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.