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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:13 am 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
sisyphus wrote:
Really? One guy with a 30 home run season and two number one type starters who will be in the majors by mid-2014 looks like a pretty damn good record to me, not to mention enough prospects to garner Wandy.


You just named three guys, two of which haven't thrown a pitch in the majors yet. Are you saying that means Neal Huntington has done a great job drafting these past 5 years? Really?

Here's the Pirates' full 2009 draft:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/draft ... ype=junreg

How's that draft class look to you?

It takes a minimum of 3-5 years to work your way up. A MINIMUM. The best case scenario for Huntington after five drafts would have two guys up.

Yeah, I know the 2009 draft was a bad one. It was a bad one for almost every team in the major leagues, except maybe the Cards, who I suspect do conventional scouting for the first few rounds, then turn to a powerful voodoo high priest for the rest of the draft. It's just ridiculous how much value they manage to get out of the later rounds.

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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:34 am 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
No. 9 wrote:
I thought that my posts were pretty clearly directed towards the singular issue of draft competence and whether NH's performance is as bad as some would make it to be (you know . . . like pointing to the 2009 draft class as evidence of complete incompetance).


And I think my overall view is pretty clear that viewing any specific tool in a GM's arsenal without looking at how he uses his other tools results in an inaccurate picture of his effectiveness.

I brought up the 2009 draft class as an example of a failure. It's just an example.

If I wanted to paint the full picture, I would have to take into account his trades, free agent acquisitions, and other attempts to improve the PBC, and then ask everyone how long NH should get to produce a winning team. Oh wait, I did that already:

http://www.pittsburghsports.net/viewtop ... f=1&t=4652

Willton agreed that if the Pirates don't field a winning team in 2013, NH deserves to be fired. Do you agree?

I'm very curious as to why you decided to call my comment out in this regard. Am I some sort of authority or spokesman for a particular group of people?

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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:52 am 
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Willton wrote:
I'm very curious as to why you decided to call my comment out in this regard. Am I some sort of authority or spokesman for a particular group of people?


Just a representative example. We spent quite a bit of time going back and forth about Huntington in that thread, and I respect your opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:53 am 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
No. 9 wrote:
I'm also not of the belief that, when a particular draft pick doesn't pan out, it is necessarily evidence of a "failure." If the Pirates decided to draft me last year with the #1 pick because my name sounded cool and I grew up near Field of Dreams, that would be a "failure." Drafting someone like Chad Hermansen based upon solid scouting, established modeling and many hours of pouring over candidates and making a knowledgeable decision at the time does not, in my opinion, constitute a "failure." Predicting future greatness out of 18-22 year olds is probably more difficult than getting solid wood on a Mariano Rivera slider.


If that's the case, how do you judge a GM? If a GM selects a slew of players in the draft based on "solid scouting" and makes other acquisitions based on "many hours of pouring over candidates and making a knowledgeable decision" but ends up presiding over a team that continues to lose and lose and lose, would that GM be a "failure" in your book?

Using only your described method of evaluation, you would advocate employing a GM that never leads his team to a winning season so long as you approve of his general methods.

Let me tell you a few of things I know about baseball. I don't know much, but I know these things:

1. They keep score.
2. There is a winner and loser of each game.
3. GMs are judged by how many games their teams win or lose.

Every single major-league GM in baseball uses a sophisticated method based on reams of data and hours of analysis to make decisions. And every GM competes against every other GM to craft a better baseball team.

So far, Neal Huntington has failed to build a winning baseball team. He's had five seasons. He's entering his sixth at the helm. He's done some good things; he's done some dumb things. But overall, he hasn't built a contender. That's what he was tasked to do. If he doesn't do it this year, I'm betting he gets tossed out on his ear. And he'll deserve it.

I would have tossed him out after last year's second straight historic collapse. But that's me.

Allow me to quote Paul DePodesta with respect to GM performance. This is from a blog post of his from 2008 with respect to draft picks, but I think is worth quoting with respect to GM performance:
Quote:
The fact of the matter is that all casino games have a winning process - the odds are stacked in the favor of the house. That doesn't mean they win every single hand or every roll of the dice, but they do win more often than not. Don't misunderstand me - the casino is absolutely concerned about outcomes. However, their approach to securing a good outcome is a laser like focus on process...right down to the ruthless pit boss.

We can view baseball through the same lens. Baseball is certainly an outcome-driven business, as we get charged with a W or an L 162 times a year (or 163 times every once in a while). Furthermore, we know we cannot possibly win every single time. In fact, winning just 60% of the time is a great season, a percentage that far exceeds house odds in most games. Like a casino, it appears as though baseball is all about outcomes, but just think about all of the processes that are in play during the course of just one game or even just one at-bat.

In having this discussion years ago with Michael Mauboussin, who wrote "More Than You Know" (a great book - a link to Michael's strategy papers appears on my blogroll), he showed me a very simple matrix by Russo and Schoemaker in "Winning Decisions" that explains this concept:

Image

We all want to be in the upper left box - deserved success resulting from a good process. This is generally where the casino lives. I'd like to think that this is where the Oakland A's and San Diego Padres have been during the regular seasons. The box in the upper right, however, is the tough reality we all face in industries that are dominated by uncertainty. A good process can lead to a bad outcome in the real world. In fact, it happens all the time. This is what happened to the casino when a player hit on 17 and won. I'd like to think this is what happened to the A's and Padres during the post-seasons. :-)

As tough as a good process/bad outcome combination is, nothing compares to the bottom left: bad process/good outcome. This is the wolf in sheep's clothing that allows for one-time success but almost always cripples any chance of sustained success - the player hitting on 17 and getting a four. Here's the rub: it's incredibly difficult to look in the mirror after a victory, any victory, and admit that you were lucky. If you fail to make that admission, however, the bad process will continue and the good outcome that occurred once will elude you in the future. Quite frankly, this is one of the things that makes Billy Beane as good as he is. He is quick to notice good luck embedded in a good outcome, and he refuses to pat himself on the back for it.

http://itmightbedangerous.blogspot.com/ ... ocess.html

The moral of this particular story is that a laser-like focus on merely the results of a rebuild fails to account for whether the good or bad results are a consequence of good or bad process. I'm not saying that the Pirates's lack of success over the past 5 years is a result of being mired in bad luck, and I'm certainly of the opinion that the strategy for the 2009 draft, while creative, was a bad one. But to merely point at results does not tell us whether Huntington is doing a good or bad job. You have to look at what processes and methods he has implemented to determine whether he deserves to stay or go.

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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:53 am 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Willton wrote:
I'm very curious as to why you decided to call my comment out in this regard. Am I some sort of authority or spokesman for a particular group of people?


Just a representative example. We spent quite a bit of time going back and forth about Huntington in that thread, and I respect your opinion.

Oh. Well, um, ... thank you.

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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:50 pm 
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Willton wrote:
The moral of this particular story is that a laser-like focus on merely the results of a rebuild fails to account for whether the good or bad results are a consequence of good or bad process. I'm not saying that the Pirates's lack of success over the past 5 years is a result of being mired in bad luck, and I'm certainly of the opinion that the strategy for the 2009 draft, while creative, was a bad one. But to merely point at results does not tell us whether Huntington is doing a good or bad job. You have to look at what processes and methods he has implemented to determine whether he deserves to stay or go.


Good read, Willton.

I'm a fan of looking at the full picture over a period of years. It seems unlikely to me that a team could experience protracted success while utilizing a bad process. In other words, you won't stay lucky for a period of years, especially in baseball. So teams that win consistently will be led by GMs that fall in the upper left box of the matrix. Similarly, teams that lost consistently won't be able to blame bad luck over a period of years. So they'll inevitably fall in the bottom right box of the matrix.

Personally, I believe Huntington doesn't fall in the bottom right box. But he's not in the upper left box, either. He's done some good things and some bad things. But heading into his sixth season, it's time to see results at the PBC level. Otherwise, I think Bob Nutting will need to find someone to lead the Pirates closer to the upper left box...


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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:07 pm 
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Now you've confused me. Earlier you wrote that NH has to preside over a "winner." Below you write that he's tasked to "build a contender." So . . . if the Pirates are not contending for the division title but sit at 81-80 going into the last game of the year, you'd stake NH's job solely on the outcome of that game? They win that game, they are 82-80 and are a "winning" team but . . . they aren't contending for the division title. Or . . because they didn't "contend" for the division, he should be canned? What if the Reds win 95 games, the Dodgers win 97, the Giants win 93 and the Braves win 92 . . and the Bucs go 87-75 (finishing 8 games out of first place in division and 6 games out of wildcard contention)? Is that "contending?" Does winning 87 games save NH's job? Or, should it be measured on whether the Pirates are considered "contenders" in the last 15 games of the year? Or . . . do you look at whether Taillon is pitching well in AAA, whether Cole is pitching with the Big Club, whether Polanco and Hansen are progressing, whether Martin was a solid acquisition, whether Snider and/or Sanchez produce good numbers, what talent is acquired in with the draft picks, whether Bell progresses, who appears to be separating themselves in the minors, and what kind of year the Bucs have out of Jones, Barmes and Tabata? What happens with Liriano and Karstens? WHat happens with Morton? Does Grilli perform well? In my world, the best GM in the world would have penicled in Walker, McCutchen, Alvarez and Marte into the lineup. The question marks for position players involved SS, C, RF and 1B. NH decided to stick with Barmes, sign Martin, stick with Snider, Sanchez and Jones (while grabbing potential insurance with Hawpe, Robinson, Inge, etc). Most GMs would have stayed with Burnett, Rodriguez, and McDonald. That leaves two spots in the rotation. NH elected not to tender Karstens and tried to replace him with Liriano. He chose to bet that either Locke or McPherson will be able to handle the #5 slot and likely believes that Cole will be ready in June or July. When Liriano went down, Karstens was re-signed (at a cost less than what he originally sought after very little interest was shown in him). He let Hanrahan go and obtained Melancon. He tendered Morton even though Morton is hurt. In my mind, NH should be evaluated on the strategic moves he made and how those moves panned out. If McCutchen and Alvarez don't produce, Andrew Friedman wouldn't have made the team a contender. If all of his moves play out well and ALvarez, Marte, Walker and McCutchen produce, the Bucs should win at least 85 games. However, I can envision a fair number of scenarios where his moves play out well but the team doesn't "contend" or loses more than 81 games.

You've conveniently attempted to turn my point about NH's drafts into a discussion about his overall job performance and the failure to make the playoffs in the 5 years in which he has served as GM. My original point about comparing draft results remains. The only first round draft pick that he has made that hasn't advanced as hoped for is Tony Sanchez and that is due in part to (a) him getting hit in the face and missing a significant amount of time and (b) regression from previous years. However, the 2009 draft was largely referred to as having Strasburg and Ackley and then a bunch of "meeeeeh." Now, did NH miss out on Trout? You bet he did. But so did a lot of others. Further evidence of the difficulty of predicting how young players will advance through the minors.



J_C_Steel wrote:
Let me tell you a few of things I know about baseball. I don't know much (YOUR WORDS . . . NOT MINE), but I know these things:

1. They keep score.
2. There is a winner and loser of each game.
3. GMs are judged by how many games their teams win or lose.

Every single major-league GM in baseball uses a sophisticated method based on reams of data and hours of analysis to make decisions. And every GM competes against every other GM to craft a better baseball team.

So far, Neal Huntington has failed to build a winning baseball team. He's had five seasons. He's entering his sixth at the helm. He's done some good things; he's done some dumb things. But overall, he hasn't built a contender. That's what he was tasked to do. If he doesn't do it this year, I'm betting he gets tossed out on his ear. And he'll deserve it.

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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:43 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
Now you've confused me. Earlier you wrote that NH has to preside over a "winner." Below you write that he's tasked to "build a contender." So . . . if the Pirates are not contending for the division title but sit at 81-80 going into the last game of the year, you'd stake NH's job solely on the outcome of that game? They win that game, they are 82-80 and are a "winning" team but . . . they aren't contending for the division title. Or . . because they didn't "contend" for the division, he should be canned? What if the Reds win 95 games, the Dodgers win 97, the Giants win 93 and the Braves win 92 . . and the Bucs go 87-75 (finishing 8 games out of first place in division and 6 games out of wildcard contention)? Is that "contending?" Does winning 87 games save NH's job? Or, should it be measured on whether the Pirates are considered "contenders" in the last 15 games of the year? Or . . . do you look at whether Taillon is pitching well in AAA, whether Cole is pitching with the Big Club, whether Polanco and Hansen are progressing, whether Martin was a solid acquisition, whether Snider and/or Sanchez produce good numbers, what talent is acquired in with the draft picks, whether Bell progresses, who appears to be separating themselves in the minors, and what kind of year the Bucs have out of Jones, Barmes and Tabata? What happens with Liriano and Karstens? WHat happens with Morton? Does Grilli perform well? In my world, the best GM in the world would have penicled in Walker, McCutchen, Alvarez and Marte into the lineup. The question marks for position players involved SS, C, RF and 1B. NH decided to stick with Barmes, sign Martin, stick with Snider, Sanchez and Jones (while grabbing potential insurance with Hawpe, Robinson, Inge, etc). Most GMs would have stayed with Burnett, Rodriguez, and McDonald. That leaves two spots in the rotation. NH elected not to tender Karstens and tried to replace him with Liriano. He chose to bet that either Locke or McPherson will be able to handle the #5 slot and likely believes that Cole will be ready in June or July. When Liriano went down, Karstens was re-signed (at a cost less than what he originally sought after very little interest was shown in him). He let Hanrahan go and obtained Melancon. He tendered Morton even though Morton is hurt. In my mind, NH should be evaluated on the strategic moves he made and how those moves panned out. If McCutchen and Alvarez don't produce, Andrew Friedman wouldn't have made the team a contender. If all of his moves play out well and ALvarez, Marte, Walker and McCutchen produce, the Bucs should win at least 85 games. However, I can envision a fair number of scenarios where his moves play out well but the team doesn't "contend" or loses more than 81 games.


You just wrote that paragraph and you're the confused one?

To clarify one thing, I believe the standard is contention and winning, not just winning. When I wrote "winner," I should have written "consistent winner" or "contender." If the Pirates win 85 games this year and content for a playoff spot in the last week of the season but come up short, I'll be disappointed but I probably won't be calling for anyone's head.

Look, I agree that there is nuance in every evaluation. I agree that the way the Pirates win, and whether the winning can be attributed to specific moves made by NH, are important factors in his evaluation. But at its essence, the job of GM of a baseball team is simple -- build a consistent contender. If the Pirates fall short this season, that means NH hasn't built a single winning, contending team in six years at the helm. To me, that's grounds for being fired, despite the good things he's done.

No. 9 wrote:
You've conveniently attempted to turn my point about NH's drafts into a discussion about his overall job performance and the failure to make the playoffs in the 5 years in which he has served as GM. My original point about comparing draft results remains. The only first round draft pick that he has made that hasn't advanced as hoped for is Tony Sanchez and that is due in part to (a) him getting hit in the face and missing a significant amount of time and (b) regression from previous years. However, the 2009 draft was largely referred to as having Strasburg and Ackley and then a bunch of "meeeeeh." Now, did NH miss out on Trout? You bet he did. But so did a lot of others. Further evidence of the difficulty of predicting how young players will advance through the minors.


Your argument is basically: "This isn't exact science. This is hard." You're right. But NH is competing against 29 other GMs for talent in the draft, and he's gotten a head start by drafting near the top every year. In my view, and the views of many others, he hasn't brought in as much talent as he should have over the past five years.

Look at the St. Louis Cardinals. Look at where they have consistently drafted. Look at their farm system.

The Pirates can do better than NH, Greg Smith, Larry Broadway, and Kyle Stark. That's my opinion. And I have plenty of support for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:29 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Your argument is basically: "This isn't exact science. This is hard." You're right. But NH is competing against 29 other GMs for talent in the draft, and he's gotten a head start by drafting near the top every year. In my view, and the views of many others, he hasn't brought in as much talent as he should have over the past five years.

Look at the St. Louis Cardinals. Look at where they have consistently drafted. Look at their farm system.

The Pirates can do better than NH, Greg Smith, Larry Broadway, and Kyle Stark. That's my opinion. And I have plenty of support for it.


You say that you have support. I say show me. You've pointed out one draft - the 2009 draft - as evidence of incompentence. What teams are getting consistently better results from their #2 pick, their #3 pick, their #4 pick, etc? I picked one example . . of a GM who receives nothing but rave reviews and his draft results aren't particularly different than Huntington's. Huntington's critics claim that Alvarez, Taillon and Cole were no brainers and he deserves no credit for those. Assuming that to be true (and I'm not buying the argument hook, line and sinker) . . . show me your support. What GM's drafts have been consistently better than NH's?

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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:18 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
You say that you have support. I say show me. You've pointed out one draft - the 2009 draft - as evidence of incompentence. What teams are getting consistently better results from their #2 pick, their #3 pick, their #4 pick, etc? I picked one example . . of a GM who receives nothing but rave reviews and his draft results aren't particularly different than Huntington's. Huntington's critics claim that Alvarez, Taillon and Cole were no brainers and he deserves no credit for those. Assuming that to be true (and I'm not buying the argument hook, line and sinker) . . . show me your support. What GM's drafts have been consistently better than NH's?


I have shown you. I've put the evidence out there for everyone to see -- the Pirates can do better than the current management group.

Read the long thread to which I linked. I break down a ton of NH's trades and free agent acquisitions, as well as draft picks.

And by the way, I'm not among those who give NH "no credit" for Alvarez, Taillon, and Cole. His regime drafted those players. His regime developed those players. His regime is responsible for their success or failure. Which means NH's crew is responsible for Alvarez's awful 2011 season to go along with his decent 2012 campaign.

As to your question, I believe it's irrelevant in abstentia. I want to know how NH uses his drafts to supplement his international signings, trades, and free agent acquisitions to build a contending ball club. THAT is what I care about. I think that's what you care about. I'm pretty sure you don't care if NH "wins" the MLB Draft. You don't get a trophy for that. You get a trophy for winning the damn World Series. I want a GM of the Pirates able to use all of the tools at his disposal to build a consistently winning team. Has NH done that? No. Not one winning, contending team in his first five years. Two decent starts to seasons ending with epic collapses.

We are in Year 6, my friend. How much more time do you give NH to lose before he puts a contending team on the field, No. 9? How many years does it take?

Jocketty took the Reds to the playoffs in his third season.
Friedman took the Rays to the World Series in his third season.
Mozeliak has been running the Cardinals like a Swiss clock since 2007.

I want a guy who can lead the PBC into the playoffs and keep them contending. I want a Jocketty/Friedman/Mozeliak. What do you want? To give NH more time?


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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:25 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Jocketty took the Reds to the playoffs in his third season.
Friedman took the Rays to the World Series in his third season.
Mozeliak has been running the Cardinals like a Swiss clock since 2007.

I want a guy who can lead the PBC into the playoffs and keep them contending. I want a Jocketty/Friedman/Mozeliak. What do you want? To give NH more time?


This is bad argument to your point. What did the Rays and Reds already have in their systems before those GMs took over? I am not taking anything away from them, but it's a really bad comparison.

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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:33 pm 
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bucco boy wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
Jocketty took the Reds to the playoffs in his third season.
Friedman took the Rays to the World Series in his third season.
Mozeliak has been running the Cardinals like a Swiss clock since 2007.

I want a guy who can lead the PBC into the playoffs and keep them contending. I want a Jocketty/Friedman/Mozeliak. What do you want? To give NH more time?


This is bad argument to your point. What did the Rays and Reds already have in their systems before those GMs took over? I am not taking anything away from them, but it's a really bad comparison.


Obviously it's not a perfect comparison. I'm not saying it is. But I don't see how it could be so bad that Huntington would need TWICE as long as those guys needed to put a team in the playoffs. Are you saying that the Pirates had SO LITTLE that it would take ANY general manager six full years before turning it around?

If so, that's an interesting suggestion. Especially since Huntington inherited an MVP-level player (Cutch) and a very good second baseman (Walker) -- together the two best, most consistent hitters on the ball club. He also inherited Starling Marte, who will be starting in left field. That's likely 1-2-3 in the batting order. Who's the best hitter on the team that NH acquired?


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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:43 pm 
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Why do I get the impression that if were the Pirates were to make the playoffs and lose in the first round, J_C would just begin using the exact same rhetoric, only of the "all the guy's accomplished is one measly playoff choke in ____ years/hasn't came close to a World Series", etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:57 pm 
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TheShark wrote:
Why do I get the impression that if were the Pirates were to make the playoffs and lose in the first round, J_C would just begin using the exact same rhetoric, only of the "all the guy's accomplished is one measly playoff choke in ____ years/hasn't came close to a World Series", etc.


If the Pirates qualify for the playoffs in 2013, I'll be happy. I've said so.


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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:59 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Obviously it's not a perfect comparison. I'm not saying it is. But I don't see how it could be so bad that Huntington would need TWICE as long as those guys needed to put a team in the playoffs. Are you saying that the Pirates had SO LITTLE that it would take ANY general manager six full years before turning it around?

If so, that's an interesting suggestion. Especially since Huntington inherited an MVP-level player (Cutch) and a very good second baseman (Walker) -- together the two best, most consistent hitters on the ball club. He also inherited Starling Marte, who will be starting in left field. That's likely 1-2-3 in the batting order. Who's the best hitter on the team that NH acquired?

Well, that would be our #4 hitter, Alvarez.

I get what you're saying JC. The point, though, is somewhat mooted by the fact that Huntington is getting his sixth year here. We all want better than what this franchise has delivered since the days of Bonds and Bonilla. You want playoffs and WS contention. At this point, I would be content just to be above .500 at the conclusion of the season, and I think we have to get that particular monkey off our backs before we look any further. Given our disastrous foray into the world of SEAL-lead training, I don't have a lot of confidence that the Huntington regime knows how to take us there. And given our disastrous collapses the past two Augusts, I also don't have a lot of hope for Hurdle's ability to keep us confident late next summer.

My favorite team, Arsenal, a soccer team in England, is one of the historically most successful teams in Europe, and we've been going through a sustained period of decline. Only we have one of the world's great coaches, who seems to be doing his best Tom Landry-at-the-end-of-career implosion, and it's hard to know who would be better to replace him. I bring this up only because sometimes it's a crap shoot knowing who can perform better with the contraints the PBC have to work with. I have no idea who would be better, right now at this minute, than NH. I suspect Nutting doesn't either, or else he'd have brought him in by now.


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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:56 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
bucco boy wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
Jocketty took the Reds to the playoffs in his third season.
Friedman took the Rays to the World Series in his third season.
Mozeliak has been running the Cardinals like a Swiss clock since 2007.

I want a guy who can lead the PBC into the playoffs and keep them contending. I want a Jocketty/Friedman/Mozeliak. What do you want? To give NH more time?


This is bad argument to your point. What did the Rays and Reds already have in their systems before those GMs took over? I am not taking anything away from them, but it's a really bad comparison.


Obviously it's not a perfect comparison. I'm not saying it is. But I don't see how it could be so bad that Huntington would need TWICE as long as those guys needed to put a team in the playoffs. Are you saying that the Pirates had SO LITTLE that it would take ANY general manager six full years before turning it around?

I think that's what a lot of people have been saying. I've said something along those lines.

You seem to forget how bereft of talent the Pirates' farm system was when Littlefield was fired. NH started as the Pirates GM from a position well behind that of Friedman's first day, Mozeliak's first day, and Jocketty's first day. I don't think there was a team that had a worse farm system than the Pirates had at the end of 2007.

Here's what young players (age 25 and under) the foregoing GMs had in their respective systems (minor league and major league) on their first day:

Friedman (2006):
Scott Kazmir (Age 21)
BJ Upton (Age 21)
Carl Crawford (Age 24)
James Shields (Age 24)
Rocco Baldelli (Age 24)
Delmon Young (Age 20)
Jeff Niemann (Age 22)
Jason Hammel (Age 23)

Mozeliak (2008):
Yadier Molina (Age 25)
Jaime Garcia (Age 21)
Colby Rasmus (Age 21)
Allen Craig (Age 23)
David Freese (Age 25)
Chris Perez (Age 22)

Oh, and Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, who were not under the age of 25 but stayed with the Cardinals through 2011 and are among the best players at their respective positions.

Jocketty (2008):
Joey Votto (Age 24)
Edwin Encarnacion (Age 25)
Jay Bruce (Age 21)
Johnny Cueto (Age 22)
Homer Bailey (Age 22)
Yonder Alonso (Age 21)
Todd Frazier (Age 22)
Zach Cozart (Age 22)
Chris Heisey (Age 23)
Devin Mesoraco (Age 20)
Drew Stubbs (Age 23)

Oh, and Josh Hamilton and Adam Dunn, who were not under the age of 25, but who were prolific hitters that Jocketty traded shortly after arriving in Cincinnati.

The Pirates' system at the end of 2007 does not compare well to any of these lists of players.

J_C_Steel wrote:
If so, that's an interesting suggestion. Especially since Huntington inherited an MVP-level player (Cutch) and a very good second baseman (Walker) -- together the two best, most consistent hitters on the ball club. He also inherited Starling Marte, who will be starting in left field. That's likely 1-2-3 in the batting order. Who's the best hitter on the team that NH acquired?

Congratulations: you pointed out 3 hitting prospects from the Pirates farm system at the end of 2007 that many teams would be very happy to have. And while that is only a mere 3 prospects, they would have been quite important to any GM's rebuild of the Pirates.

But as good as they are, there is one thing that not one of McCutchen, Walker, or Marte can do on the baseball field: pitch.

Question: where were the pitchers? Who were the young pitching prospects that the Pirates had in 2007? Brad Lincoln is the only one I can count, and he couldn't handle starting. Matter of fact, who among the Pirates current starters was with the team in 2007? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:57 pm 
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Willton wrote:
Congratulations: you pointed out 3 hitting prospects from the Pirates farm system at the end of 2007 that many teams would be very happy to have. And while that is only a mere 3 prospects, they would have been quite important to any GM's rebuild of the Pirates.


Furthermore, with as much as people like to criticize the organization for their inherent lack of being able to develop talent, you could make the argument that the current regime actually "developed" two of those given that at the time McCutchen was the only premiere prospect among the three, a 5-tool centerfielder that simply excelled all through the minors as anticipated when he was drafted. Basically up until the year he was promoted, Walker was viewed as a disappointment as a first round pick and he never really posted better than mediocre numbers anywhere in the minors and he was seen as a lost cause until he had a decent 2010 season and Iwamura flopped to give him the promotion. Huntington also wasn't shy about challenging Walker in citing that he needed to work out attitude/lack of hustle issues at one point when he thought he was deserving of a call-up. Marte spent all but the first few months of his signing with Huntington's staff.


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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:06 am 
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Willton wrote:
The Pirates' system at the end of 2007 does not compare well to any of these lists of players.


I agree with you. I never said otherwise.

(By the way -- you only listed two young pitchers in your list of players with the Reds. Jocketty has had to bring in the rest.)

Regardless, all of these comparisons drive the conclusion that Neal Huntington should get more time to turn around the Pirates. OK. How much more time? Friedman and Jocketty had their teams qualifying for the playoffs in three years. If the Pirates don't qualify for the post-season in 2013, then Huntington will have had double that time (six full seasons) and failed to do so. Is that enough time? Or does Huntington need a decade to turn this franchise around?

More to the point, why did you write that YOU would fire him if this season isn't a success, Willton?


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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:59 am 
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The Pirates do not have to make the playoffs to save Huntington's job. But if they break .500 AND see significant progress from their younger players and prospects, the entire regime will be safe.


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 Post subject: Re: Grilli Blasts the PBC's Management Team
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:37 pm 
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Ralphie wrote:
The Pirates do not have to make the playoffs to save Huntington's job. But if they break .500 AND see significant progress from their younger players and prospects, the entire regime will be safe.


You're probably right. And if the arrow is pointing up, I might agree with holding the course. But the pressure would be on for 2014...


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