Dejan Kovacevic: Afternoon, lunatics. I imagine the heat outside will seep into this room today, as well ...
bucs_fan_in_ga: The trade of Nate McLouth was probably the most shocking news since Bucs traded Tony Pena to the Cards back in 1987. This deal however, still has me guessing since not one player is up on the big team. What is your take on the future deals? Do the Bucs management think the fans can stil identify if the trade Freddie, Jack, Grabow and Adam? Bucs Fan in GA
Dejan Kovacevic: Does not sound as if they are nearly as interested in whether or not fans identify with individual players as much as they are in the fans doing so with a general winner. Only significant time will tell if this helped or hurt that process.
mickyparise: Hi Dejan, We really need to sign Jack Wilson long term (in light of the McLouth debacle, won't matter) anyway, really bothered me what Vazquez (2 million) quoted yesterday : I'm not as fast as I used to be, don't cover the ground I used to, but I feel comfortable. I just try to be where the ball's going to be hit now." Between him and Bixler we have NOTHING? Any hope for a trade/draft for a SS if Wilson bolts?
Dejan Kovacevic: I write it time and again, but there are no obvious internal replacements for Wilson. Brian Friday looks promising at Altoona, but he is not the biggest guy and still has much to prove. ... As for Vazquez's quote, I always applaud honesty in my dealings with people, and this is no exception.
McCutchenBandWagon: Hi DK, I was wondering if there was a difference in reaction between the veteran and some of the younger players who owe their AAA to major league promotion to the Nady/Bay deals. I would expect players like Andy LaRoche, Moss, Karstens, Ohlendorf and Morgan would be able to relate more closely with McCutchen's exciting new promotion than McClouth's being traded.
Dejan Kovacevic: Everyone was upset. No exceptions that I could find. Not one. However, on this end, one tends to go to the veteran guys for comment, as they are much more comfortable going on the record. See Neal Huntington's comment about the candle-lighting in today's Notebook to understand why.
Seferg: Do you think that the Pirates should try to sign Miguel Angel Sano and do you think they will?
Dejan Kovacevic: I never advocate, being the beat writer, but the Pirates remain very much interested, as does the player.
Joe: Really, is anyone on this team worthy of building a team around? For once its nice to see management trade players at the peak of their value.
Dejan Kovacevic: I would think that the starting rotation, as a whole, has some components of that. I spoke this morning with an American League general manager who felt the Pirates are doing very well in that regard, including with the acquisition of Charlie Morton.
LetsGoCutch: Will Brad Lincoln be a September call-up?
Dejan Kovacevic: If he keeps pitching as he has, nothing can be ruled out, but I would guess not. However, as per the Notebook today, know that Lincoln should be up in Indianapolis very soon.
5YearPlan: What would Adam LaRoche think if Pirates management came out and said they were upset at him for stealing 7 million dollars this year?
Dejan Kovacevic: Much anger over that 3-2-3 double play yesterday. Got lots of email over it. ... Players generally are in a better position to criticize teams than vice versa. Teams that do so de-value their own commodities, which makes little sense.
5YearPlan: Its a sad situation when expectations have gotten so low that we are excited when Snell gives up three runs over six innings. It is okay if he was our fifth starter, but not when he came into the season as the second starter.
Dejan Kovacevic: Who was excited about it?
jimb056: Is there any discussion between the Pirates and Jack Wilson's agent about a contract extension?
Dejan Kovacevic: As mentioned last weekend, no player has had extension talks with the team during the season.
Sky_Davis: I have heard a lot of opinions on the McLouth trade both good and bad, what is yours?
Dejan Kovacevic: The same as with any involving veteran-for-prospects: One has to wait. I know people love this stuff, including the instant analysis, be it numerical or whatever, but the fact -- and I underscore -- fact is that the dominant reaction last summer was that a) the Pirates did very well on the Jason Bay trade and b) did very poorly on the Xaver Nady trade. Both of those, to this point, look false.
Al_Martin: Hey DK, what happened to Nate McLouth's poster outside PNC Park? How do I submit a bid to buy it? I'd like to add it to my sports collection.
Dejan Kovacevic: Other than the image our photographer shot of the service worker taking it down, I do not know. Call the club.
Sky_Davis: Dejan, why is it that it seems like the Pirates have control over the Sano signing? If the Pirates just give him 4 million, is that it? Or can another team bid higher?
Dejan Kovacevic: They have a very good relationship with the young man and his family, which, if you think of it like college recruiting, counts for a lot. But they still have to pay something competitive.
Sky_Davis: Gorkys is 1-12 so far at Altoona, was he the main player aquired in the trade? Or was/is Locke?
Dejan Kovacevic: The Pirates, for now, see Hernandez as the highest-ceiling of the group. I certainly would not hold a 1-for-12 against him, any more than I would weigh it if he went 7-for-12. He is over .300 for the full season.
ajt123: When will this cycle of trading anyone worth anything, and even some that are not, stop?
Dejan Kovacevic: The Pirates present no finish line, and that makes sense to an extent: Teams always should be trying to get better. But, as per the point that I made in the Sunday piece on this topic, there does have to be a time when a specific group is seen as genuinely contending and gets the full backing of upper management.
uglyken: Since Ian pitched a relatively solid 6 innings yesterday, do you sense any sighs of relief coming from the clubhouse and or coaching staff?
Dejan Kovacevic: A little, I guess. The feeling in Houston yesterday was mostly that he did pretty well after working on some delivery issues with Joe Kerrigan and that it was a start.
emoneypitt: Yesterday's game was a textbook example of Jack Wilson's importance to the Pirates. I understood the McLouth trade with the depth available at center field but how can the Pirates even consider trading Jack Wilson this season when there is no obvious, competent replacement?
Dejan Kovacevic: It gets clearer by the day that the present is not the priority. Almost all of their significant moves are made with long-term aims. Ask them about shortstop, and they will talk about Chase D'Arnaud, Jordy Mercer and Friday, even though they appear years away.
SydThrift: DK: I feel the venom directed at Nutting, Coonley, and Huntington has been undeserved regarding the McClouth trade. How can many (inlcluding) the PG call it a salary dump when the Pirates are spending money (alvarez, Dominican repub, draft)? Seems unfair and untrue.
Dejan Kovacevic: The PG's editorial drew all kinds of response, supporting and rejecting, with the "salary dump" and Mark Cuban reference most often mentioned. I agree that it is difficult to mount a case that it was motivated by money when a) trading someone else would have saved more and brought far less heat and b) Neal Huntington approached Bob Nutting and Frank Coonelly about the deal, not the other way around. ... As for Cuban, not worth mentioning. Major League Baseball likely never would approve him as owner, and the Pirates are not for sale.
Nate_s_Candle: The P-G poll results had 39 percent of the people "done" with the Pirates. Shouldn't there only be about 15 people left in this chat?
Dejan Kovacevic: Yeah, I got a lot of those, too. Many of the same people will write tomorrow night about whoever the Pirates draft. ... You are not lunatics without cause.
Irish_Shortstop: Is it normal for a GM to address the general public when it comes to trading players of his current team?
Dejan Kovacevic: Huntington did it last year after each of the Bay and Nady trades, with the media and by direct email, and every GM in every sport answers questions after any trade.
Daquido_Bazzini: I really liked your article about "when is it going to be time to stick with a team to build around." This is exactly what caused Jim Leyland to leave back in '96! Do you think this current regime has ANY sense of this?
Dejan Kovacevic: They have ample sense of how the public feels, given the past few days, believe me.
Fat_Jimmy: DK, I'm in favor of the McLouth trade. One thing I'm upset about: why did Huntington choose to describe McClouth as "part of the core" last offseason. There was no real advantage to saying that -- other than placating the fan base -- if it wasn't true. Do you think he regrets that comment, or is he just a liar?
Dejan Kovacevic: I am guessing the Pirates will be more careful in using the "core" term after this experience. But never at any point, it bears mentioning, did Coonelly or Huntington describe anyone as untouchable. Not once in the time I have been dealing with them.
Daquido_Bazzini: What amount of a check would it take to clear Nutting & crew out of those offices?
Dejan Kovacevic: Not for sale.
PirateApologist: I thought that the Mets might be a good trade destination for LaRoche with the Delgado injury. Would the Beltran/LaRoche comments make that impossible?
Dejan Kovacevic: That would be fun. So will July 2, I am guessing.
bishopmp1: Assuming that Veal sticks on the roster for this year, are the Pirates planning on having him start next year, or continue the RP route?
Dejan Kovacevic: He pitched a couple perfect innings of relief just this afternoon for Indy and will stay there -- as well as in that role -- for a couple more weeks. No designs on his starting.
Fat_Jimmy: Greater chance of being traded this summer: Zach Duke or Jack Wilson?
Dejan Kovacevic: Adam LaRoche.
ChazMorton: Dejan, other than the standard PG feed, are you or the Pirates coverage on twitter?
Dejan Kovacevic: I never have Twittered in my life. Between the print product, Web stuff, blog, Q&A, chat and, you know, actually watching games and interviewing people, I am fine without it. I do believe the PG has some Twitter stuff going on.
emoneypitt: Quite dubious is it not that Pedro Alvarez wasn't even good enough to be selected for his Class A All Star game?
Dejan Kovacevic: A little strange, actually given the power numbers.
Daquido_Bazzini: I highly commend the PG editorial regarding the Pirates, and hope for more from them. Doesn't it seem quite clear that the Pirates will use the money from McLouth to sign draft pics and maybe Sano? Wouldn't this still be a salary dump in a major sense?
Dejan Kovacevic: Saving $1.5 million out of this year's budget on McLouth will not cover either the first-round pick or Sano, much less both.
bucs_fan_in_ga: What opinion, if any, does upper management have of former Twins farmhand, Garrett Jones? If Adam LaRoche is traded, would they bring him up to play 1st along with Hinske?
Dejan Kovacevic: Jones hit his seventh home run this afternoon and has been quite consistent for Indy. I am still betting it would be Steve Pearce, but one never knows. As I wrote Sunday, this team has to get left-handed power from somewhere if it keeps moving it out. Jones fits that mold, at least at the minor league level.
Sky_Davis: The last Pirate home run, not counting McLouth was Jaramillo against Santana. When can we expect another Pirate home run?
Dejan Kovacevic: Tonight. Sanchez will go deep, if only because he tends to break out big after these mini-slumps.
dave_p: Gorzo has looked decent in relief. Does it look like that Pirates may keep him in the bigs pitching in relief?
Dejan Kovacevic: No, it does not. Expect him to be sent down soon, based on what I hear.
Fat_Jimmy: Why do you think the Bay trade hasn't worked out? LaRoche is starting at 3B and hitting .300. Moss is starting to hit as a starter in RF. Hansen has been a bit of a bust and the other guy has been hurt until the other night, but we're talking about a half season rental of Bay before we had to trade him anyway. I'd say that trade looks good, too.
Dejan Kovacevic: I wrote "at this point." The feeling on that trade pretty much has done a 180 since it initially happened.
Sammy_Khalifa: Let's say the Pirates kept Bay, Nady and McClouth, barring Nady's injury, wouldn't that team be under .500 this year?
Dejan Kovacevic: It probably would because the pitching surely would not be as good. But I never liked this Ralph Kiner "We finished last with you, and we can finish last without you" line of thinking. Good transactions still need to be made.
LaRouche_Bros.: Does anyone know if going to a Pirate's game can be considered tax deductible, since we are essentially donating to disaster relief?
Dejan Kovacevic: Tough crowd, I say. Tough crowd. Couple more ...
DB_in_AL: Why won't management make a public offer to Jack Wilson to keep him a Pirate for the remaining future?
Dejan Kovacevic: Because it currently has a club option for next year and has no reason to make a move, at least not great urgency. If Wilson and the Pirates get something done, it will be because the player agrees to a longer term at a lower rate.
Sky_Davis: Russell doesnt seem like the kind of manager who would throw at Beltran. I wish he was more like Ozzie Guillen and less like a mime.
Dejan Kovacevic: Sometimes, the players take such things upon themselves. Most of the time, actually.
Ryan: Did you by any chance ask Neal if he considered holding onto McLouth until the deadline, considering that he was offered what he deemed a haul, in early June for that matter? McLouth was doing well, but certainly not even performing to his peak. With a strong chance that his stats wouldn't decline in the next two months and that more desperate teams would be added to the mix, why not leverage the Braves offer or at least take it as a sign that maybe more could be on the way?
Dejan Kovacevic: I did ask Huntington that, and his response was that he felt confident in the return coming from Atlanta in large part because the Pirates had scouted those players so extensively in the past year and, plain and simple, he liked it.
Captain_InSano: Dejan, because of the level of revenue sharing in the MLB, could the Pirates actually survive on attendance under in the 10-15K range? I mean, do we really matter?
Dejan Kovacevic: Attendance does not matter as much, because of revenue sharing, but it still matters to the Pirates' bottom line, yes. One more ...
halco31: Who will Morton replace when called up?
Dejan Kovacevic: Could be Snell. Could be Jeff Karstens.
LaRoche_Bros.: What is it going to take for MLB to directly become involved in how the PIrates are spending money?
Dejan Kovacevic: Major League Baseball has no issue with the Pirates' spending, profits or any other aspect of their finances. Bud Selig told the Post-Gazette that himself just a couple years ago, and that stance surely would not have changed with Coonelly having come to Pittsburgh from MLB offices. ... Q&A Thursday, Sanchez home run tonight.