Tag:Pirates
Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:51 am
 

On Deck: Bonifacio looking for 26

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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Emilio BonifacioBonifacio going for 26: Marlins outfielder Emilio Bonifacio extended his hitting streak to 25 games last night.  Bonfifacio is 4 for 12 in his career against Thursday's starter for the Nationals, John Lannan. That may not matter, though, as Bonifacio has picked up a hit in his final at-bat five times during the streak, including Wednesday night when he singled off Nationals' right-hander Ryan Mattheus in the eighth inning of the team's 7-5 victory over the Nationals.Brad Hand is on the mound for the Marlins after three starts in Triple-A. Hand is 1-3 with a 2.77 ERA in five starts for Florida this season. Marlins at Nationals, 12:35 p.m. ET

Carlos BeltranBeltran in Philly: Not only did the Phillies not win the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes, they'll have to see what they missed out on up close, as Beltran is expected to make his debut tonight against Philadelphia. Beltran is 6 for 19 with a homer in his career against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick. The Giants are expected to have Tim Lincecum back on the mound today after missing two starts due to sickness. Giants at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET

How about playing 9?: The Braves and Pirates went 19 innings on Tuesday and 10 innings Wednesday. The two teams have combined to use 25 relievers in the first two games of the series, so they certainly hope Paul Maholm and Derek Lowe can go long tonight. Maholm is averaging 6 1/3 innings per putting, Lowe is averaging 5 2/3 inning per start. This is nothing new for Atlanta, though, as the Braves have played 22 extra-inning games this season, the most in the majors. Pirates at Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 9:53 am
 

Pepper: Pirates' pursuit of Beltran a positive

PNC Park

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos Beltran refused a deal that would send him to the Pirates, but just the fact that I can write that is pretty darn cool. Yep, the Pittsburgh Pirates were seeking a rental player at the deadline from the New York Mets.

Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported the Pirates had made an "aggressive push" to get Beltran and were willing to pick up the $6.5 million left on his contract for this season.

Beltran's now with the defending champs and that's probably the best fit for him, which is the beauty of having a no-trade clause. Instead of finishing the season in Pittsburgh, he'll be in San Francisco, good for Beltran.

But it's also a sign of where the Pirates are and how they're planning on trying to win now. Last year we heard about the Pirates hoarding their luxury tax disbursement, this year we're hearing about them trying to improve.

Is it a new world order? Maybe not, but it is an indication that the Pirates' ownership is behind its team and serious about a winner. It also may end up helping the Pirates, who don't give up young talent and can contend for more years with a player that could develop into something special. Even if Beltran had accepted a trade to Pittsburgh, he wouldn't have stayed.

The Pirates have shown their commitment and that's something that was needed after last year's fiasco.

What to expect in Toronto: The folks at the Hardball Times take a look at what to expect from Colby Rasmus in Toronto. The move from Busch Stadium to the Rogers Center should help his power numbers a little bit, but not as much as it would if he were a right-hander. Meanwhile Rasmus' new manager said he'll play every day, replacing Rajai Davis. [The Globe and Mail]

La Liar?: Rasmus' father, Tony, says Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is incorrect in his assertion that his son was listening to him instead of his coaches. Rasmus said La Russa is "made that stuff up" and bullied general manager John Mozeliak into trading Rasmus for pitching. "Tony would like to have 25 pitchers," Tony Rasmus told the Toronto Sun, "like he thinks he has to put his stamp on every ball game. They had nothing else to trade. I think everyone is better off now." In a TV interview, Colby Rasmus was asked about his relationship with La Russa after the trade and the younger Rasmus said, "I hope he's happy." Tony Rasmus said La Rusa blames Rasmus for leading to Walt Jocketty leaving the Cardinals.

Winner, loser: Jeff Passan of Yahoo! says the two big deals on Wednesday showed the way to make deadline deals and the way not to make deadline deals. Let's just say the defending champs are doing something right, while another team panicked.

Oswalt strong in rehab start: Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt allowed just one hit in four innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday. Oswalt said after the start that he would probably need at least one, if not two more rehab starts before he's ready to re-join the Phillies rotation. [Delaware County Times]

Washington wants 'fire': Rangers closer Neftali Feliz can bring the heat, but his manager Ron Washington wants to see more "fire" from him on the mound. Washington said he doesn't see the urgency from his closer. Feliz has blown five saves this season after blowing just three last year. His strikeout rate is also down from a year ago. [MLB.com]

Wily Mo's back: The Mariners -- a team desperate for offense -- has signed outfielder/DH Wily Mo Pena to a minor-league contract on Wednesday. Pena hit five homers in 17 games for the Diamondbacks. Pena is expected to start at Triple-A Tacoma. [MLB.com]

Left is right: It's never a good thing for a pitcher to hear he'll have to undergo surgery to repair a loose capsule and torn labrum in his shoulder, but for Padres' right-hander Dustin Mosley, at least the surgery he'll undergo this offseason will be in his left shoulder. Mosley said he's hurt the shoulder twice this season and one more time earlier in his career, all while batting. Moseley may have to swing one-handed, bat left-handed or just bunt a whole lot more to keep his shoulder from popping out of joint when he swings. [North County Times]

Replay resistance: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly saw the play in Atlanta Tuesday night, but he's still not in favor of expanding replay. Mattingly's two issues -- the time and the human element. My response would be the time could be helped with technology and a dedicated umpire off the field for replay and the human factor isn't as important as the correct call factor. [MLB.com]

Papi's milestone: David Ortiz's grand slam on Wednesday gave him 1,000 career RBI with the Red Sox, just the sixth player to achieve that feat in Boston. He joins Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans and Bobby Doerr -- not bad company. [Boston Herald]

Stability behind the plate helps Rangers: Having the same catchers all season -- Yorvit Torrealba and Mike Napoli -- has helped Rangers pitchers. Torrealba has started 71 games behind the plate this season. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 8:48 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 1:25 am
 

Holliday deal part of best trade deadline deals

By Evan Brunell

As the trade deadline kicks into gear, teams who consider themselves buyers -- much like the Cardinals in acquiring Edwin Jackson and relievers, but sending away young center fielder Colby Rasmus -- are hoping that years from now, those teams will land on articles detailing moves that worked out at the trade deadline.

This is one such article looking back at the three previous years and the deadline deals that occurred. Which of these deals ended up being fantastic ones for teams? Looking strictly at those who were "buyers" -- that is, they went after the best player in the deal or made a trade clearly geared toward winning, let's take a look at the top five in reverse order.

Sanchez5. FREDDY GOT FINGERED

July 29, 2009: Pirates trade 2B Freddy Sanchez to Giants for minor league RHP Tim Alderson.

The Giants were seven games out of first place, but leading the wild card when they added second baseman Freddy Sanchez from Pittsburgh. Sanchez was supposed help settle the Giants' offense en route to a playoff berth. "A kid that has distinguished himself as an All-Star three out of the last four years and a batting champ within that time frame," GM Brian Sabean told the Associated Press at the time of the trade. The timing's great."

Unfortunately for Sabean, Sanchez has neither been an All-Star or batting champion since, but this trade still comes away as a win. That's because Sanchez wasn't acquired with just 2009 in mind, as he limped to the finish line with his new team that season. Battling a leg injury, Sanchez appeared in only 25 games, hitting .284/.295/.324. But in 2010, Sanchez hit .292/.342/.397 as an important part of the team, which would eventually win the World Series that October.

This deal was actually considered a loss for San Francisco at the time, as they coughed up Tim Alderson, then ranked the No. 4 prospect in the Giants organization by Baseball America. But declining velocity took all the luster off of the lefty, who is 22 years old and attempting to reinvent himself as a reliever for Double-A and won't reach the majors unless something changes.

4. BACK TO ATLANTA

July 31, 2009: Red Sox trade 1B Adam LaRoche to Braves for 1B Casey Kotchman.

LaRocheMark Teixeira's replacement in Casey Kotchman wasn't bearing fruit, so the Braves gave up and shipped Kotchman north for Adam LaRoche, who came up with Atlanta and spent three years with the team before being dealt to Pittsburgh in the offseason prior to 2007. At just one game over .500, the Braves were looking for an offensive punch that could get them into the wild card and division mix.

It worked, as the Braves finished the season 10 games over .500, but they still fell short of the playoffs, despite LaRoche's patented second-half surge aiding the team with 12 home runs in 242 plate appearances, hitting .325/.401/.557. That's fantastic production with a cost in only Kotchman, who was traded after the season to Seattle for Bill Hall and hit .217/.280/.336 in full-time duty. Kotchman has rebounded this season in Tampa Bay with a .328 batting average as the club's starting first baseman, but Atlanta's happy with rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman.

3. IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA

July 29, 2009: Indians trade LHP Cliff Lee and OF Ben Francisco to Phillies for minor league RHP Jason Knapp, RHP Carlos Carrasco, SS Jason Donald and C Lou Marson.

LeeThis ended up being a fantastic deal for the Phillies. While the players Philadelphia coughed up have either not yet started their major-league careers or have just started -- making full evaluation of the deal impossible -- we can try. Let's go in order, starting with Knapp. What made him so highly regarded is obvious when he steps on a mound, but that's not often. He briefly pitched for the Indians following the trade, then checked in with just 28 2/3 innings all of last season and has yet to pitch this year after undergoing his second major shoulder surgery since being acquired. He could still end up an ace, but it doesn't look good.

Carrasco has developed into a solid middle-rotation starter for Cleveland. That's all well and good but Philly doesn't lack for prospects and while Carrasco has value, he's not going to make the deal worth it all by himself. It'll be up to Donald and Marson. Donald hit .253/.312/.378 in 325 plate appearances for the Indians last season and is the man with the lone hit in Armando Galarraga's not-perfect game. He's toiling in the minors and isn't much more than a backup infielder, while Marson isn't much more than a backup catcher, hitting .208/.279/.296 in 424 PA over the last two seasons in that capacity.

So the Phillies benefit by giving up a package that, so far, isn't much for an ace like Lee. The left-hander would go on to post a 3.39 ERA in 79 1/2 innings for Philadelphia, giving the club an ace it desperately needed to defend their 2008 World Series title. Philly didn't do that against the Yankees (although Lee did win the only two games Philadelphia came away with in the series), but they did capture a second straight NL pennant and established Philadelphia as a big-market team that would be around for a while.

And of course, while Lee's stay in Philadelphia would be brief as he was moved to Seattle in the offseason to make way for Roy Halladay, Lee's time in Philly was so good that he returned to town as a free agent, taking less years to get back in the City of Brotherly Love. (And we haven't even mentioned Francisco, who has continued his fine career as a fourth outfielder in Philly, although he stumbled this season when handed more playing time.)

2. MANNYWOOD

RamirezJuly 31, 2008: Red Sox trade LF Manny Ramirez to Dodgers, with 3B Andy LaRoche and minor league RHP Bryan Morris going to the Pirates in a three-team trade.


Manny Ramirez wore his welcome out in Boston so badly, the Red Sox would have given anything to get rid of ManRam. They ended up walking away with Jason Bay in a three-team deal, sending Ramirez to Los Angeles. (The full details: Morris and LaRoche to the Pirates along with Boston's RHP Craig Hansen and OF Brandon Moss.) The Red Sox ended up pleased with their investment, giving up essentially nothing. But the Dodgers had the bigger coup, as LaRoche was a colossal bust in Pittsburgh and is now in the farm system of Oakland. Morris is now 24 and has an outside chance of making the majors.

But Manny was all the rage in Los Angeles for the rest of the year back in 2008, hitting an unconscionable .396/.489/.743 with 17 home runs in 53 games. Even Jose Bautista can only aspire to these levels. Ramirez took a .500 team to the division title and boasted a .520 batting average in October as the Dodgers fell to the Phillies, who would eventually win the World Series. He hit well enough in 2009 for Los Angeles at .290/.418/.531 in 431 PA, but was suspended 50 games for violating baseball's drug program. A year later, Ramirez was no longer the toast of town and quickly forced his way out to the White Sox. Still, Ramirez helped revive the Dodgers, if only for a brief period of time before Frank McCourt would do Manny one better in demoralizing Dodger fans.

1. A HOLLIDAY IN ST. LOUIS

HollidayJuly 24, 2009: Athletics trade LF Matt Holliday to Cardinals for minor league 3B Brett Wallace, OF Shane Patterson and RHP Clayton Mortensen.

This is the fourth 2009 deal on this list. It was certainly a good time to be a buyer back then, as the Cardinals well know. They picked up a slugger for ... well, nothing special. Holliday had been acquired from the Rockies in the offseason by Oakland, who offered up (gulp) Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith. They didn't get anywhere close the return for Holliday after he failed to produce in Oakland's cavernous stadium. Wallace was supposed to be a good hitting prospect -- his luster had yet to dim. But it did in the next two years, with Wallace being flipped to Toronto after the season, the Jays then immediately sending him to Houston. Opening the year as the starting first baseman for Houston, Wallace has hit .275/.352/.382 and just lost his starting spot.

Mortensen was a fleeting -- and failing -- pitcher in Oakland before being traded for next to nothing to Colorado and has been a solid swingman this season but is currently in Triple-A. Peterson was just promoted to Triple-A and has a shot to develop into ... well, something. But that's a very weak return for a man who has paired with Albert Pujols for a devastating 3-4 punch. He was so overjoyed to be back in the NL that he hit .352 the rest of the way, and is at .320/.400/.549 after inking a contract extension. That's even better than his Colorado numbers, so this was a masterstroke for St. Louis. Odd to say that on a day where the Cardinals did the opposite of a masterstroke by dealing Colby Rasmus to Toronto.

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:50 pm
 

On Deck: Braves/Pirates meet after blown call

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


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PiratesBravesONE DAY LATER: A day after the Braves essentially stole a win thanks to an umpire's blown call, the two teams will meet up with a nice pitching duel lined up. Jair Jurrjens no longer has an ERA under 2.00, but that can be forgiven as it's still low, with a 2.44 line going up against Paul Maholm and his 3.26 ERA. The Pirates are doing everything they can to stay in the NL Central hunt and must feel a bit of pressure at their backs to make up for the loss Tuesday night, as well as the knowledge the Cardinals just upgraded their pitching by adding Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepcynzki and Octavio Dotel. Pirates vs. Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

RasmusDONE DEAL: The Blue Jays made yet another smart deal on Wednesday, yet another in a series of trades since Alex Anthopoulous took over as GM. The centerpiece in the three-team deal for Toronto is center fielder Colby Rasmus. Rasmus isn't in the lineup for the game, but it's possible he will arrive in time to make an entrance. More than likely, Rasmus' Blue Jays debut will wait until Thursday. Toronto may also be dealing with a short bullpen, having traded away Dotel and Rzepcynzki. They have Ricky Romero toeing the hill against Alfredo Simon. Romero threw eight innings of one-run ball the last time he faced Baltimore, so the Jays will be hoping for a repeat. Orioles vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET

GiantsPhilliesPITCHING DUEL: The Giants added their own outfielder on Wednesday, agreeing to add Carlos Beltran for the Mets. There's no chance Beltran has of making it to San Francisco in time for the game tonight, largely because the deal is not yet completed thanks to some procedural moves. It's OK, though, because we've got a nice pitching matchup to make up for it. The Phillies will toss ace No. 4, Cole Hamels, who deserves much more than that label. Hamels has a sterling 2.62 ERA on the year with a 0.96 WHIP, striking out 134 and walking just 29. Tim Lincecum was supposed to go for the Giants but is ill (Barry Zito started in Lincecum's place as well Tuesday night), so Matt Cain will step in Lincecum's place. No problem: Cain's got a 3.06 ERA in 138 1/3 innings. Giants vs. Phillies, 7:00 p.m. ET

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:18 pm
 

Torre 'human element' is part of baseball

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe Torre, MLB's vice president for baseball opperations, released his statement on the ending of Tuesday night's/Wednesday morning's Braves-Pirates game that ended on what appeared to be a missed call by home plate umpire Jerry Meals.

Here's Torre's statement:

“Unfortunately, it appears that the call was missed, as Jerry Meals acknowledged after the game.  Many swipe tags are not applied to the runner with solid contact, but the tag was applied and the game should have remained tied.  I have spoken with Jerry, who is a hard-working, respected umpire, and no one feels worse than him.  We know that this is not a product of a lack of effort. 

“Having been the beneficiary of calls like this and having been on the other end in my experience as a player and as a manager, I have felt that this has always been a part of our game.  As a member of the Commissioner’s Special Committee for On-Field Matters, I have heard many discussions on umpiring and technology over the past two years, including both the pros and the cons of expanding replay.  However, most in the game recognize that the human element always will be part of baseball and instant replay can never replace all judgment calls by umpires. Obviously, a play like this is going to spark a lot of conversation, and we will continue to consider all viewpoints in our ongoing discussions regarding officiating in baseball.

“We expect the best from our umpires, and an umpire would tell you he expects the best of himself.  We have to continue to strive for accuracy, consistency and professionalism day in and day out.”

I don't disagree with any of the words here -- but I do disagree with the sentiment. The sentiment is "stuff happens, deal with it." I will constantly harp thtat there are improvements that can be made and should be made to help umpires make the game better and more fair. To stand in the way of progress for the simple reason of tradition is myopic at best and lazy at worst.

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 1:06 pm
 

Pirates officially 'disappointed' by call

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Pirates president Frank Connelly has released a statement about the end of Tuesday night's Pirates-Braves game:

“The Pittsburgh Pirates organization is extremely disappointed by the way its 19-inning game against the Atlanta Braves ended earlier this morning. The game of baseball and this game in particular, filled with superlative performances by players on both clubs, deserved much better. We have filed a formal complaint with the Commissioner.

“While we cannot begin to understand how Umpire Jerry Meals did not see the tag made by Michael McKenry three feet in front of home plate, we do not question the integrity of Mr. Meals. Instead, we know that Mr. Meals’ intention was to get the call right. Jerry Meals has been umpiring Major League games for 14 years and has always done so with integrity and professionalism. He got this one wrong.

“For Pirates fans, we may have lost a game in the standings as a result of a missed call but this game, and the gutsy performances by so many of our players, will make us stronger, more unified and more determined as we continue the battle for the National League Central Division.”


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Posted on: July 27, 2011 9:14 am
Edited on: July 27, 2011 9:28 am
 

Ump says he 'might have' missed the call

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Umpire Jerry Meals admitted after Tuesday's 19-inning Braves-Pirates game that he "might have" missed the game-ending call.

From Mark Bowman of MLB.com, here's what Meals had to say about the play that ended the 4-3, 19-inning Braves victory at Turner Field:

"I saw the tag, but he looked like he oled him and I called him safe for that," Meals said. "I looked at the replays and it appeared he might have got him on the shin area. I'm guessing he might have got him, but when I was out there when it happened, I didn't see a tag.

"I just saw the glove sweep up. I didn't see the glove hit his leg."

Here's a .gif of the play:



If you watch closely -- and not just noticing when the ball and runner both get near the plate, you can see how Meals could think that. It's not as obvious as it appears at first blush. It looks as if Michael McHenry did get him, but only brushed the runner.

"I know I'm safe," Braves runner Julio Lugo said.

Still, this is yet another example of why we need replay expanded. In the end, Meals made a mistake after 19 innings, that happens. But there should be a recourse. If the Pirates' dream season ends one game short of the playoffs, you can imagine who will be the scapegoat, and it's likely nobody will feel worse about it than Meals. 

Last year there was a lot of attention around one missed call that cost Armando Galaraga a perfect game -- that only hurt an individual achievement, not an entire team. This one is worse, because the ramifications could last the entire season.

All that said, replay isn't a cure-all -- we saw that earlier on Tuesday with even the benefit of replay, umpires blew a call giving Albert Pujols a home run in St. Louis' win over the Astros. Pujols hit a ball off the wall in center field in the first inning that umpires reviewed and called a home run.

That didn't sit well with Astros manager Brad Mills.

"The whole system I think has to be reviewed if everyone looks at it and says it’s not a home run," Mills told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle. "Somebody in New York is supposed to have seen it and talked to them; that’s my understanding. And they should have seen the same thing that everybody saw. The whole thing has got to be reviewed. Especially if they go back and look at it and screw it up, then we have to be able to protest it or something. Something’s amiss here."

I'm a proponent of replay, but as long as humans are involved in the game, there will be mistakes. Replay can help minimize them, but not eliminate them. 

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 2:16 am
Edited on: July 27, 2011 2:23 am
 

Questionable call mars 19-inning game

By Matt Snyder

After 19 innings, we were left with a disputed winner Tuesday night -- er, Wednesday morning. The Braves and Pirates had both set franchise records for the longest game in franchise history, in terms of time. Yet when the Braves' Julio Lugo slid home and was ruled safe, it left a sour taste in the mouths of nearly all fans.

There's bound to be lots of fallout from this, but for now, here's what the Internet has provided of the controversial play:

Here's a good TwitPic of Pirates catcher Michael McKenry pretty clearly tagging Lugo out well short of home plate. Oh, here's another one.

Also, here's a GIF, courtesy of SBNation, that shows the whole play, in case you don't trust still pictures. It certainly wasn't as sure as it looked in the stills, but there's no doubt McKenry's glove caught at least a little bit of Lugo before he touched home plate.

What a sad way to end a game that lasted so long.

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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