On Monday’s edition of Hot Stove on MLB Network, the analysis’s played the game “Over/Under”. If you are a frequent watcher of the network, you are aware of the game the guys play.
Greg Amsinger’s question involved the Bucs: Will the Pirates lose 100 games in 2011? Over or Under?
Ron Gant, who was a guest analyst on the show Monday, said: “Under. I played for Clint Hurdle. He was our hitting instructor while I was in Colorado. He is going to relate to the young players, they have a young athletic ball club. I think they are going to go out there and compete game in and game out.”
Harold Reynolds: “I’m saying under. I’m feeling Clint. Go get em’ Clint Hurdle! I think Pittsburgh is going in the right direction. He’s there at the right time, I think they are going to be under.”
Mitch Williams: “Clint, I love ya. The only thing I hope you lose is that salmon colored suit. I think they are going to lose over. It does not have to do with their young position player talent. It has to do with their lack of pitching in their starting rotation and in their bullpen. I still think they are a couple of years away from not losing 100.”
It should be added, The Pirates have lost more than 100 games only twice in their last 55 seasons.
According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Pirates have re-signed Tyler Yates to a minor league contract.
Yates missed the entire 2010 season and most of the 2009 season due to his second Tommy John Surgery.
Yates, 33, pitched in just 15 games for the Bucs in the 2009 season, going 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA. He allowed 14 hits, 12 runs (10 earned) through 12 innings. He last pitched for the Pirates on May 15th, 2009.
Drafted in the 23rd round of the 1998 draft by the Oakland Athletics, Yates was acquired from the Braves in May of 2008 for minor league pitcher Todd Redmond.
Yates, in five major league seasons, has a career 5.12 ERA.
The Pirates currently have 41 men on the roster after announcing the signing of Kevin Correia on Friday. A player needs to be taken off and it appeared that the move would be made on Monday, but that is not the case.
The Bucs appear to have a trade in the works, which would make sense of the delay in roster moves.
Update: Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosh reports: I’m told that MLB/agent haven’t made one of the signings official yet. When it’s official, a roster move will be made.
Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answered fans questions in the final inbox of 2010. You can read the entire chat here.
With the signings of Overbay and Diaz, what are the Pirates plans with John Bowker?
If Doumit remains with the club, Bowker’s best shot at making the Major League club will be earning a spot as the team’s fifth outfielder. If Doumit is dealt before Spring Training, Bowker could be the Pirates’ fourth outfielder.
While the Pirates were pleased with Bowker’s showing last September, the reality is that he has never had sustained success at the Major League level. It was too risky for the club to have to count on Bowker to play in a semi-regular role given the lack of proven results above Triple-A.
Who do you see getting the closer’s job in 2011?
This was a question asked of general manager Neal Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle at the Winter Meetings, and both avoided tipping their hand as to which way the club is leaning. Huntington said it is a decision that should be made before Spring Training, though he added that there could be a scenario in which both Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek are used in the closer’s role. Hurdle said that he would prefer to pick one defined closer.
While I can see benefits of going to either one, I’d have to guess that the Pirates are going to go with Hanrahan. He has previous experience in the role and has a particularly nasty two-pitch mix that netted him 100 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings.
The Pirates signed infielder Josh Fields to a minor league contract on Monday with an invite to spring training.
Fields, 28, was non-tendered by the Kansas city Royals in early December.
Fields missed most of the 2010 season, recovering from hip surgery that he had in April. He played in 13 games, post surgery, where he went 15-for-49 (.306 avg) with three homers and six RBIs.
He has appeared in the majors each of the past five seasons –his best came in 2007 where he played in 100 games and hit 23 home runs.
A former first round draft pick (18th overall) in the 2004 draft by the Chicago White Sox, Fields is a career .234 hitter.
Fields can play first, third and left field. He will compete for a spot on the Pirates roster as a utility player.
Chan Ho Park will be finishing his career in Japan, as he signs with the Orix Buffaloes, according to Yonhap News Agency (Park earlier this year said he would like to retire in his native Korea).
After struggling with the Yankees during the first half of the 2010 season (he posted a 5.60 ERA), he was designated for assignment. The Pirates claimed the veteran off waivers and he finished the season with a 2-2 record and a respectable 3.49 ERA.
Park leaves the states with the most major league wins by a Korean born pitcher at 124. He passed Hideo Nomo on October 1st.
In 17 major league seasons with eight different teams, Park had a 4.36 ERA, 1,715 strike outs, 10 complete games and three shutouts.
Update: Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Trib reports: Pirates would be interested in pavano if price/years are right.
John Perrotto of Baseball prospectus reports: Keep hearing rumblings that the Pirates might jump in on Carl Pavano.
Pavano, who pitched for the Twins in 2010, went 17-11 with a 3.75 ERA. Through 222.1 innings pitched he walked 37 and struck out 117. In 12 big league seasons, Pavano is 97-89 with a 4.34 ERA.
Bucco closer Joel Hanrahan’s high school jersey was retired on Friday at his former school–Norwalk High, in Iowa.
Hanrahan chatting with kids in first and second grade.
Kids lining up to ask Hanrahan questions.
Hanrahan talking to the Norwalk high school baseball team.
Pictures curiosity of Mark Harahan.
Hanrahan also chatted with 1460 KXNO in Des Moines where he discussed Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies, on the Nationals future, his arbitration process and why he enjoys chatting with fans on twitter. You can listen to the entire interview here.
On if 2010 was his best year: “For a full year, yeah. I feel like my half year in Pittsburgh was really good, after I left Washington. Obviously, I would have loved to have my ERA a little bit lower. I had one game where I gave up six runs in one inning. But the accomplishments I’ve had likegetting the 100 strike outs, was awesome for me. I don’t know if that’s a big deal for anybody else. I felt like that was pretty neat. I felt that pitching in 72 games was also good. Especially after missing the first week and really missing all of spring training. “
On his mentality as a reliever compared to when he was a starter: “Everyday is different. You never know. And that’s the beauty of being a reliever. You go to the park and you know you have a chance to play. Where as a starter, you pitch once every fifth day. As a bullpen guy, you never know what your job is going to be that day. You may have to come in and pitch six outs, finish up a one-hitter. That’s kind of the beauty, you never know what is going to happen. It brings some excitement and you got to be ready everyday.”
On National League pitching, and how he studies the players he faces: “We do a scouting report the first game of every series. They can tell you what Ryan Howard is hitting on a 0-1 breaking ball, when it’s 72 degrees and partly cloudy (laughs). They have stats for everything. Being around for a couple years, facing a lot of the same guys, you start to know what the hitters want to do and are looking for.
On how he gets Albert Pujols out: “You just really got to mix it up with him. He’s one of the best hitters in the game –if not the best. You gotta be aggressive and challenge him. Show that you’re not scared.”
On Pittsburgh: “Pittsburgh has been through a lot. I feel bad for what the fans have gone through. That’s part of the motivation though. You want to be a part of that team that brings a winning season back to them. I went to a Steelers game and a Penguins game this year, and it was ridiculous. People were fighting before the game even started, that’s how passionate they are. I feel like once we starting winning in Pittsburgh, it’s gonna be like that for baseball games.”
Hanrahan on how the Pirates will decide who will close next year: “I really have no idea what they are going to make that evaluation on. I know they want to make a decision before spring training. The main thing they are going to look for; who’s the most consistent. I think it’s going to have a lot to do with the past. And who they feel more comfortable with. I talk to Evan [Meek] once every two weeks and we don’t really look at it as a competition. We wanna win. We want to do what’s best for the team. We feel like we can be the top 8-9 combo, whichever way it goes.”
On the rumors that Ryan Doumit will be traded: “I hope it’s not [true}. I'm a fan of Ryan Doumit. We get along pretty well, on and off the field. I hope Doumit's still around. He's looking for a bounce back year, that's for sure."
On Pirates new skipper: "Clint Hurde is going to be great. I met him at the Steelers game. He did a great job [with the Rockies], same with Texas. Led those guys to the World Series as the hitting coach. He’s very motivational, very passionate about what he’s doing and he really wants to win, wants to turn this thing around. He’s been sending me a motivational text message everyday with a different quote. He’s in this for the long haul. I think he’s going to be great with our young guys and getting them motivated and keeping them going for 162 games.”
On offseason conditioning: “I took off October. I was in DC for a little bit. Then, moved back down to Texas and starting working out November 1st. I’m up at 7:30 every morning, I workout at eight for about two hours. I started throwing December 1st. Once I get back from the holidays, I’ll get back in the throwing program a little bit. After New Years, I’ll starting throwing off the mound every once in a while. I have a Pirates mini-camp going on in January. Then going to Pittsburgh for the Pirates caravan, going to my teammate Pedro Alvarez’s wedding. Then, time to go to spring training.”
On what he wants to improve on for 2011: “I need to get left-handed hitters out better. I felt like I was pretty good against righties. I gotta find a way to start pitching inside a little better and getting lefties out.”
The Pirates formally announced their two-year $8 M deal with right-handed pitcher Kevin Correia on Tuesday.
Correia, 30, went 10-10 with a 5.40 ERA in 28 games (26 starts) for the San Diego Padres in 2010.
Pirates catching prospect Tony Sanchez was interviewed on milb.com and asked ten questions where he discussed topics like; the pressure of being a highly regarded prospect, Lebron James and what he bought with his signing bonus. You can read the entire chat here.
MiLB.com:What was your first day like with the Spikes as a Minor Leaguer?
Sanchez: Nerve-racking. It was surprisingly nerve-racking. We were in Williamsport playing the [Crosscutters], and there were 2,000 people in the stands, and that’s just as many as a Boston College game. It was my first coach, and he threw me behind the dish the last few innings, and I was like, ‘Oh, God, what if I come in and mess this game up?I was kinda nervous. We were tied, and in my second at-bat — man on second, two outs, tie game — I got a base hit and scored the go-ahead run, so that was pretty good. Even though it was [Class A Short Season], I was still pretty pumped.
MiLB.com: You’re arguably the Pirates’ top prospect at this point. Do you ever feel that pressure, that sense that there are a ton of fans out there waiting and watching you?
Sanchez: Pressure — the more you think about it, the more it’ll build up. Everything comes with hard work and that’s the reason why some might say I am the top prospect, and others might say someone else is the top prospect. But as long as you have the right mindset, everything will fall into place. But I try not to think about it; it’s a wonderful title to have, especially with the guys who are in our system. But you take it for what it is
MiLB.com: You got hit in the head twice pretty badly this year, and I’m sure people have asked you about that a million times — concussion-like symptoms the first time and a fractured jaw, which was wired shut, the second time. Let me first ask: you reportedly threw Chef Boyardee and Campbell’s Chunky Soup into a blender to eat during that time. How’d it taste?
Sanchez: I’m going to go out on the limb saying that breaking your jaw is in the top three worst injures in sports, because for a month straight, when you have to throw Chef Boyardee into a blender for both lunch and dinner, everyday, for a month, you’ll realize how bad that injury is. It was so bad, I was so depressed at times. I would watch my roommate, Brock Holteeat whatever he wanted, and I would have to carry it to him because he was on crutches. It was not something I would wish on my worst enemy. I went from macaroni and cheese to spaghetti and meatballs to ravioli, mini ravioli, Beefaroni, rigatoni…