Bill Brink's Pirates chat: 5.31.17
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Bill Brink
11:46
Good morning and welcome to today's Pirates chat. Thanks for the questions, and keep them coming. Here we go ...
Mike Rose
11:47
Three questions....... 1) Old history but, why didn't the Pirates sign Edison Volquez. He seems to have been worth the risk and he didn't sign for a ton of money with KC.....2) Why don't the Pirate consider trading more of their so-called top prospects. None seem to be truly impact players..... 3) Where do you believe the Pirates would be now if; A) they resigned Neil Walker, B) they invested in a #1-2-3 starter, C) held on to Sean Rodriques and other quality reserves?
Bill Brink
11:50
This question reminds me of that scene from Sports Night where Dana gives Casey a hard time for his orderly style of speaking. Anyway ...

They didn't re-sign Volquez in part because their internal predictions didn't like what they saw going forward. They were wrong about that in 2015, his first year in KC, but they've been right about the last two years. Their answer about trading prospects would be that the way to sustain success in a small market is to have as many talented young players in the system as possible. And A) a little better; B) much better, but the issue has been offense and C) probably about the same.
Darnell
11:50
If Osuna's natural position is 1st base and Josh Bell's is outfield, why are they forcing each to play out of position?
Bill Brink
11:51
They moved Bell a couple years ago to provide an avenue to playing time, because the outfield, for the forseeable future, has Marte, Polanco and McCutchen (suspension notwithstanding). Bell's bat and upside justify that move independent of Osuna
Bobby
11:53
Care to give your insight about the upcoming draft and what the Bucs might be looking for with their 4 opening day drafts.
Bill Brink
11:54
I've seen them linked to Evan White at Kentucky and the North Carolina righty, J.B. Bukauskas, in mock drafts from Baseball American and ESPN's Keith Law, both of whom are very plugged into this process. Selecting at 12 gives them a better chance of getting their guy than in some of the more recent drafts.
John
11:54
Bell and Frazier. Fatigue? Slump? Cool down?
Bill Brink
11:55
Frazier, a regression from the raking he was doing not too long ago. Bell cooled off a bit from his early-May hitting. Nothing to worry about just yet on either front.
Bobby
11:55
Josh Bell's hitting has been a disappointment so far, but his defense hasn't been as bad as advertised. Is he reaching the point of being a 9 inning player?
Bill Brink
11:56
The eye test would tell you yes. The numbers would too for that matter. The one thing that gives me pause is the arm. He shortened his arm action when he moved to the infield and it's not quite as accurate as you'd like.
John
11:56
Do you think all the trade rumors are bugging Cole? Recent performances weren't like him. If not, what went wrong for those two games in a row?
Bill Brink
11:57
Tough to say on the trade rumors. It can't be easy to hear that you might be headed elsewhere. In the past two starts, though, the issue was the long ball, five in 9.2 innings. Making mistakes up in the zone and paying for them.
Bobby
11:58
Is today a do or die start for Chad Kuhl? If he doesn't do well, where is he headed?
Bill Brink
11:58
I don't think yet. He's one start removed from a real good outing against the Phillies. Steven Brault is doing well in Indy, so if it gets to that point the Pirates have options, but I don't think today is the day.
Bobby
11:59
It looks as though the Pirates missed the boat regarding Wil Craig. The warning signs were there (played in a small park, didn't hit well in summer league with wooden bats, not mobile, defensely limited), How could they apparently miss the boat so badly on a first round pick?
Bill Brink
12:00
On one hand, he's 22, had a .412 OBP in his first year in pro ball and is currently hitting .263 with a .370 OBP -- not bad. On the other, he's not showing power and the strikeout rate increased once he reached high-A. I'd say the jury is still out.
John
12:01
What exactly is back tightness? I guess it's... minor compared to shoulder/arm injuries but is it sth that can bother Keller for the rest of his career?
Bill Brink
12:01
Maybe, maybe not. Walker dealt with it on and off, Marte dealt with it last year. Some people, it lingers; others rehab and it's gone.
Bill
12:02
Where does Elias Diaz fit in the long term plans? Stewart is signed through next year but I cant help but think that Diaz would be an upgrade offensively if given a chance plus being younger would allow you to split time with Cervelli more and keep him fresher. Diaz is 26 and has been in AAA for some time but seems no path for him until 2019. Thoughts?
Bill Brink
12:03
There's going to be opportunities for Diaz because in recent years, Stewart has had trouble staying healthy. He might not get a consistent backup job, but he'll be valuable.
BobbyToledo
12:03
So, is Austin Meadows going to magically be ready in two weeks once he gets past Super 2 status? He's on fire in AAA. With the logjam in the division, it looks like they might be able to wait. Jaso has been hot coming off the bench, which is big area of need right, and I hate to see him in the outfield. Can we expect to see Meadows soon?
Dan
12:03
Would Meadows be called up as soon as Super 2 passes or would they wait longer so he gets more ABs in AAA?
Brandon
12:03
When do you think meadows gets called up?
Bill Brink
12:04
With a top prospect like Meadows, the Pirates won't want to call him up until A) after Super Two and B) until there's consistent playing time to be had. They'd rather he get at-bats in the minors that sit on the bench in the majors. So if there's an injury, or McCutchen is traded, that could be when you see it.
John
12:04
What is your opinion about Hanson? Why is Hurdle not starting him over Ngoepe more often? If he's not willing to give him more opportunities, why waste one roster spot?
Bill Brink
12:05
He's out of options, has speed and can play multiple positions, which is why he's on the roster, but he's an inferior defender to Ngoepe.
PhillyJake
12:05
News on Polanco?
Bill Brink
12:05
Feeling better, he said this morning. Out of the walking boot, got treatment yesterday and felt a lot better. Being evaluated today for possible availability off the bench, although smart money is they use Thursday's off day to give him an extra day down and he's good to go Friday in New York.
John
12:06
After Jaso's terrible rundown throw or whatever that was, do you think Hurdle will finally stop using Jaso as defensive replacement to Bell?
Bill Brink
12:07
We could be getting there, although Bell hasn't been hitting well recently. Which brings us to ...
Roofus
12:07
Seriously Bill are you just too much of a homer to be objective about Bell? Since May 7th he is hitting. 177 and he is hitting around .200 the whole month of May. He is like many others on this team, struggling at the plate. How can you not see this as a problem?
Bill Brink
12:08
I'm not from Pittsburgh, so this has nothing to do with homerism. Those stats are not good, but they're also not enough to diminish his potential.
Brandon
12:09
With how big of a mess the division is and only being back 3.5 games do you see them being buyers or sellers coming up?
Bill Brink
12:10
Good question. The division is wide open and I think that might change the calculus a bit. If the recent improvement from McCutchen, Jaso and Mercer kickstart the offense, Bell gets it going and either Glasnow or Kuhl can get it together, they might be in a good spot, with Taillon and Marte back eventually, to add. But if it goes south, they still will need to deal Watson and try to trade McCutchen.
Ceas
12:11
What kind of value would trading mccutchen in the upcoming months bring?
Bill Brink
12:12
If a few days down and a move to the No. 6 spot spark the kind of offense he showed in August and September last year, there could be more of a market for him than we might have thought. It won't be what he could have gotten a few years ago but he could bring back some young controllable pieces.
Bobby D
12:12
I think this will be GM Huntington's hardest year with all the decisions he will have to make. Is it time to blow it up and reload for the future or hang in there and plug some holes and contend again? Cole could bring back a nice return but I hate to give up on his talent, but he will not re-sign with the Pirates once he hits free agency.
Bill Brink
12:13
The question is whether they think this is a one-year thing (no Kang, no Marte for 80 games, Taillon, etc.) and they have a shot in 2018. If so, they could keep him and go for it, and trade him next summer if it doesn't work. If they think it won't happen this year, trade him now IF they get a ton of value in return.
Blackburn
12:14
Should the Pirates trade Cole soon? If they do, what would a return look like for the Bucs?
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