Martavis Bryant’s act is underway in Oakland

Jon Gruden Already Growing Frustrated with Martavis Bryant

This past April Steelers officials were in shock when the Oakland Raiders presented Pittsburgh with a trade offer for Martavis Bryant that included a third-round.

Those close to the situation say Kevin Colbert didn’t even need to discuss the offer with his staff and mull the pros and cons.

Despite a Super Bowl or bust mentality, Pittsburgh had no hesitation in jumping at the offer and for good reason — Bryant could never be trusted –.

Just a couple weeks into Raiders training camp, there’s talk that Bryant might not make it out of camp with the Raiders and Jon Gruden’s comments this week will only add more fuel to the fire.

The Martavis Bryant ‘act’ of mysteriously missing practices due to a made-up illness and a lack of attention to detail has followed Bryant to Oakland.

RAIDERS COACH JON GRUDEN ON BRYANT, VIA USA TODAY

“He’s got to get out here and play better. He’s in a competitive situation. Right now, a lot of the other receivers have had a nice camp. He’s just got to learn the offense. He’s got to stay out here. He’s had some illnesses. He’s got to get on the field. He’s got to master the offense and become more versatile, and that’s the key to making this team better.

“I’m not saying he’s behind, I’m just saying he’s got to be more versatile. I’m not going to say anything more than that. He’s in a competitive situation. Nothing is going to be given to anybody. It doesn’t matter how you got here or what your history card says. We need everybody to understand the best players are going to play, and he’s got to be more consistent. And I’m confident he will.”

 

As questionable lineup moves continue, management has at least developed a plan beyond 2018

The Pittsburgh Pirates (57-54) enter a crucial game this afternoon against the St. Louis Cardinals (57-54) before they begin a nine game road trip (3 @ Rockies, 58-52), (4 @ Giants, 56-56), (2 @ Twins)

Losing this homestand and falling a game behind the Cardinals will leave a bitter taste after the momentum and buzz the Pirates built up with the Chris Archer trade.

PIRATES LINEUP FOR CARDINALS (1:35 P.M)
1. Dickerson, LF
2. Marte, CF
3. Polanco, RF
4. Cervelli, C
5. Moran, 3B
6. Frazier, 2B
7. Osuna, 1B
8. Mercer, SS
9. Williams, RHP


And the Pirates can’t start falling 6+ games out of the second wildcard spot. Entering today the Pirates are 4 games back of the Braves, yet, Clint Hurdle continues to make maddening lineup moves like last night with the bullpen and David Freese hitting .370 in his last 16 games not in the lineup today.

This is a game the Pirates need.


MANAGEMENT FINALLY HAS A PLAN IN PLACE

Even if the Pirates stumble during this upcoming road trip that make the playoffs pretty much an afterthought by mid-August, certainly possible if the Pirates endure a 3-6, 4-5 road trip, what the organization has finally done with their stunning deadline moves is develop a direction for the club moving forward.

“Chris Archer has been, and projects to be, an upper echelon major-league starting pitcher who we are thrilled to add to our organization to help us win games for the next three-plus years.”

That was the key quote from Huntington — “Three-plus years” of control –.

Pirate officials are giddy about a Mitch Keller-Chris Archer combination at the top of rotation in the not too distant future.

The Pirates are not going to be legitimate World Series Contenders this season or next but this team finally has a plan to be compedtitive with several impact players under control and help coming up in the system.

In the outfield Pittsburgh has Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte under team control through 2023 and 2021 respectively, if Pittsburgh picked up both team options.

Gregory Polanco, 26, Signed through 2021 (Team Options 22-23)
Starling Marte, 29, Signed through 2019 (Team Options 20-21)

Corey Dickerson hitting .317 with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs this season is under team control for another season.

What made the Pirates willing to sacrifice Austin Meadows in the Archer trade was the outfield depth in the system.

Jason Martin, acquired in the Gerrit Cole is what the Pirates feel could be a perfect 4th caliber outfielder who can play all three positions. Martin is hitting a combined .305 with 12 home runs, 49 RBIs in AA/AAA this season.

The organization is very high on Bryan Reynolds, acquired in the Andrew McCutchen and he could be MLB ready by late 2019.

Trading Meadows might sting a lot in 2019 if Gregory Polanco reverts back to the Polanco of old but what the Pirates feel great about the Archer/Kela trades is that several of their high-end prospects are on a path where they should be able to help this group at the MLB level within two years.

Among them include SP Mitch Keller who projects to be a star, SS Kevin Newman, IF Ke’Bryan Hayes, among others.

Newman in fact is a key for next season. Jordy Mercer is a free agent and next season is time for the 25 year old Newman to see what you have.

While the Pirates still have a problem in the present of not rostering the ‘Best-25’ and putting their ‘best-9′ on the field as the Pirates playoffs’ have pretty begun this week, the team has at least taken steps of putting a plan in place.

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Pirates land SP Chris Archer

Pirates deal for Archer

The Pittsburgh Pirares have agreed to a deal for Tampa Bay Rays starter Chris Archer.

It’s the second significant move for the present and future by Pirates GM Neal Huntington in the last 24 hours.

In the deal the Pirates will send Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and a player to be named later to the Rays.

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Huntington as he should enters ‘Buy Mode’ with addition of Keone Kela

Huntington enters Buy mode with addition of Keone Kela

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The Pittsburgh Pirates ‘World Series’ is getting to the wild card play-in game this season.

Every organization has to live in reality.

The next 2-3 years the Pirates are not competing with the Cubs on a yearly basis for the division. It’s just not realistic. The Pirates are also not winning the division this season.

The goal of the organization has to be to put itself in the best position to claim one of the two wildcard spots.

PITTSBURGH RECEIVES: Keone Kela
TEXAS RECEIVES: LHP Taylor Hearn, PTBNL

Pittsburgh’s out of nowhere winning streak this month put Pirates GM Neal Huntington in a bind with the non-waiver trade deadline and it forced the Pirates hand to add to this roster and Huntington has delivered with the trade of Rangers closer Keone Kela.

If the Pirates were in striking distance of one of the wild card spots, Huntington had to add. He had no choice but to send the right message to his group and taking a small step in winning the trust back from the fan base is also needed.

While the Kela addition surely won’t appease enough of the fan base, (there would still be criticism from some that Huntington didn’t do enough if he traded the farm for Bryce Harper today), Pittsburgh has taken a step in having the right mindset in putting its self in position to stay in contention for a wildcard spot.

Those close to the situation say the 2014, 2015 wildcard losses led to Pirate management becoming fixated that they should only add if they’re in contention for the division.

That mindset has finally changed and it needs to continue into the future.

Kela, 25, has recorded 25 saves in 25 opportunities while posting a 3.44 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 38 appearances. His 96.0 save percentage is only second to Aroldis Chapman.

Where Kela has excelled is against right handed hitters where he has limited righties to a .125 batting average.

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Red-Hot Pirates win 10th straight

Pirates 7 – Indians 0

  • Josh Harrison in his return to the lineup hit a 3-run homer off Corey Kluber, while Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco each drove in 2 runs as the Pirates extended their winning straight to 10 games with a 7-0 win over the Indians (F/6 Innings).

    • Pirates starter Trevor Williams (8-7, 4.11 ERA), threw six shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and striking out one. Pittsburgh tagged Indians ace Corey Kluber for 9 hits in 4 innings.
    • The Pirates have won 10 in a row for the first time since June 26-July 5, 2004.
    • Next Up: Joe Musgrove (3-4, 4.08 ERA) takes on Indians RHP Shane Bieber (5-1, 3.53 ERA in the second game of the series on Tuesday night.