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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Pirates’ Bell credits yoga for improved flexibility, weight loss | TribLIVE

“I took my first ground ball and I was like, ‘Oh, gosh! I’m way too stiff.’ ” Bell said. “All season long, (Young) was busting on me: ‘I told you to go to yoga. What, you say your hips are tight? I told you to go to yoga.’ So, the first day of (this past) offseason, I started going to yoga.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 17, 2017 at 08:58 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: josh bell, pirates

Friday, January 06, 2017

The Pirates and Their Continuing Search for Velocity | FanGraphs Baseball

I’m generally not interested on what a pitcher “touches” in velocity. It’s where he sits that’s generally what matters. There are a lot of pitchers referenced in this article. Adding Kuhl seems a stretch.

Chad Kuhl is another success story from later in the draft, a ninth-rounder out of Delaware in 2013 who was touching 97 mph at the major-league level last summer.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 06, 2017 at 07:46 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Pirates first baseman Josh Bell heeds advice from veterans on the offseason | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jaso, who also will work at third base and in the outfield, picked up the first-base position quickly this year and had only five errors in 748 innings there this season. He could be an option to enter late in games to spell Bell, a role Sean Rodriguez has filled the past two seasons.

“Josh Bell is going to grow into being a really good defensive and offensive player and he won’t need that,” Jaso said. “But if that’s a role I can have and that the team would want me to that, that would be great. I’ll work as hard as I can. Whatever they toss my way, I’ll take it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 27, 2016 at 09:31 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: josh bell, pirates

Can any other team follow the Pirates’ blueprint? - Beyond the Box Score

So, the Pirates won’t be able to follow their own blueprint.

Those three defining characteristics sum up the Pirates — if not in their entirety, in large part. Success with developing prospects, bringing in free agents, and tweaking pitchers is a big reason why the Pirates are reloading, not rebuilding, and ready to carry their success over into another generation of prospects. Unfortunately, those defining characteristics seem fairly unique to the Pirates; they’re products of luck, circumstance, or the kind of skill that can’t be replicated. In another five years, Pittsburgh themselves might join the rest of the league in looking back on their trajectory over this period and wondering how they can replicate it.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 27, 2016 at 08:41 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Friday, December 23, 2016

Pirates sign Ivan Nova to 3-year deal | MLB.com

Standing in front of his locker at PNC Park on Sept. 29, Ivan Nova made his preference clear. He did not want to leave the Pirates’ clubhouse, he said, and he would do whatever he could to return in 2017.

Nova stayed true to his word. The Pirates addressed their biggest offseason need on Thursday, agreeing to a three-year deal with the veteran right-hander. The agreement, confirmed by an industry source, is pending a physical. The contract will pay Nova $26 million, according to reports by FanRag Sports and FOX Sports. The deal includes $2 million per season in performance bonuses, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 23, 2016 at 06:31 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, ivan nova, pirates

Monday, December 12, 2016

Pirates pitcher Tyler Glasnow eager for 2017 opportunity | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Recently, the Pirates’ top pitching prospect, Tyler Glasnow, heard something pretty funny. He was at bowling event for Pirates Charities, and one fan piped up with this wisecrack, something about how it would be cool if Glasnow could throw strikes on the baseball field, too.

“Touche,” Glasnow said, laughing, as he retold the story Sunday. “It’s all right.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 12, 2016 at 02:02 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, tyler glasnow

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday Notes: Winter Meetings, Pirates, D-Backs, Dodgers, Dozier, more | FanGraphs Baseball

Neal Huntington on the Pirates defensive alignments.

“You plan for the best, you evaluate what happens, and you react and adjust accordingly,” explained the Amherst College alum. “We’re working through how we’re going to redeploy, and how we’re going to improve the model, and how we improve the execution of that.”

As is the case with defensive shifts within the infield, buy-in is essential.

“We need to make sure we educate on why we’re doing what we’re doing — why we believe it is the right thing, and not just some random thousands of data points.” explained Huntington. “It’s pitcher-specific, with enough valid data points to make it tangible. But if a pitcher doesn’t execute a pitch, and a ball is hit where we’re not going to catch it, there’s nothing we can do about that. You can’t defend the outlier.

“There is a percentage of the field you can defend, and we’re looking to maximize that percentage, based on pitcher, defender, and probabilities. That’s all we’re doing. Everything we do is about playing the probabilities.We’re about maximizing probability, based on analytic models and scouting models.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 11, 2016 at 08:52 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: notes, pirates

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Pittsburgh Pirates prospects Josh Bell and Tyler Glasnow rise to the top of team’s Organization All-Stars | MiLB.com News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball

Right-handed starter—Tyler Glasnow, Altoona (2 games), Indianapolis (20 games), Pittsburgh (7 games): Glasnow rang up 144 strikeouts over 116 2/3 innings in the Minors to pace the organization for the second straight year. While he compiled a 1.93 ERA and .176 opponents’ average in the Minors, the 6-foot-8, 220-pound hurler also issued 5.2 walks per nine innings. However, his command improved as the year went on, especially after making the jump to the Majors in July and September.

“I think there were points where his age became a factor,” Treanor said. “He tried to strike everybody out, and then once he settled in and got to Pittsburgh and understood that he just needs to force contact and not try to strike everybody out, you saw some flashes of what he can be.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 04, 2016 at 09:52 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, prospects

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Report: Jung Ho Kang Charged With Fleeing Scene Of DUI Crash

According to reports from Yonhap News’ Jeeho Yoo and Korean outlet Naver, Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang has been charged with leaving the scene of a DUI crash in Seoul. It’s Friday in South Korea, and Kang was reportedly arrested at 2:48 a.m. local time with a blood alcohol level of 0.084 percent. That’s a shade over the legal limit in the United States, but it’s well above the 0.05 percent limit in South Korea….

According to Naver, Kang ran into a guardrail then left the scene of the crash on foot. A translated comment from a police official indicates that nobody was hurt.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 01, 2016 at 09:50 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dui, jung-ho kang, pirates, police blotter

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why trading Andrew McCutchen is a real possibility for the Pirates | FOX Sports

Not wanting to be moved from center is an issue better left for a new club to sort out.

Trading McCutchen, however, would enable the Pirates to re-allocate payroll to other areas. It also would enable them to move Starling Marte from left field to center without conflict; McCutchen does not want to switch to an outfield corner, sources say.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 30, 2016 at 02:03 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, pirates

8 MLB teams that should target the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen | FOX Sports

Do writers just reflexively add the Yankees to every big contract acquisition?

Yankees
In order to fit McCutchen into the lineup, New York would have to trade left fielder Brett Gardner (and there have been rumors of that) or scrap the plans to start rookie Aaron Judge in right field. The former seems more likely, and the Yankees have the farm system (and finances) to pull off a McCutchen deal.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 30, 2016 at 10:27 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, pirates

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Can the Pirates find a trade partner for Josh Harrison? | FOX Sports

Team president Stan Kasten, however, said that the Dodgers are not facing any payroll restrictions or any pressure from baseball.

“There is no mandate. There is no problem with our debt,” Kasten said. “We are continuing to operate on the same program we have since the day we walked in here in 2012. That’s building through our minor-league system while continuing to aggressively put the best team on the field that we can each year.”

Baseball issued a statement:

“The Commissioner’s Office works with all clubs to monitor compliance with the Debt Service Rule. Non-compliant clubs are asked to submit a plan demonstrating a path to compliance. Clubs are evaluated on an ongoing basis relative to that plan.

“The rule is intended to ensure the financial health of clubs relative to their ability to service their indebtedness, not to influence decisions on the player market. There are various ways to achieve compliance and there is no mandate to cut payroll.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2016 at 06:14 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, dodgers, notes, pirates, twins

Monday, November 28, 2016

Andrew McCutchen could benefit in right field | MLB.com

Some very interesting stuff on McCutchen and some other defenders.

Please, more of this stuff.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 28, 2016 at 06:31 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, pirates

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dock Ellis Biopic in Development With David Permut

“Hacksaw Ridge” producer David Permut is developing a movie about the life of the late Major League Baseball pitcher Dock Ellis.

He moved pretty good (for a guy on acid).

Bote Man Posted: November 17, 2016 at 04:06 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dock ellis, movies, pirates

Hurdle taking McCutchen’s future with Pirates ‘one day at a time’ | TribLIVE Mobile

“I’ll take it one day at a time,” Hurdle said. “I think any general manager that’s in a market similar to the one we’re in has to explore the possibility of (trading) players who have one or two years left on their contracts. You have to see what value is there to keep or to move.

“That’s the way we’re going to need to continue to operate. It’s the hard part of what we get to do.”

McCutchen, who’s on vacation in Hawaii, was unavailable for comment.

“Andrew has been very black and white in the conversations I’ve had with him,” Hurdle said. “He’s told me, ‘I’m under contract here, so I plan on playing here. However, I don’t call all the shots, either.’ ”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 17, 2016 at 11:48 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: clint hurdle, pirates

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Pirates set to gauge thin line of free-agent pitching arms | TribLIVE

Think about that for a minute.

Leading up to free agency, the Pirates extended multiyear offers to their latest successful reclamation project in Ivan Nova. But Nova seemed determined to test what figures to be a historically thin market for starting pitching.

Nova is rated the fourth-best starting pitcher available, according to CBSSports.com.

 

Jim Furtado Posted: November 09, 2016 at 12:42 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, pirates

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pirates look to address deficiencies, close gap on Cubs in 2017 | TribLIVE

A lot of good stuff in this one.

Last offseason Huntington lamented the starting pitching market “blew up.” The average starting pitcher signed last offseason earned $10.02 million per year, compared to $8.07 in the 2014-15 offseason — a 21.6 percent increase….
Not only are proven veteran pitchers becoming more expensive, but the market for reclamation-type pitchers also is becoming more competitive. More teams are identifying the same players as undervalued thanks to growth of front office staff and available data.

“It’s absolutely become more competitive, more challenging,” Huntington said. “When more teams evaluate the way you do the prices get driven up and resources become the advantage again.

“We continue to work to find ways to stay ahead of the curve.”
...
If more teams are targeting the same players, does the Pirates front office need to change its level of risk tolerance? In the past, the Pirates have preferred to spread risk — and their modest budget — over multiple smaller, shorter-term contracts.

“Is that (risk tolerance) line moving? It has,” Huntington said. “Because every significant contract we sign is a risk. When you look at Francisco Liriano at $13 million, when he performed well it is an affordable contract. But it’s the equivalent of $30-$40 million (per year) for the Dodgers. Percent of payroll is real. It’s not an excuse. When a contract is 13 percent of your payroll versus 4 percent, the level of risk tolerance is so very different …. How far do you stretch? It is a case-by-case situation.”
...
“We are a copy-cat industry,” Huntington said. “Ground ball pitchers have become more valued. We could be stubborn and stay the course and pay more than we ideally like. Or we can look in a different direction and find value in a different way. … It comes back to what may be successful for five years will probably not be for 10. There is a constant ebb and flow.”
...
Huntington said center fielder Andrew McCutchen’s MLB-worst -27 DRS mark “catches your attention.” But Huntington and Hurdle also said McCutchen was hurt at times by playing shallower while the staff was less able to execute.

“As this staff played out it didn’t match up to the same analytics off the mound (from 2015) that we were looking to (regarding) the defense,” Hurdle said. “We have some thoughts moving forward on how to adjust.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 16, 2016 at 02:11 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Starting Nine: Modest proposals for Pirates offseason agenda | TribLIVE

Travis Sawchik proposes some fixes for the Pirates.

1. The following is a series of modest proposals for an offseason agenda for the Pirates. Where should the club focus? Pitching and defense. Those areas must be improved to shrink the gap in the NL Central.

2. Andrew McCutchen had his exit interview with manager Clint Hurdle and general manager Neal Huntington on Thursday. McCutchen was the last player to be interviewed. What to do with McCutchen? It is perhaps the first question the Pirates face this offseason. There is a good chance McCutchen’s bat will play above his 2016 level. McCutchen’s plate discipline has returned since his early August bench (13% walk rate, 12% strikeout rate, .912 OPS in September). But even if McCutchen were moved to left field, perhaps discussed behind closed doors Thursday, he would continue to be a defensive liability.

If McCutchen is not concealing an injury, perhaps he is losing athleticism. He is rated as the worst defender in the game this season according to defensive runs saved (-26 runs below average), and on the bases he has declined from taking the extra base 64 percent the time in 2013 to a career-worst 27 percent this season.

The Pirates need their highest-paid position player to be a complete player. It’s why the Pirates should explore the trade market for McCutchen’s bat.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 02, 2016 at 08:19 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Pirates’ Pitching Magic Ran Out

I bet he can’t bend spoons either.

“I know there are some teams out there who think, ‘Well, you know, we have the best pitching coach in the world, so we’re going to take so-and-so and turn him into something really good,’” Alderson said. “You’ve got to be careful about that. If you get your person at the right price, looking to turn him into something better than what you’ve purchased, fine. But I think you’ve got to be real careful about saying, ‘We’re going to make him better because we know something that nobody else knows.’”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 15, 2016 at 02:48 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Friday, September 09, 2016

Tyler Glasnow MLB Pipeline Pitcher of the Year | MLB.com

He has a way to go.

One thing Glasnow wants to do is improve his walk rate and overall command. It was one of the few statistical categories that the big right-hander didn’t improve this season, as he walked 5.2 per nine in the Minors (up from 4.4 per nine in his career).

“I definitely have to work on the consistency,” Glasnow said. “I don’t want to lose any stuff, the stuff that got me those numbers. I think I need to be able to go out and do it every fifth day. There’s obviously going to be some ups and downs, but it has to be a little bit more consistent than it has been.”

Glasnow is well aware that the issues are largely physical. It can be more difficult for a pitcher his size to repeat his delivery, which can lead to the command problems he’s had at times throughout his career.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 09, 2016 at 06:21 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, prospects, tyler glasnow

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Pirates notebook: Cole relieved after receiving diagnosis on ailing elbow | TribLIVE

Cole rejoined the Pirates on Tuesday after being examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. ElAttrache found inflammation — but no ligament damage, bone chips or bone spurs — and agreed with the Pirates doctors’ diagnosis.

“Any time you have elbow pain, a lot of things can be connected,” Cole said. “It could be from the shoulder, a lot of different things. That’s obviously a major concern. So, obviously, it’s a relief that (the ligament) is not involved.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 31, 2016 at 08:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: gerrit cole, pirates

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pirates’ Gerrit Cole will miss Monday start | MLB.com

This isn’t good.

Gerrit Cole will not make his scheduled start Monday in Chicago in order to seek a second opinion on his right elbow, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington announced after Saturday’s 9-6 win over the Brewers.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 28, 2016 at 08:46 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: gerrit cole, injuries, pirates

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pirates extend David Freese

The Pirates have announced that they’ve extended David Freese through 2018, with a club option for 2019. Via Jon Heyman, Freese will receive $11 million guaranteed, with the contract taking an unusual front-loaded structure—Freese gets $6.25 million next year, $4.25 million in 2018, and $6 million or a $500,000 buyout in 2019.

Freese is already 33 and is a complementary type rather than a star, so at first glance, it seems a bit odd that the Pirates would extend him. Their recent trade of Francisco Liriano suggested pretty strongly that a veteran contract gone wrong is a big deal for them, and they already have Francisco Cervelli, who’s still productive but who’s shown signs of wear this year, under contract through 2019. It might seem obvious that a player like Freese is worth $11 million, and maybe it is, but decline can come quickly for a player his age—John Jaso, whose role on the team going forward now looks less stable than ever, is proof of that.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 23, 2016 at 11:59 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: david freese, pirates

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Jameson Taillon Beginning To Blossom Into A Star

“The catchers are smart,” Taillon said. “The catchers and Ray really game plan quite well. I’m keeping my head down. I don’t shake much, I just do what Ray says and throw whatever those guys put down.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 13, 2016 at 08:45 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jameson taillon, pirates

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Pirates GM Huntington details thinking behind trade deadline deals | TribLIVE

The Pirates were delayed in announcing the Liriano trade as they struggled to reach a player involved in the trade.

“Because of the delay with the Liriano announcement, we weren’t able to articulate ‘the why’ early in the process,” Huntington said. “Many people jumped to incorrect conclusions. Our primary motivation was to acquire Drew Hutchison. ... Instead, it came out that we moved two prospects to move Liriano’s contract. Now I can’t tell you that wasn’t a part of the motivation, but the primary motivation was to acquire a quality pitcher.”

“We understand even if we’d been the first voice heard, there would still be speculation that we were not being truthful, that we were not being forthright in what our motivation was. But because we were essentially the last voice heard, the perception was already built. ... Opinion becomes fact when it gets repeated enough.”

Huntington said the Pirates were motivated by events months earlier, when the club was surprised by the price for pitching last offseason.

“We recognize there is a scarcity in the affordable starting-pitching market,” Huntington said. “Mediocre pitching is getting paid a lot of money. As we look forward, whether it’s the trade market or free agent market, the challenge of acquiring quality, controllable, productive starting pitching ... is hard to do.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 07, 2016 at 07:57 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, drew hutchison, francisco liriano, pirates

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