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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 8:52 am 
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No. 9 wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
What are the Pirates getting from McDonald that makes him worth keeping with the PBC over Mercer? Enlighten me.


I have. Multiple times.

Its in the way the roster is comprised and the way McDonald is being used. The Bucs want Barmes because of his glove. It is clear that they value the glove over the bat for the SS position. McDonald will get a rare spot start at SS but, for the most part, he will get splinters in his ass unless (1) there is a double switch which results in a pitcher taking Barmes' spot and McDonald taking the pitcher's spot or (2) Hurdle pinch hits for Barmes and needs to replace Barmes' glove at SS.

McDonald is on this team for defensive purposes. That's what this club values right now out of its SS. McDonald has seen only 2.5% of this team's plate appearances. It is, by far, the fewest of any player that made the team out of camp and that includes guys like Tabata, Snider and Walker who have spent time on the bench injured. Like it or not, the Bucs want a "defense first" SS. They structured their roster in a manner which ensures that a "glove first" SS will be on the field at all times. They are not structured to beat the other team to death by scoring a ton of runs. They are structured to have superior defenders at SS, C, CF and, at worst, a league average defender at 2B.

You can disagree with the premise of a "defense first" SS. That's fine. I agree that premise can be debated. But . . . if you take the premise as a "given" . . . and you are given the choice . . . who plays defense for you in crunch time - Mercer or McDonald. I submit that anyone who is paying attention picks McDonald over Mercer - when it comes to defense.

Now . . . I submit that if you want to debate the issue of strongest roster construction while wanting to maintain a "defense first" SS . . . a far more interesting debate exists as to whether Mercer should take Inge's slot. Inge isn't going to play SS. Inge is going to speall Alvarez. Inge is going to spell Walker. Inge is going to play a bit of RF and LF. Maybe Mercer could take those spots. But then we get inot the esoteric argument of intangibles and we all know who the statisticains come down on that issue.

I greatly appreciate your expansive analysis, 9. Thanks.

However.... While I understand the need for a strong spine right up the middle (I am a soccer player/coach), I don't think that this is really how the Bucs are constructed. We've got a gem in CF and Barmes is pretty good, but Walker seems to be fine at best, and while we upgraded significantly at C, we did use both Barajas and McHenry at catcher last season and our backup second baseman is average at best. We are not strong up the middle and to keep McDonald around for the rare double switch you posit seems, well, pointless. If we're going to be marginal, I rather opt for flexibility, which seems to be why Inge is on the team.


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:30 am 
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Is McDonald even that good defensively anymore? You can usually see it with Barmes.

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:43 am 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
Is McDonald even that good defensively anymore? You can usually see it with Barmes.


I don't see it. He's not fast, and he doesn't seem to get Barmes' jumps on the ball off the bat.


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:54 am 
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val,

Because they were not complete as a defensive setup last year, doesn't mean it isn't the goal that is being built.

Remember NH's first year when he constructed a team defense-first approach to try and win?

If you want your pitchers to go deep into games, you gotta get them throwing less pitches per inning (three per batter per Searage), which translates to pitching to contact (ghosts of DL soft tossing lefties start to roam!), which to me, translates to lots of ground balls that you had better be able to make a play on.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 11:38 am 
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val wrote:
However.... While I understand the need for a strong spine right up the middle (I am a soccer player/coach), I don't think that this is really how the Bucs are constructed. We've got a gem in CF and Barmes is pretty good, but Walker seems to be fine at best, and while we upgraded significantly at C, we did use both Barajas and McHenry at catcher last season and our backup second baseman is average at best. We are not strong up the middle and to keep McDonald around for the rare double switch you posit seems, well, pointless. If we're going to be marginal, I rather opt for flexibility, which seems to be why Inge is on the team.


I do not purport to possess a vast amount of knowledge regarding Inge but it was always my understanding that his "value" involved a strong defensive presence. If he is Walker's back-up, I'm thinking that he's likely above-average at 2B. As for the comment "we are not strong up the middle" . . . I'm curious as to why you would think that Martin, Barmes, Walker and McCutchen don't qualify as "strong up the middle." As a group, they are, in my opinion, quite strong defensively.

I'm not in love with McDonald's talents . . the issue posed is "why would the Pirates keep McDonald?" I'm simply offering that explanation. The Bucs want defense at SS. They view defense as more important out of a back-up (as do a lot of teams) than having a bat coming off the bench. They apparently think that they get more out of that roster spot preventing runs than creating runs with the bat.

Again, I think that the more interesting debate involves releasing Inge and keeping Mercer active and turning Mercer into the "super sub." But . . . that involves a discussion regarding intangibles and that horse has been beaten to death.

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 11:42 am 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
No. 9 wrote:
Now . . . I submit that if you want to debate the issue of strongest roster construction while wanting to maintain a "defense first" SS . . . a far more interesting debate exists as to whether Mercer should take Inge's slot. Inge isn't going to play SS. Inge is going to speall Alvarez. Inge is going to spell Walker. Inge is going to play a bit of RF and LF. Maybe Mercer could take those spots. But then we get inot the esoteric argument of intangibles and we all know who the statisticains come down on that issue.


THAT IS THE POINT. Have you read my posts on this topic?


Kindly point me to where you suggest that an option is to release Inge to make room for Mercer.

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 11:46 am 
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No. 9 wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
No. 9 wrote:
Now . . . I submit that if you want to debate the issue of strongest roster construction while wanting to maintain a "defense first" SS . . . a far more interesting debate exists as to whether Mercer should take Inge's slot. Inge isn't going to play SS. Inge is going to speall Alvarez. Inge is going to spell Walker. Inge is going to play a bit of RF and LF. Maybe Mercer could take those spots. But then we get inot the esoteric argument of intangibles and we all know who the statisticains come down on that issue.


THAT IS THE POINT. Have you read my posts on this topic?


Kindly point me to where you suggest that an option is to release Inge to make room for Mercer.


I never said release Inge; I said, as you note, give Mercer the Inge role. You wrote "[m]aybe Mercer could take [Inge's] spots." I agree with you. Release McDonald, keep Mercer and Inge, give Mercer the Inge role, and let Inge be a defensive bench player. If you're keeping McDonald for the purpose of pinch-hitting for Barmes late in games and having McDonald play defense for two innings, that is very very dumb. It's a waste of a roster space, and Mercer can play two innings of shortstop at almost the same level of competency as McDonald, from what I've seen this year.


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 11:52 am 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
No. 9 wrote:
No. 9 wrote:
Now . . . I submit that if you want to debate the issue of strongest roster construction while wanting to maintain a "defense first" SS . . . [size=150]a far more interesting debate exists as to whether Mercer should take Inge's slot[/size]. Inge isn't going to play SS. Inge is going to speall Alvarez. Inge is going to spell Walker. Inge is going to play a bit of RF and LF. Maybe Mercer could take those spots. But then we get inot the esoteric argument of intangibles and we all know who the statisticains come down on that issue.


Kindly point me to where you suggest that an option is to release Inge to make room for Mercer.


I never said release Inge; I said, as you note, give Mercer the Inge role. You wrote "[m]aybe Mercer could take [Inge's] spots." I agree with you. Release McDonald, keep Mercer and Inge, give Mercer the Inge role, and let Inge be a defensive bench player. If you're keeping McDonald for the purpose of pinch-hitting for Barmes late in games and having McDonald play defense for two innings, that is very very dumb. It's a waste of a roster space, and Mercer can play two innings of shortstop at almost the same level of competency as McDonald, from what I've seen this year.


See above. Mercer taking Inge's slot. Keeps a defense-first SS; No defensive drop-off. Offers defense upgrade over Alvarez at 3B. Probably the equivalent of Walker at 2B. There may be OF defense issues since I am not aware of Mercer playing OF. Is Mercer's bat better than Inge's? Also, issue of intangibles as previously identified.

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 12:06 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
See above. Mercer taking Inge's slot. Keeps a defense-first SS; No defensive drop-off.


McDonald's value as a late-innings defensive replacement has not been proven. Barmes is the team's defense-first SS. He's durable and sufficient. Even if you're right that McDonald's a better defender than Mercer at shortstop right now, playing Mercer for two innings late in games instead of McDonald is such a small delta that Mercer's better bat makes him a FAR BETTER bench option than McDonald.

No. 9 wrote:
Offers defense upgrade over Alvarez at 3B. Probably the equivalent of Walker at 2B. There may be OF defense issues since I am not aware of Mercer playing OF.


Keeping Mercer and Inge eliminates these concerns. Inge can play 2B, 3B, and corner outfield and act as a solid defensive replacement. Mercer can play 2B, SS, and 3B and gives the team some upside, some pop, a good bat, and decent defense.

No. 9 wrote:
Is Mercer's bat better than Inge's?


It sure looks that way. Check out Inge's OBP the last few years -- .304 this year in limited play, .275 in 2012, and .265 in 2011. That's putrid, particularly for a guy who's given 2-3 starts per week. It drags down your offense. Plus, Inge hasn't shown much pop this year with only 2 extra base hits in 47 plate appearances. Add that to his 1:11 BB to K ratio, and you have a bad hitter.

Mercer's OBP in AAA is north of .400 and he's already registered 5 extra base hits in only 32 plate appearances. He has actual upside. And, oh by the way, he's also registered a POSITIVE defensive WAR in the field for 2013 (0.1 dWAR), just like he did in 2012 (0.5 dWAR). What's McDonald's dWAR this year? Oh yeah, 0.0.

No. 9 wrote:
Also, issue of intangibles as previously identified.


If you keep Inge you don't lose those amorphous "intangibles." You have them. But you certainly don't need additional veteran "intangibles" from McDonald. Maybe the team would be helped by Mercer's energy and enthusiasm?

And don't ignore the potentially helpful affect and system-wide impact of keeping a young player who played well in the majors with the big club. It shows the kids that they can grab a spot if they perform. You know, instead of demoting him and keeping a 38-year-old guy who can't hit and does not appear to any of us to play an appreciably better shortstop than Mercer...


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 12:35 pm 
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I'd argue that Mercer can fill the McDonald role, AND, in addition, do other things like play other positions whenever he needs to and make solid contact with baseballs.

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 12:41 pm 
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Mercer is freaking better than Barmes! And who the hell is stupid enough to send back down Mercer while holding onto a guy like Mcdonald?

This is a David Littlefield move x10. Same old pirates move.

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 1:23 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
val wrote:
However.... While I understand the need for a strong spine right up the middle (I am a soccer player/coach), I don't think that this is really how the Bucs are constructed. We've got a gem in CF and Barmes is pretty good, but Walker seems to be fine at best, and while we upgraded significantly at C, we did use both Barajas and McHenry at catcher last season and our backup second baseman is average at best. We are not strong up the middle and to keep McDonald around for the rare double switch you posit seems, well, pointless. If we're going to be marginal, I rather opt for flexibility, which seems to be why Inge is on the team.


I do not purport to possess a vast amount of knowledge regarding Inge but it was always my understanding that his "value" involved a strong defensive presence. If he is Walker's back-up, I'm thinking that he's likely above-average at 2B. As for the comment "we are not strong up the middle" . . . I'm curious as to why you would think that Martin, Barmes, Walker and McCutchen don't qualify as "strong up the middle." As a group, they are, in my opinion, quite strong defensively.

I'm not saying that our starting lineup is strong up the middle. Martin's been fun to watch, you know, now that he's actually getting hits. ;)

But you were positing an "alternate reality" for management in wanting a truly strong spine, even to the point of sacrificing youth development for having a strong second line. I haven't seen enough of Inge to make a judgment, but it seems like the rest of the second-line spine is not particularly strong enough, if in fact, this is what management is trying to accomplish.

What with Walker hurt (and it's not like we don't have worries about his back even in best of times) and McCutchen aggressively regressing toward the mean so far this young season, it seems like we need pop in the lineup where we can find it. We seem intent of giving Snider the chance to see if he belongs this season, and I'm all for him getting this opportunity, and I'd rather see Mercer get a similar chance. Especially since Barmes (though he's had a better two weeks) and McDonald are not going to give us much.


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 1:50 pm 
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val wrote:
But you were positing an "alternate reality" for management in wanting a truly strong spine, even to the point of sacrificing youth development for having a strong second line. I haven't seen enough of Inge to make a judgment, but it seems like the rest of the second-line spine is not particularly strong enough, if in fact, this is what management is trying to accomplish.


Barmes' replacement is McDonald. McDonald's nickname is "Minister of Defense." That is his pedigree. Has been for a while.
McCutchen's replacement is Marte. Some would argue that Marte is better in CF than McCutchen.
Walker's replacement is Inge. Inge is likely a superior fielder to Walker although I personally believe that Walker is underrated defensively; particularly in his ability around the bag.
Martin's replacement is McKenry which has been a nightmare this year. You're not going to see a whole lot of lineup shuffling where Martin starts the game and then McKenry comes in as a defensive replacement.

All in all . . . the current roster is comprised to have superior defenders up the middle.

val wrote:
What with Walker hurt (and it's not like we don't have worries about his back even in best of times) and McCutchen aggressively regressing toward the mean so far this young season, it seems like we need pop in the lineup where we can find it. We seem intent of giving Snider the chance to see if he belongs this season, and I'm all for him getting this opportunity, and I'd rather see Mercer get a similar chance.
When it comes to replacing Walker on a day-to-day basis if he is injured or if Barmes is injured, I expect that we would see Mercer. As for hitting, Jones/Sanchez, Snider/Tabata and McKenry would be used before Mercer. If he's on the club, there is giong to be a limited amount of options for him unless you start sitting Walker and Alvarez to make time for Mercer in the lineup. Since that appears to be Inge's role, that is why I suggested that perhaps the debate should involve dumping Inge and keeping Mercer.

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 1:55 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
When it comes to replacing Walker on a day-to-day basis if he is injured or if Barmes is injured, I expect that we would see Mercer. As for hitting, Jones/Sanchez, Snider/Tabata and McKenry would be used before Mercer. If he's on the club, there is giong to be a limited amount of options for him unless you start sitting Walker and Alvarez to make time for Mercer in the lineup. Since that appears to be Inge's role, that is why I suggested that perhaps the debate should involve dumping Inge and keeping Mercer.


I don't know if you've noticed, but Walker hasn't been hitting left-handed pitchers very well at all. I'd give Walker (and his back) a rest against lefties on occasion and start Mercer. I'd also occasionally give Mercer a start at 3B against a lefty, and a start at SS when Barmes needs a rest.

All told, you could find 1-3 starts per week for Mercer so that he can become acclimated to MLB pitching and show whether he's a true option for the 2014 starting shortstop position. Plus, you'd have Inge as a defensive replacement when necessary. That's the smart play, No. 9.


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 3:01 pm 
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He could get one at 2b, 2 at SS, and one at 3rd every week. That said, if they see him as 2114's SS then he needs all the reps he can get in Indy..... 8-)


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 3:11 pm 
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Az Bucco fan wrote:
He could get one at 2b, 2 at SS, and one at 3rd every week. That said, if they see him as 2114's SS then he needs all the reps he can get in Indy..... 8-)


Given his reputation as a slow starter, I'd rather see him get bench reps against MLB pitching than go back to AAA.


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 4:54 pm 
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You all realize you are now arguing a moot point? Right?

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 4:58 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
You all realize you are now arguing a moot point? Right?

ZM

Of course. But since we don't actually play the games, and we're neither Hurdle or nor Huntington, everything we have to say about anything, other than Go Bucs!, is a moot point.


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 5:29 pm 
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I've listened to this whole argument and cannot be convinced that the Pirates have made a move that is in the best interests of the current team, and certainly not in the best interests of the team long-term.

First, I fully admit that Jordy Mercer's ceiling is likely utility guy/injury fill-in. I don't think he should be here because he is going to be the next Derek Jeter. However, I can't buy in to any rational argument that concludes a team with Barmes AND McDonald AND Inge can't find a spot for a young middle infielder who may have something to contribute to this club beyond 2013.

As No.9 pointed out, yes, there are some very specific instances that make having a superior defensive SS on the bench late in the game valuable. But there are (probably more) specific instances when having an actual usable bat on the bench is valuable. Over the course of the year, you cannot convince me that John McDonald would provide more value to this team. Further, even if you DFA Mr. McDonald, SO WHAT? If Mercer can't cut it, then you can find another glove-first, can't-hit-a-lick middle infielder fairly easier. We might have to trade away Player Tobenamedlater or Cash Considerations to get him, but that's it. Hell, McDonald may even clear waivers and accept an assignment in Indy.

Further, Mr. Huntington has acknowledged that Mercer could be part of the SS picture in 2014. Wouldn't it be nice to be getting him some AB's in the big leagues NOW, so that you know exactly what you have, while you still have Barmes and others in-house than throwing him to the fire next year? Wouldn't it be nice to know going into the offseason (or even trading deadline) what exactly your SS needs are? Is Mercer a utility guy to start at SS only in emergency? Is he playable as a starter? Will he be able to hit after pitchers see him a second or third time? I'd rather find out now than later. I'd keep him on the roster and at the very least, have him splitting time at short (3 starts a week) and spelling Walker and Pedro against lefties (1-2 starts a week). At the very least. The bottom line is that from my view point, there is no discernable short or long term plan or solution for the SS position, other than cross our fingers and hope for Hanson. While I don't have a ton of confidence that Mercer can be a stopgap, I'd rather find out in a season where we have Barmes to step in than next year when Mercer might be plan A.

The argument that he should be down in Indy getting regular AB's instead of rotting on the bench also doesn't carry much weight with me. If that were to be the case, then the problem isn't carrying Mercer on the 25 man roster. The problem is having a learning-disabled adult as a manager. And there is a simple solution to that.

The only defensible position for sending Jordy down is if management is completely convinced he will not be a part of the team's plan at short, and they feel that mashing AAA pitching will increase his trade value. While they may be correct in their valuation of him, I think the era of retarded GM's is rapidly drawing to a close, and I'm not sure doing this will help trade value at all.

And yeah, the difference between carrying Mercer and McDonald might (MIGHT) amount to one additional win or loss, but the truth is that rarely does one huge roster decision determine a team's fate, rather it is the sum of small moves that makes the most difference. And I can only conclude that in this case, keeping Mercer would be in the best interests of the current team, and certainly in best interests of moving on in the post-Barmes era.


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 Post subject: Re: It's Official -- Walker Activated, Mercer to AAA
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 5:47 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
You all realize you are now arguing a moot point? Right?
ZM

I get what you're saying, but the Pirates demoted Mercer to AAA; they did not kill him. They have the option of bringing him back to the major league team any time they wish.


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