Bill Brink's Pirates chat
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Bill Brink
12:01
Hello everyone and welcome to this week's Pirates chat. We'll get going in just a minute; still sorting out some Ngoepe stuff.
12:05
OK. Thanks for waiting. Here we go ...
Maz
12:05
Were there any grumblings over the Cubs not pulling any of their starters during the Monday blowout?
Bill Brink
12:06
I wasn't in the clubhouse postgame on Monday (Stephen handled that one) so I don't know for sure. Either way, this is the major leagues. It's not incumbent upon the winning team to ease up.
ungercat
12:06
Without Kang and Marte how long can the Pirates wait to address the lack of a true third outfield or a solid bench before they drop out of contention?
Bill Brink
12:07
Not all that long, as we've seen by the right-field defense and offensive struggles. The question is do they make that move or do they use this season to re-tool. Either way they probably won't make such a move until June. GM Neal Huntington frequently speaks about the difficulty of making impact trades early in the season.
Charles
12:08
I've seen so many Pirates fans say every day on twitter that they hate the team, they suck and they don't want to watch them anymore. Yet, every day they come back and complain more. I just wanna say I know it's hard watching a team lose different ways and last night was tough, but Cole's pitching last night was outstanding and they always focus on the negatives. I mean what do you expect? This team really made no effort to improve themselves offensively, and I know not having Marte and Kang hurt but losing Joyce and Rodriguez really hurt the bench. I gotta believe that this team defensively can get better, right?
Bill Brink
12:09
I do think this team can get better defensively. If they find someone to play right field, or Jaso, Frazier and Osuna play enough to improve, that will help. Better defense at second base is also needed.
Frank
12:09
Do you think if we had Marte and Kang the Bucs would at least be competitive enough for a Wild Card spot.
Bill Brink
12:09
Yes -- if they had Kang for spring training and a full season. But as it stands, they didn't and won't.
J234
12:11
Can we get some help for the offense? Do you see any moves of significance? I do not mean someone off of the scrap heap. Trade some prospects for real help? Traded two of the top ten last year to shed Liriano's salary. We are sick if this already!!!
Bill Brink
12:12
My read is they will let April and May play out and see where they end up. If the team is somehow contending, then maybe. But if not, losing Marte and not having Kang presents an opportunity for them to trade McCutchen and Watson and re-tool. Not what fans want to hear, I know, and I'm not endorsing either side, that's just how I see it.
Sean in Cumberland
12:12
Do you think Hurdle is in danger of losing his job? Does he bear the responsibility for the number of errors put up by his team?
Bill Brink
12:13
I don't think he's in danger of losing his job. On one hand, he's not out there making errors, but it is the coaching staff's responsibility to prepare the players as best as possible for the game. I do, however, find it interesting that he is in the final guaranteed year of his contract and that the team has not at least picked up his 2018 option.
Still tuning in.
12:15
Is there anything official on Freese? Assuming he was injured or he would have at least PH last night. Also saw a report that Gift may be called up. Are we going to see Freese to the DL and Gift being called up?
If Gift is called up today what can we expect to see from him?
Bill Brink
12:16
Nothing official on Freese or Ngoepe. Working to confirm multiple reports that Ngoepe is being promoted. If he is, the Pirates might hang onto Freese and send down a pitcher, because they're carrying eight relievers. They might know more today about Freese's hammy.
You can expect to see an exceptionally talented and smooth middle infielder whose switch to batting only right-handed, rather than switch, finally paid off this spring but still has room to grow.
Eric
12:17
Do you think Polanco will hit 20+ homers again this year? Or will he end up back in the 12 - 15 range?
Bill Brink
12:17
Considering he doesn't have any and it's almost the end of April, it might be tough to get to 20. 12 to 15 sounds about right.
Still tuning in.
12:18
Are the Pirates looking into signing/acquiring Leonys Martin to fill in one of the corner outfield spots? Looks like he is a solid defensive player with speed which are two things that the Pirates could desperately use right now. Seems to me like he would be worth the risk. What would the Pirates have to do to get him in a uniform?
Bill Brink
12:20
I don't think they'll claim him because they will assume his salary. If he rejects an outright assignment and becomes a free agent, the Pirates might be interested in him for the pro-rated minimum, but he was very, very bad offensively to start this year, so even there they might not want to try it.
Rich
12:22
Who would you give up from the minors to get a quick fix for the putfield?
Bill Brink
12:23
I assume this means who I'd trade, and for me, it's too early to make that call. If the Pirates start hitting and defending and go on a run and are in contention after the draft, then it's time to start thinking about adding. But if you add now, and the team continues to struggle and is out of it when Marte (who, remember, is ineligible for the postseason) returns, then you've given up minor leaguers without getting the benefit of the other end.
Indy Fan
12:24
Why do the Pirates allow so many stolen bases? I think Blass said last night runners were 20 for 21 against them. Is this more of a fault to the pitching staff or Cervelli/Stewart?
Bill Brink
12:26
It's more on the pitching staff, though the catchers are not blameless. If a pitcher doesn't hold a runner on by varying his hold times, throwing over and varying the pattern in which he throws over, the runners get too big of a lead. If the pitcher is slow to the plate, not even Pudge will throw the runner out. Glasnow has been slow to the plate, and Kuhl the other night just let Rizzo take second.
Jsg
12:27
How can an organization that touts depth in the farm system be so undermanned so early on?
Bill Brink
12:27
Outfield in particular is an area of weakness in the high minors. It won't be when Austin Meadows is ready, but he's not, and the Super Two deadline hasn't arrived yet. Danny Ortiz can play the field, but he doesn't help at the plate, and the Pirates need help there too.
Frank Victor
12:28
Bill,

Have you ever thought about doing an article to educate us on the mental side of the game, and how many All Star, HOF, and established Major Leaguers have sought help with this aspect, and why it’s a bad idea for players/staff to make the media aware of every medical issue a player has? Also, maybe discussing the physical wear and tear on a professional baseball player’s body, the undisclosed injuries, and the roles that the medical staff plays in keeping guys on the field even when injured?
Bill Brink
12:28
I did a story a few years ago on the physical wear and tear players experience. Let me see if I can find it ...
Really enjoyed this one. The players were pretty candid about just how hard it is to play through pain. Regarding the mental side, no, I haven't done a story specifically on it. It does get peppered in somewhat frequently.
Jsg
12:29
What do you think the chances are Huntington is renewed when his contract is up?
Bill Brink
12:30
Before the season started I would have said very good. Now he, like Hurdle, is in the final guaranteed year and hasn't had his 2018 option picked up so, like Hurdle, I am wary of it.
Indy Fan
12:30
How was the defense in Spring Training? Mainly how many errors overall did the Pirates have? I don't seem to recall them being this bad in Spring Training. Do you think this many errors has caught the coaching staff off guard?
Bill Brink
12:31
I agree, I don't recall the defense being an issue as much in spring -- at least when the regulars were on the field. I think it has caught the coaching staff off guard to some extent.
12:32
What other questions do we have today?
Indy Fan
12:34
How short is the leash on guys like Phil Gosselin, and Alen Hanson? Not big contracts, bad defense, bad offense, how long do they have to prove themselves?
Bill Brink
12:35
Gosselin will have more time than Hanson because Gosselin has a track record at the major league level. But Hanson is also out of minor league options, so if the Pirates don't want to risk losing him on waivers, they might keep him around and hope for progress. It is tough, though, to make progress in the majors without playing much.
12:38
Lightning round. Go.
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