Archive for the ‘MLB’ Category

Pirates Win A Thing! (The Draft)

August 18, 2010

Sorry again for the spotty posting, been out of town most of the past week, and even when I have been around, the only news to report is ultra-preliminary Steeler training camp stuff about which I have no educated opinion (but who WILL snag that 8th linebacker spot??), and Pirates stuff, which is, well, like writing about how throwing mosquitoes on yourself every summer results in those mosquitoes biting you a bunch of times.

Fortunately, this week brought some legitimately good Pirates news, and not of the “grasping at straws” variety, but more like grasping at really significant straws, just straws that won’t have an impact for 3-4 years, when I’m entering my thirties. I’m gonna skip a couple lines now so I don’t have to look at that last sentence.

Anyway, the good news is, the Pirates had another monumentally successful draft this year, locking up #2 overall pick Jameson Taillon as well as second round pick but consensus first-round-talent Stetson Allie to deals worth $6.5 million and $2.25 million respectively, as part of $11.9 million in total 2010 draft spending (second most behind the Nationals), pushing the Pirates’ total draft spending under Neal Huntington to $30.7 million over three years, the most in the majors in that span.

Baseball America also named the Pirates as one of the “Winners” in this year’s draft, along with the Nationals and a couple individuals, with the Brewers and Padres falling into the “Losers” category. The Pirates don’t win a lot of things nowadays, besides the Great Pitching On Opposite Day contests that I just made up, but they absolutely took care of business in this draft, dealt out above-slot bonuses across the board, and infused their system with another rich class of badly needed talent, particularly on the pitching end. A week like this is far more significant to the franchise than the Brandon Donnelly release or the Iwamura trade, even if the attention it receives from the mainstream press is comparable. “Comparable,” meaning, the Pirates never get any attention for anything ever, unless an injured sausage is involved.

Speaking of the actual team, how many hits did they manage against Ricky Nolasco tonight? Negative three? Cool.


Mostly Good News: Pirates Trade Deadline Review

August 4, 2010

Keith Law, ESPN:

Dodgers give up too much for Dotel

The Pirates get an absolute steal of a return on Octavio Dotel by getting two out-of-favor prospects from the Dodgers, creating a situation in which if only one pans out they still see a significant gain.

Jack Moore,

Huntington, Pirates Win At Deadline

Given the fact that the Astros and Indians had to throw money into trades with the Yankees, it seems hard to believe that the Pirates could acquire value for this ragtag group without at least throwing in a significant sum of cash.

That, however, is exactly what Neal Huntington managed to do, turning this group of players into Chris Snyder, John Bowker, Joe Martinez, Pedro Ciriaco, James McDonald, Andrew Lambo, and, perhaps most shockingly, $2.5 million dollars…Given the fact that the Pirates traded essentially useless players with limited team control to acquire this group, that’s a big time win, and the kind of moves that teams in the Pirates position need to make.

Christina Kahrl, Baseball Prospectus:

Now that, folks, is turnover. There’s no Bagwell-level, franchise-changing loot, but it’s a fine haul for ditching a ton of thoroughly dispensable junk, and some of it should end helping man a better Pirates ballclub on the diamond in the near term, providing a decent collection of supporting players to a team that needs help in every dimension. Essentially, Neal Huntington managed to purvey a lot of his trash into other people’s treasures, with treasure being a relative term.

Bob Smizik,

[Huntington] traded closer Octovio [SIC] Dotel and Javier Lopez, the team’s top left-handed reliever. As near as I can tell, the primary reason for doing this was salary relief. Same old, same old, it seems.

…If the Pirates kept Dotel next season, he’d be due $4.5 million. The Pirates, not surprisingly, wanted no part of that. So instead of declining the option at some point in the off-season, when it would clearly be a financial move, the Pirates attempted to cloud the issue by trading him.

Once he was dealt for pitcher James McDonald and outfielder Andrew Lambo, the Pirates were a lesser team — today and for next season.

In Conclusion:

Ross Ohlendorf’s Head Trauma Understatement

July 29, 2010

Ross Ohlendorf was nailed in the head with a line drive in the first inning of Wednesday’s 6-2 Pirates win over the Rockies, on a 93 MPH fastball that Troy Tulowitzki lined up the middle and off the right side of Ohlendorf’s head, resulting in the ball popping up in the air and landing all the way in shallow right field. Ohlendorf fell to his knee, braced himself, and eventually got up and talked to the Pirate trainer at the mound, but was taken out of the game and rushed to the hospital for a CT scan, which thankfully proved negative.

Ohlendorf’s reaction to the incident? This was his postgame quote:

“My head doesn’t feel as good as it did before it got hit, but it doesn’t feel bad at all.”

That sentence rules. Get this dude another government internship – is there an “Awesome Statements After Near-Death Experiences” Department?

Another Huntington Trades Column: Digging Up The Dead Horse’s Corpse And Having Sex With It

June 25, 2010

I am not getting into another full-on argument about the Pirates’ trades (my doctor says if I continue ranting about these at my current pace, I’m looking at a heart attack sometime around next Wednesday – and yes, I only have a doctor for the purpose of old timey jokes), but I will make one comment about Bob Smizik’s blog post today, entitled “Huntington trading report card: F”.

Nowhere in the column does he mention the words “free agency” or “years of control”. This makes the entire column irrelevant.

This is a flagrant piece of statistical cherry-picking and conveniently-ignorant journalism designed to further preach to a choir of irate Pirate fans, rather than an attempt to make a rational, legitimate case against Huntington’s executive decisions. It’s irresponsible, manipulative, and offers nothing to the greater discourse of a well-worn topic.

I’ll stop there – I can feel my heart shooting me a dirty look.

UPDATE: A friend of mine couldn’t resist leaving the following lengthy comment on Smizik’s post…


Carlos Beltran’s Back

June 23, 2010

I Know, I Know, I’m Twelve

June 22, 2010

I had the site open in one of my Firefox tabs, and my 8th-Grade brain couldn’t help but chuckle at this fortuitous abbreviation:

Now that’s my kind of website! (spoken in my old timey comedian voice). Perfect for multitasking.

This Brandon Moss Piece Is The Saddest Thing I’ve Ever Read

June 21, 2010

Bucsdugout directs our attention to this Post-Gazette piece on outfielder Brandon Moss, about how he’s rediscovered his swing since being demoted to AAA and his new, positive outlook on his baseball career. Not really mentioned in the piece? Brandon Moss is still a really, really terrible baseball player.

“I have been doing pretty well the past month or so,” said Moss, batting .236 until a midweek 0-for-10 stretch amid the attention on a third Class AAA Indianapolis teammate to get promoted within one week –none of them named Brandon Douglas Moss.

So…he was hitting .236, which is terrible, then went on an 0-for-10 stretch when Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez were in the midst of being called up, which made him unable to hit, because…[ERROR:UNDEFINED] In short, he was hitting poorly, then hit worse. Why are these numbers being mentioned in an article about how Moss has really turned things around in the minors?

Fortunately, as us stat-folks know, and Moss himself proclaims, batting average is hardly the be-all and end-all of a player’s worth:

“To me, average doesn’t mean everything, because you could hit five balls hard and right at someone. Me, I look at on-base percentage [.295] and slugging percentage [.380], just look at those numbers. If your on-base percentage is good, in relativity to your average, and your slugging percentage is up there, that tells you what you are swinging at and how hard you are hitting it.”

Ow. OWWWWWW. Moss talks about how OBP and Slg are more important than batting average (true!) and about how his .295 OBP and .380 Slg relative to his average means that he’s in some way playing well (not true!) A .295 OBP is sub-Jack Wilsonian. A .295 for a corner outfielder in triple-A is absolutely pathetic, and should in no way be mentioned in a newspaper article unless that article is titled “Here Is A Baseball Player With A Terrible On-Base-Percentage”.

This honestly may be the most depressing article I’ve ever read. Not “depressing” like, “what a bad article” (although it’s that too), but “depressing” in the literal sense of, this human being is delusional about his career and the author is perpetuating this delusion and I am now a sadder human being than I was before reading this.

Did Chuck Finder at no point really say to himself “Wow, all of these facts are the opposite of what Brandon Moss is saying to me – by printing them next to his quotes, it makes him sound delusional and will depress anyone who reads this”? Deadlines truly are a powerful, depressing force.

The Pirates Suck, But At Least They Suck And Now Have Guys Worth Owning In Fantasy

June 17, 2010

Ten game losing streak, shmen shmame schmoozing schmeak! (I sure showed that losing streak!)

The Pirates are terrible and really hard to watch, but at least they now have some dudes you can pick up in your fantasy baseball league without being a total A-hole! Here’s the front page of Yahoo! Fantasy today:

Woooo!!!! Raise the Jolly Roger, the Pirates have three potentially above-average humans on their baseball team!!!

[Cue “We Are Family” then cut to footage of this Yahoo Fantasy homepage during the next FSN Rain Delay]

Amusing Pedro Alvarez Headline Placement

June 16, 2010

I chuckled at these two headlines next to one another on the Post-Gazette’s PBC Blog this morning:

I watched that game last night too, Mr. Alvarez. I don’t blame you.

Pirates Promote Pedro Alvarez

June 16, 2010

Well, my post from yesterday did, as expected, turn out to be mostly moot. Pedro Alvarez will join the Pirates Wednesday:

Pedro Alvarez, the 23-year-old third baseman and No.2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, was called up by the Pirates late Tuesday night following a game he played for the Class AAA Indianapolis Indians.

As Alvarez walked from the clubhouse to the Indians’ team bus — which was bound for Buffalo with his bags already on it — his cellphone rang.

It was a call from Pirates management alerting him to the news that he was bound for the major leagues…

“This is the first step in a long journey, hopefully,” he said. “It is a big one. All those practices and all those long drives, it pays dividends in situations like this. … I am at a shortage for words just trying to explain what this feels like right now.”

Yayy! Happy Pirates thing!!! Did I mention they lost their ninth–DAMMIT. Never mind, saving it for the next post. Yayyy Pedro Alvarez!!! Watching this team play right now isn’t dental-pain excruciating at all!