Results tagged ‘ rockies ’
John Perrotto of Baseballprospectus.com and baseball columnist of the Beaver County times said Thursday night the Pirates may sign left-hand pitcher Joel Beimel.
“Hearing there is a very good chance that LHP Joe Beimel, the pride of Elk County and Duquesne, will sign with the Pirates as a free agent.”
Troy Renck of the Denver Post confirmed those reports and also said, he was “lured by the role, manager Clint Hurdle and family in the area.”
Beimel is a Pennsylvania native and attended college at Duquesne University.
The 34-year-old lefty had a 3.40 ERA in 71 games with the Rockies during the 2010 season. The 10-year Major League veteran is 23-31 lifetime with a 4.16 ERA.
New Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle sat down with Trib’s beat reporter Rob Bietempfel at Pirates City where he discussed: expectations, challenges and if the Bucs can compete against the pitching heavy NL Central.
What are your expectations for this season? Have they changed or expanded over the past month, as you’ve settled into the job?
They haven’t expanded. I think we’re better now than when I took the job. (General manager) Neal (Huntington) is working diligently. He’s been aggressive and creative and is trying to spend our money wisely. What people sometimes don’t realize is sometimes it’s not about paying more money. Some players don’t want to come to Pittsburgh right now. There have been times when we put more money on the table (than other teams), but we still haven’t gotten the guys. That’s the state we’re in right now, and I understand that. We’re not the best dancer at the prom, but we can dance. We’ve got to win some more games so we get a little more attractive as this thing moves forward. It’s not about setting a number of wins. We’ll talk about winning the National League Central. People can laugh, but we’re going to start with that thought. We’re going to set some standards, the biggest one being to perform at a championship level. That’s going to be one of the mandates we throw at them at the beginning of spring training. If you’re going to be a champion, you’ve got to start that right now and hold yourself to championship standards. It’s not important to me what anyone outside of this room thinks. They’re not a part of what needs to get done here. Opinions are wonderful. I actually listen to them once in a while. But not from people who are just about criticism or cynicism. That can’t permeate in here. We’ve got guys who have been here one year, three years — but not 18.
Many fans expect you to be a difference-maker right away. Do you welcome that challenge?
One of the best lessons I’ve learned in this game is I can’t control what other people say, think or do. I can control my preparation, my energy. My goal is to make a difference in a positive way. My goal is to re-bond the city of Pittsburgh with the Pirates. When we do that, you’ll hear the roar from the four corners of the United States. It’s a tradition-rich organization. One of the things that’s galvanized me to this job is it’s the greatest coaching opportunity in all of sport. I got the information from Neal, (president) Frank (Coonelly) and (owner) Bob (Nutting) that I needed to hear. I didn’t need to manage. I left a very good job, a very comfortable job, in Texas. But it’s never been about comfort for me. I’m looking for challenges. And this is a very unique and good challenge, a heck of a challenge. One thing I hear from fans is, ‘My Dad’s got one foot in the grave, and he wants to see the Pirates win …’ I’ve heard that more than anything. That’s our goal.
What are the biggest challenges you’re facing at this point, with spring training a month away?
Biggest challenge? Names. There’s a large volume of people I’m meeting for the first time. I’m big with names. I think it’s important you learn people’s names. Eye contact is critical when you’re talking to people. You can’t call everyone ‘buddy’ or ‘pal.’ You’ve got to find a way to connect. Another challenge from a personnel side is just getting eyes-on more than hands-on. Just getting these guys out on the field, running around. One of the benefits of minicamp is the entire staff can get its eyes on these guys. We want them to move around, show us some technique, swing the bats, field some balls. We want to find out where they are from a physical standpoint. And logistically I have to find my way around Bradenton. It’s been 23 years since I’ve been in Florida for spring training. And finally, I’m getting to know our player development staff. One of the things I’m most impressed with is all the work that’s been done in a three-year period with our scouting and player development programs. Everybody’s aware of the fact that we’ve spend more money the past three years than anybody else on scouting. We’ve made a transfer over — we’ve got a good group of young men coming up who we sought out and got. We have big hopes for them. There’s a lot of first-time stuff going on for me. But as far as anything daunting or overwhelming … no. It’s baseball.
How is this situation with the Pirates, a young team trying to re-establish itself, similar to what you had when you took over as Rockies manager in 2002?
I’ve got experience with the situation the Pirates are in now. It has a lot in common with 2005 when I was with Colorado. We had some guys who had some success in the minor leagues who were coming up, trying to figure out things at the major league level. We had a handful of veterans who were brought in to provide some clubhouse stability and on-field stability and leadership. But the challenges have been real. One thing you can’t control in this game is the pace and when players are actually going to pop. You want them all to pop at the same time, but that’s not the way it always happens. But I think there’s tangible evidence at the major league level of things that have been accomplished in the farm system. I’m probably as optimistic about our pitching as anything. Neal made a very gutsy call last season. Instead of dabbling in the free agent market and getting some guys who are banging the drum toward the back ends of their careers, he decided to let the young men pitch. Unfortunately it didn’t go as well as anybody wanted. The young men gained experience. Now it’s up to them to take that experience and the humility the game can bring you from time to time and use it as a positive and take it into this year. I think we’re in a good place right now with those young guys and the commitment Neal made to them. Although the numbers didn’t work out last year from a won-loss standpoint, benefits will be reaped this year.
Other teams in the NL Central have strong starting rotations. Can the Pirates compete in that regard?
They’ve probably got better names than we do, but you play the game on the field. Good pitching will beat good hitting. There are teams with more experience on the mound. I spent a lot of time in the National League West, where there always was pretty solid pitching. Last year in the American League West, Oakland threw four (good) arms at you every time you went in. The Angels threw three or four arms at you every time. Against Seattle you caught the King (Felix Hernandez), the left-hander (Jason) Vargas and (Doug) Fister. This is the big leagues.
You’ve had so much success as a hitting coach. What’s the secret?
I’ll never take full credit. You’re not going to be a successful hitting coach unless you have good hitters. When I was a player — this has been in the back of my mind since high school — when a new coach or manager came in, I always had three questions: Can I trust him? Will he make me better? Does he care about me? What’s helped me develop a relationship with hitters and get them in a comfortable place so they can play up to their skill set is that I try to answer those questions for them sooner than later. When you capture a player’s heart, and it’s not easy, their skill set will follow. I’ve been in a lot of situations where I was a skill set: left-handed bat, corner infielder/outfielder, blah blah blah. They didn’t know me because they thought it wasn’t necessary to get to know people. It’s a different society we live in now. When you can get a guy engaged a little bit, have him open up and get out of himself and plug him into a team concept … one of the things we talked long and hard about in Colorado and Texas is making good outs. Most coaches talk about getting hits. At this level I don’t think the mental side of the game in many cases is developed to the extent it can be. Not every kid out there is going to say, ‘Yeah, I want to spend time with a mental skills coach.’ I spent time with a mental skills coach, and I want to find ways to open that package. You can’t open every package the same way. Some kids need a pat on the back, others need a smack on the backside. You need to know the difference. Timing is everything, as well as presentation. So developing a relationship that is real, professional and personal is the first thing to do. Then we can work on the skill set.
The Pirates have signed reliever Jose Veras to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
Veras, 30, went 3-3 with a 3.75 ERA in 48 appearances with the Florida Marlins in 2010.
According to ESPNDesportes, Veras had other offers from the Giants, Rockies, Twins, Marlins, and Rays.
If he makes the major league roster, Veras will make $1 Million plus incentives.
- It’s still undetermined where pitcher Tim Alderson will start the 2011 season. He will have to prove to Pirates Farm Director Kyle Stark during minor league spring training that he is ready for another shot at double-a.
“I have no idea where I’m going to start the season,” Alderson said. “Probably, I’ll go back to Altoona, but I’m not really looking to where I’m going to be. It’s about how I’m going to react and be able to pitch. If I can pitch (well), no matter where I’m at, I’ll have a good shot of getting back to where I used to be.”
Here, he tells the story of how it felt to be demoted to High-A in 2010.
- The Kansas City Royals have signed left-hander Jeff Francis to a one-year deal.
Francis, who has spent seven seasons with the Rockies, has a 55-50 record with a 4.77 ERA in 150 games.
The Pirates were reported to be interested Francis. Clint Hurdle managed Francis for five years when he was manager in Colorado.
- Former Pirates pitcher Ian Snell signed a minor league deal with the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.
- Jose Tabata did not make MLB Network’s “Top 10 left fielders -right now” list that aired on Thursday night. He did, however, receive a mention to those players to just miss.
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.”
Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answers fans questions in this weeks inbox (You can read the entire transcript here). Here, she addresses the current pitching rotation.
Are the Pirates done pursuing free-agent pitchers? Can we expect any more help other than Kevin Correia and Scott Olsen? Neither of them seems to be a front-of-the-rotation guy. I certainly was hoping for more given the young talent in the field and the poor starting pitching performance last year.
The Pirates will contend that even if they don’t add any more starting pitchers this offseason, they will enter the 2011 season in better shape than they ended up last year. It’s hard to argue that given how bad the 2010 results were for the starters. Correia has potential to help stabilize the rotation, and Olsen gives the Bucs more depth for the back end of the rotation.
The truth is, though, that the biggest effect on the rotation can come not from the new additions, but the returning starters. Guys like Ross Ohlendorf, Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton and Brad Lincoln are going to have to put poor 2010 seasons behind them and move closer to their potential. If improvements can be made from that group, the rotation can go somewhere. If they don’t, it’s going to be another long season.
Now certainly, adding another experienced and proven starter would increase the chances of the rotation making significant strides forward. But there just aren’t many options left. The best free-agent pitcher left was Carl Pavano, who is returning to Minnesota.
A more realistic signing would be Jeff Francis, who continues to look for a contract that includes a guaranteed roster spot. The Pirates, who would give Francis the opportunity to play under Clint Hurdle again, might offer that. Francis, who has had recent injury issues, is a another risky sign. But he would likely take a contract laced with incentives.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports: Free agent [pitcher] Jeff Francis still drawing interest from 7 clubs — Nationals, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Rockies and both NY teams.
Francis, who will turn 30 on January 8th, went 4-6 with a 5.00 ERA for the Colorado Rockies during the 2010 season. Through 104.1 innings, he walked 23 and struck out 67. Francis missed the entire 2009 season recovering from a shoulder injury.
The Pirates are still looking to add starting pitching depth. The projected starters for this season are: Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Kevin Correia and James McDonald with the fifth spot still open. Charlie Morton, Scott Olsen and Brad Lincoln are among the starters who will compete as the fifth starter at spring training.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports: Also Clint Hurdle’s familiarity w Francis’ injury history huge benefit when a guy is trying to rebound with a new team.
Jeff Francis is a pro, great teammate. If healthy, will help someone. If were me, I’d go to pitcher’s park. Give him some margin for error.
The Pirates have agreed to terms with infielder Garrett Atkins on a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.
Atkins will be reuniting with Clint Hurdle. He played for the Rockies from 2003-09. During that time he hit .289 with a .354 on-base percentage, 98 homers and 162 doubles.
He spent the 2010 season with the Orioles where he appeared in 44 games. Atkins was released in July. He batted .214 with seven doubles, one homer and nine RBIs.
Atkins made his major league debut at PNC Park in 2003, where he also recorded his first major league hit (Thanks for that info, @Townie813).
According to MLB Trade Rumors, seven teams are interested in veteran right hander Octavio Dotel. The Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Orioles, Twins, Pirates and Yankees have reportably inquired.
Dotel, 37, spent the 2010 season with the Pirates, Dodgers and Rockies while posting a 4.08 ERA. He had 21 saves as the Bucs closer.
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.