Results tagged ‘ lyle overbay ’
First baseman Lyle Overbay’s decision to come to Pittsburgh this season had a lot to do with Manager Clint Hurdle.
“I’ve got three boys,” Overbay said of his sons who are 7, 6 and 2. “And Clint Hurdle is a man who is, in a sense, raising boys here in this clubhouse. He is an inspirational person and I’d like to coach someday and that is the kind of man I want to surround myself with.”
“Things are changing here and I want to be part of something special,” Overbay said.
Overbay made his major league debut in 2001 with Arizona and spent three years with the Diamondbacks. He then spent two seasons with the Brewers and the last five with the Blue Jays.
“I was with Milwaukee when we lost just as much and my second year there [in 2005], we turned it around. It was like we had won the World Series [finishing 81-81]. That same kind of stepping stone can be done here, things are changing, confidence is here, people here are not accepting losing. It doesn’t take long around these guys to realize it.”
Overbay attended the Bucs mini camp held this week where one of the things that was discussed was trust.
“I want to know where I am and be part of the solution and help,” Overbay said. “One of the questions Clint asked me, and he asked everyone was, ‘Do you trust me?’
“You have to trust him because he’s honest. He tells you where you stand with him. I’m a grown man and if he says something that I might not like, he’s not out there to hurt me, he’s out there to make me better. I understand that and that’s a big part of what is going to be the atmosphere around here — you have to trust Clint.”
Fans were not happy that the Pirates didn’t sign a bigger name free-agent first baseman (like Derek Lee) but instead signed Overbay. Hurdle addressed which players the Pirates acquire:
“At this point in time, people need to realize something,” he said. “We need to identify players who are out there, but who also want to come here, and then we have to go recruit those guys.
“There are a lot of people who say, ‘Well, you should have gone out and tried to get this guy or that guy.’ Well, you know what, maybe that guy never even wanted to come to Pittsburgh. And it is not about another million dollars or another 3 million dollars, there are some guys who are never coming to Pittsburgh. That’s the reality of where we are right now. And the reality is we aren’t going to get them until we start winning.”
Some news and notes from day three of mini camp:
- Jose Tabata played against Jorge Julio (who recently signed a minor league deal with the Pirates) this offseason during winter ball. “He looked good,” Tabata said. “He’s still a good pitcher.”
- Players have noticed Tabata’s offseason weight gain by refering to him as “a beast.” Altough he claims to weigh 212 (Pirates media guide said he weighed 210 last year) it’s all muscle, not fat.
“Yeah, I’m bigger,” Tabata said, grinning. “I worked out in the gym every day this winter. I want to be bigger and stronger. This year, my idea is to hit more home runs.”
Tabata hopes that the added strength will help him produce more homeruns during the 2011 season.
“It’s a good feeling,” Tabata said. “But I have to be careful not to let it change my swing. Sometimes, when you want to hit home runs, your swing gets real long. I can’t let that happen.”
- Matt Diaz, Lyle Overbay, Joel Hanrahan, Neil Walker and Ross Ohlendorf held a round table discussion with some of the Bucs top minor leaguers. “I have no idea what I’m going to tell them,” Ohlendorf said. “I’ll come up with something.”
Tony Sanchez tweeted later that night saying, “had a good meeting with Hurd and some of the older big leaguers. lots of insight on how life is as a big leaguer.”
- Sanchez also broke the news (via twitter) that he was invited to spring training: “Just got the word that im invited to Big League Camp. Unreal! Get to pretend im one of the guys… “
- MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that the Pirates are one of six teams that have offered Jose Veras a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
Veras posted a 3.85 ERA in 48 innings for the Marlins in 2010.
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.
Incase you missed Hot Stove from Wednesday night, or perhaps you don’t get the channel, here is what the analysts from MLB Network had to say about the Pirates 2011 season (P.S. It’s not pretty).
Matt Yallof: “The Pirates. Every single year. It seems to get worse. 57 wins last year. That seems difficult to do.”
Bill Ripken: “You wonder what direction they’re heading in. Our friend Clint Hurdle is taking over this club. I think he’s going to bring an attitude and a positive mentality to this club. But for me, I look at the pitching staff. In all these years that they’ve finished down to the bottom of baseball, I’m wanting to know where that number one is. We mentioned [Steven] Strasburg when we talk about the Nationals. Now, he blew out his elbow and he got hurt. But when you draft, you draft a number one. You draft some cheddar. When I look at the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation, I’m kind of wondering, ‘where’s the heat’? I’m not saying heats everything because you can pitch to spots and you can locate. When everybody on your staff is throwing 91, 92, then you drop down below 90, throwing 86, 88. There’s not that one guy that actually wows me. [Charlie] Morton throws the hardest. When you’re looking at 93 topping out, I’m wanting to know, ‘where the heat is?’ If you didn’t draft it, and you go out and you pick out other guys that are kind of throwing the same, ‘where’s the heat?’ I want somebody in that rotation that’s going to make somebody swing and miss at a fastball and maybe get yourself out of a jam instead of giving up big innings.”
Pirates projected rotation (according to MLB Network)
James McDonald (4-6, 4.02 ERA in 2010)
Paul Maholm (9-15, 5.10 ERA in 2010)
Kevin Correia (10-10 5.40 ERA in 2010)
Scott Olsen (4-8, 5.56 ERA in 2010)
Ross Ohlendorf (1-11, 4.07 ERA in 2010)
Mitch Williams: “There has to be a guy on every staff that at some point in the game, can reach back and throw the ball 95, 96. If you’ve got two outs and the bases loaded, two strikes on a hitter, you have got to have that guy that can blow that hitter up. Pittsburgh does not have that guy. They have guys that throw hitting speed.”
Matt Yallof: “You know what, they’ve had their chances to draft guys of note and guys that do what you’re taking about but they’ve missed. They’ve had high draft picks over and over. That hurts. Look at the guys they’ve passed on. They’ve missed those type of guys.”
Pitchers drafted in first round by Pirates since 2002:
Drafted – Right hand pitcher Brad Lincoln
Missed on – Left hand pitcher Clayton Kershaw, right hand pitcher Tim Lincecum, Right hand pitcher Matt Scherzer
Drafted – Left hand pitcher Paul Maholm
Missed on – Left hand pitcher John Danks, Right hand pitcher Chad Billingsley
Drafted – right hand pitcher Brian Bullington
Missed on – Right hand pitcher Zach Greinke, left hand pitcher Cole Hamels
(*As a note: Kevin McClatchy and Dave Littlefield were the General Managers during this time. Since Neal Huntington took over as GM in September of 2007, the drafting and minor league system has done a complete 180. Huntington really hasn’t gotten enough credit for what he has done so far and how much better the organization is heading.)
Harold Reynolds: “That’s the easy stuff they’ve missed on. Those are the number one picks. It’s the guys in the fifth round, six round, that your scouting is suggesting and going after. They’ve done a nice job with some players that have come up as of late (Williams: “position players”). But they’ve really missed it on the pitching.”
Ripken: “That term that comes into baseball now: Sign ability. Some of that might be their hands are tied a little bit but boy when you see that list and some of those players they’ve passed up on, wow! They’d look a lot different.”
Reynolds: “If you look back at the ‘we are family pirates’ they were international. They were: Puerto Rico, Dominican, they may not have had the funds back then but they went in those countries and developed players. I still think they had the market cornered. That’s when everybody wanted to be a pirate.”
Williams: “They won the World Series with the ugliest hats in the history of baseball.”
Yallof: “Last winning season: 1992. It’s really hard to believe.”
Notable Transactions (by MLB Network)
First baseman – Lyle Overbay
Outfielder – Matt Diaz
Right hand pitcher – Kevin Correia
Left hand pitcher – Scott Olsen
Left hand pitcher – Zach Duke
Right hand pitcher – Chan Ho Park
Outfielder – Lastings Milledge
The Pirates have spent $17.75 M so far this offseason, #17 on the list of Major league clubs.
$8M contract for Kevin Correia, $5M contract for Lyle Overbay, $4.25M contract for Matt Diaz, and $500K contract for Scott Olsen.
So far, combined, MLB has spent a reported $1.2 billion in offseason signings.
MLB Trade Rumors reports the average per team is $40.28MM. The Red Sox alone have spent $828M this offseason.
You can see the entire list to see how your team stands here.
Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answered fans questions in the final inbox of 2010. You can read the entire chat here.
With the signings of Overbay and Diaz, what are the Pirates plans with John Bowker?
If Doumit remains with the club, Bowker’s best shot at making the Major League club will be earning a spot as the team’s fifth outfielder. If Doumit is dealt before Spring Training, Bowker could be the Pirates’ fourth outfielder.
While the Pirates were pleased with Bowker’s showing last September, the reality is that he has never had sustained success at the Major League level. It was too risky for the club to have to count on Bowker to play in a semi-regular role given the lack of proven results above Triple-A.
Who do you see getting the closer’s job in 2011?
This was a question asked of general manager Neal Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle at the Winter Meetings, and both avoided tipping their hand as to which way the club is leaning. Huntington said it is a decision that should be made before Spring Training, though he added that there could be a scenario in which both Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek are used in the closer’s role. Hurdle said that he would prefer to pick one defined closer.
While I can see benefits of going to either one, I’d have to guess that the Pirates are going to go with Hanrahan. He has previous experience in the role and has a particularly nasty two-pitch mix that netted him 100 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings.
Garrett Jones made his Pirates debut in June of 2009, creating a buzz for the great rookie season he had. After spending over 10 years in the minors, Jones hit .293 with 21 home runs and 44 RBI in 82 games with the Bucs.
Jones has been the Pirates starting first baseman, and on occasion right fielder, since he was called up from the minor leagues. But after the signings of outfielder Matt Diaz and first baseman Lyle Overbay this offseason, Jones role in 2011 will be as a part-time player.
His stats were nothing like those of his rookie campaign. Jones finished the 2010 season with a .247 average, 21 home runs with 86 RBI –A .262 average against right-handers and just .220 against lefties. During the 2009 season, Jones hit .333 against right-handed pitching and .208 against left-handers.
General Manager Neal Huntington wanted to sign a strong bat over the offseason that could hit well against lefties to compliment Jones.
Since the offseason, Garrett has been spending his time trying to fix his swing and connect like he did in ’09.
“I’m going to make my swing sound and short so that I can get back in the swing of things when I do get into a funk,” Jones said. “When I did get in a funk swinging the bat, I wasn’t able to get out of it quick. You start thinking about your swing and thinking about taking a good swing, and you lose that aggression to go up there and just see the ball and attack it. That definitely hindered me a lot, too.”
“I need to control those downtimes and just get back to where I was when I was having success,” Jones said. “I just need to make sure I don’t think too much. I need to simplify things and that will keep me more successful throughout the year.
“I know my age is a little older, but it was also my first full season in the big leagues. I’m still young there. I learned a lot this year. I’m going to take it in stride and work hard and just make myself the most prepared that I can be.”
Lyle Overbay discusses the opportunity to play with the Pirates and how he can help the young guys.
On why the Pirates were the right choice: “The optimistic. The opportunity. Just look at what this team is doing, as far as bringing in Clint Hurdle. That Is a big decision. For me, it’s the opportunity to be able to play everyday and be a part of this team. Something good is gonna happen and I’m always going to be a part of that. All I hear is about these young guys that can play, they’ve got the will. Just by listening to the other guys around, they’ve got the work ethic and that’s huge right now.”
“I know I’m going to fail 7 out of 10 times out of hitting, but fielding is something that you can change the game everyday. There’s something that you can help out, as far as picking the ball and you can make the second baseman even better if I can get off the bag a little bit and cover some ground there. It’s the little things that make a big difference and that’s the stuff I can control. I’m going to work everyday on that and hopefully make everyone else around me better.”
After the signing of Lyle Overbay on Tuesday, Neal Huntington discussed what the future holds for Ryan Doumit in the Steel city.
“We certainly are open to finding a better fit for Ryan, if one is out there for him,” Huntington said. “But if we’re unable to do that, we’re prepared to open the season with Garrett (and Diaz) in right field and Ryan on the bench.”