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Pirates facing new problem this offseason  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 04:50 pm
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sek69



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Great column by one of the best local sportswriters on how things have gone from "the Pirates don't want to spend money" which gives some hope because it's fixable to "no one wants to accept money to play for the Pirates" which is entirely less so.

Take the Pirates' money, please


It's one of the many torments of the Pirates' longest-suffering fans, the perpetual thought that somehow, some way, this will be the winter they make that big free-agent splash.

The thought was born, really, when PNC Park opened in 2001 with the promise of spending with the big boys.

That bought Derek Bell a yacht.

The thought was revived, at least a little, when Bob Nutting took control of ownership in 2007 and restored the team to fiscal responsibility with the promise that prudence would pay in the long run.

That bought Lyle Overbay for half a season, Byung-Hyun Kim for a month, Scott Olsen for a week, Craig Monroe for three spring bombs in a day, Eric Hinske, Matt Diaz, Ramon Vazquez, Bobby Crosby, Chris Gomez and probably 10 other non-shortstop shortstops.

Prudence might pay, but it sure can't play.

This winter, again, was going to be the one. The Pirates flirted with first place last summer, enough to spike attendance 20 percent. More ticket money would equal bigger spending. And it did, if you consider that new shortstop Clint Barmes' two-year, $10.5 million deal is the richest for any free agent in franchise history.
(No, seriously. It is.)

But this winter has brought a different harsh reality: The Pirates have tried to spend money above their still-too-low projected payroll of $48 million — actual big-splash money — only to see free agents turn up their noses.

It began in December when general manager Neal Huntington tendered salary arbitration to first baseman Derrek Lee in hopes of keeping Lee after a strong two-month finish. The process assures he would have made at least $7.25 million, same as 2011, and very likely more.

Lee rejected it for free agency.

He's still out there, too, waiting on any of his three or four preferred teams. The Pirates are not among those, and they don't expect that to change.

In the past week, it emerged that Huntington offered pitcher Edwin Jackson three years and $30 million. Not a misprint. Not an alternate reality. It really happened, and I can confirm that every penny was guaranteed, not couched in options or incentives. It would have been the team's biggest deal ever by a factor of three Barmeses.

Jackson rejected it in favor of one year at $11 million from another losing team, the Washington Nationals.

It's a wild risk on his part. On one hand, super-agent Scott Boras set up his client to reap a huge payday with a strong 2012, and Boras additionally can wave the Pirates' offer in front of any prospective buyers. On the other hand, every pitcher's next pitch can be his last.

Another quality arm, Roy Oswalt, is still on the market, also in Jackson's price range. He won't even pick up when Huntington calls.

Yeah, I can feel the eyes rolling right now. Some cynics don't believe the Pirates really made these overtures. Or, if the team did, it was just for PR purposes.
It's nonsense.

Lee's offer is easy to confirm, having been submitted through Major League Baseball's arbitration process.

Jackson's offer was solid, too. I've dealt with Boras for years. Be sure that if anyone publicly floated an inaccurate number attached to his name, even if it's off by a decimal point, he'd protest vociferously. He hasn't.

The Pirates aren't lying. And it isn't that they aren't trying, as some suggest. It's that top-tier talents still aren't buying what they're selling.

That has to change someday, obviously. But how?

"Honestly, we just need to keep playing better ball," Huntington told me by phone Wednesday after another late night at PNC Park. "When we win, we're going to see those results change, along with a lot of other things. We have a great pitcher-friendly ballpark. We have a lot of pieces in place. But the winning has to happen first. And it will. We still feel very good about the team we'll have in 2012."

Huntington should feel good about these rejections in at least one underlying way.
Say the Pirates raised the ante on Lee and offered $10 million. Say Lee accepted. There would be no reason to believe he's committed in the slightest. Remember, right now he'd rather retire than play in Pittsburgh. An extra million or two on top of his $80 million career earnings wouldn't change that sentiment much.

I enjoy watching Lee play baseball, but I don't want that here.

And say the Pirates had topped Washington's one-year offer to Jackson by a million or so. Same thing applies. You already know he was willing to walk away from $19 million to not play in Pittsburgh.

Maybe next winter.



http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/pirates/s_780922.html



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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 05:09 pm
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Count Grog
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I heard this morning on MLB radio that the Pirates and the Ynakee are in serious discusssions about sending AJ Burnett to the Pirates.  Just what the Pirates need another often injured over the hill pitcher who can't last more than 5 or 6 innings.



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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 05:43 pm
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stingmark

 

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Count Grog wrote:
I heard this morning on MLB radio that the Pirates and the Ynakee are in serious discusssions about sending AJ Burnett to the Pirates.  Just what the Pirates need another often injured over the hill pitcher who can't last more than 5 or 6 innings.

All true, BUT, you remember when "no one wants to play for the Tigers" was being said? Pudge signs, & look what happens. All it takes is 1 guy to show that things might get better. The Tigers were worse than the.Pirates before:Pudge/Rogers & others signed.

I get what youre saying, but theres always hope.



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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 05:55 pm
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srossi
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Count Grog wrote: I heard this morning on MLB radio that the Pirates and the Ynakee are in serious discusssions about sending AJ Burnett to the Pirates.  Just what the Pirates need another often injured over the hill pitcher who can't last more than 5 or 6 innings.
This just made my day.  And Burnett will do well there too, without the pressure.  It'll be a win-win even if the Yankees get a bag of balls in return.



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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 05:58 pm
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bart

 

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stingmark wrote: Count Grog wrote:
I heard this morning on MLB radio that the Pirates and the Ynakee are in serious discusssions about sending AJ Burnett to the Pirates.  Just what the Pirates need another often injured over the hill pitcher who can't last more than 5 or 6 innings.

All true, BUT, you remember when "no one wants to play for the Tigers" was being said? Pudge signs, & look what happens. All it takes is 1 guy to show that things might get better. The Tigers were worse than the.Pirates before:Pudge/Rogers & others signed.

I get what youre saying, but theres always hope.

Thats the exact example I was thinking of. They kinda have to over pay for a couple of guys who are seen as over the hill, as well as hang on to their FAs to be, to show that they're serious about spending money and about winning.

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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 06:09 pm
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Count Grog
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bart wrote: stingmark wrote: Count Grog wrote:
I heard this morning on MLB radio that the Pirates and the Ynakee are in serious discusssions about sending AJ Burnett to the Pirates.  Just what the Pirates need another often injured over the hill pitcher who can't last more than 5 or 6 innings.

All true, BUT, you remember when "no one wants to play for the Tigers" was being said? Pudge signs, & look what happens. All it takes is 1 guy to show that things might get better. The Tigers were worse than the.Pirates before:Pudge/Rogers & others signed.

I get what youre saying, but theres always hope.

Thats the exact example I was thinking of. They kinda have to over pay for a couple of guys who are seen as over the hill, as well as hang on to their FAs to be, to show that they're serious about spending money and about winning.

they are not serious about spending money and winning.  they are seriousabout have lots of bobblehead and fireworks nights and making money off $5 hotdogs and $10 beers.  Maybe you get drunk enough to buy a $150 Andrew McCutcheon jersey



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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 06:37 pm
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lobo316



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Count Grog wrote: bart wrote: stingmark wrote: Count Grog wrote:
I heard this morning on MLB radio that the Pirates and the Ynakee are in serious discusssions about sending AJ Burnett to the Pirates.  Just what the Pirates need another often injured over the hill pitcher who can't last more than 5 or 6 innings.

All true, BUT, you remember when "no one wants to play for the Tigers" was being said? Pudge signs, & look what happens. All it takes is 1 guy to show that things might get better. The Tigers were worse than the.Pirates before:Pudge/Rogers & others signed.

I get what youre saying, but theres always hope.

Thats the exact example I was thinking of. They kinda have to over pay for a couple of guys who are seen as over the hill, as well as hang on to their FAs to be, to show that they're serious about spending money and about winning.

they are not serious about spending money and winning.  they are seriousabout have lots of bobblehead and fireworks nights and making money off $5 hotdogs and $10 beers.  Maybe you get drunk enough to buy a $150 Andrew McCutcheon jersey


 

Count, I feel your pain. The Blue Jays operate the same way, refusing to spend money on free agents like the Yanks & Red Sox.

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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 06:53 pm
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tamalie
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This is probably old news to Pirates fans, but first and foremost, the Pirates have to put money into scouting and player development, especially starting pitching. The core of any contending Pirates team will be developed from within. Once you get a decent nucleus of players that can consistently get the team above ground, free agent players will be more apt to sign up. These won't be mega free agents, but you can get the decent position players and extra pitching you need this way. Then, once you win, you overpay to keep the core players around because the kind of free agents that turn teams aren't going to Pittsburgh under any circumstances. Just get a good base and build around it until it runs no more.

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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 09:38 pm
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Papa Voo



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tamalie wrote: This is probably old news to Pirates fans, but first and foremost, the Pirates have to put money into scouting and player development, especially starting pitching. The core of any contending Pirates team will be developed from within. Once you get a decent nucleus of players that can consistently get the team above ground, free agent players will be more apt to sign up. These won't be mega free agents, but you can get the decent position players and extra pitching you need this way. Then, once you win, you overpay to keep the core players around because the kind of free agents that turn teams aren't going to Pittsburgh under any circumstances. Just get a good base and build around it until it runs no more.

That is true, tamalie, but there is no trust that even if you build from within that the Pirates will invest to keep even those young players.  I think they are going to be put to the test in the very near future.

McCutchen is going to be a test, but there are already rumors swirling that he may not even want to stay in Pittsburgh even if they offer some top $$$$. 

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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 09:54 pm
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Also the new CBA sort of puts the kibosh on the whole "scouting and player development" idea.

The Tigers are a better destination for FAs now than they were in 2003 but it's still not easy for them. The difference is they have an owner who's 82 years old and batshit crazy and desperate for a WS, so he's willing to overpay to the point where guys like Prince Fielder can't say no. They were still rebuffed this offseason by Roy Oswalt and by others in years past.

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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 10:22 pm
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stingmark

 

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PeteF3 wrote:
Also the new CBA sort of puts the kibosh on the whole "scouting and player development" idea.

The Tigers are a better destination for FAs now than they were in 2003 but it's still not easy for them. The difference is they have an owner who's 82 years old and batshit crazy and desperate for a WS, so he's willing to overpay to the point where guys like Prince Fielder can't say no. They were still rebuffed this offseason by Roy Oswalt and by others in years past.


Well right, BUT again, why is that? B/c guys like:Pudge/Magglio/Kenny Rogers all wanted to play there, Pudges signing did that. Illitch has made truckloads of dough from both Little Caesars & The Wing, thats why he could afford so many guys. When a team like the Wings has guys wanting to take less.to go there, than other places, that says something. Keep in mind on Pudge: he turned down more money elsewhere to play in Detroit. I think the Yankees offered him about $15-$20 mill more & he turned them down.

Point is, all it takes is one guy to change the culture there & so forth.



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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 10:32 pm
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I thought this thread was going to be about Somali's

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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 11:09 pm
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Count Grog
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as seks article states teh Pirates have over paid for free agents that were all bad moves. they gotten lucky on a few trades the last 18 years but for the most part they haven't developed many stars (Aramis Rameriz, Jason Kendall(??), Estaban Loiaza and maybe McCutecheon but for the most part their best players like Jason Bay and Brian Giles were in trades. Bad drafts and not developing top picks has killed them



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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 11:56 pm
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beejmi
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tamalie wrote: This is probably old news to Pirates fans, but first and foremost, the Pirates have to put money into scouting and player development, especially starting pitching. The core of any contending Pirates team will be developed from within. Once you get a decent nucleus of players that can consistently get the team above ground, free agent players will be more apt to sign up. These won't be mega free agents, but you can get the decent position players and extra pitching you need this way. Then, once you win, you overpay to keep the core players around because the kind of free agents that turn teams aren't going to Pittsburgh under any circumstances. Just get a good base and build around it until it runs no more.
That's what the Phillies did (and it worked)

Developed Utley, Howard and Hamels in the system, all came up around the same time and the team started winning.

Wasn't that long ago the JD Drew told Philly not to draft him and Scott Rowland wanted out because the Phils weren't committed to winning.

Winning cures everything.

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 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 11:57 pm
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Count Grog wrote:
as seks article states teh Pirates have over paid for free agents that were all bad moves. they gotten lucky on a few trades the last 18 years but for the most part they haven't developed many stars (Aramis Rameriz, Jason Kendall(??), Estaban Loiaza and maybe McCutecheon but for the most part their best players like Jason Bay and Brian Giles were in trades. Bad drafts and not developing top picks has killed them

The Tigers did the same thing before dave Dombrowski came aboard. Remember, the Tigers traded away Luis Gonzalez for Shitty Karim garcia, and our team, prior to DD's arrival, was filled with ALOT of garbage, mostly overpriced garbage to boot. All it'll take is the right GM to come in, and bring in some guys. if anything , the Tigers should be the blueprint for many shitty teams to try to stay positive about. We also(thankfully) didnt sign Juan Gonzalez to that huge deal, that wouldve saddled us for years, with that guys contract. Dombrowski came in, cleaned house, brought in the right pieces and we're a MUCH better team than we were.

I agree that you guys dont have much to celebrate being Pirates fans, but again, there is hope.



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