Q: It's Christmas time, so please let me dream just a little ...
I like the thought of both Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche in the Pirates lineup next year. That would pretty much mean we'd have to give up both Paul Maholm and Mike Gonzalez, but Chris Duffy. Freddy Sanchez, Cabrera, Jason Bay and LaRoche at the top of the lineup could be taken seriously.
Do you think the return would be worth the price of Maholm and Gonzalez?
Steve Mitchell of Hollsopple, Pa.
KOVACEVIC: The Pirates do not see themselves in need of two bats, Steve, because of their very high level of confidence in Xavier Nady. He will play whichever of first base or right field the team does not fill externally. So such a scenario is not going to happen.
If you ask me -- which you did -- I would agree with you that more than one bat is needed, if only because I have not seen enough of Nady to feel as strongly about him as the Pirates seem to. Now, the New York people with whom I interact regularly tell me I am nuts to not see what kind of impact he can have here. But I like to see stuff for myself, unless, of course, that player comes with indisputable numbers to make his case. Nady has not produced those yet, and he did not in his short time in Pittsburgh.
So, within the context of the Pirates' feeling about Nady, my answer to your main question is no way would I give up two pitchers -- one of them a starter -- for two bats, when only one of them is sure to play everyday.
Q: Simple question, Dejan, one-word answer: Will Mike Gonzalez pitch for the Pirates in 2007?
Mike Calabrese of Crafton
Q: Hi, Dejan, and happy holidays. My question is around the activity within the baseball world around the holidays. If I remember correctly, Dave Littlefield has been quoted as saying something along the lines of trade talk doesn't stop after the GM meetings and continues throughout the winter. While that is certainly true, this seems like a logical time for front-office people to take vacations before they gear up for spring training.
Can we expect much activity over the next couple of weeks, or will it die down and then pick back up in the new year?
Jim Krugh of Manayunk, Pa.
KOVACEVIC: Usually, Jim, things are exceptionally slow between Christmas and New Year's Day, for exactly the reason you cite: Just about everything in baseball shuts down. The MLB headquarters go pretty much dark, individual teams' general managers and other front-office guys hit the beaches, and even agents tend to be out of their offices.
As a result, the transactions list tends to be really short.
There are exceptions, in this day and age of global cell-phone communication, and the Pirates last year agreed to terms with Joe Randa three days after Christmas. But that is rare.
Oh, and on that note, the Q&A will return two days after Christmas.
A good holiday to one and all.
Until then ...