Bill Brink's Pirates chat transcript: 6.17.14

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<b>Poll Question:</b> Who leaves the rotation when Cole gets back? <b>Answer #1:</b> Worley (19%) <b>Answer #2:</b> Locke (6%)<p> <b>Answer #3:</b> Cumpton (75%)<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Here we go ...<p>

<b>Gooch:</b></td><td>If Jeff Samardzija is available, do the Pirates take a run at him? What about the other Cubes starters?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Yes and yes. I think they will be in the mix, at least, for most of the starters available this summer because of the current state of their rotation and the lack of depth if anyone else goes down. They will price them all out and be involved, though I don't think they pull the trigger on Shark or David Price.<p>

<b>Guest:</b></td><td>Why wont the Pirates ever spend money?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>There's a lot of ways to go with this, but I'll keep it simple and explain, not defend. The Pirates, like all teams, establish a budget, a certain portion of which goes to major league payroll. Because their TV deal is one of the worst in baseball per average annual value and they're not run by a multi-billionaire owner, their payroll is set at less than other teams. <br/><br/>That's not to say they can't afford to spend more than they do, but signing people to Kershaw or Fielder contracts would push them deep into the red, more than they already are.<p>

<b>PhillyJake:</b></td><td>Has the mood changed with the recent winning? Or have the guys just been professional and even keeled all along ?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>They've been pretty even-keeled about it. Obviously a little happier to win, but they were never down when losing.<p>

<b>PhillyJake:</b></td><td>Where does Josh play when Neil gets back?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Good question. Maybe a start here or there at third against the few lefties the Pirates face, maybe a start at short every once in a while, but it's going to be tough to find him starts.<p>

<b>E Nist:</b></td><td>Instead of sending one of the three starters down, why not put them in the bullpen and bring them along like the Cardinals have done with their starting staff? Just a though, as it would also bolster the currently leaking shark tank<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>They want to keep them stretched out and on a regular rotation schedule. When the Cards do it, they do it with young, talented prospects to give them a taste of the majors before stretching them back out. Also, the Cards guys all throw hard, making them better suited for the pen.<p>

<b>Bucn:</b></td><td>There's a lot of talk about the number of one run losses the Pirates have, do you think calling up Polanco sooner could have, would have made a difference in the outcome of those games?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>No way to say for sure, but probably.<p>

<b>The Chief:</b></td><td>Does Jeff Locke look like the 2013 All Star version to you?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>He does. Pitching inside to righties, great changeup, not walking anybody, confident. I think he's back.<p>

<b>Brett:</b></td><td>Should the pirates consider batting Walker cleanup once he comes back?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>I was having this exact conversation with some guys in the press box in Miami. Because, what do you do? You can't break up the top three, but then if Walker bats fifth, that bumps Martin, who's been good, down. <br/><br/>Maybe: Polanco 9 Marte 7 McCutchen 8 Walker 4 Davis 3 Martin 2 Alvarez 5 Mercer 6?<p>

<b>The Chief:</b></td><td>Can you remember the last time the 1-2-3 hitters in the Pirate Line up was this exciting?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Certainly not since I've been covering the team. Speed and power one after the other.<p>

<b>Clint H.:</b></td><td>How long til Tony Watson is the closer?<p>

<b>Jake:</b></td><td>More likely in Tony Watson's future- starter or closer?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>He's too valuable as a lefty reliever to stretch out as a starter, and he certainly could be the closer. Maybe not until the end of this season or next season, but I have to think he and Melancon are the prime candidates next year.<p>

<b>Zach Yurchak:</b></td><td>What do you think about trading Pedro to an AL team for a starter?(he seems to be a capable DH and by that I mean he can't throw the ball accurately to save his life) we could also throw Mel Rojas jr in to that deal since OF is obviously clogged up<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>A worthy package. Hypothetical trades are tough because we don't always know what other teams are looking for, but moving Alvarez isn't out of the question.<p>

<b>Jake:</b></td><td>Do you think Worley can succeed at MLB level again with his FB topping out at 90?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Yes. Velocity increases a pitcher's margin of error, but they can be effective as long as they change speeds, move the ball in both directions and have movement on their pitches. Look at Angels starter Jered Weaver, who sits at 87 but is near the top of the AL in Ks because all of his pitches move.<p>

<b>JamesinNYC:</b></td><td>Now that the player to be named has been named what do you think of the Ike trade?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>I think it was a good trade. Blake Taylor is talented and promising, but Davis is a proven major leaguer who can help the team now while Taylor has several years to go, and high school pitching prospects are so risky.<p>

<b>Neil H.:</b></td><td>Do you think Polanco will sign a long term deal?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Eventually, I think so. Probably when he approaches arbitration and is due for a massive raise, he will have all the leverage.<p>

<b>Curt Lesher:</b></td><td>Are there any free agents at the end of this year that need to be signed?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>If you mean Pirates free agents, bringing Russell Martin back would be huge but will take some spending. Liriano is also a free agent, though they might not want him back as much.<br/><br/>The starting pitching free agent class is loaded and the Pirates will be in on some of the mid- to lower-tier starters.<p>

<b>Tim Hawkins:</b></td><td>Will McCutchen start All-Star game?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>He's second in the voting right now, so chances are good.<p>

<b>ba:</b></td><td>Which Pirates do you think will be on the all-star roster, if any?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>McCutchen, maybe Walker (depends on how injury affects voting) and possibly Tony Watson.<p>

<b>The Chief:</b></td><td>It seems the Grilli is the biggest chip the Pirates have when it comes to making a deal. His loss does not hurt the team. What kind of player does he fetch at the deadline or hopefully sooner?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>As a 37-year-old who went on the DL in each of the past two seasons and who has had some issues this season, I don't know that he will fetch much.<p>

<b>Barry:</b></td><td>Would the Pirates consider bringing in a defensive replacement for Pedro?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Not yet. They are working with him on his mechanics and footwork in hopes that his throwing will improve.<p>

<b>Jordan:</b></td><td>Pirates in the Red? Really?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Really. I believe many teams operate at some sort of deficit, and best as I can tell the Pirates are -- or were -- as well.<p>

<b>The Chief:</b></td><td>Is Clint Barmes the odd man out when Walker returns?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>There's a good chance of that. Mercer has shown he is capable defensively and Barmes' bat is not helping the team very much.<p>

<b>Jordan:</b></td><td>They may have a bottom TV deal, but isn't that made up with revenue sharing?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Somewhat, but not entirely.<p>

<b>Jake:</b></td><td>Tabata or Snider?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>They have to eat more salary if they cut ties with Tabata so I think they keep him.<p>

<b>Jordan:</b></td><td>Forbes said revenue around 204 million last think they spent more that that?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Forbes works hard on those franchise evaluations, but from what I've heard, they are not accurate. But total expenditures include things other than major league payroll -- staff salaries, facilities, capital improvements, etc.<p>

<b>Jake:</b></td><td>How much % ownership does nutting actually have?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>More than three quarters.<p>

<b>geejohnny:</b></td><td>We need pitching, the Rays need prospects and we have several.Impossible to think that Price is possible?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Price is certainly possible, it would just take valuable prospects like Nick Kingham or Tyler Glasnow and maybe a hitter or two thrown in. The Pirates have the prospects to get it done but the question is whether they want to part with those prospects for a year and a half of Price.<p>

<b>Jake:</b></td><td>Did you read that if the buds didn't take cole tucker, the A's would have? Did that make you fell better about the pick?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>I didn't read that the A's would have specifically, but I was told the Pirates heard from other teams after the draft that Tucker wouldn't have gotten to them at No. 39, their supplemental round A pick. Tucker himself heard from teams that he was going in the top 40.<p>

<b>Guest:</b></td><td>Did they not like power hitting first baseman AJ Reed? Seemed more of a need than Connor Joe<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Teams don't draft for need in MLB, they draft for the best player on the board or, in the case of the new era of capped bonus spending, they draft for signability and the chance to spread out their pool money.<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Lightning round. Go.<p>

<b>The Chief:</b></td><td>Any chance, that in their frugal ways, the Pirates let Neil Walker walk and give the 2b job to Harrison?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Very doubtful, from what I've heard.<p>

<b>geejohnny:</b></td><td>The window to win is always small and who knows how prospects fare anyway? Josh Bell,Kingham,Hansen......maybe another throw in.<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>I assume that means for Price, and that's the balance that teams area always weighing. Who can say for sure that any of the prospects pan out while Price is a known commodity?<p>

<b>James_Pittsburgh:</b></td><td>Would you predict the Pirates to be above or below the .500 line by the allstar break?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>I will say above.<p>

<b>GPT:</b></td><td>Biggest (realistic) Pirates need they can address at the trade dealine is.....?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Bullpen help. They can find a good reliever out there somewhere.<p>

<b>Guest:</b></td><td>Watson the closer next year?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Him or Melancon, yes.<p>

<b>The Chief:</b></td><td>Ticket to Indianapolis Cumpton or Worley?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Right now, looking like Cumpton, who has options. Worley doesn't.<p>

<b>James_Pittsburgh:</b></td><td>When do you think Polanco will cool off?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Hard to know, only that he will certainly do so. Teams will figure out how to pitch to him.<p>

<b>Jake:</b></td><td>does Cueto cool off the Lumber tonight?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>He's cooled off everyone else, so probably, yes.<p>

<b>JamesinNYC:</b></td><td>Lineup August 1st...bonus any new pitcher.<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>Polanco 9 Marte 7 McCutchen 8 Davis 3 Walker 4 Martin 2 Alvarez 5 Mercer 6 starter 1<p>

<b>Rudy:</b></td><td>Have you tried the quesarito? Thoughts?<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>No, and I usually hate TBell, but I'll admit I'm intrigued.<p>

<b>Bill Brink:</b></td><td>That's it for today, thanks for all the questions!

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