Michael Sanserino's all-sports chat transcript: 3.9.16
March 9, 2016 1:25 PM
Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers a pitch against the Cubs during the NL wild-card game last October at PNC Park.
Michael Sanserino: OK, let's get weird.
Kelvin: With Foster re-signed, is Beachum gone?
Michael Sanserino: I think Beachum is most likely gone, but I think the Steelers still make a run to keep him. Alejandro Villanueva played well when Beachum went down with an ACL injury last year, and the Steelers can save some money by passing on Beachum. They have some cap room, but not a lot. The Ravens apparently have some interest in Beachum, so I think it won't take long for him to find a home if the Steelers can't lock him up sooner.
Chuck in SoCal: What's Pitt's deal?
Michael Sanserino: That's a good question. Seemed like they really turned a corner after their big win against Duke. I think this is an inconsistent team, which is a little puzzling considering the most inconsistent pieces are guys like Jamel Artis and Michael Young, whom you would expect to be a little steadier. Artis is a bit of a puzzle to me. Seems like there should be more to his game, but he can't create his shot. If shots aren't falling, he's totally lost. He's been a zone killer, so I'm interested to see what he does today against Syracuse.
Kelvin: You covered baseball. What's the best and worst parts of spring training from your perspective?
Michael Sanserino: There are a lot of "bests" and few bad parts. The worst, I'd say, is the schedule. Sportswriters aren't used to early mornings, and the days start really early -- clubhouse opens at 7:30 most mornings. In hindsight, pretty good training for twins.
The good parts were numerous. Players are a lot more relaxed than during the regular season, so they are a bit more open to having meaningful conversations with a reporter. Getting out of Pittsburgh in February is nice, too. It brought an early end to winter for me, and I never complain about that. Last thing I'll mention is Mr. Bones on Holmes Beach. Great ribs.
Chuck in SoCal: Has Jim Rutherford done enough to save his job?
Michael Sanserino: Too early to say for me. He certainly has the Penguins on the right track. Replacing Johnston with Sullivan was a great move, and the tinkering he did before the deadline has the team in a better position. Trevor Daley for Rob Scuderi was an absolute steal. But is this team better now than the one he inherited? I don't think so, and I think few would buy into that theory. His future will be determined in the playoffs, I think. But the team is trending in the right direction.
Ivanka: Objectively, wouldn't you rather see a team like Monmouth or some other plucky midmajor in the NCAA Tournament over a team like Pitt?
Michael Sanserino: Not Pitt per se -- I think their spot in the tournament is more secure than some pundits project -- but generally, yes. I'd like to see more quality mid-majors or even regular-season conference champs from smaller conferences than some of the teams on the bubble these days. With the tournament expanding from 64-68, that means we got four more bubble teams making the tourney each year. Usually the 11-12 seeds that make a run are the mid-majors, not the Power 5 schools.
JP: did you see how much Janorus Jenkins is getting? 5 years $62 million. With this kind of money being thrown around, is there any chance Steelers can sign impact DB?
Michael Sanserino: And apparently $29 million guaranteed. In another life, I would spend my entire youth training to be a defensive back. Also, I would like to be much more athletic -- tall, fast, any of those adjectives. Even before the Jenkins signing, I don't think the Steelers were going to be major players in free agency. They never are. That said, Jenkins set the market pretty high, and the Steelers don't have a lot of flexibility. Expect a fringe signing and an emphasis in the draft.
TD: Can football sustain contracts under the new collective bargaining agreement that has the cash floor? Teams like Oakland and Jacksonville are giving out CRAZY money because they have too. It was one thing to have a few positions high paying, but the price for guards now has been set at $10 mil. Is inflation of salaries (especially at previously cheap positions) rising faster than the salary cap?
Michael Sanserino: There will be a correction at some point, but there will be a rough transition. We're in the midst of that right now. Eventually, teams won't have to struggle so much to get above the floor, and I think there will be a better equilibrium at that point.
NC John: Do you think Calvin Johnson is a hall of famer? Hines Ward has him beat in all major categories. Catches, Yards, TD's, Superbowl rings, superbowl MVP
Michael Sanserino: I don't think so. He was on pace to be a Hall of Famer, but I think he needed to add more to his resume.
Carl: If Pitt misses the big dance, is Dixon gone this offseason?
Michael Sanserino: If he is gone, it won't be Pitt's doing. I think he gets another year at least, especially with the players he has returning.
matt: should we brace for the mike tomlin-deangelo williams twitter feud?
Michael Sanserino: Considering how often Tomlin tweets, this won't be a feud that plays out in a timely fashion. I imagine DeAngelo Williams got the message.
WAROnTheRock: IS WR the biggest *?* for Pitt next season?
Michael Sanserino: Has to be, right? QB, RB are set. Defense is in pretty good shape. WR loses Boyd with no obvious replacement. There are a lot of options, but no clear frontrunner. It will probably be the most interesting thing to watch this Spring.
Tom Crean: How you like me now Mike?
Michael Sanserino: I don't.
JP: What do you make of the Gerritt Cole situation? We didn't expect him to be here long term but do you see the Pirates maybe wanting to trade him sooner than later because of his public comments on his salary?
Michael Sanserino: I don't think the Pirates deal him any sooner than they planned. This front office doesn't really seem to care about PR -- for better or worse. They do what they think is best for the long-term interest of the club. Not the kind of people who would make a decision that hurts the bottom line just because a guy popped off about his paycheck.
The Card Says Moops: If for some reason Jamie Dixon left in the near future -- anyone who thinks Sean Miller would come to Pitt is dreaming, yes?
Michael Sanserino: Yes. Sean Miller has a pretty good thing going in Arizona. If he leaves. Plus it's a lot easier to win in the Pac-12 than the ACC.
Gus from Dormont: How did Pedro Alvarez career evaporate so quickly?
Michael Sanserino: Was it ever really solid enough to evaporate? He had the All-Star year in 2013, but that was based on one strong half season. He struck out way too much, even for a power hitter. And he was a liability in the field, anywhere the Pirates put him. He had absolutely no consistency, no confidence at any point in his career.
Rik Smits: Better 3 point shooter of all time, Larry Bird, Reggie Miller or Stephon Curry?
Michael Sanserino: This is hard for the Hoosier in me to write, but I've got to go with Steph Curry. It's absolutely incredible what he is doing. His 3-point percentage is actually better when he's farther away from the net. His release is so quick that it's hard to anticipate his shot coming -- even when you know it's definitely coming. Miller and Bird were great, and I'd add Ray Allen to that group, but Steph Curry is in another class.
Manowar: Who will be the Pirate player that surprises the most this season?
Michael Sanserino: Get ready to rub this in my face in October, but I'm going to say Jon Niese. I have a feeling he might be the Searage Surprise this year. Not a lot of pressure pitching No. 3, and he has good stuff. I think he'll be a guy people point to at the end of the year and say "he came out of nowhere..."
Bruno Mars Bars: Favorite Spring Training town and ballpark in Florida? i love Dunedin and the Blue Jays. quaint.
Michael Sanserino: My favorite spring training park was Sarasota. Can't really give you an answer for the town -- never spent enough time outside of the park to get a good feel. My rankings are based on more ease of access, so Dunedin was never a good visit for me.
NC John: Steelers are spending a lot of money on offensive line. Will there be any money for Bell & AB when the time comes? I can't see Steelers paying $10 million plus per year for RB & WR positions.
Michael Sanserino: I don't either. The Steelers haven't spent money on WRs in the past, and have been able to recover just fine when they've parted with top-tier homegrown talent. As for Bell, the teams that do spend on RB usually tend to regret it. There are a few exceptions, though, and Bell might be one.
Carl: This could be going better for Pitt, no? Let's get one of those hot takes.
Michael Sanserino: 21 points in 16 minutes? I thought this team was an offensive juggernaut...
Michael Sanserino: OK, that's all the time I have today. Thanks, as always, for joining me. Gerry Dulac will be on the mic soon to talk pending free agency.
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