Dejan Kovacevic's Pirates chat transcript 06/16/08
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halco31: If Nady goes on the DL, who do you think will get the call up? Also who do you think will be in RF? I would like to see them give McCutchen a look as the starter and keep Michaels on the bench. Any chance of that happening?
Dejan Kovacevic: Greetings, crazy people. ... If Nady goes on the DL, Nyjer Morgan will get the call. As for giving McCutchen a look, that is not going to happen now but could happen later in the summer. Michaels would become the starter in this case.
primantis: Russell continues to bat Sanchez #1 or #2. This is insane. Do you guys ever ask him why he is doing this? For that matter, are hard questions about his poor strategies ever asked of this guy?
Dejan Kovacevic: If you have a question for me, I am all ears. If you have one for "you guys," send it to the "you guys" chat. I do not speak for anyone other than myself.
larochesignstheblues: What we saw from the Pirates this past weekend, was it the real Pirates or just honest mistakes that normally wouldn't happen?
Dejan Kovacevic: Not sure what you mean by honest mistakes, other than Matt Capps failing to locate his fastballs as well as he usually goes. Otherwise, the team did mostly well on offense and even got some decent starting pitching the past two games.
fish: Is there any new info on Nady"s shoulder?
Dejan Kovacevic: Paul Meyer is covering the team today. If there is something new, it will show up on the Breaking News portion of this site.
skeeziks: Do you think the Pirates missed their best chance to trade Nady,now that he's hurt?
Dejan Kovacevic: That might be a little premature, not knowing the extent of Nady's injury. Obviously, it is serious, you probably would be right.
Deal_Nothington: After reading the piece on why the Pirates should keep Bay, I was very frustrated. Why would the Pirates keep him around? It is unlikely that the current group of prospects the Pirates have will be MLB-ready at the same time that Bay is still a very productive player. It seems like such a waste to keep him around just to appease the uninformed fans by taking a shot at .500. 81 wins should not be a goal. Contending year in and year out should be the goal. Trading Bay now could help get us a few prospects that could make an impact around the same time as our current group of Cutch, Lincoln, Ford, Pearce, Alvarez and Scheppers if signed. Please make some sense of the reason to keep Bay without salvaging the future.
Dejan Kovacevic: First off, the piece was not about why the Pirates should keep Bay. It was about why they might keep Bay. There was no advocating being done either way. ... The thinking, as the piece explained, was based on the idea that an outfield without Bay and Nady would mean that the Pirates absolutely have to rely on McCutchen, McLouth and Steve Pearce as their long-term starters. That might be asking a lot of Pearce. Plus, as the piece further pointed out, it is not as if the Pirates could not afford to keep Bay. They will tell you the same.
H-Factor: This weekend made me ill. Should have swept the Nats. Should have, could have, swept the O's. This chat should be a while lot merrier today.
Dejan Kovacevic: My day will be a merry one no matter how the chat goes, my friend. But sure, I can see your point. Lots of really nagging losses in the past week for the club. One might suppose the bullpen was due for a letdown, but the timing seems rotten for the club.
PennHillsPat: Was Capps issue this weekend location? Or was it speed? I cannot get the TV feed in Akron, OH and refuse to pay MLB their fee for all the games when I am just a Pirate fan.
Dejan Kovacevic: Been getting lots of mail about Capps' velocity. There is no difference in the speed of his fastball right now than when he is on top of his game. He tends to be in the 92 range, then ramps it up to 95 as needed. This was all about location. With the exception of the pitch to Brian Roberts, who hit kind of a strange home run, the rest just drifted right over the middle of the plate. Same thing with the pitch to Lastings Milledge earlier in the week. ... Obviously, this is rare for Capps.
Bucsin08_: You mentioned Nyjer Morgan getting the call in the event of a Nady DL. Is Kevin Thompson out of the picture?
Dejan Kovacevic: It would appear so, which makes one wonder how much longer he will take up a place on the 40-man roster.
skeeziks: If the Pirates do decide to keep Bay,would they consider moving Pearce back to first if they don't think LaRoche is the answer?
Dejan Kovacevic: Pearce has been playing at first off and on the past two weeks. Surely, that is not an accident.
Sandlotwizard: If Nady goes on DL, do we see McCutchen?
Dejan Kovacevic: See above.
larochesignstheblues: Do you think the Pirates will get two All-Stars this year (McLouth and Nady)?
Dejan Kovacevic: That would be nothing less than astonishing if it happened, unless the Pirates went on some kind of rampage in the next couple weeks. One look at the schedule in that time should tell you that would be even more astonishing.
James_Taipei: Will Jose Bautista be the Pirates 2009 third baseman by default?
Dejan Kovacevic: Probably not. But then, who will replace him? Neil Walker will have to hit better than .229 in Class AAA to truly deserve such a chance, and Pedro Alvarez will not be here at season's outset, either.
pirates1983: Any updated status on the signing of Alvarez?
Dejan Kovacevic: Both sides are keeping these talks extraordinarily quiet, and I am told it will remain that way. That is rare in any talks, by the way, but that seems to be the mind-set for now. ... Hey, that might be a sign that things are going well, though, if you think about it. If they can agree to stay quiet, maybe they are agreeing on other stuff, too.
botner: Will the Pirates wait until right up to the deadline to make a deal, or could we see movement as soon as the All Star break? There seem to be more good players for the taking this year than last, so if we're gonna do something, I'd rather they get a head start.
Dejan Kovacevic: Anyone I ask about this has the same answer: There are pluses and minuses to the timing of trades, no matter when they are made. The only one I can see coming with any real urgency this summer is Damaso Marte because of the $6 million option for 2009 that surely will not be taken by the club. That means the Pirates either get something for him in a trade or wait for the comp picks, as it looks like he could be a Type A free agent. (Go look it up.)
Sandlotwizard: Is JR wearing down the pen -- using the same guys -- cost them last 2 series?
Dejan Kovacevic: That is an excellent possibility. Seems from this vantage point as if the entire management team needs to agree when they promote a player from Class AAA that everyone in the house trusts that player to perform. That was not the case with Evan Meek, and it most glaringly was not the case with Bryan Bullington. The GM and manager have to get on the same page here, or you will see the back-end guys, as you correctly point out, wear down by the break.
PennHillsPat: How is Nyjer doing @ Indy? I don't recall seeing much on his performance there since being sent down. Is he playing every day?
Dejan Kovacevic: He is batting .250 with typically little pop, stealing at every opportunity. But this comes after just an awful start when he was first send down. Most likely, he would be coming for defensive purposes mostly. ... But again, this is all premature based on Nady's status.
skeeziks: Is there a specific area the Pirates are targeting in trade talks? Or is just acquire the best possible talent there is?
Dejan Kovacevic: Yes to the second question. They probably would want to stay away from outfielders, given that it is their one area of depth, but even that has not been ruled out.
JoeyBatsisanannoyingname: What are your thoughts on Chris Duffy's future with the Bucs? Any timetable for his ascent through the minors and how high it will go?
Dejan Kovacevic: If Duffy is fully healthy and ready to contribute, he will play for the Pirates. No question in my mind about that, based on many, many conversations with management about this. But that probably is not imminent, given that he just started out with the Curve and, more important, that the shoulder already has shown to have so many setbacks in the past few months.
LalalalalalaRoche: Are you ready for yet another trip to Chicago?
Dejan Kovacevic: Actually, it has been a couple of years since I was there. Meyer usually makes that one. And it will be my first time to the White Sox's place.
BP: You agree with Smizik's assessment that likelihood of our possible trade chips fetching anything worthwhile in the market is slim?
Dejan Kovacevic: I never comment on the work of anyone else in the media, good, bad or otherwise.
PirateApologist: Could you remind me what the Pirates gave the Indians for Jason Michaels? He has been a nice surprise.
Dejan Kovacevic: Player to be named, but nothing special. Mostly, it was the Pirates taking salary off Cleveland's hands. And yes, he has been quite good, including coming into games cold off the bench. Remember, he has a club option for next year, too, at a rate identical to his current salary, which off the top of my head is $2.5 million.
3.14159_Traynor: The Pirates' winning record in May and June pleases me far too much. Please disabuse me of any notion that the team will finish above .500.
Dejan Kovacevic: Well, at the risk of sounding washed-out and bitter here, that seems very unlikely, for two reasons: 1. Starting pitching. 2. If things hover around .500 and get no better, key players could and likely will be traded. And a bonus: 3. Starting pitching.
MazisBack: More a comment than a question, but to hear a pretty loud "Let's Go Bucs" chant in Baltimore on Saturday night was extremely cool. Lot of black and gold there. That should be one of your favorite things about Pittsburgh, you can show your solidarity for ALL of our teams with those two colors.
Dejan Kovacevic: I never have had much reaction to there being many Pittsburgh fans in D.C. or Baltimore, if only because my own experiences in those places made it very clear to me that those are not people who drove there. They are people who left our region two decades ago. Not much cause to celebrate that.
skeeziks: Tonight will be a true test for Snell. We'll see how far he's coming along.
Dejan Kovacevic: I'm sure you mean tomorrow, but yes, that will be a test, particularly with the way the White Sox had been hitting for most of this month before the recent lull. Snell has looked a bit better in his past couple starts, but Chicago's lineup and the Washington one he faced have very little in common.
Rocco_Mediate: For all of the abuse LaRoche gets, Freddy Sanchez has been just as awful. At least Laroche plays good D, can't say the same for Freddy.
Dejan Kovacevic: Sanchez's defense has been fine. But you are absolutely correct that his offense is well, well below par, at least as much as LaRoche's has been.
bpnate: Are Burnett, Bullington and Van Benschoten in the Pirates organization in 2009?
Dejan Kovacevic: If the Pirates retain their rights, they will be. None could be considered a given, though.
JoeyBatsisanannoyingname: Why do the Pirates seem so set on making trades THIS year when a lot of the core players are under the Pirates control through 2009?
Dejan Kovacevic: Because this core group does not appear to be championship-caliber. That is their stance unless proven otherwise. Thus, the only way to improve the core group is through the draft, which will take years, or through Latin American signings, which can take nearly a decade, or through trading main pieces for real, live young talent.
Bucco: Any chance Marte is going to get a save opportunity from time to time in the next few weeks should the Pirates continue to have close games? Matt Capps looks like he just hit a wall this week and could use a day off or two to keep him from having another bad week like he just had. He's been great, but even the most durable guys need some time off.
Dejan Kovacevic: We really are not going to bury Capps already, are we? Not sure he needs time off. He needs to get that fastball command sharper. Not a fatigue issue, from how it appears.
bpnate: Is Freddie Sanchez's shoulder still an issue for him? Seems that LaRoche's struggles have overshadowed Sanchez's poor play at times.
Dejan Kovacevic: It is still an issue for him in terms of throwing the ball. He continues to insist it is not affecting him at the plate.
H-Factor: Watching the US Open makes me wonder...does LaRoche swing and miss when using a 9-iron?
Dejan Kovacevic: He is supposed to be a pretty good golfer. Even golfed with Tiger a couple years ago. But he is no Rocco!
Bucsin08_: Is there any more to the Brian Rogers story? I saw the ostensible rationale: he was not made of major league stuff and they wanted to give other relieves in Indy some time. But when you compare Rogers' stats to some of the other Indy relievers (Miller, Hernandez, et all)...is there more to the story?
Dejan Kovacevic: If there were more to the story, I would not have kept it a secret. I have written about Rogers three times now, but the Qs keep coming.
skeeziks: Do you agree that Bautista is a great utility player on a good team?
Dejan Kovacevic: He certainly plays enough positions to qualify, but his performance at the plate to date would keep anyone from using the term "great" to describe him. ... Couple more ...
Bill_Almond: How about how many fans were in Baltimore this weekend? A lot of Pirates fans cheering! Very nice to see!
Dejan Kovacevic: It would be nicer to see them come back home! Much has changed about Pittsburgh, and it is a shame that some of the second-generation types who left our city when the mills closed have no idea about that.
bpnate: Could you see a couple of the Pirates bench players moved at the deadline?
Dejan Kovacevic: That would seem a possibility, but it is not one that I have heard broached. For sure, though, if they keep performing as they have, they might mean more to another team than the Pirates if they fade out of contention.
bpnate: Speed is a factor this team lacks. With McLouth and later on McCutcheon coming up, will JR run this team more?
Dejan Kovacevic: Hard to say. McLouth is pretty much an automatic with steals, but he has only ... what, seven? The Pirates have not shown at all to be aggressive in steals and, for that matter, they mostly have stopped running themselves into outs as they were for the first two weeks of the season. Perhaps John Russell has recognized -- correctly -- that this is not a fast team, generally. ... But that still does not explain McLouth staying put so often.
PirateApologist: Do you personally like interleague play?
Dejan Kovacevic: I have no use for any aspect of any professional sport that is not handled equally among all of its member teams. For Major League Baseball to get away with having this phase of its season committed solely for the benefit for its teams in the largest population bases ... it surprises me that more do not criticize it, put it that way. ... OK, one more ...
JoeyBatsisanannoyingname: Rocco is two strokes down right now, and the Pirates are two games under .500. Since Rocco isn't about to go trading his 8-iron for a box of golf tees, should the Pirates hold out a bit longer and be satisfied with .500?
Dejan Kovacevic: Rocco is 45 years old and in no position to go into a full-scale rebuilding mode. As for .500, much, much more on that in the Q&A, which will return Wednesday from Chicago. Until then ...
First Published June 16, 2008 2:18 pm