Jenn Menendez: Thanks for joining me. Let's get started.
James: Can Travis Snider and Travis Ishikawa hit enough to keep the Pirates in contention?
Jenn Menendez: Well Ishikawa is 4 for 13 and Snider is 6 for 20 – a very good pace to be out of the gate. The Pirates seem pretty convinced that Travis Snider's health is going to really translate this year to a longer and more productive season at the plate. They believe they have yet to see his full potential and think this is the season it will materialize. As for Ishikawa, he worked his way onto the roster for a reason. But it's probably unlikely he' s a long term solution unless he continues to produce at his current pace.
James: Can the Pirates afford to send Tony Sanchez to the minors?
Jenn Menendez: This is a really good question, and on first glance it seems like a no-brainer to keep a guy who's batting .375 on the roster. But the Pirates are very meticulous when it comes to being prepared for the future. They want Sanchez to be an everyday catcher one day and to do that need him playing every day. He simply won't be able to do that backing up Russell Martin. Because of that, I don't see Sanchez sticking around after Chris Stewart returns from his injury.
James: Where do the Pirates find a solution to their first base situation?
Jenn Menendez: If you can get that done, you're hired. I know the Pirates have taken a lot of heat for this position - and deservedly so ... but only to a point. I think it is probably smart to see how Sanchez & Ishikawa do as a platoon option, and try and make a move a little deeper into the season if the power isn't there.
Buc Fan: Hi Jenn. The Ike Davis trade looks like a no brainer. Why can't we get it done. We keep hearing about the wealth of talent we have so why can't we add some to Mazzaro and get Ike
Jenn Menendez: Remember it's also up to the Mets. They may want way more than the Pirates have been willing to give up simply because Davis still has a pretty big upside.
DevilInLaw: Gregory Polanco. June 15. Shall we assume Polanco and the Pirates will have their first MLB meeting on that date?
Jenn Menendez: Assuming things continue to go as they have - and Polanco continues to grow at the rate he showed last year and in spring training, yes, June is the month to keep an eye on.
Alan: With Tailion's injury and surgery, do you think any starting pitching prospects get to the majors before him now
Jenn Menendez: That's a very good question. I guess it depends who you consider on that list...but not necessarily if he's on the short end of the rehab process.
Richy: With Polanco coming up in June, and if Snider continues to hit, any talk of Snider to first base?
Jenn Menendez: A reporter actually asked Clint Hurdle this question during spring training. (Not me, btw) Hurdle said it was not something the club had ever talked about. This was about a month ago though...so not sure where this groundswell is coming from. I see the logic in the thought and stranger things have happened.
Bill: Tough pill to swallow on Taillon -- if the Bucs need to slot another starter mid year due to injury or ineffectiveness, do you see stretching out Gomez or Pimntol, or an opportunity for an established AAA starter?
Jenn Menendez: Very tough pill to swallow - but an unfortunate reality of the game when you're dealing with the way pitchers tax their body. In my opinion the fact that Taillon is now out of the question for this season, puts more need for Volquez to deliver rather than that next line of starters down in Indy. No pun intended. He looked great on Sunday, and if he keeps improving from there, and the rest of the starting rotation stays healthy.
Jenn Menendez: But to expand further...depending on the timing. I see Gomez and Pimentel getting spot starts and a window opening for Locke, Cumpton and Irwin as well.
tedneverwins: With Tailions injury do you have insight if mgmt will focus on keeping Stolmy stretched out as a more capable starter in case potential attrition arises?
Jenn Menendez: That's why he's on the roster, along with Gomez. They both offer that kind of flexibility to provide spot starts or longer relief outings.
Jay Hart: How is Locke's health? What do you think are the chances he gets back to the form that got him an All-Star selection?
Jenn Menendez: The last I heard Locke was scheduled to throw 100 pitches in the minors this week - Bradenton, I believe. So he must be doing much better if he's being stretched out like that. I think the chances are good that he looks much better with his back/oblique injury sorted out - in terms of reaching that All-Star form...not sure.
Jon Bon: Do you think Gaby Sanchez will will hit .300 this year?
Jenn Menendez: Against lefty's? Yes. As an everyday guy? Not sure since he has not been playing every day.
Bill: Thanks for taking question -- lots of people assume Volquez won't be effective (yes, time will tell), but I'm actually more concerned with Wandy staying healthy for the full season given age and nature of last year's injury.
Jenn Menendez: I can see why. When he's been healthy in his career he's a 200-inning pitcher. That's incredibly valuable. He seemed really relieved this spring and got more and more effective as his starts moved forward.
Alex From Canada: Am I crazy for not being desperate to get Ike Davis? It seems like his BA is trending downwards and I'm in no rush to add a guy who had a .205 avg last season.
Jenn Menendez: No, you're not crazy at all. His upside is his power potential. Hit 32 homers in 2012, but his average was only .227 that year.
tedneverwins: Thank you Jen, perhaps my question wasn't clear, not the first time :). Perhaps I should ask if you, as the thoughtful reporter you are, have asked if the loss of tailion has led mgmt to see Stolmy (with his burgeoning skill set) as an answer in case of additional long term attrition. Meaning Gomez, yup spot starter, and Locke and Irwin nice depth but someone more capable of being significant every 5 day replacement in a pennant race. Or do I view him too highly for that discussion. Thx
Jenn Menendez: I see what you're saying. No, I have not asked that question but will. I do get the feeling they see a lot of potential in him...but if it's in that direction, I'm not sure.
Wayward Eer: Are the Bucs going to get anything out of Mazarro at all?
Jenn Menendez: It's looking less likely.
Joe: How many games do the Bucs win this yr? Thanks.
Jenn Menendez: I get this question a lot. I think they get past .500 again no sweat, and are in the running for that wild card spot again. How many wins will that mean? We'll see.
Alex From Canada: I'm alright with having a pure power no average corner outfielder but it seems that we currently have that in Pedro Alvarez. Speaking of which, Do you think his great patience at the plate was a fluky weekend or do you think he can keep that going? He had 5 walks in 3 games.
Jenn Menendez: Boring answer, but time will tell. Would certainly be a major step forward in his maturity as a hitter if he could.
James: Do you see the Pirates looking for a starter at the deadline?
Jenn Menendez: Possibly, but it will depend on how things are going by then.
Jenn Menendez: OK, have time for a few more.
tedneverwins: Final question, promise and thanks for your responses. With mazzarro seemingly gone for nothing and depth in bullpen (that can change tomorrow) was there ever whispers of what, say, melancon and anyone else (again say Snider) could pull in for a trade return? Or nope :)
Jenn Menendez: I'm sure there were conversations about a lot of guys in that bullpen. The Pirates never share specifics like that, so word would only leak out if it were beneficial to someone on the other side of the deal.
Clint. H: Any chance we win World Series?
Jenn Menendez: There's always a chance Clint. How big? I'll let you answer that.
Jenn Menendez: Thanks for joining me. Chat again soon.