Posts Tagged ‘Freddy Sanchez’

Freddy Sanchez Delivering In The World Series Is A GOOD THING, Pirates Fans

October 28, 2010

Freddy Sanchez was a super-likable presence during his time with the Pirates, coming in as a blocked Red Sox prospect, not getting a chance to play regularly in the majors until he turned 27, and ultimately willing himself into the Pirates’ lineup by outhitting Joe Randa then converting to second base and posting a string of reliably productive seasons. His oft-mentioned batting title in 2006 is one of the few tiny hooks the Pirates of the 2000s can hang their tiny hats on, and even when his production dipped in ’08, Sanchez remained extremely well-liked by the Pirates fanbase, and rebounded slightly in 2009 before being dealt to the Giants at the 2009 trade deadline, two months before his contract expired.

Sanchez overcame early injury problems in 2010 to post a decent season for the eventual NL West champs, and last night, in his first-ever World Series game, Sanchez went 4-for-5 with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored in the Giants’ 11-7 victory. It was a truly transcendent, feel-good night for fans of the terrific ballplayer and person that we loved in Pittsburgh, and seeing him finally get a chance to shine on baseball’s biggest stage was truly satisfying.

At least, that’s what I thought. Apparently, most of my friends who don’t follow the Pirates were absolutely outraged by Sanchez’s performance last night, and I slapped my forehead pink watching Facebook post after Facebook post appear that ripped on the Pirates for letting Freddy Sanchez go because management is dumb and cheap and never changes and let a World Series HERO slip away. I wrote several paragraph-length responses to these Facebook posts but never posted them, like some depressed ex-boyfriend fighting my drunkenness long enough to discard the email I was about to send my now-engaged former girlfriend.

Let’s clear up three things about Freddy Sanchez’s performance in Game One:



Pirates Trade For Akinori Iwamura In Radical Attempt To Be Less Terrible

November 4, 2009

The Pirates have traded 26-year-old reliever Jesse Chavez to the Tampa Bay Rays for 31-year-old Akinori Iwamura, a left-handed-hitting infielder who’s played second and third in parts of three seasons with the Rays but who appeared in only 69 games last season because of injury and the emergence of Ben Zobrist.

Compare Iwamura’s numbers to that of the Buccos’ All-Star second baseman of yesteryear —

2009 Freddy Sanchez:
489 PA, .293 / .326 / .416, 7 HR

Akinori Iwamura career numbers, per 162 GP:
719 PA, .281 / .354 / .393, 7 HR

Those Iwamura numbers include his age 29 and 30 seasons, so they’re not exactly comparable to Sanchez’s, but still — Iwamura’s production across his three-year career has been almost imperceptibly different from that of Sanchez’s healthy 2009, with a slightly higher OBP and very slightly less power (though the power gap might even narrow, as Iwamura is a lefty heading to PNC Park).

Like most bloggers, I’m inherently skeptical to believe that teams like the Rays, Twins, Marlins, or A’s have lost a trade (it’s the opposite when the Royals, Giants, or Mets make a deal), but I’m in favor of the Pirates’ move here, and I feel like I’m in the majority among Pirate fans.

Let’s give this a second to sink in:


Jesus Christ, Baseball Writers, Am I Really Gonna Have To Defend The Pirates Again?

September 17, 2009

The Pirates are terrible. They’re playing abysmal baseball, their offense is deplorable, their bullpen is a wreck, and watching them for any extended length of time — as I still bring myself to do quite often, just as I kept eagerly watching Season 14 Simpsons episodes — is nothing short of excruciating. The last thing I am going to begin to argue is that the Pirates are not currently terrible. Deal? Deal.

With that out of the way, brace yourself for some more ham-fisted, unintelligible, vague Pirate-bashing gibberish from one Murray Chass, writer of numerous nonsensical articles including most recently this jaw-dropping homage to whaaaa?? about the Red Sox.

In honor of yesterday’s Fire Joe Morgan reunion over at Deadspin, let’s take an FJM-style peek into Chass’ new column:


A peripherally-Pgh-knowledgeable sportswriter is upset about the way the Pirates do things! Feel like we’ve been down this road before

As the season dwindles down to a precious few weeks, attention is focused on remaining races – not that there are any – and the playoffs ahead. But pause for a moment in your excited anticipation and think of how Pittsburgh Pirates fans approach the post-season.

They may actually look forward to it eagerly because once they get beyond Oct. 4, the Pirates can’t lose any more games this year.

True! Meanwhile, fans of the Astros and Orioles will be all like “Awwww man, the season’s over?? I wish this battle for 75 victories could last forever!”

They probably can’t make any more trades either because they have already traded everybody of value.

On second thought they have Andrew McCutchen on their roster, and if they traded Nyjer Morgan they can trade Andrew McCutchen.

Tires screeching .wav! Did you just compare trading Nyjer Morgan to trading Andrew McCutchen?

Nyjer Morgan: 29 years old, hitting .307 / .369 / .388, 3 HR in unexpectedly-sustained career year.

Andrew McCutchen: 22 years old, hitting .272 / .347 / .454, 11 HR in first major-league season.

Morgan has had a more amazing year offensively and defensively than even the most optimistic Pirate fan could’ve expected. He is also 29 years old and dependent upon his speed and batting average for his offensive value; considering most players tend to decline after their age 27-30 seasons, and that slap hitters who rely on batting averages tend to fluctuate wildly from year to year, it is sheer lunacy to expect Morgan to ever improve upon these numbers, and almost as unlikely for him to ever repeat them for a full season.

McCutchen, meanwhile, is a former first round pick who, at age 22, is outslugging career-year Morgan by 60 points, and appears poised to quickly ascend to the elite ranks of National League outfielders.

You’re talking about trading apples and oranges, if the oranges were 7 years younger than the apples and already a more dynamic offensive player but the apples smile a lot and hit for average so sportswriters love them cause they’re gutty throwback tablesetters. A lobotomized emu could see the difference between trading Nyjer Morgan and Andrew McCutchen.



Just When You Thought The Pirates Columns Couldn’t Get Worse, Jay Mariotti Joins The Fray

August 3, 2009

I thought no pandering Pirates piece would ever top the uninformed vague-anger that was last week’s P-G editorial, but once again, I have underestimated Fanhouse’s Jay Mariotti. The following column is absolutely unbelievable, in every possible sense of the word (except any connotations of smartness).

Selig Must Investigate ‘Quittsburgh’ Mess

Pace yourself, people, it’s gonna be a long one.

The other night in Pittsburgh, where the city really is named after William Pitt and not its pits-of-the-world baseball franchise…

Ohhhh…snap? I think?

…a phenom named Andrew McCutchen hit three home runs… It’s the sort of drop-dead brilliance envisioned when they summoned the dreadlocked stud from the minors in June.

“Summoned the dreadlocked stud” makes it sound like Neal Huntington was some sort of wizard conjuring up a mythical beast from another dimension. Maybe a slightly dramatic way of saying “Called up the prospect…”

Yet rather than quiver in anticipation, fans of this ballclub — assuming any are left — sit paralyzed in fear.

Oh crap – we do?

Because when it comes time to reward McCutchen with a contract commensurate to his abilities and numbers, or when it’s clear the Pirates still can’t win even with his everyday presence, won’t management coldly turn around and trade him away? Just as the Pirates did with Morgan, Jason Bay, Nate McLouth, Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche, Ian Snell, Xavier Nady, Jose Bautista, Ronny Paulino, John Grabow and, dating back to earlier this decade, the likes of Aramis Ramirez, Jason Schmidt and Brian Giles?

Wowowowow, we’re off to a terrifically insane start. Let’s try to digest this paragraph of random names.

I was unaware that the trades of Nyjer Morgan, Ian Snell, Jose Bautista, and Ronny Paulino were all salary dumps. I mean, the Pirates were crazy to let building blocks like Jose Bautista slip away, but I’m pretty sure most of those dudes were pretty crappy.

Great point about Brian Giles, though — as soon as he got good, the Pirates’ cheap, short-sighted management had the audacity to sign him to a 5-year, $45 million extension. Wait, what? Ok, fine, so they signed Giles, but then they COLDLY TRADED HIM AWAY!!! …For Jason Bay and Oliver Perez. And Bay immediately began outperforming Giles, who was clearly past his prime. NOTE TO MARIOTTI: Leave all of this out of a column ripping on Pirates management, because it is a complete counterexample to the point you are trying to make.

Aramis Ramirez was a straight-up salary dump, no one’s arguing that. And this detail affects Neal Huntington…how, exactly? Also, note that Mariotti shamelessly engages in my new favorite Pirate-column cop-out: Lumping the Xavier Nady trade in there with all the other moves, even though he’s played seven games this year and is a free agent in two months, and thus is a stellar example of the Pirates’ current strategy working.

No reason to get too angry yet, plenty more insanity yet to come…


This Pirates Editorial Makes Me Sad For Humanity

August 1, 2009

Oh Lord. Brace yourself, people, cause here comes the most ham-handed, uninformed, vaguely angry piece of Pirate fan-pandering in the illustrious history of ham-handed, uninformed, vaguely angry Pirates columns:

Waiting game: For loyal Pirates fans, the present never comes

Now that most of the Pirates’ starting lineup has left PNC Park, can the team’s dispirited fan base be far behind? That’s the question that didn’t seem to faze the Bob Nutting ownership regime as it dismantled first the outfield, then the infield of an entire team of popular players.

I can’t believe they traded away all these “popular players” like Ian Snell, Tom Gorzellany, Adam LaRoche, Xavier Nady, and John Grabow. My 5-year-old son was a HUGE John Grabow fan! He’s right handed but forces himself to throw lefty to be like his hero, “J-Grabes,” and always used to say “when I grow up, I’m gonna make so many appearances against lefties in the 7th inning then stay in the game against a couple righties cause Tyler Yates is so unreliable!” How can you expect me to explain this trade to my son?? What’s he going to do with his John Grabow effigy now?

These guys were so popular, you could nary walk down a block of Forbes Avenue without drowning in a sea of Ian Snell jerseys. Sadly, there’s no way fans will ever come to embrace guys like Jeff Clement with the same amount of deep, unique intimacy as they once loved Tom “Fanfave” Gorzellany. Having players who some fans like is the way to win in sports.

Also, I still can’t believe they dismantled the GOEA (Greatest Outfield Ever Assembled). There’s no telling how far ahead in the division they’d be if they still had Xavier Nady (a million billion games, give or take).

Sure, as the front office likes to cite, this collection of players — for as popular and accomplished as some of them are — was not able to keep the team near a .500 winning percentage.

Ok, I GUESS they never came close to competing, and MLB players decline in their 30s almost without exception, but we can argue semantics all day.

Also, when did these players become so “popular”? Other than Wilson, Sanchez and Bay, does any fan give a crap about any of those other dudes? I won’t argue that the players were extremely “accomplished,” though — Adam LaRoche won the Congressional Medal of Honor for greatness.

But it seems clear that around June 2008, the ownership had two choices on how to rebuild this team: spend money to buy impact players to fill in the gaps around its proven stars or trade away its players of value for inexpensive prospects who, on a hope and a prayer, might peak together around 2011 as a competitive force.

I would rather take a Jeromy Burnitz upper-cut whiff to the groin than re-read this paragraph. “Buy impact players”?? Like who? Name some guys. Who on this list would’ve made the Pirates anywhere close to competitive?

Signing Gil Meche sure turned those Royals around in a hurry, didn’t it? And I can’t keep track of how many World Series the Mariners have won since signing Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre, then trading Adam Jones for a broken-down Erik Bedard. Name some examples of teams that were bad, then signed unrestricted free agents, then were good. The Yankees, maybe? That’s the only team in baseball over the last, say, five years who have succeeded with that approach, and if your argument is that the Pirates would have improved if they had signed C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira for $400 million, then yes, I will not argue that point.

Also, “proven stars”?? That’s a joke, right? You know what other teams in baseball have proven stars? EVERY OTHER TEAM IN BASEBALL, because by definition every team must have an All-Star. Other than Bay, and kind-of Sanchez, the Pirates never had anything remotely resembling a proven “star,” and do we again need to be reminded about the 2008 pitching staff that this team inherited from the Littlefield era? You really believe the Pirates could’ve made a run with Matt Morris and Phil Dumatrait leading the charge?

How do people just completely ignore the history of Burnitz, Morris, Joe Randa, Sean Casey, Pat Meares, Derek Bell, Terry Mulholland, Pete Schourek, and the Jason Kendall & Brian Giles contracts? I feel like I’m watching the Michael Jackson Memorial and everyone’s talking about how everyone should strive to be as flawless as MJ was – surely Pirates fans don’t forget this stuff, right?

Other owners may have opted for the former and embarked on a quick turnaround that would have built on the loyalty to high-performing players and put more fans in the ballpark to cheer on the team’s new winning ways.


This sentence is beyond nonsense. Why didn’t the Pirates lock up all their thirtysomething players who couldn’t come close to even nipping the .500 mark, then add A.J. Burnett for $73 gajillion dollars who wouldn’t have signed in Pittsburgh anyway, then watch as their really expensive team declines in unison with a completely barren minor league system behind it?? At least Nutting would’ve been spending MONEY!!!! Grrrr why doesn’t he spend money!!!!!!! That is the only issue here!!!

We won’t argue that every player just traded away will be missed; Adam LaRoche and Ian Snell were clearly under-performers. Nor will we claim that all of that young, incoming talent is unimpressive; Class AA pitcher Tim Alderson was hard for Giants fans to sacrifice.

Quit getting bogged down in these trivial details and continue bashing Nutting because that is what us fans want to hear!!!! Rabble rabble rabble rabble!!

But of all the stats swirling around all the players in the blow-up of the Pittsburgh Pirates, these are the two worth keeping in mind: 31 and 50. The Nutting payroll for a Major League Baseball team was a little more than $50 million on opening day; after all the trades it’s down to $31 million. Mission accomplished.

Boom! Proven. No other factors here. The fact that the Pirates need minor league prospects and those prospects cost less than players in their 30s is irrelevant; Nutting is just pocketing money indiscriminately like his hero, the theoretical demon spawn of Ebenezer Scrooge and Bernie Madoff.

Here are two OTHER numbers to keep in mind: 0 and 3. Those are the number of black starting position players on the Pirates last year versus the number in the lineup last night. Clearly, Nutting has a conspiracy to get more black players on the team. Citing a number and then another number and not explaining them is how making an argument works.

That’s not what Pittsburghers did when they committed to PNC Park. They built the best in the majors, figuring they’d finally get a great team out of the deal. We’re still waiting.

You hear that, Huntington? It’s been A YEAR AND A HALF and you STILL haven’t turned the team with the worst pitching staff in Major League Baseball and worst minor league system in Major League Baseball and a couple decent offensive performers, two of whom were on the verge of unrestricted free agency, into a great franchise. WHY DIDN’T YOU SIGN SOME GOD DAMNED FREE AGENTS??? That would have made everything great!!!

If the Pirates don’t sign Chone Figgins to a 6-year, $92 million deal next offseason, Bud Selig ought to step in and just bulldoze PNC Park. That is how building a baseball team is done!!!!!

Pirates Make Some Minor Personnel Moves

July 30, 2009

Sorry for the lack of updates, I’ve been extremely busy this week — I was stuck in a meeting all afternoon and wasn’t even online to Control-V “What the hell are the Mariners doing??” to every single one of my friends online, including alternate screennames of dudes I’ve never talked to since I worked on a Spanish project with them in the second semester of my freshman year of college.

In short, not having much regard for the thought of the 2010 Buccos running out two expensive thirtysomething middle infielders to begin with, I’m fine with the Snell/Wilson deal and particularly happy about the Sanchez trade. Now I will tell you why in the form of jokes!!

It’s usually a good sign when an entire fanbase is going berserk about a trade their team made with your team, and that’s certainly the case with the Pirates’ pickup of Tim Alderson. Plus, if Neal “Numbers McDeptherson” Huntington makes a deal for just one person, that guy has to be awesome, right? Just after the deal broke, I had this exhange of texts with my friend Dave:

Me: Did NH actually make a trade for just one guy? This dude must be the messiah.

Dave: He thought he was getting a dude named Alder and his son.

[I’m guessing the truth is a little from Column A, little from Column B]

As for the Wilson deal, it’s a clear case where both players the Pirates gave up provide more value to the trade partner than they would’ve for the Bucs; Wilson is two months away from free agency, and the Pirates certainly weren’t gonna bring him back without a massive pay cut, though the Mariners might negotiate an extension or actually consider sucking up his $8 option to ensure this trade wasn’t a rental. Snell has an ERA around 5.40 over the past two seasons with a crappy 133/187 BB/K ratio in 244 innings. His numbers are likely to benefit from the park in Seattle and just the sheer probability of him not continuing to be this bad, but people will surely attribute this improvement to his clear-headedness following his change in scenery. Remember – he wasn’t feuding with Neal Huntington during the majority of those 133 walks (though Huntington did keep deflecting his balls out of the strike zone in his last major league start, which I thought was unacceptable).

Most people (including myself) believed that the Pirates’ demotion of Snell to AAA squelched what little possible trade value remained in him, but ironically, that move may have actually increased his value, at least to the point where a double-swap of two relatively expensive average-to-below-average performers yielded the Pirates a recent top hitting prospect, three pitching prospects, and a stopgap infielder. It’s not a dynamite, blue-chip heist, but we’re talking about Ian Snell and two months of Jack Wilson. As the old saying goes, “People with Angry, Bad-Pitching Ian Snell On Their Baseball Team-ers can’t be Choosers.”

Huntington has repeatedly stressed the need for pitching depth throughout all levels of the minor leagues, which is really the only sound approach towards conquering the most unpredictable and oft-injured position in sports, and both transactions today are major steps towards achieving that nice-sounding mantra; if the Pirates tack on Colton Cain and Zack Von Rosenburg from their draft class this year, they will have essentially acquired 8/10 of their arguable Top 10 Pitching Prospects list in the past 12 months.

Keep in mind – we aren’t even at July 31st yet! I can’t wait to see if Huntington has one final ridiculous-shakeup grand finale to this fireworks display of transactioning. McCutchen/Alvarez package deal?

Ohhh Noooo, The Mindless Pirates Complainers Have Claimed Gene Collier Too…

July 22, 2009

I’ve always been a big fan of the Post Gazette’s Gene Collier; I grew up reading him and listening to him on WDVE, I still enjoy his sense of humor and his intentionally overly-verbose writing style (I can relate), and his “human interest” take on sports is a welcome yin to the hard-numbers, Baseball Prospectus / Hardball Times / Fangraphs yang that comprises the majority of my baseball readings and general ways of thinking about the sport.

I therefore take it a little extra-personally when Collier pens a column that I not only disagree with, but which essentially boils down to exactly how my mind would view the Pirates’ current situation on Opposite Day. The column is entitled “Wilson-Sanchez scenario gloomy” – I don’t want to waste time rehashing too much of his argument word-for-word, so feel free to read it, and my comments about specifically egregious passages are below.

Collier writes:

Last year’s soulless dismantling of one of baseball’s best offensive outfields via the Jason Bay and Xavier Nady deals and this summer’s stunning deportment of the productive and popular Nate McLouth and Nyjer Morgan firmly have established current management as having more in common with past sins than future promise.

Oh geez. Three things, which we should all know by now:

1) The phrase “one of baseball’s best offensive outfields” is completely and utterly meaningless. It’s as meaningless as saying “one of baseball’s best-hitting second baseman + left fielder + catcher tandems.” They had three ok hitters for half a season – so what? You don’t get bonus points because they all happen to play in the “Outfielder” category. This isn’t Yahtzee.

2) How do people honestly keep just lumping the Nady trade in there with all the other deals? I’ve had friends complain to me “Man, we traded Bay, Nady, AND McLouth, what’s going on???” Even if you don’t agree with the Bay and McLouth deals, surely NO ONE can even begin to argue that dealing Nady was the wrong move. Yes, we don’t know if he would’ve gotten hurt if he stayed in Pittsburgh, but he’s appeared in 7 games for the Yankees all season and is a free agent in two months, and Damaso Marte has pitched all of 5 1/3 innings with a 15.19 era. You can’t just sneak that into a column about cheap management; it should only ever be raised as a very strong example of exactly why you should trade players when their value is highest, the complete antithesis of this entire column.

3) I’ve said this many times, but this concept doesn’t appear to be getting through to Pirates fans, so I’ll type it again here in caps 30 times.


Continued after the jump:


Ripping On Stupid Pirates Fans, Part One Billion

July 12, 2009

Let’s take a moment to distract ourselves from the abysmal baseball of the Phillies weekend series with my favorite way to cheer myself up instantly: Ripping on comments from some stupid Pirate fans.

Our first Stupid Pirate Fan submission comes from Mike Z. in Bob Smizik’s Blog Q&A, who says, stupidly:

…We have nothing to replace Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez (if they are traded). They are the glue in that middle infield.  Yes, we will lose with them or without them, but isn’t there something in baseball called the “integrity of the game”?

…Without those two, and no one to replace them, the team would be a mockery of baseball. To keep some semblance of a halfway competitive team, I really think the commissioner should step in. Someone has to stop Huntington and his team from making a mockery of the game.

I agree! If Bud Selig doesn’t step in and prevent Neal Huntington from acting in what he believes is in the best long-term interests of the Pirates franchise, the team might totally collapse after the trade deadline and tarnish the sport of baseball by going, say, 17-37 for a mockery of a .315 win percentage down the stretch. OH WAIT — that’s exactly what the team did last year, including a not-mocking-baseball-at-all 2-and-14 run in mid-August when Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez were both healthy and playing every day.

No one is advocating trading Sanchez and Wilson for nothing, and I agree that there’s a long-term positive to be gained by keeping a defensively sound middle infield behind the current pitching staff, even if those guys won’t be here in a couple years, but still, the idea that trading Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson would plunge the current Pirates team into an unparalleled realm of baseball integrity-tarnishing worthy of intervention from the commissioner is, because I don’t feel like typing the F-word in all caps a bunch of times, just really stupid.

The Washington Nationals have a frickin’ .299 win percentage and a payroll around 20% higher than the Pirates’ — why isn’t Bud Selig stepping in and making them have more integrity???? They’re making a mockery of baseball by being a bad baseball team! Abner Doubleday is literally spinning around in his grave.

And for the record, even if the Pirates deal Sanchez and Wilson, I’d take my chances with Charlie Morton and Ross Ohlendorf pitching in front of an empty middle infield over last season’s Jason Davis / Yoslan Herrera / Whoever The Hell lobbing beachballs over the plate (or seven feet wide of the plate, depending on the outing).

I do agree with Mike that Jack Wilson is definitely the Pirates’ “glue,” in as much as he gets on base about as often as a bottle of Elmer’s Glue-All would.

Our next dose of stupid comes from concerned fan KeithJFro on Smizik’s post about the Pirates losing 110 games next year (also in itself quite stupid). While I hesitate to cherry-pick one internet comment and rip on it, I feel that this meaningless anger sums up the feelings of a significant portion of the Pirates’ fanbase:


BREAKING NEWS: Sanchez, Capps Could Be Dealt Soon; True Blood Worth Watching

July 9, 2009

The three most recent updates from Bob Pompeani’s Twitter:

i also hear that the pirates are trying to move Matt Capps too. Two teams are interested…one of them is the Fla. Marlin another 5 yr plan

25 minutes ago from web

pirates are close to dealin freddy sanchez. i’m told it can happen at any moment

about 1 hour ago from web

good night everyone….gonna go home and watch “true blood” on hbo…if you havent seend it, its worth a sample

8:42 PM Jul 6th from web

Marlins interested in Capps, Sanchez could go at “any minute,” and True Blood on HBO — a show about vampires and vampire hunters having orgies with one another — is worth a sample, says this KDKA local sports/vampire-sex reporter.

Also, nice jab about the five year plan! Neal Huntington is such an idiot for Cam Bonifay having used that term ten years ago!