TIOPS Daily Five: Chances slim the Pirates view Andrew McCutchen as a $14 million a year player for 17

 

TIOPS Daily Five *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The Gretzky bias. Sidney Crosby on Thursday night became the third player in hockey history to have a Hart Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy and World Cup/Canada Cup MVP on his resume. The other two are Wayne Gretzky (1987) and Bobby Orr (1976). The other two should be Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr. Lemieux’s dominance during the 1987 Canada Cup in what was really the passing of the torch in Lemieux emerging as the worlds greatest player, saw him dominate the tournament with 11 goals, 18 points in nine games. Yet it was Gretzky and his 3 goals, 21 points who took home the MVP honors. 2. Andrew McCutchen in 2016: 24 home runs, 77 RBI, .769 OPS, -0.5 WAR Pedro Alvarez in 2015: 27 home runs, 77 RBI, .789 OPS, 0.1 WAR Andrew McCutchen has been Pedro Alvarez at the plate and McCutchenRead More »

Reds 8 – Pirates 0: Full Collapse Mode

 

Reds 8 – Pirates 0 The Pittsburgh Pirates September collapse continued Sunday afternoon with a 8-0 loss to the Reds at PNC Park as the lowly Reds took three of four from the Pirates. The Pirates falling to 69-72 on the season, have lost 11 of 13. Pittsburgh is also now 36-38 at home. This was a disaster from the start with the Reds putting up a five run second inning off Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong lasted just four innings, allowing 7 hits, 6 earned, while walking three and striking out none. Vogelsong had no command in throwing 34 strikes on 72 pitches. The boost Vogelsong brought to the rotation in his first couple starts back from injury is now ancient history. There is zero reason to throw him back out there this season with the Pirates now in 2017 mode. Vogelsong’s struggles saw Tyler Glasnow see his first action inRead More »

Another Brutal Loss, Evaluating Drew Hutchison’s Pirates Debut

 

Drew Hutchison’s Pirates debut saw the right hander be awarded a 4-0 lead after three innings, only to see things unravel in the fourth inning, allowing 5 hits and 4 runs in a disastrous inning as the Reds would go on to score seven unanswered runs, tagging Trevor Williams for three more in the fifth. What the Pirates continue to do is find ways to lose in falling two games under .500 with a record of 69-71. Down 7-4, the Pirates would get two runs in the sixth to cut the Reds lead to 7-6. Then in the ninth Juan Nicasio allows a costly solo home run to give the Reds a two run cushion going into the bottom of the ninth. The Pirates would fall 8-7. Another brutal loss against a bad Reds team that puts the Pirates playoff chances at about two percent entering Sunday. As it wasRead More »

Signs of sustainability from Ivan Nova to make him an off-season priority?

 

Have the Pirates fixed Nova Long-Term? The Pittsburgh Pirates have aced their experiment of fixing Ivan Nova. Ivan Nova threw a complete game, leading the Pirates to a 4-1 win over the Reds on Thursday night. A complete turnaround from his struggles with the Yankees, Nova is now 5-0 with a 2.53 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in seven starts with the Pirates. Nova’s performance Thursday night saw him allow no walks for the fifth time in seven starts. “It’s just more of what we’ve been seeing from him,” manager Clint Hurdle who earned his 500th career win said of Nova. It was a really nice mix of pitches and pitching. No walks again. It’s the manual there of how you want to get it done in a quick and efficient way. The game last just 2 hours and 28 minutes. Over the past two off-seasons, the Pirates let their reclamationRead More »

TIOPS Inside Buzz: Core players frustrated with over-coaching ways of Clint Hurdle?

 

TIOPS Inside Buzz It was just a couple weeks ago where the Pirates looked like they had the best of both worlds. They moved out lots of salary at the trade deadline, yet were putting themselves in prime position to earn a fourth straight playoff berth. Now the wheels have completely fallen off with what can only be described as a ball club imploding. The crowd that hated the Melancon trade and Liriano salary dump is loving this collapse. Even some in the media who have a personal vendetta against Pirates GM Neal Huntington seem to be loving the Pirates implosion. Neal Huntington has long been thought of as the king of building a bullpen on the cheap. The last three weeks, though, proved that you can’t just throw anyone into the closers role during a playoff chase and expect them to give you the type of stability that an All-Star closerRead More »

The Pirates Resurgence; Vick/Steelers; Vesey camp expands list

 

INSIDE BUZZ Wildcard Chase *1. LA Dodgers 65-52 (+3.5) *2. St Louis Cardinals 62-56 * Miami Marlins 62-56 Pittsburgh Pirates 60-56 New York Mets 59-59 Six weeks to go in the baseball season and the narrative has changed in a big way over the last week for the Pirates. A bridge season? No so much. The National League has so much mediocrity, there’s no excuse for the Pirates not to grab one of the final wildcard spots. The Pirates recent turnaround, 7-3 in their last 10 games, has also been a good run for management that had a bad PR week in the immediate fallout of the Pirates cost cutting trades. All three trade acquisitions at the Major League level, Felipe Rivero, Ivan Nova and Antonio Bastardo, are making immediate contributions. Rivero/Nova/Bastardo > Melancon/Liriano? Now it’s also not a stretch that ownership gets the best of both worlds. Cut salaryRead More »

Inside Buzz: The August Trade Market to Involve Andrew McCutchen?

 

TIOPS INSIDE BUZZ — The Andrew McCutchen situation is starting to reach the stage where you wonder how this story will end. Bet on a messy divorce this winter. Prior to this season, the expectation with McCutchen has always been he’d play the 2016 and 2017 seasons out as a Pirate and then be traded following the 2017 season due to the Pirates unwilling to meet his demands and he’d go on with his merry self and land a $200 million contract once he’s a free agent. How things have turned is just stunning. The Face of the franchise is now a drag to the ball club. From his hitting ability, to suspect defense in centerfield, to his terrible body language that is wearing on his teammates, the Pirates just don’t know what to do with him, and some in the organization wonder if McCutchen wants to be in PittsburghRead More »

Huntington’s unpopular moves saw the GM make an honest evaluation of this ball club

 

. So, how was your deadline day? The Pirates had a good one if sending the signal to your fans that the season is over on August 1st is a good thing. That’s what they did when they sent Francisco Liriano to the Blue Jays for an average pitching prospect, two days after sending Mark Melancon to the Nationals for two OK prospects. My favorite is Jon Niese back to the Mets for Antonio Bastardo, a left handed relief pitcher, who the Pirates had last year. Of course, Niese is the guy the Pirates got from the Mets for Neil Walker last winter. So, as it turns out, the Pirates got nothing for a second baseman who’s on his way to hitting 25 home runs this season. He has 17 right now. The last time we saw the Pirates on the field they were being swept by the Brewers inRead More »

Inside Buzz: Pirates Trade Deadline Fallout; Monday’s Steelers Camp Notes

 

TIOPS Inside Buzz Pirates GM Neal Huntington knew he was going to be taking some heat this evening following the trade of Francisco Liriano, along with Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire. “We fully recognize we’ve given up two quality prospects,” Huntington said during a conference call with the media. “We feel like we dealt from a position of organizational depth.” What was clear from Huntington’s comments tonight is that without him actually saying it — is the involvement of McGuire and Ramirez opened the door for the Pirates to dump Liriano’s salary on the Blue Jays — “Our goal in trading Ramirez and McGuire was to acquire Drew Hutchison,” Huntington said of the acquisition. Huntington, as expected, also said ownership gave no mandate to unload salary. “This was all our choice to create some financial flexibility to keep this club competitive while adding to our future,” said Huntington. Surprisingly Huntington didn’tRead More »

Pirates include Liriano, two top-10 prospects as part of package for Hutchison

 

Pirates move highest paid player on team in Liriano (Updated: 6:20 p.m.) Francisco Liriano rumors have been circulating for about two weeks now and the struggling lefty has been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays as the Pirates and Blue Jays just beat the deadline with official paper work being sent to the league at 3:59 p.m. The deal sends Liriano and prospects Harold Ramirez, Reese McGuire to Toronto in-exchange for pitcher Drew Hutchison (1-0, 4.97 ERA). Hutchison, 25, has made just three starts in the Majors this season but went 13-5 for the Blue Jays in 2015 with a 5.57 ERA. In his career, Hutchison is 30-21 with a 4.92 ERA. He has a K/BB ratio of 374/128 in 406.1 career innings. This season in the minors Hutchison is 6-5 with a 3.26 ERA, 110/35 K/BB ratio in 102 innings pitched. Hutchison had tommy john surgery in 2012 andRead More »