Saturday, March 25, 2006

more on Nate McLouth

Here's something that is not clear to me: would Tracy consider using McLouth every day in centerfield? Or is he strictly regarded as a corner outfielder? I know his defense is not as good as Duffy's, but when you play a guy in centerfield, fans come to think of him as a centerfielder. It may be wrong to speculate that there's a chance McLouth would start in centerfield, no matter how much center he plays this month.

Same question, put another way: is McLouth competing with Duffy for a roster spot, or is he competing with Jody Gerut?

If Duffy's a lock to make the team and lead off, I hope he gets it together soon. He's striking out in about one-third of his ST at-bats.

Phillies and Pirates

Game in progress. Bautista just crushed one over the centerfield wall.

Nate McLouth

More and more I expect he'll be the opening-day centerfielder. Duffy's just too far behind at this point, and his comments - I forget where they were - about his lack "of adrenaline" did not inspire confidence he'll recover quickly.

Ed Eagle asked the coaches about McLouth for this piece.

... all hail Google. There's no excuse for losing recent news stories these days. The Duffy quote that's stuck with me is this:

"For some reason, last year I played spring training like it was the season," Duffy said. "I had like an edge, like I had a chip on my shoulder. ... This year, I don't feel like I have the adrenaline going. And the thing is, I didn't want to treat it like that. I'm like, 'Whoa! What is this? Where's the adrenaline?' But I know it's there."

And it's from Paul Meyer's March 21 notebook.

Bautista as Mackowiak

Is that the plan? Paul Meyer meditates on the way the Pirates have used Bautista this spring.


Why is he throwing 89? If my theory (see below) is right, there might be something to that effect from coaches and teammates. Instead we read that his 89-mph fastball has "much better life." That's a Paul Meyer report BTW.

A pitcher can succeed without the high heat, but still we could know more about what to expect from Perez. Does anyone expect him to regain the velocity he had in 2004? If so, why? If no, why?

...for the Trib, Rob Rossi adds that the coaches have Perez working on a splitter.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Pirates and Phillies

Take notes.

Put San Antonio in the Central

Could there be an opening in the NL East? Note Bud Selig talked, back in April 2004, of moving Colorado to the Central and Pittsburgh to the East if Les Expos wound up somewhere West.

Ollie's velocity

There's been some hand-wringing about the speed with which Perez has been throwing the ball this spring. I see no cause for alarm. Could he be hurt? Sure. But any pitcher could be hurt. This is a different case than, say, when a finesse pitcher suddenly loses velocity mid-season. Why? Oliver Perez is a pitcher who struggles to achieve consistent mechanics. We all know that. He's wild. When he's consistent and in control of himself, he's effective. When he brings the dipsy-doodle deliveries and loses his composure, he's awful. Does it not make sense for him to take something off the fastball, to slow the whole delivery, to help establish good habits? Of course. We all do this; it's a stage in the learning curve. Once he has the good habits, then he can increase the violence with which he hurls that thing. The test will be whether or not he can maintain good, consistent mechanics while throwing with all the force he can muster.

Ollie bumbaye!

We'll spell it right for tonight's game with the Phillies. Thanks, Brian. Oliver "Flaco" Perez and Eric Brito are scheduled to face each other at seven.

One of the many reasons I regret the move from the NL East to the NL Central: the loss of Philadelphia as a division rival. That's just wrong. The friggin' Astros are poor compensation for that loss.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Reds and Pirates

Just started the gameday audio to hear the sound of tarps spreading across the infield. Rain delay. How was Dave Williams?

"Your price is too high"

Fox Sports's Ken Rosenthal:

Two executive says that Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield has waited too long to move first baseman/outfielder Craig Wilson and asked for too much in return.

"(Littlefield) had opportunities to trade Wilson earlier in the off-season, but held onto him — even when he had no playing time available — until all possible suitors had filled their needs," one exec says.

None of the teams reportedly interested in Wilson - the Braves, Blue Jays, Padres, Mariners and Indians — appears to be actively pursuing him.

I'm not buying the "he had no playing time available" stuff. I did the math before Spring Training. It is hard to see how Craig Wilson would start often or reach 500 PA as a Pirate, sure, but crazy things happen and plenty of PT will surely fall to the best pinch-hitter and the primary backup at the right corners.

As for Wilson's price, there's nothing "too high" about his salary. He'd be making the same money on any other team. Since I'm confident he'll get plenty of PT as a Pirate, even if Burnitz and Casey stay healthy and productive, I don't agree with folks who say that's too much to play for a bench player. A team can pay the minimum for a utility infielder, sure, since young, inexperienced non-hitting defensive wonders are common enough. A pinch-hitter with power will cost more. Right now the Pirates can afford Wilson, so I don't see the rush or the urgency to deal him.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ollie boom ba yay

Tracy named Flaco the Opening Day starter today. Ollie will open April 3rd in Milwaukee, to be followed by Duke, Snell, Maholm, then Santos or Duckworth. This way, Duke starts the home opener. R.V. will swab the deck out of the bullpen.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Craig Wilson for Matt Clement

Not likely to happen now, as the Red Sox traded ex-Pirate Bronson Arroyo to Cincy for Wily Mo Pena. "The rumors were wrong," Wilson said. In other news, the BoSox also signed Juan Gonzalez to a minor league contract. New rumors indicate that these moves augur the imminent trade of Manny Ramirez to the Bucs for a bevy of utility infielders and C+ prospects.