Results tagged ‘ altoona curve ’
Tony Beasley was hired by the Washington Nationals as manager for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.
Beasley will replace Randy Knorr who was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse.
Beasley previously managed the Bucs Double-A Altoona club from 2004-05 and was named Double-A manager of the year in 2004. In five seasons managing the Pirates minor league system, he compiled a 374-258 record.
Beasley spent the past three seasons (2008-10) as the Pirates third base coach.
President Frank Coonelly took part in his monthly chat on Wednesday. Some of the topics were on the manager vacancy, payroll increase and off-season plans. You can read the entire chat here. These are a few of the questions I thought were interesting.
I support this rebuilding process and am excited for the team in 2012 and beyond. That said, without giving a canned answer, are you going to add enough payroll to support a better team in 2011? Can we hope for at least a $50M payroll?
Coonelly: “I appreciate your support of our plan to return the Pirates to a championship caliber club and your recognition that such a plan necessarily takes time.”
“Notwithstanding what was a very disappointing season in 2010, we have made meaningful progress in upgrading the talent in our organization and over the last two years have added several of the most exciting young players in the National League, including Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez.”
“Speaking candidly, I have said that we have the capacity to add meaningfully to our 2011 payroll if we are able to secure players who will help us win in Pittsburgh. We have the capacity to have a payroll over $50 million and we’ll add those payroll dollars if we are able to bring in players that can help us win.”
What do you plan on doing to help the pitching situation for next year, as it was clearly our biggest weakness?
Coonelly: “There is no question that we need to improve our pitching in 2011, particularly our starting rotation. We have identified the starting rotation as a priority this off-season and we’ll aggressively pursue adding at least one starting pitcher during the off-season, either through a free-agent signing or a trade. Of course, the free-agent market for starting pitchers is rather thin this off-season and thus there is no guarantee that we will be able to add a free-agent starter who will be able to impact our roster.”
“Part of the solution, therefore, must be getting better performances from pitchers like Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, and, possibly, Charlie Morton and/or Brad Lincoln. James McDonald pitched well for us following his acquisition. Ohlendorf was pitching very well prior to being shut down with shoulder soreness and Charlie Morton, who is currently pitching in winter ball, looked like he was beginning to figure some things out as the season closed.”
“These pitchers and any offseason acquisitions should be pushed hard by the young arms (Rudy Owens, Bryan Morris, Justin Wilson and Jeff Locke) who helped the Altoona Curve win the Eastern League championship this year. In summary, we must pitch far better in 2011 and I am confident that we will.”
How confident is the organization with Hanrahan or Meek as the closer in 2011? Or will you shop for a veteran closer again (like 2010 with Dotel) until you feel one is ready?
Coonelly: ”Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek both have shown that they have the tools necessary to be quality closers. As a result, we would be comfortable relying on Joel and/or Evan closing games for us in 2011. Having said that, we are looking to add to our bullpen and if we were able to add an experienced closer, we would certainly consider making such an addition to the back of our bullpen.”
Current Brewers hitting coach, Dale Sveum interviewed with the Pirates on Wednesday for the open managerial position.
Sveum, 46, was drafted in the first round (25th pick) of the 1982 draft and spent 12 seasons in the majors with seven different teams (Pirates 1996-97, 99). Unfortunately, his career was ended early due to an career-threatening collision in 1998 and never fully recovered. Sveum had a career .236 average with 69 home runs and 340 RBI.
From 2001-2003 Sveum managed the Pirates’ Double-A Altoona Curve and was named Top Managerial Prospect in the Eastern League by Baseball America. (213-211)
Sveum was the third base coach for the Boston Red Sox from 2004-05. He has spent the last five years as part of the Brewers coaching staff that included bench coach, third base coach, and hitting coach. Sveum was named the Brewers interim manager after Ned Yost was fired and during those 12 games they went 7-5, winning the National League Wild Card.
President Frank Coonelly held his monthly online chat on Wednesday. If you missed it, here are a few of the interesting questions.
The team made some improvements and showed some growth, but has a glaring lack of starting pitching going into 2011. The team made some improvements and showed some growth, but has a glaring lack of starting pitching going into 2011.
“We agree that, despite what was an incredibly frustrating and disappointing season, a solid core of position players have emerged that showed growth in the system and are players about whom we are excited moving forward. For the second consecutive year, we had multiple players — this year Jose Tabata, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez — who should receive serious consideration for top rookie honors. I also agree that our pitching, particularly our starting pitching, was extremely poor and made it difficult for this team to win on a consistent basis. Fortunately, a strength of our Minor League system is the starting pitching that helped the Altoona Curve win the Eastern League this year, particularly Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris and Jeff Locke. While the strong performances of these young pitchers bode well for our rotation in the near future, it is far from certain that any of them will be ready to join the rotation out of Spring Training. As a result, we will look to add starting pitching this offseason, either through the free agent market or the trade market. James McDonald obviously was a bright spot after joining the rotation in August and Ross Ohlendorf, who pitched much better than his record would otherwise indicate, will be ready to rejoin the rotation in the spring. Our fans, including season-ticket holders like yourself, should know that one of Neal Huntington’s highest priorities this offseason is to improve the pitching staff.”
Do you see any of the current coaches being retained by the new manager?
“There are quality baseball men and quality individuals on our coaching staff who are highly valued by the organization. I certainly can foresee members of last year’s staff having a role on the staff in 2011 or otherwise within the organization. In fairness to the staff members, Neal informed them that they were free to explore other opportunities. But he also told them that they were highly valued by the organization and that we would working hard to select a new manager as expeditiously as possible so that we could provide them with a definitive answer in terms of their role with the Pirates.”
Are there any plans to move Pedro Alvarez, whose defense was suspect at times, to first base and sign a free-agent third baseman?
“There are no current plans to move Pedro to first base. Our focus remains putting Pedro in a position to stay at third base for his entire career. Pedro made several above-average-to-spectacular plays at third base this season but, at the same time, struggled at times. While this is not unexpected for a player in his first Major League season, we need Pedro and the rest of our fielders to play superior defense if we are going to play winning baseball. Pedro understands the importance of conditioning to his ability to stay at third base and we are confident that he will work extremely hard this offseason to put himself in a position to be an above-average defender at third base. As we have said, Pedro has all of the physical tools necessary to be an above-average defensive third baseman, and he is much more valuable to our organization if he is able to stay there. Pedro’s aspirations are aligned with ours in that he views himself as a third baseman and is determined to demonstrate that he should stay at third base. As you look at the list of free-agent players eligible this offseason, it is much easier to find a quality bat who can play first base on the free-agent market.”
On Wednesday night the Pirates told Double-A Altoona Manager Matt Walbeck that he would not return for next season.
Walbeck, the Eastern League’s Manager of the Year, led the Curve to the Championships where they defeated the Yankees Double-A Team Trenton Thunder.
The Pirates have not announced the reason behind the decision to release Walbeck from his duties, but Kyle Stark (Director of Player Development) said that it was best to allow him to peruse other opportunities.
“We appreciate Matt’s efforts and wish him the best in his future endeavors but felt that it was best that we allow him to pursue other opportunities,” General Manager Neal Huntington said.
Walbeck told the Altoona Mirror that the Pirates did not give him an explanation for the move.
“No, not really,” Walbeck said. “Just that it wasn’t going to be a good fit. There were some things about how I have some aspirations and am highly driven and words like that, but, apparently, it wasn’t going to work out.”
“I am surprised,” Walbeck said by phone. “After having gone through a pretty solid year … to have made improvements and helped develop players get to Pittsburgh, certainly I’m surprised. Of course. I did everything, I felt like, to help the club and the organization and was good for the community.”