Saturday, December 16, 2006

More three-way action

The Gray Lady gets in on the fun.

I wonder: would you rather see Adam LaRoche or Melky Cabrera in a Pirates uniform? I will put my answer as the first comment.

A position of strength

Wow, you never know what you will read in Newsday.

Friday, December 15, 2006

DL defends title

Undeterred by the recent bewildering rash of pro-DL Stockholm syndrome, our guy Dave is relentlessly pulverizing Mike Flanagan and the other 28 GMs over at ESPN's GM rater. Like beer, victory tastes so good when it touches your lips.

Gonzo on block

And drawing heavy interest, Dejan reports. DL could save a lot of face if he could flip Gonzo for some talent. With six teams supposedly interested in Gonzo now, DL should be able to snag a puzzle piece.

In other news, Bucs signed 8 players to minor-league contracts. Mostly all dross to fill the voids that poor drafting has created. Allan Simpson strikes out a lot of batters and is tough on RHs, so he could conceivably contribute in the future to some ML team. Mike Edwards, younger stepson, was also signed.

New blogs

Rowdy let me monkey around with the template a bit. I added links for: new Pirates blogs A New Pirates Generation, Bucco Wire, Derek Bell Yacht Co., The Parrot, Pirates Roundtable, new Pittsburgh sports blogs The Confluence and Sportsocracy, and a new Steelers blog, Joey Porter's Pit Bulls. I added a few other links and deleted some inactive links. As always, let us know if you have any suggestions or complaints.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Webster wins

All hail one of my childhood heroes, the late Mike Webster, his family, and lawyers for winning their lawsuit against the NFL. The NFL's pension board had reclassified his brain damage disability to try to short him disability payments. Mike's life after football, detailed last year by Greg Garber at, was horrific to say the least. To escape the pain, Mike stunned himself to sleep with a Taser. We'll remember Iron Mike as a Champion, and the greatest center to have ever played.

Roundtable #3

The Pirates Roundtable #3 came out yesterday. This week the topic is wild speculation on the Bucs' minor leaguers. Please feel free to suggest better answers (which shouldn't be hard for my silly uninformed answers) or even to whine about the Roundtable's mere existence.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Cota and Chacon tendered

The worst hitting player and probably the worst starter in the majors will both return, Dejan reports. Chacon's 1.72 WHIP last year would've been the worst in MLB if he qualified. The worst five were Pineiro, Maholm, Trachsel, Redman, and Fogg. Pineiro, the worst pitcher by this measure, hasn't yet been affiliated with the Bucs. That could change though, as the Trib mentions that the recently non-tendered Joel might be targeted for the Bucs' fifth starter.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pirates grub pitcher from Dodgers

The team home page announces that the Pirates claimed one Frank-ellis Osoria off waivers, bringing the 40-man roster to forty men.

DL hellbent on wrecking 2007

Dejan has news, and it's not pretty. DK confirms Perrotto's rumor of yesterday, that the Bucs are indeed talking to 38-year-old Masumi Kuwata. In 2005, Kuwata was Yomiuri's white flag: 12 games, 0-7, 7.24 ERA, 1.77 WHIP. In 2006, Kuwata was limited to 11.2 IP, but stunk those up with a 1.71 WHIP. Kuwata has nothing to offer the Bucs other than a PR mirage that the Bucs are actively scouting Japanese talent, and his appearance on the radar is as unexpected as it is absurd.

In other news, the Bucs are pretending to still be in the running for Suppan. On a related note, Chacon is now likely to be tendered. Worst news is that "the Pirates have made offers to two free-agent hitters. One player they are known to be pursuing is Trot Nixon". We already went over this terrible idea. The second I'd guess is Huff, but this could get real ugly. Lastly, the truth behind Eldred being sent home comes out: "Escogido cut him after losing all six games in which he played." Ouch.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Freddy Sanchez Q & A

David Laurila has this at Baseball Prospectus. It's premium content, so you have to subscribe to read about Jason Bay's performance in the team's fantasy football league.

Bucs to sign Kuwata, new LaRoche deal?

John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times has two earthshaking rumors:

"The Pirates are close to filling their need for a veteran right-handed starter by signing long-time Japanese League pitcher Masumi Kuwata as a free agent, baseball sources from Japan told the Times on Monday.

Kuwata, 38, most recently pitched for the legendary Tokyo Giants and has 173 wins in his career."

Huh? But wait, there's more:
"the potential is still there for a multi-player deal, including a possibility in which the Pirates would send left-handed closer Mike Gonzalez, catcher Humberto Cota, second baseman Jose Castillo and outfielder Nate McLouth to the Braves for right-hander Kyle Davies and LaRoche."
I laughed out loud at that one. Is Perrotto just making stuff up today? I sure hope not.

Pirates Roundtable

The second Pirates Roundtable is now up. Today's topic is grading DL's Winter Meeting effort, or lack thereof. D or F? You be the judge.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ryan Church

What again was the knock on Church? He's older, yah, I think 28, but to me falls into that category of cock-blocked prospects--like our main man, Ryan Shealy. He's left-handed and plays center. Is it the strikeouts? I remember reading somewhere that the Pirates were only mildly interested. Or was it the asking price?

More NFL week 14

Here's the schedule for the seven-win teams in the AFC. Bengals host Raiders (1pm), Chiefs host Ravens (1pm), Jacksonville hosts Indy (1pm), Denver at San Diego (4pm), Jets host Buffalo (4pm). The Steelers' chance of getting a wild card at 9-7 are about zero, of course, but there's no harm in rooting against the gang of teams ahead of them.

Another Gonzo story

Terry Pluto reports for the Akron Beacon Journal that the Indians asked about Gonzo. The Pirates asked for Victor Martinez and offered catching prospects (Doumit?) in addition.

It's not good news that nothing has happened, but it is good news to hear that the Pirates are negotiating from their most obvious position of strength. If you subscribe to the notion that closing is not as hard as, say, hitting for power, then naturally you deal from the top of your pile of talented young relievers.

If they stick to such an asking price, someone at some point will make that trade. But you may have to wait until some one or two of the league's closers are injured in March or April.

Eldred, Castillo, the Stepson

Dejan Kovacevic reports some stuff for the PG.

First baseman Brad Eldred is back home from the Dominican Republic after going 1 for 18 with 10 strikeouts. He is healthy, agent Gavin Kahn said, so the explanation for his early departure is unclear. The Pirates had hoped he would take 100-150 at-bats there.

Sent home after going 1 for 18 with 10 strikeouts--do we need an explanation?

Teams want Jose Castillo, who is playing well (with plate discipline) in Venezuela. And Jose Hernandez will be available for that "veteran utility infielder job" the Pirates describe as a burning need.