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 »

Pirates land Yankees starter Ivan Nova minutes before deadline


Pirates Post-Trade Deadline Recap Minutes before the deadline, the Pittsburgh Pirates completed a deal with the New York Yankees to acquire right hander Ivan Nova for two players to be named later. Nova, 29, has been on the Pirates radar for weeks as the team has sought to upgrade the rotation. How much if any did the Pirates upgrade the rotation is up for debate. Was the Nova trade just a trade for the sake of making a trade? From the Pirates end, they will be banking on that Nova has a J.A. Happ type run in him over the next two months. Nova is 7-6 with a 4.90 ERA. He has a 75/25 K/BB ratio and 1.36 WHIP in 97.1 innings pitched. Last season Nova went 6-11 with a 5.07 ERA. In 2014 Nova appeared in just four games due to Tommy John Surgery. His career has been onRead More »

Trade Analysis: The Pirates return for Mark Melancon better than it looks on paper?


Pirates make right decision in moving Melancon There was so much smoke surrounding a Mark Melancon trade in the past 24 hours that it was inevitable the Pirates were going to trade Melancon than lose him for nothing this off-season as the team had no plans to make a qualifying offer. The Pirates this afternoon struck a deal with the Washington Nationals that sends Melancon and cash to the Nationals with the Pirates receiving reliever Felipe Rivero and pitching prospect Taylor Hearn. From the Pirates end they are going to sell this that they have arms to replace Melancon in Tony Watson and Neftali Feliz and it was important to get something in return for Melancon with him set to walk as a free agent. For a team that’s three games out of the second wildcard and having no shot of catching the Cubs for the division, the greater valueRead More »

Interest sky high in Melancon


With just over 48 hours to go before the trade deadline, Pirates GM Neal Huntington is showing a strong willingness to trade closer Mark Melancon who is expected to sign elsewhere this off-season as a free agent. The Pirates are serious enough about moving Melancon that they have given four specific teams involved in talks for Melancon a list of prospects

The Andrew McCutchen Problem is Growing


The Andrew McCutchen Problem is Growing Does Andrew McCutchen stink? Sunday night ,on WPXI TV’s Final Word, Mark Madden asked the question : “Are we allowed to say that Andrew McCutchen stinks?” I’m afraid the answer is yes. His body of work as a Major League player doesn’t stink. In fact, he was on a pretty smooth path to the Hall of Fame. McCutchen had just gone 0-8 in an 18 inning win over the Nationals on Sunday and his average had dropped to .244. Going 0-5 in Tuesday’s 9-5 loss now has McCutchen hitting .242 on the season. As has been pointed out here before, McCutchen has been bad since last August. He’s been a .245 hitter for about five months. Pedro Alvarez is hitting .254. Come on. McCutchen’s hitting .225 against left handed pitching. Last season he hit .328. Have left handers figured him out? It’s possible. We’reRead More »

TIOPS Rumor Mill: McCutchen’s Future; Rangers interested in Liriano?


TIOPS Rumor Mill Andrew McCutchen’s steep decline in 2016 has been the talk of baseball. Five Thirty Eight did a stunning piece a few weeks ago on just how bad of a season he is having for a superstar player in his prime and how the numbers say a major turnaround is not likely in the years ahead. The pressing issue for the Pirates’ brass internally is coaches want to get McCutchen the hell out of centerfield (despite what Clint Hurdle might be saying through the media). It’s always been a touchy subject. As long as McCutchen continued to be a great hitter, the Pirates intended to live with him not being the best centerfielder on the roster. At least management intended to live with it. Pirate insiders, though, say a breaking point is bound to happen this winter. Chatter around the league is many baseball insiders feel the relationshipRead More »

Buyer or Seller & What to do with Josh Bell


Buyer or Seller How about them Pirates? They sure fooled me. How about you? Did you see winning five out of seven against the Cardinals and Cubs coming? That’s what they did before the All Star break and now they’re within striking distance of first place in the Central Division, seven and a half games back. Striking distance is nice but if that’s the best you can say going into the second half of the season, chances are pretty good that you’re not going to win the division. That’s based on lots of history, not just opinion. It’s a long season and the Pirates will cool off again just as the Cubs will get hot again. The 9-19 record the Pirates put up in June will probably end up defining the season and right now the only realistic hope is a wild card. The last 10 days may have madeRead More »

Has Gregory Polanco Arrived?


Polanco’s 1st half in line with Dave Parker Has Gregory Polanco arrived? Remember when he first came up in 2014 and looked like he was ready for Hall of Fame consideration after about three weeks in the lineup? From July of that season through the end of last season he looked like a guy who wasn’t quite ready for the big leagues. He was a .250 hitter with average power. After being compared to Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Dave Parker and Barry Bonds, he had put up numbers that were more in line with Orlando Merced at his age. Have you seen him lately? Did you see the two home runs he hit against the Cardinals on the Fourth of July? The first one, a line drive into the right field seats, was off of Carlos Martinez, who had been just about unhittable in his last six starts and hadRead More »

Officially a Bridge Season? Math is not on the Pirates side


2016 Playing Out as a Bridge Season? Who saw taking three out of four from the Dodgers coming? That’s what the Pirates did just when their season appeared to be taking it’s last swirl before heading down the toilet. They’re still way too far behind the Cubs – 13 games – to have any realistic hope of winning the division. Especially when the Cardinals are ahead of them in second place, 10 games out. As of Tuesday, the Pirates were still three games under .500 and in fifth place for the wild card, 4 ½ behind the Marlins and Dodgers in the wild card race and that really stinks. The Dodgers, Mets and Cardinals are all ahead of them. And all three will be happy to spend millions at the trading deadline to get better. The Pirates won’t. It’s not July yet and the math is still not insurmountable, butRead More »