Bill Brink's Pirates chat: 8.2.17
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Bill Brink
12:03
Good afternoon and welcome to the post-trade deadline edition of the Pirates chat. We
Oops. We'll get going shortly, so keep those questions coming.
Angry Fan
12:03
Yes or no, Clint Hurdle and/or Neal Huntington get canned when the Pirates finish under .500 again this season?
Bill Brink
12:05
It's not so much that they could be fired, more that their 2018 contract options might not be exercised, because neither one has yet and there's two months to go before the offseason. The delay has to make you wonder about the motivations of all parties involved. Usually these things get picked up at the beginning of spring training. And this is Hurdle's seventh season, Huntington's 10th; was ownership really going to let this one season decide their fate?
Guest
12:09
With Nick Kingham out of options at season's end, making his 2018 ST similar to Alen Hanson in 2017, and his recent success at AAA do we see him in September?
Bill Brink
12:10
His option status will have more of an impact next spring than in September, but if he keeps pitching like he did the last two starts, he could definitely help the team, either as a spot stater or out of the bullpen. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw him.
tomg
12:11
I was watching MLB on tv the other day and they showed how pitchers can tip their pitches with the way they hold their gloves before the pitch. Is it possible that JT is doing just that and MLB hitters have caught on to him and are ready for the incoming pitch?
Bill Brink
12:13
It's possible -- Royals advance scouts were able to pick up on David Price's changeup in the 2015 playoffs, is a recent example -- but rare. When you hear about that, usually it's used as a cover for a mechanical issue or just plain bad performance. Taillon, Hurdle and Searage will take another look at the outing today to get a better handle on what happened the last two times out. I
Bob
12:15
The best lead off hitter on the team is Frazier, why does Clint insist on Marte and Frazier only playing once a week?
Bill Brink
12:16
I think Hurdle would disagree that Frazier is the best leadoff hitter on the team, otherwise he'd put him there. He wants to get Marte going and Frazier has not been as good since June started.
Marty
12:16
So, Tyler Glasnow, he's dominating AAA more than ever before it seems. Appears he has new found confidence and refined mechanics. Think he's back in the Majors soon? He's got nothing left to prove against MiLB hitters.
Bill Brink
12:17
Excellent point and the Pirates' conundrum: He's got nothing left to prove against MiLB hitters. He has to prove he can get major leaguers out while facing minors leaguers whom he can blow away. It does seem as if scrapping the rock step and speeding up his delivery has made him more of his old self, and I do think he has earned another shot at some point in the near future here.
Losing a fan
12:18
Tony Watson came in last night to clean up an inning for the projected champs. When he becomes the dodgers setup man will it just be another example of how the club was so poorly mismanaged?
Bill Brink
12:20
I understand the frustration, but no. Trading Watson was nearly inevitable unless the team was way out front -- he's 32, a Boras client and a free agent they are unlikely to re-sign, and also a player they wouldn't give a qualifying offer to (lest he take it and make $18 mil next year) so they wouldn't get any compensation for letting him walk. They did the same thing with Melancon. The difference is with Melancon they got back a major league-ready piece with years of control in Felipe Rivero, who has turned out better than probably anybody's expectations except his own, and this time they got two kids in low-A. Trading Watson wasn't the problem; it was the lack of corresponding return to help them win this year or next year before the McCutchen window closes.
Losing a fan
12:21
Are the pirates considered a small market team because they play in Pittsburgh (which doesn't seem to be a small market city) or the fact that ownership is in the business to make a profit and not invest back into the team? And if it's the latter why do people show up and support them his organization?
Bill Brink
12:25
According to the text of the newest CBA, which was just released, the Pirates rank 27th out of 30 teams in "market score," which, though we don't know exactly how it's calculated now, used to be a combination of market size, revenue, reachable TV households, etc. I wrote about the old system here: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/pirates/2015/02/15/Pirates-growing-...
12:26
So they are in fact in a small market, which is not to make excuses for the team. As for why fans should or shouldn't do something, far be it from me to tell people how to spend their time and money.
Losing a fan
12:27
If Glasnow returns after Aug 26. Isn't that just another example of the fact this organization doesn't want to win?
Bill Brink
12:30
This is in reference to the Pirates being able to keep Glasnow from gaining one full year of service time by keeping him in the minors until that date, because the service time he gained last year and this year would equal the requisite 172 days or more if promoted before then. This is one of those decisions front offices face -- do you want three or four starts of Glasnow this month and then you lose him to free agency a year earlier, or do you want the full 2023 season? The Cubs faced this with Kris Bryant, do you want 12 games of Bryant in April or a full year of him at age 29? The cynical answer is they might trade Glasnow by 2023 so what difference does it make, but sometimes front offices sacrifice the short term, as they could do in a situation like this where the team is under .500, for the long term.
Losing a fan
12:30
Why isn't Elias Diaz on the big league club? If he was catching 2 or 3 games a week wouldn't the club have a better chance to win?
Bill Brink
12:32
Yes, though it should be noted that Diaz doesn't have an extra-base hit since returning to triple-A. They do it because of depth. If something happens to Cervelli or Stewart, they have Diaz. If they get rid of Stewart and something happens to Cervelli or Diaz, they have Jacob Stallings, Jackson Williams, etc.
Jim
12:32
Why must they continue to trot John Jaso out to play outfield? Frazier is a much better choice...
Bill Brink
12:34
Frazier has made himself into a decent outfielder and is hitting better than Jaso, who doesn't have a hit in nearly a month. The argument for playing Jaso is that he won't get going by sitting on the bench, so that's what Hurdle is balancing.
Losing a fan
12:35
When the Pirates lost Marte to the 80 game suspension they could have went out and got (1) a first baseman and played Bell in the outfield (2) Played Osuna at first base and played Bell in the outfield (3) acquired a second baseman and played JHa in the outfield (4) Acquired a third baseman split time with Freeze and Frazier at second base and played JHa in the outfield (5) Kept Gift on the major league roster and played JHa in the outfield or (6) simplify acquired and outfielder. All would have resulted in a better product on the field. Instead they stuck with guys like Jaso, Luplow, Moroff, and the like. Why did Neal Huntington and company sit on their hands and do nothing?
Bill Brink
12:36
This I think falls into a similar category of the question, why didn't the Pirates do more after 2015 than Sean Rodriguez, Juan Nicasio and Ryan Vogelsong? Whether they didn't like the available options, didn't have the resources or thought their internal players would be better, we don't know, and in hindsight it looks to be the wrong decision.
Don Clark
12:36
Chances we pick up a bat this month?
Bill Brink
12:37
If a suitable one gets to the Pirates without being claimed, they'll probably take a look, although their approach to the non-waiver deadline did not make it seem as though they were keen on adding.
Tachobill
12:37
More of a comment than a question, but Cutch seemed frustrated in the article you wrote about the Cubs and Dodgers adding pieces while the Pirates spun their wheels. Who could blame him? This team has never rolled the dice and really tried to win.
Bill Brink
12:37
I don't know either way whether he was frustrated with my story or not. I did sense some frustration with the team's moves in general.
Jeffrey
12:37
What do you think about the Joaquin Benoit pick up?
Bill Brink
12:40
In a vacuum, fine. Veteran reliever who's had (some) success this year, pitched in the late innings (albeit in Philly), getting out hitters from both sides of the plate this season. But the fact that he was the only (major league) piece added, and nobody was added who can help next year, is where it gets questionable.
Fish Monger
12:40
Why must the fans sit through lame softball questions that Greg Brown and Steve Blass asked Neal Huntington on the telecast last night? That interview was a joke. Why doesn't Neal go on some shows and take real questions from the fans?
Bill Brink
12:40
To his credit, went on 93.7 the day after the deadline, and from the portion I heard, the questions were not softballs.
Fish Monger
12:41
What the heck happened to Starting Marta? He demonstrates little power now for 2 years. He doesn't drive in runs and strikes out a ton. Plus his head does not seem into the games at times. Will the Pirates try and trade him?
Bill Brink
12:42
They won't try to trade him because his value is low -- he needs to prove his production in the past was not inflated by PEDs -- and he's a part of their core player group going forward.
JohnJaso2
12:42
Should closer scrutiny be paid to Mr. Huntington's poor drafting record. Pirates minor league system is bereft of legitimate major league talent. More apparent by your earlier comments regarding not being in the trade market for Quintana because of no interest in Pirate top prospect. Should this not get more scrutiny in PG coverage.
Bill Brink
12:44
I wrote a whole bit thing on this a few years back, but your point is valid, it could use revisiting (thought I don't believe it was me who said the Pirates weren't in on Quintana because the White Sox didn't like the Pirates' prospects). There are some good draft picks (Cole, Bell, Taillon) and they're all in the majors, so the next wave could use some scrutiny.
Losing a fan
12:44
Why didn't the pirates give Meadows a call when they lost Marte to the suspension? I know he struggled in the beginning of the year at AAA but wouldn't he have given us a better chance to win.
Bill Brink
12:47
I would have said earlier that at that time Meadows had 187 plate appearances in triple-A and the Pirates usually like their young players to get seasoning there, to go through the International League once or twice. But then they promoted Jordan Luplow after 21 games. Now the difference is, Luplow probably goes back down this week when Polanco is activated. When the Pirates promote top prospects they like them to have a full-time spot, and maybe they didn't consider half a season enough of a full-time spot. It's also possible they saw his triple-A production as not quite what they'd like for him to be promoted.
Fish Monger
12:47
If attendance continues to drop, will that pressure Bob Nutting to spend more money on the team? He had 3 years of record attendance and profits and payroll is less. Where is the outrage from you and others in the media?
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