Poll Question: Do the Pirates need to make a trade for a starting pitcher before the end of June? Answer #1: Yes (83%) Answer #2: No (17%)
The Chief: Jerry, hi, hope you had a good week. Your thoughts on the Penguins naming of Jim Rutherford GM and the handling of Dan Blysma?
Jerry Micco: I thought for all the fanfare of firing Ray Shero that is was an underwhelming and rather safe hire. And it was obviously a place-holder hire for either Jason Botterill or someone else they have in mind, say 2 or 3 years down the road. Perhaps a guy already a GM or coach in the NHL. Like, say, a Mike Babcock? I'm not sure it's him, but there is no question, and this is right from Rutherford, that he's a place-holder GM.
Nellie Briles: Phillies going nowhere this year and Pirates in dire need of Pitching, say the Bucs can get AJ and pay 2 million of his contract and throw them a AA prospect. Possible?
Jerry Micco: I don't think they are going to get AJ Burnett. I think that ship has sailed and both parties are happy where they are. Now if you're talking Phillies, I think Cliff Lee would be available and the Pirates might be talking about him. There is no question the team needs a starter.
James_Pittsburgh: Can the Pirates survive the next two weeks?
Jerry Micco: They get some help from the schedule, but when you look at this rotation, 3/5ths of the opening day rotation is either gone, on IR or going to be on IR. The two guys who have made it through are Morton and Volquez. It is going to be very tough to anchor the staff around those two guys based on their performances this season. Cumpton and Locke will need to be very solid. And somehow, they will need a guy like a Vance Worley to come up and give them some innings. He's been up and down his last few starts at Indy.
James_Pittsburgh: Do you see the US making it out of the first round of the World Cup?
Jerry Micco: Nope. It is in a tough group. I don't see them beating Germany, though they could very well beat Ghana. I don't see them beating Portugal, either, though if they can find a way to tie them, maybe they have an outside shot. Shoot, even their coach says no way they can win the Cup. With that kind of backing from the coach, why go out and try to get out of your group? I hope this guy isn't on a long-term deal.
Hefty Mickleson: How do you think the USGA will come out after this week? After seeing the setup at Pinehurst and hearing Bubba Watson yesterday it seems like these Professionals could come out looking pretty frustrated with the waste areas instead of rough.
Jerry Micco: This has the look of Whistling Straits, where the PGA was played up near Milwaukee a few years back. Tons of mini-bunkers (remember Dustin Johnson's issues?), but in this case these waste areas. I'm not a big fan of Pinehurst, which puts me in the minority. I like the old Open rota of Oakmont, Shinnecock, Olympic Club, Merion, etc. I also realize that rota had to expand to include different challenges and courses. And some new courses are terrific. We'll see how Pinehurst No. 2 plays. I think even-par, as always, can win the Open.
JamesinNYC: Could this be the first poll that everyone agrees on?
Jerry Micco: Could be. I thought I could hook some "no" votes by people who think that by doing it by the end of June it was a panic move. Because if the Pirates are in a hurry, some team is going to want a king's ransom.
Guest: Jerry, any guess on who the next penguin coach maybe?
Jerry Micco: It's really tough to guess with that organization anymore. I mean, I didn't think they'd fire Shero, and they did. I didn't think they'd hire Rutherford, and they did. So who knows who they'll hire as a coach. I think it'll be someone with head coaching experience in the NHL. So a Ron Wilson type maybe.
Syd Thrift: David Price to the Bucs. Pirates to give up Josh Bell. You make that deal?
Jerry Micco: Every day, because I'm pretty deep in outfielders and David Price is a terrific pitcher. Certainly a guy I'd target, but he's a big pay number and you'd better be ready to pay him for a couple of years.
The Chief: Better numbers at the end of the year, Marte or Polanco?
Jerry Micco: Marte because he's starting to come around at the plate. Polanco will have some learning curve at the big league level. But you can see the raw talent. Going to take a bit of time, though. Marte is the same way. I think the contract he signed has him pressing way too much. His head is not in the game at times and you can almost see him trying way too hard.
James_Pittsburgh: Jurgen Klinsmann is one of Germany's most famous coaches. Klinsmann managed the German national team to a third-place finish in the 2006 World Cup
Jerry Micco: I know he has a fabulous reputation, but I don't know if he's the right person for the job for the USMNT. Maybe in the long run he will be. But to say they have no chance, and yes, he's right, that to me is terrible. I think that's what a lot of coaches in Europe say. They speak the truth on these things, but in our sports culture, at least publicly, coaches don't put down their teams that way. I don't know, it just struck me wrong.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, what pitcher should the Pirates target?
Jerry Micco: I'm a Jeff Samardzija fan, so that's who I'd look at, and I mentioned David Price before, too. Cliff Lee is someone they should inquire about, also. They are going to have to pay for someone, but it could put them into the playoffs again. They are going to get Cole back, and Liriano, too. Put a healthy quality pitcher in the rotation now, and that could be what puts them over the top.
Guest: Regarding the US Open, I was at Oakmont in 94 when Ernie won in the heat in a 20 hole affair with Monty (wilting) and Loren Roberts. What makes Oakmont a better US Open course, the speed of the greens? Do you not like the turtleback greens at Pinehurst?
Jerry Micco: I just think Pinehurst had to be tricked up this time and the turtleback greens, again, are a trick to make it a tough course. I know it's ranked as the No. 1 inland golf course in the US. If so, play it as a normal Open course. Put rough on it at 5 inches and play the turtleback greens. But they are doing something different, so they must feel it has to be done differently to make it a more difficult test. I guess I'm a traditionalist when it comes to the Open and like the older courses.
James_Pittsburgh: The Pirates don't need to trade for a pitcher. Trevor Cahil has been DFAd by Arizona and is available for nothing. Cahil's peripherals show that he is much better than his 5.66 ERA. I would still like to see the Pirtes go after Jeff Samardzija, but right now it is too early to do that.
Dave Littlefield: What seemed to be the issues with Rene Gayo and Marte I read about after Marte signed his big contract? Is there a rift somehow?
Jerry Micco: That's why I asked the poll question the way I did. And you could be right. Huntington may be scouring the waiver wires to see if a guy like Cahil is looming out there. A guy who can start and eat innings. You figure Cole and Liriano are coming back and if Locke and Cumpton pitch well, you have one starter too many.
Jerry Micco: I published the Gayo/Marte question ahead of my answer to the pitcher question, my apologies. But my answer here is short: I'm not aware of a rift between Gayo and Marte. Sorry.
The Chief: Jerry, you impressed by the way the Kings have handled the Rangers?
Jerry Micco: I thought the Kings were the better team, but I thought it would take 6 games to eliminate the Rangers. And while it is not over yet, I'm really impressed by how the Kings have physically beaten on the Rangers. Yet, they have really only dominated in one game. The way LA continually comes back from deficits shows just how good they are, and just how good the West is in the NHL.
Cam Bonifay: How about Bronson Arroyo from the last place D-Backs? Solid Innings eater who could be had for a song.
Jerry Micco: Another guy you may be able to get for a prospect or two. And maybe not a high prospect at that. But if the goal is to get someone you can plant into the rotation long term, maybe the Pirates will pull the trigger on a bigger deal.
JamesinNYC: Not having Donavan on the team is another questionable act. In particular because it is a personality dipute between him, his son, and Donavan from the sounds of things.
Jerry Micco: I have read that, and if that's the reason Donovan was left off the team, then that's even worse. If nothing else, you put a guy like Donovan on the team if you think you can't get the team out of it's own group because he's an experienced guy and he can add something to the team. Also because he's a recognizable name in US men's soccer and you are going to attract fans to watch the matches that way.
The Chief: Jerry, will having the Women's Open on the same track, Pinehurst #2, the following week come off as good idea or bad idea when all the dust settles?
Jerry Micco: I don't think it will be a good idea to put the Women's Open on a course that will have been beaten up by four rounds of golf plus practice rounds. I applaud the USGA for putting it on the same course, but how about a month apart maybe?
Curtis Strange: Jerry, My pick this week is Jim Furyk. Solid typical US Open golfer who has the game to win this week. Who is your selection to be the most outstanding golfer this week?
Jerry Micco: Furyk always seems to play well at the Open, and I suspect he'll play well at Pinehurst, too. I don't know if he can win there, though. This is a really tough one to predict because this course is a really different Open course with these waste areas. I'll root for Phil Mickelson, but I don't think his game is at the point where he can win. I could see a guy like McElroy winning his second Open or even a guy like Matt Kuchar playing a steady four rounds and shooting 280.
Guest: Jerry, USC wouldn't interview James Franklin due to his "baggage", yet PSU had no issues. Of course you offered no criticism of the hire. Do you ever take the blue & white glasses off?
Jerry Micco: Well, I've never seen it written that the reason USC didn't interview Franklin was because of "baggage." Pat Haden said they wanted Sarkesian because they liked him from the start. And what's there to criticize? Recruited the heck out of the program. Seems to have won over the alumni. Now, he hasn't won a game yet, so there's that. And my glasses have black frames. For the record.
James_Pittsburgh: I don't see the Pirates acquiring Jeff Samardzija, but we can all dream.
Jerry Micco: It would take a lot, but are the Pirates ready to make that type of deal? It's not in their DNA, usually, but we'll see.
Top Chef: Jerry who has to lead the Steelers in sacks if they are to win the AFC North crown?
Jerry Micco: Worilds, followed very closely by Jarvis Jones.
Guest: Polanco batting 2nd? Makes no sense to me, he should be batting 6th or 7th IMO.
Jerry Micco: The guy hits near .350 in AAA ball, so he makes good contact. And with Walker out of the lineup, you might as well hit him there. Hurdle will probably move him around a bit as the season moves along and he sees how he's handling big-league pitching. Remember, losing Walker for at least 2 weeks or so is going to be a big loss for them.
James_Pittsburgh: I don't think the Pirates think Bronson Arroyo is worth the 2 yrs/$23.5M, most of which he is still owed. If they thought he was worth that price, they would have made him a similar offer this past off-season.
Jerry Micco: I don't think they are going to go crazy and spend a ton of money because that's not their style, but they could go a bit above slot so to speak for the right kind of guy. Maybe Arroyo isn't that guy at that price.
The Chief: Jerry, your boy Lefty is trying to win the Slam. Does he do it, if not who does?
Jerry Micco: Nothing would make me happier, but I don't see it happening. I don't know that I have a favorite for the weekend. I guess if I had to bet on one guy, it would be McElroy.
Ralph The Plumber: Jerry, How do you see the AFC North playing out next season? Can the Bengals repeat as AFC North Champions and will the Steelers be forced to do Hard Knocks?
Jerry Micco: I think HBO would love to get the Steelers and if they ask, the Steelers can't say no. As far as the division, the Bengals seem to be the best of the bunch. The Steelers look to be a bit better than last year if everyone stays healthy, but at 9-7 can they make the wild card? Doubtful. I haven't really studied their schedule yet to predict a record. I won't do that until after the preseason games.
Badger Bob: Is Darryl Sutter a great Coach or is it more the system and players? I don't understand what makes a great NHL Coach
Jerry Micco: A guy who gets more out of his players than he should. System or no system. And a guy who gets his stars to not only play in the system, but to bring other guys along and makes them better. Sutter is a good coach, but the Kings have put together a really good team that seems to gel at the right time.
JamesinNYC: Do you have the JoePa glasses? Just kiddin.
Jerry Micco: Actually, I always wondered how the late Joe Paterno could see very much at all. Even in his younger years. It was the thickest pair of eyeglasses I've ever seen. Mine are tri-focals. So depending on how I hold my head, I can see just fine, or a bit fuzzy.
The Chief: Jerry, lots of noise now coming out about issues that players had with Dan Blysma. However the lingering issue is the poor performance of #87 in the playoffs. Care to shed any thoughts on Sid.
Mike Kruzcek: Does Landry Jones step up as Ben's backup? And if not why did they draft him with a 4th round pick to be a 3rd stringer?
Jerry Micco: I think players, at some point, are always going to have issues with the coach. I think if it's to the point where their performance slips, then it's on the coach and his staff to get to the root of the problem. Obviously, that didn't happen in Pittsburgh. I think Crosby played hard and played to win. But in today's NHL, there are a lot of good players and teams will go after superstars with their best defenders to try to take them away. He has to fight through it and the team has to rise above it. Neither happened against New York.
Jerry Micco: Sorry, out of sequence again on the Landry Jones question. Jones won't be the back up this year, Gradkowski will be. My guess is Jones will be the back up in 2015. And unless he shows in the next couple of years that he has improved over his rookie year, that pick will go down as a major head-scratcher.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, considering the Steelers schedule, they should go 11-5. However their Achilles heel the past two seasons has been beating the bottom feeders.
Jerry Micco: Again, I'll wait until the preseason games are over because you can't factor in injuries. What if Ben goes down? I guess you could say 11-5 now, maybe. But your point about losing to bottom-feeders rings very true. It killed them last season and caused them to miss the playoffs.
Me: Jerry, Gregory Polanco Game-used Autographed Camo Jersey $16,600 Root sports auction for charity, I hope you win it.
Jerry Micco: I don't even bid on stuff until it hits $20K. Come on now.
rich h: so jerry what feats of strenght are you going to hold to determine who gets to cover the maui classic this november when pitt is there?
Jerry Micco: I think Paul Zeise will be holding all competition for feats of strength to see who goes to Maui. You cover the beat, you get to do the luaus.
Jerry Micco: OK folks, time to get back to some other stuff. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today and for all the great questions. I'll be back at noon next Wednesday and we'll do this all over again. Until next time, you dads out there have a great Father's Day, and I'll see you next week. Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco