In what was a formality, the Pirates on Friday announced they will exercise Andrew McCutchen’s $14.5 million club option for the 2018 season. If the Pirates had declined McCutchen’s option, which was a thought in the organization during the early parts of last season, McCutchen would have been owed a $1 million buyout. The Pirates also declined club options for catcher Chris Stewart and left-handed reliever Wade LeBlanc. Stewart, whose option was worth $1.5 million, received a $250,000 buyout and will become a free agent.
Did the Pirates jump the gun in extending Clint Hurdle this month? As the Pirates organization has tried to sugar coat this season that the record you see isn’t an accurate picture of what this team really is, the Pirates are what their record says it is. A 68-84 ball club that is climbing closer to the cellar of the NL Central with a seventh straight loss Tuesday night to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers who no one saw coming as a legitimate playoff contender in 2017, have moved 1.5 games back of the Colorado Rockies for the second wildcard. Bob Nutting awarding four year extensions to Clint Hurdle and Neal Huntington this month can be looked at on one end as Nutting sticking with his guys who got this organization to three straight playoff appearances. Bringing them back to lengthy extensions also makes them punching bags for what’s headingRead More »
Latest Pirates Buzz The Pirates 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday night in extra innings was a perfect summary of their season. Pittsburgh has a 3-0 lead entering the seventh inning, yet, they had been playing with fire all night and everything came crashing down in the seventh. Gerrit Cole had six shutout innings going thanks to getting out of two bases loaded jams prior to the seventh. Then Clint Hurdle left his pitcher out to dry. As Cole’s pitch count was over 100, he began to start losing some zip and control on his pitches. Cole had run out of gas and it was clear to anybody that it was time to go to the bullpen. The stubbornness, though, of Hurdle played out and getting out of a third bases loaded situation unscathed wasn’t going to happen as Cole’s 112th pitch would be crushed by Curtis GrandersonRead More »
Latest Pirates Buzz The mediocre NL Central is keeping things interesting and despite being a game under .500, the Pirates could be playing meaningful baseball for the next five to six weeks. After losing eight of 10, the Pirates have countered that by winning five of six and currently on a three game winning as the four game interleague series with the Tigers shifts to Detroit for two games. The Cubs just a week ago looking like they were primed to begin their ascend of start running away from the division, have hit a road block and lost five of seven. The Cardinals meanwhile have won four straight and now trail the division by just 2.5 games. NL CENTRAL STANDINGS 1. Chicago Cubs 59-53 2. Milwaukee Brewers 59-56 3. St. Louis Cardinals 57-56 4. Pittsburgh Pirates 56-57 5. Cincinnati Reds 46-67 — The Pirates requiring Sean Rodriquez caught many byRead More »
Pirates off-season priority should be a Retool/Rebuild When evaluating the Pirates, you have to look into lens of how the organization is ran. Pirates GM Neal Huntington did not fail his ball club Monday by pretty much standing pat at the trade deadline in trading Tony Watson who has been all but gone for months as a pending free agent (Scott Boras client) and then adding 40 year old Joaquin Benoit to replace Watson as the setup man. Benoit had his welcome to the Pirates moment Wednesday night. Anybody can see this team had no chance of being a serious threat in the NL against the likes of the Dodgers, Nationals and the defending champion Cubs who are starting to find their stride and made a slew of moves to upgrade their roster for another run. The Pirates were 8.5 games out of the wildcard as of Monday, now 9.5 gamesRead More »
TIOPS Daily 5 *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Gerrit Cole is never going to be the No. 1 Ace in the mold of a Max Scherzer so many want to see out of him on a consistent basis and envisioned as the No. 1 overall pick in 2011, but he can still give you a night like this where he looks unhittable that will at one point in the near future have the Pirates receiving the type of Chris Sale offer they seek down the road for Cole. As for the present, the Pirates rallied again for a third straight win over the Brewers, 3-2 in 10 innings at PNC Park. They’ve now trimmed a seven game deficit for the division lead to four. Francisco Cervelli drove in a game tying single in the ninth to force extra innings, and then in the 10th, Max Moroff delivered a bloop single, scoringRead More »
TIOPS Daily 5 *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Here come the Pirates! Another come from behind win, this time a 4-run sixth inning fueled by a 2-run Josh Harrison homer as the Pirates rallied from a 3-0 deficit for a 4-3 win over the Brewers on Tuesday night at PNC PArk. On a night where they got Starling Marte back from an 80 game suspension, the Pirates are surging. Winners in 9 of their last 11 games, Pittsburgh has moved to five games back of the surprising Brewers. The Pirates during this run are finding ways to win in games that easily could have went the other way. They could have been swept against the Cardinals last weekend but instead took 2 of 3. Tonight vs Milwaukee, the Pirates were out-hit 13-6 and overcame a start from Ivan Nova who struggled with his location, highlighted by the Shaw homer on an 0-2 count.Read More »
Latest Pirates Buzz In dealing with the Starling Marte suspension and not having Jung Ho Kang for the entire season, Pirates GM Neal Huntington has talked in recent weeks that this group of players doesn’t deserve a tear down of the current roster and waive the white flag on the season. NL CENTRAL 1. MIL 50-41 2. CHI 43-45 (5.5 GB) 3. STL 43-45 (5.5 GB) 4. PIT 42-47 (7 GB) 5. CIN 39-49 (9.5 GB) The proof will be in the next 10 games, starting with a pivotal seven game home-stand Friday night. Fri vs St. Louis | 7:05 p.m. Sat vs St. Louis | 7:05 p.m. Sun vs St. Louis | 1:35 p.m. Mon vs Milwaukee | 7:05 p.m. Tues vs Milwaukee | 7:05 p.m. Wed vs Milwaukee | 7:05 p.m. Thu vs Milwaukee | 12:35 p.m. Will the Pirates starting with manager Clint Hurdle treat this home-standRead More »
Latest Pirates Rumors The Pittsburgh Pirates are seven games game of first place in a mediocre NL Central where the Chicago Cubs look like they’re never going to become the Cubs of 2016. With Starling Marte set rejoin the team on July 18, the Pirates have signaled to other clubs that their focus leading up to the July 31 deadline is trying to hang around in 17 but they’re eyeing trades with an eye on 2018. The Pirates are certain that no Chris Sale type offer is out there for Gerrit Cole and the team has pre-determined to keep Gerrit Cole for one more season and see how things go in 18 and be more open to addressing his future at the 18 deadline or the off-season. But, is Neal Huntington bluffing with his stance about keeping Andrew McCutchen in 2018?
Huntington, Hurdle back for 2018? A last place ball club and a group with bad fundamentals in key areas, the futures of manager Clint Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington were going to come to the forefront at somepoint this summer with both men in the last guaranteed year of their contracts. An extension for GM Neal Huntington through at least the 2019 season was always Bob Nutting’s intention prior to the season and one will happen. Huntington who could have went to Atlanta and ran their organization after the 2015 season, has always been a loyal soldier. He toes the company line, and does what ownership and Frank Coonelly want when it comes to controversial moves like the Francisco Liriano trade. He’s bought into how the Pirates operate without any push back that will pretty much let him decide how long he wants to stick around or go pursue anotherRead More »