Saturday, December 11, 2004

Bucs considering Clement, more comment from the Cleveland papers

Because you can have never have enough starting pitching. I guess. Jim Molony reports this for

The Akron Beacon Journal, which was in denial about the Lawton-for-Rhodes deal, now says it was a good decision because the Tribe can re-sign Ronnie Belliard. Uh, ok. They also write that Clement should command more than $19M over three years.

Good eye, Trev, thanks for putting the first link in the comments.

...Trev has a Bucco blog! I should click on homepage links more often. Way to go, Trev.

...more ABJ coverage of the trade here. Now they write good deal because Lawton's right field defense is "far below" the major-league norm. Also, with Belliard due to get re-signed and Coco Crisp's emergence, they didn't really need another leadoff hitter. Their loss, our gain. It might work out well for the Indians. But there's no doubt I think that Lawton fits the Bucs' team real well. He bats left-handed, works the count, can lead off. If his right-field defense is no good, then it's a good thing we have an "easy" right field.

All hail Matt Lawton

Lawton is a Pirate.

More here. One Justice B. Hill files for Ed Eagle must be passed out beneath the Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas, Pirate fans. And Happy Hannukah and Kwaanza while we're at it.

I don't know what you're thinking right now. My gut says this is a great deal for us. My gut also says has another beer to celebrate.

All hail David Littlefield! I like the trade.

PhillyNews: Brian Meadows available

Paul Hagen of the PhillyNews reports the Pirates are making Brian Meadows available this weekend. Any team that lacks starting pitching depth would be nuts to pass on him. We can spare him because we already have a number of reliable "innings-eaters."

Toronto Sun: No Alex Rios for Craiggers

Report here.

Honest Wagner favicon available

The wonderful and multi-talented Leeeny made and currently hosts the HW icon that may appear now to the left of the URL in your browser.

If you're curious about the origin of the image, look here. It's a detail from the picture of our junto. Depending on the extent to which it taps her bandwidth, it may only be available for a limited time. But no worry. It should be stored in your cache after one visit.

All hail Leeeny! Since it's a little early in the morning for all-hailing, I'll put some Bailey's in my coffee for her.

STLtoday: Pirates after Matheny

Story here.

Winter meetings, day one wrap-up

Jim Molony sums up all the action of day one of this year's winter meetings.

Joe Beimel Frank Brooks cleared waivers.

...hold on. Bob Dvorchak reports Brooks was claimed by Los Angeles.

More on Matt Lawton

Someone with the Cleveland organization is whispering in the ear of the Akron Beacon Journal. The Plain Dealer reports there's "merit" to the rumors that the teams are talking about a deal involving Lawton.

Joe Rutter also reports on the deal for the Trib-Review.

Suspicion of steroid use a factor quotes DL acknowledging that this a factor in their evaluation of free agents. As it should be. Teams should also be wary of players with a history of alcohol and other drug problems.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Honest Wagner NFL pick 'em: week 14

oak 007.5 ATL ..oak ..oak ..ATL
sea 006.5 MIN .MIN* .MIN* .sea*
cin 011.5 NWE ..cin .cin* ..cin
chi 007.5 JAX ..chi ..chi .chi*
nyg 009.5 BAL ..BAL ..nyg ..nyg
ind -10.5 HOU ..ind .ind* .ind*
cle 010.5 BUF .BUF* .BUF* ..BUF
nwo 006.5 DAL ..DAL ..nwo ..DAL
det 009.5 GNB .gnb* ..det ..det
nyj 005.5 PIT .PIT* .PIT* ..nyj
mia 011.5 DEN ..mia ..DEN ..DEN
snf 006.5 ARZ ..ARZ ..ARZ ..ARZ
tab 005.5 SND .SND* ..SND
stl 006.5 CAR ..stl ..CAR ..stl
phl 009.5 WAS ..phl ..phl .phl*
ksc -03.5 TEN ..ksc ..TEN ..TEN

Scoreboard, powered by the Bones-owned Diebold Corp.

Bones 106 86 0.552
Scoop 104 88 0.541
Rowdy 097 95 0.505

Best Bets
Bones 106 86 0.552
Scoop 104 88 0.541
Rowdy 097 95 0.505

Steelers own the Jets, historically, but I wouldn't give them five and a half. (Correction note: Jets have won last two; ditching Vinny cured their Pittsburgh woes. Correction to correction: one of the last two was an exhibition game. They don't count, duh.)

History, whatever. I can use the force and sense that the Jets have an edge coming into this game. The Steelers had to give 110% to beat sorry Jacksonville by a smidge when we all expected them to steamroller the team made up of former Steelers (Jason Gildon, Fu, Dewayne, Troy Edwards). Meanwhile, the Jets were chilling in the hot tub (yes, you can do that) trading tales of how great they were as they pounded the hapless Texans.

Chad (to Curtis): Dude, you know what took balls? The way I signaled first down after that scramble.

Curtis (to Chad): Funny I didn't see that. I must have been rushing for 134 yards.

Justin (to himself): Damn my ribs are kinda sore from catching all those passes.

Santana (to Shaun): My punt return - was it 36 or 46 yards? I can't remember I was running so fast.

Shaun (watching Steelers game): Damn. I woulda made that sack.

The Jets have a pretty big chump factor so I see them blowing this chance. Steelers 17, Jets 13.

If the Steelers roar back from last week's game and pound the Jets like they did the Pats and the Eagles, and win it all 27-3, then next week I'll be singing the "Here we go, / Pittsburgh's going to the Super Bowl" song.

On the reports out of Cleveland

One reason I've respected DL's plan to rebuild through starting pitching: it's always scarce and, like power hitting, often "overvalued." Everyone giggled when the Bensons massaged $22.5M from the Mets, but now the market for starting pitching is drying up and many teams will get even less value with the remaining options.

Reports out of Cleveland - in the Plain Dealer and in the Beacon Journal - suggest the Tribe are up a creek without paddles. The Bucs have about twelve guys in line to start without rushing a guy like Zach Duke. They may be able to deal a starter. Even a guy like Matt Peterson might command a lot of attention for teams with little organizational depth for their rotations.

Of our front four or five, I'm not sure who I'd deal first, or if I'd deal any of them. Not Kip Wells, but that would be selling him low. If his only problem last year was a little undiagnosed carpal tunnel, he's as good as new after the surgery to widen that tunnel in his wrist. Or so I say. Oliver Perez should be untouchable. Josh Fogg now reminds me a lot of Tim Wakefield. It might be a good time to trade him, or maybe not; it depends how much his durability and adaptability are valued on the trade market. Mark Redman is another innings-eater. And unlike Fogg, trade him now and we're selling him low.

I have no idea what the Bucs could get for John Van Benschoten of if they'd even consider trading him.

What about Brian Meadows? The man with the rubber arm could really help a team that is desperate for a fifth starter.

While it would be hard to part with one of our better or more reliable starters, it would be even harder to experience the 2005 season without a power upgrade. If the team doesn't think we can get that from Daryle Ward or Brad Eldred, then they have to go get someone.

One other thing. The PD writes that Shapiro "dismissed" the Lawton rumors, but the ABJ reports that he dismissed them by saying he wouldn't comment on rumors involving specific players. Both papers express some skepticism that the Tribe would want Rhodes. By calling him a "poor man's J.D. Drew" I meant to suggest that he's a guy, I think, with a reputation for being an injury-prone bust and some potential for a year or two that exceeds anything he's done to date. I'm looking at him as a potential leadoff hitter. The front office knows that the current team has terrible patience at the plate and they need to bring in someone who will work the count and show the other guys how to work the count. If the J.D. Drew comparison led some to think I consider Lawton a power hitter, well, then, it was a dumb comparison to make.

Who's unprotected

If you are wondering who could get taken from the Bucs in this year's Rule 5 draft, Robert Dvorchak has your answers.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Burnitz and Gibbons rumors

Ed Eagle reports that Littlefield may make a trade this weekend. Jay Gibbons and Jeromy Burnitz are mentioned as possible additions.

Here's my first impressions. Both these guys could be expected to hit more than Charles Johnson would. Bones has been a fan of Burnitz in the past; I'd like to see what he has to say about him now. Gibbons reminds me of a left-handed Craig Wilson. And that's a good thing.

Matt Lawton fan club forming here

I am a big fan of Matt Lawton, who I regard as the poor man's J.D. Drew - well, something like that - and I think he'd make a great addition to the current crop of Pirates. He's a tremendous leadoff hitter with all the patience of Kendall and more power. My memory (never to be trusted) says that some of the injuries that have made his career "injury-prone" were freak things and not the kind of injuries that actually suggest you can expect more injuries down the road. Not, that is, unless you believe in bad luck and think perhaps someone can be born under a bad sign.

He's gotten little love in Cleveland because he failed to meet expectations in his first season. If his health is sound and he can pass a Pirate physical, he's someone we could really use.

To complainers I'd say, put his .370 career OBP in your pipe, smoke it, and then tell us if you still feel like complaining.

OK, I wouldn't say that, because it would be ruude, but what's not to like?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Gammons: Fogg non-tendered?

The other PG is reporting that clubs think the Bucs might non-tender Josh Fogg. I'd be shocked if that happened. Perhaps they anticipate a huge payday in arbitration? I sure do wish I understood better how the arbiters arbitrate.

RockyMountainNews: details of Johnson deal

Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News reports (scroll down) that the Rockies and Pirates have some kind of tentative deal in place if the Rockies can't work something out with the Tampa Bay club. Ringolsby writes that the Rockies have agreed to pay $8.25M of Johnson's $10M salary ($9M + $1M bonus for waiving his no-trade clause). Johnson is also demanding a contract for 2006 worth about $1.25M. I don't report this as fact but as a summary of this Denver report. For all I know, it's wishful thinking on the part of this beat writer.

There's no word about who's the prospect the Pirates would send to Denver, if there is one. I hope it's not Zach Duke.


These fine ladies were before my time. I had no idea the Steelers had ever had cheerleaders.

Check them out. They are too cute in those hats.

Here's a good wallpaper-worthy action shot.

There's a lot more here. Mon dieu.

Here Comes Roethlisberger

Bwa-ha-ha. In a related note, Mrs. Rowdy decided the best thing in the whole Steelers catalog is the black-and-gold Santa. Not this one, which is also cool. This one. Or I think that's the one. Rowdietta destroyed the catalog. This is also a good look for Santa. This one appears to be wearing the alternate home uniform. The Steelers don't go for alternate uniform looks so that one looks a little bogus to me.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Eagle answers

Ed Eagle answers a bunch of questions I could have written myself. Shorter Eagle: No Charles Johnson if he's $2M per year, Craig Wilson is not a catcher, Littlefield promised to re-invest the Kendall savings and there's no reason to doubt his word, JVB will have a shot at the fifth starter position.

One of my hobby horses has been the fact that the five-man rotation is a myth. A team doesn't need five starters on April first, they need more like nine starters. Otherwise there's no hope of successfully weathering injury and unexpected suckitude. The only way that the addition of Redman limits JVB's opportunity is this: if everyone else is healthy and up to speed, the odds are longer for JVB to start the season with the Pirates. Otherwise I'm sure we'll be seeing him at some point in the season.

Eagle's mailbag also calls our attention to this recent interview with DL. There's a lot of good stuff in there. Sounds to me like Littlefield is ready to do some more trading. I'm all for unloading some of the minor-league depth for the right big-league proven veterans.

Steelers at Jaguars

I'm looking forward to it.

...funny how the team of old Steelers played and lost like the old Steelers. The Jaguars "deserved" to win but handed it over in the final minutes. Not a great win for the Steelers, but that's a crushing loss for the Jacksonville team.

And we keep pace with the Patriots. If it's standard tournament seeding come playoff-bracket-makeup time, and if the Steelers retain the #1 seed they'd play the #4 - if that team can fend off a Wild Card team - to get to the Championship game. That may be the Jets, right? I'd have the Colts playing in Foxboro for the right to come to Heinz Field. But we get ahead of ourselves ... Steelers aren't going to win out if they continue to play like they did last night. Unlike the Colts and Patriots, they don't appear to be at the top of their game right now.