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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Pirates fans really aren’t happy with owner Bob Nutting

The Pirates finished 69-93 last year, capping off another disappointing season. It marked their third sub-.500 season in four years and their third consecutive season finishing fourth or worse in the NL Central. Things were once bright in Pittsburgh as the Pirates reached the playoffs in 2013, but were nudged out of the NLDS by the Cardinals in five games. They reached the NL Wild Card game in the ensuing two years but lost both times. They haven’t come close since.

After the 2019 season, the Pirates went on to fire team president Frank Coonelly, GM Neal Huntington, manager Clint Hurdle, and pitching coach Ray Searage. They would go on to be replaced, respectively, by Travis Williams, Ben Cherington, Derek Shelton, and Oscar Marin. The Pirates were attempting to start a new chapter for the 2020 season.

The Atheltic’s Stephen J. Nesbitt polled 1,117 Pirates fans about a wide range of topics, including their enthusiasm for the 2020 season (if and when it begins) and their approval of the job owner Bob Nutting has done with the team. Most of the prompts called respondents to assign a numerical value to the question. For example, for the question, “What is your excitement level for the Pirates in 2020?” fans responded with a 1 for “I don’t care” all the way up to a 5 for “I’m extremely excited.” 22.7 percent of respondents put down a 1 and another 32.5 percent felt they were a 2. Together, ones and twos accounted for over half of the respondents.

Mind you, it’s not like we can blame them in the slightest…...

 

QLE Posted: April 16, 2020 at 02:24 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: bob nutting, fans, pirates

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Women in Pirates organization provide inspiration for others

PITTSBURGH (AP) — By themselves, each has an impressive story.

Mayu Fielding started with the Pirates as an administrative assistant in 2007 and quickly moved into her current role as education coordinator, helping foreign players transition to life in America. Kinza Baad graduated from the University of Virginia in 2017 and is in her fourth year as a scouting assistant. Astrid DeGruchy does a little bit of everything, describing herself as the “air traffic controller” of the Pirates’ international scouting department.

Together, they’re writing an even more impressive and important story, one that’s about their own talents and also the example they’re setting for others.

“It’s very exciting,” Fielding said. “When I started here, I was probably the only woman in baseball, in this organization, for a while. There were women in other areas, but not in baseball. I’d often find myself in a room full of men.

A piece of some interest, particularly for those curious about the working of the operations staff outside of the analytics department.

QLE Posted: March 29, 2020 at 12:41 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: operations, pirates, scouting, women in baseball

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Video: Pirates make two outs at home on the same play

The Pirates made a laughable base running blunder on Monday afternoon during a Grapefruit League game against the Blue Jays. In the bottom of the seventh inning, with the Blue Jays up 2-0, the Pirates threatened Jays hurler Hector Perez, loading the bases with no outs on a Phillip Evans walk, a Kevin Kramer single, and another walk by Jacob Stallings. An Andrew Susac pop-up for the first out brought Oneil Cruz (pictured) to the plate.

Cruz slugged a 0-1 pitch from Perez that likely would have been a home run on most days, but with the wind blowing in from right field, the ball hit near the top of the fence. Evans scored easily. However, the faster Martin was hot on Kramer’s trail and both were thrown out in succession after a relay to home plate.

Somewhere, in all our discussion of the Marlins and the Orioles, the Pirates are angry that we’ve seemed to forgotten how bad they can get.

 

QLE Posted: March 10, 2020 at 01:08 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: outs, pirates

Friday, March 06, 2020

MLBPA files another grievance against the Pirates

Two years ago, the MLB Players Association filed a grievance against four teams: the Pirates, Athletics, Marlins, and Rays. The union claimed that the clubs failed to comply with rules regarding how they spend their revenue sharing money.

From 2017 to ’18, the Pirates’ Opening Day payroll declined by $9.5 million, from $86.3 to $74.8 million. The Athletics and Marlins had even bigger declines, but the Pirates have continued to slash payroll. As of right now, they are projected to open the regular season with a payroll of about $51 million. Biertempfel notes that the Pirates’ current payroll is about the same was it was eight years ago and ranks as the third-lowest in baseball.

No chance that this dispute can be resolved through feats of strength, is there?

 

QLE Posted: March 06, 2020 at 12:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: grievances, mlbpa, pirates

Monday, January 27, 2020

Starling Marte, D-backs trade | MLB.com

It’s now cheaper to pay the salaries of all Pirates players than getting two beers and a hot dog at Fenway.

he D-backs have agreed to a trade with the Pirates for center fielder Starling Marte, sources told MLB.com on Monday. Along with Marte, Pittsburgh will send $1.5 million to Arizona and receive right-handed prospect Brennan Malone and shortstop prospect Liover Peguero along with $250,000 in international pool money for this year in return, per a source. Neither team has confirmed the deal or the exchange.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 27, 2020 at 03:44 PM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, pirates, starling marte, trade

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Hal Smith, author of his own huge home run in 1960, dies

Bill Mazeroski has always balked when asked if he’d hit the biggest home run in baseball history.

“Heck,” Maz would respond anytime I’d bring this up in Bradenton, “I didn’t even hit the biggest homer in that game”

Hal Smith, whose three-run home run for the Pirates in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series against the Yankees would be overshadowed an inning later by Maz’s legendary shot, died Thursday at age 89 in Columbus, Texas, a small town near Houston.

And yes, it was Mr. Smith’s home run that set the stage and, very nearly, stole it, on that magical fall day at Forbes Field half a century ago.

 

 

QLE Posted: January 11, 2020 at 12:11 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: hal smith, obituaries, pirates, rip, world series

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Castrovince: Counsell, Donnelly share special bond

Pretty great story. 

“Craig is part of our family,” Donnelly says.

It’s a family that lost a precious member far too soon, but has become spiritually strengthened by an event in 1997 that still, to this day, overwhelms those who hear about it. It’s a story that, as Counsell himself says, “screams Disney movie.”

“Anybody I’ve ever told the story to ... they’re blown away,” Counsell says. “You can bring people to tears just by telling the story.”

* * * * *

The story begins with five words that, when strung together, sound nothing short of nonsensical:

“The chicken runs at midnight.”

Guapo Posted: January 19, 2012 at 12:31 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: miami, pirates

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ryan Ludwick to join Reds

Puzzling strategy. With Ludwick, Chris Heisey, Drew Stubbs, and Jay Bruce, aren’t the Reds outfielders going to wilt in the hot sun due to their skin color?

Ryan Ludwick and the Cincinnati Reds agreed to a $2.5 million, one-year contract Monday, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday night because the deal was pending a physical and no announcement had been made by the team.

An All-Star in 2008 with St. Louis, the 33-year-old Ludwick was traded from San Diego to Pittsburgh at the July 31 deadline last season. He batted a combined .237 with 13 homers and 75 RBIs.

Ludwick could give the Reds the right-handed bat they’ve been seeking to complement lefty sluggers Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. He figures to see playing time in left field, a spot filled mostly by Chris Heisey down the stretch last season after Cincinnati traded Jonny Gomes to Washington in late July.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 17, 2012 at 12:07 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: padres, pirates, reds

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Bartolo Colon Agrees to Sign With Unknown Team

Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with an unknown club reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The right-hander wouldn’t divulge the team because he has not yet passed his physical.

Pretty sure it’s either the All-Stars or the Champs.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cubs sign Paul Maholm, reports Paul Maholm

It’s otherwise unconfirmed, but it seems like you should only need the one source when it’s actually the guy himself.

Just wanna say thank u to everyone that has cheered for me during my career as a Pirate. I loved my last six plus years in the city.

I hope to get to continue some things when I visit during the year and start some great things as I start my Cubs career.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 10, 2012 at 07:44 AM | 150 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pirates

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Kick Is Good!

Jack Wilson seems to be having fun on vacation.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 09:30 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, mariners, pirates

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sickels: Pittsburgh Pirates Top 20 Prospects for 2012

1) Gerrit Cole, RHP, Grade A: Cole can be enigmatic and sometimes gets hit harder than he should given the quality of his stuff, but he’s still a Grade A prospect. At his best he throws strikes with three excellent pitches, and I think he’ll get more consistent. Looked great in Arizona Fall League, except for the disaster in the Rising Stars game.

2) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Grade A-: They are being very careful with his workload. As he incorporates his secondary pitches more often and builds his stamina, I expect greater dominance. Still struck out more than a hitter per inning even with restrictions on secondary pitch use.

3) Josh Bell, OF, Grade B+: Switch-hitter, should develop 30+-homer power and a high OBP. Pure hitting skills solid too. We’ll have to see about his defense and I want some pro data, but I’m very optimistic about him.

4) Starling Marte, OF, Grade B: Borderline B+. Hit well in Double-A, starting to develop more power, despite poor strike zone judgment. Superior defense. Still raw, needs a year of Triple-A, a wide range of possible outcomes, could become an All-Star, a mediocre regular, or a fourth outfielder.

5) Robbie Grossman, OF, Grade B: If he had fulfilled his commitment to the University of Texas, 2011 would have been his draft year. I know he was repeating High-A, but a player jumping from the college ranks to High-A, hitting .294/.418/.451, then ripping up the Arizona Fall League would be getting an awful lot of praise, not skepticism. I also think that Grossman’s tools are better than commonly reported. I expect he’ll provide gap power with some speed and a high OBP, and that’s valuable.

Thanks to Bucco Barnald.

Repoz Posted: December 25, 2011 at 01:57 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, pirates, prospect reports, scouting

Friday, December 16, 2011

Kovacevic: Pirates still playing small ball

Totally fair if somewhat brutal assessment:

And I really can’t see where Huntington was coming from when he made these remarks to reporters last week in Dallas: “We’ll still look to find moves to make us better, but we feel like we’ve taken a big step forward, whether it’s bigger or smaller moves. We’ve put this organization in position to take another big step forward next year.”

Big, clearly, is a relative concept.

Mike Emeigh Posted: December 16, 2011 at 04:03 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, teams

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fangraphs: Clint Hurdle: Four Scouting Reports

Clint Hurdle makes some comments on the Bucs’ youngsters and offers some hints into his philosophy on developing young hitters:

“Everything starts with a thought. There are things that paralyze young hitters. It usually takes some experience and I think it usually takes more than 500 at bats. It’s closer to 900 minor league at bats and 1,500 big league at bats. It’s the ability to not focus so much on everything the pitcher has. They put too much emphasis on the four pitches the guy throws and not enough on the one they want to hit. That’s a transition I try to take good young hitters to.

 

Mike Emeigh Posted: December 15, 2011 at 01:34 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, prospect reports

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brewers trade McGehee to Pirates for Veras

Trade of potential non-tenders.

The Brewers acquired reliever Jose Veras from the Pirates for infielder Casey McGehee, the teams announced.

Pirates presumably want a hedge in the event that Alvarez’s development continues to stall - or possibly to move Pedro to first. Brewers continue to add bullpen pieces.

Mike Emeigh Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:55 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, pirates

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Rule V Results

1.Astros take Rhiner Cruz from Mets.
2.Twins take Terry Doyle from White Sox.
3.Mariners take Lucas Luetge from Brewers.
4.Orioles take Ryan Flaherty from Cubs.
5.Royals take Cesar Cabral from Red Sox; traded to Yankees for cash.
6.Cubs take Lendy Castillo from Phillies.
8.Pirates take Gustavo Nunez from Tigers.
  21.Braves take Robert Fish from Angels.
22.Cardinals take Erik Komatsu from Nationals.
23.Red Sox take Marwin Gonzalez from Cubs.
  25.Diamondbacks take Brett Lorin from Pirates.
  29.Yankees take Brad Meyers from Nationals.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Pirates make $4.5 million deal with left-hander Bedard

The Pirates and free agent left-hander Erik Bedard agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract Wednesday, according to an industry source.
[...]
The Pirates will have to remove two players from the 40-man roster to make room for Bedard and Nate McLouth, who a source confirmed agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 07, 2011 at 08:47 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Pirates reportedly signing Betemit, McLouth

The return of Russ’s former favorite Pirate, plus a useful utility infielder:

Wilson Betemit, who the Royals sent to the Detroit Tigers in a midseason deal, has earned the interest of the Pirates while Nate McLouth could come back to the place where he was most successful.

Ken Rosenthal tweets that the McLouth deal is done pending a physical.

Mike Emeigh Posted: December 07, 2011 at 05:14 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

VIDEO: Vh1 Releases The New Baseball Wives Supertrailer!

The new series will follow the lives of five wives, ex-wives and girlfriends of professional Baseball players as they struggle to balance relationships, friendships and chaos. The Baseball Wives are: Anna Benson (wife of retired Arizona Diamondbacks’ Pitcher Kris Benson), Tanya Grace (ex-wife of retired Chicago Cubs’ First Baseman Mark Grace), Chantel Kendall (ex-wife of Kansas City Royals’ Jason Kendall), Brook Villone (wife of Ron Villone) and Jordana Lenz (linked to no particular athlete in particular – but I’m sure she has an MLB ex or two somewhere).

OsunaSakata Posted: November 29, 2011 at 11:56 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, cubs, mets, nationals, orioles, pirates, rockies, royals, television

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Joura: Reviewing my 33-year-old grudge against Richie Hebner

or…I Used To Spit on Your Grave Digger (mere zarchasm).

So then why all the disdain, from me and countless others, for poor Richie Hebner? If you were there, no explanation is needed but if you weren’t it’s not really that much of a mystery. Hebner committed the one Cardinal Sin of a ballplayer, one that if he was playing in the 21st Century, either he or his agent would have had the required media savvy to prevent from happening.

When the Mets traded for him, he made no secret that he didn’t want to be on the team.

...And then to the average fan, it seemed like Hebner just gave up. In retrospect, I have no doubt that it was merely a slump. But in 52 games and 194 PA, Hebner posted a .190/.281/.256 line. The Mets went 13-39 in that span and it should be pointed out that they won the first three games of Hebner’s slide. Over the previous two seasons, fans had been accustomed to seeing some rotten, uninspired play. But that stretch right after the All-Star break seemed even worse than what had become accepted as normal.

...Today is Richie Hebner’s birthday and he’s now 64 years old. Maybe it’s the influence of the McCartney song that references Hebner’s current age – “Indicate precisely what you mean to say…” – but it’s time to bury the hatchet and not directly in his back, either. I’ve hated this man I’ve never met for over 30 years now and I don’t want to do it anymore.

As my birthday present to this senior citizen, I’m taking Richie Hebner off of my personal “On Notice” board. Happy Birthday, Mr. Hebner – let’s both pretend that the 1979 baseball season never happened.

Repoz Posted: November 27, 2011 at 12:19 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: history, mets, phillies, pirates, sabermetrics

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kovacevic: Baseball sticks it to Pirates

Raise the Jolly Roger’s Amateur Draft Luxury Tax!

I asked Frank Coonelly, the Pirates’ president, what’s in this for them.

He cited a new draft feature that will award six bonus picks — Nos. 31-37 overall — to lower-revenue teams by way of a lottery, as well as a cap on international signings that’s staggered in inverse order of the standings. Both will be welcome.

Coonelly also was adamant that baseball wasn’t out to get his team.

“Is this everything the Pittsburgh Pirates hoped it would be? No,” he said. “But we don’t subscribe to the notion it was aimed at us. For one, this has been in the works a long time. For another, at the end of the day, if teams like the Yankees ever wanted to really flex their muscles in the draft, they could do it. This prevents that. We’ll continue to sign the players we draft.”

He then mentioned that the Pirates are still seeking a first baseman and a starting pitcher.

Don’t expect Albert Pujols.

Repoz Posted: November 23, 2011 at 10:47 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media, pirates, prospect reports

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects: Pittsburgh Pirates

I so wanted Dave Doorneweerd to make the bigs…

1. Gerrit Cole, rhp
2. Jameson Taillon, rhp
3. Josh Bell, of
4. Starling Marte, of
5. Luis Heredia, rhp
6. Kyle McPherson, rhp
7. Tony Sanchez, c
8. Robbie Grossman, of
9. Stetson Allie, rhp
10. Jeff Locke, lhp

The Pirates have used the strategy of exceeding MLB’s bonus recommendations in the later rounds to sign pitchers away from solid college commitments. While that has stocked the lower levels of the system with live arms, none is close to being ready to help the major league club. The heavy concentration on pitchers also has left Pittsburgh with few impact hitting prospects beyond Bell, who has a chance to be special but has yet to play in a professional game, and fellow outfielder Starling Marte.

Repoz Posted: November 22, 2011 at 02:51 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, pirates, prospect reports, scouting

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vernon history museum honors Danny Murtaugh

Sculptor Zenos Frudakis, known to Phillies fans for his statues of Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts at Citizens Bank Park, said Murtaugh’s face reminded him of some of the men he met as a child in Gary, Ind.

“I grew up in a steel town and the men who worked in the mills were like the men who worked in the mines,” he said. “They had strong faces — faces with strong features.

“This subject had a lot of character and integrity. It’s not exactly a pretty face — not like a Cary Grant face … I could almost envision him in a helmet as a conquistador or a general. In a way, he was kind of a conquering general with an army of baseball players he led into the field of battle on the baseball diamond.”

Jeez…why dontcha just say he looked like Roy Barcroft beaten to a ten-cent pulp with a studded Trejo meat stick.

Repoz Posted: November 21, 2011 at 10:57 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, memorabilia, pirates

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

MLB: Xavier Paul victim of identity hoax in ABL

Pirates outfielder Xavier Paul has become caught in the middle of an identity hoax that had officials with the Australian Baseball League expecting Paul’s arrival at the start of their season, which began earlier this month.

Problem was, Paul had never actually agreed to go.(...)

Posing as an agent, [Diamondbacks minor leaguer Breland] Brown offered the ABL a deal in which Paul would agree to play in Australia this offseason if Brown was also invited. The ABL accepted the agreement. Brown was assigned to play with the Sydney Blue Sox, while Paul was put on the Brisbane Bandits roster.

Last week, Paul was tipped off that his identity was being misused when he was alerted to Internet articles that mentioned he would be participating in the ABL. Around that time, Brisbane reached out to Paul to ask him why he had not yet arrived in Australia.

That set off an investigation by the ABL, which quickly discovered the hoax. Brown, who had not yet joined the Sydney team, was immediately taken off the Blue Sox roster. Paul has since been removed from the Brisbane roster as well.

This is just a strange, strange story. Brown is 26 and was playing in the independent leagues two seasons ago, so he must have been doing everything possible to get noticed by Major League teams.

Austin Posted: November 15, 2011 at 08:57 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pirates, Barajas agree to one-year deal

An aggressive pursuit of free agent Rod Barajas paid off Thursday for the Pirates, who were able to ink the veteran catcher to a one-year deal that includes as club option for 2013.

The addition of Barajas, 36, eliminates one item off the Pirates’ offseason to-do list, as the team needed to find a starting catcher for the 2012 season. General manager Neal Huntington confirmed that Barajas was signed to be the team’s No. 1 catcher.

Barajas will make $4 million in 2012, according to an industry source. His ‘13 club option is worth $3.5 million and does not include a buyout. A short-term commitment makes sense for the Pirates, who are hopeful that top catching prospect Tony Sanchez will be ready to ascend to the Majors in the next year or two.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 10, 2011 at 08:33 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

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