Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Mark Redman to Royals for Jonah Bayliss

All hail Jonah Bayliss! Whoever that is.

Trade details here.

Seeing that the Pirates acted so quickly to shed that extra Sean Casey payroll, it looks to me like they are hoarding the additional $15M or so budgeted for 2006. Perhaps for some top-secret purpose? I can think of one thing only: Manny Christmas!

Pure conjecture, of course, but I'll get out to the store for more beer right about now.

More Sean Casey thoughts

Not so giddy this morning, but I still like the trade. Looking through his career numbers, I see he does not have the power we need, this is true. He's no wimp, though. The 44 doubles in 2004 jump out at me - Casey is not a burner on the bases.

He looks due for some rebound in 2006. He's hit real well at PNC Park. I like the guy. The 1999 season obviously made a strong impression on me. The intervening years were not as productive as I would have guessed.

The Bucs need a top-level talent in the middle of the lineup. Casey is not, or has not been, a top-level talent recently. Of the second-tier guys, though, he's one of the better choices.

I am not high on Brad Eldred's ability to do more than hit seventh. Maybe now we go after Russell the Muscle, wedge him into a time-share at third, and trade one or more of our no-power utility players. I'm not sure where we go from here. We're still looking at a team that needs more power.

The Bucs will spend about an additional $5M for Casey in 2006. That's not a lot of money for a veteran player of Casey's stature. I'd rather see the team put all the extra payroll into bringing us a Manny Christmas, but that's not going to happen. I am not moved by the harping that the Pirates could have done better or more for the money this off-season. And I seriously doubt we could have done more or better with Dave Williams as trade bait.

I still call it a good, even a great, deal. It looks better with lots of beer but so does everything.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sean Casey a Pirate

Pending physicals, looks like the deal is done. The Cincinnati papers talked to him tonight.

All hail Sean Casey! I raise this Samuel Adams Black and Gold Lager to him. Nyar! If you don't have a beer in your hand, go get one. Root beer will do if you are under 21.

I'm a little giddy. Maybe it's the contrast to J.T. Snow rumors; maybe it's the Black Lager. Either way, I love the trade.

Pittsburgh has a new Mayor. You'll hear that a lot tomorrow. Welcome home, Sean Casey. This is a great move by David Littlefield. I will dedicate the next Black Lager to Dave. Good work, DL.

Casey is a great guy, as this kind of bio argues. They have loved this guy everywhere he has played. Not so much because he's a great guy who shakes hands and what not, but because he's a great player. He's been long capable of 900-1000 OPS seasons. There was a point at which he looked like a Hall of Famer. Had he stayed healthy his entire career, he'd be paid today like Bobby Abreu or Manny Ramirez. And yeah, this will be his walk year.

His power has come and gone with injuries, but even when injured, he's still been a useful high-OBP player. He hits left-handed, he wants to play in Pittsburgh, he plays first base: he's a good fit. I forget the exact details of his injuries. I've followed him, however, for fantasy sports reasons, and I don't remember his groin separating from the bone or his ankle protruding from his flesh. I'm pretty sure he'll be good to go for 2005. I'll look into all that stuff later in the week. I think he had a thumb problem one year and some shoulder surgery that he survived in good form.

I like the price. And that's a surprise: I'm ready to trade everbody so us keeping Ollie and Duke and Maholm, that's good news to me. Tomorrow we can trade them, with Kip Wells and Mark Redman and Josh Fogg, for Manny Ramirez.

One last thing. All hail Dave Williams. He'll be good for the Reds I'm sure. I'd far rather have him in my rotation than Eric Milton or Ramon Ortiz. Wouldn't you? Depending on your opinion of Aaron Harang, you might even regard Dave Williams as the new ace of their staff.

But no doubt our cup of left-handed soft-tossers runneth over. He'll help them more than he would help us. If I'm a Reds fan, I like the trade I think.

Sean Casey for Dave Williams

Rotoworld is reporting (via that the Pirates are close to acquiring the Mayor for Dave Williams. I hope so.

Cards after Mueller

STLToday reports Jocketty wants Mueller to replace Grudz.

Trot Nixon

From the Hartford Courant:

The Red Sox are also talking to the Pirates about a trade involving Trot Nixon for either Kip Wells or Mark Redman.

D'oh! Learned this from Rotoworld.

Another rumor

Jason Michaels for Mark Redman.

Swing your sword

A reader sent me a copy of this Michael Lewis article on Coach Leach of Texas Tech. Lewis is the Moneyball author; Leach looks like this, if we are to believe Lewis's portrait.

Lewis strikes me as the kind of writer who is so good, he's bad. But I won't be a dick and belittle the piece. There are, however, great passages about pirates and Steeler football, so I think you'll enjoy it too. Here's a taste:

His 45-second pregame speech set a certain tempo, but he had one final thing to say:

"Your body is your sword. Swing your sword."

Each off-season, Leach picks something he is curious about and learns as much as he can about it: Geronimo, Daniel Boone, whales, chimpanzees, grizzly bears, Jackson Pollock. The list goes on, and if you can find the common thread, you are a step ahead of his football players. One year, he studied pirates. When he learned that a pirate ship was a functional democracy; that pirates disciplined themselves; that, loathed by others, they nevertheless found ways to work together, the pirate ship became a metaphor for his football team. Last year, after a loss to Texas A.&M. in overtime, Leach hauled the team into the conference room on Sunday morning and delivered a three-hour lecture on the history of pirates. Leach read from his favorite pirate history, "Under the Black Flag," by David Cordingly (the passages about homosexuality on pirate ships had been crossed out). The analogy to football held up for a few minutes, but after a bit, it was clear that Coach Leach was just . . . talking about pirates. The quarterback Cody Hodges says of his coach: "You learn not to ask questions. If you ask questions, it just goes on longer."

Winter meeting rumors

The Bucs have extended an offer to free-agent 3B Bill Mueller, who has narrowed his choice between the Bucs and Dodgers. Go west, old Bill, go west. Mueller's a fine player, but doesn't possess the middle-of-the-lineup power the Bucs need.

DK's got the story on Milton Bradley and Olmedo Saenz. Ouch (x2). No thanks. DK also mentions Overbay and Casey as two other players the Bucs have expressed interest in.

Ed Eagle serves it up. He discusses Lyle Overbay as a possible 1B acquisition. I like Lyle. My winter meeting dream sequence features the Bucs adding Troy Glaus, Wily Mo Pena, and Lyle Overbay.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Another Winter meetings preview

Dejan Kovacevic.

Third base is not the problem. The problem is the need for a cleanup hitter who homers and doubles any time, every where, day in and day out.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Hits left-handed, plays outfield

Rob Rossi with the extended interview of Littlefield.

One of many interesting things in there is what I see as DL clarifying the whole not-in-the-A-market comment. Looks to me like he's saying the best players won't come to Pittsburgh, like the issue with acquiring a Manny is not money so much as Manny not wanting to play here on this team.

Steeler D looks ordinary again today. Sad.


It's a beautiful day for Steeler football.

Thank you John Perrotto

Trade dope on the eve of the Winter Meetings.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Neil Walker's wrist

Neil had wrist surgery, DK reports. Apparently, he tore a wrist ligament Nov. 9 swinging in the AFL, but is expected to be fully healed and ready by mid-February, in time for spring training.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Colts cheat

Well, this explains everything.

No free drinks

The news gets worse.

"If the Pittsburgh Pirates were to offer free drinks to prospective season ticket holders, we would blast them for thinking their product could not be marketed to the sober," he said.

Story here.

Nomar Garciaparra

Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review says the mystery man is Nomar.

The Pirates probably wouldn't have to commit to a long-term deal to sign Garciaparra.

His willingness to switch positions could be taken as a sign he's seeking a short-term contract with a club to prove his worth over a couple of seasons before once again testing the free-agent market.

Hmmm. This is a guy with a big name and some serious & seriously recent injuries. He's no solution; he's just another longshot. We tried a gang of longshots in 2004 and 2005, and we saw what happened when some (Bay, Ollie, Duke) come through big-time.

"Right now, we're not in the A-grade market (for free agents)," Littlefield said. "One thing we always try hard to do is find some undervalued players. It's a risky way of doing business. It's not really the way you want to do business, but you always have to supplement."

D'oh! I understand what he's saying there, but the roster is overcrowded with "undervalued" players.

I'd still be looking for a sure thing who could step in and hit cleanup for the next two or three years. You have to score more runs than the other team if you want to win in this league. Signing Garciaparra won't take a lot of money or cost us any prospects. It merely clogs a roster spot that could have been used for a lesser-known longshot.

No Manny

I'm used to Rowdy's tongue-in-cheek hyperbole, so I didn't think he seriously thought we could pursue Manny. But I don't agree with the general sentiment that we should mortgage the future for a slugger to help us approach .500 for the next two years. Rowdy might be right that players should never be expected to produce more than 2 years in advance. And yes, we have an excess of young pitching talent and should trade some of this for hitters. But given that the minors are largely devoid of position player talent, where will signing a Manny-type for the next couple years really get us?

Maybe it'd generate more money by having a mediocre rather than a league-worst team, and that money could be poured back into the payroll. I doubt that would happen under the current ownership. Maybe instead we should try to get cheaper younger guys like Ryan Church, Lastings Milledge, Wily Mo Pena, Austin Kearns, or Adam Dunn.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Manny Ramirez

How do we trade for Manny Ramirez? Manny could be Manny in Pittsburgh. He was better in Cleveland than Boston.

He is owed $57M for the next three seasons. How much can we increase payroll for this year? I'd be reluctant to trade for someone with a long-term contract, but three years is not overlong by today's standards. Free agents like Manny can easily get three or many more. So this may be the only chance - through trade, mid-contract - to get a non-homegrown hitter of Manny's caliber in Pittsburgh. And note Jason Bay will probably be out of Pittsburgh before we grow our own Manny Ramirez. He is that good.

If the Pirates increase payroll by say $15M over the next three years, that's $45M. We take on that part of the contract and slide Boston whatever prospects they want for the remainder.

If the last four years of Jason Bay's pre-arb and arb-eligible years are worth $18M, five years of Zach Duke should more than compensate for the missing $12M. Maybe we give them Duke for Manny at $14M per year. My people can talk to your people and they can work out the little details.

Manny Ramirez would lay waste the NL Central pitching staffs.

some eBay items

Nice stuff on eBay this morning.

1909 Real Photo card.

1908 Card.

1935 the "other" Pirates.

1960 Yearbook.

Of course, I'm not the seller of any of that stuff. And I can't afford that stuff either. I just like to "enjoy it in the store," as a friend's mother used to say.