Poll Question: Where should Polanco bat? Answer #1: First (0%) Answer #2: Second (81%) Answer #3: He should sit against Cubs lefty Travis Wood (19%) Bill Brink: Sorry for the delay guys, wifi is back! Here we go...
Scott: Any word on what the Pirates are expecting in terms of attendance tonight or walk-up ticket sales?
Bill Brink: OK. I think we finally got the wifi working. Sorry for the delay. As for walk-up sales...
Bill Brink: Nothing official, though we will get the attendance numbers and probably the walk-up numbers tonight. I covered Alvarez's debut in 2010 and there were plenty of walk-up tickets sold, so I would imagine this would outstrip that due to the Pirates' recent success and Polanco's hype.
PaulDurham: Is Mercer' s defence good enough that the Pirates are comfortable with letting Barnes go and use Harrison as the spot starter at short??
Bill Brink: Mercer's defense is good enough. I don't think that will be an issue until the All-Star break, because Walker could miss a month and Harrison will play second base every day.
Hunter: Hey Bill, were you at all surprised with the Pirates announcing the intentions of the Polanco move the night before? Not typical for them. So were they selling tickets? Figured it would be leaked anyway?
Bill Brink: 93.7 the Fan's Colin Dunlap had reported on Walker's appendectomy, and they probably didn't want to deal with the media spending all night bugging them about it. It was unusual, and it could also help with ticket sales.
TrenchDavis: What's thie problem with Liriano? Mechanical, between the ears? Other?. His stuff seems good enough if he can throw strike one, right?
Bill Brink: Consistency. The stuff is good if he can keep it down and throw it for strikes. The consistency he had last year is gone.
TrenchDavis: Any updates on Cole after his throwing off flat ground? Are the Pirates worried this is something more than rest will mend?
Bill Brink: If they were worried about more than shoulder fatigue, Cole wouldn't be throwing. From what we can tell, it went well, and there currently isn't any indication from the medical scans that there is more afoot here.
PaulDurham: Will Martin command a 5 year $80M contract and is this doable for the Pirates?
Bill Brink: I don't think he will get five years or $80 million, but I also don't think the Pirates will pay what it takes to re-sign him.
Michael: Thoughts on Morton being pulled at 82 pitches after the 7th inning? Doesn't Clint at some point have to trust starters and save pen when a starter is cruising?
Bill Brink: Thought it was strange the way he was pitching. Hurdle has sometimes said that he likes to take starters out after they have a good outing to build confidence, rather than risk another inning in which they might put men on and he has to take them out in the middle. Not defending the strategy, but that's what he has said at times.
tim: When the time comes, who will go ? Snider or Tabata ?
Bill Brink: They would both make sense. The Pirates would have to eat less money with Snider, and he's also left-handed, so that is the front-runner right now.
Guest: Whats the lineup tonight look like in your opinion? Whats it look like when Walker gets back?
Bill Brink: Tonight: Harrison 4 Polanco 9 McCutchen 8 Sanchez 3 Martin 2 Alvarez 5 Marte 7 Mercer 6 Starter 1
Bill Brink: When Walker gets back? Polanco 9 Walker 4 McCutchen 8 Davis 3 Martin 2 Alvarez 5 Marte 7 Mercer 6 starter 1
Guest: hi there. super excited abt polanco, but not sure its gonna matter unless we get pitching help. any rumblings on the bucs trying to pick up a starter?
TedNeverwins: Hey Bill, again, thanks for the nice insight on your daily reporting, appreciated. Now the question, do you have ever hear names in a potential trade (the ND receiver with the long name, cubs :) or David Price from Tampa) that have been floated or is my guess as good as yours in terms of who? Or are those trade rumors far fetched and should be ignored, even with our recent loss of compelling depth? Thanks, TedNeverwins
Bill Brink: Similar questions, so I'll address them together. Both Jeff Samardzija and David Price would make sense, but they would also both require a lot in return in terms of prospects. The Pirates have the goods to trade, but I'm not sure that they would do so.
They do need starting help, especially after losing Cole.
Jeff: Polanco probably up without Walker injury during these next couple weeks...who do you think escaped chopping block?
Bill Brink: Probably Tabata, Snider or Barmes.
BobbyToledo: I feel bad for Neil Walker. He was having an all-star season. Any idea on the timeline for his return?
Bill Brink: Haven't heard one yet. A friend of mine had his appendix removed recently and was down for a few weeks, but he's not a switch-hitter who puts lots of stress on his core. Depending on the type of appendectomy (some are more invasive than others) it can be from a few weeks to more than a month.
JamesinNYC: Cole throwing warmups is good sign that no structural damage right, do you know if he had MRI?
Bill Brink: I believe that Huntington said Sunday he did. He wouldn't be throwing if anything had shown up.
The Chief: Bill, any idea why the Pirates drafted Tucker over Gatewood ?
Bill Brink: They say it was because he was atop their board and they didn't think Tucker would get to him at 39. It probably also had something to do with saving some bonus pool money to spread to the high school pitchers they took in the second round.
James_Pittsburgh: Jeff Locke seemed to be throwing his fastball in on right handed hitters on Sunday and seemed to get the same results he had in 2013 pre-allstar break. Do you think its as simple as that for him to be aggressive against hitters that will bring him success in the big leagues again?
Bill Brink: That certainly helps, but I also think consistent between-starts strength and conditioning work, which he didn't get in the second half of last season due to injury, is a big factor.
Dusty: What roster moves do you predict once Walker is ready to come off DL?
Bill Brink: I would have to think Snider, Barmes or Tabata could be the ones to go.
rob: There are some questions about whether or not Polanco will be in the starting lineup. What's your best guess? Also, where do you think he will bat?
Dusty: Any chance Polanco doesn't start? LHB's only hitting .167 off Travis Wood.
Bill Brink: In reality, they wouldn't call him up to sit him, but the way they've handled him (the spring training extension offer, the call-up that wasn't last week) nothing would surprise me.
Curley: So I assume this means we've made it passed the Super Two date then?
Bill Brink: That's the interesting thing. It's a nebulous, moving target, and we won't know for sure until after the 2016 season. Probably, but not definitely.
Petey: How long do you expect the Pirates to be an infielder short? This is temporary, correct?
Bill Brink: In a sense, they regained an infielder by moving Harrison to second base. They still have Barmes as a backup middle infielder.
Curley: We have now dipped into our pitching depth as expected with Cole being injured and Wandy being dropped...Since we got rid of Morris and Phil Irwin, who do we have left should another injury come out of the starting rotation? Gomez maybe?
Bill Brink: At that point, you might have to look to Casey Sadler, or perhaps they will stretch out Stolmy Pimentel.
PhillyJake: My excitement for polanco is tempered by the loss of walker. Not an improved team right now. Do you agree with this ?
Bill Brink: I agree with this. The fact that Walker's appendectomy necessitated Polanco's call-up is not an even trade for the Pirates. Walker was having a great season.
PhillyJake: In the blog today, you mention the possibility of trading Harrison. Is that speculation on your part? Or are you hearing rumors?
Bill Brink: Informed speculation. No place for him to play every day when Walker comes back, and if they can package him to get a starter, they would have to think about it.
Bruce: Will the pirates trade for another staring pitcher before the trade deadline?
Bill Brink: Almost certainly. That's not based on reporting, but their history and looking at their rotation.
Hunter: Seems realistic that the Pirates could be sitting around .500 at the break and/or deadline. If that's the case do they buy, sell or stand pat and hope for the best?
Bill Brink: I think they buy or stand pat and hope. I don't see them selling.
Polanco Party: Were you suprised to see the Pirates use their first couple picks in the draft go towards position players instead of pitchers? Could this be a sign that their comfortable with most of the arms in their system?
Bill Brink: No, because they take the best player available (unless they are trying to save bonus pool money by signing guys for less than slot value).
BobbyToledo: Is Gaby Sanchez really on the trading block and are the Rangers really interested?
Bill Brink: The Dallas Morning News reported that he was "available," which makes sense, given the Ike Davis trade.
Chris: If you're not going to resign Martin, you have to trade him instead of just let him walk, right?
Bill Brink: The Pirates could give him a qualifying offer and try to recoup the draft pick, or get Martin for one more year.
Buckeyephil: Now that draft over who was PTBNL for Davis? Any word?
Bill Brink: There was some confusion on this, and I'm partly guilty of it. They cannot be traded until a year after the player signed, not a year after the draft. So it could be anywhere from now until the end of June or early July, depending on the player.
Dusty: With the Polanco Super 2 saga over, do we do it all over again next year with Alen Hanson?
Bill Brink: The Polanco Super 2 saga will continue until the end of the 2016 season because we don't know the exact date. I don't think Hanson will be the one we're wondering about next year. Will probably be Taillon.
The Chief: Bill, Pirate Prospect most likely to be traded for a starting pitcher, also has the PTBNL ever been announced in the Ike Davis deal?
Bill Brink: Teams will ask about Kingham or Glasnow.
TedNeverwins: Actually my question was far different than what I got grouped into. It was specific to, as an insider, if you heard rumblings of what the cubs would want for Cubs Smarjy or Tampa for Price. If you don't know that is cool and expected as that would be an insightful link I'm sure, if you do know and care to share, or can share without losing sources, then appreciated... Thanks again
Bill Brink: I had read the Cubs were interested in draft picks and the accompanying pool money, but that's over now. I'm sure they are both interested in young players with years of control, the Cubs probably want pitching in particular.
Chris: It's 2016...any of the following Buccos still on the roster? Liriano, Martin, Walker, Alvarez.
Bill Brink: Walker and Alvarez have the best chance, with Walker the prohibitive favorite.
JamesinNYC: Did his appendix burst or just get infected?
Bill Brink: Not sure yet. I was told acute onset in the afternoon, procedure at night.
Guest: Cubs pitcher and Price mentioned as pitching targets, who are the second tier starters out there that may be avaialble? That is the typical Pirate approach.
Bill Brink: Excellent question, and I agree that those guys, rather than Price or the Shark, are who the Pirates will look at. I don't think we have a good enough idea of who will be buyers and who will be sellers to know for sure.
Ryphia: Better rated arm - Marte or Polanco?
Bill Brink: I don't have the scouting reports in front of me but by the eye test, Marte has the better arm.
Nick: Somewhat random, but I have been wondering all year if the Pirates ever considered going after Jose Abreu. They didn't spend to get Burnett, and presumably had money to do so. Hard to ignore how Abreu has played so far this season.
Bill Brink: I'm sure they looked at him, but knowing what he was going to cost, I don't think they were seriously in on him.
Bill Brink: OK guys, lightning round. Go.
PhillyJake: SHouldn't Marte move to right then ?
Bill Brink: It's not like Polanco's arm is weak. He can make the throws from right field just fine, and Marte's speed helps him in the large area in left field.
Guest: Predict Polanco's line in tonights game:
Bill Brink: 0 for 0, DNP vs. LHP Travis Wood
Bill Brink: Kidding. 1 for 4.
The Chief: Why not trade Grilli to a team that needs a closer for a SP?
Bill Brink: A good thought, but teams have to want him, and teams are not likely to give up a starter of any skill or value for a 37-year-old closer on an expiring contract.
Chris: Nothing but mediocre to bad teams on the schedule for the next month or so...any reason (besides injuries) the Bucs can't be five games over .500 by the ASB?
TrenchDavis: I for one, am optimistic that the Pirates are only three games under .500 given all that's gone wrong. Am I crazy to think they can make a playoff push?
Bill Brink: It's entirely possible, but their rotation has to pitch well, much better than it has.
Jim in VT: record on 7/1 is...
Bill Brink: 43-43
Bill Brink: That's it for today, thanks for all the good questions. Enjoy Polanco's debut!