  31. Nastynate82 says:

    If it’s so apparent that he is fools gold, maybe they won’t get anything for him as other teams can surely see that right?

  32. Jandy says:


  33. chethejet1 says:

    As I and many have said about Alvarez, he bats sixth for a reason. But I don’t trade him now short of a great deal. Next off season, the Pirates have to do three things. Solidify the starting pitching, resign Martin and have a plan to replace Pedro as FA signings.

  34. Nastynate82 says:

    It’s the guys first head coaching chance, I think the Pens were being very unreasonable. Kind of arrogant too…as in “no way he’ll choose Vancouver over Pittsburgh.”

  35. Jandy says:

    That arrogance seems to be a recurring thing….

  36. AL says:

    As DK says, “being a GM in Raleigh isn’t the same as being the GM in Pittsburgh”.
    That begs the question as to why the Pens’ brass didn’t think of this before they hired the guy?

  37. The new Pens GM was certainly filling up reporters’ notebooks yesterday. He said that the timetable for hiring a new coach was proceeding as he expected it to, that Niskanen and Jokinen were likely gone, and that he’ d trade a first round draft pick for some hopefully immediate help. And so, you take this for all it’s worth.

  38. Pucknutz says:

    ‘what’s wrong with Sid’

    This continues to be a serious concern of mine. Something is not right.

  39. Jandy says:

    But, is that “What’s wrong with Sid?”
    Or is it…
    “What’s up with Sid?”

  40. Vincenze says:

    It seems to me that I consistently read complaints about the previous managements lack of candor as being a problem. The nit-picking has really reached a level of ridiculousness. If this is GMJR’s methodology for how he communicates, its fine as long as he is consistent and his comments do not hurt the franchise. None of the things he has shared will damage the Pens because A) they were in the rumor mill from legitimate journalists (coaching hire) & B) They were obvious to everyone who follows the team (free agents). If the Pens compete level and advancement in the playoffs improve next year, we will be reading blogs & comments about how the new management’s openness is a “breath of fresh air”. Who knows, maybe GMJR has some strategic reasons for what he is sharing as well (although it is hard to determine what that might be). I’m not saying Rutherford was the best choice nor am I saying the coaching hire has not been botched. He wasnt and it has been, but the reaction to every comment he makes is absurd.

  41. Pucknutz says:

    Perhaps both.
    If he is or has been injured (mental or physical) we will never know. At best rumors will slowly leak out.
    If he is PO ed about something, well……

  42. Jandy says:

    I’m betting it’s the latter…

  43. Pucknutz says:

    I would not bet against you.

  44. Steve B. says:

    Hmmm, the Nen’s were the two players I thought the Pens needed to try their best at re-signing regardless of the contracts they might be looking at, because they are exactly the kind of players they are in short supply of with both the defenseman and forwards. I knew it would be really hard to bring back both but getting one back shouldn’t be impossible, especially when there are other players that will be leaving and/or can be let go to free up some cap space.

    According to Yohe, to just let them leave with what sounds like not even an attempt at negotiation is ponderous, especially with a team like this who is short in supply on exactly what they are allowing to walk out the door uncontested. The only things that can make this off-season any worse so far is putting Mike Milbury behind the bench and re-signing Orpik for 5 more years at $4 million per. I would much, much rather they trade Letang for a 4th round pick if at all possible just to rid the team of his albatross of a salary so they can use that money to resign the players they really need to.

    I was all in favor of both Bylsma and Shero being shown the door even after last season and I have to apologize to those who said “be careful for what you wish for”, because they were right, I had no idea ownership was this obtuse and fumbling, and couldn’t comprehend the possibility that they could actually make things much worse. I know; don’t count your chickens before they are hatched, right? But the nauseating feeling I get with this team anymore makes me think of another common cliche that suits me better…”go with your gut”, and my gut is saying Rutherford scares the bejeezus out of me.

  45. BillyBaduka says:

    Way to adapt to the ordering of the posts.

  46. NMR says:

    At the same time? Pretty much puts the Neil-Walker-doesn’t-have-range talk to bed.

  47. BillyBaduka says:

    Yeah, Columbus will be viewing him like Scuderi when Hartnell is 35.

  48. DJ says:

    DK : Per my note down below, are you able to delete the posting mess below, except for my 12:01 a.m. which posted properly? If not, no problem. Thx.

  49. BillyBaduka says:


  50. A friend of mine lives in Manaus, although he’s American (he hails from Detroit). He’s nuts for soccer, being probably the only American to have ever played in the Peladão, a huge amateur soccer championship in Manaus. Yesterday, he posted a video of the Americans going to the game against Portugal, with his 5-year old son “leading the way” (they live on the way to the stadium):

  51. DJ says:

    Some good points. I like Nisky and Juice as well. That said, it’s all about the money / term. If I had to choose between signing one, I would let Juice walk. But even if the Pens had targeted Nisky, I believe they would have needed a plan to also move Letang given what Nisky is going to command.

    Sad to say it but too many moving parts right now for a team that doesn’t even have its HC in place.

  52. Jandy says:

    Hey Alexandre! how cool is that? :)

  53. DJ says:

    . . . except that Letang would yield much more than a 4th rounder.

  54. NMR says:

    Edinson Volquez ERA: 4.35
    Edinson Volquez ERA minus last Wednesday: 3.62
    Baseball is funny.

    Was I the only one relatively unimpressed with his performance last night? Man are the Rays bad.

  55. DJ says:

    Even though Rutherford bungled it, not going to lose sleep over Willie.

  56. JAL says:

    It was easy, just reverse the posting. Thanks for noticing.

  57. I found it VERY cool!

  58. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    He’s frustrating, but the great Pedro debate will rectify itself. I don’t think it’s a secret that Harrison is getting time. He’ll see time at 2b, LF, 3b, RF, and you can bet he’s the first off the bench every night that he’ not starting, but he’s not supplanting a 30 HR 100 RBI guy….sorrry to burst the bubble that’s full of butt toots.

  59. JAL says:

    8 innings of 5 hit 1 run ball against any MLB team is good. The Rays had scored 8 and 5 runs their previous two games

  60. 21sthebest says:


  61. hockeymonster says:

    Sid’s acceptance speech is gonna be AWK-Ward.

  62. Jandy says:


  63. DJ says:

    “I’d like to thank my former GM and my 6 new ones, plus my former coach and my soon-to-be-named coaches by committee, including, of course, Coach Tocchet . . . “

  64. Maz In Iowa says:

    Zobrist having a crappy year.I wonder how cheaply he could be traded for?They trade for him and ditch Barmes.Granted he plays the same positions as Harrison….if he still has some power they could sign him for a couple more years.His stats have been very good.

  65. Milo Hamilton says:

    I like Jim Rutherford and all but the first thing he needs to do while he’s bungling this coaching search is stifle himself.

  66. 21sthebest says:

    4.15 if you toss out Eddy’s worst and his best starts.

  67. Mike A. says:

    That would have required “thinking”…a concept in short supply at the CEC at present…

  68. hockeymonster says:

    I would say ‘do no harm’ but there are moves that have to be made and not liking the chances of harm not being done.

  69. Maz In Iowa says:

    Sounds like a dingbat btw

  70. DJ says:

    You’re living the part, I see.

    When you’re Archie, you can get away with any politically incorrect faux pas. Might as well go for it.

  71. WilO says:

    Pittsburgh hockey fans are spoiled with watching MVP-caliber players over the years. So seeing the actual awarding of the trophy can be taken in a rather blase manner by the fan base. However, it also has to be noted that Crosby wasn’t the same after the Olympics. And even though the MVP is for regular season play, the stench of Crosby’s post-season overshadows what should be a celebration of a great player.

  72. Mike A. says:


  73. Milo Hamilton says:

    If all these moronic changes to the blog are going to chase me away, I’m going out with guns a blazing.

  74. Naje says:

    Easy…thank the fans…teammates…friends/family. Leave the organization out of it. And really, REALLY thank the fans…the ones who supported you when you were playing like an MVP and the ones supporting you and filling CEC when you were contributing like a third-liner in the AHL.

  75. DJ says:

    Believe me, I’m with you, Milo . . . er, Archie.


    Can’t disagree there. Of course, telegraphing every move doesn’t exactly help his situation…

  77. JohnS says:

    Hate the new ordering of the blog. Just thought I would chime in on that.

    The Pens really seem to be a mess right now. It doesn’t appear on the surface that the organizaton is moving in lockstep towards a determined specific goal. Right now it just seems that they say our goal is to win the Stanley Cup.

    I think the Pirates are a team that will hover around .500 all year. The magic of last year just doesn’t seem to be around this team. They seem to have lost some of the joy they had last year. All the players seem so serious now that they are viewed as a potential contender. Chemistry aside the pitching and defense haven’t been up to par with 2013 and in the end that keeps you at .500.

  78. Jandy says:


  79. Jim S. says:

    The Rays are definitely offense-challenged most nights. Only 1 whiff for EV. He had the ground ball working for the DPs.

    But, they needed 7 innings, and he gave them 8. He seemed to be at his best late.

    I was saying early in the game that I am currently more comfortable with Worley and Cumpton, then EV threw up about 6 scoreless after that.

  80. Maz In Iowa says:

    Since May 6 the Pirates have posted the best record in the National League (26-18);

  81. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sounds more like they are overthinking.

  82. AJS says:

    You know what stinks about that? If they continue at that pace the rest of the season they end at 88 wins. Probably nmot enough.

  83. Jandy says:


  84. Jim S. says:

    His HR took the game from being very much in doubt to an almost certain win. If that isn’t the definition of a key HR, I don’t know what is.

    I’m as frustrated as anyone by Pedro at times. He has struggled at the plate much of the year, and had not driven in a run in forever before last night. His throwing has been really bad. But, to not recognize his HR as huge in last night’s game is really unfair.

    He could very well go off for about 10 days here and carry the team.

  85. Jandy says:


  86. Jim S. says:

    He even made a diving stop on one ball. I’m guessing it was one he did not hit. ;-)

  87. JohninOshkosh says:

    So, my town has this huge country music fest each June.

    Luke Bryan is coming. Should I be worried ? I know the liquor departments are salivating.

    My offer to Carrie Underwood to have her crash at my pad while she’s in town remains unanswered.

  88. Arriba Wilver says:


  89. Thundercrack says:

    Isn’t the reverse order the only change? Or am I missing something else?

  90. NMR says:

    And that still has them comfortably last in the American League in Runs Scored.

    I just thought that he didn’t have very good stuff, worked behind in the count too often, and left a lot over the plate.

  91. DJ says:

    Sunday Bradenton game.

  92. Steve B. says:

    Oh yeah, of course. But the real important thing to me is the unloading of his contract and if his money is used to keep Niskanen and even Jokinen, then they can’t really get anything too expensive in return. So basically what I’m saying is I’d trade Letang for the Nen’s and a 4th round pick. Anything more than that is gravy. ;)

  93. Maz In Iowa says:

    The Pirates enter tonight’s action with a season-high 45-inning errorless streak. In the last 15 games, the Pittsburgh starting pitchers have combined to go 7-3 with a 3.19 ERA (93.0ip/33er)…
    The starting staff has gone 11-5 with a 3.31 ERA (125.0ip/46er) this month, ranking second with a .688 winning percentage,fourth in victories and fifth in ERA. Pirates have won each of their last four road series.

  94. Jandy says:

    I’m with Milo on the Cine-thingie…then this upside down blog thing….they keep comin’

  95. Maz In Iowa says:

    Pot stirrer. :)

  96. Milo Hamilton says:

    Darren Dreger is now reporting that Mike Johnston is the top candidate to become Penguins head coach. Being 57 years old & never being an NHL head coach are obviously the only qualifications for the job. This is insanity.

  97. Thundercrack says:

    When Volquez pitches I am always waiting for the wheels to fall off.

    I wasn’t blown away with his performance last night but I was impressed that he pitched 8 innings and only gave up one run.

  98. JohninOshkosh says:

    Pretty uninspiring stuff from the Penguins.

    Who’s Mild now ?

  99. Milo Hamilton says:

    Connie Francis, right ?

  100. Sarah says:

    Let ang is key. If he stays, we’re getting scraps.

  101. Arriba Wilver says:

    So, Ulf isn’t old enough?

  102. Sarah says:

    Lord just sign JM for the yr and make the run at Babcock.


    I’ll give Rutherford a little latitude for adjustment working within the confines of a passionate hockey media and fanbase, but not for the kind of blunders he’s made.

    What bothers me most is the undertone. For all the talking points from ownership about the shortcomings of both Shero and Bylsma, it’s clear this organization is still in “win now” mode. Jim Rutherford would not have been given the green light to entertain offers for the Penguins only pick in the first three rounds if that wasn’t the case. Further, Rutherford indicated he doesn’t think he will acquire any more picks in those rounds (despite having the rights to very high profile free agents as trade chips). So, at the end of the day, the Penguins aren’t looking to address any of their needs through the draft… and that was one of the harshest criticisms of the previous GM.

    If the Penguins aren’t drafting, they’re not getting any younger,either. There are a few big names on the trade market, but none of them are as young as Sid and Geno. If Rutherford does have intentions on a guy like Ryan Kesler, he’s going to have to give up more than a late first-round pick to acquire him. That means, again, dealing from the stock of young defensive prospects in the system. And it still does nothing to address the major problems within the Penguins organization (depth, depth, depth).

    At the end of the summer, will anything have really changed? There’s no indication that playoff expectations and Stanley Cup aspirations have been supplanted by the desire to follow any blueprint for long-term success. This organization appears less focused on building a winner and more focused on filling a building. Sidney Crosby deserves more…

  104. JohninOshkosh says:


    Don’t ever leave us, Milo!

  105. NMR says:

    Just hope the show isn’t in your neighborhood like it was in mine.

  106. Steve B. says:

    I think the Rays goofed by letting a knuckle ball pitcher throw batting practice to them. That kind of thing can mess you up even if (and maybe especially?) it was a 17-year old girl doing it. To go from a 17-year old girl with a uber-slow Niekro taught knuckler to a MLB pitcher who can throw 4 different pitches (even if it is Edinson Volquez), has got to be tough, no?

  107. Arriba Wilver says:

    At least they have Loney. ;-)

  108. NMR says:

    Always amazes me, even after half a season worth of starts, how a single one of them can skew perception of overall performance so heavily.

  109. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m going to search hockey coaches born in 1957 to see who else we can come up with.

  110. JohninOshkosh says:

    Why would Babcock leave Tiffany’s to go to Zales ?

    The owner in Detroit is not shy about paying guys he wants. Just sells more pies!

  111. Arriba Wilver says:

    Trying to entice The Rev to post. :-)

  112. NMR says:

    Cumpton doesn’t inspire much confidence in me anymore. Guy just isn’t fooling anybody and contact is getting louder, it seems.

  113. Maz In Iowa says:

    Most ignored phrase of all time:”stop thief!”

  114. NMR says:

    I heard Tabby is in line to take some starts from Polanco now that he’s severely slumping.


  115. Maz In Iowa says:

    Tough blog

  116. JohninOshkosh says:

    No. On festival grounds on outskirts of town.

    Thankfully, my only involvement with the thing is seeing a bunch of dudes and dudettes in cowboy hats and cutoff jeans buying beer at the grocery store.


    Wonderful. Another cast-off from Vancouver’s search. Jim Rutherford’s about as fresh as Rutherford B. Hayes…

  118. Jim S. says:

    Be well, Lucky!

  119. JohninOshkosh says:

    Awesome post.

  120. NMR says:

    The Hit Collector.

  121. Milo Hamilton says:

    People suggesting that the Pirates kick their “big” roster decision down the road until Saturday by sending Brandon Cumpton down today are missing the small minor detail that we need someone to pitch Friday.

  122. Jim S. says:

    I think 88 could get them a WC slot. There are a lot of teams bunched up near .500 right now. I know a couple of them will break out, but 88 might well be enough for a WC.

  123. Karen22 says:

    Good stuff!

  124. hockeymonster says:

    They still have Ekblad as a lefty…

  125. Thundercrack says:

    Oh..I forgot about the Cine-thingie. Here at work I have headphones plugged in so I -nor anyone else – can hear those things

  126. Jim S. says:

    But, not in Wrigley. I thought the contact was pretty soft all game. Of course, he was facing the Cubs and they have 2 hitters. I do think Cumpton will be sent down soon.

  127. JohninOshkosh says:

    So, who does everyone have winning the Lady Byng tonight ?

    My favorite post-season award in any sport.

  128. hockeymonster says:

    Draft is pretty deep. Would be a shame to pass up chance to add legit forward.

  129. Jandy says:


  130. Jandy says:

    I never told them otherwise lol

  131. Jim S. says:

    The “Cine-bobbles” seem to be in total agreement with DK on the mess at the CEC. ;-)

  132. Karen22 says:

    PLEASE return the blog to its original order!

    ORDER in the court!! :)

  133. hockeymonster says:

    My official response:

  134. Jandy says:

    I’m sure it will go to St. Louis. Not saying I agree with that…

  135. Jandy says:

    LOL +++++

  136. Thundercrack says:

    What graph measures loudness?

  137. JohninOshkosh says:

    “Cine-bobbles”! I like that.

  138. NMR says:

    He was extremely lucky to only give up three the start before against the Reds and only got out of the 5th once in his previous five starts before that.

    Hope this latest start is a good sign and not an aberration.

  139. Jandy says:

    Pot stirrer :P

  140. NMR says:

    This is the reason Jeanmar Gomez is still on the roster, right?

  141. Jandy says:

    Oh, I turn the volume off, TC (work, you know) but it messes up my keyboard.

  142. NMR says:

    “Just one more.”

  143. JohninOshkosh says:

    Hey Jandy:

    My wife doesn’t care two hoots about sports, but I bet she watches some of the NHL Awards show with me.

    Hockey players, all shaven and in suits, are too much for her to resist.

  144. Milo Hamilton says:

    OK, who pitches the other 6 innings ?

  145. Jandy says:

    Ahhhhh Oshie, you have a wise wife ;)

    Trust me, I’ll be watching :D

  146. Thundercrack says:

    Can Cole pitch on Friday? Or is he scheduled to pitch before then

  147. You know, ever since I came down off that anesthesia a week ago, I’ve looked at things from a new perspective. Even this blog seems upside down.

    Is that irascible enough, DJ? :)

    Thanks again for all the well-wishes from everyone. Very much appreciated.

    Have a great day everyone.

  148. Thundercrack says:

    I’m just really surprised that my friend NMR is talking about ‘loudness’ and ‘luck’.


  149. NMR says:


    I’m all for bringing people into Pittsburgh, but somehow we seem to accomplish that with just about any act other than these faux-country superstars WITHOUT having to disinfect the entire Northside once they drive back home.

  150. Jandy says:

    YAY!! ! A Revvie sighting :D

    Be good, Revvie!

  151. JohninOshkosh says:

    Keep up the good hard work of recovery, John.

    We have your back!

  152. Always, as you well know.

  153. Milo Hamilton says:

    He threw 85 pitches yesterday. They’re not bringing him back on 3 days coming off an arm injury.

  154. Jandy says:

    You know, I go to a lot of outdoor HARD ROCK concerts in Burgettstown, and it NEVER looks this bad afterwards.

  155. NMR says:


    Not my personal choice – not even an option, in fact – but why is he taking up a spot on the 25-man if not for this exact circumstance?

  156. Dom says:

    “Can’t miss prospect”

  157. SeanAY says:

    They’re most definitely in “WIN NOW” mode. If they weren’t, why would they fire the GM / Coach combo that had them one win away from two straight Eastern Conference Finals?

    To me, that’s the biggest reason these haven’t been attractive jobs. I’m not defending Shero, Bylsma, or their respective processes, but the fact remains that ownership has thrown down the gauntlet at whoever comes through the door.

    “Conference finals appearances aren’t good enough for us. Win the Cup, or be shown the door. Oh, and you have to do it with limited cap space and a few albatross contracts. And a roster with two star players (who everyone now at least believe to be moody, at worst believe to have driven the old coach out) and a bunch of role players. And we’re only offering you a two-year deal.

    “But yeah. WIN THE CUP OR ELSE.”

  158. 21sthebest says:

    Looks like Cole threw too many yesterday to start Friday.

  159. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m not disagreeing with you. It’s just that there’s no such thing as a spot starter anymore. Gotta get ‘em stretched out you know.

  160. 21sthebest says:

    “Starling, there’s only one out.”

  161. NMR says:

    I do hate that term “luck” as it relates to baseball. Let me rephrase by saying he was extremely fortunate.

    Soon we will be able to graph “loudness” in terms of exit velocity. All I know is that from my view in Section 142, the Reds weren’t getting cheated on much contact.

  162. SeanAY says:

    You never see the news feel the need to depict the trash in the Phish lots.

    Hell, for Dead ’09 in Buffalo, hippie folk were going around with garbage bags and helping to clean up.

    Side note to that: these people they show partying in the Luke Bryan lot are amateurs compared to old Deadheads. These wannabe cowboys and cowgirls can’t hold a candle to those 65-year-old dudes that started in the lot the night before and don’t finish until the morning after.

  163. Thundercrack says:

    Walker must have been practicing working the count

  164. 21sthebest says:

    Is Sadler an option? Send down June 13, started June 16 and June 22. 5 innings, no runs, 6 inning, 1 run.

  165. JohninOshkosh says:

    “You’ll call me tomorrow, right ?”

  166. NMR says:

    Ha, I’ve lost count of the Phish shows I’ve seen. Thousands of nomadic pseudo-hippies literally turn these places into temporary campgrounds. And never once have I ever seen anything close to that bad.

  167. Jandy says:

    Haha! Love that last line…

  168. SeanAY says:

    “This organization appears less focused on building a winner and more focused on filling a building. Sidney Crosby deserves more…”

    Devil’s advocate here: do you waste two to three years rebuilding this team when you have Crosby and Malkin in their primes? Win now almost HAS to be the way you do this, because you can’t just throw your hands in the air and not try, can you?

    Unless your long-term vision for the team’s success is to blow it up and move one of those two guys. Now THAT would be bold.

  169. Maz In Iowa says:

    I like that one

  170. Darrell27 says:

    Hmmm….still not overwhelmed.

    “After taking over early in the 2008-09 season, Johnston and his staff led the Winterhawks to the biggest turnaround in team history in 2009-10, improving the team by 48 points. The Winterhawks made the playoffs for the first time in four years, knocking off Spokane in overtime of Game 7 in a thrilling series.”

    “In addition to his NHL experience, Johnston has an extensive history of coaching at the international level. Most recently, he coached Canada’s entry in the 2009 World Under-18 Hockey Championship. In May of 2007, Johnston was an Assistant Coach for Canada at the World Championships in Moscow where Canada – for the first time in 73 years – went undefeated (9-0) in winning the gold medal. Johnston holds a Master’s degree in Coaching Science and he recently co-authored the book “Simply The Best – Insights and Strategies From Great Hockey Coaches.”

  171. Dom says:

    Anyone know why the Steelers’ aren’t interested in Brandon Flowers?

    I was thinking he could compete for a starting spot. He certainly has to be better than Brice McCain.

  172. Darrell27 says:

    Was wondering the same thing…..

  173. What bothers me more about Rutherford is who he’s targeting for coach, rather than what he’s talking about. Desjardins and Mike Johnston (Portland Junior coach) are not really who this team needs. It has no identity — and needs a coach who can impose one. And I don’t think coaches who are the ‘up and comers’ can impose that. I’d prefer John Stevens or, as DK, has advocated, Ulfie — who comes with a presence and history, Head Coaching experience in the top Swedish league and NHL assistant experience.

  174. Jim S. says:

    Good to hear from you, Lucky!

  175. But at least he wrote a book…a necessary accomplishment for a Pens coach!

  176. Jim S. says:

    So, I was at a local charity golf event yesterday, which benefited the USO. The Blackhawks are a big supporter of the USO, and they sent over several of their Ice Crew ladies to … you know, keep the mood light.

    There wasn’t any ice to shovel during breaks in the action. Still, a good time was had by all. :-)

  177. Jim S. says:

    Oh, and I forgot to add, they were of absolutely zero help in regard to the Penguins coaching search.

  178. Milo Hamilton says:

    The only people they know born in 1957 are their fathers.

  179. Scott says:

    Ok, I guess I’m the only one here who thinks they should be in “win now” mode. They have about 3-4 more years of Sid and Geno in their primes. That’s it. This is the time to go for broke. If giving up some of the future is what it takes to win another Cup, it’s absolutely worth it.

    Now do I trust Rutherford to be the architect of this strategy? Hell no. That’s the part that has me worried, not the “win now” mentality.

  180. Pete in Dayton says:

    Hockey Monster, you’ve got it right… what is going on out there?
    Are the Pens trying to turn into the Leafs? I mean, I know they are the most profitable NHL franchise, but I suspect that it’s not a result of institutional incompetence. No really, can we trade front offices with the Blue Jackets? Dump truck full of cash, and have Mario sign some sweaters and throw those in. We’ll be all set.
    I’ll drive one the 15 assistant GMs myself- would drive more, but the car seats in the back make it kind of crowded.

  181. Jim S. says:

    And, the much older brothers of their fathers.

  182. Jim S. says:

    I would hate for a Pittsburgh team to start being accused of being more interested in profit than winning.

  183. SeanAY says:

    Feel better, Reverend! Glad to have you back.

  184. Jim S. says:

    “Don’t you know you’re a career back-up, JHay?”

    I’ve been guilty of that one.

  185. SeanAY says:

    Not the only one.

  186. Robert says:

    He should be. The guy can flat pitch. And his one hiccup out of the bullpen shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s watched baseball for more than a second. Coming out of the bullpen, for a career starter, isn’t always easy or seamless. Some guys need routine, either way, and a difference in that routine can just mess you up.

  187. Maz In Iowa says:

    Well I wonder what kind of base running blunder Marte will come up with tonight? **sigh**


    Exactly. I’d love to see the Penguins be aggressive and go after a guy like RW Alex Tuch, who is projected around to be taken around 16th. He’s a big (6’3, 210+ lbs), physically imposing power forward who skates well, forechecks hard, protects the puck, and goes to the difficult areas to score. Just what the Penguins need…

  189. Pucknutz says:

    I still think they are kida creepy sittin on that shelf staring at ya.
    Like voo-doo dolls puttin some kida hex on ya. :)

  190. pattonbb says:

    Great link.


    I’m not advocating the Penguins rebuild, far from it. What I am advocating is the Penguins add based on need, not based on which names are available. Right now, this team needs desperately to develop some prospects at forward and establish a legitimate 3rd and 4th line. Adding another high-profile scoring forward accomplishes neither, and limits the Penguins ability to address the 3rd and 4th lines by tying up even more cap space.


    Geesh. My better half has been quite interested in the World Cup… and she’s not a soccer fan. ;)

  193. Jandy says:


  194. Jim S. says:

    True. He was hit hard in at least 2, and maybe 3 starts before the one in Chicago.

  195. Jandy says:

    Oh, the Horror!

  196. Jandy says:

    Another smart lady ;)

  197. hockeymonster says:

    Columbus mgmt knows what they’re doing and my expectations are being re-calibrated. And recent rumors that being heard confirms the mess. Desjardins press conference was informative as well. Pretty clear who and what was the issue here.

  198. hockeymonster says:

    We have tradeable assets that can free up cap space and bring back younger talent. If we sign players like Vrbata, raymond, winnik we can trade players currently on the roster for younger players and use cap space to fill in around sid and geno. Moves are there to be made but i have little faith that we can execute.

  199. Wild Bill says:

    That was fun, my feisty friend. Wish a Clemente throw could have been included.

  200. War_Horse says:

    “Can’t you just give me a warning, officer?”

  201. Andrew says:

    The 1st round draft pick does not bother me, is there really NHL ready talent at that point? If the Penguins are WIN NOW mode, trading draft picks is fine, especially given that the current scouting department hasn’t been too successful with their draft picks.

    Completely agree on the need for a 3rd and 4th line,that has been the last two season downfall, especially last year when without Malkin or Crosby on the ice the Penguins were one of the worst teams in the league. But I am not sure that happens through the draft at this point. Again agree the need for another top six winger is overstated, especially since every proposal to get another top six winger involves trading Neal, the only current top six guy under 35 and not a huge contract.

  202. NMR says:

    Literally my first thought, Bill.

    We really should’ve done better as a society at that whole video recording thing. For important things like this, of course.

  203. Andrew says:

    Hockey says the draft is deep, I’ll take is word for it, so maybe the draft pick trade is a bad idea.

  204. Wild Bill says:

    Yep, who cares about the history of nuclear fission, anyway? This is the important stuff.

  205. Thanks to everyone who clicked the video above!

    Not going to tiptoe around this: Those CineSport videos are a way to help keep our site free, and all it takes is a click. Even if you absolutely abhor the sight of me or my bobbleheads, it’s appreciated!

  206. hockeymonster says:

    Unless we get a player like ROR i would want the pick.

  207. hockeymonster says:

    I hear Kempe is an intriguing prospect as well. Tuch is going to college so probably a longer term project.

  208. Jandy says:

    In that case, I’ll be sure to click!

    (Doesn’t mean I have to like it)


  209. Jim S. says:


    I suggest that right before you hit “record” be sure to bump each shelf and get the Cine-bobbles nodding as you speak. Good “yes” men are hard to find these days. :-)

    Seriously, though, I really like these 2 minute videos added to the blog.

  210. Jandy says:

    I love the videos, I don’t like what they do to my keyboard lol

  211. 21sthebest says:

    I’m a little surprised they didn’t mention that Guillen made that throw in Colorado before they started storing baseballs in the humidor.

  212. hockeymonster says:

    You should post videos that bloggers send in. :)

  213. NMR says:

    Yeah, honest question: does the entire video have to ply in order to count?

    I mean that in no way as an indication of the video’s quality and content, I just don’t particularly care for the format. I’ll click the darn thing before every post if thats all it takes to help out.

  214. AJS says:

    I dunno. Pretty sure St Louis and LA will finish with at least 90. But it could be a tight race.

  215. Jandy says:

    seconded! ;)

  216. Karen22 says:

    ++++++++++++++ :)

  217. NMR says:

    The humidor impacts throws as well?

  218. Karen22 says:

    Have a restful day, Lucky! :)

  219. Jandy says:


    DK, I think the only team that doesn’t have “yinzers” for fans is the Penguins. Anyone can be a Steeler fan and a yinzer is attracted to lowest common denominator type things and Pirates fans are rubes who stare at fireworks and bobbleheads while watching a terrible losing product. Hockey fans and Penguin fans in particular have an intimate knowledge of the sport and the team they root for. You have to be intelligent to be a Penguin fan, something a yinzer is not. Agree?

    Tuesday June 24, 2014 1:04

    Dejan Kovacevic: This might be the single dumbest thing I’ve ever read. Congrats on that.

  220. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t know why not. The baseball is heavier from the humidor because of the moisture, no?

  221. Jim S. says:

    The question about whether we’d be better off with Morneau this year has been kicked around since winter here. Some have noted his 12 HR & 51 RBI so far this season, along with his .298/.336/.509 as evidence that we should have resigned him.

    Others have said, “His stats this year are inflated by CO.”

    Well, he has 5 of his HR and 20 of his RBI on the road. His road slash line is .279/.319/.488. That is certainly not bad.

    So, how have Gaby and Ike faired as a 1b combo:

    Ike’s stats as a Buc (pretty much exclusively vs RHP): 4 HR, 19 RBI. .254/.362/.373
    Gaby (vs. LHP only): 2 HR, 6 RBI. .306/.358/.571

    Morneau has greater HR/RBI #’s, and Ike/Gaby get on base at a better clip. Ike has not been with the Bucs all season, so his HR/RBI have been kept down a bit.

    I don’t know whether Morneau would be better than the 2-headed combo we have in the long run. But, I think it is fair to add that Morneau was pretty dreadful as a Buc last year. A lot of people thought his career was on a serious slide.


    The Penguins don’t have the depth to replace the tradeable assets you allude to, monster. By dumping Neal or Kunitz, you’re taking a huge step backwards. Vrbata and Raymond are not suitable replacements, even if they could be had for modest raises on their current contracts.

    Moving Letang isn’t wise right now, either. First of all, the Penguins would have to retain a substantial portion of his salary to offset the health risks, and they’d still be selling low. If Niskanen and Orpik depart, that leaves Paul Martin as your only top-four defenseman until Maata returns from shoulder surgery. Since Martin’s contract expires in a year, that leaves Rob Scuderi as the only veteran defenseman signed long-term. No thanks.

  223. Jim S. says:

    Oh boy …

  224. NMR says:

    I suppose slightly. Has pitcher velocity declined because of the humidor?

  225. hockeymonster says:

    Here’s the candidate for Pens PR and Fan Promotion:

    We’re gonna need all the help we can get.

  226. NMR says:

    This should be an easy troll, but I’ve had similar from other hockey fans in this town.

  227. Jandy says:

    There’s that arrogance thing again…must be catchy ;)

  228. Jandy says:


  229. hockeymonster says:

    Would you offer COL neal and kuni for ROR and picks? Or Neal to MN for Brodin and Coyle? Or neal for coyle, folin, haula and a 1st? Moves like that PLUS the signings of Vrbata, raymond, Goc and winnik would give us the kind of depth we’ve been lacking.

  230. Delaware Ed says:

    I think the point about Jim R having to do everything in NC is a splendid point. He will have to adjust, but in general, I believe we Guins fans are being somewhat panicky with his decisions, when it’s only June.

  231. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t know about pitched balls. I’m thinking about Guillen’s throw which went as far as some homeruns.

  232. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that DFA-ing Tabata is the most logical move to make. Save a trade or a well timed use of the convenience list. No one is going to claim him with that contract and if they do, thanks for the favor. He’d be in Indianapolis in a matter of days.

    The Pirates have traded Son Of Stink (Schlereth) back to Detroit for cash.

  233. hockeymonster says:

    Just read up on Mike Johnston and based on when he got to portland I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH JOHNSTON. His teams in portland were way to free wheeling and his players were flawed at time they were drafted. Maybe that was by choice but can’t say i’ve seen him coach his team up on D. Still don’t get why we didn’t consider Crawford more seriously.

  234. He really did stink in AAA. ERA was horrendous and can’t even get LH out.

  235. 21sthebest says:

    I didn’t think he was dreadful for us last year because his OBP was .370 for us. Since he didn’t show any power, at least he got on base for Byrd and Pedro. And I thought his defense was very good. I also didn’t think his career was on a serious slide. He hit 9 homeruns last August. I thought his power numbers last August and September were both nothing more than “that’s baseball” and that he was still somewhere in the middle since he was 33. I would have liked to have had him back but I liked Loney better.

  236. And I was for DFAing Tabata a couple years ago. (Irascible)

    But it’s not my money.

  237. Milo Hamilton says:

    We just can’t get away from that Tigers bullpen, can we ?

  238. Jandy says:

    Hahaha! So easy to play with others’ money, Oh IrascibLe One! ;)

  239. Milo Hamilton says:

    I don’t think finances enter the picture here. I don’t think he can refuse a minor league assignment because he doesn’t have 5 years service time.

  240. NMR says:

    The intent of the humidor in the first place was to make the balls less bouncy off the bat since they harden in the dry air.

    Not sure if anything has ever been proven about throws, but I’d certainly be interested in finding out.

  241. Thundercrack says:

    I’m for cutting Snider.
    But I also have to wonder who would pick up Tabata. Maybe a team that thinks they could fix him and he just needs a change of scenery.

    But I would also guess that Tabata is comfortable here and would be willing to go to Indy if he cleared waivers.

  242. Milo Hamilton says:

    FIFA should not allow Luis Suarez to play another game until all of his teeth are pulled.

  243. NMR says:

    The Yankees paid $14m for Vernon Wells last year and Rajai Davis igned a $10m free agent contract.

    Jose Tabata is a career .275 hitter with a .338 OBP.

    You can be damn sure that some team would gladly pick him up.

  244. dennis g says:


  245. piratemike says:

    I knew Obamacare was a mistake but I didn’t realize it would screw up sports blogs too.

  246. Dom says:

    Uruguay eliminates Italy from the World Cup.

  247. Milo Hamilton says:

    Just as I’m convinced Steve Pederson is helping the Pens pick a coach, I’m equally sure Kathleen Sebelius is behind these changes. ;)

  248. hockeymonster says:

    It didn’t, it was a pre-existing condition.

  249. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah but if he clears waivers, elects free agency and signs elsewhere, aren’t we on the hook for the difference between our contract and the new one?

  250. Milo Hamilton says:

    Tabata outrighted to AAA. I guess we missed he had an option. Easy enough.

  251. The Gunner says:

    The Fan just reported that Tabby cleared waivers and is going to Indy

  252. Jandy says:


  253. JAL says:

    he didn’t have an option. According to The Fan he cleared waivers

  254. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree. Morneau being dreadful for us is greatly exaggerated. (No offense, Jim. It’s been bandied about by lots of others).

    And since people always seem worried about BN’s money, how much of a savings was there? And Morneau would be a serious upgrade defensively over Ike, who plays it most. I also think his defense is better than Gaby’s but Gaby is decent. Ike hasn’t been.

  255. NMR says:

    Dejan sure has an interesting sense of right and wrong.

    Currently on a two year crusade over the use of “yinzer”, but it’s no big deal that a city has to bring in heavy machinery meant for earthmoving in order to clean up a little bit of trash.

    Different strokes for different folks.

  256. NMR says:

    Ha, and that’s why I love baseball. I demands humility.

  257. Arriba Wilver says:

    So, you want to turn this into The Final Word? (Have you seen those videos?). ;-)

  258. Dom says:

    Does this change his contract at all?

  259. Jandy says:

    He also didn’t have to do the cleaning up ;)

  260. JAL says:

    No, contract is contract

  261. Milo Hamilton says:

    Thanks JAL. Baseball needs a guy like Bob McKenzie to report everyone on waivers every day so we know what’s going on. No one was ever going to claim that contract.

  262. Jandy says:

    cant say I have, is it that bad?

  263. JAL says:

    Assume CineSport does same job for St. Louis Post dispatch since Breakfast with Bernie has the same music as Morning Java

  264. Andrew says:

    I always assume teams have more information thus make more informed decisions until proven otherwise, but I find this odd, Tabata is a limited hitter, needs to spray the wall the opposite way to be successful and brings little power, but what does Snider bring? The guy has been below average against RHP since 2010.

  265. Outrighted, not optioned.

    Means he has secretly been on waivers and no one picked him up.

    Now he comes off 40-man and has the right to sign elsewhere as a free agent. Pirates still on hook for his total salary/contract.

  266. pattonbb says:

    But it’s such a “team friendly” contract.

  267. Patrick(ri) says:

    As we bid probable farewell to our only non-pull-hiiting RH hitter, I wish him well and lots of regular at bats.

  268. Bizrow says:

    Tabata is owed roughly $1.59MM over the remainder of the current season, $4MM in 2015 and $4.5MM in 2016. The buyout on his first option is $250K, meaning he’s guaranteed roughly $10.34MM through the end of 2016.

  269. pattonbb says:

    8 or 9 pinch hits this year.

  270. Milo Hamilton says:

    Less than 5 years of service time, he can’t refuse the assignment.

  271. Milo Hamilton says:

    They were praying someone would claim him.

  272. JAL says:

    Now some reports he did have an option. Guess we will have to wait this one out. No site had listed with an option.

  273. hockeymonster says:

    I can play the role of Madden.

  274. Mike Shigley says:

    I’m sorry. This is a very poor decision. Tabata may never have achieved the heights his early career suggested, but he has been a solid player and hitter. Travis Snider has been nothing but promise, promise, promise — and no performance.

  275. Jandy says:

    Good Lord, please, no!

  276. Dom says:


  277. NMR says:

    .205 as a pinch hitter in 2013.

    I sincerely hope the Pirates are smarter than keeping him because of nine pinch hits this year.

    I’d take blind hope that he truly is dripping with power over keeping him because of nine pinch hits this year.

  278. Milo Hamilton says:

    Remember last spring they requested & were granted an extra option for Bryan Morris ? The media obviously have no clue, I’ll just wait for the team to clarify. That’s kinda sad, huh ?

  279. Patrick(ri) says:

    ++ I used to think he could pepper drives off the C wall, but does not seem capable. LH & 9 ph = greater perceived value, I guess. I disagree strongly that he is a better OF.

  280. Bizrow says:

    MLBTradeRumors is saying Tabby could refuse assignment due to having three years of MLB service time, but of course he won’t do that

  281. NMR says:

    Remember when Andrew Lambo was gift-wrapped a job for no other reason than he was left handed?

    Glad the Pirates learn from their mistakes.

  282. Bizrow says:

    No, if he declares FAgency, contract is voided

  283. hockeymonster says:

    But i’d get to yell at DK…

  284. Milo Hamilton says:

    I love all this. We had a choice of one guy that stinks over another guy that stinks. We kept the lefthanded guy that stinks. Oh well, we need something to obsess over before we anguish over who is going to be the Stillers 3rd string quarterback.

  285. NMR says:

    Nor observe any of it, apparently, or else he would’ve seen them dredging loads of garbage out of the river like I did during my bike ride on Sunday.

  286. 21sthebest says:

    I thought Mazzaro had that option and accepted the assignment(s).

  287. Patrick(ri) says:

    I prefer to think of it as shrewd analytical opinions. Of course “stinks” does make life simpler.

  288. NMR says:

    Starling Marte went down with a hand injury on August 11th last season. Jose Tabata hit .311/.350/.481 from that point til the end of the season. Are we sure the Pirates make the post season with Travis Snider in that role? Home field advantage in the Wild Card game?

    And Travis Snider is still on this team because of nine pinch hits.


  289. Thundercrack says:

    Zangrilli was on the Fan saying that Tabata had an option left and he’s going to Indy.

    I think Snider saved himself by showing with the inning of relief work that he could be the emergency reliever.

  290. Milo Hamilton says:

    He’s not in Siberia. If they need him he can be here tomorrow.

  291. cmat0829 says:

    Guys hate to break it to you but right now Gomez is a late inning reliever for us. Hughes/Watson/Melancon and Wilson can’t pitch all the innings and Grilli is being relegated to Rule5 pickup status. Pimentel is the guy who will pitch extended innings, etc.

  292. NMR says:

    Ha, so it’s cool to obsess over month worth of what a prospect may do upon callup but ignore what a Major Leaguer did during a playoff chase.

    Got it.

  293. 21sthebest says:

    ERA of 18.00 Buddy. But what were his peripherals?

  294. Thundercrack says:

    Maybe they felt that a left handed pinch hitter was going to be more valuable (and productive) than having the guy who could be a right handed pinch hitter and some-times starter.

    Maybe they know all they know about Tabata and don’t really like him.

    And I thought they should have kept Tabata

  295. cmat0829 says:

    now i’ve heard all the possible excuses! yea, thats the reason the Rays suck, the knuckleballing girl.

  296. Patrick(ri) says:

    Good to hear. How about this: we trade Davis, Tabby & Snider to the Bo Sox for Holt, who would make all three moot? I would even throw in a decent minor league pitcher.

  297. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’ll wait for someone more reliable than that. As a matter of fact i would be willing to bet he’s wrong.

  298. Milo Hamilton says:

    Sebelius is at it again, my comment slamming Zangrilli’s credibility is in moderation.

  299. 21sthebest says:

    The Pirates made the postseason with an 8 game cushion. 4 game cushion for home field.

  300. Thundercrack says:

    You know there are numbers below the numbers.

    And he’s inside Joey Votto’s head. That dude hasn’t been the same since he K’d

  301. Milo Hamilton says:

    I didn’t ignore anything. Have they added an extra position for him to play ?

  302. Jim S. says:

    Change flashed swing and miss potential.

  303. cmat0829 says:

    RIGHT ON THE MONEY. Pedro is a magnet for absolutely cynical and over the top criticism, which is normal for this blog, but it’s especially myopic when applied to Pedro.

    He is the best pure power hitter on this team and the lineup, as Hurdle said after the game, needs his “one swing, three runs” capability very much. Does anyone say that they won’t take last year’s Pedro production on this year’s team? He is one hot streak away from being on pace to deliver close to last year’s numbers, and yet many are ready to dump him in the river with the Heinz Field trash.

    So the bum hits a big HR to put a game out of reach and he’s dinged because it came when the Pirates were winning 3-1 and not losing 3-1. And he’s dinged because after his HR he did not get another hit in the game. Did I read that right? My goodness.

  304. Jim S. says:

    Right there with you, NMR. I’m assuming this is incorrect.

  305. Thundercrack says:

    He did say he got his info confirmed by someone in the FO.

  306. Milo Hamilton says:

    The same guy that told him Polanco was coming up when he wasn’t ? Both 24/7 & Brink report in their news stories that Tabata cleared waivers, was removed from the 40 man & outrighted to Indy. 24/7 even included a paragraph on the 40 year old wife/fake pregnancy/kidnapping. Awesome.

  307. Arriba Wilver says:

    On the Tabby situation it’s starting to sound like an Abbott and Costello Who’s on First bit.


  308. Jandy says:

    Well, that’s a helluva way to ruin a nice bike ride…

  309. cmat0829 says:

    LOVE this blog, thanks for keeping it free DK…and yes, I did my part by watching the CineSport video this morning.

    From what I read, and that could be wrong, but Tabata was OUTRIGHTED TO INDY. Which is worded that way for a reason…he wasn’t OPTIONED, he was OUTRIGHTED off the 40-man roster and therefore we can conclude he was available to be picked up by any team and was not.

    As to Snyder or Tabata, I am about 60%/40% in favor of Tabata and not Snyder, and I admit the ability to pinch hit has swayed me from about 75/25 at season’s start. This move is not something to get worked up about as (1) Tabata is still in our control, at Indy should injury open up playing time (2) Snyder has proven so far this year he can succeed in the pinch hit role (3) it is NH’s MO to do what he can to hold on to players in reserve and Snyder maybe was more likely to be picked up by another team.

    But certainly nothing to get worked up over, either way.

    Set you blog clocks for Saturday, around midday, for the “who did the pirates dump to make room for Cole” debate… my money is on Cumpton optioned to Indy, but feel free to disagree!

  310. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t think people would have “obsessed” over a month of what Polanco might have done in the majors if the team didn’t stink the first two months.

  311. pattonbb says:

    Tabata was optioned in 2009, 2010 and 2012. I think that’s it for him.

  312. Jandy says:


  313. cmat0829 says:

    Zangrilli is WRONG. Tabata was OUTRIGHTED and it was worded that way in the Pirates press release. Words matter. OUTRIGHTED is one thing, OPTIONED is another.

  314. Jim S. says:

    What does Snider bring?

    3 words, Andrew: Smoked. Meat. Expertise.

  315. Jim S. says:

    What’s the name of the guy on second base.

  316. 21sthebest says:

    What Zangrilli didn’t say is that it was Orie standing next to him in the front office who told him.

  317. Jim S. says:

    Me, too. Unfortunately, about all Lunch Box peppers these days is a flank steak.

  318. Jandy says:


  319. NMR says:


  320. NMR says:

    Still waiting for someone to explain Super 2.

  321. NMR says:

    Sounds like 24/7, alright.

  322. Bizrow says:

    This is from a poster on MLBTradeRumors

    To be placed on Outright Assignment a team must first request Outright Assignment Waivers on that player.Outright assigment waiver allow the team to remove a player from the 40 man roster as well as the 25 man roster and are irrevocable. Meaning any team could have claimed Tabata for the simple price of taking on his contract.

    This can only be one one time

  323. 21sthebest says:

    Yup. 5 years needed to guarantee the contract.

  324. NMR says:

    The whole lefty pinch hitter thing would make sense…

    Except that Tabby hits righties better than Snider.

    Like I said, handed a role because of what sid of the plate he stands on.

  325. Andrew says:

    He doesn’t have options.

  326. Thundercrack says:

    I thought it was Tim Williams that got it wrong about Polanco coming up.

    Which Zangrilli may have said on the air.

  327. 21sthebest says:

    This was also on MLBTR:

    “Tabata, also a threat on the basepaths and a solid defensive left fielder…..”

  328. NMR says:

    The went into the final series of the season neck and neck with the team they were battling for home field.

  329. Andrew says:

    Let’s hope he keeps the clubhouse well feed and I hope he can provide some offense, color me skeptical.

  330. JRay3 says:

    Well many of us psuedo managers get their wish with Walker batting cleanup tonight. Alvarez hits 8th, all of a sudden this is shaping up to be a dangerous NL lineup.

  331. Jim S. says:

    Maybe, but St. Louis just got dealt some potentially terrible news on Sunday with Garcia looking like he might be going back under the knife, and some potentially very bad news on Wacha’s shoulder as well. They definitely have a ton of pitching. But, that would be two big losses.

  332. The Gunner says:

    Man, are they confused or what?

  333. Jim S. says:

    I don’t know, but a good QB can pick it apart.

  334. Jandy says:

    …or what…

  335. Jim S. says:

    Well, look at Jandy’s new avi – complete with her grand daughter at the beach. Very nice!!

  336. pattonbb says:


  337. Jandy says:

    thanks, Jim…Mischa made my trip :)

  338. 21sthebest says:

    And Alvarez is DHing.

  339. The Gunner says:


    I predict Tabby will be back before the end of the season. I still can’t believe he got thru waivers. He certainly has picked up his game; he must make too much money, I guess.

  340. cmat0829 says:

    Hmmm.. ok Clint, getting closer…now move JayHey and Pedro up and Russ and Ike down…then you have it. do not think Russ is a middle of the order bat in any way…and Ike needs to hit 8th IMHO.

  341. cmat0829 says:

    are we sure that was on MLBTR and not RUMBUNTER?

  342. Jim S. says:

    So, if Marte gets injured again when one of these fastballs finally breaks his hand, we have Snider in our lineup full-time. I know we don’t face a lot of starting lefty pitchers, but that’s not good IMO.

    And, with so few players on the bench, what happens when Lunchie gets announced as PH, and then the other team brings in a LOOGY? Tabby at least hits RHP and LHP reasonably well.

    I guess as long as Tabby is still in the fold, a switch could be made later. I thought he did pretty well when he got a chance to play almost everyday in the 2nd half last year for awhile.

  343. NMR says:

    I thought I gave Travis Snider more chances than anyone to show a sign of life.

    Wrong once again.

  344. Jim S. says:

    I don’t get it, but I’ll still root for Snider to have a big 2nd half.

  345. cmat0829 says:

    players get thru waivers more than you think. Mazarro did twice. Teams have their own versions of Tabata and Snider…. but this move has NH’s MO all over it. He played the card that would allow him to keep both players… Outrighting Tabby meaning that teams picking him up have to also pick up the contract assured he could keep Tabby in Indy, allow time for him to either get hot at AAA with regular playing time or Snider to impress in his role and open up trade possibilities….

  346. Milo Hamilton says:

    It was both. I really think that entire exercise was the Pirates smoking out a leaker.

  347. Milo Hamilton says:

    He got thru waivers because no team wanted to be saddled with that $10 million price tag. It’s quite simple really.

  348. 21sthebest says:

    Russ’ OBP is .413. I have no problem if he stays put for now.

  349. Jim S. says:

    Russ can’t seem to buy a base hit lately, but he is still drawing tons of walks. Maybe he’d be an ideal guy at the bottom to turn over the lineup in front of the Dream OF.

  350. Thundercrack says:

    Oh Archie.

  351. cmat0829 says:

    If Marte gets injured, he goes on DL and tabata is called up from Indy. To me this move is the only one where NH could keep both players ‘around’. At some point they will need to make the call — and move Snider or let Tabata rot on the vine in Indy (or trade him and eat most of the money)… but for now, he buys time with this move.

  352. 21sthebest says:

    I was thinking The Onion.

  353. Milo Hamilton says:

    Get outta my chair !

  354. Patrick(ri) says:


  355. cmat0829 says:

    not looking for walks in my 4 and 5 spot. Thus swapping JayHey and Pedro to drive in the runs, and Ike and Russ to work their OBP magic lower in the order.

  356. Jim S. says:

    Hey, Edith there. Where’s my beer?

  357. cmat0829 says:

    same thing

  358. Arriba Wilver says:

    If Pedro can hit ‘em in from 4 or 5 (your assumption), he can hit ‘em in from 8th.

  359. Maz In Iowa says:

    Travis Sawchik made it clear that Barmes was the one to go…not Tabby.Guess he didn’t have much insider info.

  360. Jim S. says:


    Congrats on getting your question on the Chat.

  361. cmat0829 says:

    so did Bill Brink from the other paper… guess the Pirates FO has fixed the leaks that sprung up around Polancogate.

  362. Thundercrack says:

    If Marte gets injured, they can call up an outfielder from Indy….including Tabata.

  363. cmat0829 says:

    #FREEJAFFDECKER (just kidding).

  364. Jim S. says:

    Seems like I used to be able to comment and once it was accepted, I was taken right to where my comment was placed so that I could see it was added. Now, I get taken to the top, and I have to scroll down to see if my comment was added. Anyone else have that issue now?

  365. 21sthebest says:

    Well Russ is still hitting .265 with an OPS 50 and 60 points better than Davis and Alvarez. So he’s not just walking. I think Alvarez needs to earn that spot back. But I also think with this lineup there are plenty of options.

  366. Maz In Iowa says:

    Wouldn’t they use Harrison?If Lunchbox gets hurt Tabby could be recalled(if it’s a DL thing)

  367. Andrew says:

    I had the exact same thought when that whole episode occurred, down to expression “smoking out.” I thought it was a shrewd move, modeled after message control Ray Shero and the Penguins. He couldn’t draft and made some suspect signings, but man could he control the message.

  368. cmat0829 says:

    i tend to give Clint some breathing room on lineups and other decisions, so I’m not ‘hair on fire’ with my opinions would just prefer to move Ike and Russ further away from the top 3. Just a preference. But no biggie.

  369. Andrew says:

    Former #6 overall prospect! Neil loves those.

  370. Maz In Iowa says:

    The drama of Tabatagate

  371. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, cmat and TC. I wasn’t thinking that through.

    That said, I still think Snider, as basically only a PH (who can’t hit LHP very well, btw) is very vulnerable in his assigned role.

  372. cmat0829 says:

    i cant keep track of the issues I am having. I’d greatly prefer we go back to the way it was. Cue Barbra.

  373. Patrick(ri) says:

    In the making. 170+ ab, big average and playing LF, SS(limited), RF 1B and CF. Lots of stuff in papers about how well he plays and hits. Mgr loves him, fans treat him like some sort of JHay and he hits LH. If he is a legend, JHay is a hallucination.

  374. Patrick(ri) says:

    Yup. And i just made a reply that added a huge reply from another poster??? Could be my equipment at fault.

  375. Jim S. says:

    Maybe Clint finally got tired of those neck lips staring back at him when he looked for Tabby on the bench. Has to be it.

  376. And because he stinks.

  377. Thundercrack says:

    We need a separate Tabata thread

  378. Thundercrack says:

    I haven’t read the reports in either paper, but sometimes I wonder if it is more a reflection of the reporting than the FO (and whether they have leaks or not)

  379. Jim S. says:

    Actually, though, 21, I think it is due mainly to his walks. His OB% is higher than his SLG% (.413 to .375).

    He has only 6 doubles and 3 HR in 173 plate appearances. But, he has a whopping 26 BB. I actually think he’d be perfect at the bottom – and especially so in an AL park.

  380. Mike Shigley says:

    Which is why it was a mistake to keep Snider and not Tabata. I’m sorry, I think the front office is “fighting the last war” and thinking that Snider will be the next Battista or Moss. Of course, we sent a perfectly good first base prospect to get Jaff Decker. He would have been a 2015 or 2016 player, probably the former since he MVP’d at each level and he spent last year at Altoona.

  381. Jim S. says:

    Cue Bill Raftery. “Onions!”

  382. “Major Strausser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects.”

    Agree with you, Mike.

  383. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yep. Can’t check your own and can’t look for latest posts if it was to an earlier post. Just get moved to the top.

  384. cmat0829 says:

    ONE last thought (not that I buy into this per se, but plenty do, and perhaps so does NH/CH):

    Maybe part of the outright Tabby and keep Lunchie was this so-called ‘clubhouse cachet’ that Mark Madden lovingly refers to quite often… with the obvious lack of lockerroom cachet due to not re-signing AJB, maybe they keep Lunchie who seems to be more in the mix with his teammmates than Tabata who “seems” more aloof.

    Now, again, before you pelt me on this one, I DON’T buy into this crap, but maybe Cutch,Neil others prefer Lunchie to Tabby.

  385. Maz In Iowa says:

    Add me to the ..”I want to go back to the old format” club

  386. Arriba Wilver says:

    It seems to be rampant lately. And FC IS paranoid.

  387. Jim S. says:

    The play the other night where the LF (Gomes, I think) totally lost the ball in the lights was one of the most amazing catches I think I’ve ever seen. Holt saw that Gomes had no idea where the ball was, and he just kept running from CF to the spot about 30 ft. behind Gomes where the ball was about to land, and made a tremendous catch. If anyone has not yet seen that play, do yourself a favor and Google it.

  388. Arriba Wilver says:

    On the other hand, the Penguins reporting was off, too, and I don’t think FC cares about that.

  389. Maz In Iowa says:

    New thread thingy

  390. Thundercrack says:

    Regarding the new format: when using the blog on my iPhone at the bottom there is a list of the most recent 4-5 posts (like there is on the right). But when I click on one of those it doesn’t take me directly to that post …which it used to.

  391. Jim S. says:

    Vin “glutten for punishment” Mazzaro.

  392. 21sthebest says:

    I think he’d be perfect at the bottom too. Doesn’t really matter to me why his OPS is better than the other guys’s’s. But I’m not ready to move Alvarez higher than 6.

    As I said. I think there are a lot of options. I’m not thrilled with batting Walker 4th today.

  393. Jim S. says:

    Milo just deftly worked Smiling Steve Pedersona and Kathleen Sebelius into a one sentence comment. I nominate that for POTD.

  394. Arriba Wilver says:

    One thing I’ll say about this FO. They’ve been pretty good at deciding who would pass through waivers. Can’t remember the last guy we lost through that process we cared about.

    Before the Brock Holt lovers attack, that was a trade. :-)

    I don’t think Snider would have gone unclaimed, and I’m not a Snider fan. Whatever, we still have everybody, so hard to get all worked up.

  395. Jim S. says:

    Hey, I thought I had copy rights on “Son of Stink.”

  396. Jim S. says:

    Not waivers, but we did lose the Wong kid who Milwaukee is stubbornly hanging onto, even though he’s 2-3 years from truly being MLB ready, apparently.

  397. Arriba Wilver says:

    Totally different situation on Rule 5. Totally.

  398. Jim S. says:

    Effective immediately, umpires are instructed not to apply Rule 7.13 on force plays at home plate. Ken Rosenthal reported this earlier. Yeah, they actually had to make a ruling instructing umpires that catchers are allowed to put their foot on home plate to receive a throw in a force situation.

  399. hockeymonster says:

    Memo to JR:

    RE: Johnston

    Don’t do it. Please.

  400. Jim S. says:

    This team might have the most flexible lineup options of any Pirates team in a long time.

  401. NMR says:

    Well Brock Holt has a .390 BABIP an is striking out 19% of the time to go with an isolated power mark barely breakng .100…

    Josh Harrison is striking out 5% less, only has a .333 BABIP (which is STILL unsustainable) and actually hitting for power.

    So yeah, unless Brock Holt is the next Ted Williams, enjoy this mirage while it lasts.

  402. Jim S. says:

    Arriba and 21:

    I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree on Morneau from last year.

    He hit 0 HRs and drove in a whopping 3 runs in over 100 ABs, counting playoffs. He had 4 XBH in 116 ABs. The Pirates weren’t trading for that – just like even though Ike Davis is getting on base at a decent clip now, I think they’d like him to drive the ball more. Morneau made soft contact with us last year. So, I think even though they knew he might rebound this year, it was a gamble to outlay 8 digits for him, and as we know this team doesn’t take gambles like that often.

    I actually was just saying a lot of people speculated that his career was on the slide, as he is nowhere near the hitter he was a few years ago. I wasn’t saying I was convinced of it. He is proving otherwise right now.

  403. cmat0829 says:

    Love Bill Raftery… when I play golf, my buddy and I like to provide commentary of each other’s shots to the voice and style of Raff… “that PUTT was dead center… ONIONS!!” “Launch it Big Fella”…etc… Ok, we are weird.

  404. Brandie says:

    Good to see Revvie chiming in. Irrascible Rascal!

  405. Arriba Wilver says:

    Well, that is certainly irascible. ;-)

  406. hockeymonster says:

    Here’s my short list in no particular order:

    Mike Kitchen, Scott Arniel and Doug Houda.
    Outside the box: S. Neidermeyer

    Johnston’s teams don’t play D. Not when I’ve seen them anyway. And i really hope Tocchet hasn’t been officially hired yet. Not sure if those names would be interested but would want to find out. Any one of them would be good choices, especially at this point.

  407. DJ says:


    He’s baaaack . . . he’s back in the saddle again.

    He’s baaaack . . . he’s back in the saddle again.

    Broke out the Aerosmith for you, Luckster! Great to hear you’re coming along.

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