Pirates Q&A with Dejan Kovacevic

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Q: Dejan, if Mike Gonzalez is traded, who will be the 2007 closer and, more important, the long-term answer?

Corri F.DiBagno of Sewell, N.J.

KOVACEVIC: There is no question, based on conversations with Pirates officials, that Salomon Torres would be the closer next season if Gonzalez is gone. They love what he did in Gonzalez's absence over the final six weeks of last season, and they love his dependability.

But, for every time someone with the team mentions Torres in that role, they are quick to add their view that Matt Capps can be that guy in the near future.

Q: Why not deal Andrew McCutchen for Lefty McThump? He's an attractive player, good value, and you don't take away from the major-league roster.

Throw him in with Mike Gonzalez or John Grabow, you might be able to pry away an Adam Laroche or Brad Hawpe.

And may I remind those against it, that Chad Hermansen put up good numbers in the minors like McCutchen. Where is he? The same place as Midre Cummings and Ron Wright.

Nate Mattern of Bethel Park

KOVACEVIC: Oh, wow ... no.

Never mind the massive inbalance in the trade proposals you cite when throwing in Gonzalez or Grabow. And never mind the reckless and meritless -- in my opinion -- comparisons to prospects from the past. (One independent outlet recently ranked McCutchen the seventh-best prospect in all of baseball.)

What makes the least sense about something like that is that you give a top-level talent whose rights you can control at a reasonable salary for six years, and you get back someone for two or three years. That is the absolute antithesis of what a team such as the Pirates should be doing.

Until tomorrow ...


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