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 Post subject: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 3:51 am 
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Okay, as the title suggests, a couple of decent outings, better hitting by Sanchez and Laroche, the continued production from Nady and McLouth have me sipping - not drinking, mind you, but sipping - the Pirate Kool-Aid with respect to one issue.

Neil Huntington and the people with him who evaluate players can spot talent. Believe me, after seeing some of the Pirate drafts and personnel decisions in years past, that is saying a lot. I say this about Huntington for the following reasons:

(1) He did not sign a "vet" center fielder. He let McLouth compete for the spot, win it and produce. He was right.

(2) He believed that Doumit would be a major league catcher. He was right.

(3) He considered obtaining from the Indians a pitcher named Cliff Lee, whom I compared to a poor man's Zach Duke. Wrong. Lee is dominant this year, with a power sinker and 95 mph 4-seamer together with a huge curve. Once again, he was looking at a guy who is producing. He thought Lee was a pitcher who could help the team and he was right.

(4) He believed that Tyler Yates was a major league power arm. He was right.

(5) He felt that Meek has a major league arm. He is right. The only problem is that Meek had never pitched above AA. Huntington is trying to keep Meek with the Pirates and I think that is a darn good idea. The kid can bring it at 96 mph with a nasty slider. Once again, he spotted talent and was right.

(6) He thought that Burnett would have success as a reliever. Burnett threw well in spring, threw well in AAA and was hitting 92 mph with regularity on Tuesday. (First game in majors in 4 years jitters - control not good. He will be a good arm out of the pen from what I saw.)

(7) He thought that Phil Dumatriat was worthy of a look. No question, he was right.

So, the more I look at personnel decisions, the more I like Huntington's ability to evaluate talent and find players who are going to make the Pirates better. If I could just convince him about this Osoria issue . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 7:20 am 
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As Powers Booth said, "bring me my people, bring me my people..."

Like you I'm sipping too. Think you may be right about NH and it seems to me that Russell does a decent job with the team. He could grow into a good one as experience in the majors helps him.

Maybe, just maybe...

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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 7:51 am 
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I'm certainly 'sippin right now, but trying not to take out of mind that we are beating a bad Giants team and despite the losses played well against a bad Nationals team, and have the Cards, Braves, and (0-6) Cubs ahead all right in a row.


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 8:45 am 
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Bucfan wrote:
(6) He thought that Burnett would have success as a reliever. Burnett threw well in spring, threw well in AAA and was hitting 92 mph with regularity on Tuesday. (First game in majors in 4 years jitters - control not good. He will be a good arm out of the pen from what I saw.).


I agree with all of your points, especially pertaining to Cliff Lee. I think we were pretty much unanimous that obtaining Lee for Bay would be a rip off. Imagine him pitching in the weaker NL...

But in reference to point #6, my understanding of the events was that Burnett went to NH and asked to try to pitch out of the pen because he saw that he had no chance to ever crack our rotation (and passed through waivers unclaimed). So it might not be so much a "genius" move by NH so much as things just worked out. But, as they say, luck is when preparation meets opportunity, chance favors the prepared, yada yada.


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 10:04 am 
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Good post. I prefer the Cherry flavor, and absolutely no Grape for me please!


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 10:43 am 
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I too like the moves NH is making. I have a lot of hope for the draft and the trade deadline. We might actually get some talent into the organization for a change.


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 10:49 am 
Bucfan wrote:
Okay, as the title suggests, a couple of decent outings, better hitting by Sanchez and Laroche, the continued production from Nady and McLouth have me sipping - not drinking, mind you, but sipping - the Pirate Kool-Aid with respect to one issue.

Neil Huntington and the people with him who evaluate players can spot talent. Believe me, after seeing some of the Pirate drafts and personnel decisions in years past, that is saying a lot. I say this about Huntington for the following reasons:

(1) He did not sign a "vet" center fielder. He let McLouth compete for the spot, win it and produce. He was right.

(2) He believed that Doumit would be a major league catcher. He was right.

(3) He considered obtaining from the Indians a pitcher named Cliff Lee, whom I compared to a poor man's Zach Duke. Wrong. Lee is dominant this year, with a power sinker and 95 mph 4-seamer together with a huge curve. Once again, he was looking at a guy who is producing. He thought Lee was a pitcher who could help the team and he was right.

(4) He believed that Tyler Yates was a major league power arm. He was right.

(5) He felt that Meek has a major league arm. He is right. The only problem is that Meek had never pitched above AA. Huntington is trying to keep Meek with the Pirates and I think that is a darn good idea. The kid can bring it at 96 mph with a nasty slider. Once again, he spotted talent and was right.

(6) He thought that Burnett would have success as a reliever. Burnett threw well in spring, threw well in AAA and was hitting 92 mph with regularity on Tuesday. (First game in majors in 4 years jitters - control not good. He will be a good arm out of the pen from what I saw.)

(7) He thought that Phil Dumatriat was worthy of a look. No question, he was right.

So, the more I look at personnel decisions, the more I like Huntington's ability to evaluate talent and find players who are going to make the Pirates better. If I could just convince him about this Osoria issue . . .


Those are great points Bucfan. NH has made some good calls and deserves credit for those.

However, I think it's fair to balance those with some of his misses.

Cliff Lee ... He tried to get him but didn't. I wouldn't praise a GM for the players he didn't get.

Third base, the same logic of he thought Bautista would improve could be applied there. Bautists isn't hitting like a major league third baseman, so there is a hole there (he also gave himself virtually no plan B at 3rd for this season). He obviously saw something in Osario and you see how that is working. He didn't add much depth to the rotation and most of the rotation has struggled this year.

Bottom line is they're still losing more games than they win, so praising too much just yet is misguided. I'm not saying criticizing him out the ass is right either because he's only been on the job a few months. What I am saying is that he should be viewed objectively -- taking into account the misses with the hits -- and given more time before judgment is passed either way.


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 10:54 am 
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Everybody take a deep breath, and lay off of the Kool-Aid for a while.

The Pirates just lost a series to a AAAA team, and they've taken 2 in a row from a tea that would be hard pressed to play .500 ball in the Pacific Coast League. These wild manic/depressive swings will take their toll on you. Try to keep an even keel. Right now all we know is that Huntingdon is a better talent evaluator than Littlefield. That's a good thing, but the same could be said of about half the posters on this board.

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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 11:00 am 
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Elmer wrote:
Third base, the same logic of he thought Bautista would improve could be applied there. Bautists isn't hitting like a major league third baseman, so there is a hole there (he also gave himself virtually no plan B at 3rd for this season).


Actually, Bautista is plan B for third base. Plan A is struggling in Indianapolis right now. Bautista is a placeholder for Walker. Why expend any sort of resources to bring in a slightly better placeholder?

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He obviously saw something in Osario and you see how that is working. He didn't add much depth to the rotation and most of the rotation has struggled this year.


I see something in Osoria as well. His sinker is filthy. He lacks consistency, and he lacks a pitch that can get lefties out, but he could become an outstanding pitcher if he ever gets straightened out.

Quote:
Bottom line is they're still losing more games than they win, so praising too much just yet is misguided. I'm not saying criticizing him out the ass is right either because he's only been on the job a few months. What I am saying is that he should be viewed objectively -- taking into account the misses with the hits -- and given more time before judgment is passed either way.

Fair enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 11:01 am 
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Elmer wrote:
Cliff Lee ... He tried to get him but didn't. I wouldn't praise a GM for the players he didn't get.


How much of this is 20/20 though. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I do recall not liking the Gutierrez/Lee/??? for Bay/??? trade when it was being considered earlier this year. Nobody in their right mind saw 39Ks, 2BBs, and 25 hits in 44 innings coming from Lee.

Elmer wrote:
Third base, the same logic of he thought Bautista would improve could be applied there. Bautists isn't hitting like a major league third baseman, so there is a hole there (he also gave himself virtually no plan B at 3rd for this season). He obviously saw something in Osario and you see how that is working. He didn't add much depth to the rotation and most of the rotation has struggled this year.


I won't debate Osoria but Bautista is really a place holder at this point in time. I don't think NH was looking long term with him anyway, plus we're finding out who the true Bautista is right now.


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 11:04 am 
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sisyphus wrote:
Everybody take a deep breath, and lay off of the Kool-Aid for a while.


But it tastes so damn good man, and it makes my problems, like, disappear...........

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:20 pm 
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The tough thing with Bautista is with Jack hurt, Gomez has had to play SS more...If Jack was on the field, Gomez could have spelled Bautista a little more...

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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:29 pm 
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Elmer wrote:
Those are great points Bucfan. NH has made some good calls and deserves credit for those.

However, I think it's fair to balance those with some of his misses.

Cliff Lee ... He tried to get him but didn't. I wouldn't praise a GM for the players he didn't get.


No question, he did not obtain Lee. But there is no doubt but that Lee was the pitcher on his radar. Huntington had a good opinion of Lee, despite his problems in 2007.

That is so far beyond what the prior GM was able to do that there is no comparison. The prior GM could "detect" the best player in another team's minor league system, and one of the 2-3 best in all of baseball - guys like David Wright and Chase Utley.

Well, anybody with eyes and a brain could see that those players were incredibly talented - including their current teams, who had no intention of trading them. Once those teams said "no" to trading the best minor league player in their system, DL had no backup plan. He had no ability to find other talented players who were not so high on the radar.

That was a problem for the Pirates in trade discussions. Way too many times, the discussion seemed to go like this:

DL: "Okay, I have Kris Benson for trade. I want Babe Ruth in return."

OTHER TEAM: "No."

DL: "Uhhhm, but I really want him."

OTHER TEAM: "No. Get real." Click .... bzzzzzz

DL: "Get the Red Sox on the phone. Tell them I want Ted Williams."


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:34 pm 
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Think how much worse this team would be if the trade with the Red Sox went through if we didn't get damaged goods...

No Freddy, and we would have lost Gonzo, which means no LaRoche

So no All-Star 2nd baseman, no lefthanded power threat at 1st base

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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:43 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:

Well, anybody with eyes and a brain could see that those players were incredibly talented - including their current teams, who had no intention of trading them.


Well shouldn't we at least give Littlefield credit for recognizing that talent without a brain??!!


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:44 pm 
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nad69dan wrote:
Think how much worse this team would be if the trade with the Red Sox went through if we didn't get damaged goods...

No Freddy, and we would have lost Gonzo, which means no LaRoche

So no All-Star 2nd baseman, no lefthanded power threat at 1st base


True, Littlefield's player acquisitions were not good. However, the point I was making in this post was not that his trades generally sucked.

My point was why I think that Huntington will be a better GM - he can find talented major league players, including some who are not valued as much by other GM's. Dumatrait, Lee and Yates are three examples.

And I just cannot believe that Huntington would pass on Wieters to select Moskos . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:45 pm 
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BBF wrote:
Well shouldn't we at least give Littlefield credit for recognizing that talent without a brain??!!


That is a condition known as "Moskos Syndrome."


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:54 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
nad69dan wrote:
Think how much worse this team would be if the trade with the Red Sox went through if we didn't get damaged goods...

No Freddy, and we would have lost Gonzo, which means no LaRoche

So no All-Star 2nd baseman, no lefthanded power threat at 1st base


True, Littlefield's player acquisitions were not good. However, the point I was making in this post was not that his trades generally sucked.

My point was why I think that Huntington will be a better GM - he can find talented major league players, including some who are not valued as much by other GM's. Dumatrait, Lee and Yates are three examples.

And I just cannot believe that Huntington would pass on Wieters to select Moskos . . .


I understand your point, I was just stating how much worse this team would be if not for luck...I am too under the belief that NH is going to be better, the Yates deal has already proved that...
If this team has a lead going into the 7th inning, they are a tough team beat...

Like Teke said after the game lastnight, its still the 1st inning thats killing the pitching staff, only Duke has a 1st inning under 4.00

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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 1:13 pm 
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sisyphus wrote:
I see something in Osoria as well. His sinker is filthy. He lacks consistency, and he lacks a pitch that can get lefties out, but he could become an outstanding pitcher if he ever gets straightened out.


He is actually very consistent. He throws belt high sinkers almost exclusively. And what is filthy are the results.


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 Post subject: Re: Sipping the Kool-Aid once again . . .
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 1:24 pm 
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PirateParrot wrote:
sisyphus wrote:
I see something in Osoria as well. His sinker is filthy. He lacks consistency, and he lacks a pitch that can get lefties out, but he could become an outstanding pitcher if he ever gets straightened out.


He is actually very consistent. He throws belt high sinkers almost exclusively. And what is filthy are the results.


PirateParrot is correct about Osoria's pitching. Last year, he was knee-high, corner.

This year, a ton of his pitches wind up belt-high, middle. Not a good location. Since he is throwing 88 mph, leaving the pitch over the middle of the plate is going to result in bad things - like a 2 WHIP and ERA hovering close to 7.00.


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