THURSDAY’S DAILY FIVE
*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. It became clear yesterday when Nick Spaling requested $2.85 million and the Penguins requested $1.65 million, that a new deal for Spaling was likely going to come in around $2.2 million if the two sides got to arbitration with the possibility Spaling got close to $2.5 million. Both sides were able to avoid arbitration and met in the middle this morning, agreeing to a two year deal worth $4.4 million.
Spaling gets a $700,000 raise, while the only positive for the Penguins is getting some cost certainty as they have Spaling under contract for two more years before he can become a free agent in July 2016. Once Brandon Sutter signs his new deal, Spaling will be the Penguins seventh highest paid forward on the team. In reality Spaling is closer to the 10th, 11th best forward on the roster than 6 or 7 among the forward group.
2. Spaling at $2.2 million per is going to lead to him being a player who will be highly scrutinized from day 1. It’s just way the process works around here when there’s not enough talent on the top-2 lines around the two franchise centers and third liners are making $2 million+. When Tyler Kennedy was scoring 21 goals in 2010-2011, while making just $725,000, he was a great bargain and well thought of, but how he was viewed and valued would soon change when his salary spiked to $2 million per in 2011-2012 and Kennedy dropped to 11 goals the next season which was more of his career norm. The Penguins did not get enough for James Neal and Spaling’s salary will further cement that.
3. The Jon Lester – Yoenis Cespedes trade is one of the more unique one’s in that a pure rental player landed an All-Star player, though, Cespedes is far from a premier player in the league. The small market A’s are going all in, something the Pirates are getting criticized for, but the Pirates are not in the same situation where going all in makes a ton of sense like it does for the A’s. For the Pirates, maybe that year is next or 2016. Small tweaks can help this team, while the only player where it made sense to go all in for is David Price who they could flip next season. Again Pittsburgh has the pieces to get Price if they desire.
4. Josh Harrison continues his coup of the starting third base job, homering for the fourth straight game in Wednesday’s 7-5 loss to the Giants. As the games continue to get more important, it’s going to be so hard to play Pedro Alvarez on a regular basis at third with him being a train wreck in the field. “He’s not outplaying Josh Harrison,” manager Clint Hurdle said of Alvarez Wednesday. “Harrison needs to find reps. Pedro will find reps. We’ll give him time. We need to pay attention to the whole team and how it functions. Right now, the focus for Alvarez is to continue to work on consistency.”
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) July 30, 2014
5. The Steelers announced yesterday they are retiring Joe Greene’s number. One of the most important players in the Steelers franchise history during the most prominent time for the franchise, the dominant 70’s. However, WHAT TOOK SO LONG! Yes, if the Steelers wanted to retire everyone’s number who was deserving from the 70’s team, players now would be wearing three digit numbers but it’s been 33 years since Greene last played in the NFL. Better late than never but this should have happened in the 1990’s at least, where the 70’s were still fresh in some people’s mind.