Tuesday, June 17, 2008

No righties need apply

They said the White Sox feasted on righties, so of course, Pittsburgh fed them Ian Snell, Frankie Osoria and Marino Salas. 16-5 *ouch* At least, no one got hurt except in the ERA.

And we hope the Pirates pay the ransom to whomever kidnapped the real Snell and get that impostor off the mound.

On the Pirate front: Nate McLouth is the only Pirate player receiving All-Star votes, coming in at No. 13 in this week's voting. Xavier Nady, Jay Bay, and Ryan Doumit are getting no love at all. Wonder what their tally would be if they played in New York, Chicago, or LA?

> Xavier Nady's bum wing will have to be evaluated day-to-day. His type of sprain could be OK in a week, or it could last 3 weeks, depending on the severity. The Bucs will have until the end of the Chicago series to see how it's coming along. Once they're out of the DH parks, they can't afford to be a man down at PNC for any appreciable length of time, especially with the Rays, Blue Jays, and Bronx Bombers lined up.

> It looks like PNC - and every other field - will have instant replay come August 1st. MLB isn't spilling any beans, but it appears that it will be limited to HR's and go to a centralized "war room" in NYC, just like the NHL reviews. The exact mechanics - will umps call for it, will there be manager challenges, or will it be up to NY - hasn't been announced, and may still be under discussion.

Replay already has been used once in a game. In 1999, ump Frank Pulli watched a play on a TV monitor, then overturned a home run call. The next day, both leagues outlawed replay review.

On the draft front: The Pirates today signed shortstops Jordy Mercer and Chase D'Arnaud, their 3rd & 4th-round draft picks, and 39th-round pitcher Albert Fagan.

> After Tim and Gordon Beckham, Mercer might be the draft's best bet at SS. Though he's a big guy at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, his range and hands are fine, and he boasts a plus arm. Mercer was Oklahoma State's closer, and hits 91-94 mph on the radar (his future's in the field, not the hill, even tho he holds the school save record with 17.)

He has room to improve as a hitter, and needs to add some muscle and sharpen his eye. Hit .330 with 12 doubles, 14 home runs and 60 RBI in 62 games this year as a junior with the Cowboys. Mercer's speed is slightly above-average, and he's an instinctive runner if not a base stealer.

> D’Arnaud took over as the everyday SS for Pepperdine this spring after playing the hot corner for two years. He showed good range, soft hands, a solid, accurate arm, and should be able to handle SS at the next level. He runs well and is a heads-up hustler on the base paths.

His bat is of some concern. Scouts believe that most of his faults are correctable; he needs to go with the pitch better and improve his plate discipline. But D'Arnaud handles the bat well and has easy, projectable power with a slight uppercut stroke. He hit .314 with 17 doubles, 11 home runs and 50 RBI as a junior this year.

> RHP Fagan was named the Region 15 Junior College Pitcher-of-the-Year in 2006 at Rockland CC. He gave up his final season of eligibility last year and tried to catch on with the Cubs as an undrafted free agent. We've believe that he's a power pitcher, and he's big enough to be at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds.

On the ex-Pirate front:
Gonzo is finally back. Mike Gonzalez will join the Braves Tuesday and is ready to be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday, manager Bobby Cox said. The LHP is two weeks past his year anniversary of having TJ surgery on his elbow. One setback prevented his return in mid-May, but Gonzalez has rounded into form after 4 minor league rehabilitation appearances in Class AA Mississippi and 5 in AAA Richmond.

> As expected, the Willie Randolph era in New York has come to an end. He and a couple of coaches were let go. Jerry Manuel is the interim manager.


WilliamJPellas said...

There's no question anymore that the gross underperformance of the Pirates' starting rotation has got to be addressed. Snell is looking more like he's gunning for a few more starts in Indianapolis rather than a few more starts in Pittsburgh, and of course we all know about Gorzellany. Maholm has been about what was expected---reliably a little bit better than average, in other words---and Duke has been better than I expected. Phil Dumatrait is of course a revelation in the fifth spot, but when your complimentary guys are your aces and your top two pitchers are stinking, you're in real trouble.

Given all of the above, it's darned near miraculous that the Pirates' record is a good as it is. Just think where we'd be if Gorzo was Gorzo and Snell was Snell. But, if they're not, they're not. We need to be looking hard at some alternatives.

Ron said...

Yah, Will, when the hoped-for front end of the rotation blows up, it's a long year. We have no idea what Gorzo's problem may be, thought theories abound. Snell, we think, needs an attitude adjustment. He just won't attack the plate.
Whet to do? Not much in the way of options at AAA, just JVB. Luis Munoz was considered a possibility going into the year, but he's been toasted and is on his way to Altoona.
If Dumatrait, Duke, and Maholm were our 3-4-5 back end instead of 1-2-3 front end as they are now, who knows how the first third of the year would have played out?
We don't think that our bait will draw a top of the rotation type guy. They're just too dear to pry loose.
So, my friend, Pittsburgh looks to be stuck between a rock and a hard place right now and for the foreseeable future. Their performance has been terrible, and the options look worse. We suppose the only thing to do is just to keep trotting them out and hope the light goes on sooner or later for the time being.