Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hot Stove Embers

-- Clint Hurdle is in town today for his interview. Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Pirates are down to Hurdle and in-house candidate Jeff Banister as the finalists for the job. A decision on the skipper's spot should be made shortly thereafter.

-- From Frank Coonelly's chat: "...we have the capacity to add meaningfully to our 2011 payroll if we are able to secure players who will help us win in Pittsburgh. We have the capacity to have a payroll over $50 million and we'll add those payroll dollars if we are able to bring in players that can help us win."

He added "...we'll aggressively pursue adding at least one starting pitcher during the off season, either through a free-agent signing or a trade. Of course, the free-agent market for starting pitchers is rather thin this off season and thus there is no guarantee that we will be able to add a free-agent starter..."

-- Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets that notes that Pittsburgh could be interested in Jeff Francis if former Rockies' manager Clint Hurdle is hired to manage the Bucs and if Zach Duke is non-tendered.

-- In with the new, out with the old: the Colorado Rox declined Octavio Dotel's option. And FC mentioned that the team would consider adding an experienced closer to the Bucco bullpen mix. Talk about circumstance and opportunity meeting head on...

-- Beside free agency, Coonelly was upbeat about the rookies on the way to the show, saying " or more members of the Altoona Curve starting rotation (Rudy Owens, Bryan Morris, Justin Wilson and Jeff Locke) could force his way into our starting rotation at some point in 2011.

"Alex Presley, our Minor League player of the year, has put himself in the position to compete for a role with the club next year. And there are several exciting young bullpen arms who have a chance to have an impact next year as well.

"Position player prospects like Tony Sanchez, Starling Marte, Josh Harrison, Chase d'Arnaud, Jordy Mercer, Andrew Lambo and others may be a year away but all will be working to demonstrate that they deserve a shot on the Major League roster at some point in 2011."


WilliamJPellas said...

How great would it be to get Dotel back AND still have the players we got from the Dodgers when we traded Dotel in the first place? Much as I've been down on GM Neal Huntington, I gotta say, that would be one of the bigger steals in recent major league trading history. Not quite Brian Giles territory, but close.

Otherwise, I'm flabbergasted that a career organizational soldier like Banister is anywhere within 29 light years of the job in Pittsburgh. Especially at this point in time. I mean, is this team REALLY about to hire a guy who's been a minor league instructor who was steadily employed in the organization throughout the ENTIRE 18 year losing streak?!? Look, Banister might even be an okay Joe and everything, but promoting from within, with this team, at THIS point in time?!? If they make Banister the manager, Bobby, Frankie and Opie should be committed to an asylum. Good grief!!!

Ron Ieraci said...

I think Hurdle is their guy, if he'll sign up, Wil. I still dunno what happened with the Wedge thing, to be honest.

I can't figure out the Banister lovefest myself; I woulda thunk Frank Kremblas at Indy would have been the in-house candidate.

WilliamJPellas said...

What happened with Wedge was that he knew Huntington from when they were both in the Cleveland organization, and he wanted no part of working for Opie. That's what. Mind you, difficult people are a lot more tolerable when you're talking about a winning organization that "floats all boats". Pittsburgh, obviously, does not fit that description. Yet ANOTHER reason why it's totally foolhardy to embrace the notion that it somehow "doesn't matter how many games we lose 'cuz we're rebuilding". See? There are real world consequences to pursuing that course of action. My opinion is that Wedge blowing us off was one of those consequences. He was plainly Huntington's first choice for the job, and he plainly ran from it as fast as he could. The Pirates job, in other words, is seen by most qualified managerial candidates as a career killer at this point in time. Add in a bosss with as difficult a personality as Huntington often appears to have, and it's a no brainer.

Ron Ieraci said...

Could be, Wil. Also could be that he - and Hurdle, for that matter - are looking for a places where it's easier to succeed immediately rather than in the long run.

Given that dynamic, I'm surprised more younger or newbie candidates weren't involved in the Pirate search.