Results tagged ‘ frank coonelly ’
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.
On Friday (Day one of Piratefest) myself and several Pirates bloggers (Pirates Prospects, Rumbunter, Bucs Dugout, Pittsburgh Lumber Co.) were invited to a sit down interview with Pitcher Paul Maholm, General Manager Neal Huntington and President Frank Coonelly.
On whether he pitches differently because of poor infield defense: “No. I’m a ground ball pitcher. I’m going to keep throwing ground balls.”
Maholm isn’t a big strike out guy. He went on to say, “Last year was sad that [Joel] Hanrahan almost got me in the strike out category. We were neck and neck, sweating it out.”
On if he has a different approach this offseason due to roller coaster 2010 season: “As far as training and everything? No. I have a trainer. I go in there and do what he says. It’s been different exercises. But still the same mechanics. The same goals, training wise. Throwing off the mound is mainly fastball command. I haven’t thrown any other pitches yet. Trying to make sure I am good to go.”
On Pitching Coach Ray Searage’s approach compared to others he’s worked with: “I’ve known Ray for about eight years now. He knows my mechanics. We just kind of ‘go pitch’. I tell everybody who’s about to work with him, ‘If you’re ever feeling bad about yourself, go throw a bullpen with Ray.’ He’s the most energetic guy to be around. As pitchers, you need plenty of confidence and he’s going to be there.”
On Manager Clint Hurdle wanting the starters to pitch deeper into games: “I’m not a happy camper if I go 60 or 80 pitches. I expect to go deep into games. To me, 100-120 pitches a normal outing. We got to get deeper into the games so that the back of the bullpen stays fresh.”
On potentially being traded: “I’m here. My number one goal is to win. But I also want to be the team that wins here. I think the fans deserve it. I want to be here but I have no control over it. It’s not bothering me, I’m going to prepare. If Neal [Huntington] and them [President Frank Coonelly and Owner Bob Nutting] want to approach to me about staying, I’m all for it. It’s in their hands. I’m here until otherwise.”
On the recent reports of Pedro Alvarez’s 15 pound weight gain: “Let the guy play … there’s plenty of people in baseball who aren’t the prototypical athlete… He’s a good third baseman. He gets to a lot of balls, he has a great arm … Don’t try to bash him for his weight.”
General Manager Neal Huntington:
On the reports of Pedro Alvarez’s 15 pound weight gain: “It’s not completely accurate. Pedro’s not where we need him to be but it’s not as desperate as maybe that article [PiratesReport.com] seemed it is.”
Huntington did not give an exact number on how over weight he is but did say, “He’s not where we have concerns. He’s not enough where we don’t think we can get him to where he needs to be.”
On how long Alvarez will remain at third base: “That’s a better question for Pedro Alvarez. He has the hands. He has the arm. He has the arm versatility. He even has the feet to be able to play third base. It’s a matter of how he’s going to do physically in order to stay there. The ultimate answer will be shown by his actions.”
On why Wil Ledezma was taken off the 40-man roster: “As we began to look at adding players, taking players off, Wil had good secondary numbers last year. He’s got a good arm. A good fastball. He had some opportunities with us. Had the one bad outing. As we looked at our 40-man roster we made the decision that we were going to keep some other players on that 40-man roster. Part of the decision was the contract we signed him to. We thought it may make it difficult for a team to claim him and risk paying him $300,000 at the Triple-A level. It was a gamble that didn’t work out for us. We had a chance to claim him back and we chose not to do it for the same reasons we put him on waivers the first time.”
Andrew McCutchen was recently ranked the #1 Center Fielder in baseball, Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata received honorable mentions. Huntington on young bucs starting to make their mark in baseball: “It’s exciting for us to look at our group of players that are 25 and under. You take it from the major leagues on down. We feel very comfortable that that group matches up with some of the best in baseball. We’re excited about where we are both at the high end and also the depth of the group we have coming in the system. We had some guys graduate to the big leagues this year. We didn’t have a lot of guys with break out years. Unfortunately most of our guys in the mist of break out years got hurt. Starling Marte or Tony Sanchez or Brock Holt. We sustained some bizarre injuries. It wasn’t chronic injuries that we have long term concerns about. It was collisions, it was hit by pitches, it was a broken hamate. All things we recovered from. We’re looking forward to some guys having some break out years. That group of 25 and under, we’re really excited about. Which added us to the moves of the veteran presence this year. With [Lyle] Overbay. With [Matt] Diaz. With [Kevin] Correia. Now with [Jose] Veras and [Joe] Beimel to go along with Scott Olsen. To help keep this group moving forward. Help get some guys that can help them learn how to win on the field. And also how to grow and mature. To help reach their potential quicker. It’s one thing for a coach, or manager to help a young player. It’s another thing for another player to help a young player. That’s where the most impact is made. That’s where the Overbay and the Diaz moves in our minds are significant upgrades for us from what we had prior to that.”
On whether the Pirates farm system could handle a Matt Garza or Zach Greinke kind of trade: “We feel like the farm system is deep enough to put us in a position to make trades, when the major league team is ready to make those. In Milwaukee, in Chicago’s case, one could argue they are a little further along in the curve then we are. We need to see some young guys take some steps forward. We need some of our veteran players to take some steps back to where they were in the past. We need our additions to come in and do well. A big part of why you develop a deep farm system is to have replacement at the major league level. It’s to make trades, it’s to fill that hole that you have at the major league level. To add to your depth. The signings that we’ve done haven’t impacted what we are doing anywhere else. We’re still going to invest heavily into the draft, this year, the next five years. We need to. We’re still going to invest heavily in Latin America, in the International Market. We have to. We need to. Part of the reason is to have a deep system so that we can make trades.”`
Huntington did go on to say that the pirates “engaged Tampa Bay” on both Matt Garza and James Shields, but ultimately the Rays “thought that they had better opportunities elsewhere”. The Pirates were never in on Grienke because the equivalent package would have been Tabata, Walker, Moreno, and another player –to hard of a hit.
On injured minor leaguers with possible set backs in 2011: “Donnie Veal coming off the hand surgery is probably the most prominent. There is a handful of other guys. Most of the guys we’ve talked about; Marte, Sanchez, Holt, that sustained the injuries last year, they’re on track. They are going to be ready to go and ready to compete in spring training. Hopefully we will have a lot fewer dramatic injuries this year.”
On Veal’s time frame: “He wants no part of the June/ July return that is the typical 12, 13, 14 month return. It’s really 12-18 months. Donnie had the surgery early in the season, so he’s progressing as well as we could have possibly hoped. He’s actually probably a head of schedule. We’re excited. He’s fired up. He feels great.”
On locking up the young players (McCutchen, Walker, Tabata Alvarez): “It’s part of the plan. It’s easier said than done. It takes both sides.”
President Frank Coonelly
On being Pirates minors being ranked #19 (Baseball America) and #21 (Keith Law ESPN): “Not happy with that number. But pleased, not satisfied with the progress. They are subjective rankings. If we were 1 I would agree with it, if we are 19, I’m not so happy with it. We graduated a large number of prospects. If you look at the number of players, whether major league or minor league, 25 or under on our club, I think we match up very well with the No. 1 organization –Kansas City. The issue is all their top players 25 and under are still in the minor leagues. That’s why they are No. 1. In their eyes and Several of ours are at the major league level doing great things; Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez. When you graduate a large number of players like that obviously now all of a sudden your elite prospects are at the next level. The other thing I encourage you to look at is, because maybe we don’t do a good enough job, making the calls to Baseball America or to Keith Law and really talking up our own players. Look at the statistics of Rudy Owens and Kyle Drabek. Last year, the year before, somehow Kyle Drabek was named ‘Eastern League Pitcher of the Year’ beating out Rudy Owens. Across the board Owens numbers are much better. 93, 94 mph. Unbelievable command from the left side. Drabek I believe was #16 on Jonathan Mayo’s [list], I’m sure he’s up on these guys’. Rudy Owens isn’t even in the top 100. Something’s not right there. Several of our top prospects had some injuries last year that kept them back. We need to be much better than 19. And I think we are better than 19. Maybe we need to do a little bit better job selling ourselves.”
On Clint Hurdle’s impact on getting players to sign in Pittsburgh: “Extraordinary effective. Joe Beimel is just the latest in the number of agents who got on the phone with Clint Hurdle. Neal and I must not have a personality. Everybody comes out and says, ‘the reason I’m coming to Pittsburgh is because of Clint Hurdle’. He embraces the opportunity. He’s very good at it. The reason he is good at it is because he’s genuine.”
Coonelly said that he sat in on a recruiting phone call with a player they did not end up getting but, “I was ready to sign to sign up for it.” “We didn’t get the player, somebody offered more money, but they should have come to Pittsburgh for the reasons that Clint gave them. It was an effective presentation. Clint has a lot of experience that he can draw from.”
On if there is an end point on the draft once the major league level is stacked: “There is no end point. We always have to be extraordinarily aggressive in this area. If there’s a slotting system, we have to find another area to be aggressive in securing talent. I don’t like being #19 in the Baseball America rankings. I want to make it impossible for them to not put us in the Top 5. Really, for a club like ours, we look to graduate two or three top prospects into the major leagues every year.”
Coonelly said, “the strength of our minor league system right now is starting pitching. It’s all those kids who took Altoona to the Double-A Championship last year. I refuse to believe that Rudy Owens is not one of the Top 100 prospects in baseball. I refuse to believe that Bryan Morris shouldn’t be in consideration as one of the top prospects in baseball. Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson. These are real prospects that are looking to have an impact sooner, rather than later.”
On the reports that 16-year-old Luis Heredia’s will debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2011: “That decision hasn’t been made. That would be pushing it but so far everything that Luis Heredia has done for us has shown that he’s ready to be pushed. It would not be surprising or shocking to me that he started in Bradenton.”
On new media types: “I think the level of analysis, and I’m not just saying this because you’re here and I’m sitting in front of you and you have the power of the pen, but the level of the analysis that you get from blogs, and particularly blogs that focus on one team or one aspect is at a much higher level then the traditional media.”
**Special thanks to Matt Nordby, Paul Maholm, Neal Huntington and Frank Coonelly for the great opportunity. And Jim Trdinich, Tom of Rumbunter and to any others who helped make this event happen.
- The Pirates scouts were looking at Anthony Rendon on Thursday according to @FSH_Owls, who covers Rice University Athletics.
“A Pirates scouting director is scheduled to observe Jr. 3B Anthony Rendon take BP shortly. Pittsburg has the first pick in the 2011 draft.”
- Day four of the Pirates caravan wrapped on Thursday, which means Piratefest kicks off on Friday night (season ticket holders ) and continues Saturday (10-8) and Sunday (12-5). If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, go here to purchase them. And be sure to say hello, I’ll be around all weekend.
- As the clock ticks closer to spring training (19 days until pitchers and catchers report), the closers role is yet to be announced. Will it be Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek?
“I think every reliever wants to be a closer,” said Hanrahan. “I kind of got thrown into the closer’s role in Washington, and I didn’t have the greatest success. But I enjoyed it, and it’s something that I want to get back to.”
I’ve kind of taken the [relief] role and embraced it, which is what you have to do,” Hanrahan said. “I enjoy the role that I’m in. It’s kind of fun coming to the ballpark every day knowing that you have a chance to make an impact on the game.”
But Meek has the talent to close ball games out as well.
“He’s got a great arm, and he’s got that natural cut,” Hanrahan said of Meek. “He cuts the ball a little better than I do. I think we [have] different [pitching] styles. He tries to get [batters to hit] the ground ball, and I try to get the strikeout most of the time.”
Whoever they decide upon, the fact is, the Pirates have a pretty nasty eight and ninth inning covered.
“We have two of the most exciting young relievers in baseball in Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek,” said Pirates president Frank Coonelly.
“Both had awesome years last year, and we’re going to be looking for them to carry a lot of the load this year,” Jones said. “When those guys came into a game last year, it was pretty much lights out [for the opposition].”
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle sat down for a presser after day one of the mini camp:
On why he preaches an old-school message of preparation and routine: “It’s important from the first time we’re together to put some staples in place that we’ll revisit throughout the season. You don’t hear the term ‘new school’ very often; you hear ‘old school’ more frequently. In our situation, it’s very appropriate because we’re building upon scouting people, going out and finding players, player development. That’s the way we’re going to have to do things. We’ll add some extra parts, when appropriate, when we find good fits. I think the players need to hear a message from the manager that’s clean, clear and accurate.”
On if he worries about trying to do too much, too soon: “The one thing I want to do is get the men out on the field, watch and listen. I have to ask good questions. I have to rely upon my coaching staff to take care of their individual responsibilities with the players their in charge of Really good men have gone before me here. We’re not going to be teaching a whole lot of revolutionary ideas. We’ve just got to get better at the fundamentals of the game. I think that is in place. I also think that when you come in from the outside … I’m sure these guys have made their calls on me and the new coaches. They want to know what you’re about, where you’ve been and things like that. I’ve had enough experience that during a game there’s not too much that’s going to get thrown at me that I haven’t already experienced as a player, coach or manager. Hopefully, I can be a sounding board. Hopefully, I can be someone who can continue to push ‘em, encourage ‘em and guide ‘em towards playing the game at a championship level. It’s not going to happen overnight, but there are going to be some staples in place that we’re going to get down early and they’re going to know what I do want from them.”
On emphasizing the simple stuff when a franchise is trying to rebuild: “We’re not starting over. I think there’s some good things in place. I’m trying to build upon the positives that already were here. The men who came before me have done some good things. The group that’s been here the past three years, Frank [Coonelly] and Neal [Huntington] and some of the coaches who were brought over, have done hard work. It just hasn’t come across on the playing field like we want it to. So, from that standpoint, we’re going to be professional. We’re not going to fear anything. I’m going to share with them some of the staples that I’ve seen work. It’s not so much that the mentality is different. There’s no such thing as a small thing. Coach [John] Wooden said that, and he’s a pretty smart coach. I let them know from the first day that we’re going to hold ourselves to a championship level of execution. That’s one thing that is not negotiable.”
On the difference between being a coach and a manager: “You’re in a role of leadership, even as a coach. But as the manager, I’m accountable for a very large portion of all the things that go on, on the field. I don’t take that responsibility lightly. When you’re a coach, you’ve got an area of heightened importance. Now, I’ve got to make sure my coaches have the freedom to coach, know the players and get them to know me. I want them to know I’ve got their backs. We’re going to do this together. I need to carry myself in a managerial fashion. I’m not here to be their friend; I’m here to manage the ballclub, first and foremost. I have to get this club up and running in a much better fashion than what we’ve been able to do in the past.”
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.”
The Pirates have released the 2011 Winter Caravan Schedule. The Bucs will make stops in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia during the week of January 24th through the 31st.
Players, coaches, broadcasters and the Pirates Parrott will be in attendance.
“The Caravan gives our players and staff an opportunity to travel throughout the tri-state area and thank all of our fans for their continued support as we prepare for next season,” said Pirates President Frank Coonelly. “In addition to visiting many cities in the outlying areas, this year we added a number of public events close to the city of Pittsburgh that will allow fans to come see our players and staff.”
There will be three different groups. Those in attendance will be: Andrew McCutchen, Evan Meek, Broadcasters Bob Walk and John Wehner, Pitching coach Ray Searage, James McDonald, Garrett Jones, broadcaster Tim Neverett, base coach Jeff Banister, Neil Walker, Joel Hanrahan, Jose Tabata and broadcaster Greg Brown.
Monday kicks off the first day of the Winter Meetings held at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The Pirates have several gaps to fill for the 2011 season: a starting pitcher (or two), a first baseman/right fielder, shortstop and bullpen help for Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan.
The young Bucs can be penciled in for next season: Jose Tabata, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen, and James McDonald.
“We feel it’s important to provide this young group of players weapons that will help them experience success in 2011,” President Frank Coonelly said. “More help is coming quickly through the much improved minor league system, but there are needs that we’re trying to address now to enable us to win in 2011. If we can address these needs without giving up prospects who we believe will be a part of our long-term success and without impeding our ability to lock up the young players who we are developing to long-term agreements, we need to do that.”
“We are targeting players on the market who will address these needs without jeopardizing our longer-term goals,” Coonelly said. “We have the financial resources available to address these needs, and we are looking forward to adding more talent to the improving young talent that has joined the roster over the past two years.”
The Pirates reportably were interested in Jorge De La Rosa (who re-signed with the Rockies) and first baseman Lance Berkman (who signed with the Cardinals). But there are many other players the Bucs could peruse: first baseman Derek Lee and Carlos Pena, right fielders Jeff Francouer, Jack Cust and Matt Diaz, shortstops J.J. Hardy and Jason Bartlett.
Steve Pearce and Lastings Milledge (who was non-tendered) could also be filled from within the organization to play first base/right field.
We are comfortable with Steve Pearce filling a role on the major league club,” General Manager Neal Huntington said. “We continue to be open to Lastings Milledge returning, too, but we are also exploring other potential fits.”
Starting pitching is the most important for the Pirates to fill. Scott Olsen is rumored to be in serious talks with the Pirates. Other options include: Brandon Webb (reports that the talks have gone cold with the cy-young award winner), Justin Duchscherer and Jeff Francis.
Thursday marks the Rule 5 draft and the Pirates have the first pick. Starter Aneury Rodriguez is the favorite, The right-hander went 6-5 with a 3.80 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 113.2 innings in Triple-A (Tampa Bay Ray’s organization).
The 40-man roster currently has four spots open.
Pirates Frank Coonelly web chatted with fans on Thursday afternoon where he discussed: winter game plans, de la rosa rumors and evaluating player injuries before signing contracts. Here are several questions from the transcript. You can read the entire chat here.
As the Winter Meetings draw closer, are there any certain “game plans” you have going into them?
Coonelly: [General manager] Neal [Huntington] and his staff have been working hard all offseason on our game plan to improve the club for next season without trading away the outstanding talent in our Minor League system that has us and our fans excited about our future. As Neal has said, we are aggressively pursuing opportunities to upgrade our starting rotation. We are also exploring potential upgrades and/or platoon candidates for right field, first base and/or shortstop. As always, the Winter Meetings will bring additional inquiries from other clubs who are trying to acquire players to meet their needs. We are looking forward to having productive dialogue with both agents for free-agent players which we have targeted, as well as GMs of the other 29 clubs.
Frank, there are a lot of skeptics (media and blogs) that have said that an offer was never made to [Jorge] De La Rosa, or it wasn’t an offer worthy of proving the promise to spend on true talent. Can you clear up what happened and why he couldn’t be landed?
Coonelly: I can assure you that we did in fact make an offer to De La Rosa. It was an offer, in our judgment, that was reflective of Jorge’s market value, taking into account both his potential upside, but also the reality that he has started more than 25 games only once in his six-year career. We made the offer and engaged in the negotiations in an effort to sign De La Rosa and not in an effort to prove our skeptics wrong. Mr. De La Rosa accepted Colorado’s offer, which included, among other things, a player option for the third year worth $11 million. A pure player option such as that is a “heads the player wins, tales the club loses” situation that we would not entertain.
How do you evaluate players who are recovering from a significant injury? Can you require them to pass a physical and/or make the offer contingent on meeting certain physical standards once they report?
Coonelly: Great question. The short answer is that we use all available tools and resources to properly assess the player’s current health likelihood of remaining healthy over the term of a proposed contract. That exhaustive analysis includes: reviewing the player’s complete medical file and giving the player a complete medical examination prior to signing him to a contract. Even with this type of diligence, signing a player, particularly a pitcher, with a history of injuries is a substantial risk that must be factored into our analysis.
I also want to commend you on your deal with the Dodgers last season. I think both James McDonald and Andrew Lambo are great additions. What do you guys hope to get from McDonald?
Coonelly: we are very pleased with what we saw from both Andrew Lambo and James McDonald since we acquired them at the Trade Deadline. Andrew gave the Altoona Curve team a shot in the arm as it completed its campaign and march through the playoffs to secure the Eastern League championship. He has just wrapped up a solid Arizona Fall League season in which he tied for the league lead in RBIs with 23.
James McDonald, in a very short stint with us, showed the type of stuff that Neal and his staff thought could produce effective starts. The key for James in 2011 is to demonstrate that he has the strength, durability and consistency to start 32 to 34 games at a very high level. As a result, James has been working this offseason to get stronger and to demonstrate that he can be a middle- to top-of-the-rotation big league starter. Given the work ethic that we have seen from James thus far, we are confident that he can achieve the high end of that aspiration.
During the Pirates live web chat with President Frank Coonelly on Thursday, he was asked if they have made a decision on who they will tender/ non tender.
“We will definitely tender Ohlendorf and Hanrahan. We continue to have discussions with the reps for Cedeno, Milledge and Karstens.”
I got an email from Pirates.com written by President Frank Coonelly on Tuesday afternoon:
Dear Pirates Fan,
As I hope you have heard, yesterday we announced the hiring of World Series concluded and Clint was available to meet with us.as our manager. I would like to thank you for your patience as we worked through an exhaustive search process. Once you have a chance to get to know Clint, I am confident that you will agree that the opportunity to hire an experienced and dynamic leader like Clint Hurdle justified the decision to wait until the
We had identified Clint as a strong candidate early in the process but respected the fact that he had a job to do preparing the Tampa Bay Rays, the and, ultimately, the San Francisco Giants in the post-season. Once we had a chance to speak with Clint, however, we knew that he was the right person to lead our young players to the next level.to face the
Clint is an experienced Major League manager with a proven track record of molding young talent into winners. As he said yesterday at his introductory press conference, his sights are clearly set on being part of the team that will return the Pirates to a championship. Clint has fully embraced this challenge and has made it very clear that losing is simply not an acceptable option.
Clint was excited by the opportunity to manage the Pittsburgh Pirates for a number of reasons. First, Clint likes the young talent that has joined our Major League roster over the last three years, players like , Garrett Jones, Neil Walker, , and others. Second, Clint was energized by our commitment to building through aggressive scouting and development. Clint’s experiences in Colorado and Texas have shaped his view that winning organizations must be committed to developing their core from within and was impressed not only by our commitment to that plan illustrated by the signings of players like Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie and Luis Heredia, but also by the people and systems in place here building that talent pipeline. Third, Clint appreciates the rich history of this storied franchise and is thrilled by the opportunity to help return winning baseball to Pittsburgh. Finally, Clint loves the energy and passion of Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers and looks forward to becoming, along with his wife and children, a part of our community.
and his staff have been working hard this off-season to improve our Major League roster. We will keep you updated on our progress as we move through a busy off-season and look forward to giving you an opportunity in the near future to welcome Clint to Pittsburgh. Thank you again for your support and your passion.