Bill Brink's Pirates chat: 6.14.17
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Bill Brink
12:01
Thanks to the brave Pirates fans who are here today chatting, with the Pens parade going on. Thanks for the questions and keep them coming. Here we go ...
Mark T.
12:01
Any chance that Elias Diaz stays with the club and Stewart is dealt?
Bill Brink
12:02
There is a chance Diaz stays with the major league club. He has always been good defensively, is getting better at game-calling and his offense in a small sample size has looked good. I don't think they'll find a taker for Stewart, who is 35 and has had plenty of health issues in the past few seasons.
Chuck
12:02
Josh Bell is not the patient hitter that he was a year ago. Last year he seldom struck out, but this year he leads the team in strikeouts. Last year he walked often, but this year his walk rate is down. Last year he hit .273, but this year he's batting only .236. I know his homeruns are up, but am I right in thinking he has regressed as a hitter?
Bill Brink
12:03
His production has regressed, for sure, but I don't agree with the idea that he has regressed as a hitter. His season thus far has been a challenge, with one hot streak sprinkled in there, but I see enough in his approach at the plate, plus knowing what type of guy he is (smart, not prone to get down on himself) to believe he'll eventually become a consistently good hitter.
The Investigator
12:04
Hi Bill, Very surprised at the recent mini winning streak. Could this team actually make a run?
Bill Brink
12:05
Certainly in the division, which is wide open at this point. They'll need to keep hitting. It will help if McCutchen continues to perform. He won't hit .390 the rest of the way, but .280 with power and OBP would be good. The key will be the rotation. If Cole can pitch like last night rather than the previous four starts, and Williams and Kuhl gain consistency, then they can make a run.
vegasrugger
12:05
With McCutchen's revival, would the Bucs still consider trading him at the deadline and what could the reasonably expect to get for him?
Dave
12:05
If Cutch is still going strong and the Pirates are seriously in the hunt for 1st place in the division at the trade deadline, do you think the Pirates will trade him?
Bill Brink
12:08
That's the toughest possible scenario for the front office -- McCutchen performing well AND the Pirates in contention in late July. Better production from him would mean they could get more in return, which might make them more inclined to trade him, but dealing the face of the franchise while in contention would create backlash that might exceed Walker-Niese levels, not to mention significantly hurting their chances. My guess in that scenario is no, unless someone absolutely blows them away with a deal, and they can pick up his option and deal him in the winter.
Paul
12:08
Bill, Why didn't the Bucs go after a power bat in free agency like Carter?
Bill Brink
12:09
During free agency, they thought they'd have Kang's 25 homers and maybe 15 from Marte, so power wasn't quite as much of a concern. Also, the concern in the offseason had more to do with the starting rotation.
TJB
12:09
Is Kang going to play at all this season?
Bill Brink
12:10
We're two and a half months in and nary a peep. They have to prepare as if they'll get nothing from him, while trying to work with the state department to get him here.
Jsg
12:10
Any chance cervelli becomes the backup and Diaz starts going forward?
Bill Brink
12:10
Barring injury, no.
Adam
12:11
What are the chances Brault gets a shot in the rotation? He's been great in AAA. Would they consider moving Kuhl to the pen to fit him in the rotation?
Bill Brink
12:12
I've seen and heard the Kuhl-to-the-pen notion in a couple places, and it makes sense: Let it eat for an inning or two at 99 with a slider and just mow guys down. I agree that's an option but I don't think they're done with Kuhl as a starter yet. He's still young and making progress, so I don't think they will, to borrow a term from Hurdle, pull the plug.
John
12:13
Wonder if we go overslot for the 11th round. Do you think we'll have some money left to do so?
Bill Brink
12:14
The Pirates usually save some money in the top 10 in case they want to go over slot in later rounds, but I don't think they'll do that just for the sake of doing so. They drafted a senior and a couple easier signs yesterday so they should saved some slot money there, though they'll need it for whatever bonus they agreed to with Baz as well.
Joe
12:15
What's wrong with Adam Frazier lately and will he have time when Marte returns ?
Bill Brink
12:17
The walk rate dropped 7 percent from May to June, and the batting average on balls in play plummeted. When Marte returns Frazier will likely assume the role they intended for him, as a bench guy with versatility, but we're still a month away from that.
John
12:17
Also, Cole had a good outing last night but was very very lucky considering all the hard hits. How much do you think he figured out to overcome the slump completely?
Bill Brink
12:18
I think those hard hits (two stuck out to me, the crushed liner to the track in right-center and the liner to right, both of which Polanco caught) represent the normalizing of his outings. For four starts, every missed spot went over a fence. Pitchers usually get away with mistakes here and there, and he wasn't. But he was also making them more frequently. He had better angle, leading to fewer mistakes, and the luck on those mistakes started to even out.
vegasrugger
12:18
Agree with Adam. I always thought Brault looked good. Better than Kuhl in my opinion. Is Cole back on track or was that a one time thing because Lord Stanley paid a visit?
Bill Brink
12:19
Looked much more like the five-start stretch where he had a sub-2.00 ERA than the previous four. I continue to believe that if he's healthy he'll be good.
Jsg
12:19
Any updates or details on reported extensions for hurdle and Huntington?
Bill Brink
12:22
Rosenthal reported that Huntington and Hurdle were expected to sign extensions at some point, not that they had. I've been asking around since they broke spring training without even guaranteeing their 2018 options and I've heard varying opinions on the holdup. No reason to think they won't but I wouldn't be positive about it until it gets done.
Joe
12:22
Does GlasNow (half empty) find his way back any time soon GlasNow (half full?)
Bill Brink
12:23
If he can use his time in triple-A to work on what his issues were in the majors rather than blow away minor leaguers with raw stuff, then yes.
Wayward
12:24
I like Kuhl better as a starter than Williams. Do the Bucs think otherwise and if so, why?
Bill Brink
12:24
They do think otherwise, or at least they did in spring training when they gave him a spot rather than Williams. It probably had to do with Kuhl having experience in the rotation and making 14 starts last season.
Brandon
12:24
Where do you think Shane Baz will rank on our top 30 prospect list?
Bill Brink
12:26
Good question, one probably better left for the guys who do this for a living at Baseball America. I'd want to wait to see him face pro hitters before making a determination, but the fact that he's already got a good cutter-slider and a decent-to-good curve, plus a mid-90s fastball and (from the scouting reports I've read) a smooth delivery, I'd say he would rank relatively well.
IndyFan
12:27
What's the latest on Bastardo and Lindblom? When they are healthy will, they both be back in Pittsburgh or Indy?
Bill Brink
12:28
Bastardo pitched a perfect inning yesterday, and Lindblom allowed one hit and one inning in the same game. They'll come to the Pirates when healthy -- if the Pirates don't deem their current relievers better options.
John
12:30
We needed toolsy OFers in our lower levels and we drafted plenty this time. Assuming they sign with us, what position lacks depth the most?
Bill Brink
12:31
Catcher -- although they drafted two of those, back-to-back, yesterday.
12:32
What other questions do we have today?
John
12:32
When do you think we stop carrying 8 man pen? When Stew/Cervelli returns?
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