Results tagged ‘ mlb ’
It was much better weather on my second trip to Pirate City. No rain today, thank goodness.
The major league players had a three hour MLB Players Association meeting in the early am so most of the fields were occupied by the minor leaguers.
A funny moment happened later in the morning (after the major leaguers arrived) when a fan called over Matt Diaz for an autograph. He handed him a picture of John Bowker, who wore No. 23 last year. Diaz said, “That’s not me. That’s Bowker.” The fan said that he was wearing No. 23, but Diaz laughed and told him that when your old like me you can take the younger players numbers.
Pedro Ciriaco and Josh Rodriguez took grounders at shortstop this afternoon.
Justin Wilson throwing a bullpen session.
Minor leaguers taking batting practice.
Players practicing drills (Brock Holt, Jim Negrych, Starling Marte)
Players stretching before workouts.
Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle was a guest on MLB Network radio’s Power Alley with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy on Thursday. He discussed priorities, expectations for the 2011 season, the “oh no’ coach, his time in Colorado and Michael Young’s impact with the Texas Rangers.
On Hurdle’s priorities as the Pirates manager: “Priority No. 1 for me was getting to know personnel. Getting to know the front office. More than just the interview process. Getting to know the people up top. Getting to know Bob Nutting and Frank Coonelly and Neal Huntington along with all the other employees. Also then reaching out to the player personnel group. Finding out who we have, who they are. One of the things I’ve really tried to do, probably the last 10 or 12 years of my coaching career and managerial career, get to know people and try to capture their heart. Not capture their skill set. I was a player a long, long time ago…The coaches that impacted me, actually reached out to me, got to know me and the skill set would follow…Getting to know our players. Getting to know the people I’m working with and for. Just trying to capture their hearts and get this thing focused on a winning mentality, a championship mentality and re-bond the city with the baseball team.”
“I think that there’s a whole bunch of things that come with it, as you start to prioritize. I try to keep things simple at the same time. No. 1 it’s to get to know people. I think that by getting to know people you establish trust. Without trust you got no shot at anything…It’s my job to establish trust. These people know who I am, what I am, want to be transparent. From there, you try to engage in the human part of it. Then you go to the professional part of it. What do our priorities need to be to improve our ball club, to set our sights on a championship organization. First and foremost, it’s off the mound. So much good work has been done here in Pittsburgh the last three seasons. Greg Smith, the scouting director, Kyle Stark, our farm director, and all our player development people and scouts. They’ve spent more money in baseball then anybody in baseball in the last three years in the draft. Those players are pluged into our development system. Now we have some people in the major league level that are making noise. We need to start focusing on our major league club winning ball games…We need to focus on a championship mentality winning ball games. How do we do that, first and foremost, off the mound.”
On getting to know the players and their feelings on the club and organization: “I think one of the things that when I walked away from every conversation, it was very refreshing…More often than not, when you ask about a season, more specifically a season with a 105 losses which everybody took ownership of. Not one person, not one man pointed the finger at another man, another coach, another manager, anybody in the front office…I’ve been in great situations, but I don’t know if I could ever say I’ve had those conversations across the board. Nobody threw somebody under the bus…These guys took ownership of it. They’re young men and a few guys with some leadership skills and been around, but they took ownership of it. We just got to get better, I need to do this. I need to do that. We need to do this. That was as refreshing as any coversation I could have had.”
On Hurdle’s realistic expectations for 2011: “…We’re going to develop a championship mentality. I talked with these players about winning the NL Central. Where that ends up, I don’t know but that needs to be our sight. That needs to be where we set the bar. We need to hold ourselves to major league championship level of execution across the board. What, are we going to get shirts printed up that say ‘hey, Let’s break the streak’ ‘let’s finish 3rd‘. I don’t got no time for that, they have no time for that. That is the kind of conversation that’s been had. People are going to believe, people aren’t going to believe. We understand the emotions here in the city with the fan base. It’s been tough sledding for a long time…I need to put the responsibility on my shoulders. This is what we are going to do, this is how we are going to this, this is why we are going to do it. And if that doesn’t happen, then look to me and look no further. I don’t want our men trying to…let’s play .500, let’s when 84 games. No, we don’t need men on our club that got that mentality going.”
On his experience playing with different managers in his career: “…A lot of managers I had did really well, basically a lot of managers did this really well, they did get to know you. They got to know what you liked to do. They maybe find out your wife’s name, or your kids name, or hobbies. We’ve all had that coach…When you saw him coming, you went, ‘oh no.’ We’ve all had ‘oh no’ coach. I’ve been encouraged, I’ve encouraged my coaches, and myself, I don’t want to be the ‘oh no’ guy. When I walk up to a player I want him to be, eye’s open…gosh, I wonder what he’s got today. He’s got something for me today.”
“I don’t have an ‘oh no’ coach. All these guys got clean slates. That’s one of the refreshing things about putting a staff together and actually having another opportunity to do this. You hope you learn some lessons over time. You hope there are some things you can improve upon and encourage my coaches. This is all about coaching men up. This is all about helping them grow up help build their talents. I believe on and off the field. That’s truly something we are holding fast to here…There are two kind of coaches I don’t want; I don’t want the ‘oh no’ coach and I don’t want the ‘cool coach’. I’ve probably been both coaches. But it was brought to my attention very early and you realize the error of your ways…There are certain things a manager needs to know and there are certain things he doesn’t need to know. I think one of the real blessings I got last year was, I think I was in the best position to coach hitters last year than I ever have been in the five previous years, because I got to sit in that managers seat for seven years.”
On what he took from his experience in Colorado: “The one big nugget I’ve taken from Colorado was It was a very humbling opportunity to be a small part of something that had so much significance to so many people, that 2007 season. There was so much hard work done by so many people that goes unnoticed in an organization when your re-building. To try to re-identify a brand, a logo, a team. To have that level of success is very humbling. At the same time, I think I learned on the way out that it was a very good experience for me…When I was fired from Colorado I felt that it was the most important day of my managerial career. In the fact that, for eight years I preached continuity. I had preached team, unselfishness, organization first. I felt the way I walked out was a say on anything I did on the field for seven years before. If you walk out yelling, kicking and screaming, pointing fingers, that just pollutes the message that I tried to leave seven years before hand. You leave professionally. You hand the keys over to Jim Tracy, who is a good baseball man and a very good manager. And you let everybody go about their business and you find the next thing to do. That’s what I learned from there.”
On Michael Young’s impact to the Rangers: “One of the things you need on a very good ball club, on a championship caliber ball club and in the clubhouse is a guy that will stand up and take heat off all the other guys when its not good. When your not playing well, when your not hitting, whatever’s going on…Michael would always be up front. He was the first guy up. He accessed the situation, honestly. He’d self evaluate himself and the team. And just talk about just what we need to do to get better. Never lay blame. That for me, was as big as anything he did for that ball club throughout the season. He was always up front. Defending the criticism. Taking a stand for the team or owning up when we weren’t playing well. You need that guy.”
Andrew McCutchen was recently named the ‘Number one center fielder right now’ by MLB Network (If you missed the Top 10 countdown, read more here).
McCutchen commented on what an honor it was to be labeled as the best.
“Just to get on the list would’ve been a privilege,” McCutchen said Monday morning during a Pirates Caravan stop at Allegheny General Hospital. “But to be No. 1, that’s saying a lot. That was kind of big for me, and I’m really excited about it.
“This offseason, I’ve been working real hard to do what I need to do to have a great year this year, and seeing that (ranking) gave me an extra boost. I’m ready to go, and even more excited now.”
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.
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.
The Pirates currently have 41 men on the roster after announcing the signing of Kevin Correia on Friday. A player needs to be taken off and it appeared that the move would be made on Monday, but that is not the case.
The Bucs appear to have a trade in the works, which would make sense of the delay in roster moves.
Update: Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosh reports: I’m told that MLB/agent haven’t made one of the signings official yet. When it’s official, a roster move will be made.
Peter Gammons wrote an article several days ago about the “windows opening for the Marlins, Pirates and Royals” in which he said a quote I think should make Pirates fans happy. Here in Pittsburgh, we are aware of the great talent in the minors and those young Bucs are slowly making their way to the majors. (Evidence is Alvarez, Tabata, McCutchen, Lincoln, and Walker) But it really makes a difference when a guy like Gammons hints at light at the end of the tunnel.
“By mid-2013, Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen could well be stars of different kinds, Tony Sanchez could be a front-line defensive catcher and, if all goes well, the Pirates will be starting to see the fruits of their search for power arms, as opposed to the mediocre pitchers they selected at the top of the Drafts in the past decade.”
Chins up Pirates’ fans, 2013 and 2014 could be exciting years for the city of Pittsburgh.
The results are in and for the month of October, your’s truly is number 23 in the top 50 MLB Fan blogs. That marks my third straight month in the top 50. Thanks to everyone who reads and to all the other winners. I’m very pleased considering the Pirates were not in much news or talk during October. Thanks to Mark for also featuring me on the MLBLOG’s homepage the past several days.
Here is a list of all the winners. Congrats! Happy off season and hot stove.