Monday Morsels

— This was the setting yesterday as I compiled much of today’s blog.  Blown saves didn’t bother me much at all.

beach sunday

— Yesterday’s heroics at PNC Park should leave no doubt that GMNH is the best GM in baseball and possibly in all sports.

— As nice a story as Sean Rodriguez’s walk off home run was, the best thing to come out of yesterday for the Pirates playoff chances was Jameson Taillon’s solid outing.

taillon

— With the passing of the trade deadline and the mediocrity of the Pirates play of late, there’s been more talk of “windows of opportunity” for the Pirates and how the Pirates’ is closing and how the front office has mismanaged it.

— I don’t deny that windows exist IF, and this is a big IF, an organization manages or builds for them.

— The Pirates have chosen not to do so.  Thus, no window.  Of course they have to manage their approach properly and that’s where they’ve been lacking of late.

— Give me a roster full of Josh Harrisons and I feel like I could compete every night against anyone.  He plays hard with the emotion and enthusiasm that, in my view, every major league player should.  He’s fun to watch.

harrison marte

— As of this writing, Charlie Morton leads the first-place Houston Astros in wins with nine (tied with Dallas Kuechel).  He’s also second in ERA behind Kuechel.

— Any contender looking for help in an August trade, a slew of household names cleared revocable waivers on Sunday, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag in a pair of articles. The list consists of Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper, Reds first baseman Joey Votto, Tigers left fielder Justin Upton, Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford and four Mets – outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, second baseman Neil Walker and reliever AJ Ramos.

— ERA since the beginning of May thru Friday’s games: 1) Kuhl: 4.07 2) Cole 4.08 3) Williams 4.34 4) Nova 4.56 5) Taillon 6.39

pirates-reds-baseball

— Will Jung Ho Kang ever again play for the Pirates?  “That’s been an unfortunate reality from the outset that he may never get a visa again,” general manager Neal Huntington said Sunday. “We worked the process, worked the process again and have not gotten a different result. We do need to begin to prepare as if he’s not coming back.”

— Huntington said Kang’s status was a reason the Pirates on Saturday acquired utilityman Sean Rodriguez from the Atlanta Braves.  “If we’re able to get Kang back into the country, then all of a sudden we become a strong lineup with a very strong bench,” Huntington said.

— According to the same interview,  Rodriguez and third baseman David Freese are signed through 2018. That means, regardless of what happens with Kang, the Pirates have the depth to listen to trade offers for Josh Harrison this winter.  Those are the writer’s words and not GMNH’s.

seanrod

— Does anyone….anyone….think that Sean Rodriguez is a viable replacement for Jish Harrison at second base and in the everyday lineup?  No?  Well, I don’t think Huntington believes it either.

— Rodriguez put up the season of his career for the Pirates in 2016.  His .859 OPS alone was 160 points above his career average and 150 points above his previous career high.  The Miami native did so in his age 31 season.  Why were there no accusations of PEDs being in play?

— Even if Rodriguez did use an enhancement, he was rewarded with an $11M two-year deal to play for the Braves.  That deal eclipsed his total career earnings by several million dollars.    The risk/reward factor is one of the underlying problems with MLB’s current drug policy.  The rewards are so great the risk of being caught is inconsequential.

mc-pictures-remembering-phillies-great-darren-daulton-20170801

— So sorry to hear of the passing of Phillies catcher Darren Daulton.  Daulton lost his four-year battle with brain cancer.  He was 55.

— Don’t look for a rehabbing Austin Meadows to arrive in Pittsburgh this season:  “September is not a tryout camp anymore,” Huntington said. “While Austin can do a lot of really good things, it may not be in his best interest to be in a smaller role. It may be in his best interest to continue to rest to get ready for winter ball or just get into an offseason program.”

8-le-veon-bell-pittsburgh-steelers-2013-171-90-points_pg_600

— Le’Veon Bell is arguably the most gifted back in the NFL today.  He’s not going anywhere this season and the “value” of your star veteran back being in camp is certainly disputable.

— With all of that said, after two drug-related suspensions for a team that was blown out in the AFC Championship game at least in part due to him missing much of the action with an injury, wouldn’t you think it important and a sign of leadership to take the $12M payday and get to work?

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— More than 17,000 people paid $10 to watch the Steelers practice last night.  I don’t know what that says about those 17,000 people.

— Thru Friday:  NL Central against teams greater than or equal to .500 PIT: 27-24 .529 MIL: 15-20 .429 STL: 24-33 .421 CHC: 16-24 .400 CIN: 17-39 .304

— Thru Friday:  NL Central against teams under .500 CHC: 41-26 .612 STL: 29-22 .569 MIL: 42-33 .560 CIN: 27-25 .519 PIT: 25-32 .439

penguins_blue_jackets_hockey_89852

— Sidney Crosby turns 30 years old today.  Let that sink in for a minute.  It’s tough to fathom.

— Speaking of Crosby, I found this discussion on Sportsnet.ca and had to replay it three times to make sure I heard it correctly.  I don’t know who the gentlemen are but when the question was tossed out as to the greatest Penguin player ever, they unamimously chose Crosby.  I honestly don’t know what to say to that.

1991-92-penguins-lemieux-jagr

— My personal list has Mario Lemieux a runaway first with Crosby third sandwiched between Jaromir Jagr and Burgess Meredith.

penguin1966

— Neal Huntington has a reputation, deserved or not, for an uncanny ability to cobble together good bullpens.  That has been true to a large degree for the back end from Joel Hanrahan to Jason Grilli to Mark Melancon and now Felipe Rivero.

— The 2017 bullpen has been an ongoing problem and it is so in large part to the puzzling decision to commit two years and $11M to Daniel Hudson.  Whatever they saw from Hudson last season has been all too infrequent in Pittsburgh.  With Juan Nicasio almost certainly gone via free agency, they’ll need to find another eighth inning option for 2018. I don’t think it’s George Kontos.

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196 thoughts on “Monday Morsels

      1. He started 19 games last year, when there was no one else.

        In the previous three seasons, he made five starts at SS. I think that tells us quite a bit about his ability as a shortstop.

        In 20 starts in 2015-16, he made six errors.

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        1. Good point but I still think it’ll be him next year backing up Mercer until Mercer is traded or Newman is ready. I don’t see them adding a back up SS and I don’t see Moroff on the opening day roster.

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  1. “With all of that said, after two drug-related suspensions for a team that was blown out in the AFC Championship game at least in part due to him missing much of the action with an injury, wouldn’t you think it important and a sign of leadership to take the $12M payday and get to work?”

    What’s interesting is that I don’t think a single team mate thinks less of him for waiting to sign his contract. I think some may take umbrage for him trying to get paid for being a running back AND a wide out (it’s not like Marshall Faulk never played in the league). But all of them understand that he’s really not missing anything and that they stand to make a lot more playoff bonus money if he’s healthy.

    If they had a decent back up, you could make a good case for him missing the first 3 games like last year. But that would cost him paychecks, so I doubt if he’ll do that.

    Other than Jerome Bettis, has there been a running back that’s a team leader? Most of them don’t last long enough to take on that role.

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    1. I don’t know, Pat. Harrison has a fire truck drop him off in Latrobe to make a statement about team and unity.

      Bell, arguably their best player, responds by deciding to take a few more weeks off away from the team.

      As I said, the value of being there for two a days is open for debate but the presence of Bell is more important to the team IMO than the reps he’s missing.

      I’m not asking him to be THE leader but simply A leader as a third year vet and star player.

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      1. I think even the coaches don’t miss him, actually, as long as he’s in shape, the less chance of getting hurt, the better.

        There are plenty of strong personalities on the offense that they don’t need any more leaders.

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      2. Harrison could show up in the Bat Mobile for all I care. As long as he plays well on Sundays. And my understanding is he has become a leader over the last few years.

        As for Bell, I think everyone has some concerns about his maturity. But he’s a great player and honestly I think everyone just accepts this is business, for better or for worse. I won’t judge him until we see how he performs in the fall.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. The mode of transportation is irrelevant as you suggest.

          The message seems more important and I can’t help but feel Bell gave Harrison, and the team, a big middle finger by pouting.

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      3. Harrison has a fire truck drop him off in Latrobe to make a statement about team and unity.
        ——————————————————————————————

        I don’t know…..sometimes a fire truck is just a fire truck. : )

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  2. If I’m NH I look at the roster and say it’s pretty close to being very strong. I ask where can I strengthen the team. I see two problem spots, 3rd base and set up relief. I would want to upgrade both.

    I’m assuming the Pirates will either upgrade one spot or neither. I think they will go into the season with Freese starting at 3rd and Kontos and Hudson as the top two set up men.

    I would love a bench of Freese, Osuna, Frazier, and SRod. I have no clue what 3rd basemen are available.

    I would also like to bring Nicasio back. Either him or another signing. I have more confidence in the young guys than Hudson.

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    1. I tend to agree, Chris. I think the lineup is good but could still use another bat. I also think Freese is a better option off the bench and used sparingly.

      That said, he’s been a hot bat recently.

      The bullpen is and has been a sore spot all season. Hurdle rolls the dice from the sixth inning to the eighth.

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        1. Well I don’t doubt for a second that Brault will get a long look at camp in the Spring. Still don’t know if he’s a starter or a future left-handed specialist out of the bullpen. Left handed starters being a scarce commodity, and effective left-handed relievers even more rare, he’ll more than likely be with the team coming north unless he flops phenomenally in camp.

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          1. I think if Braults in the pen itll be as a middle relief option capable of going several innings. Its way too early for the “lefty specialist” tag, especially for a team like the Pirates that rarely, if ever, wastes a roster spot with a LOOGY. If Wade LeBlanc is more than a LOOGY than certainly Brault would be too.

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            1. Andrew Miller started out as a lefty specialist at a very young age. Not sure why everyone thinks that a lefty specialist has to be a failed starter. I’ve ready scouting reports that suggest that Brault is a back of the rotation starter or a reliever, not specifying which particular relief role. We’ve had several discussions in the past about why the Pirates don’t do enough to develop relievers within their own system. I also realize that the Pirates currently lack left-handed starting pitching, which is why I speculated that it could go either way. All of the PIrates current starters are under contract at least though next year or beyond, so it’s not crazy to think that Brault may be groomed for the bullpen. If they think he’s better utilized as a middle reliever capable of going several innings as opposed to that tough lefty who gets tough left-handed outs, I’m okay with that. None of us have seen enough of him to know where he would ideally slot in after this year, so I think it’s fine to let it go until camp opens in February to see what plans the Pirates may have for Brault.

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    1. Or maybe the gate receipts will go toward some sort of stadium improvement the Steelers contend should be instead funded by the stadium authority.

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  3. I am continually amazed at the amount of love given Elias Diaz by some on this site. That’s particularly true since Cervelli is under contract through 2019.

    Diaz as a minor leaguer: .258/.321/.360 — .681
    Cervelli in MLB: .277/.359/.375 — .735

    Cervelli doesn’t have much power. One HR in every 75 ABs on the MLB level. Diaz has one HR in every 82 ABs on the minor-league level.

    Since being returned to the minors, Diaz is batting .240 (18-for-75) with one extra base hit

    I can only conclude that those who want to see Diaz as the Pirates starting catcher are suffering from a severe case of PSS (Prospect Separation Syndrome).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I know you weren’t referencing me here, but I’ll reply anyway. First I hope people only want him instead of Stewart. Secondly I think people see a lot of fragility in Cervelli. Third I think people focus on Cervelli ‘s weaknesses while focusing on Diaz’s strengths. I feel that blinds people to the reality.

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      1. I think people want to see the best 25 in Pittsburgh and that’s not the case. Cervelli, IMO, is more effective playing about 60% of the games, not 90% and Stewart is just terrible IMO.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’ve not seen anyone demanding he be the starter recently. But you do seem to leave one big, somewhat important feature of a catcher, that would be defense and that is where his deficiency in hitting closes the gap.

      He hit 266 with a 686 OPS in the Majors this year, which for a catcher with his kind of defense most teams would take.

      Considering Cervelli’s brittleness, Diaz should be the #2 next year and catch about 40% of the games. What’s the problem with that?

      The Pirates should have their best 25 in Pittsburgh and they clearly don’t with Stewart as the backup and Diaz in Indy.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Atlanta is using a true platoon with two guys playing 50% of the time. I think it’s because neither one of their catchers is very good, but you said name one, so I did.

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        1. Considering the team has discussed it, including NH, Clint Hurdle I tend to take their word for it plus I’ve seen him play.

          And since Cervelli can’t stay healthy for 40% of the games what’s the issue?

          Perhaps your “love” for Cervelli is clouding your judgement just as you say for others relating to Diaz.

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          1. There is a difference between dividing time because of injury, which the Pirates have had to do, and dividing time intentionally, which the Pirates have not done.

            If a team has two equal catchers, I can see dividing the time. I see no indication — zero — that Cervelli and Diaz are equal.

            The team has discussed what? That Diaz is better defensively? Or that they plan to split time between the two? I’ve seen nothing on either.

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            1. Draw your own conclusions by whatever standard you choose:

              CS%: Stewart 29%
              Diaz 28%
              Cervelli 20%

              FLD % Cervelli .990
              Stewart .988
              Diaz .981

              DWAR Stewart 0.5
              Cervelli 0.2
              Diaz 0.2

              One can easily make an argument that Diaz is certainly no better than the current tandem and once you factor in the framing and game calling advantage Cervelli and Stewart bring, it looks like the Pirates could well have their two best catchers on the roster.

              Liked by 1 person

    3. He’ll hit better than Stewart as a back-up catcher, but he’d have to get a lot better to be a starter. On the other hand, there are players on the Pirates roster who have hit better in the major leagues than they did in the minors.

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      1. There are plenty of catchers starting in the MLB who hit far worse than Diaz does. I think most teams favor a catcher’s defense over his offense. Just like most team’s favor a 1bman’s hitting over his defense.

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        1. Except the Pirates are not one of the teams who have a catcher who hits ‘far worse’ than Diaz.

          And you have no idea how well Diaz would hit on the MLB level. He has 85 MLB at bats, which means nothing. He has 2,000 minor league at bats with an OPS under .700, which says a ton.

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        2. I don’t disagree, as most teams have weak spots. I think the overarching point is that Rodriguez is, at best, an unknown quantity. His defense, near as I can tell, is that he has a canon for an arm. His overall footwork around the plate and blocking pitches, framing pitches is, as yet, ungraded at a the major league level. Still, in comparison to Cervelli, there’s simply no comparison. Cervelli is the complete package. As I look around baseball, I don’t think that Cervelli is any more injury prone than most major league catchers. It’s an injury prone position. From concussions to collisions to getting plinked on exposed body parts by thrown and fouled balls, catchers are more prone to injury than any other position on the field.

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  4. SROD is a bench player, always has been and always will be. Guys who are bench players and then are asked to play everyday sometimes have short success but eventually fall back to being a bench player.

    NOt sure I see the Pirates spending a combined $10m on Freese and SROD without trading any big contract players, especially when it looks like they need a starting 3b, wherever that will come from.

    They will have about $10mil from Watson, Stewart and Jaso leaving. But they’ll have lots or raises to pay.

    My money is on either Cutch or Harrison.

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    1. I think the short term plan is to platoon Freese and S-ROD at third. The long term answer is to of course find a young third baseman with team control that you can pry away from another team so that he also doesn’t cost much salary wise.

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        1. Not currently. I think that they may try and convert Osuna into a third baseman. If he can play first base, I think he can probably play third base. We know he has a great arm and that he can field ground balls. I guess the only question might be his range. He appears to be capable of hitting with far more power than we’re getting out of Freese, that much is certain.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. “ERA since the beginning of May thru Friday’s games: 1) Kuhl: 4.07 2) Cole 4.08 3) Williams 4.34 4) Nova 4.56 5) Taillon 6.39”

    Maybe they need to try and get Benedict back!

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          1. If it’s one thing I wouldn’t be concerned about is you missing the point as it’s a theme on here.

            Guru Jim Benedict seems to be a big reason for the Pirates pitching success when he was here. Ray Searage is looking more and more just like an average pitching coach. Which maybe he was along.

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            1. I’d be curious to know what other points I’ve missed to constitute this theme but frankly I don’t really care.

              I made a joke about benedicts powers with the Marlin that you took more serious than what it was. I am sorry for that.

              I think Benedicts a good coach. I think Searage is a good coach. I don’t think think they are the wonder twins when they were together and I don’t think they are miracle workers apart. To steal a line from Fish, if they were they’d be making a boat load of money from teams like the Yankees. And if they were vital as a team, NH wouldn’t have “traded” home for Williams.

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                    1. No because if I missed it I would have ignored your response out of embarrassment.

                      Don’t hurt your little mouse finger clicking on that like star with everything Smizek has to say today!

                      Liked by 1 person

                1. You can’t technically trade anyone who’s not a player, but the effect is the same. The Pirates could have blocked Benedict’s departure, as he was under contract to the team through the end of this year I believe. A compensation pick was agreed upon in order to get the Pirates to allow Jim Benedict to move on to Florida. Happily for the Pirates, Trevor Williams has been a godsend.

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            2. I think that Jim Benedict was good with the reclamation projects, working with them in the minor league camp and extended spring training, whereas Searage only works with the guys on the major league roster. Both have had tremendous impact in Pittsburgh, and I’m not sure that what Benedict is doing in Miami is comparable to his role in Pittsburgh so you’re not seeing the same impact.

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            3. Guru Jim Benedict seems to be a big reason for the Pirates pitching success when he was here. Ray Searage is looking more and more just like an average pitching coach. Which maybe he was along.
              ————————————————————————————

              I used to think this also, but Don posted a link to a article a while back that pretty much refuted this and changed my thinking on the subject.

              Don needs to post the link to that article again since people are starting to bring up the loss of Benedict again.

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          2. More to the point, I don’t know how much Searage and Benedict ‘worked together.’ Searage is the MLB pitching coach. Benedict was the minor league coordinator. I’m sure there work sometimes overlapped. But not all that much.

            While Benedict was the minor league pitching coordinator, the Pirates had almost no success in developing pitchers.

            Liked by 4 people

            1. Again, you don’t know but when they were both in Pittsburgh they sure seemed to get a lot of pitchers. Seems some of their pitchers are now going the wrong way.

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  6. The Steelers are having QB problems, with Jones injured. If he’s not back next week, then it may force them to bring in a veteran. One option is Gradkowski, who knows the plays and has a young arm.

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    1. Bring in Kaep. Best QB available and him and Villanueva would be a great story line for a couple weeks. Johnny Football is also said to be working on his comeback

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            1. I wasnt. This team has had, and continues to have, tons of distractions. I dont see one more making a difference. Like you said, they brought in Vick, and Kaep is a far better QB.

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    1. Way to young…

      – Though never a Phillies fan, I always respected Darren Dalton as one of the leaders of those early 90’s Phillies teams, real competitor

      – Don Baylor quietly had a strong MLB career as a player. I remember him as drawing a lot of HBPs but just learned he was hit over 125 times by a MLB pitcher from age 36 on

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  7. There used to be a lot of talk here about Charlie Morton. He was a polarizing figure for sure. One thing that used to come up was his contract. The worst contract in recent memory has to be Homer Bailey. He has made 47 mill the last 3 years to win a grand total of 5 games. He’s owed $44 mill over the next two years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Charlie Morton is definitely one of those guys that fans don’t appreciate until after he’s gone. I always like Charlie, and other than health issues he more than delivered on his contact value.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bob

        But his health issues plagued the Pirates
        He is a known health issue and happens to be with the right team

        If you pay him $8M a year and expect him to miss 2 months (or more) then you have set the bar at the proper height – more or less.

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    2. Charlie could be just oustanding in a few games and then the next he couldn’t get out of the 3rd. He has great stuff but could never be consistent. And of course injuries were a problem as well.

      Perhaps he’s finally figured out how to be consistent, which was really the major thing holding him back.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. With NH making the comment about Kang being cleared makes us a strong team with a strong bench pretty much means these are 2018 Pirates, if that would unfold.

    Marte
    Harrison
    Cutch
    Bell
    Polanco
    Kang
    Cervelli
    Mercer
    Frazier
    Freese
    SRod
    Osuna
    Diaz

    We know he wasn’t talking about the FA market, but more about players the team has under control, no??

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    1. AP

      Just curious…where did you see that Kang is “cleared”?

      I think NH stated that they have tried everything they can and it appears he is not coming back.

      I dont think we will see Kang in a Pirate uni unless his sentence is reversed or he does the time.

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      1. Mark, if you read the article NH speculates about both scenarios, I should have inserted the word “if” in my comment.

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  9. Sorry to hear about Darren Daulton passing. Even though he was a hated Phillie, he was the prototypical catcher for about about a 10 year period. And he did help me win my fantasy league twice.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “Sidney Crosby turns 30 years old today. Let that sink in for a minute. It’s tough to fathom.”

    Yes it is.
    This is why I was extra happy to see the back to back cups and for SId to be a huge part of us getting them.

    That said, I still feel that he/Geno/Letang have one more in them in the next three years but you just never know.
    (I believe Geno might be 31?)

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    1. Getting an accomplished third line center will dictate whether that is true or not. Bonino may not have been a huge goal scorer, but what he brings to the game will be missed.

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  11. Don,

    the morsels are extra tasty this morning and judging from the picture on the beach, i can see why.

    That will be a picture of me in two weeks albeit on the left coast but the beach nonetheless.

    Lots of good stuff this morning.

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  12. “Don’t look for a rehabbing Austin Meadows to arrive in Pittsburgh this season:”

    I wont
    And I dont want him up in September.

    I want to see him crushing AFL Pitching and next year crushing AAA pitching.
    The next 9 months is his “window”

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      1. i want to see him crushing AAA pitching before I “promote” him

        If he comes up in Sept, he better play — and if the Pirates are ~4 ish games out, he wont play enough

        Liked by 1 person

  13. “That means, regardless of what happens with Kang, the Pirates have the depth to listen to trade offers for Josh Harrison this winter.”

    Just curious, not arguing, but who, then, plays 2b?

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    1. Not saying I am a fan of any of these options, but in somewhat order: SeanRod, Frazier, Moroff, Gosselin.

      That being said, I would be shocked if the Pirates dealt JHay this offseason, unless someone absolutely blows them away, which seems very unlikely.

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  14. “As of this writing, Charlie Morton leads the first-place Houston Astros in wins with nine (tied with Dallas Kuechel). He’s also second in ERA behind Kuechel.”

    Well on that note I have to tip my hat to CHarlie
    Not so much for those two accomplishments but to stay healthy and be a positive factor on Huostn;s fantastic year so far.

    Well done CM.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Mike

          If you tell yourself that you will get about 4 months max for CM, you have set the bar properly
          but for $8M?

          He is a very good #4 ……….when healthy
          and he is not healthy ever for a full year

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          1. Rich Hill, a 37 yr old with as much if not more injury risk, is making on average over twice as much at $16M a year this year and the next two years. Charlie Morton at an average of $7M this year and next is definitely worth it even after factoring in the missing time. Look at what Tyson Ross is making and his stats, Jordan Zimmerman, or any other high price, poorly producing SP.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Morton started 29 games in 2011, 26 games in 2014 and 23 games in 2015. For a #4, that’s pretty close to a full season in 2011 and 2014, and perhaps six weeks on the DL in 2015. It is increasingly common for major league teams to put starting pitchers on the DL at the first sign of trouble to protect their investment. Strange thing about CM is that most of his DL time has had to do with hip and groin issues and not so much with arm issues.

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          1. It was his worst trade by far. He thought Niese was better. The facts point to him being at least an average pitcher. I know you like using alternative facts.

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    1. Marte
      Harrison
      Cutch
      Freese
      Bell
      Polanco
      Cervelli
      Mercer
      Cole

      I would like an upgrade at 3rd, but I don’t see it happening. NH seems pretty confident in this group. It’s highly unlikely Cutch or JHay get moved. The team really needs two more relievers in order to step up in the standings.

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      1. For real. In order for Glasnow to be tabbed the OD starter, at least 4/5 of the rotation (Cole Nova Taillon Kuhl) would all have to be traded. Plus why in the world is Bell in LF and Osuna at 1st? Lol

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    2. There is no way that Glasnow is the Opening Day pitcher in 2018. Wishful thinking does not amount to sound analysis. Cole is 90% the opening day pitcher, and if for some reason Cole was not able to go, Taillon would most likely get the start.

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  15. I’m mathematically challenged, but does SROD and Kontos’s contracts eat up all the money saved from Kang and Marte?

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    1. Nope. Kontos “only” makes $1.75M this year. The Pirates, presumably, are on the hook for a third of that; we’ll say $600K. SRod makes $5.75M this year. The Pirates, presumably, are on the hook for a third of that; we’ll say $1.9M. So they’re paying those two guys $2.5M this year.

      Kang would’ve made $2.75M this year.
      Half of Marte’s $5.33M salary equals ~$2.65M. So the Pirates saved about $5.4M with those two players. They still have about $2.9M more to shell out to say they spent that money. Not to mention the savings they got in the Watson for Benoit swap.

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      1. I believe they saved some money with Hughes, too. Now, if you count what Kang was going to make next year and what they have to pay SROD next year, does that wipe it out?

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      2. Maybe a little of this years savings should be thrown Nicasio’s way. With the talk of the 2018 pen needing that 8th inning arm and neither Hudson and Kontos not being the answer, Resigning Nicasio makes sense to me.

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          1. I agree, I think Nicasio will be out of the Pirates comfort zone. I wouldnt be surprised if he gets something along the lines of at least 3/19, which is what the Rockies signed Mike Dunn for this past offseason.

            Taht being said, if the team feels confident they might know something other teams dont about Feliz, I would try bringing him back on a 1-yr deal at the right price if they get out priced for Nicasio. Or maybe kick the tires on Caminero again, who’s pitching OK with the Yomiuri Giants, lol 🙂

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            1. I think the Pirates will have to spend some money on the bullpen next season, Marc. Otherwise, they have a fabulous asset, Rivero, who will be rendered much less effective. They need a strong eighth-inning presence.

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              1. I completely agree, but like you, I just dont see that being Nicasio. I think the years alone would make the Pirates hesitant. The other two were just cheaper middle options definitely not suggesting they would be my 8th inning guys.

                This list could be a little dated but for the most part should be pretty reflective of the relief market this offseason (near the bottom of the article). IMO it doesnt look like there are too many inspiring arms to choose from.

                https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2016/08/2017-18-mlb-free-agent-list.html

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  16. Maybe I’m being obtuse, but does the window of opportunity care if you planned for it or not?

    I know what the plan is. “Be competitive year in and year out, yada yada… (despite no definition of what “competitive” really is; was 78-83 competitive? Is 54-57 competitive? But I digress…)”

    I don’t think the window cared what the plan was. It was there, it opened in 2013, and due to the inaction during the 2015-16 offseason it started closing. There was a chance to try to jimmy it back open in the 2016-17 offseason, but the Kang and Marte problems happened, and there were no fixes….so the window again said, “Damn the plan!’ and shut itself.

    All one has to do is look at the state of the team from 2013-2015, then look at the starting rotation that was trotted out in 2016…and look at the quality of talent in the high minor leagues in both 2016 and now (and 2018 for that matter) to realize that there was a window…whether NH or some of the fans believe it or not.

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    1. Are you saying the quality of talent in the high minors was good or bad in 2016? I often read on here that it has been poor, but when I look at the roster, here are the contributors that have come up beginning part way through 2016.

      Taillon
      Bell
      Frazier
      Kuhl
      Williams
      Osuna

      I’d be curious to see the quality and quantity of milb players other teams have brought up in the same time period.

      When that group is added to Marte, Polanco, Harrison, Cole, and Nova – hopefully along with Glasnow realizing his potential, I don’t see how a theoretical window is closing.

      In my mind a window closes when you mortgage the future by trading last year, guys like Bell (who many on here wanted to trade), in a desperate attempt to add the so called missing piece.

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      1. “When that group is added to Marte, Polanco, Harrison, Cole, and Nova – hopefully along with Glasnow realizing his potential, I don’t see how a theoretical window is closing.”

        That group went 78-83 last year and is on pace to do the same this year.

        Jf that is the best the minors can produce (no Kris Bryants, no Mike Trouts, no Aaron Judges, no Cody Bellingers), then I do believe the window is closed. Who will replace McCutchen? They don’t produce players like that, can’t trade for them and won’t sign them.

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        1. Fats, I agree that a window of opportunity does not necessarily have to be planned. A team can have a window of opportunity close when it loses good players and cannot replace them for whatever reason.

          2018 will almost certainly be Cutch’s last season with the Bucs and they will face a challenge to replace his production. Likely that will have to happen not with one player but with several upping their production enough to compensate. The players you listed above are candidates to do that but I’d say the odds are against it.

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          1. Bell is obviously part of the power solution after the departure of Cutch. I also think that Osuna will be a decent power hitter. Whether or not he remains an outfielder is unknown. I think the Pirates may try and convert him into a third baseman, as that would solve a bigger problem if they really think Kang is gone forever.

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    2. I only believe in the “window” theory, if like Tampa or K.C. or Oakland, you go for it once every 7-10 years, and are mostly not competitive in the intervening years, and then, having created a window and riding it for a couple or three seasons, you deconstruct your roster and start over again.

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  17. — More than 17,000 people paid $10 to watch the Steelers practice last night. I don’t know what that says about those 17,000 people.
    ———————————————————————–

    To be fair, there was a lot more going on at Heinz Field than just a Steelers practice.

    And it also gave Steeler fans that can’t afford or get hold of Steeler tickets to be able to experience the amenities of Heinz Field.

    Also it’s nice for Steeler fans that live to the west of Pittsburgh to see the Steelers practice without having to drive all the way out to Latrobe.

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    1. Agree Kevin

      plus I am sure that it happens at 29 other pre-season camps.
      Football is king

      Maybe the money goes to charities?
      I hope so

      Like

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