Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Report

-- Tyler Yates will miss the rest of the 2009 season after having successful Tommy John surgery yesterday to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow. Elbow inflammation, hey?

Yates also had Tommy John surgery in 2002 when he was with the Mets organization.

-- JR plans to keep his rotation intact after the All-Star break: Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton, Zach Duke, Ross Ohlendorf and Virgil Vasquez. Maholm (6-4, 4.60 ERA) will face the Giants' RHP Tim Lincecum (10-2, 2.33 ERA), the NL's All-Star starter, Friday at PNC.

-- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune-Review has a piece on Pirate attendance and the possibility of ticket prices going up in the future. The highlight is that PNC attendance is up 2%, while it's down 4-5% in the majors overall so far this season.

But the Bucs have 42 home games left, the most in baseball, and fan support could be negatively affected by a dismantling of the team or poor performance after the break. Or both; they usually go hand-in-hand.

-- John Perrotto of Pirate Report says that MLB commish Bud Selig is a fan of the Pirates' shake-up:
"I have three people, whose opinions I trust very much, evaluate the farm system of every team on an annual basis," said Selig. "They rate the Pirates as having one of the best farm systems in the game. That leads me to believe they are on the right track in Pittsburgh.

"I understand that fans there don't want to hear about the future because they've been losing for so long. The organization is making good strides, though, and I believe it is only a matter of time before they win."
He also has all the latest trade rumors wrapped up in one article.

-- Here's one he missed: Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun reports that "They (the Yankees) need a starter and are looking at Ian Snell of the Pirates. Yanks could move Phil Hughes, plus prospects." GW thinks maybe Ian Kennedy; certainly not Hughes, would be dangled for Snell. But any competition is good. Previously, it was thought only the Phillies had any interest in Snell.

-- For stat fans, Matthew Pouliot of Circling the Bases looked at the rookies, and the Pirates had a pair that are highly ranked in this year's frosh class based on VORP (Value Over Replacement Player, or how many runs better or worse a player is compared to the average grunt).

The yearlings are CF Andrew McCutchen, ranked fifth among hitters with a +10.3 VORP, and RHP Evan Meek, eighth among pitchers with the same +10.3 VORP.

-- The Braves are shopping SS Yunel Escobar, but we haven't heard any Pirate noises involving bringing him to the 'Burgh. Ditto with Cleveland's Jhonny Peralta or any of the trio of Tiger prospects, Cale Iorg, Danny Worth, and Mike Hollimon.

-- Lastings Milledge was sent to high A Lynchburg Monday. No, we don't think he wore out his welcome already. Indy and Altoona are on All-Star break, and it looks like the Bucs are fast-tracking him, so they're just getting him a couple more at-bats during the lull. We expect him back at Indy for tomorrow's game.

-- Charles "Teenie" Harris, noted photographer of all things involving the Hill, was a great baseball fan, with many pictures of the Crawfords, which he helped establish, and Roberto Clemente included in his portfolio of celebrity snapshots.

His son, Charles "Little Teenie" Harris, told Mary Thomas of the Post Gazette this story about his dad: "He told me once that the Pirates were the strongest baseball team and I said 'But Dad, they're in last place.' And he said 'They're on the bottom holding the rest of them up.'" Some things never change.


Jeff Pellas said...

The Post Gazette reports today that the Pirates have expressed "Interest" in resigning both Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson to "Multi-Year" extensions. I don't know about extensions because of the base pay of each contract. But if it is true that the Pirates want the dynamic duo around for a few more years then I expect completely new contracts at substantially lower pay scales will have to be reached. But don't get too excited! This could be a ploy by Huntington to drive up the asking price on his two most valuable trade baits. In the past, when Littlefield had to dump players and the entire league knew it, it was difficult to get a good deal for some of the players. Perhaps a "sign and trade" deal is in the works? Afterall McClouth was valuable to the Braves partly because of his salary... OR this could be a precursor to letting the two of them go using a tactic often employed by the Steelers: Make a low ball offer to your veterans knowing they won't sign for it but allowing management to say to the fans, "We Tried."
While I do believe the Pirates need to keep Wilson in the organization, it seems they are grooming Dewyn Young to replace Sanchez. I will be surprised of Sanchez doesn't get traded despite what the Gazette says.
There is one final possibility with this contract extension news: Maybe Huntington is realizing that Pirates fans are extremely restless and might not sit still for a whole sale rebuilding process. He definitely did not expect the back-lash that is still in the air following the McClouth trade. Plus the team is worse this year than last year record wise. Maybe he is worried about attendence for the rest of the year and, by extension, his own job security. I do believe in the direction the Pirates are going by building talent from within but it is very, very hard to ask fans to put up with yet more losing before things get better. Combine that with the fact that we fans have been sold a bill of goods by other GMs before and been duped and it may be that Huntington HAS to sign at least one of those guys as a show of good faith to Pirate Nation! Whatever happens, should be interesting at the trade deadline.

Ron Ieraci said...

Reading the local rags, Jeff, it doesn't look like a done deal by any means. The Pirates will low-ball them since there's not much market interest for them at their current pay scale.

The question is whether they'll give a deep home town discount or go the free agent route if the Pirates really try to beat them down salary-wise.

Sanchez will probably try to get a no trade clause to avoid the McLouth fate (Wilson will be a 5 and 10 guy next year, so he'll have veto rights on a deal)

So it could end up just a quick PR move as a prelude to a deal, as you suspect. We'll see how it plays out.