Big Lead Sports Bar


Big Week For the Pirates

Signing their top two draft picks, an international pitching prospect, AND clinching their 18th consecutive losing season? One local franchise sounds like they're trying to make some headlines this week.

Fresh on the heels of what I would call an embarrassing weekend in Houston, the Pirates return home tonight for the start of a four-game series against the Florida Marlins at PNC Park. RHP James McDonald (1-2, 5.40) and RHP Chris Volstad (6-8, 4.74) will be your starting pitchers. But that is merely an appetizer on this week's menu of big Pirate storylines.

For starters, you've got the upcoming deadline to sign their draft picks, and it actually sounds like the Pirates might get deals done with Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie, the interestingly-named pair of gifted hurlers who are both represented by the famed Hendricks brothers. 

"I think it's very close," Michael Taillon said of his son's bonus contract. Randy and Alan Hendricks, the brothers representing Taillon and Allie, asked Pirates general manager Neal Huntington and scouting director Greg Smith to take back to Pittsburgh "one more variable" to consider, according to Michael Taillon, though he declined to specify.

If the Buccos fail to get a deal done with Taillon, they'll get the #3 overall pick in next year's draft as compensation; for Allie, the compensation would be a sandwich pick. But this team needs talent yesterday. Waiting another year for a high-end prospect to start this process all over again should be the absolute worst-case scenario. 

Meanwhile, the Pirates are considered the favorites to sign 16-year-old Luis Heredia, a highly-regarded pitcher from the Mexican League. Heredia's team will be allowed to entertain offers beginning Thursday, and it's looking like he could be the third prominent prospect to potentially join the franchise by week's end. 

Being that we're talking about the Pirates, there's always some bad news to go along with the good, and that's once again the case in this instance. The 39-78 Battlin' Bucs sit just four losses away from Consecutive Losing Season #18, which could potentially be clinched at home with a very bad series against the Marlins this week. 

I must say, clinching a losing MLB season by August 19 would be quite the accomplishment, but if anyone could and should do it, it's the Pirates. If you were one of the few people who watched them this weekend, they had three hits in a Sunday loss to the Astros and 14 strikeouts to something called a Bud Norris on Saturday night. Four straight losses is certainly in play as a possibility this week. 

Nonetheless, the bigger story for this team's long-term fortunes is that of the draft picks, and we'll know all we need to know around midnight tonight. I've been burned before trusting Neal Huntington, but I honestly believe that he'll get this trio of deals done and done right this time around.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


BurressWithButterflywings said...

Ok, I am well aware that he can't blamed for all of the losing, but how does John Russell still have a job?

His mismanagement is as abysmal as the turd sandwich he's been handed as a roster.

They need to cut him loose, find a manager with some cuyhones and a pulse, and move on.

Chip said...

Yeah, JR is hard to defend at this point. Especially when he came out with his revamped lineup, acted like he just invented the formula to turn tinfoil into gold...

And then the team has gone out and scored a total of 4 runs in three games.

I think calling one of the best young rosters in baseball negative names is ridiculous and ignorant but I expect as much from most around here. This team should be MUCH MUCH better with the tremendous talent at almost every position.

I think the manager is definitely holding them back. Look at what Baltimore has done with a smarter guy in charge. And the Pirates have infinitely more talent than the Orioles do. I don't think I'd trade one player on our team for anybody on there's. And yes, I'm including the overhyped Matt Wieters.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

The pirates NEED to sign all three of these pitching prospects this week. No team has a greater need to pitching than our battlin bucs. That being said, a lot of the pirates pitching prospects are/will be years away from the majors. I just hope they don't get impatient and deal cutch or pedro or tabata in the next few years :-/

JR is awful, but there's apparently some reason why he got a double secret extension last winter... i don't see it. We need to bring someone else in for next season fo sho.

@ chip - What about Ty 'gettin wiggy wit it' Wiggington? What about ... um... some other guy that plays for the orioles? Yeah... got a point.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I think deeming this current bunch a best young roster is, once again, overly optimistic. #1.) They are getting WORSE instead of better and #2.) a roster is more than 4 or 5 players.

Outside of the "Core" guys, who are average to potentially solid outside of Pedro, we have Snyder, who's defense is good but hitting is below average. Cedeno, who sucks less than Diaz, still sucks none the less. Milledge is probably a 4th OF for an average MLB team. Clement would be a bench player for an average AAA team.

There also is very, very little hope for pitching help in the near future. McDonald proved he can be as bad as he is good. Maholm is a 5th starter anywhere else, Duke and Ohlie would be lucky to be called that. Karstens looks like the result of a Jack Wilson one-night stand with a large mouth bass and he can't pitch, either. Meek and Hanrahan are just ok, the rest of the bullpen is TERRIBLE.

Some of the younger guys are potentially viable MLB players, with perhaps Alvarez as the superstar among them. Unless there is even more revamping to this team, they are still going to continue to lose more games than they win.

There is an enormous difference between being a good MLB player and being good for the Pirates.

Chip said...

I love how you mention every player except the ones I was referring to just to prove your "point."

Walker - hitting over .300 with more pop than most 2B in the league. Tabata - on pace for the most hits by any rookie (on any team, not just Pirates) in twenty-five years. Cutch is slumping but I think he's hurting from all the crashing into walls he's done this year. When he's healthy, you've seen what he can do. Jones has firmly shown he's a 20+ HR/80+ RBI guy. Pedro is a Pedro.

And all these guys except Jones are under 25. So how exactly is that not one of the best young lineups in baseball?

Please stop reading what the media is telling you because the people writing those articles are morons. We have a lot of talent here. We just need somebody to teach it how to play the game properly. That's why I was kinda hoping the Tigres would fire Leyland.

Jimmy Leyland with this team would have us battling for first place next season.

JW said...

I think JR's double-secret extension is exactly the reason why he hasn't been fired yet. Do you really see this management group paying two managers for a season-and-a-half? No way he's fired until at least after this season.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Obviously, I didn't include those guys because they were part of the CORE that I mentioned.

I could type so much here about how those guys are the exact players I was referring to when I said " Good for the Pirates, Average MLB players". But I will leave it at that so you can tell me how Jose Tabata is the next Rickey Henderson, Walker the next Joe Morgan, McCutchen the next Griffey, and Alvarez Babe Ruth, Hammerin' Hank, and Barry Bonds rolled into one.

Chip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Donahue said...

i didnt realize that rickey henderson, griffey jr, joe morgan, hank aaron, babe and bonds all played on the same team... thanks for enlightening me, BURRESS

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I never said they were on the same team.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

NFL preseason has begun & the pirates have a 0.333 winning percentage. Aside from checking the news tomorrow to see which draft picks signed & occasionally checking box scores for Pedro dingers, the 2k10 pirates season is dead to me. Maybe i should start filling now if i want the glass to be half full by next baseball season though?

@whiteangus... yeah... swing-&-a-miss. No where did he say anything remotely similar to your interpretation. He was just saying that people are waaaayy over-valuing our younguns because they're better than WE'VE seen in a while. While i agree with that sentiment, i am still hopeful for the future. My hopes for next year are that this team is no longer an embarrassment to baseball, and that minor league pitchers start to develp. Then, maybe, we can talk intelligently about .500 in 2k12, and competing in 2k13. It's a deep hole & two good hitters along with 3 decent hitters and 2 good middle relievers isn't enough.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

EXACTLY my point. Thank you.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

And I totally skipped over Chip saying this team could contend for 1st next year with Leyland. I hope that was sarcasm.

Also, my guess would be that Tabata is 26.

Dallas Mike said...


So the people writing the articles are morons, but you are the voice of reason? Comparing the Pirates to the Orioles is a good start, but could you please clarify the "battling for first place" comment for the MondesisHouse record. I want to play it back next August when they are comfortably cruising to the 19th straight losing season. You do realize that the Pirates are the worst team in baseball and 27.5 games back in their own division? For any MLB team to win a division coming off a 60-win season would be a monumental task, not to mention trying to do it with a pitching staff as poor as the Pirates. Despite how great you perceive the "young guns" to be, you do realize that without pitching, there will be another rebuilding project in a few years. Maybe that 16-year old Mexican kid will be the anchor to the rotation for the 5-year plan in 2019. Are you aware that Kansas City tells its fanbase the same thing about all the promising future prospects? Hope is always the magic elixir when you cannot deliver results....Have you ever heard of a guy named Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple? I would check that story out.

Chip said...

I have no idea why my comment is still showing up since I deleted it... (Which I did because I spent enough time arguing with the ignorant fools on Smizik's blog and I have no desire to bring that misery here.)

In any case, my final word on the matter is this: I am the voice of reason because, unlike most people whining about the Pirates or the guys who write about it in the P-G, I actually take the time to educate myself about what I'm talking about. I even confronted Mr. Smizik via email about the stunning lack of little things like FACTS or EVIDENCE he uses when writing his senile rantings and his response: "I have my own facts."

That pretty much sums up what the entire anti-Pirates contingent has going for them. Don't go to the games (I have season ticket), don't watch the games (I've seen every one), don't follow the minor leagues, don't follow the draft signings, etc.

But be the first ones to make idiotic comparisons like "Tabata isn't Rickey Henderson!!!" or whine about the fact Neal Huntington hasn't built a dynasty in 25 months. Okay, whatever.

When the Pirates are in first place next season, I'll be sure to remind all you bandwagon jumpers that I said it first. And while I can't prevent you from coming to beautiful PNC, yinz will have to live with the shame of knowing you don't deserve to be there.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

Now, there's something we can all agree on. Smizik is a no talent a$$-clown. He frequently invents stories... & they're STILL not interesting! Classic smizik response there too, Chip! God, that guy is terrible.

For the record... i guess i kind of disagree with everyone voicing opinions so far. I'm in the middle of the road for this debate.

I've seen most pirates games this season {and recent seasons past - read NH era} &, YOU CAN QUOTE ME HERE, if this team wins the NL Central next season, i will eat chan ho park's diarrhea. Go ahead man, save some now & i'll eat it next year if they win the NL Central. That's how ridiculous your statement is.

However, that is not to say i am not pleased with NH's moves to date (overall - although there have been misses [anyone who has never failed, has never tried]). I feel that NH has this team moving in a positive direction. I'm just saying it's gonna take more than one season of Pedro to turn this ship around. Also, i LOVE how Chip seems to imply that it is unholy & unreasonable to expect good things within '25 months', but predicts a division championship and continued success within a year. (Also, ftr, NH was hired as Pirates GM on 9/25/07)

My stance is this: If NH is left in place, good baseball is likely to return to Pittsburgh. However, John Russel needs to be fired. And furthermore, playoff baseball damn sure ain't gonna happen here next season. The end.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

@Dallas Mike - WWWWWAAAAAYYY off-base!

give me the brandy said...

As a Pirates fan, I'm about as optimistic as they come, but I'd be shocked if this team is competetive next year. Even .500 next year is a huge stretch. I do like the way NH has gone about trying to rebuild the team, his execution hasn't always been great, but his plan from a macro level is much better than Littlefield's strategy of trying to win 75 games every year. JR should go, but it won't make a huge difference one way or the other. It's going to be at least 2 or 3 years before the pitchers at A and AA are MLB ready, and if those guys come through, this could be a good team by 2012 or 2013.