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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Pittsburgh Pirates

Released OF Chris Singleton.

Singleton failed his physical, so off he went.  It’s only too bad that the Pirates don’t have the same stringent requirements for performance as they do for health.

Singleton will get a minor league invitation somewhere provided the reason he failed the physical isn’t too alarming.  He had an ear infection, but I can’t imagine him failing a physical for that.

Dan Szymborski Posted: March 11, 2004 at 12:37 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 21, 2002 at 03:07 AM (#559281)
Rios was arbitration eligible and hasn't been healthy since the trade; he might be back at a lesser salary.

Meares was added back to the 40-man per his agreement with the Bucs to drop his arbitration. As soon as they can do it in ST, Meares will be back on the 60-day DL.

What's odd here is that the Bucs didn't let Jimmy Anderson go. He's also arb-eligible and almost certain to be non-tendered.

-- MWE
   102. NTNgod Posted: November 25, 2002 at 09:09 PM (#559719)
As we speak, is Vlad making an appointment with his doctor to get some anti-depressants?
   103. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 25, 2002 at 10:16 PM (#559724)

Initially, I wanted to go out and kill someone, or maybe write a flaming phillipic about how Dave Littlefield's lost his mind.

After I stopped and thought about it, though, the move isn't quite as bad as I'd initially supposed. I would rather have seen him drag in a couple of minor league lottery tickets like Calvin Pickering and Mario Valdez, but a strict Simon-Young platoon could (in theory) put up a .850 OPS. A rolling RF/1B platoon of Simon/Wilson and Wilson/Mackowiak could be even better.

I don't see this as an indication that Craig Wilson will spend 2003 on his keister; he logged more time in right field than at first last year, and the odd release of Rios would suggest that Littlefield plans on handing big Craig the job there next year. If he goes back to the bench, though, I reserve the right to start sniping front office-types from the left-field catwalk.

Bottom line: I'm not quite ready to give up my hope-and-faith before we even hit Thanksgiving.
   104. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 25, 2002 at 10:17 PM (#559725)
Heh. Just noticed the clever Civil War reference, Dan. Adrian Burnside doesn't have notable sideburns, unfortunately.
   105. WillYoung Posted: November 25, 2002 at 10:34 PM (#559726)
I can't believe how the value of some players has risen in just one year. Last winter, David Bell was worth only a utility infielder - not $17 million. Randall Simon was worth a Spring Training non-roster invite, not 3 minor league prospects. It doesn't make any sense that a GM can watch a spring training NRI turn into an average Major Leaguer and think to himself, I've got to trade for that guy rather than, I've got to find another guy just like him. There are lots of Randall Simons and Tony Fiores available - just go look for them.
   106. bob mong Posted: November 25, 2002 at 11:29 PM (#559729)
<i>Adrian Burnside is a lefty who's probably not ready for the majors after a lackluster performance in the Eastern League and some control issues. The Tigers will have essentially open auditions for the pitching staff this spring training, but Burnside is unlikely to make the team.
   107. NTNgod Posted: November 26, 2002 at 01:25 AM (#559732)
After Simon's arbitration hearing, I wonder if Littlefield might consider dumping him if he gets too large of a pay increase (the old Seattle/Brian Hunter scenario).

Since Simon has superficially impressive stats in some categories, an arbitrator might give him a decent-size bump....
   108. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 26, 2002 at 01:09 PM (#559733)
The Pirates also signed Herbert Perry's little brother, Chan, to a minor league deal. Not real exciting, and hopefully unnecessary, but noted here for completeness.
   109. Russ Posted: November 26, 2002 at 04:21 PM (#559734)
Dan, the thing is that the Pirates are swimming in guys who have a better chance of becoming major leaguers than Burnside. Sanchez throws harder, Guerrier has better off-spead pitches and control, and Gonzalez would be better if he could just stay healthy. Not to mention that Nashville and PNC Park appear to be places where former prospects go to get good again (Torres and Meadows). I liked Burnside, but I'm pretty happy that the Pirates are going to be platooning Simon with Young. It's not groundbreaking and it's not creative, but it should be effective and I'm pretty happy with that.
   110. Bill Posted: November 26, 2002 at 05:43 PM (#559735)
NTN, I don't believe you can release a player after you go to arbitration with him. If Daubach is going to be a non-tender, I think Simon should have been. I certainly agree with you, Olperfesser, about Betts.
   111. NTNgod Posted: November 26, 2002 at 09:08 PM (#559736)
Unless something changed in the new Basic Agreement, you can (although you would be liable for a small amount of salary depending on when you release the player).

The Mariners released Brian Hunter in the spring of 2000 after he got a arbitration payday that was larger than they thought he was worth...
   112. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 26, 2002 at 09:55 PM (#559737)
That's true, but they also ate his full salary in order to do so.
   113. NTNgod Posted: November 26, 2002 at 10:25 PM (#559738)
That's true, but they also ate his full salary in order to do so.

Actually, they had to eat a quarter of his salary since they released RIGHT before the season:
   114. NTNgod Posted: November 27, 2002 at 01:34 AM (#559739)
In other Pirate news, they've signed John Wasdin to a minor league deal...
   115. WillYoung Posted: December 12, 2002 at 08:51 PM (#560571)
I think the problem is that the Pirates just as easily could have found another Tony Fiore, Chris Hammond or Darren Holmes for one/sixth the price.
   116. Walt Davis Posted: December 12, 2002 at 11:09 PM (#560575)
Or maybe the reason guys like Boehringer bounce around a lot is because they aren't that good. His career ERA+ is 103. He's an average pitcher. And he'll be 33 next year.

As to not being able to build a good pen out of spare parts, the Pirates top relievers (by Wolverton's measures) last year were Suaerbeck, Boehringer, Williams, and Lincoln. Three of those guys were scrap heap material at the beginning of 2002 (and I believe Williams had been earlier in his career).

Of the top 30 relievers, I count 11 (not including young guys) that cost less than $1M last year.

Paying Boehringer $2M per year is a waste of their resources.
   117. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 13, 2002 at 02:57 AM (#560579)
The problem with signing Boehringer is that he was a Type A free agent drawing a lot of outside interest. If he'd signed with Houston (the hottest rumor at the time of the signing), he'd have brought a first-rounder and a sandwich pick.

It's risky signing relievers to multi-year deals. Look at Josias Manzanillo- dominant in 2000 and 2001, hurt and ineffective in 2002. Littlefield stuck to his guns on Manzy, offering him arbitration and refusing to go to 2 years, with the end result of him being disposable when his performance dictated that he would be so.

The Pirates have a great history of coming up with creative bullpen solutions. Of the effective guys in the pen at some point last year:
   118. Mikαεl Posted: December 13, 2002 at 03:18 AM (#560580)
I'm pretty sure Boehringer was Type B, not A. Still woulda been worth a sandwich pick, and what need do the Pirates have for certainty in the middle of the bullpen?
   119. NTNgod Posted: December 13, 2002 at 03:44 AM (#560581)
FWIW, he was a Type B:
   120. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 13, 2002 at 01:33 PM (#560583)
Oops. Well, I think a sandwich pick's still more valuable, though it isn't quite as bad a decision as I'd thought.
   121. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2002 at 05:50 PM (#560584)
I think its a safe bet to say BB is a a 125 pitcher at this stage of his career. Certainly not a 103 pitcher!

I disagree. Those seasons amount to about 250 innings. If an average starter put up a season of 120 ERA+ somewhere around ages 30-32 would you expect him to continue putting up a 120 ERA+?

Maybe Boehringer has found himself (as perhaps Tim Worrell has), but if I'm a young, low-budget team, I'm not gonna pay $2 M for 2 years to find out.

On a related note, I wonder how effective something like ERA+ is for relievers. One, their ERAs will vary much more from season to season due to fewer innings pitched. Two, I'm under the impression (but don't know if this is true), that your average reliever (or at least your average short reliever) has a lower ERA than your average starter.
   122. Voros McCracken Posted: December 13, 2002 at 11:59 PM (#560585)
Another problem with ERA for relief pitchers is that for relievers, earned runs are assigned in a fairly arbitrary manner. I think a component ERA type measure should be more effective. I'm not sure that matters in this specific case, but worth mentioning.
   123. Mr. Crowley Posted: December 14, 2002 at 12:41 AM (#560586)
It's a trap!
   124. NTNgod Posted: December 15, 2002 at 12:31 AM (#559740)
From the Toledo paper:
   125. NTNgod Posted: December 15, 2002 at 12:39 AM (#559741)
That excerpt makes more sense if I include the prior sentence:

Two other players in the Simon trade have yet to be determined because minor league rosters are frozen until the Rule5 draft Sunday.
   126. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 15, 2002 at 04:03 AM (#559742)
None of these guys are what I would call *really* hot prospects. Neither Reid nor Shaffar are overpowering pitchers; both reply on movement and placement, and while both have had a history of minor league success they're back-end-of-the-rotation guys at best. Rivera's upside is Paul Konerko or Brian Daubach - low to mid .800 OPS, if everything goes well. Garrett is a tweener OF who is too limited defensively to play CF and won't hit well enough to play a corner position. These guys are B- to C+ prospects; they have a chance to contribute in the majors, but probably not much of one.

-- MWE
   127. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 15, 2002 at 04:59 PM (#559743)
These are still a better class of prospect than I'd hoped for when I heard about the deal. I'll probably change my vote to a "Thumbs Down" if the Tigers pick Rivera, though I can't imagine why they'd want ANOTHER first baseman.

I'm also confused by the reports of the Pirates negotiating with Matt Stairs and inquiring about Daryle Ward. What does Simon do that Stairs doesn't, and why would you need both Stairs AND Ward on a team that already has Simon and Craig Wilson?
   128. Russ Posted: December 15, 2002 at 06:07 PM (#559744)
My next-to-worst nightmare: Giles in centerfield again next year? Hyzdu/Mackowiak in left, Wilson/Stairs in right?

My worst nightmare: Giles traded for a centerfielder.
   129. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 16, 2002 at 01:51 PM (#560791)
I always thought Stairs was underappreciated as an OF, and in his short stint with the Cubs as a 1B, I didn't think he looked bad. I should say that he LOOKED bad, but he seemed to make the plays, and I remember some excellent diving 3B-like plays.

He would've been a good signing for the Cubs, who need a corner outfielder who can hit RHP as Alou insurance. His missed clubhouse presence was cited last year. Stairs can still pound RHP, and he's coming cheap. He's probably more likely to get playing time in Pittsburgh than he would for the Cubs though.
   130. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 16, 2002 at 03:57 PM (#560792)
I think Stairs was a good deal at $900,000. Maybe not for the Pirates...but plenty of teams could have used him. I know the Giants could have used a second outfielder that wasn't an automatic out.
   131. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 16, 2002 at 05:22 PM (#560793)
I have to disagree with you on just about every point there, Dan. Stairs has had a much better line than your projection the last two seasons, on the order of .245/.350/.470 . An OPS of .820 for less than a million bucks isn't anything to sneeze at, and I don't see any reason to believe that this year is the year his performance finally falls off a cliff. If nothing else, I'm surprised that you expect a 20-point loss of OBP without a corresponding decline in batting average, since it's unusual for a player with Stairs's skill set to suddenly lose his batting eye.

I also have to speak up a bit for his fielding. In his 50 games in right last year, he had four assists, which implies that his arm is still acceptable. His range is a bit below average, but he didn't look that bad when I saw him (and my parents got tickets to the Fireworks Night Package, so I saw a LOT of the Brewers last year).

The decision to use him as a platoon partner for Craig Wilson is, of course, asinine. Craig Wilson vs RHP, 2001-2: .255/.350/.469/.819 . Stairs vs RHP, 2000-2002: .246/.356/.463/.819 . That total does include Stairs's awful 2000, but even so, it's hard to tell the two apart by looking at the stat line. On the other hand, the Pirates wouldn't really lose anything by swapping Stairs in for Wilson vs. RHP, which makes me think they might be planning on trading Wilson to fill another hole somewhere else. It's also possible that he's penciled in as a backup plan in case Randall Simon doesn't work out, or maybe here to provide negotiating leverage for the team in Simon's arbitration case.

Regardless, I think that the Stairs signing is the best move of the offseason for Pittsburgh, sneaking in ahead of re-signing Al Reyes. The Pirates needed guys who could draw walks and hit for power, and Stairs can do both without breaking the bank. He'll greatly improve the bench, if nothing else.
   132. All you Need is Glove Posted: December 16, 2002 at 10:22 PM (#560847)
114 Ks against two pitchers and never struck out by anyone else !!!

Those guys must have had some amazing stuff :)
   133. ColonelTom Posted: December 16, 2002 at 10:45 PM (#560851)
Because I bought Pirates tickets for a game last season, I get the team's occasional press releases in my e-mail box. This one struck me as particularly pathetic:

<i> -----------------------
   134. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 17, 2002 at 05:03 AM (#560852)
He was a lousy pitcher, and I'm glad to see him gone. It would have been nice to get something for him, but since I can't see why anyone would want him, just getting the roster spot back is probably enough. Hell, not having another night at the ballpark ruined by a six-walk performance is enough.

I got really sick of the Jamie Moyer wishcasting after a while. Anderson's marginal stuff and lousy control put him light-years behind even a young and ineffective Moyer. Anderson's a lefty with 500 career IP because he was a cheap young pitcher for a lousy team that needed all the starting candidates it could beg, borrow, or steal. He didn't earn those innings; he got 'em for the same reason Omar Olivares and Ramon Martinez got 'em: SOMEBODY has to pitch every fifth day.

A lot of the fans here did get on Anderson for his weight and otherwise unpleasant appearance (his shirt's perpetually untucked and he's got the build, face, and demeanor of a Dickensian wino), but I have to think that it all would have been forgiven if he'd even been within shouting distance of effective on a regular basis. Rick Reuschel was pretty popular during his time in Pittsburgh, after all.
   135. MM1f Posted: December 17, 2002 at 06:40 AM (#560853)
Another guy I wouldn't be surprised to see in Braves camp next spring...

Trying to make him into another Holmes, Hammond type

Except he's MUCH younger
   136. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 18, 2002 at 03:56 PM (#560796)
I thought Travis Lee had a lock on the "does but isn't" title.
   137. Bill Posted: December 18, 2002 at 05:05 PM (#560798)
I thought Mickey Brantley had retired the "does but isn't" title, but perhaps he's now faded from memory.
   138. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 25, 2003 at 02:53 AM (#564282)
According to Yahoo!'s splits, Reyes doesn't have much of a lefty-righty split at all for his career, and he was substantially worse against lefties last year. He's probably here for the Ron Villone-long lefty role, which makes him not so much a situational guy at all. That's cool by me.

Holtz is decent enough that the Pirates might feel comfortable trading Sauerbeck for a CF, which is also cool by me. Mike Gonzalez is the third car in the LOOGY derby, FWIW.

Good signings, both of 'em.
   139. Mr. Crowley Posted: January 25, 2003 at 08:49 PM (#564285)
It's a trap!
   140. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 26, 2003 at 02:58 AM (#564286)
Reyes could, in theory, be a good starter. He needs to improve his stamina and his control, and if he starts the year in Nashville's rotation, he might get the opportunity to work on both. Who knows? He was a good starting prospect not all that long ago.
   141. ColonelTom Posted: January 27, 2003 at 08:36 PM (#564289)
Villone's a pretty good LOOGY candidate in his own right. Villone's RHB/LHB OPS splits last year were .834/.636; over the last 3 years, .869/.729. He also seems to put up better numbers in his first inning than afterwards; of course, a portion of that may be because he's been spotted against lefties in relief.

Still, as a LOOGY, he'd have a much better shot at success than in the mopup/spot starter role he's had.
   142. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 29, 2003 at 01:59 AM (#564503)
Rickey is probably Plan B at best, behind Kenny Lofton.

Ken Rosenthal's latest column said that the Pirates were negotiating with Jeff Suppan, so it's possible that Littlefield's not done yet, either. I guess if the Yankees are going with a 7-man rotation, it must be OK, right?
   143. Russ Posted: January 29, 2003 at 05:41 PM (#564509)
I think that one of the reasons the Pirates aren't going after hitters is because they don't have a lot of roster flexibility in that respect. They won't eat the Kevin Young or Randall Simon contracts, and the best available centerfielder at this point is Kenny Lofton (with Alex Ochoa as a possible dark horse if he can cover the ground in center). They do, however, have 2 open rotation spots and 1-2 spots in the bullpen (especially if they go with 12 guys). The Pirates had a lot of success last year going this route, getting quality innings from Salomon Torres and average-ish innings from Brian Meadows, although we did have to suffer through the pain that was Ron Villone.
   144. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 29, 2003 at 07:55 PM (#564510)
Don't forget about Scott Sauerbeck, who was a Rule V pick.

I think Russ's analysis of the Herges deal is dead-on, though I'm not optimistic about the scout being correct.
   145. NTNgod Posted: January 30, 2003 at 01:27 AM (#564512)
Add Jeff Suppan to the Pirates' pile of pitchers...
   146. Russ Posted: January 30, 2003 at 03:53 AM (#564514)
The Pirates have a who's-who of replacement pitching in the works right now, guys that even your somewhat casual fan would recognize:

Suppan, Tavarez, D'Amico, Arrojo, Dennys Reyes, Prieto, Holtz, Meadows, Boehringer, Torres, Wasdin, Herges, Figueroa.

Add that to the guys who only the hard-core fans would know:

Jim Mann, Blas Cedeno, Brett Laxton, Mark Corey

And then add in the guys who the Pirates think might be decent prospects:

Ryan Vogelsong, Bronson Arroyo, Matt Guerrier, Justin Reid, Ben Shaffar, Dave Williams, Mike Gonzalez, Duaner Sanchez.

Plus the guys who were already on the team:

Benson, Wells, Fogg, Mike Williams, Joe Beimel, Scott Sauerbeck, Mike Lincoln.

Gonna be a fun camp... did the Pirates start a second AAA affiliate in the off-season to get room for all these pitchers?
   147. Russ Posted: January 30, 2003 at 04:29 AM (#564536)
Littlefield is doing what he can. I think that he feels that if the team finishes over .500 with some "exciting young players" that it will spur attendance enough for him to spend in the 2003-4 offseason to get himself a real free agent hitter. The Pirates rotation right now doesn't look half bad, as long as they can get someone with a reasonable glove in centerfield... hopefully that good glove man with a decent OBP will step forward... not so fast Mr.'s Mackowiak and Hyzdu.
   148. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 30, 2003 at 01:16 PM (#564515)
I think Williams should move from the "decent prospect" pile to the "hardcore fans" stack. He's still a young guy, but he was good enough in 2001 to qualify as an established pitcher, at least in my mind. He's also a quick way to win a bar bet; how many people know that he led the minors in Ks in 2000?

You forgot Al Reyes as well. Don't feel bad, though; everyone else does, too.
   149. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 30, 2003 at 01:20 PM (#564539)
I'm looking for the Pirates to trade a starter for a CF sometime in the near future. Benson's value is down until he proves that he's back at full strength, and Wells is the rotation's anchor. My money's on Fogg as the man to go.
   150. Darren Posted: January 30, 2003 at 05:19 PM (#564542)
What does this mean: A flat million bucks with 4 for 2004.
   151. Bill Posted: January 30, 2003 at 05:42 PM (#564543)
Another good entry for the "can't strike people out, so he can't win" list. One more slip down in his K rate and he's out of the majors.
   152. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 31, 2003 at 02:11 AM (#564546)
He was talking about offense. Pokey hits like a glove-first shortstop, Jack hits like a pitcher, and there isn't a true CF on the roster.

Dan was making reference to the details of Suppan's contract. The deal calls for a 500k base in 2003, plus incentives, and either a 4M option for 2004 or a 500k buyout. Hence, 1M guaranteed.

Nobody wants Herges, not even Cincinatti.

As for Derek Bell, I heard a good line about him somewhere: He was just taking this whole "pirate" thing too far, living on a boat and stealing money from the rich merchants who line the shores.
   153. Russ Posted: January 31, 2003 at 03:36 PM (#564547)
As much as I love Josh Fogg, I agree that the Pirates should strike while the iron is hot. Fogg is a good, but not great prospect. I think the best fit out there is to send Fogg and a low-level pitching prospect to the Twins for Jacque Jones and Lew Ford. The Pirates would have to pay a lot for Jones this year (and next?) but then they let him walk and have Ford to take over. The Twins certainly don't need Ford and probably don't need Jones...
   154. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 31, 2003 at 07:27 PM (#564550)
Blech. That Giles offer won't even get you a box of pierogues in Pittsburgh, and the Schmidt offer doesn't look all that much better, even with retro-vision. If you want Giles, you'll have to start busting out the Santanas and Morneaus... in the unlikely event that you can convince him to waive his partial no-trade.

I think Fogg could bring some value back, though he'd have to go to a team that doesn't have a really firm grasp on what it's doing, or has a desparate need for cheap and experienced starters of any kind. Colorado and Cincinatti look like the best two bets, under those guidelines. Maybe for Mateo or Kapler?
   155. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 31, 2003 at 07:28 PM (#564551)
Oh yeah, Ford is 26 this year; born 8/12/76.
   156. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 01, 2003 at 02:03 AM (#564555)
Nobody wants Casey, either.

I don't usually propose Pittsburgh trades for just that reason, MS. It's hard for me to be completely analytical about a team in which I have a vested interest.
   157. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 01, 2003 at 03:07 PM (#564557)
A guy doesn't have to be a real CF to be better than Mackowiak; he just has to be able to fake it. Somebody in the Rowand-Kapler-Kielty class of defensive tweeners would be just fine.
   158. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 02, 2003 at 02:14 PM (#564558)
Weird; my editing doohickey says that that last comment is gone, but it's still appearing here.
   159. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 03, 2003 at 03:25 PM (#564560)
I think you're mistaken on several points.

1) Suppan is a substantially better rotation option than Meadows. Suppan's career ERA, once you correct for park and league, is 2% worse than average. Meadows's ERA over the same span is 18% worse. That's a huge difference. Look at their respective rate stats: even without correcting for parks, Suppan's ahead in K/9 (5.04 to 3.96), H/9 (9.98 to 10.94), and HR/9 (1.27 to 1.39). Suppan also goes deeper into ballgames than Meadows, pitching an average of 6.4 innings per start since joining the Royals' rotation in 1999; Meadows only averages 5.7 over his career. Against all that, Meadows has just a .4 edge in BB/9 as a leg up on Suppan. Both men are similar types of pitchers (homer-prone soft-tossers with relatively low walk rates), but Suppan is clearly superior to Meadows in almost all areas of the game. Suppan may or may not be better than Torres, but given Solomon's checkered history, counting on him as anything more than a backup plan would be a poor idea.

2) Suppan was also much better last year than Schourek was in 1999. The two stat lines are superficially similar, but many differences appear when both are placed within the proper context. Three Rivers Stadium was a dead neutral park in the NL in 1999, while Royals Stadium last year had a Park Factor of 115 for pitchers. An 'average' pitcher toiling in Schourek's home park in 1999 would have compiled a 4.57 ERA, while that same pitcher transported to Suppan's home park and league context would have put up a 5.14 ERA. For this reason, Schourek's 5.34 ERA is much less impressive than Suppan's 5.32. Schourek did some things well in 1999; for example, his K rate (7.49) was excellent. Schourek's other rate stats, though, were poor. His BB/9 (3.90) and H/9 (10.19) were both rather high, and his HR rate (1.59) was ghastly. Despite the fact that Suppan faced a more hostile pitching environment, his H/9 (9.91), BB/9 (2.94), and HR/9 (1.38) were all much better than Schourek's. The decline in Suppan's K rate last year (4.72) is a bit worrisome, but his stat line reveals a completely different sort of pitcher than Schourek's. Pete was always working with the bases full, unless he'd just given up a moon shot, and even his superior K rate couldn't keep him from coughing up tons of runs. Suppan, in contrast, put lots of balls in play, but he made things easier for himself by not walking the bases full and not grooving quite as many fastballs. Since the Pirates' defense is substantially better than the Royals', the balls Suppan puts in play will be less damaging to him this year than they were last season.

3) Signing Stairs was a good idea. He can play in an outfield corner or at first, he can pop homers and get on base (.349 OBP last year), and he was extremely affordable. His 16 homers last year placed him third on the Brewers, even though he only received 270 AB. The fact that the Brewers couldn't think of a way to take better advantage of a useful player like Stairs is one of the reasons that they're the Brewers. Look at it this way: if Stairs had been with Pittsburgh last year and not Milwaukee, he would've finised third in slugging percentage and fourth in OBP. He also would've tied for third in homers, despite receiving only a half a season's worth of playing time. How is adding a guy like that a bad idea?

4) I spoke with Dave Littlefield and Roy Smith (assistant GM) at PirateFest last weekend, and both seemed to be leaning toward letting Alvarez start the year at Nashville. I also got the impression from remarks made by Brian Graham during one of the Q+A sessions that the organization might be looking at Chris Duffy and not Alvarez as the CF of the future. I could very well see the team trading a starter for a young CF this year and then using whichever one of Alvarez and Davis performs better at AAA this year in right in 2004, with the other working as a backup.

5) You can get good players late in the signing season, and some can be had for little or no cash outlay. Look at the Pirates' bullpen last year: Boehringer, Lincoln, Reyes, and Williams all came into the organization on minor league deals with NRIs, and Sauerbeck was a not-highly-touted Rule V pick. Suppan's low price tag might just mean that he'll turn out to be a steal.
   160. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 04, 2003 at 02:09 PM (#564562)
Well, if I wasn't convinced before, that sterling demonstration of the Gambler's Fallacy will certainly persuade me.

That's not all that bad a comp; Terrell was a useful pitcher from '83 to '88. He threw lots of innings, and was durable and average. Every year, there are teams that would kill for durable and average at the bottom of their rotation. Think a team like the Cardinals or the Padres could've used a durable, average starter last year? He wasn't any good after the age of 30, but that's not really relevant in the case of Suppan, who's still in his physical prime at 28. If we were talking about a long-term deal for Suppan, that'd be another thing entirely, but there's no reason he can't be a good supporting piece.
   161. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 20, 2003 at 12:05 AM (#565019)
Dance of joy! Dance of joy!

Sanders was the best of the many alternatives being discussed by the team. I'm glad to see that they handled things the right way.

Wonder who'll get bounced off the 40? Hyzdu? Reyes? Meadows?
   162. Scott Posted: February 20, 2003 at 01:16 AM (#565021)
Damn, that probably kills the chances of the Yanks being able to dump Raul "Am I 31 or 37?" Mondesi on Pittsburgh.
   163. Greg Franklin Posted: February 20, 2003 at 01:20 AM (#565022)
Sanders played LF in Atlanta back in 2000, when the Braves had Brian Jordan in RF. I imagine he'd be fine in either corner OF spot.

In the modern era, where modern=1996-present, Sanders is listed with 546 games in RF, 166 in LF, 104 in CF. Last serious time logged in CF was with Cincinnati in 1998, age 30.

And he is now likely to join the exclusive "6 consecutive full-time seasons in 6 different uniforms" club.
   164. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 20, 2003 at 02:21 AM (#565023)
Giles is probably in CF, with Sanders in left and Stairs/Wilson in right. LF in PNC is supposedly the most challenging area of the park, so Sanders looks like a good defensive fit. Lofton's probably out of luck; the team supposedly was only interested in signing one of the Sanders/Lofton/Gant group.

Wilson's supposed to get about half the PT in RF, as well as some at first and behind the plate. He'll probably get 400-500 PAs this year.
   165. Fog City Blues Posted: February 20, 2003 at 11:04 PM (#565035)
Nice signing for the Bucs. But this might be going a little too far:

"Pirates General Manager David Littlefield continues to operate as if he were the illusionist David Copperfield by pulling off sleight-of-hand deals that defy belief." - Bob Smizik, Pittsburgh writer.
   166. Walt in Maryland Posted: February 24, 2003 at 07:18 PM (#565042)
I'm not a Bucs fan, so I don't care if it works or not, but signing Sanders and possibly Lofton could make a lot of sense if Littlefield is smart enough to flip them to contenders come the trading deadline.
   167. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 24, 2003 at 10:29 PM (#565043)
Anybody else notice that Lance Johnson dropped by the Pirates' camp on spec? Sort of interesting, since the Pirates made a push to sign him in the 1995-96 offseason. They wound up with Mike Kingery instead; do I really need to say anything else?
   168. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: February 26, 2003 at 04:42 PM (#565047)
But why wasn't this done when Suppan was added to the 40-man instead of dropping Bronson Arroyo? Is there a begin-date for 60-day DL assignments?

As I understand it, on November 20 all players are automatically released from the 60-day DL - this is for the Rule 5 Draft. (In addition, if you go on the 60-day DL after August 1, you have to stay there until after the WS).

I don't know when the 60-day DL opens up again, whether it's after the Rule 5 or some later time.
   169. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: February 26, 2003 at 08:22 PM (#565049)
"Wouldn't Reggie likely make a better CF than Giles, or has he slowed down that much?"

I posted some of this on the Clutch thread, but I guess it's appropriate here too:

Reggie Sanders is the best defensive RF in the NL, and he crushes lefties. He could still play an average CF, but he'd be more of an injury risk too.

He had a .743 OPS vs. RHP, in one of the best pitcher's parks in baseball, which is adequate, considering the D and how he hammers lefties. He's a pretty good player, you could definitely win a championship with him in your OF, as a team two years ago did, and one last year almost did.

Getting him as cheaply as the Pirates did is a steal, even if he plays a position where they have a glut (corner OF). He's a pretty good player, probably good enough to start in the OF somewhere for almost any team in baseball. You to grab as many of those kind of players as you can, and then worry about trading of the excess.

The Pirates OF defense was abysmal last year, and giving up lots of 2B and 3B that should be outs is one of the surest ways to rattle a young pitching staff. Reggie will help this club a lot.

Lofton is still at least an average CF, and that would help this team as well.

Wilson is an awful OF, his future is at 1B or it's as trade bait and then becoming a DH.

I'd play Giles/Lofton/Sanders and platoon Simon and Wilson at 1B, let Kevin Young come in for D at 1B. Young and Stairs can PH vs. LHP until someone gets hurt.

The team could use a 4th OF that can hit LHP to platoon with Lofton. Seems like a perfect chance for Tony Alvarez to get his feet wet.
   170. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 26, 2003 at 10:05 PM (#565052)
Wilson has no options left, to the best of my knowledge. He and Nunez were originally both part of the Carlos Garcia trade, which gives you an idea how long they've been in the org.

Hyzdu is pretty much gone already. Primer favorite or not, kiss him goodbye; he didn't do ANYTHING in the last two months of 2002, when the team gave him an extended trial in CF. Cota's recovering well from his broken hamate, and speculation is that he'll be playing in some of the exhibitions this week; disabling him and using Wilson as the backup catcher probably isn't a realistic option. Management's saying 12 pitchers at the start, which leaves 13 position players. I see the following locked spots:

C(2): Kendall, Cota
   171. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: February 27, 2003 at 05:05 PM (#565055)
I think you guys are overrating Wilson's defense. Diamond-Mind gave him a poor rating in RF, and they don't give those out very often. His arm, both as a catcher and outfielder was only given a fair rating. He was rated average at 1B.

So while he might not 'look' bad out there, he's not making plays. While his arm might look good from a scouting perspective, maybe he's not as accurate as he should be?

He started 65 games in RF last year, and moved there later in the game 9 more times, but he only made 106 putouts. Sure it's a groundball staff, but that's awful. He had 6 assists which isn't bad actually, but it's possible a couple of those were on cutoff plays getting the trail runner, which doesn't have anything to do with his arm (Diamond-Mind check for things like that). Diamond-Mind also checks for runner advancement as well, so maybe despite the 6 assists runners were still taking liberties on him?

I'm not saying Diamond-Mind is 100% perfect, but they have a great reputation, and their system is as solid as anything else I know of. Does anyone have other metrics for Wilson's defense?

Sure he could improve as he learns the position, but he was not good at all out there last year. I would give him a month or two out there, since this team isn't going to win anything, but if he doesn't improve significantly, he should be catching or playing first base.
   172. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 28, 2003 at 02:37 PM (#565059)
Well, Baseball Prospectus has him as only slightly below average in right (99 rate, 0 RAR). Their methods are sort of wonky, but it IS another way of looking at things. Similarly, his range factor #s for individual seasons from b-r read as slightly below-average (calculated on innings), while his career totals from the same source look hideous (calculated on games). I think the career #s are an artifact, a result of him rarely playing a full game in the outfield (a hair over seven innings a game, on average). Possibly Diamond Mind is making the same mistake?

Wilson doesn't look all that bad in the outfield, and I think he'd get better with experience. Remember, last year was the first time in his career that he'd spent a substantial amount of time at the position (he was a catcher in the minors, and only put in 13 games in right in 2001, plus some winter ball). He isn't very fast, and his arm looks pretty average, but he puts out a good effort, and his technique looked noticably better toward the end of the season than it did at the beginning.
   173. Darren Posted: March 14, 2003 at 07:36 PM (#565302)
This may be a stupid question, but how bad was Wilson as a catcher?
   174. WTM Posted: March 14, 2003 at 08:02 PM (#565305)
"This may be a stupid question, but how bad was Wilson as a catcher?"

The Pirates really seemed to hate Wilson as a catcher until this spring. He's been catching some in the exhibitions and supposedly has played fairly well--he at least may have a better arm than Kendall or Cota. There have been stories that he may end up as the backup catcher. This has been partly fueled by Cota having trouble recovering from his broken finger and not hitting well. I think this is pretty likely to happen. Of course, it means McClendon will be reluctant to use Wilson even as a pinch-hitter.
   175. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 14, 2003 at 08:17 PM (#565306)
He'd be a hella compliment to Robert Fick.
   176. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 14, 2003 at 08:18 PM (#565307)
"He" being Craig Wilson.
   177. John M. Perkins Posted: March 14, 2003 at 09:01 PM (#565310)
I saw Wilson catch for Nashville over several series [and maybe a couple of years]. Mike Lamb is a better catcher.
   178. Russ Posted: March 15, 2003 at 01:25 AM (#565314)
I agree to a certain extent with the fielders, D from D, except

(1) Left field in PNC park is enormous.
   179. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 15, 2003 at 01:00 PM (#565318)
I think the offensive drop from Craig Wilson to Lofton will be pretty much offset by the PAs Lofton will steal from Jack Wilson in the new batting order. The papers here are saying that Lofton will lead off, Kendall will hit second, and Jack will move down to the 7th spot (I'd imagine that Reese is eighth). There will also be some defensive improvement, but probably not as much as people think. The really nice part will be the improvement in the team's depth; regardless of who plays where, it's nice to add a starting-caliber outfielder for a million bucks.

The trick here is going to be squeezing all these guys onto the 25-man roster. Flexible or not, there are only so many spots to go around, and management's saying that there'll be a 7-man pen at the start of the year. Hyzdu's been gone since the Sanders signing, and by my count, one out of Young, Cota, Mackowiak, and C.Wilson is also in line to get the boot. The last three on that list all have options remaining, and there are points for and against all the candidates. The other guy who gets hosed by the move is Mike Gulan; he'd been making a play for a bench spot with a solid spring, but it looks like he's going to get squeezed out unless he can beat Mackowiak in a fair fight. They've both got similar skill sets, although Gulan can reportedly fake it at shortstop as well.

One correction: Cota's injury isn't a broken finger, but rather a fractured hamate. It's my understanding that the recovery time for the latter is shorter, hence the hair-splitting here.

Wilson catching memory: I saw him uncork a beautiful laser to second in one of the few games he caught last year. Unfortunately, both middle infielders had given up on the base as stolen, so nobody was covering the bag, and the throw was right on line as it skipped into straightaway center. Wilson probably isn't any worse than Kendall on D, and I think he'd get better at any of his positions if he just got some consistent PT at that one spot (be it 1B, RF, or C) to the exclusion of other positions.
   180. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 16, 2003 at 02:13 AM (#565322)
The problem is that if Reese is playing short and Nunez isn't on the team, there isn't anybody left on the roster to play second. I know that in theory Mackowiak could do so, but McClendon's pretty much given up on him as a 2B.

Nunez isn't a dead lock to make the team, though he's hit well in ST so far, but one of the roster spots IS pretty much reserved for a MI backup. If it isn't Nunez, it'll be Gulan or Fernandez, most likely.

By the way, Wilson nailed a guy at second today. Some speedy middle infielder on the Phillies, I forget which. The announcers said that Craig looked pretty good as a catcher, considering that he spent all of last year learning how to be an outfielder.
   181. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 17, 2003 at 02:15 AM (#565328)
Cut Giles some slack; almost anybody would look like the best defensive outfielder in the game if you're comparing him to Mackowiak.
   182. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 18, 2003 at 12:18 PM (#565331)
Kendall isn't really old yet, but he's definitely approaching the border of Over-30 Catcherland, and his injury history the last couple of years gives one pause.
   183. Daryn Posted: March 18, 2003 at 06:43 PM (#565333)
how can the median be 709.5? do you mean the mean?
   184. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 18, 2003 at 09:41 PM (#565335)
Disagree on the indfield defense. Reese and Wilson are a net positive, but that's cancelled out by Simon now. I'd call it average.
   185. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 19, 2003 at 01:45 PM (#565339)
Kendall's fragile even though he plays a lot, in that he's almost never playing at 100%. He's too stubborn to get off the field when he's hurt. He played all of 2001 with a torn tendon in his thumb that needed surgery, he played for a month in 2002 while still recovering from the second surgery on that thumb, and he also played for two months in 2002 with a cyst in his foot the size of a golf ball. Not getting glasses would fit right in; I'm half-convinced the man has a fear of doctors.

The REALLY irritating thing about Kendall is that he conceals his injuries the way cats hide dead mice under the basement stairs. You never know whether he's slumping or trying to play through some ghastly physical defect.
   186. Russ Posted: April 14, 2003 at 02:22 PM (#557464)
Don't worry Adam. A couple of late-inning home runs and Craig Wilson will be on his way to Toronto or Oakland.
   187. WTM Posted: June 30, 2003 at 02:36 AM (#566242)
Primer is not the place I'd have expected to see Bonifay getting too much credit. He traded King because he was ordered to get rid of essentially everybody making over the minimum salary--the payroll had to be cut to next-to-nothing or Kevin McClatchy would have lost control of the team due to a clause in the partnership agreement. And he didn't replace King with Young, he replaced him initially with Mark Johnson. Johnson became the regular 1B partway through King's last year in Pgh., while King played 2B and 3B. Johnson fell apart the following year and Young won the job around mid-season.

If only they'd have moved that quickly to replace Young with Craig Wilson . . . .
   188. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 30, 2003 at 04:37 AM (#566244)
I take no pleasure in this, though it really needed to be done at least six months ago. Kevin Young's a solid citizen and a hard worker, so it's just too bad that he isn't any good at baseball anymore.

He hit lefties well through last year, and his D is probably still slightly above-average, but he's helpless against RHP and he wasn't anything special against lefties this season. His bat's really slow, and he's turned into a guess hitter in order to compensate. He didn't really earn his roster spot on the Pirates, who currently have five other guys with 1B experience on the 25-man. If a team (like the Phillies) needs a lefty-masher at first, they can probably find a better one without too much effort.

This move also means that McClendon's on the way out, as if people didn't know that already. Young's contract and McClendon's backing were the only two things that kept KY on the roster last year.
   189. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 02, 2003 at 06:50 PM (#566248)
More likely, they'll "understand" when the team starts scoring more runs with Stairs/C. Wilson platooning at first.
   190. jesse Posted: July 22, 2003 at 04:57 AM (#566721)
closers are overrated anyways, just 3 freaking outs eh.
   191. Primate Posted: July 22, 2003 at 05:50 AM (#566722)
Really? Wow.
   192. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 22, 2003 at 12:58 PM (#566724)
For whatever reason, Williams hasn't been able to throw his slider for strikes this season, and his other stuff just isn't good enough for him to make do without the big slice.

Good luck to him, but I have a feeling he'll really need it.

Brooks looks interesting, so I'm actually pretty impressed with the deal. The Pirates are supposedly only kicking in $500k toward Williams' salary, which is nothing short of miraculous if true.
   193. Klobedanz Posted: July 22, 2003 at 04:53 PM (#566725)
And he's a Hokie, so you have to love'm.
   194. WTM Posted: July 22, 2003 at 08:39 PM (#566729)

You're in good shape. You just have to be better than a guy with an ERA over 6.00.
   195. NTNgod Posted: July 22, 2003 at 09:22 PM (#566730)
Ted Lilly for Kelvim Escobar, per Gammons....
   196. NTNgod Posted: July 22, 2003 at 10:01 PM (#566732)
re: Lilly/Escobar --- Rotoworld changed their wording; it now says MAY be traded, rather than a done deal.

I don't know if Gammons backed off, or Rotoworld initially had it wrong.
   197. NTNgod Posted: July 22, 2003 at 10:11 PM (#566733)
And now the Rotoworld comment has been changed to:

ESPN's Peter Gammons is reporting that Kelvim Escobar may be traded to the A's for Ted Lilly and Joe Blanton tomorrow.
   198. Primate Posted: July 23, 2003 at 02:16 AM (#566734)
That Gammons, he is the living end.
   199. NTNgod Posted: July 23, 2003 at 02:38 AM (#566736)
Orosco to the Yankees for a PTBNL?

Hey, he had a no-trade clause, didn't he??
   200. Athletic Supporter wants to move your money around Posted: July 23, 2003 at 03:23 AM (#566737)
Escobar for Lilly and Blanton? I hope Gammons is on crack or at least that we're getting Drew from St. Louis (as was rumored in a three-team deal earlier) instead.

Blanton rocks the house. Escobar is a man who might implode at any second.

If this gets pulled off, it will cement my feeling that J.P. is a much, much better GM than Beane, and that he was the real brain behind the A's.
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