Jenn Menendez: Alright, thanks for joining me. Let's get started.
Doug: Can the pirates continue this surge of play and win the division with the current roster? If not what player(s) do you see on the trade market that make the most sense going after as the trade deadline approaches?
Jenn Menendez: They have certainly made a case to be able to do that. And with six games left against both the Cardinals and the Brewers there is an opportunity to gain significant ground still. That said, it's a very tall task and I still think some pitching help is what we're most likely to see by the trade deadline with Cole on the DL. The same issues that were around last year at this time are here again - not a lot of sellers on the market. The teams who are looking to shed cost are going to have dozens of offers to weed through.
HmmHah: Ollie Perez back to Pittsburgh?
Jenn Menendez: No idea if this will happen, but I can see the intrigue. He had a slow start with a short spring training, but has really surged since then. He's got great numbers this year and is signed through 2015 for $4.25 million.
Will H: Hello Jenn. As I look at the Pirates' personnel situation, I'm thinking there's an 80% chance that they do nothing at all at the trade deadline. What do you think?
Jenn Menendez: Based on what I was just saying a moment ago, yes I think there is a very high chance they do nothing at the deadline. Because of the laws of supply and demand a lot of deals will likely require giving up some serious prospects - and I don't see the Pirates doing that unless the offer is perfect.
Will H: Liriano seems to have a pattern of one good season followed by a poor one. Is there any other way to interpret this other than high motivation for offseason training one year, followed by low motivation the next?
Jenn Menendez: I personally don't think it has to do with motivation at all. I think a lot of it has to do with the injuries he's been plagued by in his career, and a smaller piece has to do with the pressure he puts on himself.
PhillyJake: Will we get the 2013 Liraino the rest of the way?
Jenn Menendez: The chances are good. He seems far more unencumbered these days than he did in the early part of the season. Not only are the numbers and outings getting better, but I think he feels way better physically than he did in the first half of the season. He's a close to the vest guy, so I doubt he'd ever admit in real time if he wasn't feeling great, but he has said he feels much better than he did earlier this season, and I think that's the key. I'm certainly no psychologist, but he just seems to be in a better place right now.
Will H: There's no doubt in my mind that Wilson retaliated for Cutch being hit the other night. And I have no problem with it, as long as heads aren't targeted. How do you see it?
Jenn Menendez: I would agree. I generally think retaliating is a part of the game and as long as there is not intent to plunk someone in the head, I say fair game.
Hank: Do you think the Pirates will resign Martin? If so how many years do you think it will be?
Jenn Menendez: I think they are acutely aware of his importance on this team. Earlier in the offseason, I thought Pirates fans could kiss him goodbye, but I've changed my tune. I think the club will try and resign him, probably two years or a year with an option. The big question is can they offer anywhere close to his market value?
Jeff Jimmerson: Last night's telecast mentioend that Cole feels the need to go on a rehab start or two before coming back to the club in order to be sharp...is it anymore clear at this point who he will replace when he comes back?
Jenn Menendez: Yes, Cole said he doesn't feel the need to be feeling (stuff) out on the mound right now and is amenable to a rehab start or two. It is not any more clear who he'll replace when he comes back, they could shift someone into the bullpen again but too early to tell right now.
Lily: Do you think Pedro found himself a spot on the bench with all his errors as of late. Do you think they will try to move him to 1B ever. Say in spring of 2015?
Jenn Menendez: Right now he is technically on the bench because of a tweaked left knee. There is a lot of speculation out there that first base is his future, and/or a trade to an AL team but for what it's worth, the club has never once said they have considered moving him to first.
Guest: With Marte on the DL and a bunch of lefty starters coming up, why hasn't Tabata been recalled? Is mgt that down on him?
Jenn Menendez: Haven't checked his numbers lately, but the mere fact they moved him to Class AAA - considering his salary - spoke pretty loudly.
PhillyJake: If the Pirates resign Martin, what happens to Tony Sanchez? Backup? Trade bait? New position? Combo of backup and New Position? Can he play 1B?
Jenn Menendez: I imagine he would still be considered the backup. I have also heard the groundswell on Sanchez to first, but again have never heard anyone in the club say anything like that.
HmmHah: I've heard from sources that AJ Burnett has been scouted by the Pirates. Do you think this is even remotely possible and How would Pirates fans treat him. It's pretty obvious the move to Philly was all about "show me the monety".
Hunter L: What do you think the chances of the Pirates bringing AJ back at the deadline?
Jenn Menendez: Two Burnett questions, so I'll answer both here. I do think it is remotely possible yes. How possible beyond that? I don't know. On the one hand he went eight scoreless last night, surged to 130-something pitches and seems like he's got plenty left in the tank. Many of the players would welcome him back. But it will all come down to money as it always does, and is his salary the right fit?
Jenn Menendez: Time for a couple more and then have to head out to catch a flight to Denver.
Will H: At this point in the season, I'd argue for Lucroy as the MVP of the NL. Would you rank him above or below Cutch?
Jenn Menendez: He certainly merits some serious consideration, but I'll let the rest of the season play out before I start ranking guys for the MVP in July.
HmmHah: It's a beaten Dead Horse but the Pirates glaring hole at 1st Base is becoming a big problem. That coupled with the adventures of Pedro at 3rd are the two areas that will hold this team back from making a serious run in the playoffs. Are there any options out there? Some Right Handed Power would be welcomed. Especially if the Cardinals sign David Price.
Jenn Menendez: I wouldn't count Alvarez out just yet. There's something about a guy who performs in the playoffs - the way Alvarez did last year - that I think deserves cutting him some slack. I'm probably in the minority with that opinion. The throwing errors absolutely have to slow down, but he's a guy who can get hot at any moment and the minute it happens I'm guessing everyone will pipe down about the errors.
Jenn Menendez: And yes...some right-handed power would be very welcomed, I'm just not sure I see it happening by July 31. I could see something more like last year when they picked up Morneau and Byrd at the end of August.
Jenn Menendez: Thanks very much for your questions and time today. We will have two chats next week. Check the blog for the schedule, but they will be Tuesday and Thursday.
First Published July 23, 2014 8:00 PM