TIOPS DAILY FIVE
*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. There was much discussion prior to tonight’s game with the Cardinals of whether Starling Marte should immediately go on the DL.
Clint Hurdle meeting with reporters said “absolutely” it would make sense to put Marte on the 15-day DL to give the Pirates some roster flexibility, though, I’d say the best route is likely just wait things out and hope Marte turns the corner and is ready to go after the break, due to the very limited internal options.
The Pirates only realistic internal options are Jaff Decker or Jose Tabata who the Pirates would have to add to the 40-man roster again to call up. Corey Hart if he even makes it back, can’t play the field because of his cranky knees.
Tabata, though, is one of the Pirates best-25 right now but personal feelings keep coming into play again which has him on the outs.
2. Now that the Pirates have a definite timetable on Josh Harrison, whose estimated recovery is 7-8 weeks, it’s a lock Neal Huntington will be working the phones hard in the coming days trying to add a Major League caliber bat in the outfield.
With Marte potentially out for a few more weeks, the Pirates can’t keep putting Sean Rodriquez out there as the starting left fielder to go with Gregory Polanco’s inconsistencies. The wins are overlooking things but the nights of four and five hits are going to catch up at some point.
“We’ll look at internal options and at this time of the year there are other options to consider and to pursue,” Hurdle said today of the Pirates looking into options with Harrison, Marte out. “Whether the waiver wire, or being aggressive with an early opportunity to add, there’s different ways to get it done.”
3. Colby Armstrong was a character player so it wasn’t surprising to see his comments that playing with Phil Kessel in Toronto was frustrating.
“I just felt with Phil, he was looked on to be kind of the Sidney Crosby of our team — a leader,” said Armstrong, who played with Kessel during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, via Sportsnet Radio.
“We all see what he does: He skates fast to the puck, he shoots the puck, he can make things happen. But when the game’s on the line, if he can get a goal for you, that’s about all he’s gonna do. As far as winning battles and the extra mile, it did become, for me as a teammate, a little bit frustrating at times.
“As a teammate, exactly what you see is what you get,” Armstrong added. “And sometimes it was frustrating, wondering whether he was gonna be there for you or not.”
Some of the points Armstrong made is one of the reasons why there’s a view of Kessel where some around the league truly believe it is 50-50 whether it works out in Pittsburgh.
4. The Penguins are going to go into the season with major question marks on the backend. They have Kris Letang, Olli Maatta and a bunch of 5-7’s. Evaluating the roster, right now the Penguins have eight d-men for seven spots.
Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Ian Cole, Ben Lovejoy, Derrick Pouliot, Rob Scuderi, Brian Dumoulin, Tim Erixon.
With Dumoulin and Erixon on 1-way contracts and eligible for waivers, someone has to go before the start of the season.
Management is intrigued about Erixon and ideally would like to find a trade for either Ben Lovejoy or Rob Scuderi. They explored trades for both at the draft and had Scuderi involved in one scenario for Phil Kessel during talks around the draft but Pittsburgh didn’t have the stomach to include another high 2016 pick to appease the Maple Leafs taking on Scuderi’s contract. Scuderi then was no longer apart of talks when they restarted following the draft.
Penguins coaches if they had their pick, prefer Scuderi over Lovejoy, sources say, but coaches don’t always think about the salary cap.
One Eastern Conference team continues to get talked about in league circles as a potential landing spot for Scuderi by the fall.
At that’s the New Jersey Devils and it isn’t just because of Ray Shero’s admiration of Scuderi.
With Bryce Salvador unlikely to return, some say Shero would like to add a veteran presence for his young D and there is believed to have been a discussion at one point this summer between the two sides.
Would it cost the Penguins sending maybe a third round pick or picking up a little bit of Scuderi’s salary? Most likely, but the Penguins are going to desperately need a couple more million in cap space at some point and avoid situation they were in last season.
5. Former Penguin Eric Tangradi has landed with the Red Wings organization on a two-way contract. Tangradi since being traded by the Penguins in 2013, has 4 goals in 98 NHL games and has now become an AHL journeyman and seems unlikely to ever establish himself as a regular at the NHL level.
Tangradi got over-hyped in Pittsburgh from the start because of the Penguins miscalculating him as a prospect and Shero stating they wouldn’t have made the Ryan Whitney trade if Tangradi wasn’t included, but Tangradi being such a great guy with the media also kept the hype machine going longer than it should have during his time in Pittsburgh.