Dejan Kovacevic's Pirates chat transcript

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Dejan Kovacevic: Afternoon, all. Away we go ...

Dejan_Fan: Dejan, why would the Pirates keep marching Adam La Roche out to first base? It is pretty much a given they won't anything for him and he won't re-sign. His defense is great, but they could be giving another player at bats. At this point, who could be worse?

Dejan Kovacevic: Two reasons: One, historically, this is the time of year he is one of the very best hitters in the National League. Two, he is making $7.05 million, and the Pirates surely would welcome getting something in a trade return. Benching him helps neither cause.

James_Taiwan: How much do you think Jack Wilson will get on the open market this winter? I can't see him getting more than $4 million a year. He might end up with $2 million a year.

Dejan Kovacevic: Based on the precedent from the past free-agency season, you probably are right. But all it takes is one.

CityOfChampions: Are we ever gonna beat the Brewers?

Dejan Kovacevic: Until there is evidence to the contrary ...

DerekBellLives: How long were the Sanchez-Wilson contract offers on the table?

Dejan Kovacevic: About 48 hours. The rejections came late Friday night, before the offers were pulled.

T-Long: Hey Dejan, I follow you on Twitter, and I was wondering if anyone on the Buccos "tweets"?

Dejan Kovacevic: No idea, honestly. Kind of new to the whole deal.

DerekBellLives: Has there been any Joel Hanrahan sightings lately?

Dejan Kovacevic: Sure, he pitched in the 14-inning game and one other time this weekend. That's two out of three after the break.

No._9: Does MLB have a deadline by which international amateurs must be signed? Just curious now that MLB has officially "signed off" on Sano's age.

Dejan Kovacevic: Not really. People refer to a one-month signing period, but there really is no limit, as Rene Gayo has explained it. Once the kid turns 16, he is fair game from that point onward. It's a little more involved than that, but that's the crux of it.

FiveYearPlan: What do you predict will happen with Sano?

Dejan Kovacevic: I predict more teams will become involved soon. Some already raised antennas over the weekend with the SI report -- still not independently confirmed -- that the MLB investigation will clear Sano's age and identity. When more teams become involved, that usually is not a good thing for the Pirates.

Dejan_Fan: This would be the time to ship out Matt Capps, don't you think? With management's philosophy, he looks to be at his top value. Except for the blowup in Philly, he has been strong the last couple of months. He should have value in a trade since he is under contract for a while.

Dejan Kovacevic: The Pirates have listened to offers for Capps, as they have listened to offers for a bunch of pitchers. Teams need pitching. My understanding is that none of it amounted to much regarding Capps, and someone would have to go berserk with an offer to get one of the starters.

OshkoshBuccofan: Best band, famous or otherwise, to come out of the Pittsburgh area?

Dejan Kovacevic: What's that have to do with baseball? Oh, all right: Current band is Seven Color Sky. Historically, a tie between the Silencers and Affordable Floors.

Eric_Scot: DK - I know you dont usually go into non-factual statements, however, what is your gut feeling about Miguel Angel Sano signing with the Pirates?

Dejan Kovacevic: Gut feeling, quite honestly, is that Sano and his agent are unified, and that the Pirates will have to make a genuinely competitive offer to get him. When it comes to the Pirates and out-spending other teams in an open environment, there is precious little precedent to suggest that will happen.

Mside206: Why is Garrett Jones playing right field? He is faster than Brandon Moss and he is left handed he belongs in left field period!

Dejan Kovacevic: Moss is a better all-around fielder. That's why you've seen Jones go to left on the road, right at home, trying to protect him as much as possible. Jones is fast, but he is a first baseman primarily in terms of all-around skills.

JAL: Dejan Does the latest spat between Huntington and Snell end any chance of Snell remaining with the Pirates?

Dejan Kovacevic: There really was no spat. I printed one quote from Neal Huntington today that charged Ian Snell with saying something he says he never said, and Snell responded. ... That said, if the Pirates can find anyone to take him, they will. Huntington has taken a good bit of this personally, as he himself will attest, and it probably would be healthy for all concerned to move on.

SeanE: Is Gorzo being kept in Indy for purely financial reasons at this point?

Dejan Kovacevic: Only the Pirates know that. As mentioned in the coverage a couple of times -- and I assume you're citing this -- Gorzelanny needs 42 more days of major league service time to qualify for arbitration. Thus, if he is recalled in September, the Pirates avoid that.

pdxpirate: DK, Is Garrett Jones really a minor league free agent next year? If not, how long do the Pirates hold his rights?

Dejan Kovacevic: Every team holds every player's rights for his first six years in the majors, the final three of those through arbitration. Jones must be in the majors six years before becoming a major league free agent. Glad you asked this. Much mail about this.

wmpennyfeather: Why is Jaramillo buried on the bench for the past 7 games? I know about Doumit's power potential but J.J. and Diaz and their ability to hit singles and doubles were two reasons our offense had some moderate success without the long ball. How about bringing Diaz back as a bench player because our current bench is not scary...not even a little.

Dejan Kovacevic: Some of that has to do with the All-Star break getting Doumit time off after the Philadelphia series, but it has far more to do with trying to get Doumit to make up for lost time. His swing has looked a bit better in the past couple games. ... Big crunch of games and travel coming up. Expect to see Jaramillo in there some.

SeanE: Hi Dejan: Is the team becoming at all concerned about Andy LaRoche. He has not really hit with any power all year and his average has fallen off significantly as well.

Dejan Kovacevic: They insist, up, down and sideways, that he has the power, that his history and even his swing say he will be able to hit home runs. Don Long's stance is that LaRoche's power, like that of many new to the majors, is the last thing that comes after fully adjusting to major league pitching.

Andrew_Bird: Did Jack Wilson err in tying his contract situation to the signing of Sanchez? It seems to me, that his contract proposal was a reasonable offer; while Sanchez probably wasn't.

Dejan Kovacevic: Wilson most definitely does not see it that way. He wants Sanchez to stay, and he is shouting it from the rooftops at this point. He has seen two other All-Stars traded in the past year, and a third, in his mind, would be a clear sign that the team will not be competitive anytime soon. ... Again, that is his stance.

Andrew_Bird: When's the next Q&A?

Dejan Kovacevic: Probably Friday, Andrew. Been a strange couple of weeks, but I am looking forward to getting back to it. I will let you know in the blog tonight.

donwengert: Huntingdon says the money saved on the contract's of Wilson and Sanchez will be "spent elsewhere." Where exactly? For years, every time the Pirates shed a contract we hear that the money will be "spent elsewhere" but that never seems to happen. Hard to believe there are free agents out there willing to come to Pittsburgh who will perform at as high a level at 2B and SS than Sanchez and Wilson.

Dejan Kovacevic: Your point on the spending indisputable, if only because the team -- and no sports team, actually -- is not transparent in how it spends, beyond major league payroll. Thus, if it is not seen in major league payroll, there is no accounting. The Pirates are vehement in their position that the money stays in baseball operations, but neither I nor anyone else outside of Major League Baseball can know that with certainty. ... And that, I might add, is part of what makes the Sanchez matter tough for the Pirates. They very much have to be feeling the pressure, if they trade him, to get a genuine baseball return.

RubberBizkit: Who will be sent down to make room for Milledge or are they waiting for Jack/Freddy to clear up room?

Dejan Kovacevic: There is no question it would be Jeff Salazar.

TallMatt: Sanchez, Wilson, Snell, Gorzo, an always changing OF, the losing seasons, etc....is there more messed up organization in baseball than the Pirates? Can the Nationals really be worse?

Dejan Kovacevic: The standings would indicate they are, by a wide margin.

CityOfChampions: Now that the trade deadline is approaching, is there any feeling that the Pirates could've gotten more for Nate McLouth now as opposed to early June?

Dejan Kovacevic: Hard to tell. The market for center fielders probably is little different than it was then.

Bucs79: Have you ever seen a staff that gave up a hit or an eventual walk when getting out to 0-2 or 1-2 counts? The inability of this staff to put hitters away is maddening.

Dejan Kovacevic: They don't put hitters away for the simple reason that it is not a strikeout staff. Fewest in the majors, last I checked. They're pitching to contact. They're taught and instructed that way. Hard to argue with the results, though. You work with what you have, and the Pirates' ERA ranks 11th in the majors.

Mside206: What is the deal with Jack Wilson's recent spotty fielding? Does he have contract/trade deadline of the brain?

Dejan Kovacevic: He and Sanchez have both looked uncharacteristically jittery out there. But they insist they are not taking this into the field with them.

PirateApologist: Not that they don't want to win every game, but do you think the intensity level will be up a bit for this Brewers series due to their recent losing streak against them?

Dejan Kovacevic: One would imagine so. If these players are not sick of losing to that team, something would be really wrong.

PirateApologist: Is it possible that the Pirates ask Delwyn Young to play winter ball so he can play second base all winter long?

Dejan Kovacevic: Yes, it is. Young is a prime candidate for an assignment like that.

TCrack: Was Starling Marte a signing by R.Gayo? Is he considered a major prospect and at which OF position?

Dejan Kovacevic: Yes, he was a Gayo signing, and I had a chance to meet him one morning in the Dominican. Big, strong kid, built kind of like a Darryl Strawberry. (Not comparing him, obviously.) He projects to be a right fielder because of a really good arm, but he also has seen duty at center in West Virginia. And he is hitting the ball quite well for a first-timer.

jefft: Dejan--any idea, other than "as good a deal as possible", what the Pirates might get for Adam LaRoche?

Dejan Kovacevic: I hear there is very little chance they will get anything for him. He probably will stay.

Andrew_Bird: Hate Twitter - Prefer that you update the blog first and foremost.

Dejan Kovacevic: I do, Andrew. That always is top priority. The Twitter functions more as an alert to what is on the blog. There will be times when Twitter is easier -- off a cell phone while riding on a rental-car shuttle in Miami, as happened last week, for example -- but the blog is first.

jtownjohn: I'm shocked at the Huntington outburst on Wilson and Sanchez. Can you remember any other team's GM tearing down their players like this?

Dejan Kovacevic: Not sure what he said to tear down Sanchez, but the comment about Wilson being a "below-average league bat" -- even though statistically accurate -- was unusual.

RV: What is so wrong with keeping a second basemen that is outstanding defensively and is a very good hitter for 7 or 8 million a year. Freddy is just so consistent!

Dejan Kovacevic: He apparently will cost more than the Pirates are willing to pay. They are saying so themselves.

Mr_Xiaoqi: How much did the whole Wilson/Sanchez contact negotiation look like a sham to you?

Dejan Kovacevic: Getting this one a lot. The whole idea that this is PR makes no sense on any level, first of all. The Pirates are losing out on this becoming public, in every imaginable way. Second, I have been told, in very strong terms, that they genuinely hoped the players would take these offers and stay. Did they undercut them, insult them, all that? That is up to you. But the idea that it was a "sham" implies, to me, that they issued offers they never wanted to have accepted. Hard to make that argument in Wilson's case. ... One more today ...

Wieters4President: Would signing either or both to those contracts have enhanced the trade value of Wilson and/or Sanchez, or was this really an attempt to keep them at a manageable price?

Dejan Kovacevic: Wilson will be a 10-and-5 next year, so that really was not going to be part of it. Sanchez? Possibly. But Sanchez would want a no-trade in his contract, so that quells that. ... OK, I wrote that in the paper already, so I can take one more if Gigler doesn't get mad ...

Dan Gigler: Take as many as you want! :-)

Tony_Plush: Does Neal Huntington seem as defensive in person as he does in print when the players show their discontent with trades or talk about contract negotiations in public? From what I have read in your columns this year it sounds like he is a little over the top with his anger at these common clubhouse occurrences.

Dejan Kovacevic: He is very eager to explain just about everything, for one, and the feel I get from readers is that this is appreciated, especially as it compares to his predecessor. At the same time, he also is infinitely more sensitive than his predecessor when it comes to what is spoken or written publicly. One thing to remember about both Frank Coonelly and Huntington: Both have tons of baseball experience, each in his own way, but their current positions are the first in which they have dealt with the media on any basis, much less a daily one. Everyone learns as they go along. ... Q&A Thursday or Friday. ... An 18th consecutive loss to the Brewers tonight?



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