Dejan Kovacevic's Pirates chat transcript: special trades edition
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Dejan Kovacevic: Welcome to a special trades chat. Figured this might be more timely than the Q&A this week ...
saveuspedro: DK, wouldn't you think the pirates would make another deal being that they have no depth at second base. I mean I like Delwyn young but I would prefer someone with more of an upside and pedigree.
Dejan Kovacevic: The Pirates' plan is to give Young a real chance from now until the end of the season. If they do not like what they see, they would pursue help then, not now. That said, depth at second surely would be welcome.
ToddnClarksburg: Dejan what is the uproar over all these trades? Ron Cook was absolutely right. Almost every player traded has been here several years and not even sniffed .500, let alone play a relevant game past July 4th. It seems obvious you can't win with them, why not try to get players for them you can win with?
Dejan Kovacevic: Being completely honest, Todd, I have very little feel for what the public reaction has been, having been pretty much consumed with sitting here and typing stuff or on the phone or emailing most of the past 24 hours.
Rich_in_Madison: The PG loves to show the player banners getting taken down from PNC after the trades. What do they replace them with? Is there a Jeff Salazar banner?
Dejan Kovacevic: Ronny Cedeno!
buccoboy: Any talk about moving either R Diaz or Jaramillo?
Dejan Kovacevic: Not yet. As I reported the other day, the Tigers like Diaz. But I do not get the idea that much of anything is going on right now, aside from some John Grabow talks.
ss2569: Now that the Pirates have such a low payroll for next year, do they try to add a 2B and maybe a power hitting corner infielder through free agency? Two 2B that look really intriguing are Felipe Lopez (maybe a little expensive) and Omar Infante, who should come fairly cheap. I also would really like to see them go after Hank Blalock, who has put up some good power numbers this year.
Dejan Kovacevic: Well, remember that the Pirates do not have a payroll of any kind yet for next year. I asked Frank Coonelly about this yesterday, and he answered that it is too soon after these trades to have formulated a full plan for what to do with money for 2010. One would imagine the Pirates could solve any shortstop or second-base deficiencies through free agency, given that they now are $20 million below their opening-day payroll, but we will see.
shouldBworking: Not that I don't support the total, not half, rebuilding, but could you please ask Nutting a question for us fans? In spring training or early in the year, you wrote from an interview that Nutting expected improvement this year. I think you wrote he implied more wins. How does that now reconcile to the fact that 2009 and 2010, at least, have been written off?
Dejan Kovacevic: Bob Nutting's statement about improvement actually came during the Caravan in January, when I went up to Seven Springs to meet with him and Coonelly. I have not yet asked a follow-up in that regard, obviously, since the Wilson/Sanchez trades just happened yesterday. But I certainly see your point: Judging the manager and coaching staff under these circumstances -- as it relates to wins and losses -- definitely would be difficult. What other staff has had the rug pulled out from under it so often?
JayJay: Hello Dejan, question from Germany. It is the most exiting summer since I follow the Pirates. Of course, not by the results. But the picture is getting clearer. There is only one dark spot, which maybe will be filled within the next couple of hours. Was yesterday really the turning point for that franchise ? I am expecting the breakthrough of the "new Pirates" at 2011 with Alvarez, Tabata, Hernandez, Lincoln, Alderson at work. Is that too optimistic ?
Dejan Kovacevic: The Pirates definitely do not see it that way. In fact, they seem somewhat taken aback at the notion of rebuilding or cleaning house that so many seem to be attaching to yesterday. They view these trades no differently than Jason Bay or Xavier Nady in that they moved players who were going to be free agents for what they felt -- and we will see on this front -- were good prospects. There was no "breakthrough" decision of any kind.
CityOfChampions: Would it really make sense to trade Matt Capps? With all his struggles this year, he can't be at top value.
Dejan Kovacevic: It probably would not. And, as I mentioned in the blog this morning, the Pirates probably will not trade Capps.
Trite_Trophy_Winner: Dejan, with all the upheaval and moving of players, what are the Pirates doing to try pull the remaining guys together and have some assemblance of a team? Have Neal Huntington and Frank Coonelly spoken with the team? I see what the game plan is for the future, but the present has to feel bleak, if not demoralizing, for guys like Maholm, Duke, Doumit, etc.
Dejan Kovacevic: The team was in San Francisco yesterday, flew home late last night and is off today. So no, nothing of the kind has happened yet.
SeanE: Does the fact that virtually all the trades made in the last year were position players indicate that: As a whole, management is pleased with the current major league arms? want to add as much pitching depth as possible or pure coincidence that they never got the right deals for certain pitchers?
Dejan Kovacevic: With a starting pitcher, the Pirates would seek another team's comparable pitcher plus something else. That is why they are still here.
AZBucsFan: I found it fascinating that the Pirates were able to get a top young pitcher in return for Sanchez, considering his age and vesting option for next season. My question is, why couldn't the Pirates get higher-level prospects in return for Wilson and Snell, especially since they're paying so much of those 2 salaries for the remainder of this year?
Dejan Kovacevic: Clearly, the Pirates moved Snell mostly to be rid of his $4.25 million for next year. That has to be considered a big factor in this trade, and it had to lessen the return. They seem to like Jeff Clement, but I have heard mostly negative things from outside the team on that front. It does seem as if the Sanchez return was superior.
AAAA_Pirates: Has there bee any discussions on the potential for Starling Marte? I've noticed that's he been hitting somewhat consistently.
Dejan Kovacevic: I met Marte in Santo Domingo in November, and can attest that this is a big, strong, athletic-looking kid who would stand out in any minor league setting on that count alone. Rene Gayo loved him when he signed him, and that is bearing fruit now, as are some of his other prospects now that the Pirates finally are giving them equitable treatment in their North American development system. These kids used to get buried in the Dominican or Venezuela.
FiveYearPlan: How long before Clement is in Pittsburgh?
Dejan Kovacevic: No way he could be here this year. Maybe not next, either, with an option, but the Pirates hope he does make it. Lots of work to make him a competent defensive player, though.
pittsburgher_pittsburgher: This is a bit obscure, but we hear about guys who play their whole careers and don't win championships and others who don't make the playoffs, but does/has somebody ever researched what guys have played, say 10 seasons, and never played for a team with a winning record? I ask because Jack Wilson was approaching that distinction as was Freddy. It seems like it would be difficult to play a 10-season MLB career and never play for a team with a winning record. What's your take?
Dejan Kovacevic: I never have heard of such a list, but yeah, that would be neat. Get to work!
Sangy35: First off - thank you for the continuous updates yesterday Dejan - your commitment to keeping us in the loop is second to none! My question is: Do you think the Giants taking on all of Freddy's contract and giving up a great prospect (Tim Alderson) is a kind of "make-good" from their unloading Matt Morris (and his $10 million contract) on us 2 years ago?
Dejan Kovacevic: I have to say that I am a little uneasy with all the happiness over the Sanchez return that I am getting in emails. This is a Class AA pitcher. Many readers were delighted to get Bryan Morris in the Bay trade last year, and he has been awful. What is more uncertain in professional sports than a pitching prospect?
55andwaiting: Type here Please tell me that Matt Capp's days are extremely few with the Bucs. Another pathetic outing yesterday. How do you walk a batter with two outs that not even hitting .200? Capp's is out of shape and his fastball is a favorite target in the National League. Time to start evaluating other candidates for the closer role. I would be happy to see Capps gone by tomorrow at the latest.
Dejan Kovacevic: Capps has given up too many hits and not struck enough batters out. But to focus on Capps after a loss in which the offense was outright tragic -- three hits over 10 innings -- seems off the mark. This lineup the Pirates are running out there right now is far from impressive.
Why_Didn_t_I_get_to_see_Roberto_: How long do you think Pearce's "look" will last?
Dejan Kovacevic: He needs to do much better than he is doing, at the plate and in the field.
Why_Didn_t_I_get_to_see_Roberto_: DK, can you give an educated guess at the % chance the PBC makes another move by 4PM tomorrow?
Dejan Kovacevic: Seems quite low, from what I gauge. Again, nothing is really there other than Grabow.
Charleston_Charlies: DK, It appears NH has used the throw it against the wall and see what sticks strategy by getting many middle tier prospects, but yesterday he used the sniper approach by targeting one individual. I realize the system was bare, but wouldn't the better approach have been the latter when trading bay and Nady?
Dejan Kovacevic: He actually would have preferred that on both counts, but teams are very reluctant to part with top prospects these days. Look at Cleveland's return on Cliff Lee. This is part of why so many are surprised that the Pirates got Alderson from the Giants.
letsgo: I'm in my office looking at the bobble heads on my book shelf. I'm not a collector but I have season tickets so I just keep what I get. While looking at my Bay, Sanchez, McClouth, Sean Casey, Paulino, Castillo, Duffy bobbleheads, the Pirates plan came to me. They have no one for new bobblheads...So they stacked the team and farm system for potential future bobble head nights!!! P.S. watch out Doumit and Duke, I have yours too!
Dejan Kovacevic: And people wonder why we call the blog the Asylum.
Why_Didn_t_I_get_to_see_Roberto_: Why has Daniel McCutchen not been called up for August to take Virgil Vasquez's spot? I understand keeping Gorzelanny down, but why (do you think) McCutchen hasn't gotten the call for an August tryout?
Dejan Kovacevic: McCutchen is not on the 40 man and, even though his overall numbers are reasonable, he still seldom gets deep into games.
Endiment: DK, as a Pirates fan, I am torn today. On one hand, I am thrilled by the returns for these trades. We are finally making good baseball moves. On the other hand, I was at the All-Star Game a few years back and got chills for the reception Freddy got. I have grown to love Jack Wilson like he was a family member. My question is this: am I wrong to want to boo Ronny Cedeno tomorrow at the game? I know he didn't do anything wrong, but he's not Jack Wilson...
Dejan Kovacevic: Booing Cedeno's banner outside the ballpark might be more fitting. (I am kidding.) No, seriously, I never advise fans on cheering or booing anyone. That is your call. But no one would dispute your point that Cedeno did nothing to deserve it.
JoshM24: Hey Dejan. Fantastic work on the coverage as always. It says something that I go to the blog before I go to ESPN. Anyway, my question is: what is the wisdom right now in who the Buccos are building their future team around? They surely are not building it around prospects and A ball players. Doumit? McCutch?
Dejan Kovacevic: Everyone keeps searching for a timeline, and it does not exist. They simply make moves to add talent at all levels, regardless of when it arrives in Pittsburgh. And I know this bothers some fans as much as any of this.
O_Fries: Alderson certainly becomes a Top-5 prospect in the organization, maybe #2 or 3. Where do you think Jeff Clement falls in the new hierarchy?
Dejan Kovacevic: He would not be in the top 10, actually, because he would not be considered a prospect after the time he spent with the Mariners.
All_In_The__Minors_: Dejan, after all the Pirates trades since last season, the minor leagues have been upgraded with much depth and top prospects. Do you think we currently would be rated as "good" within the minor league system? Compared to what other teams have in the minors.
Dejan Kovacevic: Now that more pitching has been added in the past few days, sure, good would be fair. At the time Bud Selig pronounced the Pirates' system as one of the three best in the majors, no, that would not have been fair.
Milo613: What is the organization's feeling on Ryan Doumit? Will he survive into next spring? He must feel like The Lone Ranger.
Dejan Kovacevic: Yes, he must feel that way. The Pirates and particularly John Russell say they love Doumit and want him to be their everyday catcher for years to come.
Ortiz_Juiced_: DK, I'm excited about the trades. Do you think the guys that are actually left [Moss, LaRoche, Doumit, Maholm] now feel more pressure knowing that there is talent brewing behind them?
Dejan Kovacevic: That would be a healthy thing on all fronts. That is how winning teams operate.
mm66: With Milledge apparently coming up for the game on Friday, do you see Jones and Moss splitting time in RF, or should Pierce sit down and let Jones play 1St full time with Moss getting most of the work in RF?
Dejan Kovacevic: If the Pirates start platooning Jones with the month he is having, it is time to dissolve the franchise. No, I see Moss and Milledge splitting time while Milledge continues to work on the stuff they started teaching him in the minors.
chrismagliocca: Dejan, With Garret Jones and now newly acquired Jeff Clement. Will Steve Pearce now be given a shorter leash to perform?
Dejan Kovacevic: Pearce's leash was pretty short, anyway, with first base being Jones' natural position.
KPolcovichMVP: Dejan, any news on the Duke front? I admire Neal Huntington for the moves he has made, but I would think Duke is as close to untouchable as they come
Dejan Kovacevic: As mentioned in the blog this morning, the starters will stay put.
JalapenoJanna: If we head into next season with a $30 million payroll, what will happen with all the extra money in the budget? We could sign a big-time free agent, but what would be the point of that?
Dejan Kovacevic: As the main piece this morning noted, Frank Coonelly is not yet at the point of making that call. They want to see what the Pirates' needs are, as well as how the free-agent market shapes up. For sure, these guys have not shown an inclination to spend for spending's sake. ... One more ...
RamboDiaz: In your time at the Post-Gazette, have you seen a more-disturbing image than that of Jack Wilson in a Seattle uniform? I like the trade, but wow, was that hard to stomach.
Dejan Kovacevic: It looked very strange. Remember when Terry Bradshaw once quipped of Franco Harris when he went -- coincidentally -- to Seattle about how silly he looked with "that bird on his helmet?" That was one of the first thoughts that entered my mind. ... Yes, it was jarring, more than with any player I have covered on this beat. ... Baseball returns tomorrow. Be sure to get a scorecard on the way in.
First Published July 30, 2009 1:55 pm