Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 6.12.13

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Poll Question:

Do you agree with Penguins GM Ray Shero extending coach Dan Bylsma's contract for 2 years?

Answer #1:

Yes (60%)

Answer #2:

No (40%)

James_Pittsburgh: I agree with the extension of Dan Blysma. I believe Malkin will sign an extension as well. I predict that Kris Letang will be traded.

Jerry Micco: At one point, I thought Bylsma had to go. No matter what. But given a day or 2 to think about it, I kind of came around to the fact that he's been a good coach overall and the pickings out there are pretty slim. Team seems to respect him and the staff and there's a lot to be said for that. I give Shero credit for doing that. Public sentiment doesn't seem in favor of the move. As for the players, I think you are probably right on Malkin and Letang.

B. Norman Broadcasting Live From The Barrio: Jerry - who do you think will win the 2021 World Series MVP for the Dodgers - Yasiel Puig or Gerrit Cole?

Jerry Micco: Puig. Cole will be pitching for the Pirates. I'd imagine.

James_Pittsburgh: Nice debut for Gerrit Cole. Once Wandy comes off the DL, I love the rotation of A.J. Burnett, Wandy, Francisco Liriano, Jeff Locke, and Cole. It will be interesting to see what the Pirates do with Charlie Morton.

Jerry Micco: I'd imagine they'll use him out of the pen and spot start him. The still have James McDonald and Jeanmar Gomez on IR, so there's decisions to be made. But it gives them terrific depth for any other injuries or if they want to use one as a trade piece.

Ralph_LA: A collective sigh of relief with Cole's debut. I know that the Pirates did not have much choice in bringing him up. Is there a payroll implication with bringing him up now.

Jerry Micco: Not really. The reason he was brought up when he was is because of arbitration rules. Essentially, the Pirates get an extra year of him before arbitration kicks in. And I'm in the minority that thought he could use some time in AAA. He did, and it showed.

Gus: Blysma extended and full faith in MAF from Shero, as a fan why should I expect any different results in the playoffs next year?

Jerry Micco: Let's see what the rest of the team looks like. I think it will be somewhat different. And maybe Fleury plays differently, too. Shero gave him a strong vote of confidence, but also said he wanted Fleury to work on some things this summer and that Fleury was taking that seriously. We'll see.

Guest: Anybody can trade away the future to assemble an All Star team, Isn't Shero to be blamed for some of this failure as he clearly did not put together a defensive minded playoff hockey team?

Jerry Micco: I think Shero has always shouldered some of the blame for any moves he has made that didn't work out. Strikes me as a stand-up guy. But when those deals went down, everyone who covers the NHL said the Penguins were loaded for a Cup run. They got close, but no cigar.

Chuck: Last Weeks chat you weren't so sure Gerritt Cole would be brought up when Wandy went down, what's your opinion now? Is he here to stay?

Jerry Micco: I wasn't sure then that Wandy was going on the IR, so I didn't see a need to bring Cole up. That said, now that he's here, he's going to be part of the rotation unless he has a couple of really poor starts.

Doyle37: Pirates pitchers have never been great in their debut games. Is Cole's effort the best since Candelaria or am I forgetting someone ??

Jerry Micco: Kris Benson pitched really well in his opener. Six innings, a couple hits and a run in a 2-1 win over the Cubs. But Cole's outing was excellent, too. A great start for him.

James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, the Pirates will have a hard time trading a starter for a bat. Morton and A.J. Burnett are not under contract for next year and I doubt the Pirates would want to deal Cole, Jeff Locke, or Francisco Liriano. I guess Liriano could be dealt to a contender for a bat.

Jerry Micco: I don't think those guys will be dealt. Morton might bring some interest, but again, they may need to keep him for depth. I'd think a big bat will take a Liriano or Locke. And I don't think the Pirates will deal those guys. I wonder just how active they'll be at the trade deadline? Team they have now is pretty good.

Phil: Travis Snider even looks like a good ballplayer and is good defensively, but what a personal missed opportunity the past few weeks. Too many groundouts for a right fielder with no power.

Jerry Micco: I'd say the Pirates are pretty happy with Snider's progress. But if you are looking at an upgrade, you may see the Pirates make a play for a bigger bat corner OF guy. As you know, however, that will come with a price, likely pitching.

Bruno in Myrtle: Jerry, love the weekly chat, what happens with AJ next season does Nutting pay the full freight on a 2 year deal or is AJ gone?

Jerry Micco: Depends. Do the Pirates think Locke, Liriano, Wandy and Cole are all going to get better or at least do no worse than in 2013? They have pitching depth, and i can't imagine them paying say $28 mil for 2 years for Burnett. But if he came in at much less, they might take that chance. He's been a great pickup for them in many ways.

jd_blairsville: Sounds like Shero is committed to MAF. Do you agree?

Jerry Micco: Franchise goalie and has more wins in the last 3 or 4 years than any other goalie in the league. I agree with the decision. But, if he can't find it in the playoffs, then I doubt he'll get a renewed contract. He's got 2 years left on his deal at $5 mil a year.

Kenl: The Bears PFT Mt. Rushmore--Halas, Butkus, Payton and...Sayers? Ditka? C'mon! They're before everyone's time, but you have to go Luckman or Nagurski there, don't you?

Jerry Micco: I'd think Nagurski. Franchise is so rich in early history that 's a tough one.

Guest: I wouldn't exactly say the Pens got close this year, tough series against Sens and Isles and swept by the Bruins. 3rd year in a row they have lost 3 games in a row in the playoffs. I think the whole approach needs to be changed. No?

Jerry Micco: I think they'll tweak the approach, but since it's the same system throughout the big club and AHL, they can only do so much. I think you'll see some personnel changes due to cap and performance issues, and that may dictate some changes. As for being close, when you make the final four, you are close. Now, getting swept does put a question mark on that, I agree.

jd_blairsville: After Malkin And Letang, what pending FA'S would you prioritize?

Jerry Micco: I don't think Letang is going to be kept because he's going to command about $7 mil a year, and the Penguins may not be able to keep that number under the cap. I think Dupuis, if he'll take less than 4 years, Adams because he does so much for you. Then Cooke who, like Adams, brings intangibles. But you just don't have a lot to spend once you sign Malkin.

jd_blairsville: Bruins or Blackhawks?

Jerry Micco: I like the Blackhawks in 7.

Fred: I'm sure you've discussed it in the past, but do you see the Pirates being more aggressive on the market this summer? Any potential targets you could see them pursuing?

Jerry Micco: I think if a quality corner OF comes available, they likely will try to swing a deal. But it will have to be a high-end player, not a guy who could potentially be good. I've found over the last few years, teams are less willing to trade established power for good prospects. So this may be a tough deal to swing for the Pirates.

Chunkles: Jerry, here is a quote from Malkin after they were eliminated from the post season. Malkin said. "I tried. If you're not (shooting), you're not scoring goals. Sometimes I'm not scoring and I'm nervous and I have good chances -- I don't know, try to shoot quicker? Sometimes I can wait and get an empty net. It's tough.

"I have no confidence. You know, zero goals." Jerry, this coming from a Superstar who has been in the league for seven years. How could he feel this way now? It sounds like something a rookie would say. I love the guy but I've always said, he plays like he is depressed at times. No confidence? Its time to start being a leader and play like a veteran.

Jerry Micco: Like many players after the Boston series, Malkin was searching for answers and not really finding them. The team will always be Crosby's, but Malkin has always been there as his sidekick. And when Sid has been out, Geno has usually stepped up. I think you'll see a different guy if they get something long-term worked out. I'm sure the Penguins will expect that part of his game (leadership) to improve, too.

James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, I think the Pirates will acquire a right fielder and we will see the end of the Travis Snider experiment. The right fielder may be a lead-off guy like Chris Denorfia or David DeJesus that doesn't cost much.

Jerry Micco: Well, right now Marte occupies that leadoff spot so this person would knock Marte down in the order. I don't know if they want to do that. Both of those guys would be solid pickups, but I'm not sure the Pirates are ready to give up on Snider. I know they like his defense and his hitting, while not knocking anyone's socks off, has improved over last season.

Paul: Pedro is getting very close--all's he has to do is learn to hit into the gaps (doubles) and I can take the strikeouts and a .240 average. He's good in the field, especially the arm and is good for a walk or single in the clutch.

Jerry Micco: I'm surprised this year at his lack of gap power, but no question he's coming around as a bit more consistent power hitter. I think driving in runs is what I look to him to do, and he's done that very well this year. The bat needs to get up to around .250, but as long as he hits big HRs and drives in runs, that's his main job. The play in the field has been outstanding this year.

James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, Wandy has a player option for next year. When he was traded to the Pirates his team option became a player option. Wandy is 34 and I suspect he won't exercise the option and will try for one last payday. Since baseball contracts are guaranteed, Wandy would be foolish not to seek a three year contract for $30 million. The only way I see Wandy exercising that option is if he is injured.

Jerry Micco: And if he has a down season following this injury. Again, if he goes, the Pirates have the depth to cope with it. And maybe that makes them think twice about Burnett. The guy to watch in all this, believe it or not, is Jamison Taillon. He's been up and down a bit this year at Altoona, but if he can get to Indy before the season's out, then he could be here in late 2014 or 2015. You have to have guys in the hopper, and he's the best one available right now.

Mark: If the Pens do trade Letang, and I'd hate to see him go, what do you expect they'd get in return....what position would they look to strengthen...thanks!

Guest: Jerry, can we talk about a real sport here? Who do you like this weekend?

Jerry Micco: He won't win because he's the best 2nd-place finisher there is at the Open, but I do think Mickelson will have a good Open and will play well. Otherwise, I like guys like Justin Rose, Hunter Mahan, Angel Cabrera, Webb Simpson (how about a repeat winner?). All good course management guys. Merion is a smallish course, but fairways are very narrow and the tough holes are really tough. Read where the final 5 holes are one of the hardest stretches in golf.

Guest: Dulac or anyone doing a story on the late Jim Simons run at Merion as an amateur? Who do you like this week?

Jerry Micco: See my answer above. As for Jim Simons, we had a long feature from Gerry on him in last Sunday's paper. Great read. It's on our web site under Sports/Golf. Give it a look. You'll enjoy it.

Bill L: Jerry, did you catch the NBA TV documentary on Dr. J? Some good stuff. I especially liked Costas' analysis saying that the ABA was the last "legendary" word of mouth league where you'd only "hear" about a player like Julius Erving. Do you remember ABA games on tv? I don't.

Jerry Micco: No, I have not seen it. I don't remember ABA games on TV, but I was a fan of the league growing up. Pittsburgh Pipers being the first champions got my interest. But I just liked reading anything I could on the league.

WhyUs: I like Bylsma and Shero. They both seem like good guys. But, Shero's deals clearly did not pay off this year. Morrow looked like he had nothing left. Iginla struggled, though that may have been in part where the coach had him playing. Murray is extremely limited. Joki was a healthy scratch at times. As for coaching, it took 2 games before ANY adjustments were made in the Bruins series. Another year with these results should be end of one or both of them, no?

Jerry Micco: Sounds like ownership likes the direction of the team. Having said that, no one is guaranteed a job forever. If they stumble in the playoffs next year, and that means losing in round 1 or round 2, you could see the trigger pulled. As for the trades, those guys all brought something regular season, but you knew guys like Morrow and Iginla were at the end of their careers. But Boston sure did want Iginla, too.

James_Pittsburgh: It appears that Bud Norris' value is on the rise, so he won't be a solution to the Pirates pitching for next year. says that the Giants have inquired about Bud Norris.

Jerry Micco: I like Buddy Norris. Good upside. Not surprising teams are expressing interest.

jd_blairsville: Any chance Iginla remains with the Pens

Jerry Micco: There is always a chance, but I don't see how they could do it unless Iggy took a huge salary cut. I think most, if not all, of those players acquired in late trades are gone.

Mark: Looks like you skipped over my question about Letang....thanks!

Jerry Micco: I checked my comment bar, this is your first time asking a question. And I can't get to all of them. If you want to try again, I'll try to answer it. I take questions in order.

Doyle37: Why didn't Cole get the same publicity as Stasburg ?? Both #1 picks, both throw 100mph ( although Strasburg more often ). Cole faced a tougher team for his debut. Cole may end up being better in the long run.

Jerry Micco: Strasburg was considered the best pitcher in many years when he came aboard, so that hype was borne of that. Cole, I think, can be just as good or better. Bigger guy and the body seems to fit the style of pitching. I'm not ready to throw Strasburg overboard, though. He's going to be very good, no question.

James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, I don't think the Pirates ever wanted Marte leading off, but they don't have a better option right now. Marte's on-base percentage in 2012 in the big leagues was .300. Marte only drew 22 walks in Altoona in 2011 and 28 walks in Indianapolis last year. Marte will likely wind up batting 6th in the lineup. My number one choice for a pickup is Aoki of the Brewers, but since he is only going to make $1.5 million next year, I suspect he won't be traded.

Jerry Micco: You are right, Marte is not an ideal leadoff man, but for now, he's the best they have. And unless they do trade for that leadoff hitter as you suggested earlier, he'll likely stay in that spot. I like Aoki. Tough guy and a tough out as a leadoff hitter. But that salary is too good to trade away. You're right on that one.

Mark: Comment From Mark

If the Pens do trade Letang, and I'd hate to see him go, what do you expect they'd get in return....what position would they look to strengthen...thanks!

Jerry Micco: I'd imagine they'd look for a top forward or D. More likely a forward. Maybe top prospects, but I can't imagine dealing him and not getting a top 6 forward. Again, no guarantee they sign Dupuis and Kunitz is in his 30s. So they are going to need quality forwards to go along with a young Beau Bennett, who will be very good.

Guest: Inexcusable the Pirates couldn't get their fans into the Stadium in a timely manner last night?

Jerry Micco: And Pirates president Frank Coonelly said as much in his statement last night. They have major work to do over there to get this right. I applaud the added security measures, but it was a bad time to have that happen.

RUKidding?: I know it is off topic, but I really can't believe that Pitt can not get a better AD than Pedersen. He made a complete mess out of the head coach situation in their football program and can not ever seem to schedule non-conference basketball games that others can, which is a constant complaint by the selection committee.

Jerry Micco: Steve Pederson seems to be well-liked by his bosses who think he's pulling the athletic department in the right direction. I'm not sure the Pitt fan base agrees after reading comments on our story this morning. Like many ADs, Pederson has had his successes (joining the ACC) and failures (many vis a vis football coaches). But you take an entire body of work on these things and the Pitt admin saw an extension to his contract.

Stash: Sounds like Shero is whistling through the graveyard with these pronouncements, as a Pens fan I'm disppointed, does this have the blessings of Mario?

Jerry Micco: Shero said specifically both Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle were completely on board with the moves.

Guest: AJ Burnett is going to look pretty good in a Cardinals uniform in October. What do you think?

Jerry Micco: I think the Cardinals will wish they had him in October. Even if he is traded, which I doubt, the Pirates won't trade him to a rival team in their own division. Who are only a few games ahead of them in the standings.

jd_blairsville: Previous comments have suggested that the Pirates aquire another outfielder, It appears Andre Either may be available. He carries a hefty salary, if the Dodgers were willing to pick up a major chunk of it, would you inquire?

Jerry Micco: Sure, you inquire about a guy like that, but even if the Dodgers pick up a chunk of his salary, at some point you have to decide to keep him an pay him a ton of money, or make him a rental player. And if you do the latter, what does it cost you in a trade? Dodgers won't give you money and not take a couple of very good players or high prospects in return.

Joe: Any chance the Pirates get a SS at the trading deadline?

Jerry Micco: Tough to find and the good ones are rarely dealt. I think they are going to stick with Barmes and Mercer and hope for the best. If Mercer continues to improve, they may have the solution at SS. I don't think that's he's a natural SS, but we'll see.

Doyle37: Totally agree with your comparisons of Cole and Strasburg. I do think Strasburg's body type is already showing liability in durability. This is why I think Cole will end up with a better career.

Jerry Micco: Cole reminded me of Roger Clemens in look and pitching style. Of course Clemens was more accomplished even at a young age, but Cole is pretty close. Bigger bodies usually hold up better on power pitchers. Not all the time, but usually.

Phil: No way Belichick and Kraft allow a stupid media frenzy and it's not like Tebow is going to challenge Brady and the backup. So all in all, I'm happy because daily idiotic Tebow updates will be at a minimum. Kill me with an icepick otherwise.

Jerry Micco: You'll have ESPN to blame if someone does you in with an ice pick. Just sayin'.

Doyle37: What do you think of Penn State still getting quality recruits under the sanctions ??

Jerry Micco: Tremendous job by Bill O'Brien and his staff. And it's still a great place to get an education, that much has never changed. But for folks thinking the sanctions will be reduced, I'd say they are off base. School will have to take its medicine from the NCAA, even if many think the NCAA overstepped in the case. Going to be tough, but O'Brien has done a very good job in a short time.

Guest: I think Pederson has done a great job! Would Pitt fans rather be in teh Big East still?

Jerry Micco: I think negotiating the ACC move was Pederson's high mark as the AD. It will be a great thing for Pitt sports. May have some bumps along the way, but all in all, a great move.

Bill L: Jerry, who do you think has more power? Tomlin or Colbert? Do you think Tomlin overrules Colbert on occasion? I have to think you can't undermine the head coach ever.

Jerry Micco: I think they work together and perhaps Art Rooney II breaks the ties.

Jerry Micco: OK folks, I need to get back to some other stuff. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me today. Great questions as always. I'll see you next Wednesday at noon for another chat. Until then, enjoy the US Open and Father's Day! Follow me on Twitter @PG_JerryMicco

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