Bill Brink's Pirates baseball chat transcript: 5.15.14

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Bill Brink: Thanks for the questions, and keep sending them in. Here we go...

Sean: Starting Wandy today.... what is your thought? Good move or Bad?

Bill Brink: His performance thus far and his rehab outings don't bode well for him, especially considering his numbers at Miller Park. The Pirates have cause for optimism: Hurdle said the knee might have kept Rodriguez from getting his pitches down in the zone, leading to all the home runs, and rehab outing stats never tell the whole story.

They won't make a change any time soon because of Rodriguez's track record and the money they are paying him, but continued poor performance will force them to consider Jeff Locke or Brandon Cumpton.

JJ: Hey Bill! Why isnt Chris Dickerson up yet with his hot start? Any plans of him coming up any time soon?

Bill Brink: Chris Dickerson isn't on the 40-man roster, so he would really have to impress them for them to remove someone from the 40-man and call him up. If anyone went on the 60-day DL and cleared a 40-man spot, he could be a possibility.

Barry: When Jason Grilli comes back are the Pirates gonna put him immediately back in the closers role? Or are they gonna lollygag like they did last year and have him pitch in middle relief for a few games?

Bill Brink: I imagine they'll pitch him in middle relief to let him get his feet wet in the majors before giving him the closer's role back.

JJ: Starling Marte had a 2 run double yesterday. Why isnt he in the lineup? Is he just not good against the starting pitcher.

Bill Brink: His back is still not 100 percent. Hurdle said this morning that Marte is available, but they want to be careful with bringing him back.

Justin: Mercer's been heating up so this isn't that relevant anymore, but did you ever get the sense that the Didi Gregorious (hitting well in AAA) trade talks would have yielded a deal if Taillon hadn't gotten hurt? As in... Jeff Locke became a lot more important to the team and they couldn't trade him once Taillon had his surgery. I am afraid of having a 6'3" 200+ lb SS in Mercer for much longer as he approaches 30.

Bill Brink: Best as I can tell, and from what I've heard, Locke for Gregorious was never a substantiated report but just speculation and rumor. I don't think the Taillon iinjury had anything to do with the talks. Keep in mind these talks were brief and did not go anywhere. I don't think the Diamondbacks would have asked for Locke. They probably would have wanted Kingham, if they wanted someone closer to the majors, or maybe Glasnow for someone farther away.

TedNeverWins: Hi BB, can I get a quick update on Stolmy's progress and when we expect him to come back up. thx

Bill Brink: Pimentel has yet to go on a rehab assignment. He is not eligible to come off the DL until Sunday, but I don't think we see him right away. The Pirates will want him to pitch in the minors once or twice first.

Justin: Thanks for the chat, Bill! Less likely to be a Pirate after Polanco comes up: Tabata or Snider?

Bill Brink: Contract status would indicate Snider. He is eligible for arbitration, whereas Tabata is under a long-term contract. Snider, like Polanco, is left-handed, which may help the right-handed Tabata's cause.

JAL: With Marte not 100% why send down Decker instead of a reliever like Hughes?

Bill Brink: Because then the Pirates would be carrying six relievers into a Wandy Rodriguez start at Miller Park, his first off the DL, which could get ugly. They also have bench options who can cover the outfield if need be.

Justin: Most likely 2015 starting catcher... Sanchez, Martin, or someone else?

Bill Brink: Sanchez. Martin is too valuable a game caller and defender. If he hits equivalent to last season and stays healthy, he'll get paid somewhere else.

The Masked robshelb: Bill, what would be the down-side of removing someone from the 40-man roster to make room for Mr. Dickerson ??

Bill Brink: In the Pirates' eyes, the downside is exposing someone they like better (we know this because they are on the 40-man and Dickerson is not) to waivers. They also perceive the downside as possibly losing a player. If they keep Dickerson off the 40-man, they have him AND everyone on the 40-man, whereas if they add him, they risk losing someone. It's about asset management in their eyes.

In reality, the risk of losing someone like Chris McGuiness or Brent Morel on waivers might not be worse than the benefit of adding Dickerson to the 40-man.

JAL: I see Tony Sanchez back after sitting last two games. Has the team been working with him on his throwing problems

Bill Brink: Hurdle has said Sanchez has a throwing program that he goes through to prevent the poor throws we have seen recently. That program has been in place for some time.

The Masked robshelb: Any word on Mr. Lambo's injured finger ??

Bill Brink: No updates as of yet on the thumb. He remains on the DL.

Jeff: Strange roster management last week with Morel instead of outfielder knowing Snider verdict coming down?

Bill Brink: A little bit. I think it would have been Lambo had he not been hurt.

JJ: Give me a specific date of when u think Polanco going to come up.

Bill Brink: Last year's Super Two cutoff was right around June 1. I say June 8 to be safe.

Jeff: So with 35 million coming off the books and more TV money for Martin?

Bill Brink: They will have the money but I don't think, based on the way they have operated in the past, they will choose to spend it on re-signing Martin.

TedNeverWins: It seems and I like that our management team gives little information out to the press, which is common and perhaps made famous by Bill Belichick in New England. Is that frustrating and different from your past experiences or just simply the norm and is it now just time to report what you can get as facts and try to figure out rumors the best you can and surmise accordingly? Perhaps that is the way it always has been but I guess I'm asking if times have changed on what is shared and more info held closer to the vest? thx

Bill Brink: The Pirates are more secretive than most with information given to the press. Some of it, such as naming a starting pitcher, they do with the intention of preserving every competitive advantage possible. Though opposing managers, like members of the media, are able to look at the 40-man roster, when players last pitched and do the math, so I don't know that it really helps.

Hurdle doesn't discuss injuries the way other managers do, and even GM Neal Huntington doesn't always go into detail. The reasons for this are less clear. They have cited HIPAA laws in the past.

What is frustrating is when they dance around subjects. If they don't want to tell us something, they have no obligation to, and they can just say, we're not telling you, which we might not love but would understand. When they are vague, it's tough, because we often know what's going on but can't necessarily write it.

In the grand scheme of things, though, it's not that big a deal.

The Masked robshelb: Bill, your guess as to the probability of us seeing Casey Sadler with The Big Club again this year ?? To me he's looking pretty good, and to you ??

Bill Brink: I bet we see him again. He is looking good and I would have to think the Pirates will need bullpen help again this season.

JAL: Tuesday night, 7th inning, down 3-1, Mercer leads off with a single, Stewart bunts him to 2nd WHY? You only have 9 outs left and you give one away. Might understand if score was 3-2 but you need two runs.

Bill Brink: I'll never understand why all teams bunt as much as they do, especially the Pirates. Hurdle is a progressive manager who understands recent statistical advances so he has to know what those studies say about bunting. It's a story I'd like to work on some day, when I get some time.

Game theory is part of it. You have to bunt at times other than when it is optimal to (usually with runners on first and second, no outs, late in a close game) to make the corner infielders think about it and maybe sneak a single past one of them.

BD: With how the Pirates don't like to spend money, but with so much money coming off the books next year, they must be thinking of signing someone, right? Liriano has to be signed. I don't know how you can look at next year's rotation w/o him and think it's legit. If not, then who's our starting 5 next year?

Bill Brink: I believe a bona fide starting pitcher will have to be signed this offseason. Otherwise you're looking at Cole, Morton, Locke, Cumpton, someone.

Adam: Do you think we'll see Cumpton and Pimental taking the rotations spots of Wandy and Volquez in the near future? Both are free agents this year and aren't very good, while Cumpton and Pimental will be around for the next 5+ years. I think it is time to give them a chance to establish themselves.

Bill Brink: They have mentioned Pimentel several times -- some unprompted -- as a starting candidate, so he'll get a look next year. I have to figure Cumpton might get a look sooner than that.

JJ: Who going down since Wandy off the DL?

Bill Brink: Jaff Decker was optioned to Indy this morning.

Bill Brink: Quick lightning round. Gotta get ready for the game. Go.

Adam: Any chance Liriano gets a contract extension?

Bill Brink: Certainly, though if the rest of the season mirrors what he did last year it will make him eligible for more than what the Pirates will probably pay.

DevilInLaw: Polanco's batting order position when he arrives? Pirates' Closer on August 1?

Bill Brink: Second, and Grilli.

JAL: Can you think of an outfielder that brings more adventure than Harrison?

Bill Brink: Well, they ran Jordy and Gaby out there ... I remember Doumit used to be a hoot in right field.

Bill Brink: That's it for today, thanks for all the great questions!

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