Bill Brink's Pirates chat transcript: 08.01.14

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Comment From Jeff King

What can the Bucs do with Pedro? I think his throwing problem has become very serious. In the game last night he literally seemed afraid to throw the ball. I feel sorry for the guy. At this point of the season, they can't put him at first, can they?

12:10

Bill Brink: They can't put him at first right now, but they can try to transition him there after the season. It seems they're at an impasse. They can't keep putting him at third. But they can't move him to first because they have two, and they'd have to trade Ike Davis because they can't just give up on him and not get anything in return.

They could move him to an AL team that needed a platoon DH/corner guy, but after this season, it would be hard to find takers.

12:11

Comment From Guest

Do you think they will make an August trade and who would be available that they could get?

12:12

Bill Brink: I think they will make an August trade. I thought Cliff Lee was possible if the Phillies paid down some of his contract, but it looks like he's done for the season. I think a reliever or bench guy could be had. I'll have a story this weekend about this very subject.

12:12

Comment From Tachobill

Couldn't the Pirates have gotten Price for what the Mariners/Tigers gave up?

12:14

Bill Brink: Theoretically, sure, but it also depends on what the Rays wanted. Every team values other teams' prospects or young players differently. The Rays got two young major leaguers (Franklin was in the minors but had major league experience and is young and talented). The corollary is not Josh Bell and Tyler Glasnow; it's Starling Marte and Charlie Morton.

12:14

Comment From JamesinNYC

I don't mind the Pirates sitting tight...but I am firmly in the camp of extending Martin ...like yesterday. What chance is there they could get him to sign before becoming a FA? I just think it is smart to keep you prospects and assets which Martin is a huge one.

12:15

Bill Brink: I don't think they can extend anyone in season without grossly over-paying them and the Pirates as a rule do not overpay. Martin will head to free agency and see what he is worth.

12:15

Comment From robert

what are the pirates waiver wire needs

12:15

Bill Brink: Starter, reliever, bench swing guy who isn't Michael Martinez or Brent Morel.

12:16

Comment From Jeff King

I too was somewhat disappointed the Bucs made no moves. But if you're willing to trade a prospect or prospects and the other team wants a major leaguer then no deal. Would you have been willing to trade a guy like Marte for a two-month rental?

12:17

Bill Brink: I don't spend much time thinking about what I would do; I focus on trying to determine what the Pirates and other teams are actually doing. In this case they did not want to give up major leaguers for a starter.

12:17

Comment From Kevin

Do you think the Pirates can make the post season with the starting pitching they have?

12:17

Bill Brink: I thought so Wednesday. After the Cardinals got Masterson and Lackey, I'm not so sure. Locke has had two poor starts, Cole is uncertain.

12:18

Comment From Butch

When does the front office decide to actually go for it? THey didnt last year having a great record. They didnt this year being in a wild card race. When is when? Or is this the new Pittsburgh Pirates. Satisfied with mediocrity.

12:20

Bill Brink: I honestly don't know. I asked Huntington yesterday if he felt any more pressure to add a player because of the Pirates' spot in the standings. He said they wanted to add but felt their best course of action was to stay put.

12:20

Comment From Kevin

Do you think that Martin will take a 4/yr 40 million dollar contract? Will the Pirates offer that much?

12:22

Bill Brink: That sounds about right, and this offseason will be a real test for them. Will they spend what it takes to keep a talented free agent with no real alternative?

12:22

Comment From Bucco Baggo

Bill, what was it like working yesterday with all the possible interests that the Pirates were reportedly looking into? Exciting/stressful day for sports journalists?

12:24

Bill Brink: It's fun, but frustrating now with Twitter. I loved watching all the moves, the Red Sox swapping half their roster, the A's going for it, the Marlins-Astros deal. But it's less about finding out what's going on now and more about finding one morsel of news to immediately throw up on Twitter. The fake accounts make it harder because too many people get fooled by them, and then ESPN and Fox legitimize them, and you try explaining to crazy Pirates fans on Twitter that, no, ESPN is wrong, I'm right, the Pirates haven't traded for Ben Zobrist.

It requires patience, diligence and a sense of humor, but I still like it.

12:25

Comment From Kevin

It sure seems the Pirates could have put together a better package for Price then they got yesterday, I think the Pirates didnt want to spend $20 million on him next year

12:26

Bill Brink: In speaking with people around baseball, I heard both sides -- that the Pirates didn't want to part with the prospects/young players and weren't concerned about his $20 million-plus salary next year, and that the salary was prohibitive and factored into their discussions. I'm sure it played some role.

12:27

Comment From Joe

Will this team ever make a deal using its deep system to obtain a big bat via trade. I know it takes two to tango, but this team needs a legit middle order bat to play 1B.

12:28

Bill Brink: They already traded for a first baseman. That's not to say Davis has been fantastic, but it is to say when you expend part of your farm system on one position, you probably won't send more prospects for that same position. You'll allocate resources elsewhere, like the rotation. But the Pirates didn't allocate resources anywhere.

12:28

Comment From Hurdles Hause

Did NH comment at all on the other teams in the division and their activity? Any type of reaction from Pirates Management?

12:29

Bill Brink: No. Only that they worked hard to get something done but felt they didn't have a good match.

12:29

Comment From Kevin

I for one am happy the Pirates didnt overpay for a 2 month rental....stay the course and this team will be good for many years to come... your thoughts?

12:31

Bill Brink: I look at this two ways. Not trading young major leaguers or talented prospects for two months of Jon Lester is fine. It's defensible either way. There are good arguments for both sides, and that's not a cop-out; this is a situation where that's actually true.

But to not upgrade a team that's right in the NL Central race has effects in the clubhouse as well as on the field, and I'm surprised they didn't do something.

12:31

Comment From Guest

Why can't the Pirates give Alvarez some starts at 1B? Do you get the sense that he is incapable or unwilling? Why is Alvarez's situation different from Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals, who willingly moved to LF and 1B because of throwing issues?

12:32

Bill Brink: The difference is the Nats had the roster flexibility. Harper was hurt, Rendon can play third and they needed a left fielder. The Pirates don't have that same flexibility without benching Davis. I also highly doubt they move him during the season.

12:32

Comment From Guest

Did you get the sense that the Pirates were actively seeking to trade Alvarez at the deadline? What was/is his market value?

12:33

Bill Brink: No, I think they were more concerned about adding to their team. His power potential will always give him market value but right now I don't think he has much. You and I can see his throwing issues; so can other teams.

12:33

Comment From Guest

In your opinion who is more important to sign Walker or Martin or do think they must resign both

12:33

Bill Brink: A scout told me recently that the most important player on the Pirates, after McCutchen, was Martin. They have to get him.

12:33

Comment From Guest

How does the lineup change when Marte returns? Does Harrison become the everyday 3B? Does Harrison platoon with Polanco? Who sits?

12:34

Bill Brink: Harrison probably fills in at third, left and right, getting four starts a week. Or they just sit Pedro.

12:34

Comment From Kevin

Dont you think picking up Burnett would be smart?.Locke has fallen apart since he left and just to think our starting rotation next year could be Burnett, Cole, Lirano, Morton, Locke... thats looks pretty strong

12:34

Bill Brink: No. He will be 38, due lots of money and coming off hernia surgery at the start of 2015.

12:34

Comment From Guest

Why are Morel and Martinez on the big league roster over Tabata?

12:35

Bill Brink: I think it has to do with them being on the 40-man and he is not, though there are some players on the 40-man that they could remove without much trouble.

12:36

Comment From Michael

Ideally, I was wondering why the Pirates didn't make a move for Bonifacio and Russell. Provided a bench guy who is playing very well and a lefty reliever. The Pirates coulda made a better offer than the Braves. Thoughts ?

12:36

Bill Brink: I thought Bonifacio made a whole lot of sense. Replace Martinez as the utility guy, got some speed, can play everywhere. I don't think the in-division aspect would have played a role. The Pirates most not value Bonifacio that much.

12:36

Comment From Jon

If Martin heads to free agency what happens at catcher next year? The pirates can't seriously believe in Tony Sanchez as an everyday catcher.

12:38

Bill Brink: I think they realize that as well and that will factor into their pursuit of Martin. I haven't looked ahead to free-agent catchers yet but the pickings are always slim.

12:38

Comment From Kevin

Everyone talks about the untouchable prospects... the ones that a team wont trade regardless of the offer... who would you consider the pirates untouchables?

12:39

Bill Brink: I personally don't evaluate touchable or not, but I think the Pirates would prefer to hang onto Taillon, Bell, Meadows, McGuire and Glasnow.

12:41

Comment From Guest

Why has Martinez been the first bat off the bench recently? Does Hurdle see something in him that no one else does?

12:41

Bill Brink: We wondered that ourselves last night in the press box. He usually saves Gaby to pinch-hit for Ike when the lefty comes in, but that doesn't mean Snider or Alvarez can't be the guy. It seems he saves them for situations when men are on base.

12:41

Comment From Jake

With media and fans firmly entrenched in the technology age, do you think executives like NH pay more attention than ever to what they say in public and how they present themselves? Seems like there is not much to learn from pressers from NH, Tomlin, Shero, etc.

12:42

Bill Brink: Yes. It used to be, the GM would talk to reporters and 18 hours later everyone would read the comments in the paper with full explanation and context. Now people read them in 140-character snippets or see them in 16-second Instagram videos. It's a lot easier for them to be taken out of context, and once one quote makes the rounds, nothing they can say or do can appease the masses that have already made up their minds.

12:43

Comment From Guest

Which is more true: The Pirates over-value their prospects, or they are so afraid that they might have a few sub-.500 seasons that they are afraid to take the risk to make a run now?

12:43

Bill Brink: I think the second is more true. They don't want to sacrifice a decade of strong play for the chance of winning big now. Not saying that's right or wrong, just that that's their belief.

12:44

Comment From Kevin

Have you had a chance to read Ron Cook's column this morning? Is it all about the money with the Pirates? If thats the case we need new owners who are willing to shell out the bucks to make this a playoff team every year. Paging Mr. Lemieux... paging Mr. Lemieux

12:45

Bill Brink: I read the column, yes. Money plays a role in this franchise's decisions moreso than other teams, and that is part of the construct under which Neal Huntington and his staff have to operate.

12:46

Comment From Chris

Are the Pirates so afraid of a potential losing season in 2018 that they are that unwilling to trade a prospect who may or may not be a contributing factor 3-4 years out?

12:46

Bill Brink: For the big guys yesterday -- Lester, Price, Lackey -- prospects wasn't the issue. But it was for everyone else, and that is part of the problem with betting on potential rather than proven performance.

12:46

Comment From Christian

Bill, Would it make any sense to send Pedro down to the minors to maybe get his confidence back? This is painful to watch.

12:47

Bill Brink: It would make sense, especially because it might clear his head, but it also might make the problem worse because he would be being punished for his throwing issues. (Off the top of my head he has an option but I'd have to double-check.)

12:47

Comment From Ralph

How much P/R damage would the Pirates incurr by letting hometown boy Walker slip away.

12:48

Bill Brink: I know this, they don't much care. They view Walker as a talented ballplayer but they won't give him more money because he's from Pittsburgh. If they traded him away, or didn't make him a good offer, that might make it worse.

12:50

Comment From Terry

I think we're concentrating on yesterday's deadline non-deals. Why wouldn't the Pirates consider bringing in Ryan Howard? The Phillies seem to want him gone and probably will pay a part of his salary to get rid of him. It may be that Howard needs a change a scenery, exactly what I see written here about Alvarez. The current setup is not working so why not go for it? It could change the dynamics of this team and maybe make Alvarez start hitting with that type of protection in the lineup.

12:52

Bill Brink: Because Howard is owed $60 million through the two seasons including a $10 million buyout of his '17 option, they would then have two platoon lefty first basemen and he's not good. .305 OBP and he's not really even hitting righties.

12:53

Comment From Chris

In light of the Pirates not making a move yesterday, wouldn't it be more prudent for them to try to make a move earlier in August rather than later? Make a move for a playoff spot now and don't risk the chance of falling out of contention by the end of August

12:53

Bill Brink: It's not quite up to them. It depends on when other teams put their players on waivers. I think if something came along early, they'd go after it.

12:55

Comment From Guest

It downright depresses me every time they put in Frieri. Why do they put him in at all? Do you think Hurdle is under pressure to try and make him work out?

12:55

Bill Brink: In a sense, yes. He's taking up a roster spot in that bullpen and they have to get him right, and the only way to do that is to find times for him to pitch.

12:56

Comment From JamesinNYC

You either over pay now, or lose out to overpaying for Martin in the offseason...you are saying the Pirates are going to get in a bidding war for him at the end of the year and win?

12:56

Bill Brink: I am saying Martin and his agent know how much he is worth and unless the Pirates drastically overpay him in-season, he will test free agency. Whether they win or lose, no one can know until then.

12:56

Comment From Guest

Who would be the Pirates' fourth starter in a playoff series? What are the changes Volquez moves to the bullpen?

12:57

Bill Brink: I think Volquez stays in the rotation. He might be that fourth starter behind Liriano, Morton and Cole.

1:00

Comment From Battleship Bob

Which of the Pirates coaches is 'in charge' of baserunning?

1:00

Bill Brink: First-base coach Rick Sofield.

1:00

Comment From PhillyJake

If they put Frieri through waivers and someone claims him, think they'll pull him back?

1:00

Bill Brink: Good question. Maybe not, if he continues to struggle.

1:00

Comment From Jim

Yeah Pedro sucks at throwing but Ike could help him out a little bit. Some of Pedros errors a good first baseball would have caught wouldn't you agree?

1:01

Bill Brink: Ike could have had that one last night. The official scorer changed the call from E5 to E3 and Hurdle identified Ike as the culprit after the game.

1:01

Bill Brink: Lightning round. Go.

1:02

Comment From JamesinNYC

Would Kennedy last to them if he was put on waivers?

1:02

Bill Brink: No, can't imagine so.

1:04

Comment From PhillyJake

Olney says Mat Latos might be available. Think NH attempts to get him ?

1:04

Bill Brink: Gonna be tough from a division rival, not sure he'd get through waivers.

1:05

Comment From Bob

Is the clubhouse livid because there were no moves made at the trade deadline?

1:06

Bill Brink: Aware, but I wouldn't say livid. Heard both sides.

1:07

Comment From PhillyJake

Not Lightening Round, per se, but what does Locke think about the pursuit of a starting pitcher, knowing he could be heading down?

1:08

Bill Brink: Didn't discuss that in specifics with him last night, but he's realistic. He understands how it works. Doesn't make him like it any more and he believes he deserves a spot in the rotation.

1:09

Bill Brink: That's it for today, thanks for all the great questions. Jenn will fire up a chat with you next week


First Published August 1, 2014 12:00 AM

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