Daily 5: What separated Jerome Bettis being a Hall of Famer and Corey Dillon having little shot of getting in


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Opinions of what a Hall of Famer should be are wide ranging. I’ve long been in the group that a player who dominated his sport or position at a level that few others did for even only a 4-5 year period is superior to longevity. Hence, when it comes to the NHL for example, Eric Lindros is a Hall of Famer to me over a Mark Recchi who was a good player that played 20+ seasons and has the stats to get in the Hall of Fame, but was never a great player in the sense that he was one of the best players in the game for a short period. Bettis kind of falls into that same category as he was not a great running back in the sense that the likes of Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders were during his era,Read More »

Daily 5: Burnett, Harrison, Boyd, Ehrhoff Chatter, NHL/MLBAM partnership


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The competitor A.J. Burnett is, I’d bank on him making at least one more start but the Pirates are at the point where there’s no way you’re sitting bank and relying on him being a productive pitcher again this season.. Jason Grilli at age 36 with the Pirates in 2013 suffered a strained flexor tendon on July 22, he pitched again on September 4, 2013 but was never the same pitcher that season or even in 2014 when the Pirates parted ways with him. When Grilli returned from the injury in 2013, still a lot easier to tolerate the pain to pitch an inning than trying to go out and throw six, seven innings like Burnett will have to do. 2. Being a first year coach, Pat Narduzzi had no choice but to suspend Tyler Boyd for the season opener and the PittRead More »

Daily 5: Zero Risk/Incremental upgrades for Pirates at deadline; Pens were beneficiaries of cheat deal & more


 TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* Photo: David Hague 1. Neal Huntington acquired a third baseman, two right handed relievers, starting pitcher and a platoon bench player. He hit all of his needs in quantity but what about quality? In Ramirez, things haven’t been promising so far and this trade might end up being the Penguins version of bringing Alexei Kovalev back in 2011 but whether Ramirez gives the Pirates much of anything or not, for the cost it was no-brainer to make the trade no matter how it pans out and the same can be said for the additions of J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton and Michael Morse. Zero risk and pretty much zero cost. If JaCoby Jones ends up becoming a quality Major League player, the Joakia Soria trade could end up becoming similar to the Marlon Byrd trade where on the surface the Pirates gave up a highRead More »

Daily 5: Game Changers go to AL; Scouts see Pens blueline being a disaster in the making?


 TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*  1. The Pirates have the farm system to acquire pretty much anyone they wanted on the trade market and Neal Huntington would have loved to have made another run at David Price,  but for whatever reason, there was no green light from ownership like last July to bring on that type of salary so the Pirates never seriously looked into Price like some in the organization had hoped they would. The good news at least for the Pirates is all the game changers went to the American League in Cole Hamels to Texas, Johnny Cueto to Kansas City and David Price, Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto. San Francisco reportedly made a late push for Hamels, Price, and many insiders believed the Dodgers were going to get at least one of Cueto or Price. 2. From a size, athletic ability standpoint, some are drawing Dwight FreeneyRead More »

Daily 5: Who will be 3rd line center; Why teams were scared off to sign Fehr; Pirates, Steelers talk & more


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Nick Bonino believes he’s going to be the third line center (he will to start the season) and Eric Fehr who is recovering from elbow surgery, believes he was signed to be the Penguins 3rd line center. So who will it be? Hard to predict on how things will play out by the time Fehr is ready to return which may not happen until December, but if things play out like the Penguins hope, Sergei Plotnikiov proves to be a the read deal and earns a top-6 spot, David Perron proves to be the player from January, and the Penguins are not forced to play Fehr or Bonino on the wing, the ideal scenario Penguins coaches envision is Fehr anchoring a third line shutdown role with Pascal Dupuis identified as a key player to be 2/3 of the line. Bonino has been praisedRead More »

Daily 5: Importance of Brandon Sutter Trade; Steelers cover-2 Talk, Lawrence Timmons & more


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. A year away from unrestricted free agency, the Penguins had to move Brandon Sutter this summer. Once you start the season it’s harder to move a well liked player in the room who is productive. Just look at the Penguins last season with Paul Martin. Last summer Rutherford was telling other GM’s he was very open to moving Martin (getting something for him before he leaves as an UFA) but he wanted to wait at least a couple months into the season. Once the season started, you get into the win-at-all cost mode and overlook the big picture. That’s what happened with Martin as the Penguins could have easily got a first round pick for him last summer. When it comes to Sutter, the market wasn’t strong for him around the draft but the hope was always going to be that someone wouldRead More »

Daily 5: Planning for one game is what the Pirates have to do, Hunt for a starting pitcher & more


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. With a tough schedule coming up and the unlikelihood of the Cardinals collapsing over the last two months, the Pirates are destined to have to go through a great pitcher in the Wild Card game for the third straight year, likely a left hander, and while Pirate officials would never admit it, the Pirates are targeting position players (Right fielders/first basemen) who might only be backups or part-time players down the stretch but would be in the lineup if the Pirates have to go through Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Jon Lester or even David Price/Cole Hamels if they were to be traded to the Cubs, Giants, or Dodgers, in a wildcard game or playoff series. You never want to plan for one game but that’s what the Pirates have to do. Shane Victorino is no longer a good player but he hits leftRead More »

Daily 5: Groundhog Day all over again for the Pirates


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. It is groundhog day for the Pirates all over again when it comes to Pedro Alvarez. Just like last year with Alvarez at third base, Clint Hurdle is now reaching the point where he doesn’t even want to put him out there and just like last year at the trade deadline, the Pirates are aggressively trying to find a taker. Last summer one team kicked the tires on Alvarez, the Minnesota Twins. Maybe Alvarez’s father-in-law can talk Padres management into taking him. “I think we’ll evaluate [Pedro] as we did last year,” Hurdle told reporters over the weekend. “I don’t know what is going to happen two weeks down the road. Could it be different? It could be. Could it be the same? It could be.” For a guy who was the second overall pick, it’s amazing there’s still a crowd of supportRead More »

Huntington in a David Price State of Mind again? Have Penguins found another Patric Hornqvist? That & more in Today’s Daily 5


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Back-to-back walk-off wins in dramatic fashion against what’s becoming their top rivals, the Pirates weekend wins were something out of a Hollywood Script. You had not only the walk-off magic in back-to-back nights, but the A.J. Burnett home run, Francisco Liriano hitting a two-run single against a lefty, just things happen that shouldn’t happen and normally don’t. The Pirates now go into the All-Star break with a 52-35 record, third best in the Majors and third best run differential at +64. Since starting the season 18-22, the Pirates are 35-13 since. A special team, team of destiny? That’s the type of talk going around right now but it’s a bit overboard, at least the team of destiny talk for now. What this four game series meant for the short-term, though, was a lot of things. There’s a ton of baseball left but atRead More »

Daily Five: Who Goes by October? Penguins have 8 players for 7 spots on the blueline


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 hasRead More »