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Morning Java: Beau knows loneliness

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

PHILADELPHIA — Morning, Lunatics …

>> The NHL Entry Draft is tonight and tomorrow here on the wrong side of the commonwealth, and I’m here along with our hockey beat guys, Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe, to cover it for you. On my end, I’ll have Saturday and Sunday columns.

The Penguins hold the No. 22 overall pick in this draft, and man, they’d better make it count. That’s because this will be their only pick out of the first 122 choices. Their next pick is in the fourth round, 123rd overall.

Get the sense the draft wasn’t terribly important to Ray Shero?

Well, just wait, because it’s easy to get the same early sense with Jim Rutherford. He’s openly stating he might trade that first-rounder, and he’s also suggesting he won’t be adding picks, either.

Hey, why attend the draft at all, right?

My hope for the evening, at least as far as the draft is concerned, is that the Penguins’ scouts take a forward. No, really, a forward. If they can remember how, that is. Or if they’ve got any clue how to do it. Because recent history would suggest they don’t. Their only forwards of note over the eight drafts under Shero have been Jordan Staal, Beau Bennett, Dustin Jeffrey and … um … wait, I know there was one more … oh, yeah, no one.

Some of that, of course, was because of the plan to take defensemen, then parlay them into trade pieces, something that Shero did exactly once as GM, by the way, with Joe Morrow.

It’s time to add some forwards into the organization, preferably of the skilled variety. Can never have enough of that trait, and can’t keep counting on outside acquisitions to make up for it.

That said, experts are really down on this class, by Rossi.

Here’s the NHL Entry Draft 2014 official page on NHL.com.

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

>> Gregory Polanco is good. Travis Sawchik reports on how the kid mashed the Mets at a packed PNC Park, and yes that’s packed on a Thursday night. Fireworks weren’t all that did it, either. It was Faith Night, a wonderful initiative by the team in which church groups buy up tickets in big numbers and participate in a postgame religious discussion with Clint Hurdle and a few players. It’s getting bigger each summer, too. Very neat.

Gerrit Cole learns his lesson, by Sawchik.

Elsewhere, Jameson Taillon talks elbow rehab with Rob Biertempfel in Bradenton:

Here’s Mets news from ESPN New York.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

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

>> The U.S. ‘are’ through!

And in this case, the ‘are’ plural verb is as applicable as the ‘through,’ because the World Cup context is that the Americans advanced to the round of 16 despite a 1-0 loss to Germany in which they looked dead tired except for Jermaine Jones, DaMarcus Beasley and a fresh Omar Gonzalez, pictured above after the match.

Here are the official World Cup 2014 page and the U.S. Soccer page.

>> Pitt’s Lamar Patterson is a second-round NBA pick, taken by Milwaukee but then promptly traded to Atlanta. This is Jamie Dixon’s second pick in as many years, joining Steven Adams, no small feat considering the NBA’s draft is only two rounds.

Lamar will have to work for everything he gets at the pro level, but that’ll be no different than his collegiate career. He’s a quality, smart player. It’s good to see him getting the chance.

Here’s a terrific collection of Lamar highlights from the ACC Network:

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m.

>> 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.

Comments

  1. KING says:

    Dejan, I think Penguins will trade the 22nd pick. It’s a crap shoot picking late & they need to win now.

    Curious Dejan what numbers Sidney Crosby would put up if he was an offensive defensemen. Do you think he could put up Coffey or Potvin type numbers?

    Good to see Patterson had a good workout in the Camps & solid career at PITT. Young people can succeed…Patterson has proven it with hard work & dedication.

    Dejan, where would you rank Bossy & 80′s Islanders as best player & teams? KING

  2. Poole says:

    I will draft a forward. I will draft a forward. I will draft a forward.

    I hope that is in Rutherford’s dreams tonight. Seriously it is so.long.overdue that we get an impact forward from the farm system. You know what though, not taking the easy route with a narrative, but a 65 year old GM on a short term contract will do anything in his power to win a cup. Hence, yet again he may not place huge value in a draft pick that is 4 years away. And that’s precisely the catch 22. In the mid first round, its very improbable to get a forward who can contribute right away.

    I was all pumped about the Staal trade but so far the on ice end result has been Brandon Sutter. How long ago was that trade? It feels like forever. By all accounts, Dumoulin and Pouliot could be good players, but its really tricky for a win-now organ-EYE-zation.

    You have to start somewhere. You’ve got to have some talent in the pipeline. They should start tomorrow….

  3. Poole says:

    Im all about Ho-Sang. There are lots of power forward types projected near our selection, and the team could use a few of those. But don’t ever overlook skill. Josh Ho-Sang is a Jamaicain -Canadian with an asian name. Scouts have been asked the difference between he and Connor Mcdavid, they say Ho-Sang is more electric. Not sold yet? Watch his highlight reels.

    So whats the catch? Why is he available at 22. Because he’s fiesty. He’s got a swagger and boisterous personality. Known to be late to a few team meetings. Who cares? That won’t happen on Tocchet’s watch.

    Pens fans want to trade Neal for Evander Kane….why not just draft him?

  4. Adam Smith says:

    Here’s hoping the Penguins can snag Joshua Ho Sang late (electrifying talent) or add some grit and character in the form of Brendan Lemieux with that 22nd overall pick. It would be a fresh change from the past several drafts. If they do trade the pick, what will they be looking for in return? A top 6 forward?

  5. Poole says:

    To summarize, the last thing I want is some vanilla prospect. This team could use a guy who might cause a little stir or flip a table in the locker room. I covet that passion. No offense to Beau, but another Beau Bennett wont cut it for me.

  6. Tom P. says:

    DK, the link above is not to the Gerrit Cole article. You can get to the Cole article from the main Sports page.

  7. JoeyBats says:

    Congrats to Pitt’s Lamar Patterson on being the # 48 selection of the NBA draft.
    .
    Have to say…I was surprised he was a Rd#2 selection; expected him to get a shot to make a roster as a “camp invitee”, but not more than that. He is another Jamie Dixon “project”….someone that gets the most out of his talent, but continuing to work on refining his game, year after year.
    .
    LOL, of course, what do I know….I thought Steve Adams would play this past year in the Developmental League….and he had a pretty good rookie season & a d** good, playoff perfomance for the OKC Thunder.
    .
    BEST OF LUCK Lamar! :-)
    .
    .
    PS: Khem Birch is still waiting to hear his name get called for the draft. Wonder what his “posse” is thinking now? ;-)

  8. Mike says:

    Consider goaltending in the organization. The Pens got a few goalies last year, right? This year the Pens have proven to be able to see where the weaknesses are by revamping hockey operations. That tells me that the team sees the needs at forward also and they said the roster needs revamped, so…….

    I know that they don’t have many picks in this draft but the past few playoffs have revealed to the whole world how shallow the forward depths are on this team. I’ll bet GMJR uses #22 to get a forward by draft or trade and I think the team has said they won’t compromise the future for success in the present. Prob referring to the past couple trade deadline activities that were totally opposite from each other in contribution potential.

    It will be real interesting to see how they work all this out.

  9. Wild Bill says:

    Thank heavens the Pirates kept Polanco in AAA as long as they did. If they had bought him up a moment sooner, we’d never have seen production like we are seeing now. One version of reality.

    Or: baseball really should renegotiate the Super 2 thing with the players’ union. The Pirates might have a few more wins right now if Polanco was on the team from spring training.

    If the Bucs miss the playoffs by a game or two this blog is gonna go crazy.

  10. JAL says:

    JAL’s Sentimental Lady Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1NVm1E_5ok

    Sentimental Lady 1972 A Bob Welch song that he recorded again in 1977 and took to the top 10. Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, and Lindsay Buckingham played on the 1977 version for Welch’s solo album.

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dDNkaWxFNWIwNDVUQzEwYXp5SlpGNkE&usp=drive_web#gid=0

    4 Pirates Prospects

    2014 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014draft

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Have the Pirates Already Added the Pitching They Need?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/first-pitch-have-the-pirates-already-added-the-pitching-they-need.html

    Prospect Watch: Luis Heredia Pitches Gem, Edwin Espinal Comes Up Big at the Plate

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/prospect-watch-luis-heredia-pitches-gem-edwin-espinal-comes-up-big-at-the-plate.html

    Vance Worley Looks Like the Pirates Big Reclamation Project This Year

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/vance-worley-looks-like-the-pirates-big-reclamation-project-this-year.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Worley, Polanco key 5-2 win as Bucs move back above .500

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/6/26/5847906/worley-polanco-key-5-2-win-as-bucs-move-back-above-500

    Postgame: Bucs use power and stealth in 5-2 win over Mets

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/6/27/5848070/postgame-bucs-use-power-and-stealth-in-5-2-win-over-mets

    7 Amazin Avenue

    Final Score: Pirates 5, Mets 2—Dice-KO’d in Pittsburgh

    http://www.amazinavenue.com/2014/6/26/5847946/mets-pirates-mlb-scores-matsuzaka-polanco-wright-murphy-duda

    8 Green Weenie

    Vanimal, El Coffee Team Up On The Mets In 5-2 Bucco Victory

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/06/vanimal-el-coffee-team-up-on-mets-in-5.html

    9 WHYGAVS

    GAME 79: PIRATES 5 Mets 2

    http://whygavs.com/june-2014/game-79-pirates-5-mets-2.html

    10 Mets 101

    Mets 101 Postgame: Pittsburgh Pirates 5, New York Mets 2

    http://www.sportsmedia101.com/newyorkmets/2014/06/26/mets-101-postgame-pittsburgh-pirates-5-new-york-mets-2/

  11. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 NY Times

    Mets’ Night Features Lots of Outfielders, but Few Runs

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/27/sports/baseball/mets-night-features-lots-of-outfielders-but-few-runs.html?_r=0

    12 NY Daily News

    Gregory Polanco goes deep off Daisuke Matsuzaka in Mets’ 5-2 loss to Pirates

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/polanco-deep-dice-k-mets-5-2-loss-pirates-article-1.1846033

    13 CBS Sports

    Mets-Pirates Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20140627_NYM@PIT/mets-pirates-preview

    14 Chicago Sun Times

    Manny Ramirez is a coach 1st, player 2nd with Cubs

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/28326783-573/manny-ramirez-is-a-coach-1st-player-2nd-with-cubs.html#.U61IsSj7CDI

    15 Pirates Site

    Polanco showcases total package in win over Mets

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_06_26_nynmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Gamescape: Crafty run, another Harrison highlight

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/pit/gamescape-crafty-run-another-josh-harrison-highlight?ymd=20140626&content_id=81842948&vkey=news_pit

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Leake strikes out career-high 12 in Reds’ win vs. Giants

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2014/06/27/mike-leake-career-high-strikeouts-reds-3-1-win-giants/11447321/

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Second-sackers deliver whacks as Brewers beat Rockies

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/second-sackers-deliver-whacks-as-brewers-beat-rockies-b99299686z1-264860901.html

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Dodgers get a run in 8th to edge Cards

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/dodgers-get-a-run-in-th-to-edge-cards/article_6ffc23fa-ad76-56e5-8333-8c1e92c192a2.html

    19 Fangraphs

    The Most Extreme Home Runs of the First Half

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-most-extreme-home-runs-of-the-first-half/

    20 SB Nation

    Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter shows you just have to be as good as you are, not as you were

    http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2014/6/25/5843658/tim-lincecum-no-hitter-second-no-hitter-giants-padres

  12. JAL says:

    Morning links going on vacation next week. Be back July 7

  13. Maz In Iowa says:

    Crazy?Speak for myself….er,uh ……You know what I mean. :) Lack of transparency by the FO is just a joke.No matter what happens the spin doctors will conclude they did everything in their powers to make the Bucs successful.I agree the Super 2 thingy needs fixed.Of course now we get to see how it will affect Taillon/Kingham next season.smh

  14. Wild Bill says:

    Have a great break, Joe. Appreciate all you do.

  15. Maz In Iowa says:

    Have a good time.Any chance you could use the evolution of Poco or Buffalo Springfield whenever you decide on another group?I really like the music factoids JAL.

  16. BillyBaduka says:

    Enjoy your vacation JAL.

  17. Thundercrack says:

    I think all the blown saves will also play a part if the Pirates miss the playoffs by a game or two

  18. Wild Bill says:

    All too true.

  19. bpn8pitt says:

    Have a good vacation, good song too.

    And all of the things that I said that I wanted
    Come rushing by in my head when I’m with you
    Fourteen joys and a will to be married
    All of the things that you say are very…

  20. bpn8pitt says:

    Worst D in the NL, Bill.

  21. Eric Bowser says:

    Traveling to Gettysburg as I type…

    Pens better draft a forward and I am looking at Josh Ho-Sang, Brendan Lemieux and Nikita Scherbak. I would love big power forward Alex Tuch but he is rising up the charts so he probably won’t be there at 22.

    Here is my draft plan, no goalies and no defensemen, all forwards.

    If Rutherford trades the pick, it BETTER be for a cheap winger that is 19-22 years old.

    Predicting trades, we will see James Neal dealt to Toronto for James Van Riemsdyk. Rob Scuderi to Islanders for a 2014 7th round pick. Craig Adams to Washington for a conditional 6th round pick.

  22. I just hope that the Bucs do better vs. the Mets at home this time than they did the last time in NYC, and let’s also hope that Polanco continues to make a difference.

  23. Nate83 says:

    This comment makes too much sense to be on this blog. We need some moderation on this blog and to have logic like this removed :)

  24. Maz In Iowa says:

    Bullpen makes me chew my fingernails a little,but the starting pitching this month is right around 3.20.This team is kinda like wack-a-mole.Fix one problem and another pops up.JMO

  25. Maz In Iowa says:

    Sure hope the weather out there stays dry.It’s rained so much here lately we’re thinking about calling this the “mudwest”!

  26. The Gunner says:

    Could Grilli be a DFA possibility when Cole gets activated?

  27. Steve B. says:

    As much as everyone probably want the Pens to take a forward with the first pick (me included), a lot depends heavily on whether or not they feel a good one will even be there that late, in a draft that is already being considered shallow to begin with.

    In the past, they’ve had opportunities to take quality forwards (Saad) and passed on them, but this time, if they are looking for a forward and one isn’t there, then trading the pick makes the most sense as long as it is used to get…wait for it…a forward. I’d rather see that, than them taking one simply for the sake of doing it, especially if it’s pretty clear to most that the one they choose will most likely be a career AHL’er of the variety they already have plenty of.

  28. Steve B. says:

    Pedro with three hits last night…now just waiting for the flying pig to fall out of the sky on Polanco’s head.

  29. NMR says:

    Hey Bill, can you tell me why nobody ever bothers to mention Josh Harrison hitting .317/.356/.488 in the month of May during Polanco posts?

    Nah, nevermind. I already know the answer.

  30. NMR says:

    Softer, gentler side of bpn. Good man.

  31. The Gunner says:

    The Bucs didn’t start to play well until Harrison was inserted into the lineup. Jay-Hey was the catalyst provided a real spark to a somewhat lethargic lineup.

  32. Jandy says:

    I’ma shoot that dern pig before he gets anywhere NEAR El Coffee!

  33. Jandy says:

    +++++

  34. Rbilak says:

    Love the trade ideas! Sad part is, I would actually feel better if you were the GM instead of what we have. I expect nothing from him. He seems less decisive than Brett Favre in the off-season. Listening to current chatter, the organization seems to think the core is in place and the issue was the system. They are in denial. This team needs an overhaul. Instead the GM talks of trading pick, fails to acquire picks for Nisky and Jussi, my question for GMJR is how are you going to get “character and grit” ? Where?

  35. Jandy says:

    Safe travels, Joe!

  36. Jandy says:

    Safe travels, Eric, have fun :)

  37. Baywatch says:

    +++

  38. Baywatch says:

    The TRUTH, the whole truth, so help me, GUN!

  39. Jandy says:

    Monster Mash, what’s your take on this Josh Ho-Sang?

  40. Baywatch says:

    I really like this guy, Worley!

  41. Major Dad says:

    He could, but it’s a lot more likely that they send Cumpton down because he’s got an option (options?) and they’ll probably want him to keep starting (for development and possible spot starts). If Grilli doesn’t get better soon, they should DFA him when Liriano’s ready, although they could send Locke back down at that point. Somewhere in all of this, Worley becomes a reliever, maybe take over the Gomez long man spot, because he can’t be sent down (without quickly being snapped up), and should be a player for a regular rotation spot next year.

  42. Well, the next soccer match will be on Tuesday at 3:30 pm when the US is up against Belgium, just as so many of you expected. And we can only hope that luck and grit will continue to be with the US.

  43. Jandy says:

    Worley Bird!

  44. Justin says:

    I think in order to trade the first rounder, they would also have to move a Fleury, Martin, or a Neal. if not tonight, very soon.

    They’d be trading the first rounder for – probably – an extablished player making more than league minimum. something that they can’t quite afford to do until they move salary.

    I’m rooting for Goldobin or Ho-Sang.

    I’m no scout, but this kid looks awesome even if he is a little bit of an A-Hole. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3VrzVxSBC0

  45. NMR says:

    Take that thought a little further, Gunner.

    On May 1st, when Polanco could’ve been brought up without losing a year of control, Josh Harrison was hitting .217/.250/.391…after Josh Harrison hit .250 last year, and .233 the year before.

    Who is Clint Hurdle sitting in order to get Josh Harrison at-bats on May 1st with that track record? It wouldn’t have happened. Josh Harrison would’ve never got the chance to do what he’s doing now if Gregory Polanco weren’t held back.

  46. Tom P. says:

    Enjoy Gettysburg. The observation tower on Culp’s Hill gives a nice view of the Battlefield, and it’s worth it to walk around Little Round Top, too. My brother and I walked Pickett’s Charge a few years ago. Gives you a whole new perspective.

  47. bpn8pitt says:

    Agreed. Has pitched extremely well. The whole staff needed those innings.

    There is gold in that dumpser, bpn. :)

  48. Baywatch says:

    Yeah, Jand! And if he starts pitching on LSD like Dock Ellis, we can start calling him “The High Chopper!” Well, me and Brandie, anyway!

  49. bpn8pitt says:

    Good post, Bats.

    I dont think Lamar is going to be a star or even be a starter someday, but i think if he works hard and develops he could be in a rotation. He has shooting range and is not a liabilty on defense.

    The draft in general is really weird after the lottery. A lot of those guys you never see again and like Pat Riley says, are just assets and stocks a lot of times. Every once and awhile a guy slips through and becomes a good player. I hope that happens to Patterson. Kinda think Atlanta is a good spot.

  50. hockeymonster says:

    Happy Draft Day! If you’re interested here’s my the write up i put together back in March on the draft:

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/3/20/5529340/time-to-catch-the-chl-draft

    You’ll find some names you’ve been reading about ;)

    Hopefully Dysin Mayo will be available in the 4th round. I’ve added him to my priority list along with Scherbak and Vanier. Would be nice add a pick or 2 and walk away from philly with those 3 in the fold regardless of round.

  51. NMR says:

    Isn’t it great when baseball makes absolutely no freaking sense?

  52. The Gunner says:

    Worley is quite a find. It would be nice if NH could find one or two more like him.

  53. hockeymonster says:

    Goldobin is a bit careless with the puck at times but has sick hands. He and Ho-Sang are similar but they aren’t the biggest wingers so unclear if their skill will translate to production at nhl level. Both worth a shot but i think Scherbak’s game translates better to pro level.

  54. Jandy says:

    LOl sounds good to me, Bayman!

  55. hockeymonster says:

    Oh sorry just saw this. I mentioned below that he and Goldobin are similar. Sick hands, vision, skill, good speed but somewhat undersized. Goldobin is probably higher risk higher reward and ho-sang is probably stronger but less risky. They’re both worthy of the pick based on potential but I still think Scherbak’s game translates better to pro level and fits what we need from our wingers. Kempe sounds like a decent all around player too but less offensive potential.

  56. Jandy says:

    That imposter again! ;)

    So, don’t you like Ho-Sang then?

  57. Jandy says:

    Thanks Monster Mash

  58. Jandy says:

    Nevermind, saw your response above :)

  59. hockeymonster says:

    Starting to think that impostor has access to my monster crystal balls ;)

  60. bpn8pitt says:

    I’ll take it.

    Although ultimately, Id like to see Worley pitch well against Milwaukee and St Louis. I dont want to take anything away from him but the Mets and Cubs are near the bottom in the NL in BA.

    We’ll see…Him and Volquez dont exactly have swing and miss stuff…In general if the most of the staff is gonna pitch to contact, the defense and free base nonsense has to stop if we make a run at this thing.

    Headed down again for my 4th free shirt of the season.

  61. Jandy says:

    friggin Monster! :P

  62. Jandy says:

    You’re getting quite a collection ;)

  63. hockeymonster says:

    Adams to washington for a 6th? Please make it so.

  64. The Gunner says:

    The BMTIB probably won’t move real quick on Grilli so he gets a fair opportunity to work out his issues. He is still doing one of the TV commercials during games so that probably means he’ll be around for awhile.

    In that case, Cumpton is the obvious choice to be optioned back to Indy.

  65. bpn8pitt says:

    One thing that is becoming pretty clear to me with the Buccos?

    Jim Benedict and Rene Gayo will be elsewhere soon. As in, some other organization will almost certainly want their expertise.

    Two big reasons, along with NH, Hurdle and Searage, the Pirates are where they are.

  66. hockeymonster says:

    Then again i only see small sample sizes of these players so what i do know?

  67. NMR says:

    The Phillies tried to get Benedict over the winter, and, well, he’s still employed by the Pirates.

    I think fans may underestimate the Pirates organization from an employment standpoint. When your owner stands by his people in a time as tough as Fall/Winter 2012, they don’t forget it.

  68. bucs1979 says:

    Too bad Jay hay wasn’t in left field October 12, 1992. I’m thinking he throws out Sid bream.

    Nice play last night Josh…..

  69. Thundercrack says:

    I thought of this last night if Worley, Volquez, Melancon or Liriano were ‘fixed’ by the Cardinals or Red Sox – - – we would all be puking over all the national stories written about them and features about them on Baseball Tonight.

  70. Thundercrack says:

    I thought it was most of us on this blog that made no freaking sense.

    :-)

  71. chethejet1 says:

    Hockey salary cap expected to be between 68 to 72 million for this coming year. Pens will lose Nisky and are probably not bringing back Jokinen. The cap right now has some wiggle room for the Pens, but not enough to bring in a big contract and fill out the roster. Buccos have been fortunate to have Cumpton, Locke and Worley pitch so well the last month. Cole coming back will help to brig stability to the pitching. Grilli is an issue and has to be addressed. Nice guy who just ran out of steam.

  72. NMR says:

    Ha, you know, not to take anything away from Ray, but the Cubbies have turned around Scott Feldman, Jason Hammel, and Jake Arrietta in the last two years. There are Ray Searage’s all around the league.

  73. bpn8pitt says:

    True, sometimes I think a change in leagues/ballpark or atmosphere is what does it. And they havent helped everyone.

    But Gayo has to be at the top of someone’s list somewhere.

  74. AJS says:

    October 12, 1992 JaHay would have been a lonely person on the field at Fulton County Stadium. That was the off day between game 5 and 6. Bream’s heartbreaking slide into home Occured on October,14 1992.

  75. NMR says:

    Still not sure what to make of Volquez, bpn. I wouldn’t put him in the same boat as Worley regarding swing and miss, but it does seem like he’s still trying to find who he is as a pitcher.

    If Locke and Worley still look legit (and yes, absolutely against better hitting teams than the Rays, Cubs, Mets, etc), I’d honestly like to see what Volquez could do snapping off breaking balls and fading changeups off 96-96 mph heat in the back end of the bullpen.

  76. 21sthebest says:

    To a certain extent, I think the Pirates reinvented A.J. Maybe to a large extent.

  77. Jandy says:

    More than I do lol

  78. Jandy says:

    Let’s not let facts get in the way of a good narrative :P

  79. bpn8pitt says:

    Agreed.

    Volquez is another interesting case, contract wise. He has a chance to make or lose a ton of money in the next 3 months.

  80. NMR says:

    I think AJ is the perfect example for this discussion.

    The Pirates were the team to get him throwing the sinker, which led to more ground balls and certainly helped.

    But he also had peripherals that said he was a better pitcher than his recent results before he even put on a Pirate uniform. And the move from the AL East playing his home games in Yankee Stadium to the the NL Central calling PNC Park home undoubtedly helped, as well.

    I think an argument can be made the the scouting/analytic departments deserve as much credit as the coaches.

  81. Poole says:

    I was on board with everything you said until the Neal deal. The Bobby Ryan trade set the minimum bar for a Neal return IMO. A 1 for 1 deal doesn’t make a lot of sense. Sure he has his problems but he is probably the 3rd best pure goal scorer in the league. I’d look for something more along the lines of Neal to Coyotes for Boedker, Hanzal, and Korpikoski. Or Neal to Anaheim for Cogliano and Etem. We need at least two roster players in return.

    My dream trade though:
    to WPG: Neal and Fleury
    to PIT: Kane and 1st rd pick

  82. 21sthebest says:

    From some things I read when A.J. was acquired, I also think that they gave A.J. a big of free reign too. Sounded like he wanted to get back to doing some things that the Yankees had changed.

  83. bucs1979 says:

    My bad. Never trust yahoo sports.

    Also not to mention that he Jay Hay would have only been 5 years old.

    Still might have made a better throw that BB.

  84. Jim S. says:

    Small sample sizes rule, monster.

  85. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think that’s one of Ray’s strong points. He works with them. No one size fits all. Tries to find what’s comfortable for each individual.

  86. Jim S. says:

    Good thought, NMR.

    I would say the same might be true of Worley as well. Benedict, Searage, etc. have done great with a lot of these retread pitchers, but there was some serious expertise involved in choosing and acquiring the candidates for these reclamation projects.

    Huntington and his staff are good pitching talent evaluators IMO.

  87. Jim S. says:

    You don’t suppose Rene Gayo is happy and well compensated in his current job. No, couldn’t be.

  88. Justin says:

    Interesting. Thanks for the insight. I only recently have tried to educate myself on the draft picks.

    If they do end up with a D man, it’s time to trade some of the defense kids into a forward.

  89. Maz In Iowa says:

    Worley Coyote.Betcha he could get the roadrunner

  90. hockeymonster says:

    I’ve learned to trust my gut instincts. But can only imagine what i could accomplish with larger sample sizes.

  91. Maz In Iowa says:

    Well enough to have stuck around for 10 years as a full time scout.Heck his ties go back to 1989 as a part time scout with the Pirates.Truly doubt he goes anywhere.He pretty much does as he pleases and that’s probably why he is still a Pirate scout

  92. bpn8pitt says:

    Well Jim, if owned the Padres, or was a GM candidate for the Padres, Rene Gayo would be one of my first calls. Thats all I meant.

  93. Jim S. says:

    Don’t look now, but Cutch leads MLB with 8 HR and 25 RBI in June.

    Also, he leads MLB in % of hard hit balls for the last month at nearly 32%.

    For the season, he’s #2 in MLB in this category at 26%. JHay is #4, BTW. MLB avg is 17%.

    You’ll be happy to hear, NMR, that Brock Holt was near the bottom of the MLB list even though his average is very high.

  94. Jim S. says:

    I hear you, bpn. He’d be at the top of my list, too. But, that would have been the case for a long time now. I think he’s had plenty of chances to leave. Maybe he is paid well. Maybe he likes his bosses. Maybe he likes the autonomy he has. Maybe he has his dream job.

  95. Maz In Iowa says:

    OK time to stir the pot……….How about Polanco at clean up and Harrison back to leadoff?Let’s hear it you loonies.Walker at 5th for protection for Polanco….not even gonna mention Pedro..I hate to get anyones hackles up about him

  96. Maz In Iowa says:

    BTW I’m OK with Martin almost anywhere.He of the .400 OBP and occasional home run and SB

  97. DJ says:

    Two picks in first four rounds.

    Of Shero’s moves, hated the Murray deal. Two second-rounders — ugh.

  98. hockeymonster says:

    Nice to see FF have Ekblad listed as RH. ;)

  99. Jandy says:

    LOL! Good job, Monster Mash ;)

  100. Poole says:

    That one stings. He was truly an awful hockey player at that stage of his career. Then, last year you see guys like Ales Hemsky and Marian Gaborik being traded for peanuts. VERY frustrating.

  101. 21sthebest says:

    Based on?

    They’re 8th in the Majors at turning batted balls into outs.

  102. jdlinder says:

    I really doubt an impact forward prospect will be available at #22

  103. bpn8pitt says:

    …maybe other teams are going to wonder why after twenty years the Pirates have started to have some sustained success?

    Before Miguel Sano got hurt, he was absolutely raking too, and Gayo basically had him signed too before the twins swept in.

    I see Heredia pitched well last night too and some of his numbers have started to rebound.

    Gayo’s killing it right now. Like David Todd says, sometime you have to strike while the iron is hot….We’ll see. Someone is going to take a run at one or more executives/instructors in the Pirates system this offseason.

    Whoever thought that two years ago was “dreamin like a hippie”.

    Hoka Hey, Jim. ;)

  104. NOT BLINDED BY LAST YEAR says:

    if polanco signed the offer in spring training he would have made the opening day roster. if he’s smart, plays out his arbitration yrs, gets top dollar there, and really big money with free agency.

  105. bpn8pitt says:

    “Perfect” according to Wehner.

  106. Vinny Giardina says:

    Don’t you mean the US are up? :)

    (for the record, I still think that’s stupid)

  107. NMR says:

    Question for you and the other baseball nuts…what constitutes a line drive and who makes that determination?

  108. hockeymonster says:

    If DK’s second city is open for bizness than i want hellebuyck. Maybe more so than Kane.

  109. Bill maloni says:

    Adrian Kempe or Alex Tuch, if either is available at #22.

  110. ChefAutomatic says:

    that’s quite a lot of penguins draft coverage. how many guys did the trib send to the recent MLB draft? any columnists?

  111. hockeymonster says:

    Here are my preferred/wishlist trade scenarios:

    Neal and PM to MN for Brodin, Coyle, Folin and either oloffson or gustavsson(goalie)

    If they insist on keeping Brodin than we’ll need Haula and both oloffson and gustavsson.

    If they just want Neal cuz they’re going after nisky than I’ll want Brodin and Coyle. If they insist on keeping brodin than we’ll need haula, coyle and folin. Would consider 1st pick in place of Haula.

    If they just want PM than i’d be ok with Folin and one of the above prospects(preferably goalie).

    3-team trade involving Stewart from Buffalo with above players involved would be good too.

    This may be a reach but would like to see us explore Neal and Kuni to COL for Ryan O’Reilly and picks, including a 1st to compensate for 2 for 1. Not sure if COL would do it but would want to find out. They’d get 2 big time wingers for their centers and we’d get younger with a top 6 anchor, picks and cap room.

  112. Jandy says:

    Kane worries me, but I don’t know of Hellebuyck

  113. Jandy says:

    Pot stirrer! ;)

  114. Jandy says:

    Evil Stewie!

  115. Jandy says:

    “shut up hippie”
    :D

  116. hockeymonster says:

    He’s the best goalie i saw in NCAA. Passed eye test better than hartzell. Demko is quality prospect in net too.

  117. Jandy says:

    is he better than Tristan Jarry?

  118. DJ says:

    Unloading both Neal & Kuni, HM? Really? Are we rebuilding for a Cup run in 2018?

    Don’t see them trading Martin given Maatta/Pouliot surgeries. Plus Tocchet sees him as excellent match for Johnston’s system of — get this — four-player cycle.

  119. Jandy says:

    I don’t see Martin going anywhere either.

    Not so sure I want Kunitz to leave either.

  120. ChefAutomatic says:

    it was a legitimate question that i don’t know the answer to. i have my suspicions, given the tenor of this blog, but i honestly don’t know the answer to it. given, however, the similarities between the MLB and NHL drafts–the selection of obscure players who won’t help their organizations for a very long time, if ever–i don’t see any reason why the trib’s coverage of the two drafts would be any different.

  121. Jim S. says:

    I asked the line drive question once of Brian McElhinny (raisethejollyroger.com) when someone retweeted something from him, NMR. . I believe he said a line drive is defined as having to be hit past the infielders on a fly, and it can’t have much loft, obviously. It is a subjective measurement, for sure. Same with hard hit balls.

    I got that hard hit ball info. from Mark Simon. He’s an ESPN blogger. There is an independent service, I believe, that tracks every ball and categorizes them as hard hit, medium hit and softly hit. I don’t think this info. can ever be totally accurate when determined by a person’s eyes, but it does seem logical that Cutch would be among the top of MLB at hard hit balls. It is always risky to go by the eye test, but it seems to me he doesn’t make many soft outs. And, I did expect JHay to be near the top this year as well before seeing him there. He seems to be squaring a lot up so far.

    As you might have guessed, Ike is near the very bottom in hard contact in all of MLB. Walker was pretty low, too. Maybe because he is hitting a lot of flyballs?

    All far from scientific, but I find it fun.

  122. bpn8pitt says:

    I always thought a line ‘drive’ was a hit. Usually a single thats hit hard and comes right to an OF.

    Lined, usually meant it was hit hard, but at a player.

    And down the line, usually was a hit and possibly extra bases.

    Honestly I thought a lot of baseball slang and lingo comes from announcers at the advent of radio. Wish they still used ‘fancy dan’. You dont even hear ‘hotdog’ as much.

  123. Jandy says:

    Polanco is no dummy.

  124. hockeymonster says:

    DJ, not making those moves in a vacuum. Would want to sign Vrbata to replace Neal on geno’s RW and we’d have depth for a change with players above in the mix. ROR and Vrbata in place of Kuni and Neal could end up being a significant upgrade once you factor in depth we’d have in bottom 6 and dmen we’d get back. IMO.

  125. NMR says:

    He would’ve made the opening day roster?

    With exactly nine – NINE – Triple A at-bats?

    You really believe that?

  126. Jandy says:

    Gotta love baseball!

  127. hockeymonster says:

  128. hockeymonster says:

    I think he’s closer to being NHL ready than jarry. But both their upsides are similar.

  129. hockeymonster says:

    All depends on return. The above options are basically the bare minimum i’d be willing accept.

  130. Jandy says:

    LOL! Love how he slurps the Kool Aid up

  131. bpn8pitt says:

    I was surprised Selig decided to televise it awhile back. Sometimes you get a franchise guy or two in there, but a lot of times, even the high picks never amount to much (as we all well know :) ).

    They certainly could spice it up if they allowed teams to trade more picks other than the comp balanace ones…Then of course I think you would have some teams ruin their franchises like in the NFL and NBA.

    Good question though.

  132. Thundercrack says:

    Or he could have slid into the wall in foul territory , like he did about a week ago, and tore up his knee and never be the same player again.

  133. bpn8pitt says:

    Lol. ++++

  134. NMR says:

    And 27th in fielding percentage.
    And 5th in DRS.
    And 38th in UZR.

  135. Jim S. says:

    I think it has more to do with the trajectory of the ball, bpn. Line drives, from what I understand, bring about a .660 batting average most years. Ground balls are in the low .200′s, and flyballs are even lower. Line drives also bring huge slugging %’s, as they are often doubles & triples in the gap. Flyballs have a higher slugging % than groundballs because they occasionally go over the fence or fall in the gaps for XBH. Groundballs are generally outs or singles, unless they are hit just inside 1st or 3rd base.

  136. Andrew says:

    Penguins need to take the Blackhawks’ approach, who are heralded for drafting abilities, pass over a guy three times than draft the next Andrew Shaw in the 5th round.

  137. DJ says:

    Too many moving parts for developing chemistry in single off season.

    We move Neal and possibly Letang for great return, round out 3rd / 4th lines, I’m good.

  138. hockeymonster says:

    4 player cycle? All that means is that dman pinches with forward in support. DJ, don’t get caught up with the lingo. We’ll be seeing similar offense to what we saw when Disco switched to support breakouts. Capital game in november was when disco saw the light and started to make changes. We pinched with our D when disco was here too. Whether or not F3 was in proper position to support is another matter. Team D and NZ play will determine our fate. Not offense.

  139. Andrew says:

    I assume that is 28th, DRS says they have the best fielding pitchers in the league and it is not even close. Defensive numbers in small samples can be fun.

  140. Jim S. says:

    My first answer was going to be “There is a panel of esteemed broadcasters and writers who make these determinations, and it is headed up by Tim Neverett.” But, I didn’t think anyone would buy that. ;-)

  141. hockeymonster says:

    Letang would bring in more players and create more change. Don’t worry about chemistry. They all know each other directly or indirectly. Just bring me talent, youth and depth. Change is inevitable with all the UFA’s we have anyway. What does it matter if we create depth from trades or signings? They’d be new players either way.

  142. Jim S. says:

    Enjoy the t-shirt, bpn! I sure wish I was in town this weekend. I bet the ballpark will be rockin’.

  143. DJ says:

    Didn’t think Johnston would be deploying a 4th forward. And agree that D is where it all starts, my friend.

    Point is some outside-the-box thinking is good. We’d gotten ridiculously predictable and stale.

  144. Andrew says:

    If you are trading Neal you better be getting more than James Van Riemsdyk.

  145. DJ says:

    Oops. Meant the post immediately below in reply.

  146. Andrew says:

    Scouting is all small samples, don’t let anyone say otherwise.

  147. NMR says:

    And that’s what I’m getting at, Jim. What are the criteria, and who measures/decides?

    Ever since Dejan made that comment about Gaby a month or so ago I’ve been trying to figure rhyme or reason and cannot. It’s a stat we take at face value, but it seems like there’s a huge margin of error.

    That first ball Pedro hit last night, for instance. Hard, on a line. Would’ve been caught if the infielder weren’t playing in mid-left center. Ground ball according to Batted Ball statistics. Just doesn’t seem to make much sense.

  148. RELENTLESS_FORECHECK says:

    A few random thoughts…

    - For a GM who’s already developed a reputation for speaking freely, Rutherford seems to be playing his cards close to his chest before the draft. Lots of rumors flying around, but precious little involving the Penguins interests.

    - Rumors are out there that a number of teams have been reaching out to Rutherford to inquire about James Neal. Vancouver is rumored to be looking for a scoring forward in return for Kesler, so there could be mutual interest here. If Rutherford can parlay Neal and the Penguins 1st round pick for Kesler and a young power forward like Zack Kassian…

    - I’m still deeply discouraged by Rutherford’s lack of movement on any of the 11 potential UFAs. CBJs got a 5th round pick in exchange for Nikitin just yesterday; Niskanen could surely fetch at least that. The interview period opened Wednesday and, with Niskanen announcing he plans to test the market, you have to believe he likes what he’s hearing from other clubs. Time to talk to those clubs, and any clubs that Jokinen and Orpik have had conversations with.

  149. chethejet1 says:

    Dupuis returning hopefully at 100% will be a nice addition of speed, penalty killing and grit. So the pending questions will be either Malkin LW, then composition of third and fourth lines. I simply don’t want to give up those assets for Kessler. Hopefully the bias that Bylsma appeared to have against young players making mistakes while veterans were not held to that standard will change. So Bennett, Despres, Harrington and Megna and others will be given a larger consideration.

  150. NMR says:

    Nope, 38th. They’ve been THAT bad. ;)

    But yeah, my goal was only to demonstrate that I think you can easily argue they’ve been bad, and also that you can argue they’ve been OK.

  151. Tom P. says:

    My only observation is that the Pirates are 10-6 since Polanco came up. 10/16 is a .625 winning percentage. If the Pirates are winning and he appears to be comfortable, if it is not broken, don’t fix it.

    Practically speaking, with Mercer getting more hits and batting eighth, if there are less than two outs, you have the pitcher bunt him to second. A Palonco single gets you a run.

    Having said all that, I’ve never coached a game of baseball in my life and my playing experience is pretty much limited to church co-ed softball. So there are plenty of reasons to disagree with me.

  152. Andrew says:

    Good points here, Worely and Cumpton are similar in that they don’t have swing and miss stuff, I notice both will get ahead but cannot always put guys away. Never know what to make of great results against weak hitting competition.

    Volquez, you can see what the Pirates saw as far as stuff, but he seems to be a different pitcher type from one start to the next.

  153. Jim S. says:

    I like the flexibility of our lineup now, Maz. I personally say leave Polanco where he is, but there are cases to be made for moving a lot of guys around.

  154. RELENTLESS_FORECHECK says:

    One final thought… Ryan Malone. Tampa just bought out his contract, which was at a cap hit of $4.5M per, so he becomes a FA. To prove himself, he’s willing to sign a one-year deal. His numbers last year were weak, but he’s still a tenacious and tough power forward, a solid two-way player, and a gristled veteran. Bugsy’s had some of his best years of his career in Pittsburgh, and he’d be a welcome addition to the 3rd and 4th lines. I’d love to see how far that hometown discount can go in a one-year deal…

  155. hockeymonster says:

    Bazinga! At least when they passed on Saad they did so with a stable of young forwards already there. We passed on saad cuz we had nick johnson. Or was it caputi? :)

  156. hockeymonster says:

    Well, ideally would like more than one or 2 samples on nhl network.

  157. Jandy says:

    I prefer not to. He has issues (drinking for sure) that got him where he is now. He’s hurt often. I’ll pass.

  158. NMR says:

    Shocked how many people were there last night. Way too many on my lawn for my liking, but that’s a good thing!

  159. Jim S. says:

    Good point. I wonder if the new tracking technology, once it is 100% installed, will give us precise info. on this stuff.

  160. NMR says:

    Thanks for that, Jim. Part of me feels like the hard hit metric is actually a better predictor of BABIP than batted ball type.

  161. Wild Bill says:

    Because that’s no fun!

  162. Jim S. says:

    Belated kudos to Bob Walk last night for correctly predicting what would happen when the Bucs had Cutch on 3rd and Davis on first with 2 outs and Pedro at bat with the scored tied at 1.

    If no one is playing anywhere near 3b, the runner can get a huge lead. All the infield can do is concede 2b to Davis there, or hope to get him out so quickly on the steal attempt that Cutch can’t score in time. All Davis needs to do is stop between 1st and 2nd, draw the pickoff, and stay in play long enough for Cutch to score. If the offense is coordinated there, I don’t see a defense for that.

    A lot of shifts make me uncomfortable. I hate having no one in my infield in the same zip code as 3b. There is still a lot of evolution to come, I think.

  163. Jim S. says:

    I agree. Seems logical that the harder the ball is hit, the less range a fielder has to catch it.

  164. DJ says:

    See, there you go, Jandhi, drinking the Kool-Aid yet again.

  165. Jim S. says:

    FWIW, Brian from RTJR got back to me and said he was not sure how it is determined, other than by an independent source. So, I must have been thinking of someone else originally giving me the definition.

  166. DJ says:

    Brilliant play seamlessly executed by Cutch.

    If that was Marte or Tabby on third, I see them sauntering into home and out. Ha!

  167. Pete in Dayton says:

    This is a Scuderi type signing. I know he’s a Pgh guy, but Malone will struggle to get signed anywhere in the NHL after his arrest.
    Also, if he’s an addict of any sort, that would explain his drop in play. Not saying that he can’t recover, but unless he’s willing to sign for league minimum and be willing to seek treatment and successfully deals with his off-ice problems, he’s not worth a risk. If the Pens want him, offer to pay for the treatment so you can monitor his progress, otherwise, no way. On a personal, rather than professional note, I hope he learns that actions have consequences, and that maybe getting bought out will provide a good enough “bottom” that he can recover from it.

  168. bpn8pitt says:

    Agreed.

    All of it is probably only going to get more and more precise.

    Eventually the SS or 2B will be more of a rover like that 10th guy in softball sometimes.

    The counterbalance will be the instruction at the lower levels will teach hitters to “go the other way” more…But thats kind of hard to do if the pitcher is throwing in or out to induce the ground/fly ball to the defensive heavy side.

    Readily available data has changed the game before our eyes, as both have you have pointed out many times.

  169. Andrew says:

    Well I love talking batted balls, as for the batted ball data on Fangraphs it comes from Baseball Info Solutions, who have employees at all 30 parks who coded the data, they are referred to as stringer. Here is the definition from a company tried to do what BIS does today in 1980s.

    “A popup rises higher than it travels. At the other extreme, a line drive travels farther horizontally than its peak altitude. And a fly ball is midway between the two. Nobody expects you to actually measure the things; just use your judgment.”

    So there is error and ballpark effects, which quite a few people have looked into. The way I think about is a linedrive is most desirable but not sustainable outcome, groundball and flyball rates stabilize for hitters at around 100 balls in play, linedrive rate is like 600-800. I just assume that is due to both the error in measurement and infrequency of linedrives.

    It is unfortunately the best available data to the public, if we had exit velocity and angle that could tell us a lot more. I do see the stuff Jim is talking about frequently but I would like to see some work on the reliability of hard hit balls, and what exactly the definition is, and is BABIP influences by the direction of hard hit balls.

    I do sometimes check the play-by-play stuff to see how it is classified, more so for pitchers, but I don’t make too much of it.

  170. Jandy says:

    Truth!

  171. Jim S. says:

    Do you live within walking distance of PNC, NMR?

    If so, do it like Wrigley and park people in your yard, driveway, garage, etc. People there rake it in big time. $30 – $40 per game. Some of these people park 6 cars on their property x 81 games. $200 x 81 = $16,200 … tax free, no less.

  172. Pete in Dayton says:

    Since teams have already been able to talk with free agents, the trading of rights have been fairly sparse this off-season. Yeah, Columbus pulled a trade off, but their front office must have been working very hard to get that deal in place- no way anyone other than Edmonton makes that deal now instead of just waiting a few days where they won’t have to pay anything to talk to the FA. The time to have traded those rights was about a month ago, when the Penguins were busy hiring a GM, not working on contracts. I mean, look at who is trading for those rights? Edmonton, Islanders, etc? At this point, I think Garth Snow is willing to trade draft picks for lotto tickets and beer, as much good as trading a pick for the rights to Boyle has gotten him. Edmonton’s front office appears that they are trying to put together a roster for a video game, not a team on the ice.
    There should be some trades today, which is fun.
    Also, did anyone else see what, supposedly anyway, the contract demands from Toews and Kane were? Ha! Chicago will have some trouble filling out that roster in a couple of years.

  173. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I had a feeling this question was in your wheelhouse come lunch time. Fortunately, I’m off today. Wait … actually there is a Honey Do list that is being neglected right now. Ugh!

  174. Andrew says:

    Drafts are really fun to talk about and look back at what could have been, but they are so dominated by chance and randomness that I think making definitive statements about a teams ability to draft is a bit of fools errand. Even over six to seven years, one or two moves can significantly alter the outlook.

  175. DJ says:

    Agree Rutherford should have tried for a pick in exchange for exclusive negotiation windows on our UFAs.

    That said, very doubtful another team would have parted with a pick for Nisky unless Nisky’s agent had given clear indication that was a preferred landing spot, just in light of anticipated salary (north of $6 mill per) and the sheer number of expected suitors.

  176. Andrew says:

    There is a few spots were both UZR and DRS agree they have been poor to terrible, Loney/FIbucco will be around to tell us which ones.

    But base on career numbers I expect the defense to be okay to slightly above average from CF and 1B going forward and you would think RF would get better.

  177. NMR says:

    I actually thought Duda butchered that play, Jim.

    If you watch the replay on MLB.com, Cutch freezes when the throw gets to Duda even though nobody is holding him on. If Duda doesn’t panic and immediately make the long throw to 2nd, he can close the gap and make the runners make a decision.

    At worst, that play should’ve ended up with runners at 2nd and 3rd.

  178. Pete in Dayton says:

    Two beat writers for the Pens (Rossi and Yohe) and also covering the draft for a new GM after the old one got fired, in part, because he drafted poorly makes for some good story lines. Also, a lot of trades are expected to happen, in part because the FA pool isn’t very deep, and a lot of teams seem willing to wheel and deal and try to get better.
    I’ve never been that excited about the MLB draft, and I’ve followed the NHL draft for a number of years. NFL and NBA drafts are still nationally much, much popular, but I’m not surprised over the coverage of the NHL draft in Pittsburgh.
    Here in Cincinnati/ Dayton area? They have no idea that hockey leagues have drafts.

  179. DJ says:

    Should say sauntering into home and Ike out.

  180. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    Mind blown

  181. DJ says:

    Appeared Duda barely glanced at Cutch, if he did at all.

  182. 21sthebest says:

    Your point NMR?

  183. NMR says:

    Exactly. The runner going to 2nd should never be the priority in that situation.

  184. DJ says:

    . . . would have added moving Scuds as well but that’s a pipe dream.

  185. hockeymonster says:

    I agree with your last sentence but disagree with luck aspect. Eyeballs matter. Nothin lucky about LAK’s or chicago’s depth. Or anaheims stable of prospects and youngsters. MN has done well. Datsyuk and zetterberg were practically Mr. Irrelevant. Our lack of bottom 6 confirms it takes more than just luck. Good advise and quality eyeballs matter, even if you occasionally get lucky.

  186. NMR says:

    That your stat is no better or worse than bpn’s.

  187. NMR says:

    Ha, didn’t know they did that in Wrigley, Jim. Pretty smart, if you ask me.

    I do live a little less than a mile away, but don’t have a lawn, driveway, or garage.

  188. mike says:

    DK, with the lack of impact forwards in system, unless he was getting 2 top 6 forwards back, why on earth would they consider trading neal?

  189. NMR says:

    Waiting on you, buddy. Much appreciated.

    Seems like Baseball Prospectus has been most outspoken against the quality of batted ball data over the years. I remember seeing that quote mocked rather heavily while looking up articles.

    Help me out with another thing…and I may just be brain dead on a Friday…if there are three batted ball types and two stabilize at around the same sample size, how does the 3rd vary so much? Isn’t it constrained by the first two?

  190. DJ says:

    Point being unless the UFA has a preferred destination or is thought to be unwilling to risk what he will get in free agency, don’t see “pick for negotiation window” being a realistic option.

    Never saw Nisky in either category.

  191. RELENTLESS_FORECHECK says:

    Looks like Kesler is off the market… reports are he’s a Duck.

  192. Jandy says:

    woah!

  193. Jandy says:

    :snicker:

  194. Thundercrack says:

    The other interesting thing about that was that Cutch was on second and went to third on a grounder to the shortstop. He got a good jump and the ball was hit close to second base – - -but still not the text book play there.

    But as my friend pointed out to me, Clint Hurdle probably wants them to be aggressive. Especially Cutch.

  195. ChefAutomatic says:

    pete, with all due respect, the fact that you in particular have never been too excited about the MLB draft does not mean that one of the two local newspapers should give it shorter shrift than it does the NHL draft.

  196. hockeymonster says:

    Good market setter. For us anyway.

  197. Pete in Dayton says:

    I’m not sure how this makes either team better.
    Bonino isn’t going to be a replacement for Kesler, and Sbisa isn’t going to light the world on fire either, but at the same time, I’m not sure Anaheim really improved either- gave up two players to get one player who may or may not ever get 40 goals again.

  198. NOT BLINDED BY LAST YEAR says:

    nmr, with the spring he had he was one of the pirates top 25. with what tabata/snider did in spring and the fact he would have signed a contract similar to marte’s he would have been given the opportunity to start in rf on opening day.
    robin yount, ken griffey jr, arod, all played very little in the minors. this kid has talent that is very comparable to theirs. yes if he would have signed that contract, i believe he would have started the yr on the major league roster.

  199. buggee says:

    I am the catalyst because I stopped watching the effing Penguinis!

  200. Andrew says:

    Everything I’ve read about baseball and NFLs draft compares them to lottery environments, and the little I’ve read about the NHL, I’m disposed to think the same. Information/scouting is obviously important, the process is huge, and the amount of draws matter. However I’m not going to deem teams good based upon results, I’m inclined to think that they are doing something correct, but in the end I just don’t know.

    Take that Pensblog article that went around looking at Shero and drafting, they had a series of charts showing games played and points from forwards, if you looked at the spreadsheets those charts were driven by the contributions of one or two players, that is more random than some type of ability.

    My criticism of Shero is that trading away picks (not bad idea for a win now team) left the Pens with less opportunities to find quality forwards, then when you draft defense-men early, your chances of finding good forwards are less in later rounds. Finally why draft all these D-man prospects and then go out and continually sign free agent D-men like, Michalek, Eaton, and Scuderi. If you are spending early round picks and free agent money of defense your forward group might not looks so good.

    I think the Blackhawks depth has a bit to do with getting Hossa and Keith on cheater pre-lockout deals, lets see how their bottom six looks when Kane and Toews get Malkin like contracts.

  201. Andrew says:

    Baseball Prospectus has some good stuff, (my opinion of them will change based on the success, or lack, of the Astros,) but ignoring batted ball data can lead to some odd outcomes. Pedro Alvarez by DRS and UZR is -21 and -20.1 runs below average, BasePro’s fielding runs has him +18.5 for his career. Adams Jones by DRS/UZR has some of the worst range rating but FRAA says he is +6.6 for his career.

    The main reason is takes so long for linedrives to stabilize is because they just don’t happen much, you need more occurrences in the sample to cancel out the noise.

  202. buggee says:

    and 19th in tZ/PAL+0-TOPS
    and 4th in MUZR-SPo%

  203. Easy to pull for a kid like Lamar, no question.

  204. Fixed it earlier. Thanks, Tom.

  205. No one ‘sends’ anyone to the Major League Baseball or, for that matter, the NFL drafts. Each team conducts its business from its home headquarters. We had the exact same number of people at Steelers HQ, myself included, when the Steelers drafted Ryan Shazier, and last year when they drafted Jarvis Jones.

    Are you new to sports, Chef?

  206. hockeymonster says:

    Believe they get some cap relief and bonino is an decent nhl player. 1st round pick is nice too. I think this bodes well for us since kesler is only signed for 2 more years.

  207. hockeymonster says:

    Although wouldn’t want sbisa. Was decent prospect a few years ago.

  208. hockeymonster says:

    Kesler narrowing list probably made it a tough trade. Will be interesting to see what the pens do.

  209. hockeymonster says:

    Might be possible.

  210. The Gunner says:

    Dejan

    This is a technical issue with your website when using mobile devices only. When you click on the link for a recent comment, it no longer takes you to that comment like it used to.

    Any chance one of your tekkies can fix this?

    Thanks,

    The Gunner

  211. ChefAutomatic says:

    in what universe is the NFL draft the equivalent of the NHL draft? stating that you devoted the same amount of manpower to the steelers draft as the penguins draft is certainly not a good argument in defense of the allegation that you devote a disproportionate amount of time to the penguins.

  212. Pete in Dayton says:

    Did you read the first part of my statement? The Penguin beat writers have to be at the draft to do their job. If the MLB draft was held in January instead of during the season, you’d see more coverage of it from the beat writers. Instead, it’s given some coverage, but not the same. The hot-stove league that gets coverage in baseball is also part of the NHL draft- a lot of trading is done at draft time.
    Also, the draft is a 5 hour drive away. It’s a good story with the new GM picking his first draft for the Penguins. Given the train wreck that has been going on at the CEC over the past month, the Pen’s offseason is going to get some coverage.
    I think that you’re looking for something that isn’t necessarily there in regards to coverage- if anything, blame MLB for having their draft in season and not featuring it very well.
    I was merely putting my perspective on it, not suggesting that since I like the NHL more than it should get more coverage.

  213. hockeymonster says:

    Oh no question those 2 contracts are factors. But they’re still filling their roster with draft picks, regardless how they got the cap space to keep them on roster. They even traded away a couple quality players in Hayes and pirri cuz they were over flooded with young forwards they couldn’t keep or get thru waiver wire. We may lose mini ulf for same reason. FLA snagged Olsen away from CHI as well. What did we do? Lose strait cuz of asset mismanagement cuz they didn’t want to send down despres? Not sign Muzzin? I think there’s been a difference, especially when you consider that CHI has drafted late in each round just like us. ANA, LAK and etc have been in similar situations.

  214. DJ says:

    Glad he stayed west and the Rangers, Flyers or Jackets did not get him.

  215. ChefAutomatic says:

    my initial comment was directed primarily–ok, exclusively–at the author of this blog, not the hockey beat writers.

  216. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Your comparison was to baseball.

    If the discussion now changes to manpower devoted to NFL and NHL drafts, I’ve got an even simpler answer: There’s only one of me, and I chose to write about both, albeit for very different reasons. All three drafts get the same beat coverage, same space. The only difference in this equation is me.

    There are tons of reasons on my end for choosing as I have. Amazingly, they have nothing to do with baseball.

  217. Andrew says:

    No, certainly mistakes were made, Muzzin had a herniated disc if that is what scared off the Pens, fire your medical staff. The Blackhawks success is so frustrating because they seemed to be following the Pens model of two generational talents and adding quality pieces. They rectified some of their organizational mistakes after the first Cup, the Pens kept kicking the can down the road.

  218. hockeymonster says:

    Van fetches a 2nd pick for Garrison in salary dump. Maybe Piece’s salary can be moved after all. For a 4th possibly.

  219. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Most of what you write here is accurate. The actual coverage given to the drafts is the same. Baseball’s still gets the extra local pieces on high school and college players taken. That’s another reporter.

  220. ChefAutomatic says:

    wait, weren’t you the one who brought up the steelers?…..anyway, you’re the boss. you can obviously write about whatever you want for whatever reason you want. you don’t have to justify anything to any of your readers. but to suggest that you do not devote more attention to the hockey team than, say, the baseball team is laughable.

  221. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

  222. pattonbb says:

    Brandon McCarthy and AJ Burnett are rumored to be on NH’s wish list for pitching help.

  223. I actually did a column count for 2013, right here on this blog, and the breakdown was very much even. The Penguins had more columns for the simple reason that they went much, much deeper into the playoffs, and I’m basically embedded with the beat team when that happens.

    The Steelers are No. 1 in this town by a long shot, the Penguins are a clear No. 2. Even so, I cover the Pirates on pretty much an even par and, if you want to delve into details, I’m the only columnist at either paper who goes to Bradenton for a week each spring. I did it again this spring, even though I’d just spent a month in Sochi, even though the Stanley Cup playoffs were just around the corner.

    And, of course, when I was in Bradenton, I heard from hockey fans who thought I favored baseball.

    That’s how it goes, man. We all see the world through our own prisms, right?

  224. cmat0829 says:

    I highly doubt NH spends much time telling the ROOT people to stop running Jason Grilli commercials. I would not read too much into THAT being the reason Grilli is still on the roster.

  225. Pete in Dayton says:

    We can only hope.
    I’ll take a bag of pucks and a half full water bottle.
    Call the Islanders!

  226. cmat0829 says:

    Spot on NMR. Nonsensical to the extreme to even think about Polanco playing in Pittsburgh in April. So that narrows it down to May. JayHey was incredible in May in RF. So I will absolutely refute the ‘how many more wins would we have if Polanco were here’ stuff. I will go with somewhere between 0 and 1. And if we are truly that close at a playoff bid, it will be because of who NH picks up at the deadline way more than it will be about Polanco.

    To be truly fair and balanced, there are obviously things Polanco still has to work on…quite noticably his routes to flyballs and his baserunning, etc. I would definitely want Super2 to go away and would have been ok with Polanco being up here in May, but it is what it is. Not really sure why we can’t let this go. Seems that this is much more of an issue now than it was with Cole, which was much more of an issue than it was with Marte, which was much more of an issue it was with Cutch.

  227. cmat0829 says:

    i’ll just have to disagree and we’ll NEVER KNOW. But this front office has shown little signs of promoting players with 9 at bats at AAA, so I feel more secure in my opinion than yours.

    And let’s slow down on comparing Polanco to 2 or 3 hall of famers…as CH says “let the kid play”.

    By the way, great article in this week’s SI about the Astros and their analytical approach to building for 2017… many references to a BlackJack player always staying on 16 when a dealer shows a 7. Even if it doesn’t ‘feel right’, or they ‘have a gut feeling’. the analytics support always staying and so that’s what you do. Kind of blows up the theory of other things impacting how to construct a roster…like owner’s miserlyness; fan ‘impact’; selling tickets; clubhouse cachet; etc. Probably not as fun to debate, but the blog circa 2017 will require advanced degrees in statistics to even participate.

  228. cmat0829 says:

    LOL, now we want to ENCOURAGE NH’s dumpster diving?? I’m having trouble keeping blog score here….

  229. cmat0829 says:

    for the record, US English snobs < Soccer Fan Snobs.

  230. ChefAutomatic says:

    yes, we all do, including–you must acknowledge–you….by the way, are you saying that you wrote more penguins columns than steelers columns, or just more than you did pirates columns? because if it’s the former, that would be pretty good evidence that you devote a disproportionate amount of energy toward the penguins, given that even you (surely reluctantly) concede that the steelers are the more popular team in town (also: whose choice is it for you to be ‘embedded’? i’m guessing that the reason that you’re embedded is because it is your preference to be)….in any event, where are you coming up with these rankings? what study have you done that establishes the penguins as ‘a clear no. 2′? what is the criteria for that exactly? i’m guessing that it’s not anything more than anecdotal. aren’t you the guy that called pittsburgh the ‘hockey mecca,’ which, if i recall, was nearly universally derided by your colleagues in the pittsburgh sports media, even though most of them also really love hockey?…..anyway, i think my basic point is that you’re no less biased than anyone else. your love for hockey and the penguins is clouding your perspective.

  231. GAWTS2009 says:

    Dobbin house – Go to the basement or tavern has great food! Little pricy though

  232. cmat0829 says:

    if that is the case, it wouldn’t be line drives as a category, but “hammered” and “not hammered”… and Joe Namath would be a judge on the hammered grouping. Same with Frank C.

  233. hockeymonster says:

    Yup. They made trades either preemptively or cuz of cap crunches and got extra picks and players. But obviously they didn’t miss as much on their picks. Without looking it up, i believe BC has a Hayes who was drafted by CHI. He may be a Saad like monster for them.

  234. NOT BLINDED BY LAST YEAR says:

    my point is it’s been done before with other players with little to no minor league experience. by the way, how many times has management made a contract offer to a player with only 9 AAA at-bats like they did for polanco. this guy is special and even this management team sees he can be their difference maker for years to come or why even make that offer.

  235. hockeymonster says:

    Actually just looked it up. Kevin Hayes, he’s set to be a UFA if he doesn’t sign by aug 15. Let’s hope he doesn’t sign with them.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/blackhawks/post/_/id/4682279/agent-prospect-hayes-weighs-signing

    Turns out his brother was the hayes that was traded earlier in season so maybe he’s grumpy about that.

  236. NMR says:

    ;) Thanks for always being a good sport, Bill.

  237. DJ says:

    Jeeeezus

    And here I thought Twitter was the platform of choice when looking to pick a fight.

  238. Thundercrack says:

    So you’ve already determined that Polanco has talent that is ‘very comparable’ to Robin Yount, Ken Griffey Jr and ARod.

  239. Andrew says:

    Holy heck, it is a simple matter opportunity.

    The NFL season is 17 weeks, MLB 26 weeks, NHL season is usually 24-25 weeks. Two of the local teams have participated in the post-season in the past two years. Simply hockey and baseball have longer seasons, include many more games, thus provide more opportunities for content.

    You can only write some much about 16, four hour football games.

  240. This is all so accurate, Andrew, I’m wondering if you actually work in the business. :)

    The Steelers aren’t an easy subject matter with which to judge by pure column count. There are so, so few games, and there are some crazy-long stretches where there is simply no access to anyone involved with the team. We’re in one right now. That’s why I rushed over to minicamp and basically forced out two columns last week, simply knowing they wouldn’t be available again until Latrobe on July 25.

    As for ‘Chef,’ he kind of gave in that last reply what I’d been guessing beforehand, that he’s one of these Twitter trolls who follows along with a certain clique there. Very disappointing, but terribly unsurprising.

    Have a spectacular life, ‘Chef.’

  241. Andrew says:

    Chef but the Penguins went to the ECF last year and the second round this year. Honestly from reading this blog since Dejan left the other paper, I never got the impression that it was hockey centric, the posts and content ebb and flow with the sports seasons, I actually think that the conversation, at least from the avatared crowd, is more focused on baseball.

    And does the world really need more NFL analysis or coverage?

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