Results tagged ‘ chris snyder ’
Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington chatted with Jim Duquette and Jody McDonald of MLB Network radio’s Baseball Today on Sunday. He discussed: Clint Hurdle’s energy, the impact by the new Veterans, the closers role, young prospects who could make their debuts, and a possible long term extension with Andrew McCutchen.
On Clint Hurdle’s energy: “It’s great to know that we got Clint leading this group and the excitement, the enthusiasm, knowledge, the passion, and the intensity he brings, it’s going to be different for our players. We felt like we needed a new voice, new direction and not only with Clint but with our staff. We got a great staff in place. Our guys are excited. They are looking forward to this year. Looking forward to surprising some people.”
On the reason Huntington sough out Veterans Matt Daiz and Lyle Overbay: “Obviously, coming off a tough season, we wanted to get better. We knew we needed to upgrade our rotation, try to upgrade our bullpen, wanted some offensive ability. We wanted to improve our defense. When you win 57 games you pretty much need to improve everywhere. We had a lot of great young players who we’re excited about. This group of 25 and under both at the major league level and through our system is going to be the foundation of our future success. We are hoping we can have some current success. Guys like [Kevin] Correia, [Scott] Olsen, can add some veteran presence to our rotation. We got some guys that are competing to make our bullpen whether, it’s [Joe] Beimel or [Jose] Veras, that can help out [Joel] Hanrahan and [Evan] Meek, who were so good for us last year. Overbay, we upgrade defensively at first base with Garrett Jones in a platoon situation in right field…We put Garret in a position to be successful. Then we added Matt Diaz and all of a sudden we have a very productive right field…You talk to the people that were around that Atlanta [Braves] club, whether it’s front office people, people in the dugout, people around that club, Matt was one of their leaders last year. Lyle is a constant professional. And we needed to help Neil Walker and Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen, take some of the pressure off them. Let them go play and provide some of that veteran leadership to help them mature both on the field and off.”
On what Huntington is looking for this spring, compared to last: “I think our guys believe that we’re ready to start taking a huge step forward. In the past we hoped. And we kind of looked around and wondered who the guy was, that was going to put the team on his back and carry it. Now, we got a handful of guys that are capable of doing that…Talking with our guys, reading their quotes in the papers, they believe we can take a huge step forward this year. Clint’s only going to foster that. Our staff is only going to help that. There’s no question; we need to take a big step forward this year.”
On if there is an open competition between Hanrahan and Meek for the closers role at spring training: “We are going to go with one guy. We have not announced it publicly first. We honestly spent more time trying to see if there was a veteran closer, as we have with Octavio Dotel last year. That would come in here and close out some games, and allow Clint to use meek and Hanrahan anywhere through the sixth through the eighth. That worked out really well for us…We weren’t able to do that. Our energy and our focus has been on preparing for spring training. It’s been on trying to recruit some guys to try to come in here and step forward. We will meet as a staff, Clint, and Ray Searage and I will sit down and we will identify who is going to be our closer. No it won’t be an open competition at spring training. It’s too tough…It’s not like we got a bad choice. Whichever guy we go with, we believe can close games at the major league level and believe will do a nice job for us…We will commit to somebody and over an extended period of time and they will get the opportunity to show us that they can hold the job. The other guy is going to be getting big outs for us in the seventh or the eighth inning.”
On what young prospects could make their debuts this year: “Any of that rotation that was in Double-A last year that led that club to the Eastern League Championship. Whether it’s Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, or Bryan Morris, Jeff Locke, there may be some of the guys out of the bullpen that get here quicker. Danny Moskos has great stuff from the left side, we just got to build that confidence that allows him to feel like his stuff can compete. There may be a couple guys that kind of surprise some people. Position player wise, there are some guys moving up from that group. Gorkys Hernandez, Andrew Lambo that are probably a little ways away. There is a good wave of talent coming through…If those guys don’t show up instantaneously, it’s not Sidney Crosby or Lebron James, that show up at the highest level on the day that they sign. It takes years. For Pedro Alvarez to get here in essentially in two calendar years is quick decent. We are looking forward to that next group of guys from the ’08 draft and ’08 signing class getting here.”
On Chris Snyder’s key to getting back to past years: “We traded for Chris to help our pitching staff. To stabilize the game calling, to stabilize our young starters, to help them get through tough innings, to help them get through tough outings. Whether it was the pitching coach change or Chris Synder traded for in late July, it did that. Our starting pitchers really threw the ball much better in August and September…He’s excited to get a full offseason of workouts. He’s coming, from what we’ve been told, in very good shape….In last offseason, his offseason was impacted by the back surgery and this is his first real healthy offseason in a while. He’s fired up to come in and help us.”
On potentially doing a long term deal with Andrew McCutchen: “They key to any of those situations is; One: the club wants it to happen, and we do. Two: the player wanting it to happen and that doesn’t always happen. Contracts take a willingness to share a risk of these type of situations. In some cases the club isn’t willing to take on that risk and other cases the player isn’t willing to compromise his potential future earnings value. He’s not interested in the security, he’d rather go out and see how much he can make year in and year out. Or, he doesn’t feel it’s the right time…It is something we absolutely intend to do. But the only way these deals get done is if two sides are interested in it.”
On what starter needs to step up this year: “…We need a multitude of guys to step forward. We need Paul Maholm to do what Paul Maholm did, whether it’s in ’08 or at least in ’09 and not what he did in ’10…Kevin Correia, we are looking forward for him to bounce back two what he was in ’09 given a very tough 2010 season both on and off the field. Charlie Morton has got tremendous stuff, yeah we need Charlie to take a step up. We need Ross Ohlendorf to stay healthy the whole year. We need to give him some run support. James McDonald. Can he do what he did for us the last two months of the season? Can he do that over the course of the season? Scott Olsen. Can we get that stuff to play on a consistent basis and get him back healthy. Can we get Brad Lincoln back to where he was? The nice part is, here comes that Owens, Wilson, Locke, Morris group that if we have some struggles, we’ve got some depth. Jeff Karstens did a nice job through five innings, as pretty much as anybody in baseball, just seemed to hit a wall in that sixth and seventh inning. The reality is, there isn’t just one person that needs to step forward for us to go where we believe we can go. We are going to need a couple guys to step up.”
On Monday, MLB.com Fantasy released the Top 100 fantasy players for the 2011 season. Andrew McCutchen (52) and Pedro Alvarez (79) made the list.
In Part one, here is the list of the Pirates starters and bench players projected stats for the new season.
- Chris Snyder (C ) Ranked: 451
2011 projections: 325 AB, .215 AVG, 35 R, 13 HR, 45 RBI, 0 SB, .318 OBP, .363 SLG, .681 OPS
Notes: What Snyder lacks for in batting average, he makes up for in power, smacking at least 13 homers in four of his last five seasons. He will likely supplant Ryan Doumit as Pittsburgh’s primary backstop this season.
- Lyle Overbay (1B) Ranked: 294
2011 projection: 510 AB, .269 AVG, 66 R, 17 HR, 74 RBI, 1 SB, .346 OBP, .437 SLG, .783 OPS
Notes: Overbay probably wont show much more power in Pittsburgh, but his average should come up a it and RBI opportunities will be plentiful hitting behind table-setters Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen.
- Neil Walker (2B) Ranked: 144
2011 projection: 570 AB, .284 AVG, 80 R, 17 HR, 84 RBI, 5 SB, .338 OBP, .449 SLG, 787 OPS
Notes: The 25-year-old appears entrenched in the third spot in the Pirates’ order in 2011, so a repeat of his ’10 performance could result in 90-plus RBI’s.
- Pedro Alvarez (3B) Ranked: 79
2011 projection: 559 AB, .263 AVG, 80 R, 28 HR, 89 RBI, 2 SB, .340 OBP, .481 SLG, .821 OPS
Notes: With his prodigious power, Alvarez is in Pittsburgh to stay, and the strikeouts won’t prevent him from putting up impressive numbers in his first full big league campaign.
- Ronny Cedeno (SS) Ranked: 425
2011 projection: 415 AB, .255 AVG, 40 R, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 9 SB, .295 OBP, .383 SLG, .678 OPS
Notes: The 28-year-old infielder has hit a combined .257 over the last two seasons and a lack of plate discipline (career 4.6 percent walk-rate) has prevented him from becoming a more complete hitter.
- Jose Tabata (LF) Ranked: 148
2011 projection: 560 AB, .288 AVG, 84 R, 6 HR, 57 RBI, 31 SB, .337 OBP, .396 SLG, .734 OPS
Notes: The 22-year-old doesn’t walk much and his power hasn’t materialized, but he should wind up around the National League leaders in steals with a full season of at-bats in 2011.
- Andrew McCutchen (CF) Ranked:52
2011 projection: 585 AB, .292 AVG, 103 R, 18 HR, 68 RBI, 37 SB, .371 OBP, .473 SLG, .845 OPS
Notes: A complete package of talent, 24-year-old has speed, power and a keen batting eye. Playing in Pittsburgh may reduce his name recognition, but McCutchen’s numbers will ensure plenty of National attention in the years to come.
- Matt Diaz (RF) Ranked: 501 / Garrett Jones (RF) Ranked: 399 —platoon
2011 Projections (Diaz): 240 AB, .288 AVG, 28 R, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 5 SB, .329 OBP, .471 SLG, .800 OPS
Notes: Diaz saw his numbers fall drastically across in the board in 2010, but he’s always shown the ability to torch southpaws (career .907 OPS vs. LHP). The 32-year-old will be asked to do just that in Pittsburgh, where he’ll see most of his time in a right-field platoon with Garrett Jones.
2011 projections (Jones): 370 AB, .259 AVG, 45 R, 13 HR, 58 RBI, 3 SB, .322 OBP, .435 SLG, .757 OPS
Notes: The late blooming 29-year-old should still rack up around 350 at-bats, but his overall production is due to take a major hit.
- Ryan Doumit (C/OF) Ranked: 467
2011 projections: 292 AB, .267 AVG, 36 R, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 2 SB, .318 OBP, .432 SLG, .750 OPS
Notes: Despite the ability to play three positions, Doumit may be the odd man out in Pittsburgh. Doumit a $5 million bench player and likely trade candidate.
- John Bowker (OF) Ranked: 556
2011 projections: 218 AB, .266 AVG, 23 R, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 1 SB, .331 OBP, .431 SLG, .762 OPS
Notes: A July trade to Pittsburgh gave Bowker another chance to establish himself a big league regular. The 27-year-old struggles to hit left-handers and the Pirates starting outfield appears set. Bowker has some power, and he could carve out a decent niche in a part-time role.
- Josh Fields (3B) Ranked: 526
2011 projections: 246 AB, .252 AVG, 26 R, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 2 SB, .313 OBP, .390 SLG, .704 OPS
Notes: Fields will attempt to get his career back on track in Pittsburgh after several injury-plagued seasons. He could stick with the big club if his health holds up and rediscover some value as a utility man.
- Josh Rodriguez (SS) Ranked: 787
2011 projections: 159 AB, .252 AVG, 13 R, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 3 SB, .328 OBP, .415 SLG, .743 OPS
Notes: Rodriguez has played three in field positions and even some outfield as a pro. That defensive flexibility –along with some offensive ability –could spell a pretty good career as a utility man, staring in ’11.
** MLB.com Fantasy also listed:
- Garrett Atkins (1B) Ranked: 722
2011 projections: 148 AB, .236 AVG, 9 R, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 0 SB, .302 OBP, .351 SLG, .654 OPS
- Steve Pearce (1B) Ranked: 820
2011 projections: 70 SB, .229 AVG, 10 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, .289 OBP, .329 SLG, .618 OPS
- Jeff Clement (1B) Ranked: 786
2011 projections: 92 AB, .239, 13 R, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 0 SB, .300 OBP, .391 SLG, .691 OPS
Pirates veterans Paul Maholm and Ryan Doumit, along with Bucs primary catcher Chris Snyder were noticeably absent from the five-day mini camp that kicked off on Monday. Although the mini camp is not required, it is important for players to work with new Manager Clint Hurdle, meet the new faces on the staff/ball club and to build team chemistry.
I asked Maholm (on twitter) why he wasn’t attending the mini camp this week. Here is what he had to say:
“Have a personal trainer 4 times a week and throwing 4 times a week and spending time with fam. Sticking to the routine. Be down on feb 3rd.”
As Pirates’ beat reporter Jenifer Langosch points out in her latest article, A look at Pirates catchers, this is how Ryan Doumit will fit in with the Bucs during the 2011 season.
- $11 is due to catchers Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit, but it doesn’t look as unbalanced as it seems (The estimated payroll for 2011 is in the low to mid $50 M range). $3 M was sent along with Chris Snyder in the trade with Arizona, so once subtracted, the Bucs will owe him a reasonable $2.75 M for this season. Doumit will make $5.1 million in 2011.
- Doumit, if not traded, will serve as a backup catcher. General Manager Neal Huntington has said that Chris Snyder will be the Bucs primary catcher even if Doumit out plays him in Spring Training. Snyder is a huge defensive upgrade over Doumit, allowing only nine passed balls in 2010. Snyder also lead all catchers with a .999 fielding percentage since 2007, at the time of the trade.
- Don’t expect to see Doumit only one day a week (what normal backup catchers play). The Pirates believe Doumit will not battle as many injuries with less time behind the plate. He will play some time in right field and is an option at first base –if he improves on his defense at that position. Doumit can be a threat off the bench. The switch hitter batted .251 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs in 124 games last season.
- It appears there are no serious suitors for Ryan Doumit, but if he doesn’t make it to opening day with the Pirates, Jason Jaramillo could serve as a backup catcher. There is a chance, if Manager Clint Hurdle wants to use Doumit primarily as a pinch-hitter, that the Bucs could have three catchers on the 25-man roster. If not, Jaramillo will be the everyday catcher at Triple-A Indy.
On Wednesday (day three) of the Winter Meetings, new Pirates manager Clint Hurdle stopped by MLBNetwork’s live coverage for an interview. Here is what they discussed:
On being the new manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates:
Hurdle: “I’m humbled by the opportunity. It is an exciting time for me personally but I think professionally, there’s not a better opportunity in sports across the board. To rebound a city with a team, like there is in Pittsburgh with the Pirates baseball team.”
Chris Rose: “Some people may say, ‘you know the numbers. 18 straight loosing seasons. It’s been tough. It’s a football town’. And you are telling me, it’s the greatest opportunity? Explain.”
Hurdle: “The fact that they’ve lost 18 consecutive seasons, its just bound to turn. Like I talk to hitters: ‘so you’re not hitting, but you’re due to get hot.’ These young kids, they can play. We’re learning lessons. I think we’re adding pieces. It’s an organization that’s committed from the top down. Through that interview process, I found that out from Bob Nutting, Frank Coonelly, and Neal Huntington. We got work to do, there’s no doubt about that but we are excited about the players that are in place and we’re actually finding ways to be creative. I think, [we need to] find some grown men to come in and help us do this. We have internal, we’re adding external.”
On what Hurdle says to the players to get them to believe:
“Well, the first thing that I talked to any player about developing a relationship, because I was a player once, a long time ago, and I’ve had new coaches and I’ve had a new manager from time to time. Anybody entering that door for the first time, I have three questions for the man walking through the door: ‘Can he make me better?, Does he care about me?, and Can I trust him?’ I’m going to lay that out to those guys. I need to find a way and my coaching staff needs to find a way to answer those three questions. Sooner or later for those men. We answer those questions, they will bring the skill sets with them. Too many times in this sport we try to capture the skill set first. We need to capture the players heart first, I believe, and we have got some players who are passionate about playing better and doing good things and doing big things.”
On who are the guys the organization can build around:
“Well, I’m still going through that filing. Watching tape, asking questions, talking to people. I’ve talked to a lot of people outside our organization about the team. Got to watch them play myself for three games last year. But for me, these internal conversations I’m having one-on-one, I’m finding out a lot more. With Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Joel Hanrahan, I had one yesterday with Pedro Alvarez, Garrett Jones is still on my to do list. I’ve talked to Paul Maholm, Chris Snyder. One-by-one I’m taking them down but there is a core group in place. On the offensive side, we need to add to some of the skill guys we got already, our number one focus is improve off the mound. Number two focus is catch the ball, put away outs on defense. We’ve all been around the game long enough. Pitching and defense will win you championships.”
After day one of the Winter Meetings, General Manager spoke to Pittsburgh Media on busy day:
On progress from day one: “Much like the first day of the Winter Meetings –always a lot of conversations. Some lead to dead ends. Some lead to fruition. A lot of dialogue.”
On whether the Pirates would be open to giving up prospects for a trade: I think we’re open to the right deal. In a perfect world, we’d love to hold every prospect that we have, but we know to get good players that are the right fit, it’s going to take some players in return.”
On trading Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek: “We like both guys a lot. We think both are capable of closing at the Major League level, and we’re looking for value in return.”
On what Ryan Doumit’s role would be for next season: “As we sit here right now, Ryan will be our right fielder with some time behind homeplate to supplement Chris Snyder. Sitting here right now, Ryan is going to play a lot. It’s up to him to play well and to continue to play, but sitting here, that’s the plan.”
On whether Ryan Doumit could be a part of the platoon situation in right field: “If there is a right-handed complement to be had… we have Steve Pearce internally that we feel comfortable with. But we continue to explore the trade market as well as the free agent market to see what else is out there. Sometimes clubs in our market have to be creative to maximize the roster and maximize the production of the roster. ‘Platoon’ seems to be a negative word. But the reality is that if it helps us put quality production on the field, it’s something that we’ve got be open to.”
On which position has the most options, first base or right field: “There’s options at both. There are some established Major League veterans out there. There are some players that are available in a trade. We’ve got two guys that we feel comfortable with, so it would have to be a situation of trying to find an upgrade if that is possible out there.”
On whether the Pirates have made a decision on who will be the Bucs closer: “The tough part is that it’s not going to be a Spring Training competition. So if we do decide on one – and there have been multiple conversations that Clint [Hurdle] and I have had and we’ve got to continue to have – we have to decide before Spring Training. In early conversations, we’re open to moving both guys depending on situations and how they match up. But it is an ongoing dialogue internally as to whether we’ll settle on one or go with both.”
On whether the Rule 5 draft has good players: “No.”
On whether the players who were non-tendered are still of interest to the Pirates: “Yeah. We’ve made contact on a good number of players and continue to be open to find different ways to help our club continue to move forward.”
Neil Walker and Joel Hanrahan have met with new Manager Clint Hurdle since he was hired by the Pirates. And now, several other Pirates players are looking forward to working with him in the future.
Chris Snyder has the most experience watching Hurdle interact with his players. Snyder –before he was traded to the Pirates spent seven seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and faced the Rockies 19 games each year.–
Synder saw the steady progression of the young Rockies under Hurdle’s watch.
“It was a steady progression for all those guys, each year they continually got better and better,” said Snyder, who came to the Pirates in a trade with the Diamondbacks July 31.
The Diamondbacks and Rockies shared the same spring training facility in Arizona and Snyder said he saw Hurdle throw batting practice, shag fly balls and interact with his players during warm-ups before games.
“Every time I looked up, I think I saw he had a glove on,” Snyder said.
Zach Duke and Jeff Karstens have not yet met Hurdle but have heard about his intensity.
“They said he’s a very upbeat guy, a very intense guy,” said Zach Duke. “He cares a lot about his players.”
“I’ve heard he’s an intense manager,” Jeff Karstens said, “which I think will be good. I could see him wanting to have fun but knowing when to really crack down on people.”
Neil Walker met his new skipper at the Steelers game on Sunday says the Pirates’ need a lot of guidance. (Something they obviously were not getting from John Russell)
You’re talking about two straight losing seasons of 100-plus [loss] baseball,” he said. “We all can do our job a little better, from pitching to defense to offense to managing to front office. Having a new mentality or having a different way of looking at the game is maybe something that he’s going to try to implement.”
“Us younger guys on the team,” Walker said, “we need a lot of guidance.
“Sometimes, when a manager knows to get on you or leave you alone and back off, or give you some encouraging words of confidence, I think that’s important.
“That’s the kind of thing he prides himself in.”
The Pirates defeated the Fish 5-1 on Friday night. And with just two games remaining on the season, the Bucs aren’t finishing the season without a fight.
The Pirates finished the month of September 12-14 with a team batting average of .255. They scored a season-high 123 runs, as well as season-high doubles (53) and triples (7). The pitching staff’s ERA was the second lowest of the season (4.38) and picked up a season-high 12 wins striking out 180 batters.
Record aside; we are seeing a lot of good things coming from the team.
On Friday night, three of the five runs scored came from the long ball. Pedro Alvarez hit a line drive monster in the second inning tying the game at one and extending his hitting streak to 11-games.
“He hit that ball hard,” Russell said. “He really did.”
Alvarez now has 64 RBI since he was called up on June 16th –the most of any Major League Rookie.
Chris Snyder hit a two-run homer in the sixth, giving the Pirates a 3-1 lead –breaking his 0-for-18 streak.
Daniel McCutchen –who started in place of Paul Maholm–, pitched four innings allowing one run on five hits, walked one and struck out two.
“September wasn’t all that great, so to end on a positive note is good,” McCutchen said. “I know they’re a very aggressive ballclub and needed to stay out of the middle of the plate. For the most part, I did that. When I needed the big out, I got it.”
Chan Ho Park pitched three innings allowing neither runs nor hits and struck out six. He picked up the win –his 124th– passing Nomo for most wins by an Asian born pitcher.
The Pirates pick up their 17 win on the road this season. One more victory keeps them from tying the Mets for the worst record by a club playing 81 road games.
I missed the game due to yet another wedding. Thankfully i tivoed it and watched it when I got home. Here is a picture of me all dolled up.
Since Chris Synder was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks he is batting only .168 (16-for-95) with a .266 OBP. Four of those hits have been home runs, a good sign that he still has some power. His career average is .230 with a OBP of .331.