The last time the Pirates defeated Milwaukee was on May 22, 2008, and only two players in that lineup, Freddy Sanchez and Adam LaRoche, are still with the club. The Bucs won 8-4, as Tom Gorzelanny defeated Dave Bush.
-- Now the beat writers are saying there may be some contractual wiggle room with Sanchez and Jack Wilson; apparently the management gave them the impression it was a take it or leave it offer. Saving face or a communication breakdown?
-- Meanwhile, Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune reports rumors that the Twins could get Sanchez for 25 year-old LHP Francisco Liriano (4-9, 5.33 ERA), who has been having a rough time this year.
But the Twins aren't likely to give up Liriano, and take on Sanchez's salary. Liriano will be arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2010; Sanchez will make $8.1M.
-- Jeff Wilson of the Dallas Morning News has a laundry list of pitchers the Rangers could be zeroing in on. He has these Buccos as blips on the Texas radar:
LHP Zach Duke would be coming close to home if acquired by the Rangers. The Waco Midway grad is enjoying a breakthrough season and was a first-time All-Star. Pittsburgh, for sure a seller, is paying Duke $2.2 million. He can't be a free agent until 2012.-- Jen Langosch of MLB.com and Neal Huntington claim that Ian Snell said he wants to stay in Indy; Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette says that ain't the way it is. Very odd situation...Snell's big yap and the suits' thin skin make for quite a dynamic.
His general manager called signing RHP Ian Snell a mistake, and he is pitching in Triple A. He is enjoying success in the minors and might just need a change of scenery. He would cost $1.5 million the rest of the way and $4.2 million in 2010.
Another potential Pittsburgh bargaining chip, RHP Matt Capps isn't having a great year as the Pirates' closer. But he was better the previous two seasons, although injured some in 2008.
-- Speaking of big yaps, maybe Neal Huntingdon can zip his. His comments lately have done more to devalue Snell and Wilson than their play ever could. We know he and Frank Coonelly don't exactly qualify as diplomats, but geez...don't take everything so personally.
Players aren't the only ones that can burn bridges.
-- The Bucs don't have one guy on this week's Baseball America Not-So-Hot Prospect Sheet, but two!
Gorkys Hernandez, of, Pirates: Since being traded from Atlanta to Pittsburgh in the Nate McLouth deal, the 21-year-old Hernandez has struggled for Double-A Altoona. A key piece in the exchange, Hernandez batted .316/.361/.387 for Mississippi prior to the deal. But after going 1-for-25 last week, his averages dropped to .250/.292/340 in the Eastern League. Despite plus speed, Hernandez has been caught stealing four times in six tries. His value rests in his ability to get on base, steal bases and play solid defense, but thus far he hasn't done those things for Altoona.-- Last year, the Bucs drafted some high school kids in higher rounds than their talent would indicate, and overpaid for them as far as the slot went. The team scribes say that MLB commish Bud Selig is playing a little more hardball with them this time around. Hey, Bud - if Nutting wants to throw some money around, don't give him any reason to pull his hand out of his pocket, OK?
Bryan Morris, rhp, Pirates: Morris, the Dodgers' first-round pick in 2006, was one of the key chips the Pirates received in the three-team deal that sent Jason Bay to Boston and Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles last year. Morris missed all of 2007 after going Tommy John surgery and then missed the first two months this year with shoulder inflammation. In seven starts for high Class A Lynchburg this year, Morris has failed to pitch in to the sixth inning. Last week, he made one start and allowed four runs on six hits in four innings. Morris, 2-4, 6.00, has walked more batters (16) than he's struck out (15) in 30 innings this year.