Poll Question: Do you believe the wrist injury to Sidney Crosby was a significant reason for his poor play in this spring's playoffs? Answer #1: Yes, it obviously affected him (61.5%) Answer #2: No, he just didn't play well (23%) Answer #3: Not sure. (15.5%)
Jerry Micco: Folks: Bit of a late start, and I'm going to have to cut it a bit early because of work related issues, but let's begin!
Jim Gott: I trust NH but that Grilli deal was a bust. We need a closer. How quickly can Houston Street get here?
Jerry Micco: I would argue, and have, that the team has a closer already. And he's an all-star: Tony Watson.
James_Pittsburgh: Not surprising to learn that Sidney Crosby was injured during the playoffs. Why does Crosby always get injured?
Jerry Micco: Depends on how he hurt the wrist. That could have come a number of ways, and we couldn't find out how or when he injured the wrist. He could have been cross-checked, which would not have been his fault, or, he could have fallen funny on it and injured it. We just don't know.
Jim in VT: Jerry, Boston Globe reports that Lackey and Peavy are both actively being shopped. Either can help the Bucs as i see it. What would you be willing to give up for one of them,?
Jerry Micco: I think the Pirates will dangle Josh Bell, the very good hitting OF who is at West Virginia. He seems to be behind a lot of people in the OF right now and the Pirates are stacked with good players in that area.
James_Pittsburgh: Houston Street has a $7 million team option for 2015. I can't see the Pirates paying that much for a closer.
Jerry Micco: I agree. I don't think the Bucs will pay that much for a closer. Not with Melancon and Watson on the team.
James_Bullpen: Marte is approaching 100 K's for the year. At what point do you make Harrison your everyday Left Fielder?
Jerry Micco: When he can play center field, because that's what he'll need to play like if he plays LF at PNC Park. I don't think you can sit Marte down permanently, but you certainly can spot play Harrison in LF.
Walt C: Do the failures of the last 2 games let management see that everything is not as rosy as we thought? Playing last place teams is a cure-all but also hides the warts.
Jerry Micco: The beauty is they beat up those last-place teams and got themselves back into the thick of things. They lost the last 2 games on walk-off HRs because the bullpen wasn't able to hold games that were tied. Neither guy that gave up those HRs were your best pitchers out there. And Wilson hadn't given up a HR in something like 2 years. You are going to have to play near .500 on the road and clean up at home. The Pirates are starting to do that, but they are going to have to work hard to try for a split in St. Louis.
Guest: My sources within the Pirates organization say the Pirates are close to a deal for Papplebon. NH has to give up Nick Kingham. Would you make that deal?
Jerry Micco: No.
James_Pittsburgh: Jake Peavy has a 4.64 ERA. Josh Bell won't be traded for Jake Peavy.
Jerry Micco: Probably not, but I stand by what I said here last week. I still think the Pirates should look to get a solid starter for the stretch drive. I think Worley is not the guy you want out there every fifth day. And I'm not sure Liriano and Cole are going to be healthy the rest of the way.
Guest: With the Pirate Bullpen in such a mess, why not bring in local pitcher Kevin Slowey. When he was with the Marlins he was great once through the lineup unmatched.
Jerry Micco: I don't have ready numbers on him, but at one time, he was a very effective pitcher. I would think, though, that the bullpen can be fixed internally. Are they that desperate that they would have to go out to find another arm?
James_Pittsburgh: I would like to see the Pirates acquire Brad Ziegler from the Diamondbacks. He is owed $5 million for 2015.
Jerry Micco: Not familiar with him. Is he their closer?
Danny Murtaugh: How many championship teams win without a true Cleanup hitter?
Jerry Micco: Some teams get by without a true No. 4 hitter, or moving guys in and out of that spot depending on who is pitching. But the Pirates have had a real issue filling that spot in the batting order. And it would be nice to see someone settle in there. I thought Walker would be a good fit, but he seems to have fallen off a bit since his return from injury.
Ralph: Jerry What do you think of Pitt Football this year? How many wins are realistic
Jerry Micco: I think Pitt can have a better season than last and 8 wins certainly is not out of the question. Paul Chryst is slowly building a team that is in his image, which means they'll pound the ball, pass it when they need to and play tough defense. I think Pitt will have to hope the OL and DL replace some key pieces this season, but if it can do that and get the ball into Tyler Boyd's hands on offense, they can make some noise.
James_Pittsburgh: Honestly, from Neal Huntington's comments, the Pirates are high on Josh Bell and I can't see him being traded unless it is for a player who is under team control for several years.
Jerry Micco: He and Nick Kingham might be their best trade pieces. I like Josh Bell and hope they don't move him, but it's going to be a few years before he's playing here because the outfield is set for a while.
Walt C: I thought Collier's column on NH was really spot on. Thank god NH isn't as fickle as the fans. He seems to have a grip on the reality of the team and organization.
Jerry Micco: I think by and large, Huntington has done a good job of putting together a very good Pirates team. He doesn't have the luxuries some GMs around baseball do, but he's made them competitive and last year, a playoff team. I don't know if he can make them elite with the money constraints he faces, but if they can contend, that's all people can ask.
Jim in VT: Can you believe that you are already this deep in the chat without ANY Steelers questions? I know its only early July, but this still says something about the bucs
Jerry Micco: Hey, it's baseball season, this is what I expect. The Steelers are quiet. Wait a few weeks, and we'll be back at it for the Steelers. Camp opens on July 25.
The Chief: Jerry, hope all is well. You on board with sending Locke down when Cole and Liriano rejoin the staff?
Jerry Micco: He's pitching so well, you hate to see that happen. I'm not sure Worley is worth keeping around, but my guess is Locke still has options left and Worley does not, so Locke is probably the guy to go, unless they trade someone.
James_Pittsburgh: Why all the love for Jeff Samardzija? He had a career ERA of 3.97 at the time of the trade. He has a 3.91 ERA over the past 365 days. He might have a good 2014 season, but it is hard to image that he will turn the corner at 29 years old.
Jerry Micco: The A's are banking on his 2014 season continuing, and sometimes pitchers mature later in their careers. Plus, they have control on him for a couple of years.
The Chief: Jerry, assume the Penguins sign all their fee agents Sutter etc. Care to give us their two top lines next year beginning the season.
Jerry Micco: I don't know if I can remember all of the players, so you guys help me out: Crosby, Kunitz, Dupuis // Malkin, Hornqvist, Bennett. OK, who am I missing?
James_Pittsburgh: Brad Ziegler is not a closer, but has a career 2.38 ERA in 448 career games.
Jerry Micco: Does he start? If so, then that should be a guy who is on their radar.
Ralph LA: Any chance of the Pirates getting past Milwaukee or St. Louis this season? I'm just amazed that both teams, especially Milwaukee, can put together such dominate teams on such a continuing basis.
Jerry Micco: Milwaukee has been down for a couple of years, now they are back up. No one expected that from them this season, but they do a good job of drafting and developing guys. I think the Pirates and Cardinals have been pretty even the past couple of seasons. One of the reasons the Pirates are behind the Brewers is because they are 3-10 vs. Milwaukee this season.
The Chief: Jerry, what do you think it will take to resign Russell Martin. He seems to be the glue that holds the Pirates together.
Jerry Micco: I think he's going to want 2 years and $20 million. I think the Pirates should sign him, but they likely won't.
Jimmy two times™: Jerry do you see the Bucs being able to stay with the Brewers cards and reds while they sort out the rotation thanks
Jerry Micco: I think if they can get Liriano back to what he used to be, that is 2013 form, and Cole can get healthy, then they can stay with anyone in the division.
Rod Scurry: Why historically has there not been a dominating Left Handed Closer in baseball? Can Watson truly be that guy?
Jerry Micco: That may be the thinking of baseball men. Rarely do lefties become closers. Aroldis Chapman is a closer as a lefty and he's very tough. Billy Wagner was lefthanded. In the old days, Joel Horner was a lefty side-armer who closed. But you are right, few leftys close. But I think Watson would be a great closer.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, I could be wrong, but unless Vance Worley really stinks, I can't see Huntington giving up on a starter that is under team control for three more years. Worley does not have an option. He would have to be DFAd.
Jerry Micco: Well then they are going to be stuck with him, and that means Locke, who is pitching very well, is going to get shipped out. I think Worley has been very mediocre in his last 2 starts. And down the stretch, I'd rather have Locke in games. Unless the Pirates think Worley can pitch in the bullpen. I doubt he'd clear waivers, so they won't DFA him.
The Chief: Looks like Price, Peavey, Zorbist, Dunn and Willingham will be traded to the NL. Beside Price, any of them look like a good fit for the Pirates?
Jerry Micco: Since I don't follow any of those guys besides Price all that closely, I'll let others chime in.
Jimmy two times™: Did the pens toughen up enough in your opinion Jerry?
Jerry Micco: I think they got more grit, yes. Downie certainly adds more. Hornqvist has a good net-front presence. So I think they toughened up a bit. Losing Orpik, on and off the ice, will hurt them some in that department, though.
Dan: With all due respect, I still think the Pirates have to at least take a shot at David Price. Any idea what the Rays are asking in return for him?????
Jerry Micco: A lot. I would think Josh Bell and Nick Kingham both. Plus, you are out a lot of money in salary.
Ernie vermachelli: Do the pirates make a splash trade or a ripple
Jerry Micco: I think a ripple only because I think mid-season trades rarely work out. Most buyers don't want to give up much and most sellers want your best prospects. It usually involves rental players.
James_Pittsburgh: Considering Starling Marte's production and lack of plate discipline, when Josh Bell is ready, there is a spot for him. Plus, Josh Bell could be moved to first.
Jerry Micco: Then they need to give Josh Bell a first baseman's mitt and move him next season. I think Marte, as he matures, brings too much to the team to count him out. They invested six years into the guy.
Guest: Papplebon automatically brings your bullpen credibility and strength. He is a proven winner. Make that deal even if it involves Kingham or Bell. Win now! Just like Billy Beane did in his trades.
Jerry Micco: If you wouldn't trade Bell or Kingham for a proven starter, why would you do it for Pappelbon? I don't know, I don't think I'd make that deal? Would others here do that?
Times-Square: Jerry, what will happen first, Ron cook writes an article criticizing Bob Nutting or Penn State? My answer is that it is a trick question, Ron never criticizes PSU or Nutting.
Jerry Micco: Actually, I've seen him write both. And you can call and ask him. He's on the radio Monday-Friday 10-2 on 93.7 The Fan.
Vic Demoan: Jerry do you think Mario and burkle feel they have the right staff in place of the old regime
Jerry Micco: I would hope so. They hired them and they are on the payroll.
Dan: Jerry, Let me be one of those who supports keeping Worley around as a starter. He could be a diamond in the rough. I think both he and Locke will be in the rotation in 2015 unless they're used as trade bait to bring in a higher quality starter like Price.
Jerry Micco: I guess I'm not as sold on Worley as some people. Yes, they have 3 years of control on him, but I have not been impressed in his last two outings. And don't forget, Jameson Taillon is going to be ready to pitch, probably by late summer next year. Certainly by 2016. Nick Kingham, too.
The Chief: Jerry , since you followed Billy Beane on the left coast are you surprised at his moves to get the two Cub pitchers and give up so much talent?
Jerry Micco: That move did surprise me because it usually works the other way for the A's. But he senses they can win right now and he needs starting pitching. And talk about a team that can draft and develop. And has little money to spend. Amazing front office. Again, don't know that they'll ever be elite like the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers because they cannot spend for huge stars, but Beane keeps them in contention.
Jim in VT: wouldn't you agree that something that we all need to remember is that the cupboard is full almost to overflowing on the farm? I run into a lot of NY-P scouts here in VT and they all keep raving about the drafts by NH
Jerry Micco: At first, many folks who cover the Bucs minor leagues panned this year's draft. I thought it was an odd draft, too. Then, a lot of guys who cover the minors took a look a bit later and said it actually wound up being a very good draft. I think Huntington and his crew has put together a very good plan and it is working for them. And he has so little margin for error, that if they fail, then the team is going to be set back for a few years. That makes the job that much tougher.
Jim in VT: Zobrist is a Rich Man's J-Hay
James_Pittsburgh: I think the best bet is to trade Vance Worley for Ian Kennedy or another pitcher under contract for 2015. I realize the Pirates would have to throw in a prospect. They won't get an upgrade for Worley straight up.
Jerry Micco: That might be the best value for Worley. As a trade piece.
James_Pittsburgh: I don't think any GM in baseball mortgages the future for David Price unless they feel they are a World Series contender. The Pirates are not a David Price away from the World Series, so even without his salary, it makes little sense to go after him.
Jerry Micco: I think that is spot on, James.
PhillyJake: Papplebon? Really?
The Chief: Jerry, what are your thoughts on Mike Johnston and have you met him yet?
Jerry Micco: I've not met him. I think he'll bring a fresh outlook to a team that needs to hear one. And I think he has a system that he think will work. He had success at the minor league level, which does mean something. We'll see how he does getting that message across to the stars on the team.
Jim in VT: Papelbon is worth a B level prospect and oen or two others below that. I'd talk Glasnow, not Kingham
Jerry Micco: That is more like it, I'd think.
Brandon: Couldn't you use Marte as a trade chip and acquire Stanton from Miami. Would Kingham and Marte do it? Would that trade do it for Tulo in Colorado?
Jerry Micco: The Marlins have said Stanton isn't available for a trade. Now, if that is the offer, maybe they change their mind. But he is a guy you build around, so they may want even more for him.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry,in a perfect world the Pirates flip Worley for Ian Kennedy. If they can get a better pitcher that is great. That gives them a rotation of Cole, Morton, Kennedy, Locke, and Kingham for 2015. And for 2014 Cole, Liriano, Morton, Kennedy, and Locke.
Jerry Micco: I would think they'd be happy with those rotations.
Guest: Jerry, Is Cutch intimidated facing the Cardinals?
Jerry Micco: I don't know, he didn't look to frightened hitting that ball into the bullpen last night.
Bernard: More likely to be inducted into HOF: Troy or Ben?
Jerry Micco: Tough call. Probably Ben, especially if he gets one more Super Bowl ring.
John Russell: How much will Boras demand for Pedro? To me a defensive liability at 3rd base and not a guy who hits for average. I wouldn't pay more than 6 million a year
Jerry Micco: Goodness, he'll get much more than that on his power potential. Likely $12-15 million. I don't think he's worth that, but that's what Boras will ask.
James_Pittsburgh: Pedro hit his 100th career HR last night and today I haven't seen a single trade Pedro scenario post today...do you think he's quieted his critics for the time being? I think he is worthy of the 3B position here in Pgh.
PhillyJake: You can't talk about wanting to trade for Paplebon and not relying on Worely. It's the same thing - two guys who are having up years after some down time.
Jerry Micco: It took a while for the first post, and I got 2 in a row, so I'll do quick answers: If they can get Pedro for $10 million/year, they should. It's tough to find 30 HRs a year. Yes, he's having a down season, but he's still capable. And his defense is maddening. You can work on both, but you're going to have to pay him. If as I predicted above Boras asks for, say $15 mil a year for him, tell Pedro thanks for the memories. As for Worley/Pappelbon, you have it pretty nailed, Jake.
Guest: Jerry where does Lebron end up?
Jerry Micco: I think he ends up at home: Cleveland
The Chief: Jerry, thanks for hanging with us today. I am with your on Worley, to send Locke down after what he has done would be a travesty.
Jerry Micco: I agree. Well on that note, I do need to cut it short to make a 1 p.m. meeting. Again, thanks for taking the time and for all the terrific questions. You guys were great as always. I'll see you at noon next Wednesday. Until then, have a great week! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco
First Published July 9, 2014 12:00 AM