Saturday, March 05, 2005

Jose Bautista

Dejan Kovacevic reports on the life of Jose.

Losing on your feet better than winning on your knees

(a rare counter-Rowdy HW opinion)

"It's kind of sad and it makes you wonder what (the Pirates) are doing if this is how they treat their best pitcher and offensive player on the team last year," Fogg said.


I think we're in for a long, depressing year not because gutsy Wilson and Fogg publicly questioned the embarassing lowballings but because the Bucs are controlled by misers that are fielding the cheapest team in the NL. Sure, technically Ollie and Bay weren't owed anything more, but since nearly every other team rewards 0-3 performance, why shouldn't the Bucs? I don't buy that we need to beat down these greedy upstart ROYs lest small-market teams face future demise. This isn't "just business", it's miserly business that other teams don't practice. We're not talking Tike Redman here (who's getting 335 K to Bay's 355 and Ollie's 381), we're talking the teams' two best players. I don't think a symbolic slap-in-the-face proves any point other than the owners are distancing themselves from the MLB status quo, and thus reducing the odds of future success. We could've afforded a less offensive offer, right? 200K is 5% of the 4M offer to Burnitz. Wonder what they'll do with all that money now. I liked the idea of saving it to spend on Ollie, but the odds of that seem even lower now post-face-slap.

And of course money isn't everything (see Parasite, Intestinal). I agree with Rowdy that having a lower payroll doesn't preclude winning championships. But why defend and glorify stinginess? If Rowdy thinks Wilson and Fogg are "losers" for their comments, I'd rather see the Bucs lose on their feet than win on their knees. Whose side are we on, anyway?

All hail Jack Wilson and Josh Fogg!

Friday, March 04, 2005



Obviously the Yankees, who play on another planet, couldn't adjust to the gravity at McKechnie Field.


Not much else to say about this. If that's the leadership we can expect from Wilson and Fogg for 2005, we're in for a long, depressing year.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Everything for money

For the New York Times, Murray Chass gloats about the Yankee payroll. He writes:

This exhibition opener between the Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates was not a rematch of the 1960 World Series. Nor will the regular-season games these teams play in June be a rematch. Despite the habit of some people to label them that way, games played between the same teams subsequent to a World Series or any playoff series are never a rematch because the teams and the circumstances are different.

In this instance, oh, are the circumstances different. Forty-five years after Bill Mazeroski beat the Yankees with a ninth-inning home run at Forbes Field in Game 7, the Yankees and the Pirates play on different planets.

Pardon my French, but what a fucking moron is Murray Chass. On different planets? Hello?

Also note that the 1960 Pirates were heavy underdogs against the 1960 Yankees. I'd say the "rematch," when it comes this June, will be a little more like the original than Chass melodramatically suggests for the self-gratification of Yankee fans.

As recorded by the encyclopedic Finoli and Ranier:

A doormat in the early 1950s, the Pirates had finally earned the respect of the National League with a second-place finish in 1958. After falling back a bit in '59, the Bucs won the pennant by seven games in 1960, but were still considered by some observers as upstarts when it came to being on center stage. With 95 wins, the Bucs had won only two less games than the Yankees during the regular season, but they lacked experience. . . . The Yankees, on the other hand, had been in eight World Series in the 1950s and had won six of them.
During the 1960 series, the Bucs won their first three in close games; the Yankees won their first three games by a combined score of 38-3.

As for this part:

Not even a stash of steroids could level the playing field for these teams. The Yankees will open this season with a payroll a shade under $200 million, $198.5 million to be precise. The Pirates' payroll will be no more than $40 million, one-fifth of the Yankees' total.

This is doubly embarassing. First, the moronic joke about steroids. And second, the crass suggestion that payroll means everything.

As Poor Richard says, "He that is of the opinion money will do everything, may well be suspected of doing everything for money."

Pirates to crush Yankees

You'll find the box score on this page. I'm going to miss it for reality-based work reasons.

Williams and Vogelsong

Perrotto writes about their friendship. They must know that it's very likely we'll see a stretch this year when they are both in the rotation. There's little chance that the one through four starters will each make every turn throughout the season. That just doesn't often happen. And if it does - as it did, or nearly did, for the Cardinals last year - then we can expect the Pirates to win the NL Central.

All the starters should play nice with one another and help one another improve as much as they can. If recent history is a trustworthy guide, we'll probably use eight to ten different guys in the rotation. If I'm Williams, Vogelsong, Ritchie, or even slim Albie, I'd just bank on the expectation that I'd get a turn and an opportunity to make that turn regular. At some point, due to injury or ineffectiveness, someone will probably need a break. Opportunities will come. And if they don't, it's good news, because the team is pretty likely to be headed for the playoffs. Teams with four effective, durable, and consistent starters go to the playoffs.

Joe Roa

John Perrotto writes him up. The beat writers are getting to just about everyone on the roster. Who hasn't been profiled in the last few weeks? John Grabow?

Perez, Bay signed

Story here. Littlefield, clearly, did the right thing. The idea that a player would do the team a favor down the road for an extra hamburger today is absurd. Perez's agent dumped some poison in the well, but it's hard to blame Ollie. Or Bay. I wouldn't have done it. The hope that it will help in arbitration years from now would not be enough for me to do something like that.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Pirates crush Manatee CC

Box score. I wish I could have seen Jose Mesa square off against those guys.

Nothing like some community college teams to get us ready for the Yankees!

Honest Wagner NL-only

I'll put this up again since I ranted it down the page.

Go here and enter the following information.

League ID#: 133800

Password: honus

A dozen spots left. It's free.

Big Country

Ed Eagle on Brad Eldred and the impression he's making in camp.

Ollie "dissatisfied"

DK reports Scott Boras Mike Fischlin will decline Ollie's final offer. But of course Perez has to accept it.

Fischlin compounds the error by stating that Perez will now hold a grudge against the team. A grudge that he'll hold and nurse and wrap his warping personality about. A grudge that will mean something when he Becomes a Free Agent.

Perez, the Pirates' left-handed ace, has no plan to hold out, pout or let the matter affect his performance, agent Mike Fischlin said yesterday. Rather, his client simply wants to make known his dissatisfaction.

"Oliver's a professional, and this isn't going to affect him one bit. He's not going to cry over it," Fischlin said. "But he's also been educated. He understands that the way the Pirates see the market is not the way other teams see it. They choose to work within their own scale."

Perez's memory of the matter could be long, Fischlin added.

"Players remember things like this when it comes time to be a free agent.

That is total bullshit. If I was a ballplayer and my agent said that to a reporter, I'd fire his ass as soon as I could get him on the speed dial.

Every big-league player is basically signed for three years and $1M when the come up. Anything a team decides to pay them above that is gravy. Players have no leverage whatsoever.

We all know that Oliver Perez, when he becomes a free agent, will do exactly what all other Boras clients do (Fischlin works for Boras). He'll go to the highest bidder. And the highest bidder will probably embarrass themselves. They'll learn that the rumored competition for the player's services in that price range was just an illusion.

If Oliver wants to be an egotist and claim that he has some kind of leverage that he does not have, let him. We can beat him like a rented mule if he's going to say, right now, that there's no chance he'll re-sign with the Pirates in what--four years? Premature would be a good word to describe such threats. Why fires shots across the bow after one good season? Especially when scouts generally regard Perez as fragile-looking? What does that accomplish?

What are his options? Will he malinger, as I always suspected Jason Schmidt did, and refuse to pitch so he can save his health for free agency? At the first sign of that, I'd trade him for players, prospects, and cash to the highest bidder. He can go malinger for some other club. A championship team is more than a collection of supremely-talented individuals. Anyone who is going to so conspicuously put himself before the team shouldn't be highly regarded or trusted as a teammate.

It's one thing to ask for a raise. You may prevail on the generosity of management. Of course management wants to reward good behavior. But it's a different thing to do that and then make some kind of totally unprofessional, money-grubbing, cowardly gesture such as refusing to accept a contract that you are bound to accept by the terms of the player agreement. Get some perspective, ball players and agents. How many years will your average plumber work before he earns $381K?

...all that said, the right course of action, I think, would be for the team to laugh off these bullshit threats. Give him the raise you offered and chalk all this nonsense up as one thoughtless comment by a junior agent. And now you know you may have a reason to not trust that Oliver Perez will have the team's back when they need him.

Zach Duke missed his spots

From John Perrotto's report on yesterday's action:

"It felt got to get out there and there were definitely a few nerves," [Zach] Duke said. "You know (manager) Lloyd McClendon is watching from the dugout and (General Manager) Dave Littlefield is watching from upstairs, so you definitely want to make a good impression.

"It wasn't the perfect outing. I missed my spots a few times but it was good to face hitters in a game situation. All in all, it was a good first outing."

Duke threw ten pitches and struck out the side.

FWIW, DK counted twelve pitches. 92 mph from a soft-tossing lefty sounds good to me.

Pirates vs. Manatee Community College

Game just started. Box score here.

Honest Wagner roto

Commissioner Clay has put together a free Yahoo 16-team NL-only league for us. The league is very deep. Every player should wind up on a roster. This will encourage trading and reduce the necessity of daily roster moves - a huge plus I think in free leagues.

Go here and enter the following information.

League ID#: 133800

Password: honus

I will field the Keystone Zouaves (pronounced with two syllables). Civil War fans will understand. Others can look here, here and here if they are curious. The French military has become something of a joke among many Americans, but during the Civil War, many Union soldiers thought they were the best--and emulated them--as you can see in the prevalence of Zouave regiments in this list.

These guys are keeping it real.

Great-great grandpop Rowdy was a Keystone Zouave. He lied about his age to get into the military--he was too young--and was decorated for valor after operations against Fort Sumter.

Q & A

Methinks it's time to gather round DK.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Canadian baseball

Story about Jason Bay from Shi Davidi of the Canadian Press. And one from another Canadian paper, this time in London, Ontario.

Perrotto has it measured

Nice work from John Perrotto on the state of the team. I generally agree with him right down the line. Because I think it is possible that Wells and Perez both win fifteen games, I also think it's possible they win half their games.

AP gets Wiggy

Story here.

Pirates destroy Valpo

Box score here.

Not contenders

From Tom Balog's story for Florida's Herald Tribune:

"I don't see us as a contending club at this point," said Dave Littlefield, the Pirates' general manager. "It's certainly something we're working towards. But when you talk about a playoff caliber team, we need to have a lot of people get better. My sense is we're not in that position right now."
Well, there you have it.

Stats Geek: Replacing Kendall

Brian O'Neill figures the 2005 Pirates stand to score about as many runs as the 2004 Pirates because they've rid themselves of the "traumatic trio" of Abraham Nunez, Chris Stynes and Randall Simon. Link.

We got catchers

Dejan Kovacevic reports on all the catching prospects in the Bucs' system. "The Pirates will have a genuine catching prospect on nearly every team in its system," he writes. They are Humberto Cota, Ronny Paulino, Ryan Doumit, and Neil Walker. With House out, I anticipate seeing Doumit, 26, or Paulino, 23, catching some for the big club.

Wilson getting better

Ed Eagle's notebook is one of a few stories with the same encouraging news about Jack Wilson.

12-man staff likely

Bob Smizik doubts the Bucs will come north with eleven pitchers.

Pirates to kick ass

Joe Rutter reports the team is taking scrimmages against Valpo and Manatee CC seriously.

Vogelsong's new pitch

Joe Rutter reports. When he came back from winter ball, I vaguely recollect reports that our manager down there wasn't overwhelmed with the effectiveness of this new Ryan. That said, as long as he stays healthy, I expect Vogelsong will find his way to some innings.

So true or false: Vogelsong is the next Jimmy Anderson.

Bay taking ROY award to the bank

He's still not signed for 2005, Joe Rutter reports.

Hamilton, Sharpless, and Holliday

Here is the article Wilbur recommended in the comments last Sunday. It's not about the seventies band responsible for that notorious in-store shopping anthem, "Don't Pull Your Love Out on Me Baby."

So happy and good

The AP reports on Ollie and his Craftmatic adjustable bed.

Coach Santiago

Jim Brockman reports on Benito Santiago for the Bradenton Herald.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Freddy Sanchez

The AP has this story.

John Sickels on Oliver Perez

"Perez's experience, as well as that of Carlos Zambrano, show how Grade C+ pitching prospects can develop unexpectedly, leaving more-heralded guys in the dust." -- John Sickels.

Four steps ahead of you

Primer sends me to this interview with the GM of the Blue Jays over at the Batter's Box, a Blue Jays blog that's been around for quite some time. I once played roto with one of the guys there; for the life of me I forget which one, but he was real gracious.

JP's response strikes me as just about what I'd expect from a GM talking back to his blog.

#81 Neil Walker

Baseball America finds a place for Walker in their top 100 prospects list.


Valpo, Bradenten Community College. No Braden River HS?

Sean Burnett

Joe Rutter reports that his rehab has gone well. July sounds like a targeted return date. Will he come back Matt-Morris style, and pitch out of the pen, or will they bring him along as a starter?

Enough fastball

Dejan Kovacevic on Bryan Bullington.

Albie Lopez

Dejan Kovacevic reports on his curve. Also more detail on the Ollie session.

Ed Eagle mailbag

Includes "How to be a GM" by David Littlefield.

I can't believe, in this day and age, that David didn't suggest that starting a blog was a good first step. (That's a joke, people.)

Ollie OK

The AP reports on his Sunday session.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

More news, AQL

I'm burning up my eyeballs trying to choose and shop for a flat-panel monitor online. My current system (a Pismo) is about 125 years old in computer years and it's time to update before OS X destroys the system's memory-strapped hard drive. I've somewhat narrowed the field to the Samsung Syncmaster 910T, the Dell 1905FP, 2001FP, or 2005FPW, or the Viewsonic VP201B. I'm looking for something that will last as long as the system I'm preparing to buy (a dual 2.0 G5 w/ upgraded (retail) graphics card). LCD flat panels are evolving at a dizzy pace. Prices dropping, specs improving, it's pretty damn hard to choose, esp. since I can't make up my mind about how much TV/DVD/video I'll watch on it. Could I use to watch archived games? Like maybe the West Coast ones that end at 2am? Don't talk to me about Tivo--I don't have cable TV and have no interest in it. Cable modem is plenty for me.

Since I've been on the computer way more than I'd like, reading crap I don't normally read, I'll do the Sunday Bucco news roundup AQL (all quick-like).

Ed Eagle reports on Ollie, Duke, Bullington, Winters, House, Grabow, Mackowiak (as a defensive-replacement first-baseman). I think No. 3 will get another 550 PAs this year.

Dejan Kovacevic on closer-in-waiting Mike Gonzalez. No, Billy, you can't have him.

Oh wait. John Perrotto touts Koonce. And regarding Byrnes: "The Athleticss are holding out for a top pitching prospect such as left-handers Zach Duke or Tom Gorzelanny or right-hander Ian Snell." MG, ZD, TG, IS. Whatever. I say wait a month to see what develops.

Joe Rutter on Ollie and Ian Snell.

Kovacevic reports on Bobby Hill and Kip Wells. Hill's core strength thing is mandatory for a guy with his history of back problems.

Kovacevic updates on centerfield job, fifth starter job, bullpen jobs, Matt Peterson, Mark Redman, and Braden River HS, where some believe a Barracuda outfit would look cuter on a cheerleader than a Pirate outfit.

Joe Rutter on McClatchy. Many quotes there.

Rob Biertempfel offers a dissertation on pitch counts. Why run this now, Rob? We could have used this a month ago. Or maybe in two months when some youngster needs to nurse his wing. It's hard to give this the attention it deserves at the start of camp.