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 Post subject: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 12:41 pm 
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Morton is the starting pitcher for Altoona today. A problem-free outing would be most-welcomed.

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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 12:50 pm 
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Are we thinking that, when healthy (fingers firmly crossed), Morton will take Gomez's spot in the rotation, and Gomez will take Mazzaro's spot in the bullpen?


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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 1:10 pm 
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Gomez would seem to have a lot of value as a long-relief guy. I've completely changed my opinion of him. Mainly because he's forced me to through not sucking.

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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 1:17 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
Gomez would seem to have a lot of value as a long-relief guy. I've completely changed my opinion of him. Mainly because he's forced me to through not sucking.

Me too.

On Morton...4 IP, 2 H(both HR's), 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. 60 pitches-41 strikes.


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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 3:58 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Are we thinking that, when healthy (fingers firmly crossed), Morton will take Gomez's spot in the rotation, and Gomez will take Mazzaro's spot in the bullpen?


Interesting thinking, but JMac will be back before Morton and HE will likely take Gomez's spot. Right?

Then there is Karstens down the road. Fun problem to have.

Intesting question. Suppose Morton and Karstens come back, both pitching very successfully...and JMac can get it going. Do you trade Burnett, Wandy, or Liriano this season?

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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 4:16 pm 
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Animal wrote:
Intesting question. Suppose Morton and Karstens come back, both pitching very successfully...and JMac can get it going. Do you trade Burnett, Wandy, or Liriano this season?


Honestly, the guy I might be least willing to part with is Wandy, solely because if he declines his player option and refuses our tender offer, Pirates would get a 1st round pick in the draft as compensation. So, I think you can maximize value out of him this year and then get a nice asset in return at the end of the year.

Burnett and Liriano I'd absolutely be willing to deal. Figure we'll need rotation spots for Cole AND Taillon by September of next season at the absolute latest, right? I'd like to get something in return and Burnett/Liriano seem the least likely to be part of the Pirates' contending teams due to contracts/age/timing.

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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 4:35 pm 
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I don't think there is anyway Wandy doesn't exercise that option unless he gets bad advice.

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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 4:48 pm 
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bucco boy wrote:
I don't think there is anyway Wandy doesn't exercise that option unless he gets bad advice.


You're probably right, but you never know. It's a $13 million player option (it became a player option when Wandy was traded) with a $2.5 million buyout. If Wandy has a great year and does not see his velocity or effectiveness diminish, he may want to decline the option, take the $2.5 million, and try to get a long-term deal with lesser per-year pay but higher overall value.

We shall see.


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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 4:52 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
Animal wrote:
Intesting question. Suppose Morton and Karstens come back, both pitching very successfully...and JMac can get it going. Do you trade Burnett, Wandy, or Liriano this season?


Honestly, the guy I might be least willing to part with is Wandy, solely because if he declines his player option and refuses our tender offer, Pirates would get a 1st round pick in the draft as compensation. So, I think you can maximize value out of him this year and then get a nice asset in return at the end of the year.

Burnett and Liriano I'd absolutely be willing to deal. Figure we'll need rotation spots for Cole AND Taillon by September of next season at the absolute latest, right? I'd like to get something in return and Burnett/Liriano seem the least likely to be part of the Pirates' contending teams due to contracts/age/timing.


Burnett said he is likely to retire, but may return here and only here. He has done wonders with this team and staff by way of leadership. If the Bucs ARE winning, I hate to let him go after what he has done for us. I think if he comes back next year, he would be a great part of the staff. I doubt that coming back from injury that neither Morton or Karstens have any value. Hell, Karstens was free agent in off season and had no interest.

Liriano is a wild card. He is still fairly young, and if he could return close to form, he could be awesome for us. We have him for 2 years, right? And I like Wandy. Quite a good problem to have.

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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 4:54 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
Animal wrote:
Intesting question. Suppose Morton and Karstens come back, both pitching very successfully...and JMac can get it going. Do you trade Burnett, Wandy, or Liriano this season?


Honestly, the guy I might be least willing to part with is Wandy, solely because if he declines his player option and refuses our tender offer, Pirates would get a 1st round pick in the draft as compensation. So, I think you can maximize value out of him this year and then get a nice asset in return at the end of the year.

Burnett and Liriano I'd absolutely be willing to deal. Figure we'll need rotation spots for Cole AND Taillon by September of next season at the absolute latest, right? I'd like to get something in return and Burnett/Liriano seem the least likely to be part of the Pirates' contending teams due to contracts/age/timing.


No offense, but I believe this kind of thinking is wrong-headed. You can never have too much pitching. Ever. And counting on two rookies to carry the rotation in a year in which we hope the Pirates contend is a recipe for disaster.

In my view, the Pirates would be wise to re-sign Burnett to a one- or two-year deal. He's a steady, proven veteran whose effectiveness has not diminished. You know he can pitch 200 innings. Liriano likely has more value to the Pirates than he does to other teams in terms of trade value. He's a power lefty whose stuff will play very well at PNC Park. If he has a solid year, he would be well worth the team's option for him next season, which sits at $5, $6, or $8 million (depending on how much time he spends on the DL).

Having Burnett, Liriano, Rodriguez, Locke, Cole, McDonald, and Morton available at the start of the 2014 season would be nice. Good competition there. At some pointin 2014, Taillon may become an option.


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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 5:07 pm 
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My personal opinion is that AJ Burnett is one of the clubhouse leaders and is integral to the team's attitude. Yes . . . I believe in chemistry . . . . and I believe that trading him would seriously f--k with the team's chemistry. So . . . if they are "contending" (and that is an incredibly amorphous word which is capable of many interpretations), I would consider Burnett to be untouchable via a trade.

My guess on the rotation on July 1 (assumes Morton is healthy):
1. Burnett
2. Rodriguez
3. Liriano
4. Morton
5. Cole

Bullpen (assuming Karstens is healthy): Grilli, Melancon, Wilson, Watson, Mazzaro, Morris and Karstens as long man.
Out: Gomez (DFA), Locke (back to Indy), Contreras (DFA), McDonald (not sure if he can be sent to Indy)

I see McDonald as the prime trade candidate. The potential flaw in that thinking is that the rotation for 2014 could be decimated: (1) Burnett could retire; (2) Wandy could walk by not exercising option; (3) Liriano's option is expensive if he doesn't perform well; (4) Morton (I think) would be a free agent. That leaves Cole as the only "guaranteed" starting pitcher. Locke woudl likely be in the mix as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 5:10 pm 
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I like your rotation, No. 9, but I'd swap Mazzaro for Jeanmar Gomez and consider replacing Watson with Locke if the former continues to struggle.

As for 2014, the team really needs to focus on re-signing Burnett, needs to exercise the option on Liriano if he pitches well and stays healthy, and try to bring back Rodriguez if he declines the player option.


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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 5:12 pm 
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My thought is, once Taillon and Cole are up, you're looking at your window starting to open. You need to figure out who is a viable ML'er and who isn't, because then you're getting to the point where you're selling off prospects to get that missing piece, and ramping up payroll on free agent signings.

Liriano, Burnett, and Wandy really don't provide much value to the "contender" teams. I think you need to find out what you have in McDonald, Morton, McPherson, Pimentel (out of options next year), Oliver, Irwin, any other guy who comes along.

Are they guys who can be a #3 on a contender? Are they guys you just need to cut bait on? Are they viable options as a 4/5 starter, or better suited for long relief? How many pitchers do you need to sign/trade for to fill out the rotation?

Burnett, Liriano, and Rodriguez aren't part of this team's future and have very little hope of BEING part of the future, primarily due to age. I think if you can swing them for a few solid prospects who could MAYBE help once the window is open, you do it.

This regime has done pretty much everything by the book so far in terms of managing a franchise like this. They're hoarding assets, aren't hamstringing themselves with Philly-esque contracts, and they're letting payroll increase gradually as guys reach arbitration in order to provide flexibility whenever they reach "contender" status and need to make a bigger FA signing. I think one final sell-off in order to identify the missing pieces would more or less have the Pirates in the best position possible to impove moving forward.

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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 5:22 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
My thought is, once Taillon and Cole are up, you're looking at your window starting to open. You need to figure out who is a viable ML'er and who isn't, because then you're getting to the point where you're selling off prospects to get that missing piece, and ramping up payroll on free agent signings.

Liriano, Burnett, and Wandy really don't provide much value to the "contender" teams. I think you need to find out what you have in McDonald, Morton, McPherson, Pimentel (out of options next year), Oliver, Irwin, any other guy who comes along.


Why don't Liriano, Burnett, and Wandy provide value to contending teams? I'm pretty sure that there are lot of contending teams that would love to have had Burnett's 2.2 WAR last season and would love to have his 1.0 WAR already this season. He's a good pitcher for any team, including one in contention. Same with Wandy and also, potentially, with Liriano.

In fact, if you're a contender, you want guys like Burnett and Wandy and not a guy like McDonald, who is ruthlessly inconsistent. Who would you rather hand the ball to in Game 1 of playoff series -- A.J. Burnett or James McDonald? That's an easy choice.

StarlingArcher wrote:
Are they guys who can be a #3 on a contender? Are they guys you just need to cut bait on? Are they viable options as a 4/5 starter, or better suited for long relief? How many pitchers do you need to sign/trade for to fill out the rotation?


If you have Burnett, you need one less pitcher for your rotation because he's durable, reliable, and effective. Same with Wandy. And that means one (or two) less guys you list have to pan out.

Personally, I'd like to have at least eight MLB-caliber starters for a season. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a position where you end up thinking signing Jonathan Sanchez and having him start for your team is a good idea...

StarlingArcher wrote:
Burnett, Liriano, and Rodriguez aren't part of this team's future and have very little hope of BEING part of the future, primarily due to age. I think if you can swing them for a few solid prospects who could MAYBE help once the window is open, you do it.


The Pirates are contending NOW. That window is open now. And because Burnett, Wandy, and Liriano are part of NOW (and potentially part of the 2014 edition of the PBC), they have value. Trading them for prospects weakens the Pirates in 2013 and likely 2014 as well.

StarlingArcher wrote:
This regime has done pretty much everything by the book so far in terms of managing a franchise like this. They're hoarding assets, aren't hamstringing themselves with Philly-esque contracts, and they're letting payroll increase gradually as guys reach arbitration in order to provide flexibility whenever they reach "contender" status and need to make a bigger FA signing. I think one final sell-off in order to identify the missing pieces would more or less have the Pirates in the best position possible to impove moving forward.


At 23-17, the Pirates are in the thick of things. Ignoring that to trade good veteran players would not only be a bad idea for the present, it would likely create a near-mutiny in the clubhouse. These guys are trying to make the playoffs. They're not trying to set the table for future Pirates teams.


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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 5:25 pm 
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A lot of interesting points both ways here. No 9...one thing I have to question about your post... If Locke continues to pitch as he has, would you REALLY take him out of the rotation and send him back to Indy?

As someone else said, you can never have enough pitching. It could all fall apart next year. I keep them all. Nice to have a backup plan if an injury arises. The only guy I would consider taking out of rotation right now is Gomez...and a couple more good starts, maybe I would not even do that. I think Karstens, Morton, and JMac prove they are healthy and they go to the pen. One of them can supplant Gomez if necessary.

I don't see Cole until a September call up.

I agree 100% about team chemistry. I think trades the past two years hurt the Bucs in that respect. I saw it happen in the past.

And really... what is our greatest need in trade? A really good shortstop? A power hitting RF? We are pretty well set, so unless I make a big trade and land one of those, I stand pat.

It's a nice problem to have.

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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 5:29 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
StarlingArcher wrote:
My thought is, once Taillon and Cole are up, you're looking at your window starting to open. You need to figure out who is a viable ML'er and who isn't, because then you're getting to the point where you're selling off prospects to get that missing piece, and ramping up payroll on free agent signings.

Liriano, Burnett, and Wandy really don't provide much value to the "contender" teams. I think you need to find out what you have in McDonald, Morton, McPherson, Pimentel (out of options next year), Oliver, Irwin, any other guy who comes along.


Why don't Liriano, Burnett, and Wandy provide value to contending teams? I'm pretty sure that there are lot of contending teams that would love to have had Burnett's 2.2 WAR last season and would love to have his 1.0 WAR already this season. He's a good pitcher for any team, including one in contention. Same with Wandy and also, potentially, with Liriano.

In fact, if you're a contender, you want guys like Burnett and Wandy and not a guy like McDonald, who is ruthlessly inconsistent. Who would you rather hand the ball to in Game 1 of playoff series -- A.J. Burnett or James McDonald? That's an easy choice.

StarlingArcher wrote:
Are they guys who can be a #3 on a contender? Are they guys you just need to cut bait on? Are they viable options as a 4/5 starter, or better suited for long relief? How many pitchers do you need to sign/trade for to fill out the rotation?


If you have Burnett, you need one less pitcher for your rotation because he's durable, reliable, and effective. Same with Wandy. And that means one (or two) less guys you list have to pan out.

Personally, I'd like to have at least eight MLB-caliber starters for a season. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a position where you end up thinking signing Jonathan Sanchez and having him start for your team is a good idea...

StarlingArcher wrote:
Burnett, Liriano, and Rodriguez aren't part of this team's future and have very little hope of BEING part of the future, primarily due to age. I think if you can swing them for a few solid prospects who could MAYBE help once the window is open, you do it.


The Pirates are contending NOW. That window is open now. And because Burnett, Wandy, and Liriano are part of NOW (and potentially part of the 2014 edition of the PBC), they have value. Trading them for prospects weakens the Pirates in 2013 and likely 2014 as well.

StarlingArcher wrote:
This regime has done pretty much everything by the book so far in terms of managing a franchise like this. They're hoarding assets, aren't hamstringing themselves with Philly-esque contracts, and they're letting payroll increase gradually as guys reach arbitration in order to provide flexibility whenever they reach "contender" status and need to make a bigger FA signing. I think one final sell-off in order to identify the missing pieces would more or less have the Pirates in the best position possible to impove moving forward.


At 23-17, the Pirates are in the thick of things. Ignoring that to trade good veteran players would not only be a bad idea for the present, it would likely create a near-mutiny in the clubhouse. These guys are trying to make the playoffs. They're not trying to set the table for future Pirates teams.


EXCELLENT POINTS ALL!

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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 5:47 pm 
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Chance that Huntington trades AJ Burnett, a staff leader, a leader in the clubhouse, a guy who goes up against the opposition's number 1 and always keeps the Buccos in the game, and a guy who gives 200 quality IP per year?

Zero. None.

Chance he deals Wandy with the very likely chance he is producing again for the team next year, is a reliable 200 IP lefty starter whose K rate is up and whose BB rate is miniscule this year?

Not much above zero.

If Burnett returns for another season, he will do so as a Bucco. Also, I don't think it a good PR move to trade a player who has made it clear how much he loves playing in Pittsburgh, and who is an icon for those guys who have worn out their welcome in NY, or Boston, or Chicago and who want a chance to play for and become a leader a very good young team.


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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 7:22 pm 
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I think I misspoke on the one point. Burnett, Wandy, and Liriano could absolutely have value to contender teams, just not the Pirates' contending teams. I think a team like Texas would love to add an AJ Burnett. Or Detroit. Or San Francisco. Or the Angels. Or any other team in the upper tier of baseball who needs to shore up the middle of the rotation.

I do NOT think that the Pirates are a contender. I wouldn't put them on the same level as Washington, Atlanta, St. Louis, San Francisco, or the Tigers, Rangers, most AL East teams, etc.

They're competing well and it's really encouraging to see the young pieces start or continue to blossom, but I don't think we can say at this point that they're World Series contenders.

I know it'd likely be bad PR to flip these guys, but it's the fear of bad PR that caused them to hold onto Joel Hanrahan for way too long and get significantly less than they could have if they would've allowed teams to overpay.

It's definitely a minority view, but I don't think pushing for a .500 season is worth sacrificing the 2015-2020 window.

Next year you have Cole and Taillon up. You'll have Marte, Walker, and Cutch. Pedro. Barmes is gone and it's Jordy time. Jose and Snider get to prove themselves with Polanco nearing the majors and hopefully Hanson and Bell climbing as well. Sanchez likely backs up Martin for a year then takes over. That's who you need to build around with pieces who will be with them for a minimum of 3-4 years. Or, know what to target at the deadline and 2014 offseason.

I think if you take some lumps in 2014 figuring out how to maximize success in 2015 and beyond, that lets you maximize the skill sets of Taillon and Cole. Like I said, not popular but developing a young rotation around the Big 2 ASAP means you're moving forward for the entirety of their control years...not starting the building process after AJ, Wandy, and Liriano's contracts are up.

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Last edited by StarlingArcher on Thu May 16, 2013 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 7:43 pm 
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I don't see the Pirates being sellers at the deadline. 8-) 8-) 8-)


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 Post subject: Re: Keep your fingers crossed . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 8:46 pm 
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Az Bucco fan wrote:
I don't see the Pirates being sellers at the deadline. 8-) 8-) 8-)


This.

Also forced to agree that it's too soon and rather foolish to trade any of the A.J./Wandy/Liriano trio. Even if those guys might not have value/a future with this team in 2-3 years, they will certainly have value [for/on this team] until then.

Also agree that Locke has earned a spot in the rotation. Unlike Jordy, the Bucs were forced to give him a shot and he's stepped up. Sending him back to the 'pen or AAA would be an insult.

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