Jerry Micco: Hi folks and welcome to the chat. I'll be back in a few. In the meantime, feel free to submit early questions and participate in our quick poll. See you soon!
James Pittsburgh: It will be interesting to see what hitter the Pirates trade for. Most likely it will end up being someone that there are few rumors about.
Jerry Micco: Aside from Wandy Rodriguez, who could they go after? The Dodgers seem intent on getting Victorino or Pence from Philly. Who out there would be a good fit here as a corner outfielder? Willingham apparently costs big money, from what I've read.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, do you think that the Pirates should try to bring back Kevin Correia on a one year contract for 2013? I like a rotation of McDonald, Karstens, Burnett, Rodriguez, and Correia for 2013.
Jerry Micco: Correia or Bedard could be brought back for one more year, and I think the Pirates will at least entertain those thoughts. Morton likely won't be ready until late in the season if at all. And unless they want to try to do more Bedard-like pickups, they'll still need one spot filled.
kibab1979: Are you as concerned as I am that the Steelers are seemingly comfortable going into another season with Suisham as their kicker?
Jerry Micco: I think they'll look at some FAs in camp, but unless one of those guys steps up, Suisham is the guy. I think they are pretty happy with him, but you know with kickers, you an always search the FA market to find one.
kibab1979: These last two games have shown that the Bucs still need to get a bat (or two). Sutton (after a decent start) and Hernanzez have shown nothing. Why so much reluctance to bring up Marte?
Jerry Micco: Because the Pirates don't think he's ready to play at this level yet. And add to that the stress of a pennant race, and you're better off making a deal or relying on a veteran bat. And they may have to keep working Presley to keep getting better. To me, if Presley can become a better leadoff hitter, it solves some of their problems. But if he continues to be below average, you will always have a hole in the lineup. And then you get Sutton and Hernandez. And that's not as good as you can do.
James Pittsburgh: If the Pirates acquire Soriano, Hunter Pence, or Billy Butler, who will be the Pirates leadoff hitter?
Jerry Micco: Good question. I'm not sure I have an answer, unless you put Jones back at first and keep Presley in LF. Of course that takes McGehee out of the lineup, but you probably are better wtih one of those 3 in the lineup for McGehee.
Little Baby Jesus: Will Mike Wallace sign a contract/tender before the bye week in your opinion...He is NOT holding out which is a common misnomer.
Jerry Micco: I think he'll sign before the preseason is over. Just a gut feeling, nothing I've read or heard tells me he will.
Ralph Kazakhstan: Was Gene Collier exaggerating in the discussion of the Apel draft when he referred to the Pirate farm system as a vast wasteland?
Jerry Micco: Well, who in their farm system is major league ready? If your answer is no one, then you are at a point where your best farm system players are already here. I think they have some great future pieces, but aside from Taillon, Cole and Marte, who comes to mind as someone who can help within 2 years? I think they need to keep rebuilding the farm system, which has an ebb and flow. Pirates aren't different from other clubs in that scenario.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, I would only add Victorino as a bench player. He only has a .281 on-base-percentage this month.
Jerry Micco: And he's what, 38? I like his veteran presence, and he can play LF or RF, but if you are getting him to bat No. 1 or No. 2, then you'd better have something better than .281 OBP.
FC Fury: Will Clint Hurdle be fired after the Pirates complete the major fade part two? Lets say the team finishes under 500?
Jerry Micco: Goodness, I don't think they are that bad, and I think Hurdle has done a great job with them. They've lost two games that I'm sure most people though they'd win. But there are ups and downs with every team and it's a long season. I'd not count them out just yet. Cincinnati will go through this at some point, too. Though to be honest, I told folks around the office I didn't like the pitching matchups for the Cubs series. And the Cubs tend to play the Bucs well.
James Pittsburgh: I like Correia since he could pitch in relief if Cole is ready after the All-Star break. Plus you never know who gets hurt. You might need Correia and Locke in the rotation at some point in 2013.
Jerry Micco: And this proves a point that I live by, and many major league GMs make a living by: you can never have enough pitching. Never.
WyattBurp: Afternoon, Jerry. I'm a Detroit Tigers fan. Looks like we've gotten into a fight in the AL Central. Can we win that division?
Jerry Micco: I think, and I thought in the preseason, that the Tigers were the best team in that division, and nothing will change my mind. Getting Anibal Sanchez certainly helps, too.
Ralph Kazakhstan: At the end of this season are there a lot Pirate players, more than normal, that are going to be negotiating contracts?
Jerry Micco: Well, I know Bedard is on a 1-year deal and Correia is at the end of a 2-year deal. As for others, I don't know. I think Karstens, Burnett, McDonald and Rodriguez are all locked up for next year. Bullpen, I'm not sure about.
WyattBurp: Cole Hamels. Signed a deal for $140 million. I can't wrap my brain around these numbers. Who's going to be the first $200 million dollar player?
Jerry Micco: It was A-Rod, was it not? Room, correct me if I'm wrong.
WyattBurp: Ryan Kalil. He's promising the Panthers a Super Bowl. In a team sport like the NFL, can any player reasonably promise that?
Jerry Micco: Hey, free country and anyone can say what they want. Backing it up and making it come true, well, that's a bit tougher. I'm sure the Packers, Giants, 49ers, etc., will have a bit to say about that statement.
WyattBurp: NL Central. Six teams there, now. Why isn't one of them moving to the AL West?
Jerry Micco: Houston moves next season. Will be in AL West.
The Chief: Hi Jerry, your thoughts on Adam Scott's hairball at The Open on Sunday?
Jerry Micco: Feel bad for the guy, but if you want to win a major, you have to finish well. Very few guys back into it. Look at Els, who I stated here last week was a guy to watch in the British, and what he did on 18. Birdied it to bring it to within a stroke. Finish strong, you win majors.
WyattBurp: Paul Maholm. He's making records in wins - when do you think his streak will end?
Jerry Micco: Hard to say, but he's pitching better than ever. But despite the past couple of days, the Cubs are not a very good team. And I don't think Maholm is going to challenge any consecutive victories records any time soon.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, I have Neil Walker leading off with whoever has the best on-base-percentage not name McCutchen batting second. Actually I would bat McKenry second when he plays if they acquire a non-leadoff hitter to play leftfield.
Jerry Micco: I like Walker in the 2-hole. I don't think he can hit lead-off. It gives him an entirely different role and I think takes a guy who can drive in runs and puts him up when there are no guys to drive in. I'd rather see Barmes up there, even though he hasn't hit well. I think, though, we will see Presley most of the time, unless the Bucs get a lead-off type OF.
WyattBurp: Cubbies. They seem to have the Bucs number, of late. What are the Bucs not doing that they should, against them?
Jerry Micco: Hitting. And not shutting down their only 3 decent hitters: Soriano, Castro and Soto. All 3 have always killed the Pirates.
The Chief: Jerry, if H.Ramierez was available, why didn't the Pirates go after him. His contract is only 2 Mill above Wandy's and he would have filled two voids.
Jerry Micco: Apparently, the person is not worth the price. His stock went through the floor.
James Pittsburgh: Who do you like as a surprise World Series team out of the contenders at this point of the season?
Jerry Micco: Reds.
WyattBurp: More Bucs. They're only two-and-a-half behind the Reds. What do they have to do to finish ahead of them?
Jerry Micco: Keep winning series, especially when they play the Reds. They have 9 games left with the Reds and 6 are in Cincy. Better win 6 or 9 to keep them close or overtake them. And I still say the pitching has to be there to make a deep run. And if you're not concerned by the downturn of James McDonald, you should be. Classic example of a young guy who burns it up for a half, then struggles. He's going to be a good pitcher, but what once was a near-automatic good outing is not that anymore. Which is another reason to get a veteran like Rodriguez.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, Grilli can become a free agent. Hanrahan is arbitration illegible and the Pirates control Lincolns rights. I think Tony Watson may be a free agent too.
Jerry Micco: I wonder if they'll pursue Grilli, or put Lincoln in that role? You can always find a lefty if Watson goes. And I'm not sure if he's still very effective. Hanrahan is someone they should look to sign if the price is right. Or if it isn't, maybe that becomes Lincoln's role.
WyattBurp: Wandy Rodriguez. This guy makes lots of dollars, but not as much as AJ. Does that mean he's number two on the staff?
Jerry Micco: I think he's probably the second-best pitcher on paper, but Karstens has pitched very well. I think they need Rodriguez to pitch like he's capable and if Karstens can continue to do well, then those 3 are solid. Now, if they can right the ship with McDonald and have him regain form, then that's a very good starting group. Lot of ifs, though.
WyattBurp: Hey, Jerry, thanks for giving the fans a forum. Hope the Bucs make the Reds sweat a little, at year's end. You have a great day.
Jerry Micco: You too, Wyatt. This forum belongs to the fans. All I do is keep the questions rolling. Thanks for stopping by.
FC Fury: Jerry, I have the Ravens out of the playoffs. Losing Suggs Johnson and Redding is too much to overcome...Add in the loss of Ben Grubbs and Boldin is entering his Hines Ward slow period I don't see the Ravens as a playoff contender am I nuts?
Jerry Micco: Maybe not. I think the Steelers are the best team in the division, but I think it's a toss-up between the Ravens and Bengals for second best. And the Bengals may be better than Baltimore this season. And the Steelers should keep an eye on Cincy. I like how they grew last season.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, but Presley may be on the bench most of the time after July 31. Thus Walker or Barmes would have to lead off. Or Soriano is acquired and leads off, even know he is 36 and not really a leadoff hitter at this stage of his career.
Jerry Micco: I'm sure what Huntington would love to have happen is for Presley to improve enough to hit leadoff. Then, he can get a corner guy and move Jones back to first. McGehee then becomes a part-time player, which I think is fine. Though they'd miss his glove at first. Now, if the guy they are scoping out is more a leadoff guy than a power guy, then the issue is resolved.
The Chief: Your thoughts on the Nash trade? Does it put the Rangers ahead of the Penguins?
Jerry Micco: The Rangers already were ahead of the Penguins, at least in the standings. And they gave up very little in my opinion to get Nash. Just makes the Blue Shirts better, I think.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, I just looked. Tony Watson cannot become a free agent until 2018. He is not even arbitration eligible.
Jerry Micco: Then he can either earn that role, or return to the minors. They have several options on him if that's the case.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, I think the Pirates should shop Hanrahan early in the offseason. If they can get an outfielder or 1B for him then make Lincoln the closer and bring in a former closer to take over as the setup man. The former closer could then take over if Lincoln falters.
Jerry Micco: I think they will look at that, certainly. Or, sign Grilli for another year and have him close. Also, if they think Marte will be ready with more AAA ABs, then you may have solved your problem in the OF. Though you could still grab a first baseman with Hanrahan if needed.
The Chief: Jerry, any Summer Olympic story lines we will be reading in the next few days?
Jerry Micco: Our Brady McCollough is there and he's following the many local athletes we have in London. And he'll be at the pool early on for the Lochte-Phelps battle. So much to cover there.
Bill: All of a sudden Garrett Jones can hit LHP....what happened?
Jerry Micco: Veteran player, working hard on it every day so he can play every day. He's been a huge surprise, in a good way, for the Pirates this season.
James Pittsburgh: I look for the Pirates to acquire Soriano if the Cubs pay enough of his contract. I am not saying that is the trade I am hoping for, but it is the one that will allow the Pirates to keep their top prospects and is more in align with Huntington's past trades.
Jerry Micco: I agree. He's be a rental, which is fine if you think Marte is ready come early next season.
The Chief: Jerry do you think this is the beginning of a positive trend for the Pirates or just a case of the stars aligning up for 2012?
Jerry Micco: They still have some holes to fill, and you are asking a lot of a core group of players to continue to get better. But I think if they either make, or just miss, the playoffs this season, that you will see them contend again next year. Will take some shrewd deals and guys continuing to improve, but I think they can contend.
James Pittsburgh: Soriano is not a rental. He is under contract for 2013 and 2014. Maybe a similar deal to Rodriguez with the Cubs paying half his salary for 2013 and 2014.
Jerry Micco: I'm not sure then if the Pirates want him at age 37, but if they can get the Cubs to pay half, then that probably works for them. He always seems to hit the Pirates, but you wonder when he starts to tail off? At his age, it can happen quickly.
Rich: Victoriono is like 31 or 32 i think..
Jerry Micco: You are correct, and I stand corrected. He is 31. Will turn 32 in November. And I know who I've confused him with: Raul Ibanez.
James Pittsburgh: The funny thing is that Soriano is the best hitter on the market for trying to win a division in 2012. Only Andrew McCutchen has more home runs than Soriano since May 1. Soriano is hitting better than Hunter Pence this year.
James Pittsburgh: Victorino is not playing well whatever his age is. Plus he is a free agent at the end of the season.
Jerry Micco: Now there's a classic rental. But he can hit leadoff if needed, and that's needed on this team. And maybe if you put him in a situation where he's in contention, a place he's been for the past few years, he regains his stroke. Trades are funny like that. Sometimes.
The Chief: Any worries about Wallace and his contract issues?
Jerry Micco: I don't think so. I think he'll sign a long-term deal, and I'm going to guess it's in the $7 million range. Again, nothing I've heard or read says that, but just a gut feeling.
James Pittsburgh: Victorinio is worth a shot, but I wouldn't give up much for him. His on-base-percentage for the year is .316. But still better than Presley.
Jerry Micco: I would not give up one of the Big 3 for him, but that may be what the Phillies will want.
The Chief: OK Jerry, next Wednesday is the day after the deadline, what player are we talking about that the Pirates added to their roster?
Jerry Micco: Tough question. I think Billy Butler is a guy who could land here. If not, I don't think they make a move.
James Pittsburgh: Who knows if it is true, but the rumor is that the Phillies wanted Lincoln for Victornino and of course Huntington wasn't going to make that deal.
Jerry Micco: I believe that has been bandied about in newspapers and other sites. I'm glad Huntington nixed that idea. Lincoln I think will be a very effective bullpen guy.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, the Pirates should not give Wallace a long term deal. They have other receivers and the cap space could be put to better use. Franchise him for 2013 and let him walk.
Jerry Micco: Well, the Steelers might make him a deal, though not the Pirates (see question). I think if Wallace insists on making Larry Fitz and Johnson money, then the Steelers do exactly that. If he's willing to come down $2-3 million, then I think they do a 4-5 year deal.
Jerry Micco: OK folks, time for me to head off for some other stuff. Thanks again for taking the time to participate in the chat and for all the good questions. A lot going on right now, so plenty of topics to discuss next Wednesday at noon. See you then, and have a great week! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco
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