Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 6.18.14

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Poll Question: Should Josh Harrison be an everyday player for the Pirates or is he more valuable as a super-sub? Answer #1: Super-sub: They'll figure him out soon enough. (72.7%)Answer #2: Everyday: He's too good to bench. (27.3%)

The Chief: Jerry, Pirates currently have five teams in front of them for the Wild Card. Can they overcome that big of a number?

Jerry Micco: I'm going to apologize to all of you. My screen showed no questions until I just refreshed it, which I normally never have to do. Sorry. I'll try to catch up now.

Jerry Micco: Yes, Chief. They can overcome that, but they need to put together a run of wins like they have been doing. They've won 12 of their late 19 and they have a favorable schedule ahead of them. But blowing games like they did last night won't help.

Doyle37: Should J. Harrison replace Pedro at 3rd when Walker returns ? Pedro is hurting the club offensively and defensively. harrison the opposite.

Jerry Micco: As much as I like what Harrison has done, he does not have Alvarez's power, and the Pirates need that power bat. Doesn't mean Harrison shouldn't get some ABs, but I don't think you can just bench Alvarez full time.

Dave Littlefield: What do the Pirates do with Pedro Alvarez long term? If I'm NH I tell Scott Boras take your client elsewhere, he's not an elite 3B

Jerry Micco: The Pirates have him for the next couple seasons. I'm sure that they are going to shop him through the next trade deadline figuring they can't sign him when he becomes a free agent in 2016. That said, you have to wonder how big the market is for him right now. I don't think teams are exactly lining up for him.

The Dude: I heard that Bradshaw did a concert at The Meadows the night before Noll's funeral and still couldn't find the time to pay his respects. Any thoughts on this?

Jerry Micco: We ran a story in our late editions on Sunday where Bradshaw said some nice things about Noll as part of his show at the Meadows. There was a love/hate thing there, but he did acknowledge Noll and said respectful things about his former coach to his audience during that show.

Doyle37: Should the Pirates include Harrison ( stock will never be higher ) and Grilli in a trade for Samardja and make Watson or Melancon the closer ?

Jerry Micco: Harrison would be intriguing to some teams as a lead-off guy or even a guy to hit in say the six-hole, but I wonder if anyone would want Grilli unless it was for bullpen depth. I think Grilli's days as a closer are numbered. I think the Cubs would rather have a pitching prospect or two in that trade.

Doyle37: Is Harrison the answer at 3b when Pedro tries the free agency waters ?

Jerry Micco: He's the best player right now, but the Pirates may shop around for more power, too. The team just has so little HR power and while Alvarez has not lived up to that power this season, he did hit 36 last year.

Guest: Pirate baserunning is horrendous. I saw in the past week 2 players thrown out at 3rd base with a ground ball hit in front of them. And Cutch being thrown out at home last night on a weak flyball to CF. Sloppy baseball. Your thoughts.

Jerry Micco: Poor baserunning, I agree. I think Cutch was trying to make something happen because getting runs off of Cueto is difficult and Hamilton makes a nice throw to get him. If that throw is offline at all, Cutch makes it. But I agree, their baserunning has not been up to par this season.

James_Pittsburgh: There is a lot of speculation about the Pirates acquiring a starting pitcher in July. However, unless they acquire David Price or Jeff Samardzija, I would say that it is a coin toss, whether the pitcher the Pirates acquire is better than Worley or Locke. I am not saying that Worley is a sure thing after one good start, but I think his upside is just as good as anyone the Pirates might acquire at the trade deadline.

Jerry Micco: I recall you saying Worley was someone to watch and while it is only one start, her certainly has acquitted himself well. Your point is well taken. If the Pirates can make it with Locke and Worley, perhaps they can concentrate on the bullpen a bit once Cole is back in the rotation. The starters, by and large, have been fine lately.

The Chief: Jerry, hope you had a good week. Care to take a guess on who the new Penguin's coach may be?

Jerry Micco: I have had a busy week, thanks for asking. Too many candidates to guess, but it seems like WBS coach John Hynes might have an inside track.

JW...: Why isn't Tekulve on Rootsports anymore?

Jerry Micco: I'm guessing vacation. I've not heard any reason why he would not be on.

James_Saskatoon: Rutherford interviwed 7 people for the Head Coach. We're not selecting a Pope just a hockey coach. Isn't this already a sign of desperation if you obviously didn't have 1 specific Coach in mind?

Jerry Micco: I don't think so. I think it's good to talk to a lot of people because you get a lot of different opinions on what others see in your organization. Nothing wrong with that. And who knows, maybe you find a person who you didn't think at first would be a good fit and turns out to be the right guy.

Thomas: If the pirates handled a GM/Coach search like the Pens are right now this town and media members would be shredding them. Why does Mario get a pass?

Jerry Micco: I don't think anyone got a pass. Ron Cook hammered the Penguins for how the Shero situation was handled and Rutherford was hired. And as far as hiring a coach, that's not been completed yet. I don't see the problem with interviewing several people in a coaching search. As for the Pirates, they haven't hired a GM in several years, though when people were wondering if Huntington was going to get an extension, they announced that he gotten it months ago. I'd never seen that before.

John: Do you think the Penguins should hire a younger couch even though he might be less experienced or an older coach even one that has failed in a previous coaching attempt?

Jerry Micco: A lot of people get hung up on age. There is racism. There is sexism. And there is ageism. I think you get the best coach, period.

Travis: People tell me soccer is growing in this country, yet when I went to a sports bar for the USA-Ghana game, I had to request it be put on. Explain.

Jerry Micco: You went to the wrong bar. And if there was a Pirates game on, I'll bet more people would have wanted to watch the Bucs. That Monday the soccer game wasn't up against a local team. I went to a local bar/restaurant in my neighborhood and it was crowded with people who watched the match. Big roar when up when USA scored. People like watching the World Cup and the ratings are doing OK.

JamesinNYC: I like your polls they are usually pretty good.

Jerry Micco: Hardest thing I have to come up with every week. Thanks.

Chunkles: I see CHN on the Steeler helmets this season?

Jerry Micco: Or uniform patch.

James_Pittsburgh: Is this the end of the road for Travis Snider in Pittsburgh? I think Walker should be off the DL soon.

Jerry Micco: It very well could be. It seems he's the odd man out, though Barmes might be if they want to take a chance that Harrison could play shortstop in a pinch. But the bet here is that Snider is going to go.

Ralph The Plumber: With all due respect to Coach Noll what's your opinion on how many of his former players died from the effects of steroid abuse over the years?

Jerry Micco: Well, do we know unequivocally how many did? And from that era of the NFL, we had quite a few players who were using. Did Noll turn a blind eye toward that? I think you could say the entire league turned a blind eye toward it.

Fred: Do you think it's proper for KDKA, the PG and other media outlets to stand outside Chuck Noll's funeral and attempt to interview people? Aren't there some times where the media needs to just let it be?

Jerry Micco: People want to know what those former Steelers had to say, and those people took their time, graciously, to speak to us. We try to be respectful to the family and loved ones who attend funerals and we are aware that this is a public gathering, too. It's a fine line we walk, but we always want to be respectful. And we believe we were in this case.

The Chief: Jerry, a 30 HR guy is hard to find in the Majors now that the PED police are in full force. Why not make Pedro a first baseman?

Jerry Micco: He's indicated he has no desire to play there. Perhaps he will change his mind now that he seemingly can't unleash that cannon arm without making half of section 115 run for cover, but I don't think so.

The Chief: Jerry, who you got in the race to be the penguin's new Head Coach?

Jerry Micco: I think John Hynes has the inside track.

Bob Smizik Jr.: If there was a Pgh Post Gazette Sports Writers Mt. Rushmore would Bob Smizik be on it?

Jerry Micco: I'm the wrong guy to ask about that. That's really for the readers to decide.

The Chief: Jerry, your thoughts on the US Patent Office ruling on the Washington Football Club's Name. Can it stick this time or will it go the way of an appeals court again?

Jerry Micco: Likely go back to the appeals court. Besides, who else wants to claim the name?

JamesinNYC: I think Harrison should be platoon with Alvarez...not so worried about his(Alvarez)feelings any more. Why isn't this talked about more?

Jerry Micco: I just think people see what Alvarez is capable of doing and you wonder why this guy is platooning. He's so streaky that if you are going to sit him down for long stretches, he's never going to get into any kind of streak. If you're going to do that, you might as well try to deal him. But if you do that now, you are not going to get much for him.

James_Pittsburgh: I am not excited about acquiring a starter unless it is a guy who is a number one or number two guy that could help the Pirates get deeper in the playoffs.

Jerry Micco: I think that would be my take on it. No sense getting a back of the rotation guy. They've got that in spades now.

Matt: Could you see Cumpton getting optioned back to Indy instead of Worley when Cole comes off the DL

Jerry Micco: It's possible. I think they'll have to see Worley does in his next start and how Locke does in his. But I'd think one of those three is going back.

Guest: Jerry, I know you didn't like that Pinehurst #2 was tricked up but I thought it held up well with the obvious best player, Kaymer, running away with it. Your thoughts.

Jerry Micco: I was surprised with how it held up. Still not my favorite Open course, but at least it played like one for the most part. I still didn't like the waste areas and favor high rough, but the scores -- aside from Kaymer -- felt like a US Open.

Curt Lesher: Thoughts on the WR battle and how Justin Brown could fit in to this battle

Jerry Micco: Brown will push for playing time, and could very well win the No. 5 WR battle from Heyward-Bey and Moye. Some people think he can win the battle for No. 2 with Markus Wheaton, but I think Wheaton is the starter opposite Antonio Brown.

DNY: Does it seem odd to you that while the BOT at Penn State and various "grass roots" organizations decry any mention of a culture problem, they seem intent on running off anyone who dare criticize JoePa or the football program?

Jerry Micco: Didn't the BOT fire Paterno? And who is being run off? Joyner? He has always said he'd likely retire when Erickson quit, which he is doing. And it was also recommended in the Freeh Report that Penn State hire an AD from outside the university as soon as possible.

James_Pittsburgh: If the Pirates cut Clint Bamres, it would mean that they could not rest Jordy Mercer without playing Harrison at short.

Jerry Micco: Right, and that is the risk they would take if they wanted to keep Snider's bat in a pinch-hit role.

The Chief: Do you think Lefty's quest for the Golf's Grand Slam is over at age 44 (this past Monday)?

Jerry Micco: No, I think he'll have more chances, but it certainly won't be easy. Hale Irwin won a US Open at 46. I think Mickelson can win another major or two because he's that good. Whether that's a US Open is up for debate. But I believe that's where he'll put his most effort the next few years.

Curt Lesher: Do you feel Coach Munchak can save Mike Adam's career?

Jerry Micco: Mike Munchak is a terrific OL coach. He'll help all the Steelers offensive linemen. Mike Adams will need to put in the work to save his own career.

Gage: In your opinion what do you think the Pittsburgh Pirates corresponding moves(who will be the odd players out) once we get everyone healthy on the DL -players such as Cole, Walker and Frankie.

Jerry Micco: I think we've hit on that throughout. Guys like Snider, Worley, Cumpton, Locke, perhaps Barmes are all on the list of guys who could get optioned or DFA'd.

Guest: What direction does Penn State go as far next AD. Is it a premiere job?

Jerry Micco: Like a lot of other schools, Penn State has to figure out ways to bring in new revenue streams. But unlike other schools, the Sandusky scandal still looms and there still could be fines outstanding. It will be a challenging job. The school has excellent athletic programs and solid academics. The numbers don't lie. But there are challenges. I think they'll need to go national and find someone who has a good business sense as well as someone who understands the importance everyone pulling together for the common good.

The Chief: It really appears the Pirates go as Russell Martin goes. Is he a must sign next year?

Jerry Micco: I think so, but my guess is he'll outprice himself for the Pirates.

Cam Bonifay: Pirates buyers or sellers at Trading deadline? I see them as sellers.

Jerry Micco: If they are still in the wild-card hunt, they'll be buyers.

Ohio Steel: It is Wheaton's to lose

Jerry Micco: I agree. Wheaton has the inside track on the job, but if he doesn't step up, there are guys like Moore, Brown and Heyward-Bey ready to try to take his job. Martavis Bryant, the rookie, will have a bit of a learning curve issue, but he'll come along later in the season.

Guest: Will the Pirates make the playoffs?

Jerry Micco: Ask me that question on Aug. 15. Too early to tell.

RIP Chuck: Biggest issues on defense last year were pass rush and creating turnovers. Shazier should allow Troy to go back and play his normal position which should increase TO potential but still don't see improvement in pass rush, especially if there's an injury to Worilds or Jones. Will Steelers get a pass rushing OLB in before camp to improve depth? Current moves don't seem to be enough.

Jerry Micco: Keys are as you say, Worilds and Jones. If they cannot put pressure on the QB, or if any schemes that might involve Shazier and Timmons being involved in rushing the QB don't work, then they are in trouble. I think the Steelers will continue to look at guys right through the end of training camp. But don't look for any big moves. More depth guys.

Jerry Micco: OK folks I need to get back to some other stuff. Thanks for all the questions. I apologize for the slow start and for leaving some questions on the table. Programming note: I'll be gone next week at the national sports editors conference in Washington, DC, but back on July 2. So until then, have a great couple weeks! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco

 


First Published June 18, 2014 12:00 AM

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