Saturday, December 02, 2006

Calm before storm

Any predictions for the winter meetings? Who will Lefty McThump be? Who will the veteran RH starter be? I'll guess Suppan and Ohka go to higher bidders, and DL brings home Trachsel. DL also said, of course, that he wants a utility type who can play some SS. So prepare yourself for someone on the free agent list like Miguel Cairo, Chris Gomez, Tomas Perez, Jose Vizcaino, Chris Woodward or even the Return of Stepson #1.

DL, bold-faced liar

DL lies through his teeth to Ed Eagle:

But there will be good values out there for certain players and we'll hopefully get a hold of a couple of those, like we have in the past...

You have to draft, sign and develop your own players. We do a good job of that. A very, very valuable asset.

A very, very outrageous lie. Actually, DL's team has done a remarkably terrible job of drafting, signing, and developing players.

Wounded animal

The PG's Gerry Dulac:

It is still unclear if the Steelers (4-7) will approach the home game tomorrow against the floundering Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-8) with fingers crossed or the uncompromised determination of a wounded animal.
It doesn't matter too much at this point, but I'll root for the wounded animal lashing out.

All hail Gio Marsico!

For going 12-4 and winning the week 12 HW NFL pick 'em pool trophy. Of those who've made half their picks, Psyco's Dirt has a few lengths lead (.579) over Azibuck (.546) and Lonely Cousin (.542).

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Year-After Non-Effect

David Gassko of THT tests Tom Verducci's "year-after effect" prediction that young (<26 yrs) pitchers with suddenly heavy work loads (more than 30 IP than previous year) break down the next year. Gassko's excellent analysis makes Verducci look wrong. But he seems to misread Verducci in closing with this cheap shot:

"Verducci cautions readers to watch out for big declines from Matt Cain, Gustavo Chacin, Zach Duke, Scott Kazmir, and Pat Maholm. I say draft them in your fantasy draft and get your hopes up! Except when it comes to Duke and Maholm—Pirates players are hopeless, no matter what the numbers say. "
Verducci brought Duke and Maholm up as candidates for let-downs in 2006, not 2007, and there Verducci was right: both Duke (+44.1 IP from 2004 to 2005, resulted in +2.66 ERA rise in 2006) and Maholm (+98.1 IP, +2.58 ERA rise) regressed. To me it seems just as likely that Duke and Maholm's jackification was due to the hitters knowing what to expect, rather than tired arms. Regardless, Gassko's overall analysis seems to indicate that a heavy workload on a young pitcher isn't necessarily bad. If you're wondering, Matt Capps threw 80.2 IP in 2006, and 77.2 IP in 2005, so he wasn't as overused as it might have seemed.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Game tonight

If you are in the HW free pick 'em pool, don't forget to make your choice in tonight's battle of the AFC North.

No excuse for low payroll?

Dejan stirs up the shitpot in today's Q+A:

Beating the poor horse to a pulp here, the Reds probably will wind up spending close to $70 million on their 2007 payroll. The Brewers could approach that, too. And the difference between these three markets, in terms of size, stadiums and just about every intangible is exactly zero, which means there remains no visible, explainable excuse for the Pirates to spend in the range of $50 million, as they are planning.
Continuing the horse-beating, there's actually an obvious visible, explainable excuse: the ownership group's unquenchable greed and disinterest in winning.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Bucs have expressed interest in RH SP Tomo Ohka, Dejan reports.

Looking at the free agent list today, the remaining RH starters (not named Clemens, Eaton, Maddux, Schmidt, Suppan, or Weaver) are Armas, Batista, Helling, Jason Johnson, Marquis, Meche, Moehler, Ohka, Ramon Ortiz, Russ Ortiz, Padilla, Park, Radke, Sele, Thomson, Trachsel, Paul Wilson, and Jamey Wright.

Wow, that's an ugly list. There's a reason these guys are all free agents I guess. I'm no Ohka fan, but in this context, he doesn't seem so bad. I'd guess Batista will get big offers soon. Of everyone else, most I would never want to see in a Bucs uni. Padilla and Thomson are both slightly intriguing, but I'd rather see the money spent on a more promising long-term plan. Anyone have any suggestions for a RH starter?

Intellect-challenged stewardship

Larry Dobrow of cbs tries to throw clueless GM Littlefield off Pirates' sinking ship. A fairly superficial analysis of DL's failures, but I agree with three of the four suggestions to try to Save This Franchise.

Time to clean house

Amen to Gene Collier's column.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


So Dejan Kovacevic reports Jeff Suppan would be a Pirate again. Works for me.

The Cardinals signed Kip Wells. If the current roster had any kind of plate discipline, I would look forward to facing him. They don't, however, so I'm guessing the Pirates will make Kip look good.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Jose Castillo en fuego in Venezuela

Rotoworld reports 85 good 1000-OPS at-bats from the big, powerful-looking big man.

So I guess you can scotch all the trade rumors involving Castillo. Maybe he could move over to first and become the next Randall Simon for us.

Darn sure

BP's Jonah Keri writes now for the New York Times.

When rumors surfaced that the Chicago Cubs had signed Alfonso Soriano to an eight-year, $136 million contract, reporters ran to General Manager Jim Hendry for confirmation. Were the Cubs really going to be that ... aggressive?

“We won 66 ballgames,” Hendry told them. “We darn sure better be aggressive.”

Why is it always "aggressive" to sign a top-quality player for a price set by the free agent market? I don't mean to sound like an agent, but good things cost good money for good reasons.

And you can't compare the "value" a team gets from players in their first six years vs. players on the free agency market. Those are two different pools. Baseball's union and ownership has created a two-tier caste system. Players have to do their time before they can make full citizenship and the salaries that come with it.

The Pirates are not going to win without good players. They do not have many good players right now. They can sit back and pooh-pooh the Cubs and Astros as being "aggressive" in an "inflated" market all they want, but they can't expect to win more games until they pay good money for good players.

A very pitiful performance

The 2006 Steelers are not very good.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pirates continue ghetto party

Dejan Kovacevic has this long report today about the Pirates' strategery for winter meetings.

I do not understand the hang-up, if genuine, about Adam Dunn's strikeouts. He has a career OBP of .380. He gets on base, so there's little reason to be concerned about the low batting average or the strikeouts. He hits for tremendous power. What's not to like?

As for the Pirates having a lot of strikeouts in 2006, the team leader was Jason Bay. Because we have Jason Bay, we can't have Adam Dunn? Uh, that can't be called "reasoning." After Bay, the strikeouts came mainly from Tweedledee (Craig Wilson), Tweedledum (Jose Bautista), and Tweedledummer (Jose Castillo). There's no indication that the Pirates are building around either one of those clowns. Paulino is here to stay, but Burnitz and Duffy, also big-time strikeouters, are gone or show little to no promise of being an asset next April. To say the Pirates already "have" lots of strikeouts is bit like saying the Pirates already have little to no hitting talent on the roster. Because we have no hitting talent, we cannot acquire hitting talent?

Let's be clear about this. The Pirates have, more or less, nothing in the hitting department. Nothing! Jason Bay and an 850-OPS third baseman who rarely strikes out. There's nothing else of much consequence or impact. Adam Dunn or any of those guys Kovacevic names are something; any one of those guys would become the team's best or second-best hitter.

So the talk about whether or not this or that hitter "matches" the team's current roster is silly. It's like the Pirates have a big empty loft with two pieces of quality furniture. The rest of the room is filled with hand-me-down junk and stuff picked up from the curb. In this setting, why cavil about whether or not Adam Dunn "matches" the existing decor? The existing decor is terrible. If the addition of Dunn or some other high-quality slugger makes the curtains look shabby, you can't blame the good stuff for that contrast.

Unless you love to live in squalor. If this is the case, you punctuate your half-baked rants on acquiring major-league hitters with a piss in the corner and a compliment for the curtains, which really aren't half bad considering they were free.

It's been Down and Out in PNC Park for many years; why should we expect change? I predict the Pirates mumble something about making some high-impact moves. And then do nothing or little. Real sluggers are expensive. Cardboard boxes are free, and they actually look good in what dirty light filters through the high-strikeout curtains.

NFL week 12: Steelers at Ravens

Time to see what makes these Ravens 8-2.