Results tagged ‘ brad lincoln ’
On Sunday, the three day indoor baseball carnival –known as priatefest– came to a close. Whether it was the excitement for the young Bucs, the bright future, or the love the city of Pittsburgh has for black and yellow, fans flocked the David L. Lawerence convention center this weekend. 16,839 were in attendance –the highest since 2003.
“That was probably my and [general manager] Neal [Huntington's] greatest recruiting tool to get Clint [Hurdle] to come to Pittsburgh — the fans,” Frank Coonelly said at PirateFest this weekend. “This is not just a great sports town. It’s a great Pirates town.”
“These fans are still passionate about what we do,” Neal Huntington said. “As we start to win, they’re going to come out and fill this place, and it’s going to be an electric place to be.”
Ross Ohlendorf, Garrett Jones, Evan Meek, Neil Walker, James McDonald, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia, Charlie Morton, Brad Lincoln and Paul Maholm were the players that attended this years Piratefest.
Here are some highlights from the Q&A sessions:
- On what career they would peruse if they weren’t a ballplayer: Charlie Morton- Something in music. Andrew McCutchen- I’d be Morton’s producer (Morton is actually a pretty good singer/guitar player. He played at last year’s pirate fest. Click here for videos from it.)
- On Morton’s rebound season in 2011: “I’m excited and I’m ready to move on from last year.”
- When the players were asked who their favorite football team was, Jose Tabata said: “My name is Jose Tabata and I’m from Venezuela and I like black and yellow.”
*Reports during mini camp were that Jose Tabata had bulked up this offseason in hopes to add more power to his bat. They weren’t kidding. I took a close up of Tabata so you could see just how much muscle he packed on.
Here are some highlights from the Management Q&A sessions:
- General Manager Neal Huntington mentioned pitchers Rudy Owens and Daniel Moskos as two prospects that have a good chance to make major league appearances in 2011.
- Clint Hurdle has known left-hander Joel Beimel for 17 years. “He has a heart for the area. He wants to be a part of the group that turns this thing around.”
- On if the Pirates will break the 18-year losing streak in 2011: “I can’t see why not. Why can’t we?” -Clint Hurdle
- On the way Pittsburgh has really embraced Clint Hurdle as the new Manager: “I’m humbled by the reception I’ve gotten. I’m proud to be a Pittsburgh Pirate.”
- On a comparison of the Pirates to the San Diego Padres team from 2010: “They had a winning mentality, we didn’t.” -President Frank Coonelly
- In order to help the Pirates play better on the road, Hurdle said he was going to have the players write down their home vs. road routines in order to adjust the mind set.
Manager Clint Hurdle and Bench Coach Jeff Banister taught a youth baseball clinic on Sunday.
Some highlights during the young camp:
- “I don’t have a world series ring either (referring to when a fan asked if Bench coach Jeff Banister had a World Series ring) I’ve been to the world series three times. Four times a charm. I’ve heard that somewhere.” -Manager Clint Hurdle
- A fan asked Manager Clint Hurdle about Pedro Alvarez’s recent weight game due to Holidays, offseason and recent honeymoon, “I’d be 40 pounds over weight…Pedro’s going to be fine.”
Here are several more pictures from Piratefest:
These are the new 2011 batting pratice jersey’s for the Pirates.
Pirates Double-A Altoona Curve had a station set up for the weekend. Here is the 2010 Eastern League Championship flag.
*On a side note. I was overwhelmed by how many great fans came up to me that said they are a reader of my blog. I can’t thank you guys enough for all the support. I hope to continue covering the Pirates and bringing you all the buzz all season (and offseason) long.
Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answered questions in this weeks inbox where she discussed the search for lefty bullpen help, contract extension with Neil Walker and more (You can read the entire transcript here).
- When Hurdle took over as manager, he said he felt we needed a couple of left-handers in the bullpen. Do you see any left-handers on the horizon other than Scott Olsen?
Assuming that Olsen remains in a starting role, the Pirates do lack proven left-handed options in the bullpen. Lefties Justin Thomas and Brian Burres both signed Minor League deals with the club and could be possibilities for the bullpen. Internal options include Tony Watson and Daniel Moskos, though neither has any previous Major League experience.
The Pirates continue to scour the market to see if there are other left-handed options available, and don’t be surprised if some additions are made in the next few weeks. It would be a substantial risk to begin the season without a reliable left-handed option, even if management insists that it doesn’t see a strong benefit in having a lefty specialist.
- Is there any chance that both Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo make the team out of Spring Training? The Pirates have already said that they are going to play Doumit more than just as a backup catcher, so could we carry three catchers into the season?
Yes, I believe there is a chance that the Pirates will carry a third catcher this season, though such a decision has not yet been made. As you mentioned, the Pirates’ plans for Doumit are not to plug him solely into a backup role. In order to have the flexibility to liberally insert Doumit in as an outfielder, first baseman or pinch-hitter, the Pirates would need to have a third catcher available in case of an emergency.
This decision is certainly one to keep an eye on as the makeup of the bench comes into better focus during Spring Training. It will also be intriguing to see how Doumit’s new role develops, and how he handles the decrease in playing time.
- With all the talk about the fifth spot in the rotation going to Olsen and Brad Lincoln, is there a chance that Rudy Owens could be rewarded with the job instead?
It’s unlikely that Owens will make the jump from Double-A to the Majors without first stopping in Triple-A to begin the 2011 season. This will be Owens’ first taste of big league camp, and he will technically be competing for a rotation spot with the Pirates as camp gets under way. However, I just don’t see the Pirates slotting Owens into the rotation on Opening Day no matter how well he pitches this spring.
I’d project that Owens will start the year in Indianapolis, and it is certainly possible that you could see him in Pittsburgh sometime midseason. That will depend on how the rotation is faring at the Major League level and how Owens continues to develop in the Minors. I will say that, from a selfish standpoint, I’m looking forward to getting my first look at Owens in person this spring. The numbers that he has put up over the last two seasons are sensational, and he is a left-hander to get excited about.
And as you mention possible fifth starter candidates, don’t forget about Charlie Morton. He, along with Olsen and Lincoln, seem the three likeliest options.
- Neil Walker was great last year and, in my opinion, was one of the bright spots for the Pirates last season. Do you see the Pirates signing him long-term?
While there is definitely reason to be excited about Walker’s potential, it is too early to begin talking about a long-term contract for the former first-round Draft pick. The reality is that Walker has had just four months of success at the Major League level. That’s not to say that his 2010 success was a fluke. It’s just to point out that Walker must consistently produce for another few seasons before the Pirates would feel comfortable offering multi-millions his way.
A snowy ballpark (via @BucsInsider). Only 70 days away from opening day 2011!
- Pedro Alvarez did not make it in MLB Network’s ‘Top 10 Third Baseman right now’, but he did get an honorable mention –one of four players (Sandoval, Kouzmanoff and Ramirez) “to just miss top 10″
That’s great news for Pirates fans. Alvarez and Jose Tabata (left field) just missed the top 10 and Andrew McCutchen was named #1 Center Fielder right now by MLB Network (The future is looking bright in Pittsburgh).
- The Pirates organization have several pitchers to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation during spring training. They have not hinted at who is the favored:
“We don’t want to make Spring Training evaluations, but in some cases we’re going to have to,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “I think the reality is that we’re going to need more than five starting pitchers next year, so whoever doesn’t make the rotation out of Spring Training, we’re going to need the sixth, the seventh, the eighth one.”
- Brad Lincoln hired a personal trainer for the offseason and plans on reporting to spring training early to work with pitching coach Ray Searage.
“I am going to get my body in the best shape possible to come into spring strong so that I can go all year without breaking down,” Lincoln said. “I want to come in top physical form.”
“If you want to compete up here, you have to continue to work hard every day and just don’t let up and don’t take anything for granted,” Lincoln said. “Hopefully, I can continue to improve and mark a spot here for next year.”
The Pirates released the autograph signing schedule and the live event schedules for Piratefest. The three day indoor caravan takes place at the David L. Laurence Convention Center Friday, January 28th(Season ticket holders only), Saturday January 29 (10-8) and Sunday January 30 (12-5).
You can purchase tickets here.
Saturday, January 29
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Jose Tabata, Brad Lincoln, Charlie Morton
11:30 am – 1:00 p.m. James McDonald, Kevin Correia, Al Oliver
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Garrett Jones, Ross Ohlendorf, Bob Friend
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Mike Easler, Bob Walk, Bill Madlock, Sean Casey
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Andrew McCutchen, Jeff Karstens, Paul Maholm
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Neil Walker, Evan Meek, Jim Rooker, Doug Drabek
Sunday, January 30
12:00 Noon – 1:30 p.m. Andrew McCutchen, Brad Lincoln, Kevin Correia
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Evan Meek, Ross Ohlendorf, Al Oliver
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Jose Tabata, Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton
Live Event Schedules:
Saturday, January 29
Minute To Win It: (12:00 Noon – 1:00 p.m.) Evan Meek, Joe Klimchak
Softball Clinic: (12:00 Noon – 1:00 p.m.) TBA
Youth Baseball Clinic: (1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.) Clint Hurdle, Jeff Banister, Kevin Correia, Bob Walk
Deal or No Deal: (1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.) Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton, Greg Brown
We Are Family Feud: (2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.) Neil Walker, Jose Tabata, Joe Klimchak
Pierogie Eating Contest: (2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.) Paul Maholm, Greg Brown
2011 Pirates Q&A: (3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.) 2011 Pirates, Greg Brown
Reading with the Parrot: (4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.) Pirate Parrot, Cannonball Crew
Ask Pirates Management: (4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.) Clint Hurdle, Neal Huntington, Frank Coonelly, Greg Brown
Minute to Win It: (5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.) James McDonald, Joe Klimchak
Pierogie Eating Contest: (5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.) Ross Ohlendorf, John Wehner
Deal or No Deal: (6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) James McDonald, Greg Brown
Guitar Hero: (6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) Andrew McCutchen, Joe Klimchak
Sunday, January 30
Youth Baseball Clinic: (12:00 Noon – 1:00 p.m.) Clint Hurdle, Jeff Banister, Joe Klimchak
Deal or No Deal: (12:00 Noon – 1:00 p.m.) Evan Meek, Tim Neverett
Minute To Win It: (1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.) Paul Maholm, Tim Neverett
Guitar Hero: (1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.) Jeff Karstens, Joe Klimchak
We Are Family Feud: (2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.) Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton, Joe Klimchak
Pierogie Eating Contest: (2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.) Brad Lincoln, Tim Neverett
Deal or No Deal: (3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.) Ross Ohlendorf, Tim Neverett
Reading with the Parrot: (3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.) Pirate Parrot, Cannonball Crew
General Manager Neal Huntington is in his final year of his current contract and the performance from the team this season could determine whether he will have a job in October.
In the three years Huntington has been GM, the Pirates have gone: 67-95 in 2008, 62-99 in 2009 and 57-105 in 2010. We have seen fan favorites traded away, but even more talent acquired.
Huntington discussed his future with the Trib’s beat reporter Rob Biertempfel.
How would you assess the job you’ve done to this point? Will your contract be extended beyond 2011?
The simple answer is, we’ve won fewer games in each of my three years here. That’s not acceptable. We have to get better. We have to win more games. But I wasn’t brought here only to manage the 25-man roster. I was brought here to overhaul the baseball operations department. I am proud of what we’ve done in scouting on the pro and amateur side and on the international side, with the talent we’ve flooded the system with, with the way we develop players. I am tremendously proud of all of that. The depth and talent system, both on the field and in the scouting arena and coaching arena … we’ve taken huge steps forward. Because we have so many at the major league level, our prospect depth may not be (ranked) in the top 10, but we don’t focus on that. We focus on how do we win games at the major league level — and not just for one year. How are we going to do it, year in and year out? The complicated answer to your question is, I am very proud of everything we’ve done except for the won-loss record at the major league level. I get that (wins and losses) are all that people care about. It’s only been three years. We think we’ve made a significant impact on creating the foundation and building the first level of the house that will allow us to be a consistent championship-caliber organization. As far as my job, I’m going to do it to the very best of my ability until they tell me not to do it anymore. My contract is irrelevant. The day I start making moves to save my job is the day I should be man enough to resign. That’s not what I’m about; that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to put a championship team back on the field in Pittsburgh, and that doesn’t happen with quick fixes.
What are your expectations for manager Clint Hurdle this season?
The expectation for Clint are for him to be the manager, the voice in the clubhouse, the one who comes in and makes an impact. We’re going to be better this year; it’s just a matter of how much better. It’s an exciting time. We expect there to be a lot of energy in spring training. It’s going to be a fun camp but also a camp where there are a ton of decisions to make, which isn’t ideal. Our guys are going to have to be ready to go from day one. Clint’s personality, energy and communication skills will make players comfortable, but at the same time, with a little bit of edge. We’ve got to go. We’ve got to get better and win some games this year.
Some of the younger players, Andrew McCutchen in particular, are reaching the point where contract extensions might be in order. What are the risks in that process?
It takes two parties to reach a deal. Both sides have to compromise. The club takes on a tremendous amount of risk because, as we’ve experienced here already, it doesn’t always work out to the club’s benefit. The player takes the risk that he might be underpaid for three or four years. But if he is underpaid, he’s about to make $60 million, $80 million, $130 million, so the player really has almost no risk in a multiyear contract. He just doesn’t want to be underpaid for years four and five of his arbitration eligibility, but then he’s going to be rewarded as a free agent. The club takes on most of the risk, but there is cost-certainty and hopefully some savings. Maybe we (buy out) a year or two of free-agent (eligibility) for a player who we believe is going to have a quality career. It is part of the plan. It is part of what we hope to do going forward. But it’s always going to require a compromise on both sides
Can the Pirates compete with the other starting rotations in the NL Central?
There’s no question it’s a pitching-strong division. The nice part is most of those guys aren’t here for three, four or five years unless their clubs extend them and commit significant resources. In terms of this year, there’s no doubt we need guys to step up. We’ve got to figure out how to score some runs for Ross Ohlendorf, who last year was the best 1-11 pitcher I’ve seen in a long time. Is James McDonald for real? We need a bounce-back year from Paul Maholm. Looking at Kevin Correia, the numbers behind the numbers gave us comfort that he’s going to come back this year closer to the pitcher he was in ’09. To go through what he did last year, losing his brother, I can only imagine how tough that must’ve been for him. His strikeout-to-walk ratio, his ground ball rate … we feel there’s a good chance he bounces back. For the No. 5 hole, can Scott Olsen, Charlie Morton or Brad Lincoln step up? Looking down the road, there’s Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, Jeff Locke — and that doesn’t include all the arms we drafted (in 2009 and 2010). We believe we need to be strong in pitching. But we’re not prepared to give up our absolute best prospects for guys who might only be here a couple of years. We’re in the process of building something for the longer term. We’ve got to develop our own starting pitching because it’s just so expensive on the free agent market.
The Pirates have announced what players will be at Piratefest this year. The indoor baseball carnival features live events, autograph sessions, prizes, games and much, much more. The event runs Friday, January 28th(for season ticket holders only), Saturday, January 29th (10-8) and Sunday, January 30th (Noon-5). You can purchase tickets here.
Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Evan Meek, Garrett Jones, Jose Tabata, Paul Maholm, Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf, Brad Lincoln, Kevin Correia and James McDonald, along with new manager Clint Hurdle, pitching coach Ray Searage and bench coach Jeff Banister are scheduled to attend.
Yours truly will also be at Piratefest all day on Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to say hello.
Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answers fans questions in this weeks inbox (You can read the entire transcript here). Here, she addresses the current pitching rotation.
Are the Pirates done pursuing free-agent pitchers? Can we expect any more help other than Kevin Correia and Scott Olsen? Neither of them seems to be a front-of-the-rotation guy. I certainly was hoping for more given the young talent in the field and the poor starting pitching performance last year.
The Pirates will contend that even if they don’t add any more starting pitchers this offseason, they will enter the 2011 season in better shape than they ended up last year. It’s hard to argue that given how bad the 2010 results were for the starters. Correia has potential to help stabilize the rotation, and Olsen gives the Bucs more depth for the back end of the rotation.
The truth is, though, that the biggest effect on the rotation can come not from the new additions, but the returning starters. Guys like Ross Ohlendorf, Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton and Brad Lincoln are going to have to put poor 2010 seasons behind them and move closer to their potential. If improvements can be made from that group, the rotation can go somewhere. If they don’t, it’s going to be another long season.
Now certainly, adding another experienced and proven starter would increase the chances of the rotation making significant strides forward. But there just aren’t many options left. The best free-agent pitcher left was Carl Pavano, who is returning to Minnesota.
A more realistic signing would be Jeff Francis, who continues to look for a contract that includes a guaranteed roster spot. The Pirates, who would give Francis the opportunity to play under Clint Hurdle again, might offer that. Francis, who has had recent injury issues, is a another risky sign. But he would likely take a contract laced with incentives.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports: Free agent [pitcher] Jeff Francis still drawing interest from 7 clubs — Nationals, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Rockies and both NY teams.
Francis, who will turn 30 on January 8th, went 4-6 with a 5.00 ERA for the Colorado Rockies during the 2010 season. Through 104.1 innings, he walked 23 and struck out 67. Francis missed the entire 2009 season recovering from a shoulder injury.
The Pirates are still looking to add starting pitching depth. The projected starters for this season are: Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Kevin Correia and James McDonald with the fifth spot still open. Charlie Morton, Scott Olsen and Brad Lincoln are among the starters who will compete as the fifth starter at spring training.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports: Also Clint Hurdle’s familiarity w Francis’ injury history huge benefit when a guy is trying to rebound with a new team.
Jeff Francis is a pro, great teammate. If healthy, will help someone. If were me, I’d go to pitcher’s park. Give him some margin for error.
The Pirates are holding a mini-camp starting on Monday in Bradenton, Florida. The camp this year will be focused on conditioning and will run four days.
Those expected to attend (according to Jenifer Langosch) are:
Pitchers – Michael Crotta, Joel Hanrahan, Kevin Hart, Jeff Karstens, Brad Lincoln, Jeff Locke, Daniel McCutchen, James McDonald, Kyle McPherson, Evan Meek, Bryan Morris, Charlie Morton, Daniel Moskos, Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Resop, Aaron Thompson, Tony Watson
Catchers – Jason Jaramillo
Infielders – Pedro Ciriaco, Lyle Overbay, Steve Pearce, Josh Rodriguez, Neil Walker
Outfielders – Matt Diaz, Gorkys Hernandez, Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Alex Presley, Jose Tabata
Non Roster invites – Dusty Brown, Brian Burres, Josh Fields, Fernando Nieve, Justin Thomas, Cesar Valdez, Corey Wimberly
Pedro Alvarez and Chris Leroux are currently listed as maybes to attend.
With a start of a new year, it’s a clean slate for the Bucs, who endured 105 losses. The new season is right around the corner: Only 41 days until Pitchers and catchers report and 88 until opening day.
Here is a list of 11 things to look forward to in 2011:
11) Interleague series against the Boston Red Sox at PNC Park – Some of the die hard Pirates fans may not like the idea of facing the potent lineup of the Red Sox, but baseball fans in general will enjoy seeing the All-star lineups. Stars like Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett (the list goes on and on) will be in Pittsburgh –a glimpse of a possible 2011 playoff contender.
10) The new offseason acquisitions and how they impact the ball club – The Pirates made several signings this offseason in hopes to improve the team in 2011. Lyle Overbay will be the new everyday first baseman and Matt Diaz will platoon in right field with Garrett Jones.
Other signings include: Third baseman Andy Marte, short stop Josh Rodriguez, center fielder Corey Wimberly, left handers Scott Olsen, Kevin Correia and Aaron Thompson.
9) A better pitching rotation – The Pirates starters went 34-84 with a 5.28 ERA last season. The Bucs are hoping Ross Ohlendorf, and Paul Maholm will perform much better in 2011. New Pirate Kevin Correia also helps to improve the staff and James McDonald, who had great success since being acquired by the Dodgers, will round out the top four. Scott Olsen, Charlie Morton and Brad Lincoln will be fighting for the fifth spot.
8) Number one draft pick- The Pirates lost 105 games last season, sealing the first pick in the 2011 draft. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is considered to the be the top talent. He finished 2010 at Rice University batting .394 with 26 home runs and 85 runs batted in.
7) Young prospects making their way through the system – Players like Tony Sanchez, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer and Andrew Lambo (to name a few) are getting closer to making their major league debuts while adding more young talent to the Pirates ball club.
6) Glimpes of solid arms in late 2011 – Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson and Daniel Moskos (reliever) could make their debuts as early as July. Bryan Morris and Jeff Locke are also two more starters that will make a impact on the Pirates rotation but it’s more likely to be in 2012.
5) Debuts of young aces- Jameson Tallion and Stetson Allie will be making their Pirates debut at Low-A West Virginia in 2011.
Tallion was selected second overall by the Bucs in the 2010 draft. The 6’7, 230 pound right hander’s fastball already reaches 94-99 on the gun and has “explosive movement” according to scouts. Tallion also has a plus curve (81-85) and breaking ball (84-88).
Allie has an even stronger arm. The 6’4, 225 pound right-hander throws both a two-seamer and four-seamer fastball that clocks regularly at 98. He also has an above average slider (87-91) and a change, with very good sink at 85-87.
4) Clint Hurdle managing the Bucs – Hurdle is exactly what the young Pirates need in a new skipper. He is very charismatic and passionate about baseball, smart, motivational and has past success in managing a young team. Hurdle is aware of the changes ahead and has said, “I’m all in.”
3) Ending the 18 year consecutive losing streak? -While it may be a long shot –the Pirates would need to have a 24 game improvement to finish .500– it still is possible. Example: The 2007 Tampa Bay Rays went 66-96, in 2008 they finished 97-65 –a 31 game improvement as well as a American League Championship title. The1991 Braves went 94-68 after finishing 65-97 in 1990. Tough, but not impossible.
2) The young Bucs continue to improve – Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker (all under 25) will continue to get better and better with more major league experience. Tabata and Walker finished their rookie seasons better than expected. Tabata had 121 hits in 102 games, Walker with 126 in 110 games. Both hit most of the season over .300 and finished .299 and .296 respectively. McCutchen in his first full major league season continued to be a hitting and running machine. He finished .286 while adding 94 runs, 16 home runs, 56 RBIs and 33 stolen bases.
1) Pedro Alvarez to become a superstar- Pedro finished his rookie campaign with a .256 average, 16 home runs and 64 RBI’s. If Alvarez’s month of September is a glimpse of what’s to come (.306 avg, 10 doubles, six home runs and 27 RBI in 29 games) Pirates fans should be excited for years to come. He has an ability to change the game with one swing –the three-run walk-off bomb against the Rockies made highlights and one of MLB Network’s top moments of the season. There’s no doubt he is a superstar in the making.