Monday’s Daily Five

1. After looking hard into the Pedro Alvarez situation this weekend, I’m convinced there is more to it then the Pirates wanting him to become less pull happy.
All signs point to team President Frank Coonelly being a driving force behind Alvarez’s demotion with Pedro’s in-season condition┬ábeing something the Pirates continue to make a big deal about internally.
While I understand the Pirates sticking to their initial plan of keeping him in the minors for an extended period, but why hasn’t the front office tried to rally around Alvarez from a PR standpoint?
Case in point:
“The statistics are a little bit misleading. last week he went 7-for-8, I think he hit one ball hard, ” GM Neal Huntington said on Sunday
At every point whether it’s Neal Huntington, Kyle Stark, Frank Coonelly or even Clint Hurdle, they always try to sneak a quote in there where they seem to put Pedro down.
Maybe his .365 batting average is a little misleading, but why make a point of saying it?

2. The NFL Lockout is coming to an end this morning and hopefully there is no opt-out clause and we won’t have to deal with this nonsense for another 10 years.
Give owners credit for taking a vote on Thursday and expediting the process. There were so many egos in play during this lockout that it was sickening at times.
The players got a very good deal.
It’s going to be a crazy week for GM’s and agents as free agency could begin on Tuesday.
The Steelers will open camp in 2-to-4 days at St. Vincent and will be busy early on working to get under the cap and filling out their roster that includes several free agents.
One quick tidbit:
If the Steelers come to Ike Taylor with the numbers they were floating before the lockout (which I expect), it is a lock he will test the open market, which is the expectation from his agent Joel Segal anyway.
Whether Taylor returns to Pittsburgh will be dictated by how the market develops for him. The Steelers are said to have a set number in mind and expect to be compettive but won’t go over-board by any means and overpay.
3. The rules for training camp, less pads and less two-a-days is going to have the feel of OTA’s at times.
Rookies, undrafted free agents, longshot young players are already behind the 8-ball due to no off-season workouts and less contact does not bode well for those type of players looking to make a mark at being a contributor or earning a roster spot.
Practice in shorts is not a good way to evaulate players as head coach Mike Tomlin always tries to down play a particular players performance in OTA’s when the media’s buzzing about a player.
4. The Pirates focus leading up to the July 31st trade deadline has been on adding an 8th inning reliever and a depth outfielder. Will we see that philosophy change in six days and first base come into play?
The big question mark is why the team is not actively seeking an upgrade at first base. If management is showing an interest in taking on David DeJesus or Josh Willingham’s pro-rated $6 million salary why in the world wouldn’t they be all over Chicago’s Carlos Pena who has 20 home runs since May 1 and is viewed as an excellent teammate.
Money? maybe… as he’s due $5 million on January 2012.
To this point, the Pirates haven’t been chasing Pena.
The Cubs, as expected, feel no urgency to move Pena until right up to July 31 or at somepoint in August where the Cubs feel he would clear waivers due to the money owed.
Starting first baseman Lyle Overbay who is batting .176 in his last 10 games, has just been pathetic of late and Garrett Jones is getting just as hard to watch as Overbay.
The Pirates should be exploring all options to upgrade the position. Cut your ties with Overbay and move on.
5. I love trade rumors just like a lot of people but can’t believe people are still trying to link Carlos Beltran to Pittsburgh. The Pirates haven’t discussed him internally in over a week and he was never a realistic option for them.