Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 8.8.12
Share with others:
Jerry Micco: Hi everyone and welcome to the chat. I'm going to step aside for a few minutes and will be right back to start. As always, please submit early questions and participate in our poll. See you in a couple!
moral_compass: Jerry, surprised by the lack of editorial comment (cook, collier, Smiz) on all the appeals submitted for the PSU sanctions (by the Paternos, BOT, etc). Seems to me this shows the culture isn't changing and it is still football first mentality. Since your columnists aren't touching this with a ten foot pole, care to give your opinion?
Jerry Micco: Nope.
James Pittsburgh: What are your early thoughts on Travis Snider?
Jerry Micco: A bit of a project, but a nice piece, potentially. Seems to have a nice bat, but he also tends to want to pull every pitch thrown to him. I think he's a down-the-road piece who if the Pirates work with him, could be a nice player. And they control his rights, I think, until 2016, so there's plenty of time to work with him.
Phil: This is a little off topic, but do you know if there is any chance of seeing a PGA tour event back in the Pittsburgh area. (other then the US Open) ala 84Lumber classic style.
Jerry Micco: I don't think that's in the cards right now. The Nationwide Tour's Mylan Classic is later this month, and that seems to be a nice tournament. But I don't think we'll see a PGA Tour stop here any time soon. And by the way, all topics welcomed in our weekly chat.
Jeff: Do you think Hurdle sometimes over thinks his lineup, and focuses too much on who the opposing pitcher is rather then just putting the best lineup on the field? Also, do you agree Barmas gets a bad rap, he isn't that bad!!
Jerry Micco: Barmes is not much of a bat, but he's playing very well in the field. Look, not every player is going to hit 25 HRs and drive in 100. Sometimes, they aren't going to hit .240, but they'll field the position well and give you 145 games there. And that's important, too. As for Hurdle, I think matchups are important. If someone is 0 for career against a pitcher, then he probably shouldn't be in the lineup. I think Hurdle has a lot of parts to mix and match with a few "always" players. Those two are Cutch and Walker.
James Pittsburgh: Do you think that the Pirates will remain a contender over the next two years or do you see this Pirates team as a one year wonder?
Jerry Micco: Depends on their pitching. I think guys like Walker, Cutch and Alvarez will still hit pretty well or get even better. If Marte blossoms and Snider and Gaby Sanchez finds his old spark, they'll be OK on that side of the ledger. But if Burnett has a bad 2013 and the guys in the minors don't move along as well as you'd like, you could have a problem. To me, it's always about pitching.
Jeff: Any reason the Fort is getting more starts behind the plate, he does appear to be a greater asset in his at bats?
Jerry Micco: He's hitting the ball a lot better and they need the bat. Though I'm very comfortable with him making 3 starts a week to Barajas' 4. Reason is sometimes if you're a great backup, and McKenry is, you are somewhat exposed as a starter. A lot of folks thought Barajas was good for 100-105 games this year, and that's probably right. Besides, some pitchers, like Burnett, like pitching to Barajas.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, it is great that Burnett is pitching so well. However I would put my money on him having more of 3rd or 4th starters numbers in 2013. The Pirates really need to bring in a guy with some upside in the off-season for the Pirates to have a good shot at remaining competitive in 2013.
Jerry Micco: And they may have to do that, but Burnett seems very comfortable here. I'm not saying he can't regress, but he might. And it never hurts to get another good pitcher in the mix. You are going to lose Correia and Bedard, likely, at the end of the season, so you will need an infusion of talent.
Ben: Your prediction on when the NHL season will start? Are they headed for a lockout or any missed games?
Jerry Micco: I thought they might start on time, but maybe I'm going to be wrong about that. I don't think they'll miss any games, though. But a week of camp is a possibility.
The Chief: Jerry, hope all is well. Any connection between Pirate Pitching woes and the Fort starting more games than Barajas?
Jerry Micco: Well, the pitching hasn't been all that bad lately. JMac had a pretty good start. Burnett was lights out. Bedard was terrific. Karstens struggled but got through 6 innings last night. I don't think catcher has a lot to do with it, but as I stated earlier, some guys prefer Barajas, so he's certainly going to catch for those guys.
James Pittsburgh: Things are quiet in regards to the Penguins, what is going on?
Jerry Micco: Not a whole lot, that's why it's so quiet. August is traditionally the deadest month of the NHL season.
The Chief: Jerry, who you got in this years final major at Kiawah ?
Jerry Micco: Well, not my guy Phil, that's for sure. His game has gone south since the Masters, and I wish he'd get it back. The course sets up nicely for guys like McIlroy, McDowell and Luke Donald. All of them have to be considered threats. I think Keegan Bradley, the defending champ, is playing very well and will be in the hunt. And maybe an old-timer like Brent Snedeker will make a run at a major. And of course, you can never count Tiger out. At least until the weekend.
Ben: Are you surprised the Pens weren't able to make any real moves in FA this year? It seems like there needed to be some movements, unless they are planning on bringing up a bunch of the Baby Pens.
Jerry Micco: Some guys from the minors will find their way here this season, if they are ready. And the big signing of Crosby was an important move for them to make. But I'd rather see them quiet then reaching for a guy who is iffy. I'd love for them to get Shane Doan, but not at $7 mil a year.
James Pittsburgh: Any official word on weather Jeff Locke is going to be called up today?
Jerry Micco: Not yet, but Bill Brink is on the case and we'll have that as soon as we can.
The Chief: Mike Wallace: bad advice or just plain dumb?
Jerry Micco: He thinks he can get a huge payday out of this, so in that sense, he's doing the right thing. He'll likely do the minimum to shed the RFA tag, then go somewhere where they'll pay him a lot more than the Steelers will. In that sense, it is a good plan. he'll get his money in a year. But, he didn't have a good 2nd half last year, and he'll likely not play much this year. Could that hurt his stock? We'll see.
James Pittsburgh: Have you been watching the Olympics? What sport do you like in the Olympics?
Jerry Micco: I always enjoy watching gymnastics and volleyball in the summer games. Track and field is OK, too. Swimming and diving are OK, but not my favorite events.
Steve: Why do PSU alum and trustees want to rehash all these penalties and file whatever appeals? I would think you want to take your lumps and get as far away from this as possible. Are some vacated wins and a statue that big of a deal?
Jerry Micco: I think if you talk to PSU folks it's more than that. Some don't feel the NCAA acted in a fair way, and that the president of the university sold them out. Now, you read different accounts of what happened, but in none of these appeals do I see anything stating: 1. That they don't care about what happened up there and their sympathy for the victims. 2. That it's just about vacating wins and a statue. From what I read, the groups are asking for an appeal for a deal that was cut in the dark. We'll see how it all turns out, but for the players, students, faculty and staff at PSU, they are going to move forward. The appeal or whatever will just be background noise.
The Chief: Just curious as to the vibe in the PG's Sports department this year with the Pirates being relevent after July 4.
Jerry Micco: Vibe is good because it keeps us even more busy. Baseball's a long season. Might as well cover a contender. It makes it more fun. The Pirates are part of the everyday discussion here in sports. But what a lot of folks don't know is that there are very few people here daily. Most all of the reporters work remotely, so it's usually a handful of editors and a couple of reporters. Kind of a quiet place, actually.
Ben: When do you see contract talks with Malkin starting up and do you see him going anywhere in the future?
Jerry Micco: I think they'll start up at some point this coming season, and I think the Penguins will do all they can to keep him.
The Chief: Do you see the Pirates making any more moves via a player getting through waivers by the end of the month?
Jerry Micco: I don't think anything major. If there's a move it might be calling up a player or two.
James Pittsburgh: Who do you see getting demoted if Jeff Locke comes up? Will Locke be used as a situational reliever?
Jerry Micco: I wonder if they'd option Jordy Mercer, who is getting pretty much no playing time. Makes them a bit short on the bench, but in a stretch where you play 20 in a row, you need pitchers.
John: Do you think that the writing is on the wall for Garrett Jones with the signing of Gaby Sanchez as to his future in Pgh.
Jerry Micco: I'm not sure because while I'm a big fan of Sanchez, he's had a pretty poor year, while Jones has had a very nice year. And Jones can play in two places. Now if he's owed a lot of money, the Pirates may decide to unload him. Also, with Sanchez here, you could use Jones as a trade piece in the offseason. But I'm not ready to say Jones' days here are numbered.
Steve: I think the deal PSU got was a good deal. If I were the NCAA and got some push back over this I would say "Ok you don't like that deal, well how about we just shut you down. Do you like that deal?"
Jerry Micco: But you see, a lot of people have argued (and not just PSU folks) that they never committed an NCAA violation. So you shut down a program for a criminal act who has never violated an NCAA rule? For a lot of folks, that seems unfair, which is why you have these appeals. And if the NCAA shuts them down just for appealing, how does that make the NCAA look? Vindictive? PSU has some rights. And I will guarantee you that if you polled every college in the nation and asked if PSU got off easy, you'd find very few who would say yes. But, it is what it is and they have to operate in that for the next few years.
Bill: deal of the century? The Yankees practically paying us to take that bum AJ off their hands?
Jerry Micco: Certainly looks that way. And if he repeats this next year, then it may be the deal of the decade for the Bucs.
James Pittsburgh: I think the Pirates made a mistake by not trying to acquire a veteran pinch hitter like Jason Giambi. It shouldn't have cost a lot.
Jerry Micco: Everytime I think of Giambi, I think he's just a one-trick pony. I'd rather have guys who maybe aren't as good a pinch hitter, but can actually play for you.
Rob: Jerry, I saw that Brock Holt played 2nd last night in Indy. His offensive numbers look good, can he be a Major League Shortstop, and why don't they go ahead and play him there everyday in Indy?
Jerry Micco: It could be that he's not capable of playing shortstop, or that they are thinking of demoting Mercer and want him to play there. I think Holt's an intriguing prospect, and you may eventually see a move to SS, because if Walker continues to improve, he's going to play 2B here for a long time.
Ralph LA: Silly story - Two days ago, I was in a metal shed, at an airport in Kazakhstan, waiting for a border official to look at my passport. He reviewed it and got all excited, which is normally scary when dealing with police types. He saw that I was born in Pennsylvania. I could barely understand him but he was all excited telling me "Penguins, Malkin, Crosby, Number One!" Thank God he knew about Penguins and not Flyers because I probably would not have had any idea what he was talking about then.
Jerry Micco: The Kazakhstanis are big hockey fans. And, at least in your case, they seem to follow the right team.
James Pittsburgh: If the Pirates are serious about fielding a contender in 2013, you keep Jones. This should end up being his 3rd 20HR season in 4 years. With Travis Snider and Sanchez, you need Garrett Jones.
Jerry Micco: The Pirates, at least since Huntington has taken over, have stated that Jones isn't an everyday player. But maybe he's shedding that. I still like platooning him a bit and he's pretty much a liability in the field, but if he can hit 20 HRs, he needs to play.
The Chief: Now that you have seen him for a couple of weeks , your thoughts on Starling Marte.
Jerry Micco: Still has a lot of growing to do as a hitter. Pitch selection is not where it needs to be and he is still learning to play left field. But, raw talent is all over the place. What a throw he made the other night vs. the Dbacks. An arm like that is rare, and he's got one. I think he'll continue to get better, and I think the Pirates have a very good player. It may take a year or two, but he'll get there.
The Chief: Based on what you said about Marte and with Snider playing right field. Where does that leave Jose Tabata and his contract?
Jerry Micco: I think he's in the mix to play too, as is Presley. I don't think Snider is the absolute answer, but he's a nice piece to look at as a possible answer. And besides, if you need a pitcher in the offseason or a shortstop in a year or so, maybe some of those guys are trade pieces.
Bill: Should Marte be the leadoff guy? He has the speed but not the discipline to eat up some pitches, in affect, he is Pressley (except at times he can hit the ball 200feet farther then Pressley)
Jerry Micco: He probably should hit sixth, but in this lineup, he has to lead off. Unless you put Presley in as the other corner guy, then you can move Marte down in the order. But for right now, he's the best leadoff guy when Presley isn't playing. Funny comment about hitting the ball further, but you do realize that in limited time, Presley has 8 HRs.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, I think you misunderstood my question. I mean a veteran guy coming off the bench. Giambi is just an example. A veteran .270 hitter. I would like to see someone other than Josh Harrison pinch hit in critical situations. Reed Johnson would have been a nice acquisition.
Jerry Micco: I agree, but I wonder if in the bigger picture, if Sanchez isn't that guy. I know, he's hitting .209, but that's the guy who could be a nice pinch hitter in the right situation. And you'd probably have to keep Harrison around because he can play anywhere. I would have liked Reed Johnson, too, but I guess the Pirates weren't happy with the asking price?
Football guy: In your opinion, what does Mike Wallace have to gain by sitting out at this point? He has no leverage at all. If it's just to "prove a point", the only point he is proving is that he values money over team. That can't really enhance his value for next season either.
Jerry Micco: Well, if he comes in during week 10, then he's eligible to play and will no longer be a RFA. That said, he also makes himself vulnerable to injury even in a short period, which really hurts his chances to get a big deal in 2013. And teams will just look at how he spreads a defense. Give him his $9-10 million, and he'd the be consummate team guy, I'm sure.
The Chief: Jerry, it looks like a six team race for five playoff spots: LA, SF, Reds, Bucs, Nats and Braves which is the odd guy out at the end of September?
Jerry Micco: I'd not count out the Cards yet, either. I think the Giants or Braves are the odd team out. I think the Bucs get in as the second wild card.
Bill: I think I read Pitt was picked to finish 5th in the Big East, seriously? They can't be that bad, the Big East is terrible. Also, as a season ticket holder this years home schedule is one of the worst ever, if VT wasn't coming to town there would be no big games.
Jerry Micco: I was surprised by that prediction, too. I think Pitt is one of the best 3 teams in the Big East. I like the potent running game and I think their defensive secondary is very good. It could be that the OL and DL will need some work, and that could hurt them. As far as schedule, yes, the home schedule is not very good for Pitt fans. VT is terrific as you point out. But next year is the ACC, and that schedule will pick up very nicely. It'll be a very nice boost for Pitt football to be in the ACC. It's a tougher league, but that is what fans want, I think.
Jeff: What are you looking for in tomorrow's preseason game? I wouldn't think they will reveal much of the new offense.
Jerry Micco: No, not much because the starters won't play much. I look at game 3 as the one where we see how far they have come. The starters will likely play at least a half, and the playbook will be opened a bit more.
Jerry Micco: OK folks, I need to run. I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me this week.
Thanks for all the terrific questions. I will see you next Wednesday at noon for another chat. Have a terrific week, and we'll see you soon. Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco
First Published August 8, 2012 1:24 pm
Join the conversation:
LATEST IN SPORTS
Penguins to face Boston Bruins in Eastern Conference final
Jeff Locke helps Pirates secure 5-2 win against Brewers
Gene Collier: Ottawa desperate? It sure didn't look that way
Senators captain Alfredsson on the mark in the end
Tough, smart Cooke gets Penguins on move
Penguins Notebook: Long stretch of starts no problem for Vokoun