Saturday, January 26, 2008

New guys

Looking at the 40-man roster and the list of NRIs, I see a bunch of names that aren't so familiar with the Pirate uniform:

Olivo Astacio
Jimmy Barthmaier
Ronald Belisario
Phil Dumatrait
Kevin Thompson
T.J. Beam
Adam Bernero
Hector Carrasco
Elmer Dessens
Casey Fossum
Mike Thompson
Jaret Wright
Raul Chavez
Michel Hernandez
Miguel Perez
Jorge Velandia
Jose Macias

Odds are that some of these people will get some PT this year. Which one(s) do you think will perform well enough, or be in the right place at the right time enough, to get some big-league playing time?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How to spend money wisely

Dejan Kovacevic links today to his older story about Mickey White.

If it only takes $0.25M to sign the likes of Ian Snell and Nate McLouth at the end of the draft -- that was fifth-round pick money for 20-something rounders -- obviously that's a place where the Pirates could gain an advantage on the higher-payroll teams. When you consider that a "proven veteran" costs about $8.0M per year to contribute mediocrity and stifle the promotions of younger players promising a potentially greater upside, it makes no sense NOT to spend like a drunken sailor on draft day.

The Pirates have been taking one for the team on draft day for most of our recent memory. They've been suckers, holding down costs for the Yankees and Red Sox.

The draft is one place where we can really see the team's true priorities.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New scouting director

Dejan Kovacevic writes a lot about Greg Smith, the Pirates' new scouting director, and what all he says about what all to do with what all the picks the Pirates are going to have.

Sounds good to me, but I think I will reserve judgment until I see some results. Also I'm curious how WTM would translate all that scouting drafting talk.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kirk Alyn

Over the long weekend, I spent some hours watching the 1948 Superman serials with five-year-old daughter Rowdietta.

She was skeptical at first. When she saw it was not animated, her response was: "Oh, you mean this is not Superman, but people dressed up pretending to be Superman?" Then she was drawn in. She's a huge fan, this week at least, and she looks forward to seeing the final five episodes tonight and tomorrow.

I experienced a weird cognitive dissonance watching Kirk Alyn prance into the bushes to don his Superman longjohns. There was something about his appearance that puzzled me.

Can you see where I'm going with this?

Weird, huh?

Monday, January 21, 2008

El Toro Academy

The Post-Gazette has details of the plans and tomorrow's ground-breaking.

Bones predicted the Pirates might find a way to screw this up, and he suggested they might, for example, build the academy on top of cursed ancient burial grounds, Poltergeist-style. Ever since, I've had this recurring nightmare with Spanish-speaking zombies clawing their way, mid-game, out of right field.

I see nothing in the Post-Gazette article to put these fears to rest. Perhaps one of the crack reporters for the PG can look into it. A question like this would get the investigation started: "Excuse me, Mr. Nutting, but have the Pirates taken every due diligence to ensure they are not building this academy on a cursed ancient burial ground?"