Monday, December 25, 2006

Jeff Suppan signs with Milwaukee

Jeff Suppan has signed a four-year, $42 million deal with the Brewers. This is excellent news for the Pirates, as it means that Dave Littlefield won't make the mistake of signing Suppan to a similar contract. While I think that having him in the rotation would have been beneficial to the Pirates, he was not worth that kind of money to this team. I am glad to see that DL never really got serious about competing for Suppan's services.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Roundtable #5

There is a special Pirates Roundtable up this morning. Cory invited bloggers representing some of the teams interested in Mike Gonzalez to weigh in on Gonzo's value to each of those teams. It is interesting to get some outsider views on this topic. Check it out.


I am going back on a promise that I made just yesterday. Here is one more trade rumor for you, courtesy of Bucco Blog. Jake says Adam LaRoche will be a Pirate by Christmas. However, after the winter meetings trade rumors, I will wait until I see it before I believe it.

UPDATE (12/23/2006 10:30 AM): I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere else other than Bucco Blog, so I am still pretty skeptical. Dejan reports that the Pirates have contacted Aubrey Huff, which could be a sign that trade talks for a hitter are cooling off. I would not like to see $23 million wasted on three years of Aubrey. We'll see what happens.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Catching up

I've missed some minor news recently. Time to catch up:

The Pirates recently signed three minor leaguers.

The Pirates signed 33 year-old catcher Einar Diaz to a minor league contract on Wednesday. This makes absolutely no sense, as they already have a backup catcher that provides no offense whatsoever. Humberto Cota went .190/.248/.200 for the Pirates last year, while Diaz put up an OPS under .600 at AAA. It's okay though, because at least Diaz is much older. But we shouldn't be wasting time signing catchers when there are so many mediocre middle relievers out there waiting to be picked up.

Ken Griffey Jr. hurt himself again, this time breaking his hand in the offseason. That poor guy could have been the best of all-time.

The Pirates signed this guy, as a player! He may look like a coach, but he will be playing at the AAA level for the Pirates in 2007. Sigh.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pirates may be shopping Gonzalez

John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times has a hot new rumor that the Pirates and Braves are involved in discussions about a possible trade involving Mike Gonzalez and Adam LaRoche. This is the first time we have heard anything abou...wait a minute, we've been talking about this for a month now. I will make a promise to you. From this point forward, I will not mention another trade rumor involving Mike Gonzalez until something is confirmed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pirates Roundtable #4 and more

The new edition of Pirates Roundtable is up and running. My favorite quote comes from Randy at Buried Treasure when asked to discuss what the Pirates could get in a trade for Jason Bay: "This would be on my top ten list of things I don’t like to think about along with being eaten alive by ants." That's true, killer ants are scary. Also, I believe that I forgot to link to Roundtable #3. It can be found below this week's responses.

Pat came up with a reality television show starring Masumi Kuwata. Good stuff here.

Changing gears a bit, the Penguins future is still up in the air, as the Isle of Capri proposal was not awarded the slots license.

Look at that, a whole post without mentioning a Mike Gonzalez trade rumor. Oops.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Going international

The Pirates signed two international pitchers today. Yoslan Herrera, 25 years old and out of Cuba, was signed to a three-year deal at just under $2 million and assigned to the 40-man roster. Craig Stansberry was designated for assignment to make room for him. Also, 38 year-0ld Japanese pitcher Masumi Kuwata was signed to what is believed to be a minor league contract. Dejan reports that both pitchers are expected to start 2007 with the Pirates' AAA team in Indianapolis.


I wanted to post something today, but couldn't think of anything Pirate-related to talk about other than Mike Gonzalez trade rumors. I am bored with this, but here is the most recent news, courtesy of Dejan Kovacevic of the PG. Also, this is from the New York Daily News.

Now it is time to study the details of NFL tie-breaker rules. I believe this is basically what must happen:
  • Jets must lose at least one of their final two games (at MIA, OAK)
  • Bengals must lose their remaining three games (at IND tonight, at DEN, Steelers)
  • Jaguars must lose their final two games (NE, at KC)
  • Steelers must win their final two games (BAL, at CIN)

If for some reason all of the above occurs and the Steelers slip into the postseason, people around the NFL are going to be upset.

Friday, December 15, 2006

More Gonzo trade talk, etc.

Mike Gonzalez trade rumors continue to rain down upon us, as Dejan reports today that at least six teams have contacted the Pirates about Gonzo. Hopefully Dave Littlefield will be able to use this interest to make a decent deal. I am extremely cautiously optimistic that something good might happen. At the same time, I am also very nervous that something very bad may occur. This is the life of a Bucco fan.

In the same article, Dejan gives a quick overview of each of the eight minor league players that the Pirates signed yesterday. There is nothing very interesting there, unless you are excited about the return of Mike Edwards for some reason.

Also, the Trib is reporting that the Pirates have shown interest in free agent pitcher Joel Pineiro. Pineiro's statistics the past few years have been mediocre at best. My first reaction is that we have no reason to toss $7 million a year his way. I have read a few comments by matskralc in which he disagrees with me. His opinion is based on the fact that Pineiro has been a victim of high BABIP the past couple of years (5th highest in MLB in 2006). It's an interesting thought, even if the Pirates' defense would be unlikely to cause much improvement in that category.
(EDIT: The Trib article also reports the minor league free agent signings made by the Pirates yesterday. However, the information in the Trib conflicts with what was reported in the PG. I don't have the energy (nor do I care enough) to try to research which one is accurate.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Catching up

I am a bit behind on Bucco news, so I will attempt to catch up:

  • The Pirates filled their glaring hole at relief pitcher on Tuesday when they claimed Franquelis Osoria off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers and added him to the 40-man roster. Osoria has put up some decent minor league statistics in the past, but really struggled while splitting 2006 with the Dodgers and Las Vegas in AAA. He could end up being a fairly productive arm, but did we really need another mediocre middle reliever on the roster?
  • The Pirates also tendered contracts to all of their players eligible for salary arbitration. Many of these players were easy decisions (such as Freddy Sanchez and Mike Gonzalez), but the team also decided to keep Shawn Chacon and Humberto Cota. Chacon makes sense, as he can fill the 5th spot in the rotation much more cheaply than any free agent could. But why Cota? He was one of the worst hitters in all of Major League Baseball last season, and the Pirates could very easily replace him with someone at a lower salary. However, the team can release any of these players by March and only owe 1/6 of his salary. Apparently, Chacon and Cota are simply fall back options. The Pirates also resigned Carlos Maldonado to a minor league contract.
  • Mike Gonzalez trade rumors continue to float around. Reportedly interested are the Yankees, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, etc etc etc. Who knows?

There was something else I was going to talk about, but I forget what it was and the lunch break has been over for quite some time now. Maybe I'll get back to it later.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Jon Lieber is too young for the Pirates

The Beaver County Times is reporting that the Pirates are close to signing Masumi Kuwata, a 38 year-old pitcher from Japan who appears to be well past his prime. Going strictly by his statistics, he looks like a typical Pirates' signing. In 2002, he went 12-6 with a 2.22 ERA, but it has been all downhill since then. In 11.2 innings in 2006, he had a 6.94 ERA. I'm not sure anything promising at all can come of this.

However, the same article states that the Braves and Pirates may still be discussing a trade for Adam LaRoche. Who knows if this is accurate or not, but there are a few new names thrown in. Here's what John Perrotto has to say about this:

"However sources close to the negotiations expect both sides to try to resurrect talks once cooler heads prevail and believe the potential is still there for a multi-player deal, including a possibility in which the Pirates would send left-handed closer Mike Gonzalez, catcher Humberto Cota, second baseman Jose Castillo and outfielder Nate McLouth to the Braves for right-hander Kyle Davies and LaRoche."

I'm not going to go any deeper into this, because I've wasted too much time thinking about it during the winter meetings. But I thought I would mention it.


The second installment of Pittsburgh Pirates Roundtable has been posted. The lone question asks for an analysis of the Pirates' performance at the winter meetings last week compared with the rest of the National League Central Division. Take a look at it and be prepared for a minor league edition of Pittsburgh Pirates Roundtable due out on Wednesday.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Anyone bored? Check out Will Pennyfeather's career stats. Did anyone know that he was still playing? Who let this happen?? Who was in charge of keeping an eye on him? Still not entertained? How about Rich Aude? He had a pretty good year in 1993, huh? We will conclude with Midre Cummings. Now aren't you excited that you read this post?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Winter Meetings - Day 4

Last night, the potential trade for Adam LaRoche became virtually dead. Nevertheless, there are still some rumors floating around about the Pirates acquiring LaRoche, probably involving Paul Maholm. I don't feel like going through these rumors, as I don't expect anything to come of them, but here are some articles to check out if you're still interested.

Also, here is Jake's take on the happenings of the past few days. Also here is today's Q&A from Dejan on the subject, as well as another article in today's PG.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Apparently the Gonzalez for LaRoche trade is dead. It appears that Littlefield was hesitant (surprise surprise) and Atlanta GM John Schuerholz grew frustrated and moved on to other things. This is depressing enough that I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Looking for something to lift my spirits in some way, I found this post on Bucco Blog. Jake claims to have a couple of new rumors that he is trying to confirm, and teases us by saying that one would "rock your socks."

Adam LaRoche

For those of you who are still cleaning up some of the vomit after hearing that the Pirates might go with Trot Nixon as their big acquisition at the winter meetings, do not give up hope quite yet. The rumors of a deal bringing Adam LaRoche to Pittsburgh are still there, and they may be intensifying. The Atlanta Braves website is reporting that the Pirates are the team most interested in LaRoche, and also throws a few other names into the mix. Jose Castillo, Salomon Torres, and Kyle Davies are now all being mentioned as possible pieces in a potential trade. In addition to the Gonzalez for LaRoche rumor, we are now hearing the possibility of a Gonzalez/Torres and Castillo for LaRoche and Davies trade. I would call any of these combinations a win for the Pirates (a Torres and Castillo for LaRoche move wouldn't be bad either). Bringing in both LaRoche and Davies would fill each of the major holes the Pirates are looking to solidify (left-handed 1B or RF and RHP). Honestly, I am not all that familiar with Davies. But from what I do know, he would be as good as any of our current starters. Hopefully the Pirates can make something happen here.

Let's look a bit deeper into the stats of Adam LaRoche. You probably already know that he went .285/.354/.561 with 32 HR in 2006. His Win Probability Added (WPA, a measure of a player's ability to increase his team's chance of winning) was 1.20. His Runs Created per Game (RC/G) was 6.24. Both of these numbers are slightly above average. He is a solid defender, ranking 6th out of 21 qualified 1B in zone rating (.860), and in the middle of the pack in range factor (9.47). These are just some things to think about while we are bored with the limited action in Orlando.

UPDATE (12/06/2006 7:45 PM): According to this article on, the Pirates and Braves are getting closer to a Gonzalez for LaRoche deal. This article says that the Braves are waiting only on medical clearance on Gonzo's elbow. Hopefully we will know more tomorrow.

Thanks to Uncle Nate on the comment board over at WHYGAVS for the lead to this article.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Winter Meetings - Day 2

There are only rumors coming from Orlando at this point. Here are a few:

Cory talks about the Pirates willingness to deal Mike Gonzalez. We can only hope that he is right.

Charlie has a few different links, and mentions names like Adam LaRoche, Ryan Church, and Brad Hawpe. Same names, new articles.

On the flip side, Jake is clearing up the rumors that he feels are just wrong.

Trot Nixon and more

So the Pirates are apparently interested in Trot Nixon. This has made some noise around the web, as many fans are terrified that Nixon is DL's version of Lefty McThump. Hopefully the only reason the Pirates are considering signing him is to use him in a platoon role. If they can acquire a Lefty McThump at first base, maybe by pulling off a Gonzalez for LaRoche trade or something similar, this could make sense. Nixon has hit righties much better than lefties in his career and, if he comes at a fairly cheap price, could be a part of a solid platoon with Xavier Nady in right field. And as Cory points out, Andrew McCutchen will be providing outfield help very soon. This is all assuming, of course, that the Bucs can acquire the first baseman they covet.

In other news, Yuslan Herrera has made it to the U.S. and is looking to sign with the Pirates, DL does not expect to make a pick in the Rule 5 Draft, and Sammy Sosa has not signed with the Pirates. That is good.

Also, in this same article we read the sad news that Jim Tracy's father passed away on Thursday. You and your family are in my prayers, Jim.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Typical DL

Ken Rosenthal says in this article that the Pirates have inquired about Braves first baseman Adam LaRoche. He also says that the Pirates are not willing to part with Mike Gonzalez to make this trade happen. I can only hope that this is inaccurate information. Or at the very least, incomplete information. Gonzalez for LaRoche is the exact trade that the Pirates should be looking to make right now. Take a look at my response to question #3 of this week's Pittsburgh Pirates Roundtable for reasons why the Pirates should be looking to trade their closer. As for LaRoche, he is a 27 year-old left-hand hitting first baseman that put up a .915 OPS last season. This alone makes him a perfect fit for what the Pirates need this offseason. He would be under the Pirates control for at least the next three years if they acquired him. Also (and yes this is an extremely small sample size to even bring up), he hit the heck out of the ball in his two games at PNC Park last season, going 3-6 with 2 HR and a double. Not that that really matters, but it makes it easier to envision him consistently attacking the Clemente Wall through 2009. If the Bucs have the chance to deal Gonzalez for LaRoche straight up, they should do it without any hesitation.

On another note, Dejan from the PG is doing a daily live online chat from the GM meetings in Orlando. Take a look to see the answers he provided to fans' questions today.

Also, Jake from Bucco Blog discusses the Pirates revenue in his podcast from 12/03/2006. He believes it is possible that the team could have up to $106 million to spend if ownership wouldn't take an enormous profit first. Who knows what's going on inside those offices?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Pittsburgh Pirates Roundtable

The Pittsburgh Pirates Roundtable is up and running with its initial discussion topics. This is a website that was orgainzed by Cory at A New Pirates Generation and brings several different writers together to discuss nothing but Pirates baseball. Check it out to see a variety of opinions in one place. This week's questions were:

1. What's your take on the Pirates' situation within the NL Central? What impact have free agent signings and trades within the division had on the Pirates as they move forward this offseason and enter the 2007 campaign?

2. Which pitcher in the Pirates' organization would you absolutely refuse to trade?

3. If you had Dave Littlefield's job, what's the first personnel move you'd make?

The Roundtable will be updated with new questions and responses each Monday. Feel free to leave any comments you have and get a discussion going over the next week.

Many thanks to Cory for the extra work he put in to make this project possible. Also, check out his site for some great reading.

Salary arbitration

Just a quick link here. Yesterday was the last day for teams to offer salary arbitration to players. Take a look here to get information on that.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

This and that

I should be going to bed, but I figured I should throw out some links with very little analysis before getting to sleep.

Cory found a story in which Bret Saberhagen claims he would decline induction into the Hall of Fame if he was voted in, in protest of the exclusion of Pete Rose. It is interesting that Bret would turn down such an amazing achievement to support someone he doesn't even know. And while I have never really formed a firm opinion either way on the Pete Rose issue, I support Saberhagen on his comments.

Earlier today, I remembered that Jody Gerut was still on our roster. I glanced at some of his stats, and learned that he has a pretty drastic split facing LHP/RHP. His numbers in 2004-2006 are an anemic .191/.304/.281 vs. lefties and a more servicable .275/.344/.431 vs. righties. While he doesn't have great numbers against righties, it got me thinking that a Jody Gerut/Xavier Nady platoon in right field would probably be the best plan for the Pirates in 2007. Nady's splits over the same period are also perfect for a platoon, at .331/.409/.506 against LHP and .243/.291/.418 against RHP. While Nady's overall numbers are obviously better than Gerut's, it probably wouldn't hurt to give some of his starts against right-handed starters to Gerut. Now all the Pirates need to make this work is that power-hitting first baseman. Anyway, the interesting part is that just a few hours after I started thinking about this, Jake posted some words by Jody Gerut from 2004. He actually sounds like a pretty intelligent guy.

Charlie has some updates on the recent signings of Glavine, Durham, Hawkins, and Posednick. Take a look at them.

The folks at Bucco Wire say that they will be in Florida for the Baseball Winter Meetings that run 12/4 -12/7 and promise any insider information they can come across. Insider information is swell.

Here is what thinks will happen at these Winter Meetings. Yawn.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Some Links

From Charlie at Bucs Dugout, here's some statistical information on minor league defense, something that has not be easily obtainable. Charlie points out that, according to these statistics, the Pirates have two of the top ten defensive shortstops among all minor league teams (Brent Lillibridge and Brian Bixler).

In today's Q&A, Dejan disagrees with my opinion that the Pirates would be foolish to pursue Jeff Suppan or Tomo Ohka via free agency. He makes some good points and I'll admit that he has me second guessing myself a bit.

If you're more of an audio person than a reading person, Jake at Bucco Blog has been doing podcasts almost daily this week. Here are links to Podcast #2, Podcast #3, and Podcast #4. (If you're looking for #1, he apparently was not satisfied and trashed it.) I have enjoyed listening to these, and I recommend you take a few minutes and do the same.

Tom Verducci at has a well-written article about overusing young arms (link via A New Pirates Generation). It is an interesting article that mentions Zach Duke and Paul Maholm.

Trivial crap that only people who read baseball blogs in late November care about

Here's something new for the blog. I have one of those one-a-day baseball calendars on my desk. Starting today, when I read something interesting on it, I will post it. So without further ado, here is your first installment of Trivial Crap That Only People Who Read Baseball Blogs in Late November Care About:

Thursday, November 30, 2006
Dubious Achievement
Bill Childers and Doc Hamann had the least-successful pitching careers in Major League history, each giving up six earned runs without ever retiring a batter. Childers surrendered two hits and five walks for the 1895 Louisville Colonels, while Hamann coughed up three hits, three walks, and a hit batsman for the 1922 Indians.
Now aren't you glad you know that?

No Hawpe

The Denver Post is reporting that the Rockies Brad Hawpe is not going to be traded this offseason. It looks like the Pirates will have to look elsewhere for Lefty McThump.

Thanks to Bucco Wire for this link.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Today's news

The Pirates are reportedly interested in free agent pitcher Tomo Ohka. This is a slightly better idea than pursuing Jeff Suppan, as Ohka has similar numbers but will come with a lower price tag. However, I still would rather the Pirates avoid the crazy free agent market entirely this season, fill that spot in the rotation internally, and save some money for a chance to contend in 2008 or 2009. There's no reason to spend money just to spend it.

Cory at A New Pirates Generation has an excellent post with details on the compensatory draft picks teams receive due to free agent signings. It is good information that any diehard should want to be aware of.
EDIT: Cory posted some more valuable information on this matter on Thursday.

CBS Sportsline's Larry Dobrow attacks Dave Littlefield in a way that is not often seen on mainstream websites. It is sad for a Pirates fan, because it is so true.

Turner Ward is the new manager of the State College Spikes, the Pirates' affiliate in the New York-Penn League. I have two very fond memories of Ward from his couple of years with the Pirates. The first, of course, is when he dove through the outfield wall at Three Rivers Stadium to catch a flyball, with the Pirates trailing 10-0! This single play defined Ward's playing career. The other was watching Ward easily circle the bases for an inside-the-park homerun while a young Andruw Jones lazily jogged after the ball in left-center field. If memory serves me correctly, this was a ground ball homerun. This single play, in my personal view, defines Jones' career. Anyway, it's a good day when I get to see Turner Ward's name in the news.

The Pirates announced the rest of their minor league managers and coaches today. I don't have anything interesting to say about this.

Pat at WHYGAVS summarizes the arguments on whether or not the Pirates should spend the money to bring in a veteran pitcher such as Suppan or Ohka.

A few weeks ago, Cory posted a list of possible Lefty McThumps the Pirates could look into acquiring, along with links to their stats at Baseball Cube. It's a nice resource, and I've found myself going back to it often. So I decided to temporarily link to it on the sidebar, right below ESPN's free agent tracker.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

This, that, and the other

According to Dejan at the PG, the Pirates are interested in signing Jeff Suppan. Why, why, why? Suppan had a decent 2006 season and would be a nice fit for the Pirates rotation, but he is not worth his current market value. His performance in this year's NLCS, when he allowed only one earned run in 15 innings, will cause some team to overpay for his services in 2007 and beyond. He reportedly will command a multi-year deal at a salary around $8 million to $9 million per season, an amount the Pirates do not need to be committing to a pitcher who will turn 32 in January. If this was a team that was one or two pieces away from contending in 2007, this would be a great move. But for our Bucs, who need to continue to develop a good group of young players while obtaining several more parts for a chance to compete in 2008, this is wasted money. I would rather throw a Shawn Chacon into the rotation, or maybe some cheaper alternative, and save that money for when contention is within our grasp.

John Bettis, father of Jerome Bettis, died earlier today. The sight of John and his wife Gladys standing among the Steelers' faithful each week was a comforting thing to see for many years. This is sad news.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Marte inked

The Pirates have exercised their 2007 option on Damaso Marte for $3 million. I would have called this a terrible move six weeks ago, but with the outrageous contracts suddenly being handed out to mediocre players, this had to be done. So far this offseason, Justin Speier has been handed $18 million, Mike Stanton has signed for $5.5 million, and Jamie Walker has pulled in $12 million. Each of these pitchers are older than Marte and none were much better than he was in 2006. With a salary at only $3 million and an option for 2008 at the same price, Marte should have some solid value in the trade market. This also gives the Bucs even more bullpen depth if a team inquires about Grabow, Torres, or another reliever.

EDIT: This was as far as I got this afternoon while on my lunch break. I came home tonight to finish the post and found out that the Pirates have now extended Marte's contract an additional year. Marte is now signed through the 2008 season with an option for 2009. I am not sure what to make of this move, especially since the financial details have yet to be revealed. The Pirates should primarily be focused on trading Marte before the 2007 season, not tying up future payroll on this left-handed reliever. My hope is that Dave Littlefield has something up his sleeve, and that he didn't just give Marte a raise on the contract he already had. Maybe DL was able to lock him up for an extra season at little more than the initial $3 million per year in order to increase his trade value. Maybe Dave saw the extraordinary contracts that have been given to average relievers recently, and realized that a lefty with an ERA under 4 and a relatively cheap 2-year contract could possibly bring something in a trade. Maybe he even has had contact with another team and has something in the works that helped cause this extension.

But because of
recent history, I am nervous about this move. I am worried that Mr. Littlefield has been ignoring the glaring holes that need filled at first base, third base, right field, starting pitcher, etc. and is trying to build a contender through the bullpen again. I hope I am wrong, and I am interested to see what develops of this situation.

Rotoworld has the finances of this contract at $2.45 million in 2007, $2 million in 2008, and a club option at $6 million for 2009 with a $250,000 buyout. This still doesn't make much sense. I have no idea why Marte would take less money, as it is very unlikely he will ever see that $6 million in 2009. This is a good deal for the Pirates, as they now have less money tied up in Marte, plus his trade value rises with the even cheaper contract. I am tired now, and ready for bed. I am also confused, because in the past two days the Steelers have lost 27-0 and the Pirates have apparently made a good move. What is this world coming to??

Thanks to Bucs Dugout and WTM for links.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Trade Rumors

Rumor has it that the Pirates and Rockies possibly have been discussing a trade that would send LHP Paul Maholm to Colorado in exchange for RF Brad Hawpe. Though it seems to be purely speculation at this point, it is nonetheless exciting. Hawpe went .293/.383/.515 last year with 22 homeruns, and boasts a career minor league OPS of .952. He is a bit older at 27 than what the Pirates should be looking for, but he is still a year away from salary arbitration and comes extremely cheap for his production. Also, he performed much better on the road last season, which helps alleviate any fears I have of Coors Field inflated numbers.

It has also been mentioned that the Rockies want more than just Maholm, specifically Tom Gorzelanny. Personally, I would prefer to throw a reliever in with Maholm before letting go of Gorzelanny, as we have plenty of relievers to throw around. Gorzo for Hawpe straight up would probaby still be a good deal because of our desperation for offense, but I wouldn't be in quite as big of a hurry to make that move. We'll see how serious this rumor turns out to be.

This speculation is brought to you by and The Rocky Mountain News. Links provided by Pat at WHYGAVS and Cory at A New Pirates Generation.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Some Links

Charlie at Bucs Dugout put up a couple of good posts over the weekend. He provided his thoughts on the Soriano signing, explaining why it was an ill-advised move by the Cubs. Last night he followed up on his post from Friday, in which he described how a shrewd Pirates GM could take advantage of the insane free agent market we have seen develop. These are interesting reads for Pirates fans, as most of us have no idea how an intelligent GM might operate. Also, Pat at WHYGAVS adds a similar opinion on this matter.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Another Free Agent Signing


43 year old Cecil Espy was just signed to a 4 year, $30 million contract. These ridiculous signings just keep getting more insane.

NOTE: This is not true at all. I made it up.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Cory at A New Pirates Generation compiled a list of potential targets for the Pirates to fill their Lefty McThump hole. There are quite a few players on this list (31 to be exact) and each contains a link to the player's stats, courtesy of Baseball Cube. I am looking forward to taking a deeper look through each player's stats, potential availability, etc. Hopefully I will find some time this weekend.

One name on the list, first baseman Joe Koshansky, was also mentioned in Ed Eagle's most recent Q&A on This article is mostly crap (for example, someone asks why the Pirates are letting Freddy Sanchez become a free agent), but Ed makes a good point in that the Pirates could get Koshansky for some pitching, one of their supposed strengths. Also, much like Ryan Shealy, Todd Helton is blocking Koshansky at the Major League level.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nils Ekman

This is a Pirates blog, so you won't see many posts like this. However, being a fan of all Pittsburgh sports, occasionally I will have to venture a bit.

During the second period of tonight's game, Nils Ekman of the Pittsburgh Penguins scored three goals in 4:10, the fastest hat trick in Penguins' history. Although the Pens eventually lost in overtime, those few minutes had the fans losing their minds a bit down at the Civic Arena. I was losing it myself, I was so excited while watching the game on TV. I have to get down to a game real soon.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Pat at WHYGAVS has put up a couple of great posts the past two days.

Yesterday he went through the history of the Pirates' logos and uniforms. This post also links to a couple of great sites that have a ton of information on past uniforms and logos.

Today, in the spirit of Election Day, he put together some fictitious political advertisements based on the hypothetical situation in which the Pirates GM had to be voted into office. One is supporting Dave Littlefield, the other is against him.

EDIT: Another link; Deadspin has an article about Woody Paige leaving Cold Pizza, and explains rather well what a waste of television space he was. It is a good day, as we now will have to deal with less Woody on our televisions (although apparently he will continue making appearances on Around The Horn [sigh]).

(Link via Mondesi's House, also check out a clip of Joey Porter's pal Jerramy Stevens taking a knee to the crotch.)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Gold Gloves

The AL and NL Gold Glove Awards were released this week. Does anybody care? This award is based so much on reputation that it's not even interesting to see who wins. Everybody knows Derek Jeter is going to win no matter how he plays. Everybody knows that Michael Young has no chance of being voted in over Jeter, despite the fact that he is statistically superior to Jeter in every category (as is Jhonny Peralta, Juan Uribe, and Orlando Cabrera; that's four out of only nine shortsops that qualified this season) . In fact, let's take a deeper look at some of the Gold Glove winners this season and how their statistics compare with other qualified players at their position.

Let's start with the previously discussed AL shortstop award, the easiest argument to make. Derek Jeter won the AL Gold Glove for shortstop for the third consecutive year (Note: The last time a guy not named Jeter, A-Rod, or Vizquel won this award, the Pirates were in the postseason), despite being below average in fielding percentage, range factor (RF), and zone rating (ZR) (Glossary). Out of nine qualified shortstops in the AL, Jeter ranked 4th in fielding pct. (.975), 9th in RF (4.14), and 7th in ZR (.810). Take away his average fielding percentage, a flawed statistical measure at best, and Jeter was arguably the worst defensive shortstop in the AL this season. Michael Young (ranked 2nd in RF and 2nd in ZR), Jhonny Peralta (1st, 6th), Juan Uribe (3rd, 1st), Miguel Tejada (4th, 4th), Carlos Guillen (7th, 3rd), and Orlando Cabrera (8th, 5th) all were more deserving than Jeter. Or in other words, 2/3 of all qualified shortstops. But then again, one time Jeter caught a pop-up and then went face first into the seats. Plus he won this award last year. So maybe he does deserve it every year until retirement.

Then there's Torii Hunter, who won his sixth straight Gold Glove in 2006. This marks the third consecutive season that the entire AL Gold Glove outfield remained the same. Hunter is an incredible athlete who seems to show up every night on Web Gems, but does that make him the best outfielder in the game, as he is often called? Personally, I think that over half of the great outfield catches we see should be much easier plays than they end up being, but that's another post for another day. Let's take a look at the stats. Out of ten qualified AL centerfielders, Hunter ranks 6th in range factor (2.56) and 7th in zone rating (.870). I would say that Corey Patterson has a beef here (2.94, .926), as does Brian Anderson (2.87, .883). Or how about Carl Crawford (2.24, .878), who had an outstanding RF for a leftfielder. And while we are discussing AL outfielders, Vernon Wells ranked dead last out of AL centerfielders with a RF of 2.34 (and if we want to bring back fielding percentage, he was next to last there too). But he won a Gold Glove for the third straight season. And Andruw Jones over in the NL, who won his 9th straight Gold Glove this season was last among all Major League outfielders with a pathetic ZR of .846.

There are many other 2006 winners that I could vent about here, but I am tired and don't feel like talking about such a stupid award anymore.


Qualifications = 2 games per 3 team games

Fielding Percentage = (PO + A) / (PO + A + E)

Range Factor (RF) = (PO + A) / innings

Zone Rating (ZR) = The percentage of balls fielded by a player in his typical defensive "zone," as measured by STATS, Inc.

All statistics provided by

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I had a few minutes so I thought I would provide you folks with a couple of links real quick.

Pat at WHYGAVS takes a look at who the Pirates may consider putting on the trading block this offseason.

Cory at A New Pirates Generation continues to play fantasy GM after the alleged signing of Yuslan Herrera. There a bit of additional information provided in the comments section, plus someone who claims to be from Cuba.

Charlie at Bucs Dugout was reading the comics this morning. He also reports that Joe Randa expects to retire this offseason.

Finally, David at Baseball Analysts writes an interesting article about pitch location. I'm not sure that there's anything extremely valuable to learn from the data, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Now go and read. This writing thing is easier when you just use articles by other people.

EDIT: Here's an update on the Yuslan Herrera situation from the Post-Gazette (link via WHYGAVS). Basically Dave Littlefield declines an opportunity to confirm the signing, and also it states that Herrera likely would not be with the Major League club even if he is signed. is reporting that a three year deal is set, pending only a physical.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Our Right-Handed Starter?

Pat at WHYGAVS and Charlie at Bucs Dugout have reported that the Pirates have signed Cuban defector Yuslan Herrera, a 25 year old right-handed starting pitcher (there are others bringing this news to us also, but I read it at these two sites first). There is not much information available on him that I can find outside of what Pat and Charlie have found. Apparently he throws a fastball in the 88-92 mph range with an above average splitter, and has had some success in Cuba in the past. However, he defected after the 2004 Olympics and nobody seems to know what he's been doing since then. I'm not sure what to make of this alleged signing (no official word as of yet), but it is at the very least intriguing. This could mean that maybe Dave Littlefield is coming up with some new ideas about how to build a successful team, which would be beneficial to everyone. But more importantly, if Herrera can be a successful 4th starter, as one scout claims he could, he would be a very cheap and efficient way to fill the right-handed starter hole the Pirates currently have. That would leave a considerable amount of payroll available to use on the left-handed power hitter the team so desperately needs. Acquiring that impact hitter would have the Pirates on a definite move in the right direction.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Jeromy Burnitz

A couple days ago, the Pirates made it official. They will be buying out Jeromy Burnitz's contract for 2007. While this just a formality, as Burnitz obviously would not be with the team next year, I am a bit sad to see him go. While I won't miss his rally-killing strikeouts or his below-average defense, I like Burnitz the person. I loved how open he was about his struggles this season, never made excuses, and occasionally even voiced what everyone watching was thinking - that he was not helping the team at all.

The Pirates could not under any circumstances keep Burnitz. But I wish him well and hope he finds somewhere else to play and succeed.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

2006 World Series

It's been a while since I have found some time to post anything new. I figured this would be a good time, what with the World Series beginning tonight. A few days ago, the world was preparing to hand the Tigers the title without so much as a hesitation. This was a team that had dominated the Yankees and A's this postseason, including seven straight victories entering the World Series. They were boasting a dominant pitching staff and came from a superior league. The Cardinals had just been shut down by the one and only Oliver Perez, who, other than the occasional sailing fastball, looked nothing like the Perez that went 3-13 with a 6.55 ERA this season. Most believed that no team from the NL would stand a chance against any AL team, especially a St. Louis squad that had been only five games over .500 in the regular season.

And the Cardinals won tonight 7-2. Not to sound like I knew this might happen, because I didn't, but why were we so quick to mark this one down as over before it started? Yeah, the AL beat the snot out of the NL during interleague play. Yeah, the NL only had one team with 90+ wins.

So what.

Anything can happen in a seven game World Series. Over 11 seasons, Jim Leyritz averaged one homerun every 28 at-bats in the regular season . In the postseason, he homered every 8 at-bats, including a couple of clutch bombs. Hell, the Pirates took five straight from the Mets and Dodgers in September. ANYTHING can happen with a small sample size. Plus, the Tigers were anything but dominant in the second half of this season. They dropped 31 of their final 51 games and squandered a huge division lead before settling for a wild card berth. Nobody remembers that after a couple of postseason wins.

That said, the Tigers will quite possibly still take this series. A 7-2 loss in game one does not mean a thing. I hope they do. Andy Van Slyke deserves his ring.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Good Reading

Check out Pat from WHYGAVS's post from August on whether or not Jason Bay is clutch. It is well written with solid research.
EDIT-10/10/2006: Also, Charlie at Bucs Dugout has some additional input on the matter in his 2006 review of Bay.

Cory at Pirates Generation has a look into the 2007 Pirates. It's a nice breakdown of the roster and possibilities to improve it.

The Post-Gazette has a look back at the 2006 Pirates and a look forward to the 2007 Pirates.

Stats Geek also had a live chat yesterday that you should check out.

I apologize for linking to some older posts, but this blog is in its infant stage and I read some interesting items before it began.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Contratulations Freddy Sanchez
2006 National League Batting Champ

Catching Up

I have not posted anything in over a week, and I apologize for this. I have been a bit busy, and also a bit inefficient with my time. A brief recap of what has happened since that last post:

  • Two consecutive 2-1 losses last Saturday and Sunday to the Padres. Trevor Hoffman tied Lee Smith's saves record Saturday and broke it on Sunday. I am happy for him, but did not enjoy the conclusion of a lousy west coast trip that had started promising. I was able to watch very little of these two games, so I will not comment any further.
  • The Pirates returned home to host the red-hot Astros on Tuesday. Houston was in the midst of an incredible surge upward in the standings that would eventually fall a bit short. I attended this game, and found only a bit to enjoy throughout the evening. The second inning was fun, as Bay and Bautista launched a couple of pitches well into the bleachers to briefly tie the game. Also Freddy had a typical four hit, two double night to take firm control of the batting race. Other than that, just your typical 7-4 loss.
  • I was in attendance for Wednesday's game as well. This one started in a very promising manner, with Freddy bringing Duffy home with a first inning single (here's hoping we get to say that every day in 2007), Doumit ripping a second inning pitch over the centerfield fence, one more coming home in the third, and three runs scoring as the result of an Xavier Nady single in the fifth. Also, Shawn Chacon had quietly allowed just a sac fly through five innings and we were holding a strong 6-1 lead. But it all fell apart in the sixth, as Shawn Chacon ran out of gas after looking dominant just an inning before. The lead was cut to 6-5, and the Astros were able to scratch a run across against Torres in the ninth to tie it. And a game that was already dragging was extended several innings. I had to wake at 5 the next morning and the game did not end until after midnight. Plus, this was a game the Pirates had no right losing after our early lead. But I love extra-inning games way too much not to enjoy the night. There's just something exciting about being one of the last thousand fans remaining in the park as the game goes longer and longer. 14th inning stretches are great. I was on the scoreboard twice, since there was no inning-break entertainment planned and nobody else was really left to be shown. Yes, we lost. yes, I slept through the alarm in the morning. Yes, Freddy's two early hits were cancelled out a bit by extra at-bats. Yes, Houston did not give him a chance to win it, employing the intentional walk tactic. But I still had a blast.
  • I was at work on Thursday and could not watch the game. It sounded as if Gorzelanny was throwing well, but all three hits that he allowed came in the fifth inning and three runs came across also. Oswalt shut us down and that was that.
  • I was unable to watch the game again on Friday, and do not know much about what happened. Freddy had a couple of hits and the infield turned a slick double play. The losing streak is at eight.
  • I went to the game on Saturday, and the losing streak ended. This one only lasted about 2 hours 20 minutes despite a 13 minute rain delay thrown in. McLeary either pitched well or the Reds saw that they had been eliminated from the playoffs and quit trying. Either way, a shutout is a good thing everytime. The Bucs got a couple of clutch hits from Paulino and Bautista, and Torres got the save to pull within one appearance of Tekulve's record. Freddy went 0-4 and will enter the final day of the season leading the batting race by only 3 points. It should be exciting.
  • Sunday's game flew by also. Shane Youman looked pretty sharp (hard to tell from sec 210, but seven shutout innings is a decent measurement and he was breaking bats all game). Despite Youman's performance, Nady's three hits-including the game winner, and Torres tying Tekulve's record, this day belonged entirely to Freddy Sanchez. With thousands chanting his name, he calmly singled in his first two at-bats to clinch the batting title. While Miguel Cabrera took the rest of the day off after K'ing twice and losing any chance of coming back in the race, Freddy continued playing his heart out as the Pirates defeated the Reds 1-0. After Freddy's second hit, he was given a standing ovation while standing on first base. Eventually he gave in to the crowd and briefly raised his helmet to the crowd. The Post-Gazette compared that moment to Roberto Clemente acknowledging the crowd after hit number 3000. The tribute to Freddy after the game, while a bit dramatic, was great, and I was glad to be there for it.

In home games that I attended this season, the Pirates were 11-14. In two away games, they were 0-2. Wait 'til next year.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

09/22/2006 Padres 6 - Pirates 2

Well, I was looking forward to watching this game tonight. Since we're falling apart on the mound and getting no-hit, I will talk about something other than what is currently occurring.

Since this blog is in its infant stage, I will briefly tell a bit about myself. I am a lifelong fan of the Pirates, and here is a short history of what I remember (This might be a bit boring for many of you, I apologize in advance):

  • My earliest memory is sitting in the upperdeck of Three Rivers Stadium in 1988 at four years old and watching Sid Bream hit a walkoff homerun on Richard Caliguiri day (checked, it was May 6, 1988).
  • In 1990, my dad got tickets so we could attend an NLCS game against the Reds. That morning I woke up sick, vomited in the school library, felt better, then vomited again during the car ride home and was told I would not be going to the game. Bogus.
  • You might think the next thing I am going to say is how I shed tears after that fateful game in October 1992. I did not. I sat in silence with my dad and uncle in our basement where we watched the game. We were completely stunned, unable to speak for what felt like hours after what we had just witnessed. And that's enough about that.
  • Since I started typing, Joe Randa broke up the no-hitter with a two-run shot. We lost 6-2. Sigh.
  • We lost for some years, starting and restarting a few 5-year plans in the process. 1997 was pretty exciting, as a team in a complete rebuilding year fought for a playoff berth until the final few weeks. There were some fun games that year (no-hitter with a walkoff homerun, striking out overpaid Albert Belle 4 times in one game, the July 4th game in St. Louis, Joe Randa and Mark Smith back-to-back 9th inning homeruns to win against the Dodgers, etc.), but that was the closest we would come to the postseason.

That's about all I can think of to put in my brief personal Pirates history. I should note that I am a steadfast optimist and generally will give players and management the benefit of the doubt. (You will never read anything on this site about how Mark Cuban should buy the Pirates and lead them back to glory. Frankly I am tired of hearing that crap.) This point of view will make it difficult for me to be objective, but I will attempt to avoid being delusional about the Pirates chances for success (see yesterday's post where I basically guarantee that the Pirates will win the 2007 World Series). If you ever feel that I am failing in that attempt, feel free to call me on it. In fact, feel free to comment on anything if you agree or disagree with me. I would love to hear your opinion and discuss a bit.

Discussing the 1997 season has me again thinking about some of the most enjoyable Pirates games that I have attended in my life. Maybe I will put together a top ten list or something in the next week or so.

Friday, September 22, 2006

09/21/2006 Dodgers 5 - Pirates 2

A funny thing happened last night. After sleeping for about two hours last night, I suddenly awoke. A groggy glance at the clock told me that it was 12:51 AM, and I immediately realized that was the perfect time to check the Pirate game. Seconds after turning on the television, the commercial ended and I saw that we were heading into the top of the ninth inning with the Dodgers leading 5-2. I immediately decided that this ending was going to be so glorious that God himself woke me so that I would not miss it. Two K's, a single, and another K later, and the game was over. I realized that this was just another of those moments that I must endure in order to make the 2007 World Championship that much sweeter (I will talk about my unwavering optimism in a post in the near future).

The one interesting thing I saw before falling asleep in the second inning was Jason Bay's single in his first at-bat. The one thing I would like to see Bay improve on for 2007 is his two-strike approach. Too often he still seems to be looking for a pitch to drive in these situations as opposed to simply trying to put the ball in play somewhere. Because of this, his strikeout total is high as he often is fooled by the pitch. Many times he goes down chasing a breaking ball off the outside corner (presumably looking fastball) or is frozen by the heat (possibly expecting something offspeed). I would like to see him shorten his swing with two strikes and react to the pitch rather than guess what is coming. Keeping his hands back and going to right field should decrease his strikeouts and make his game that much stronger. Not to mention he can still hit some homeruns in these situations, with his tremendous power to the opposite field.

Now to get back to what prompted all of that rambling. In the second inning last night, Bay was facing a two strike count (I think it was 1-2). The pitch was a slider, the type of pitch Bay doesn't always seem ready for when behind in the count. Granted this particular slider was pretty poor (flat and right out over the plate), but I was encouraged by the solid single Bay delivered up the middle. His swing was short and he seemed to be looking for just a base hit.

If the Pirates can acquire their power lefty this offseason to protect Bay, he should be able to cut down on his strikeout total. Here's hoping that player isn't a repeat of Jeromy Burnitz.

Looking forward to getting to watch the game tonight. Let's start another win streak.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

09/20/2006 Pirates 6 - Dodgers 4

So this west coast trip is really hindering my ability to see the Pirates play. The 10 PM games don't really mesh well with the 5 AM wakeup. I only watched a couple of innings before muting the television and drifting off to sleep last night. So the only comments I can make come from reading recaps and such:

  • It looks like Shawn Chacon pitched pretty well, making it a couple of solid starts in a row. Is it possible that when I marked that trade down as a bust three innings into his first start for us that I was being unfair? Probably, but was I wrong? Well that's a different story.
  • Freddy Sanchez had four hits, including two doubles, and is baseball's leading hitter. No surprises there.
  • When Jose Bautista batted for the first time in Tuesday's game, I said to those I was watching the game with, "Jose has really been struggling, especially his power." He singled in a run a few moments after that comment. Later in the game, he hit a grand slam. Yesterday he hit another homerun. And that is why people don't often take me seriously.
  • Chris Duffy had a couple more hits as well as two stolen bases. It seems he attempted to bunt for a hit also, which I would like to see more of. I think Duffy's ability to become our everyday centerfielder and be productive will have a major impact on whether a successful 2007 season is coming. (Along with the hits and stolen bases, Duffy also struck out twice last night. That gives him 60 K's with only 16 BB this season. These are numbers he must improve on next season.)

That's all of the thoughts I can pull out of the box score. Look for the same tomorrow if I can find the time. Hopefully tomorrow night I will actually be able to watch the game and get a little more in depth.

Over the next week I plan on putting together some posts about some of the things I regularly daydream about. You can expect some entries about my favorite Pirate games of all time and maybe a Turner Ward reference or something. I would like to tell a little about myself also. We'll see what develops.

Hopefully Shane Youman can continue the bit of success he has enjoyed thus far tonight. Another sweep would be nice.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Well here it is, the first post. You may wonder why I am starting a Pirates blog now, with only 11 games left in the season. It looks like I am beginning just in time for a long offseason without any games to write about. Well, this is very true. But it has been an unusual week here in Pittsburgh, so I figured now is as appropriate a time as any.

This past Monday, the defending Super Bowl Champion Steelers were pushed around by the Jacksonville Jaguars, a sight that Steelers fans are not used to seeing. This was obvious by the frustrated reactions of the folks watching the game around me (including myself). However, over the past week the Pirates have won six of seven, including four straight against first-place teams. While much of Pittsburgh has been busy worrying about Big Ben's health, I have enjoyed some extremely fun baseball. After suffering through 90 painful games to start the season, the past 61 have me excited again.

I spend much of my time daydreaming about the Pirates. I think it is time to write some of these thoughts down.