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.