Saturday, December 30, 2006
The offer is believed to be for three years and $20 million, the newspaper reported.
Huff is expected to take a physical next week in Baltimore. Huff has a .285 career average at Camden Yards and has batted .297 against the Orioles over his seven seasons in the majors. He has more home runs (20) and RBI (63) against Baltimore than against any other team.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
The Internet and radio rumors went as far as to say that Gonzo was in New York to have a physical with the Yankees, a suggestion that Gonzo quickly denied.
"I've been right here with my folks getting ready to enjoy Christmas," Gonzalez said Saturday by phone from Deer Park, Texas in suburban Houston. "I've heard the trade rumors just like everyone else. I don't pay much attention but my buddies tell me about them. But nobody has approached me and said I'm being traded to the Yankees or any other team."
"Gonzo Gate" has spiraled somewhat out of control on the Internet and on the radio, with no one believed to have any actual and factual "inside" information. Understandably a big trade involving the Pirates is a nice Christmas present for Pirate fans, but the overblown reports before anything is announced are beginning to cloud the situation.
In other Pirate-related news, the Brewers have come to terms with Jeff Suppan on a four-year deal. According to published reports the deal is worth 42 million over the length of the contract.
This continues the trend of the Pirates announcing their interest in a popular free agent, only to come up with a sub-par offer and never really be in the race for the player's services. Suppan wanted a four-year deal out of the gate and the Pirates made it known they offered only two years. This deal also opens another door for Shawn Chacon to become the fifth starter for the Pirates, a move that I personally believe is a tremendous mistake on the Pirates behalf.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
The three team deal involving the Pirates, Braves and Yankees has hit a serious snag because the Braves are asking for Castillo and Gonzo from the Pirates so they can then move Gonzo to the Yanks for the Cabrera and Proctor. The Braves would end up with Castillo, Proctor and Cabrera and that seems to be too rich for the Yanks.
The Pirates signed catcher Einar Diaz yesterday, possibly putting an end to Humberto Cota's run with the Pirates.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Nothing really new out of the Gonzo talks but any national talk about the Pirates is good national talk.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
The Pirates have also agreed to terms with Japanese pitcher Masumi Kawata, 38. Kuwata spent the past 21 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants. He will turn 39 on April 1, the day before the Pirates' season-opener against Houston. Kawata is one of the top 20 strikeout pitchers in Japanese baseball history.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Houston Astros - Jeff Bagwell, one of the greatest Astros ever, retired this week. Made one of the biggest moves so far this winter acquiring Jason Jennings from the Rockies, but were forced to give up Willy Taveras and two top pitching prospects. Lost Andy Pettitte to the Yankees and could lose Roger Clemens as well. Lost reliever Russ Springer, who signed with the Cardinals. Outfielder Luke Scott appears to be the Astros biggest trading chip with teams like the Tigers chasing the 28 year-old fiercely. Milwaukee Brewers - The Brewers are considering trading Geoff Jenkins and are pursuing Jeff Suppan. Despite reports of a move to center field, Rickie Weeks will be staying at second base. Have an open interest in Rockies infielder Clint Barmes, but there are contradicting reports on what they are willing to give up and if they really have a serious interest in him.
St. Louis Cardinals - The defending champs re-signed Aaron Miles and non-tendered Rick Ankiel. Outfielder Juan Encarnacion had surgery on his left wrist but is expected to be ready for spring training. Signed Russ Springer away from Astros. Cards are still in the hunt for pitcher Mark Mulder and have interest in Joel Pinerio and Brad Penny, who could be available through trade. Are interested in Jayson Werth, who is a free agent.
Friday, December 15, 2006
The 25-year-old backstop has been as consistent a hitter in the Mexican Winter League as there is, hitting .323 since the calendar flipped to December. That figure has been bumped up considerably thanks to his current four-game hitting streak, where he has gone 7-for-15 (.467) with a home run over that span. For the year, Doumit is hitting .292 with six homers and 16 RBIs in 35 games while putting together a respectable .390 on-base percentage for Venados de Mazatlan.
MLB.com updates the rest of the Pirates playing winter ball.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The Beaver County Times says that the Diamondbacks have inquired about Gonzo and is offering Chad Tracy. Perrotto also says the Bucs may be interested in signing Joel Pineiro or Jerome Williams.
Would the Pirates considering trading for Broussard? The avenues to find Mr. McThump have been drying up lately, but Broussard could provide an almost mini-McThump. He doesn't exactly fit the bill, he will be 29 for the entire season and has never clubbed more than 21 homers in a season, but he also hasn't hit less than 16 since 2003. He also hasn't had 500 at-bats in a season. Had he got 500-plus last year, he would have been on pace for 25 bombs.
With the Marniers trading Rafael Soriano to the Braves, the M's could seek bullpen help, which we all know the Pirates are willing and able to move.
On the Mike Gonzalez trade front, this article gives off the belief that Brian Cashman is considering including Melky Cabrera in a trade with the Pirates.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
The Yankees are calling about Gonzo, Torres and John Grabow, but sources inside the talks say the Yanks don't match up as well with the Pirates as they do with other teams.
The Diamondbacks have inquired about Gonzo and all 4 of the starters but it is not known what they would be offering in return.
Osoria, a 25-year-old right-hander, split last season between the Dodgers and Class AAA Las Vegas. In Los Angeles, he had a 7.13 ERA in 12 appearances. In the minors, he had a 4.35 ERA in 44 appearances.
Since the Adam LaRoche talks went public and the Pirates made it known that Mike Gonzalez was available for the right price, teams have been stepping up to the plate for the left-hander. The Yankees are interested but reportedly won't offer Melky Cabrera, who is believed to be the most coveted piece of the puzzle from the Pirates view. The Red Sox are also interested and are said to be dangling Coco Crisp.
Jeff Suppan coming to the Bucs? PG Columnist Ron Cook doesn't believe it's real.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Today in the Post-Gazette, Dejan is reporting that Pirates have proposed a two-year deal to pitcher Jeff Suppan. This is not the disappointing part. That would be the fact that Suppan is looking for a 4 or 5 year deal and the Pirates do not want to commit money to a pitch beyond 2008, basically putting themselves on the outskirts of this bidding war.
The Pirates are still talking to the Phillies about Jon Lieber.
The Pirates and Red Sox are believed to be the only two teams interested in Masumi Kuwata, a pitcher for the past 21 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan's top league. He is 38 and the minor league deal the Pirates are offering might not even be enough to get Kuwata a Visa for the United States.
The Pirates are apparently going to tender Shawn Chacon, possibly the last player I want to see become the fifth starter in 2007, but that is just my opinion.
The Pirates have definitely made offers to two free-agent hitters. One could very well be Trot Nixon, who spent last season with the Red Sox. Ugh.
Monday, December 11, 2006
The Pirates have until midnight Tuesday to tender Cota and avoid having to try and sign him through free agency.
Cota is playing winter ball in his native Mexico and went into the weekend hitting .261 with six homers and 21 RBIs in 36 games for Hermosillo.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
1. Trade Damaso Marte to the Phillies for Jon Lieber. This would fulfill DL's need for a right handed starter in the rotation and would come at a relatively cheap price for the Pirates, who have a plethora of late-inning relievers.
2. Trade Jose Castillo. The Pirates have made it known they want an everyday position for Freddy Sanchez, and seeing as though he won the Batting Title in 2006, that is probably not a bad idea. That position could be second base if they choose to move Castillo to the outfield or trade him.
3. Sign Jose Hernandez. The Pirates still need to fill out their bench, Hernandez will come pretty cheap and we all know Hernandez has a fan on the bench in manager Jim Tracy.
Friday, December 08, 2006
MLB.com has named McCutchen the 15th best prospect in all of baseball. The following is the excerpt from the website about McCutchen:
2006 stats: [A] .291 BA/ .356 OBP/ .446 SLG [AA] .308 BA/ .379 OBP/ .474 SLG2006 Club: Hickory/Altoona ETA in Majors: 2008 2005 Final Rank: NRHe's done nothing but hit since his debut in the summer of 2005 and he jumped on the fast track with an impressive leap to Double-A at the end of this season. His power has come faster than people expected, too.
Thompson has just 30 major league at-bats, but has compiled nine hits, three of which are doubles and one home run. He turned 27 this past September.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Dejan reports here as well, that the prices for Spring Training tickets for the Pirates have gone up.
IN OTHER NEWS: Both the Trib and PG report about Littlefield leaving the winter meetings empty handed. The Beaver County Times reports the same thing, too.
(UPDATE) John Perrotto over at the Beaver County Times has a different version of what's actually happening down at the winter meetings with these deals. Also, if you'd like a recap of all the different versions of these stories, check out Honest Wagner's last few posts. It's quite a story.)
The Pirates, however, took two right-handed pitchers in the minor league phase of the draft -- Moises Robles from the Mets and Kevin Cave from the Marlins. (Robles interests me. I'm not sure on Cave.)
IN OTHER NEWS:
Littlefield stands by the word that he wasn't slow to react on the Adam LaRoche deal, according to the Post-Gazette.
Let's run through this. A couple of holes to fill is left-handed power from first base or right field. Two rumored deals involved the Pirates for a player to fill each of those positions -- 1B Adam LaRoche and OF Brad Hawpe. If I'm Dave Littlefield, I would have made both of these deals happen somehow, but we all know the type of GM that Dave really is, especially after the reports coming out of Atlanta as to why a deal wasn't done with the Braves.
Mike Gonzalez for Adam LaRoche should have been a no-brainer. You have got to give up something to get something. An sub-.500 team shouldn't value a closer this highly. The Braves, a playoff contender, would have used Gonzalez in the setup role -- not even as their closer. LaRoche would have solved first base for the Pirates and is a good enough bat to smack a good 25+ home runs (remember this game?) out of PNC Park.
I have a difference of opinion on Hawpe than some other people. Sure, he plays half of his home games in Coors Field, but, if you look at Hawpe's splits, he's been much better on the road. In his career at home, he's hitting .270 with 12 HRs and 71 RBIs in 440 ABs. Away from Coors Field, however, he's hit .284 with 22 HRs and 69 RBIs in 469 ABs. I see this next year as Hawpe's breakout season. He made his name known last year and is now ready for the next step -- like his teammate Matt Holliday, who took a couple seasons to break out. The major difference, though, between the two...Holliday hits .348 at Coors and hits nothing on the road. If Maholm wasn't enough for the Rockies, I would have sweetened the pot. Throw in another reliever they need, we have tons. Anything to make it happen. Plus, with both guys being lefties, right-handed Xavier Nady could have spelled both in either position on any given day.
If any bit of opportunity was there for the Pirates to come back from Florida with Adam LaRoche and Brad Hawpe in their lineup, then it needed to happen. While some people may say that opportunity wasn't there (and we may never know the truth), I have a feeling that if it was, Littlfield wouldn't have gotten the job done.
Freddy Sanchez, Brad Hawpe, Jason Bay, Adam LaRoche... that's actually a decent middle of the lineup. Oh what could have been.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Apparently John Schuerholz and the Braves have now turned their attention to a trade with the Seattle Mariners, because, according to Schuerholz, Dave Littlefield and the Pirates took too long to make a decision and the Pirates believe the Braves were too concerned with Gonzalez's arm condition after missing the end of the 2006 season.
If this "deal" really does fall through, it should stand as an extreme disappointment for Pirates fans. Another Dave Littlefield bomb that will leave the Pirates no better than they were when they left for the Winter Meetings. What bothers me the most, is that if you are going to take the stance that you can't afford the market and you must upgrade through trade, then you can't be afraid to make them. If you want good players, trade good players to get them. If the Pirates could have left the meetings with Hawpe in right for Maholm and LaRoche at first for Gonzo, those are changes that should have been made, albeit if those trades were available.
It appears most likely that the Pirates will leave Florida without anything significant done and for Pirates fans, that in itself is significant enough.
Lilly, 30, has a career 59-58 record in eight major-league seasons with Montreal, the Yankees, Oakland and Toronto. He went 15-13 with a 4.31 ERA for the Blue Jays last season.
Between Soriano, Ramirez and Lilly, the Cubs have committed $251 million dollars this off-season.
Rob Biertempfel, of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, throws Ryan Church's name back out into the mix as well in his story. His notebook shows Phil Garner beginning to worry about the Buccos next season.
John Perrotto, of the Beaver County Times, says that Pirates could pursue the aforementioned LaRoche, or Chad Tracy.
Ed Eagle has some notes as well at the Official Site.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
IN OTHER NEWS:
Dejan Kovacevic reports that Cuban defector Yuslan Herrera is ready to finalize is three-year deal with the Pirates.
Kovacevic also mentions the possibility of the Pirates trading for Atlanta's Adam LaRoche or making a pitch for Trot Nixon.
And John Perrotto assures us that Barry Bonds will not be back as a Pirate.
Monday, December 04, 2006
The Pirates have shown interest in Atlanta Braves First Baseman Adam LaRoche but the Braves had not made it known that he is available and the price tag would almost certainly include closer Mike Gonzalez.
The Pirates are not one of the teams considered to be in the running for Rockies starter Jason Jennings, who is apparently on the trade block. However it is my opinion that Jennings could be a good fit for the Pirates. Although Jennings is a free agent after 2007, if the Pirates could trade for him and then sign him, I would be impressed. I will admit that the rumored price tag for Jennings, a starting pitcher and center fielder, is a bit steep.
Authors from most of the blogs got together to do a little Pirates Roundtable Discussion. It's a great read.
(Update: The Bucco Wire will take part in the Pirates Roundtable Discussion from now on. That's pretty exciting stuff.)
What the Pirates could really use, however, is a young, powerful and left-handed bat. The PG's Dejan Kovacevic writes more about this mystery man and who it might actually be.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
So far this Winter, Bayliss has continued to increase his stock as a possible closer in the making. Pitching for Caribes in Venezuela, Bayliss has four saves and a 1.46 ERA in 12 innings so far this off-season.
The Pirates acquired Bayliss and righty reliever Chad Blackwell from the Royals in a trade for veteran lefthander Mark Redman at the Winter Meetings last year.
On the flip side of the chart, Pirates Minor League Pitcher Shane Youman left his winter club in Venezuela after complaints of a sore arm. In three innings, Youman allowed 10 hits and eight runs over two starts.
The Pirates are expected to spend somewhere in the range of 50 million on their 2007 payroll but will be guaranteed over 60 million stemming from media contracts and a one time payout from the sale of the Washington Nationals organization.
In the same article Dejan Kovacevic makes the argument that the Pirates would benefit on multiple fronts to sign Jeff Suppan or Tomo Ohka to solidify their rotation. Both pitchers should be able to be counted on for 200 innings and a signing would eliminate the risk of trading one of the Pirates young stars.
In his Hot Stove notebook, Dejan reports that both Jose Castillo and Ryan Doumit are having excellent winters at the plate, but both are doing it out of position. Castillo has been playing the outfield in Venezuela and Doumit has been playing almost exclusively at first base in Mexico. With the Pirates wish to start Freddy Sanchez at second base, it is possible the Pirates could try Castillo in the outfield.
The Cardinals are looking for a closer in order to move Adam Wainwright to the rotation and that said closer could come from the Pirates, who could be interested in outfielder/first basemen Chris Duncan, who hit 22 home runs in only 280 at bats last season.
Finally, PG columnist Gene Collier makes another, yet separate, push for the Pirates to sign Jeff Suppan with some sensible arguments.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Since our blog is off to a late start in the off-season, I'll post up numbers from the Pirates prospects that took part in the Arizona Fall League this season. The league plays home to many of the game's top prospects and provides, typically, the toughest challenge for each kid thus far in their respective career.
RHP Jesse Chavez was named to the all-prospect team after finishing 3-0 with 4 saves and 0.64 ERA in 12 games.
LHP Dave Davidson (2-2, 5.17 ERA - nine games, three starts)
LHP Josh Shortslef (0-1, 2.65 ERA - six games, five starts)
RHP Brian Rogers (2-0, 0.00 ERA - six games)
C Neil Walker (.290 AVG, 0 HR, 8 RBI - 18 games)
1B Brad Eldred (.231 AVG, 1 HR, 8 RBI - 18 games)
2B Craig Stansberry (.128 AVG, 1 HR, 9 RBI - 22 games)
Thursday, November 30, 2006
The Baseball Analysts attempt to quantify minor league defensive numbers from play-by-play data. Charlie notes the errors that could happen in a study like this, but, as he says, it's nice someone is giving it a try.
And take a look at the best defensive shortstops in the minor leagues. No. 7 and No. 8 are Pirate prospects, Brent Lillibridge and Brian Bixler, respectively.
The site also has its list of Top 10 Pirates prospects. After the top three, a Pirates list becomes very interesting in the difference of opinions. Matt and I will post a Top 10 list in the near future. Be on the lookout for it.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Also, managing the State College Spikes will be Turner Ward. I always liked his style of play when he was around, though it was only for a short ime.
Props to Pirates55555 for the making and uploading of this onto YouTube. Enjoy!
Dave Littlefield, the Pirates' General Manager. Larry Dobrow of CBS SportsLine tries to save the franchise, despite everything wrong Littlefield has done up to this point.
Ohka, 30, went 4-5 with a 4.82 ERA in 18 starts for the Milwaukee Brewers last season, one in which he missed two months to a shoulder impingement. Over eight years, he has a 48-57 record and 4.04 ERA.
With the market for pitchers the way it is this off-season, it seems as though the money that Ohka will command will stun many for a guy who's career record is below .500. The Cubs have reportedly offered Jason Schmidt 44 mill over 3 years, that's almost 15 per. The Phillies have given Adam Eaton 8 mill a year for the next 3. If the Pirates are going to sign Ohka or Suppan, they will most likely have to cough up around 20 mill over the next 3 years. That's the business of baseball right now, like it or not and the Pirates most certainly do not like it. I have to imagine that Suppan will command a higher price and more suitors than Ohka, therefore you would think that Ohka would be more of a possibility for the Bucs. However, Suppan has publicly stated that he loved his time in Pittsburgh and that his affection for the city would play a part in his decision.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
The Cardinals also have come to terms with starting pitcher Kip Wells, who spent parts of last year with the Pirates and Rangers. Wells is expected to take one of the vacant spots in the Cards rotation. Terms of the deal are not yet available.
The Florida Marlins have expressed a serious interest in Chris Duffy, a move that would fill their void in centerfield. A possible deal would most likely include left-handed first basemen Mike Jacobs, who hit 20 home runs in just 136 games in 2006.
The Colorado Rockies have also been mentioned as possible trading partners with the Pirates stemming from their interest in one of the Pirates' young coveted starters. The most recent rumor would have Paul Maholm heading to the Rockies for Brad Hawpe, who could play first base or right field.