Jenn Menendez: Alright, thanks for joining me. Let's get started.
Chris: is it possible that the Pirates rushed Polanco to the majors and have now ruined a top prospect by having up here and struggling for most of July/August?
Jenn Menendez: I'd say the odds of them having "ruined" Polanco are slim to none. We've seen him have success, the league adjusted, and he' s struggled to match that. Lots of rookies go through this process, and frankly I think the expectations on him from the fan base - not the team - were probably a bit inflated because of the excitement surrounding his potential.
Bucco fan: Cole vs. Lynn tonight. Will we see the same Cole as his first start off DL?
Jenn Menendez: I say yes. Because there were so many encouraging signs in that last performance I think we see continued improvement, reaching dominance sometime here soon.
JamesinNYC: Any chance they try to lock Martin up before the end of the season?
Jenn Menendez: Ahh, the Russell Martin question. I've answered this a few times over the course of the season and still feel the same way. Martin is a very valuable piece of the Pirates, second only to McCutchen in my book. The Pirates also value him, but we all know their pockets are nowhere near as deep as teams who are likely to court him with offers. I think they'll make a stab at it, and I think they'll stretch (for the Pirates) to make it happen, but whether or not it will happen? We'll have to see.
Chris: If the Pirates do not pick up some more pitching, preferably a starter, is there any way you can see them making a legitimate run for a wild card or the division? And even if they sneak in, would they be able to do anything in the playoffs?
Jenn Menendez: This is a valuable point. Two, three weeks ago I would have agreed with you 100 percent. But considering Cole and Liriano look to be returning to form I don't think starting pitching is as glaring a need as it was. They would benefit from an addition obviously with Morton's status up in the air.
JamesinNYC: Any waiver wire rumors out there, in other words any hope yet for improvements from outside?
Jenn Menendez: There is some speculation from the NY market that the Pirates could be an under the radar fit for Bartolo Colon, but have heard nothing substantial about that. There's a lot of teams with deeper pockets likely to take a stab at him.
Jenn Menendez: What else would you like to ask? Fire away.
Bucco fan: Any update on Morton?
Jenn Menendez: Will ask about that later this afternoon. But so far, status quo.
Panama: Who is more likely to return in 2015, Liriano or Volquez?
Jenn Menendez: Good question. I'd say Volquez simply because he will have a more reasonable price tag and makes a solid back end of the rotation guy.
Guest: On the Martin front, do you see the Pirates at least making him a qualifying offer so they get draft picks if he signs somewhere else?
Jenn Menendez: This was such a hot/controversial topic last year with A.J. Burnett, who they did not make a qualifying offer to, despite his value matching somewhere right around that figure. This franchise does not like to tie up a lot of money in any one player, so it wouldn't surprise me this time around if they don't. I think we'll know more about this as the weeks tick by here.
Jenn Menendez: Anything else?
cucamonga: This is more of a statement than a question but I don't see the Pirates making any significant signings to bolster their MLB club. They will add to their AAA club and call up those players as needed. It's seems to get top quality players, other clubs want more and the Pirates are not willing to give up what little talent they have,
Jenn Menendez: I assume you're talking about between now and when rosters expand next week? I think they'll try, but that doesn't mean they'll be successful.
Chris: I heard a radio interview with a former minority owner of the Pirates who said Bob Nutting is putting any profits the team makes back into the organization, but to me it doesn't really appear that too much has been put into the Major League roster. Instead it is Latin American training facilities. When should fans expect to see major investments in the major league club to keep them a contender for several years?
Jenn Menendez: The Pirates are never going to spend money the way the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Phillies, the Dodgers etc... do. I think if that is what fans are expecting to happen they are going to be waiting a long, long time. Can there be an uptick in payroll? Yes. And I'd imagine with McCutchen locked in until 2018, Marte through 2020 that investment - if it comes - will coincide.
cucamonga: Exactly. I don't even think they will try to get a quality player. I think they will get more retreads.
Chris: I don't mean spending like the Dodgers or Yankees...but a $85-95 million ML payroll shouldn't be out of the question, in my opinion. And to me that means spending money on a guy like Martin, spending a little extra to bring in a higher end free agent pitcher in the off season...not just spend on Cutch and Marte and a few others.
Jenn Menendez: Fair enough. Agreed on that point.
Jenn Menendez: Well thanks for joining me today folks. See you at the ballpark.