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 Post subject: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 12:40 pm 
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The Pittsburgh Pirates under the management of Team President Frank Coonelly and General Manager Neal Huntington may not want to tag the trade of reliever Damaso Marte and outfielder Xavier Nady as the start of a fire sale or another 5-year rebuilding plan but their actions and team's desperate need for quality minor leaguers is too apparent that the start of another rebuilding plan is under way.

When manager John Russell and pitching coach Jeff Andrews are working with the likes of Matt Morris, John Van Benschoten, Yoslan Herrera, Jimmy Barthmaier, and Ty Taubenheim, it is simply amazing this team doesn't sport the worst record in all of baseball.

While Marte and Nady enjoy the fruits of New York Yankees baseball in the second half of the season and no doubt a playoff run in September, their former teammates will be playing out the schedule hoping to finish ahead of Houston in the standings.

If you take the trade within the scope of who received the best players, New York wins this easily and even if you look at the long-term value, New York can't lose as they have the depth and financial resources to acquire talent without worrying about a plan but not so in Pittsburgh.

The Pirates had to make a trade, they had to address the team's putrid pitching depth. The only option Huntington had was to find a team with the desire and ability to give up three pitching prospects that could be in the majors by the start of next season.

Dan McCutchen, Jeff Karstens, and Ross Ohlendorf won't be anchoring the starting rotation, they're more Bullington material. You know, #3 types at best but at least these guys are said to have the makeup to reach the majors and contribute in some manner unlike the former #1 overall pick.

So while my first blush of this trade was full of disgust and rightfully so with a team so desperate for star potential in the rotation, it made sense from a pitching depth need.

The unpopular but wise decisions could continue over the next four days as the Pirates have players to continue their rebuilding by trading outfielder Jason Bay, shortstop Jack Wilson, reliever John Grabow, and jack-of-all-trades Doug Mientkiewicz.

Bay should be able to fetch a quality top of the rotation type prospect, a B level hitting prospect, and one or two Single-A level pitching prospects. For some reason, Pittsburgh scouted a start by Tampa's #1 prospect and last year's #1 overall pick David Price. Would Tampa part with Price, SS Reid Brignac, and another prospect to acquire Bay? The Rays appear more willing to see what Rocco Baldelli can do for them down the stretch and recall Price than the risks associated with competing with New York and Boston for the division title and wild card berth.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in need of a shortstop and have two prospects capable of closing the deal as the Pirates could offer Wilson for SS prospect Chin-lung Hu and a B-level pitching prospect like James McDonald.

John Grabow could get interest from the Red Sox as they try to deepen their bullpen and they've got the minor league depth to send over two pitching prospects in A or AA and not hurt themselves long-term.

Finally, anyone in the NL looking to bolster their bench for the stretch should look at Mientkiewicz. He's been a superb leader, can play multiple positions and has been a good hitter off the bench.


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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 1:04 pm 
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The decision to rebuild was not one that was just dreamed up in the past month. It was expressly why Coonelly and Huntington were brought on board last September.

The only reason it didn't begin in earnest last offseason was because the Pirates' two most valuable trade assets — Bay and Nady — had to reestablish their value — which both should be commended for doing.

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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 2:17 pm 
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Eric Bowser wrote:
The Pittsburgh Pirates under the management of Team President Frank Coonelly and General Manager Neal Huntington may not want to tag the trade of reliever Damaso Marte and outfielder Xavier Nady as the start of a fire sale or another 5-year rebuilding plan but their actions and team's desperate need for quality minor leaguers is too apparent that the start of another rebuilding plan is under way.

When manager John Russell and pitching coach Jeff Andrews are working with the likes of Matt Morris, John Van Benschoten, Yoslan Herrera, Jimmy Barthmaier, and Ty Taubenheim, it is simply amazing this team doesn't sport the worst record in all of baseball.

While Marte and Nady enjoy the fruits of New York Yankees baseball in the second half of the season and no doubt a playoff run in September, their former teammates will be playing out the schedule hoping to finish ahead of Houston in the standings.

And if Marte and Nady were still here, do you know what they and their teammates would be doing? They'd be playing out the schedule hoping to finish ahead of Houston in the standings.

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If you take the trade within the scope of who received the best players, New York wins this easily and even if you look at the long-term value, New York can't lose as they have the depth and financial resources to acquire talent without worrying about a plan but not so in Pittsburgh.

You'd be absolutely correct if this was the last season ever for major league baseball. It isn't. Tabata is a guy who might be making All-Star teams long after Marte and Nady have retired. A trade can be helpful to both teams, you know, and it could be that this trade ends up rated as a win for the Pirates after all the dust has settled and the newcomers have established themselves as major leaguers.

The Pirates had to make a trade, they had to address the team's putrid pitching depth. The only option Huntington had was to find a team with the desire and ability to give up three pitching prospects that could be in the majors by the start of next season.

Quote:
Dan McCutchen, Jeff Karstens, and Ross Ohlendorf won't be anchoring the starting rotation, they're more Bullington material. You know, #3 types at best but at least these guys are said to have the makeup to reach the majors and contribute in some manner unlike the former #1 overall pick.

So while my first blush of this trade was full of disgust and rightfully so with a team so desperate for star potential in the rotation, it made sense from a pitching depth need.

The unpopular but wise decisions could continue over the next four days as the Pirates have players to continue their rebuilding by trading outfielder Jason Bay, shortstop Jack Wilson, reliever John Grabow, and jack-of-all-trades Doug Mientkiewicz.

I'm not at all convinced that there will be more trades, though Huntingdon should certainly be willing to listen to any and all offers.

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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:29 pm 
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I think Bay's time in Pittsburgh is coming to an end. They have McLouth, McCutchen, and Pearce to play in the outfield next season plus he's a free agent after the '09 campaign. Tabata could be in the majors by mid-way next season if he gets his head back on straight and starts playing like was in 2006.

Considering the problems the Red Sox are having with Manny Ramirez, they might be willing to move some quality prospects for Bay in preparation of declining Ramirez' team option. Something to keep an eye on this winter if Bay is still around.


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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:11 pm 
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Eric Bowser wrote:
I think Bay's time in Pittsburgh is coming to an end. They have McLouth, McCutchen, and Pearce to play in the outfield next season plus he's a free agent after the '09 campaign. Tabata could be in the majors by mid-way next season if he gets his head back on straight and starts playing like was in 2006.

Considering the problems the Red Sox are having with Manny Ramirez, they might be willing to move some quality prospects for Bay in preparation of declining Ramirez' team option. Something to keep an eye on this winter if Bay is still around.

I'm not sold on Pearce as an every day player, and I think it's more likely that Tabata is three years away from starting in the majors. He's still very young. Still, if somebody comes through with a big offer for Bay, I'd take it. There had better be one or two bona fide top of the line prospects involved, because Bay is much, much better than Nady.

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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:15 pm 
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We've had more 5 year plans than Stalin.


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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:59 pm 
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Omar Moreno Fan wrote:
We've had more 5 year plans than Stalin.

Any plan needs a competent GM, scouts, and coaching to work. The Pirates have had a ton of plans because they've had a ton of lousy GMs. Maybe Huntingdon will turn out to be the next reject, but I like what I've seen so far.

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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:10 pm 
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Sisyphus - Don't forget those GMs, scouts and coaches need a competent ownership. The Pirates have a shot to improve their minor league system by paying above slot money to Alvarez, Scheppers, Wilson and Grossman. We're talking about four quality young baseball players this team needs for 2011 and 2012. The money saved by removing Nady and Marte off the major league roster should be enough to sign those four. They don't have an excuse to ignore their opportunity. If Huntington and Coonelly want to talk about increasing the quality depth, perfect scenario to test ownership's resolve in this rebuilding plan.


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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:23 pm 
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Eric Bowser wrote:
Sisyphus - Don't forget those GMs, scouts and coaches need a competent ownership. The Pirates have a shot to improve their minor league system by paying above slot money to Alvarez, Scheppers, Wilson and Grossman. We're talking about four quality young baseball players this team needs for 2011 and 2012. The money saved by removing Nady and Marte off the major league roster should be enough to sign those four. They don't have an excuse to ignore their opportunity. If Huntington and Coonelly want to talk about increasing the quality depth, perfect scenario to test ownership's resolve in this rebuilding plan.

You don't build a good team by paying players more than you think that they're worth unless you have the budget of the Yankees.

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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:37 pm 
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Sisyphus - So you don't think Alvarez, Scheppers, Grossman and Wilson are the 'quantity' types this franchise needs? If the team is willing to trade Nady/Marte for 1 high risk/high reward outfielder and 3 depth pitchers, the same should hold true for a team in horrible need for those four players. The time has come to pay the money required to bring in talent via the draft, above slot or not, this team can't compete once a player is 27-30 years old as an unrestricted free agent.


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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:11 pm 
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The problem I have with the trade is the element of the unknown. Yes, this might end up having been a great trade for the Pirates three years down the road. It also might end up being a disaster. For the bargaining position the Pirates were in, they should have been pretty well certain that they were getting a great deal right now. Yankee fans should not be saying to themselves "Wow, that's all we gave up?"

Take for example the trade the Marlins did with the Red Sox, where Beckett and Lowell went to the Sox for Hanley Ramirez. The Marlins were giving up a great pitcher, but everybody pretty much knew that Ramirez was the real deal. That trade worked out for everyone, but here we don't know whether Tabata is the real deal or not.

The best case scenario that I see is that this turns out like the Giles trade when they got Bay. The Pirates got a premiere player there, but it hasn't mattered at all in terms of where they're finishing in the standings. The worst case scenario is that it turns out like when Aramis Ramirez or Jason Kendall was traded, when they got nothing.

Anyway, I'm really tired of teams giving stars on a silver platter to the Yankees. This one feels just like the Abreu trade from the Phils a couple years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:36 pm 
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jaybee24 wrote:
The problem I have with the trade is the element of the unknown. Yes, this might end up having been a great trade for the Pirates three years down the road. It also might end up being a disaster. For the bargaining position the Pirates were in, they should have been pretty well certain that they were getting a great deal right now. Yankee fans should not be saying to themselves "Wow, that's all we gave up?"

Take for example the trade the Marlins did with the Red Sox, where Beckett and Lowell went to the Sox for Hanley Ramirez. The Marlins were giving up a great pitcher, but everybody pretty much knew that Ramirez was the real deal. That trade worked out for everyone, but here we don't know whether Tabata is the real deal or not.

The best case scenario that I see is that this turns out like the Giles trade when they got Bay. The Pirates got a premiere player there, but it hasn't mattered at all in terms of where they're finishing in the standings. The worst case scenario is that it turns out like when Aramis Ramirez or Jason Kendall was traded, when they got nothing.

Anyway, I'm really tired of teams giving stars on a silver platter to the Yankees. This one feels just like the Abreu trade from the Phils a couple years ago.


Its a risk you have to take, considering you're trying to build longterm...

Nady was expendable because there is depth in the OF with the emergence of McLouth this year, Pearce, and McCutchen...

Plus this team is years away from being a contender, Nady wouldn't have been apart of it anyway, he's a free agent after next season and will command lots of $$$...And I'm not sold on him being healthy to contribute the caliber he's doing it right now for an extended period of time...

The Yankee trade just brought 3 guys who all could be on the pitching staff next season, thats as close to Major League ready as you can get, while getting an OF prospect to replace Nady and Bay in 2 years or so...He's 19 and at AA, so he must be something good...I'd take the risk of him over 2 draft picks letting Marte go anyday

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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:41 pm 
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Eric Bowser wrote:
Sisyphus - So you don't think Alvarez, Scheppers, Grossman and Wilson are the 'quantity' types this franchise needs? If the team is willing to trade Nady/Marte for 1 high risk/high reward outfielder and 3 depth pitchers, the same should hold true for a team in horrible need for those four players. The time has come to pay the money required to bring in talent via the draft, above slot or not, this team can't compete once a player is 27-30 years old as an unrestricted free agent.


Here, here.

Pirates saved more than a million dollars in salary for the rest of this season by trading Marte and Nady. Use that money to sign Alvarez. See if Scheppers is physically ready to play. If so, sign him. Sign Wilson and Grossman. They want above slot money? How much above slot? A combined $1 million?

That much is a good investment - bang for the buck - for guys like Wilson and Grossman. Getting three guys who are in the high minors already (Ohlendorf, McCutchen, and Karstens) - two of whom are high K pitchers - and adding Scheppers, Wilson, to Lincoln in the minors rejuvenates the pitching right now.


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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:40 am 
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A couple points:

First, Nady and Marte is NOT Beckett and Lowell. Not even close. No way should we have expected a Hanley in return.

Second, I agree we want to sign Alvarez, Scheppers (if healthy), and Grossman, (mostly) regardless of price, because the return on the investment is likely to be very high. But Wilson? People were saying he was an overdraft in the 5th round, he pitches a good game in the CWS, and now we want the Pirates to spend second round money on him? If you can get him signed for a reasonable cost, go for it. I would hardly give him second round money though, which is what I've read he wants.


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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:27 pm 
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BBF wrote:
Second, I agree we want to sign Alvarez, Scheppers (if healthy), and Grossman, (mostly) regardless of price, because the return on the investment is likely to be very high. But Wilson? People were saying he was an overdraft in the 5th round, he pitches a good game in the CWS, and now we want the Pirates to spend second round money on him?


He is not going to get 2nd round money. But he is a quality L-handed starting prospect, who was hitting 92-93 mph pretty regularly in the CWS. That kind of arm is worth an investment.


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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:57 pm 
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The major point in this discussion is one that I agree with. I have not attacked the ownership in the past, but now it's time to stand up and do the necessary spending to get the ones we want out of those four. I'm willing to trust them in that decision, but they did save money on this trade and should be willing to spend it if the drafted kids are a good enough risk. They should be or we should not of drafted them so high.

This time I agree, it's time for ownership to man-up.

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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:00 pm 
Substitute2 wrote:
The major point in this discussion is one that I agree with. I have not attacked the ownership in the past, but now it's time to stand up and do the necessary spending to get the ones we want out of those four. I'm willing to trust them in that decision, but they did save money on this trade and should be willing to spend it if the drafted kids are a good enough risk. They should be or we should not of drafted them so high.

This time I agree, it's time for ownership to man-up.


I agree. There's been a lot of talk about how this current management group is committed to winning, etc. There's evidence to support that and evidence against that. But what they do with these guys, especially Alvarez, will reveal A TON.


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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:20 pm 
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Ok, so how much are you guys willing to offer these guys, then?

I'm fine with offering Alvarez (almost) whatever he wants, and Scheppers, if healthy, gets top 10 money. Grossman, by all accounts, was projected to go in the second round but dropped due to signability, so we are probably looking at top of the 2nd round/bottom of 1st round slot for him. I'll be conservative and say that Alvarez costs $10 mil (bonus + contract), Scheppers $2.5 mil, and Grossman $1 mil, as ballpark figures. Obviously, I wouldn't let 100K stand in my way of signing. So that is $13.5 mil right there, and again, I am being conservative.

Now, typical 5th round slot is under $200,000. How high are you willing to go with Wilson? I'd say no more than $500,000, myself. That's 3rd round money, and I don't think anyone would tell you Wilson should be a third round pick.

For a frame of reference, I don't know how much a draft budget *should* be, but my quick back of the envelope calculation says that Tampa has spent less than $10 mil so far (#2 pick unsigned) and pretty much everyone else has spent less. So if Nutting spends $20 mil and still doesn't get everyone signed, do we still criticize him for not opening the wallet?

Also, [this site] has an up to date list of all the signees and their bonus amounts. Very useful.


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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:23 pm 
BBF wrote:
Ok, so how much are you guys willing to offer these guys, then?

I'm fine with offering Alvarez (almost) whatever he wants, and Scheppers, if healthy, gets top 10 money. Grossman, by all accounts, was projected to go in the second round but dropped due to signability, so we are probably looking at top of the 2nd round/bottom of 1st round slot for him. I'll be conservative and say that Alvarez costs $10 mil (bonus + contract), Scheppers $2.5 mil, and Grossman $1 mil, as ballpark figures. Obviously, I wouldn't let 100K stand in my way of signing. So that is $13.5 mil right there, and again, I am being conservative.

Now, typical 5th round slot is under $200,000. How high are you willing to go with Wilson? I'd say no more than $500,000, myself. That's 3rd round money, and I don't think anyone would tell you Wilson should be a third round pick.

For a frame of reference, I don't know how much a draft budget *should* be, but my quick back of the envelope calculation says that Tampa has spent less than $10 mil so far (#2 pick unsigned) and pretty much everyone else has spent less. So if Nutting spends $20 mil and still doesn't get everyone signed, do we still criticize him for not opening the wallet?

Also, [this site] has an up to date list of all the signees and their bonus amounts. Very useful.


Given the proclaimed approach of the organization is to build the minor league system rather than signing many free agents, I'd be fine with spending $20 million on the draft, etc. What will really bother me is if they don't sign free agents AND don't sign these picks.


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 Post subject: Re: Pirates Start 5-yr Plan #4
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:30 pm 
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BBF wrote:
A couple points:

First, Nady and Marte is NOT Beckett and Lowell. Not even close. No way should we have expected a Hanley in return.


It's closer than you might think. You're forgetting that at the time the deal was done, Lowell was coming off a horrible season and had no value. The only way the Marlins would do the deal was for the Sox to take all his salary. Lowell then had a resurgence in Boston, but that was lucky for the Sox.

But that doesn't even matter, I was using the trade as an example, not saying that it was identical to the Nady situation. The Yankees got two solid players at a time when they were desperate for them with the injuries they have. The Pirates should have more to show for that than "maybe this will work out in three years." I understand they got three supposedly major league ready pitchers as well, but come on, how many of those guys have we seen come through after trading away a star? The whole argument that "this is what we have to endure as fans of a team in long term rebuilding mode" is ridiculous given that the Pirates have been rebuilding since 92.

Again, the ceiling for this trade is that Tabata ends up being the sole bright spot on a Pirates team finishing fifth in their division in 2010, just like when we got Bay for Giles. The worst case scenario is pretty much like every other trade the Pirates do.


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