Bill Brink's Pirates baseball chat transcript: 7.10.14

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Bill Brink: Good morning from St. Louis, where the Pirates will try to avoid a four-game sweep tonight ... Thanks for the questions, and keep them coming ... Here we go ...

Trav: Why do the pirates continue to go with Frieri? I know he can pound the strike zone and have his moments of greatness. However, he seems to be lacking consistency yet he continues to be thrown in during tight/very important games.

Bill Brink: Hurdle absolutely rolled the dice with that one. Bases loaded and Adams up, and he goes to the guy who has struggled in his past 10 outings. He did it to try to build Frieri's confidence back up, and maybe it did, but it was still a massive gamble in a close game. Trying to get Frieri right should not outweigh the better-than-even chance that Adams cleared the bases with a double.

daneo: What are your thoughts about acquiring Adam Dunn? He's got some baggage...terrible defensively, apparently doesn't love playing the game, but sure can hit homers.

Bill Brink: Nowhere to put him in the NL and he's making a pro-rated $15 million.

Sean from Cumberland: Who are the best starting pitching options out there bedsides David Price?

Bill Brink: Ian Kennedy would make sense. Hamels and Lee are probably out there, but they are expensive. Jake Peavy from Boston too.

JamesinNYC: How long is Marte to be out for ... I saw his locker was cleaned out then I realized it was St. Louis?

Bill Brink: Marte is on the bereavement list because of a death or illness in his family. He must spend three days there but cannot spend more than seven days there.

Justin: Ian Kennedy, anyone? David Price is unlikely, and other players rumored to be available just are not that good. A decent pitcher with 1 more year of control like Kennedy (or Price!) makes perfect sense for the team, right? To bridge the gap from now to Taillon/Cole/Kingham/Glasnow time.

Bill Brink: Yes, Kennedy would make a lot of sense, if the Padres are willing to move him.

CanuckBucFan: I'd like to see Ike go back to trying to hit homers s the patient approach to raise average isn't working. Thought?

Bill Brink: Davis has a .364 OBP with the Pirates and he's taking his walks, which is his true value. His 32 home runs are starting to look more like the exception than the norm, and if he tries to hit home runs, not only will he not hit any more -- home runs are pitched more than hit -- his average and OBP will fall and his strikeouts will increase.

Guest: how long will Friere be with the Bucs? can they afford to keep him on their roster?

Bill Brink: He will be there until the point where he can't get outs in low-leverage situations and he is just wasting a roster spot. They think Searage can work with him on some things. He's not that far removed from being a solid late-inning guy.

Barry: Is Chris Stewart really worth his roster spot?

Bill Brink: Yes and no. He is worth it because it allows the Pirates to have depth: If Stewart or Martin gets hurt, Sanchez can come up. If they cut Stewart and Martin or Sanchez gets hurt, who's next? Probably Nevin Ashley, a big drop-off. And he's a smart man and a good game-planner.But he provides almost nothing with the bat.

Hunter: I know Jeff Locke has options but if everyone is back and healthy after the break they can't remove him from the rotation... can they?

Bill Brink: They can and they will because that is how they operate -- preserve depth at (almost) all costs even if that means the more-talented guy is in the minors. Same principle as the previous question: If Worley gets hurt they can call up Locke. If they cut Worley and Locke gets hurt, who gets the call? Jay Jackson, Adam Wilk, Casey Sadler.This might be less of an issue in two months if Nick Kingham continues to shove.

Bugchug: Hey Bill, any chance that we move Walker at the deadline and slide JHay into the 2nd base slot. If we aren't going to sign him we may as well trade him now while his value is at it's highest.

Bill Brink: No. I think they want to sign him, but he does not like to negotiate during the season. Plus, he has a track record of major league success at the plate and Harrison has had one great half-season.

Hunter: The front-end of the bullpen looks like a major liability at the moment. Any chance we could see some shaking up like optioning Wilson or moving one of the additional starters in the help stabilize long relief?

Bill Brink: It is looking a little precarious. They will move Worley to the bullpen for the Reds series, and when Cole comes back, they might get creative and leave him there. I don't see Wilson going down because I don't know what triple-A would do to help him. He's still got great stuff and he would mow them down in the minors, but his command hasn't been where it needs to be.

tim: Assuming Pedro Alverez gets traded next year, do his on-going defensive blunders land him as a DH for sure? and if so, what can we get back for him?

Bill Brink: First, I don't assume Alvarez will be traded next year. He had a bad April, a mediocre May and a much better June. His throwing issues are not going away but they are becoming less frequent. I do think, though, that moving off third base might be in the cards for him at some point. Evaluators have told me his feet don't work well enough for him to stay there long-term.

Guest: What does GM have against Vin Mazzaro

Bill Brink: Nothing. He's been solid at triple-A. But no one else wants him, so if you need a 40-man spot but want someone you can get through waivers and retain, Mazzaro is your man.

TR: Realistically what should we expect from Cole after the All-Star break?

Bill Brink: I think you can expect him to be his usual self. It appeared he was fully back from the shoulder through four innings last Friday, but his lat tightened on him in the fifth inning. Through those four he touched 97 and allowed one hit. He should be good if he gets back to full health.

Steve: I've seen a few decisions lately that have made me question our coaching approach... Last night in the 7th inning we were down two and we bring in Hague to pinch hit. He doesn't bunt with 0 outs but instead grounds into two. This is not the first time we've mismanaged late in the game. Can you explain this decision

Bill Brink: If you want to lay down a bunt, Hague is not your man. He has a much better chance of getting a hit than successfully sacrificing because he isn't asked to do it much. He has two in his professional career, none this year. The decision looked bad because he bounced into a double play on the first pitch.The bigger question is why Hague, who just got there that afternoon, and not Gaby Sanchez.

Tana: Any word on whether Molina's injury will keep him out against the pirates tonight?

Bill Brink: No. The clubhouse is not open to the St. Louis media for several hours and they haven't met with Matheny yet.

JamesinNYC: Does Ernesto Frieri have options left?

Bill Brink: I believe he has one but I need to check further into his transaction history to be certain.

Brandon: Couldn't you deal Marte with someone like Kingham for a Stanton or Tulo? We need some power guys.

Bill Brink: Rockies owner Dick Monfort told the Denver Post he doesn't plan to trade Tulowitzki. I can't see the Marlins trading Stanton, especially when they have a nice young rotation and some young position players putting them in a good spot to compete in a year or two.

daneo: What about sending Stolmy Pimentel down with Vance Worley moving to the bullpen with Francisco Liariano's return?

Bill Brink: Pimentel does not have minor league options, so he can't be sent down without clearing waivers, which I don't think he'd do. Worley in the bullpen might be more realistic, though he hasn't pitched in relief since 2010-11 with the Phillies.

Doug: Why does Clint Hurdle refuse to play small ball? There have been several opportunities to bunt a guy(s) into scoring position in this series and it hasn't happened. None bigger than last night when Hague hit into the double play.

Bill Brink: For the past two years, all I heard about was that Hurdle bunted too much. Now he lets guys swing away and that's becoming a concern. Every situation is different and the traditional move does not always apply.

Steve: Jose Tabata was outrighted while batting .289. He is making 4 million to sit in AAA. Travis Snider is hitting .223 and was kept up as a left handed option off the bench. Are Tabata's splits that bad against righties to warrant this move? Eventually do you see Tabata back up with the Bucs?

Bill Brink: This was about asset management. The Pirates knew that A) no one would claim Tabata because of his contract and B) Tabata would accept his assignment, even though he didn't have to, because he wouldn't get his salary if he didn't. They probably thought someone would claim Snider, and this helps them preserve depth.

Zims Ghost: Hurdle has had an odd obsession with bunting during his tenure in Pittsburgh, why the sudden change of heart in St. Louis. Morton was an obvious candidate in Game 1 and the yesterday's debacle. I'm sure no one will ask due to getting a snarky response...thoughts???

Bill Brink: I can't speak for other reporters, but the possibility that Hurdle fires back at me has no bearing on the questions I ask, the relevancy of the question does. Hurdle was asked about Hague. Hague grounded into a double play. It happens.

Jason: Who do u think won the Grilli Fieri swap

Bill Brink: I still like the Pirates' outcome, knowing full well the numbers look terrible right now. They got a hard-throwing reliever who has had success in the late innings and who is still under control for two more seasons after this one in exchange for a 37-year-old who was removed from the closer's role. Let's see what Searage can do.On the other hand, you can only stash a guy in the bullpen for so long and if he still can't get outs it becomes a wasted roster spot.

Zims Ghost: Pedro Alvarez has had a frustrating season by all accounts, but the organization/manager aren't helping his cause. If they're going to essentially platoon him, he's not going to get right. They'd be selling low, but do you think the Pirates are listening to offers on Alvarez. Too much talent to give up on.

Bill Brink: They listen to offers on everybody, but I don't think they are paying any special attention to offers on Alvarez. Other teams see his throwing problems as well and probably aren't making great offers that the Pirates would jump at.

Aiden: Do we see a trade for Peavy upcoming

Bill Brink: He would be a possibility, but he really isn't having a good season and one has to wonder how much of an upgrade he would be. And he's making about $6-7 million in the second half.

Dave: Do you expect to hear today what the Pirates plans are for the rotation this weekend in Cincy? (ie. when Liriano will start)

Bill Brink: Hurdle announced them yesterday. Liriano will start Sunday, on Worley's normal day, and Worley will be available in the bullpen this weekend.

Mike In Downtown: What could George Costanza get if he tried to trade Josh Harrison?

Bill Brink: I'd have to think Ted Williams would be on the table. Drysdale, too.

JamesinNYC: Frieri's stats before last year were super last year's were OK. Do you think he is in an early decline or just getting out of wack and Searage can fix him?

Bill Brink: Searage has done more with less and I'm not inclined to doubt him. Frieri is also very realistic about where he is right now -- he spoke at length after the walk-off -- and receptive to coaching, so it wouldn't surprise me if he could regain at least some form.

The Chief: What is the mood of the club after dropping three straight to the Cards?

Bill Brink: Unchanged. They've lost three in a row before and will do so again. They are frustrated with the play on the field but the clubhouse is still in fine spirits.

The Chief: The ESPN announcers were very critical of Hurdle for leaving Cumpton in after walking the pitcher Lynn last night, did Hurdle comment on that after the game?

Bill Brink: Not on that plate appearance specifically, but on Cumpton's general lack of sharpness. Yes, he was struggling, but a one-out walk in the fourth inning isn't the end of the world. The next three hits were a bunt single, a ground ball that Davis stopped but couldn't make a play on and a bloop single. Not all rocket shots.

PhillyJake: I think the two years of control of Fiere are worthless. There's no way, based on his last year numbers, they offer him arbitration.

Bill Brink: A good point, and an entirely possible outcome. Depends on how well he shapes up.

Brian: Bill, what would it cost the Pirates to get Kris Bryant from Chicago? Glasnow get it done?

Bill Brink: The best right-handed power hitter in the minors? Polanco, Taillon, Glasnow, Kingham and Marte outta do it.

Bill Brink: Lightning round. Go.

Adam: Why haven't they given Mazzaro a chance? He was great a year ago and has been solid in AAA

Bill Brink: That time might be upon us sooner than later if the bullpen continues to struggle.

Brandon: Biggest need at deadline?

Bill Brink: Pitching of any variety.

joe: what are teh chance they trade harrison?

Bill Brink: Better now than I thought a month ago but still low.

Chris: Did Pedro tag Adams on the almost triple?

Bill Brink: Adams could be seen saying "He didn't tag me" to the umpire, but every angle we saw made it look like he did.

Anthony: Would you trade the farm for Tulo?

Bill Brink: I spend my energy trying to figure out what the Pirates and other teams will do rather than thinking about what I would do, but he's expensive and injury-prone, so I don't know.

Chris: Reds got some injury issues... Feeling a sweep in Cinncy?

Bill Brink: Will be interesting to see what happens with Hamilton and Phillips. They're hot right now, though.

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

First Published July 10, 2014 12:00 AM

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