Coffee and paper

Some Sunday morning reading

I haven’t written a whole ton about Spring Training, so let’s take a Sunday to get caught up on some reading about what’s going on in and around the Pirates thus far in camp. David Todd has an excellent interview with Jim Benedict up at Bucs Dugout, which you can listen to or read. There’s […]

BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 5: Pittsburgh Pirates mascot jokes with a fan before the game against the New York Yankees at McKechnie Field on March 5, 2015 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The strange weight of optimism

When Parks and Rec ended its run on NBC last week, I spent a little bit of time thinking about what it was that I liked about the show so much. Given that the show spent most of its second half making references to sabermetrics and once made an entire episode dedicated to Infinite Jest, it could […]

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 22: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a sixth inning solo home run against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 22, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Pirates open to extending Andrew McCutchen

I’m a day behind on this story, but I think it’s an important one to weigh in on. Yesterday Bob Nutting talked to Rob Biertempfel at the Trib, saying that he’d like Andrew McCutchen to be a Pirate for a “long, long time” and Biertempfel’s sources indicated that while the Pirates are not actively engaged in extension talks […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01:  John Holdzkom #43 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants during the National League Wild Card game at PNC Park on October 1, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

John Holdzkom < 500

John Holdzkom started 2014 in independent ball and at one point in the season got cut by his indy league team. He has pitched for New Zealand’s World Baseball Classic team. One time he called in to Chelsea Peretti’s podcast, lamenting his blown baseball opportunity. The Pirates signed him out of the blue last summer, […]

Tigers, Brewers, Cubs Highlight Top Games in April for Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates proved their recent success wasn’t just a blip on the radar. After back-to-back playoff appearances in 2013 and 2014, the Pirates seem content on being on the winning side of things and plan to keep it that way for 2015. Following the play of franchise cornerstone Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates want to […]

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 07:  Antonio Bastardo #59 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Washington Nationals in the eighth inning of a 3-2 Nationals win at Nationals Park on September 7, 2014 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Antonio Bastardo < 500

With most of the early spring training talk about the Pirates being extremely positive, their bullpen is sort of the elephant in the room. Obviously Tony Watson and Mark Melancon are great and John Holdzkom was promising down the stretch last year, but the Bucs’ bullpen blew a lot of leads last year. They did […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 29:  Jared Hughes #48 of the Pittsburgh Pirates runs to the mound to pitch in the ninth inning against the New York Mets during the game at PNC Park on June 29, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Jared Hughes < 500

This is what I think is great about Jared Hughes: there’s an awfully good chance that he’s walking proof that the Pirates’ front office is a step ahead of most analysis about the relationship between pitching and defense. Over the course of his Pirate career, Hughes has pitched in 170 games and thrown 183 innings. […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 29:  Tony Watson #44 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the eighth inning against the New York Mets during the game at PNC Park on June 29, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Tony Watson < 500

We are headed into murky territory for the < 500 series, as I’m not sure I have anywhere near 500 words to say about the players left to talk about. Still, I’m going to press on for at least a little longer. The upside is that if these posts are short, the possibility exists that […]

BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 17:  A general view of McKechnie Field just before the start of the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees on March 17, 2013 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Pitchers and catchers report for the Pirates today

One of the nasty little side-effects of the Information Age is that a day that used to feel magical — the day pitchers and catchers report — is now one of the biggest anti-climaxes on the calendar. If you follow the

Andrew McCutchen: Baseball freezes out lower income kids

Andrew McCutchen, writing at the Player’s Tribune: Baseball used to be the sport where all you needed was a stick and a ball. It used to be a way out for poor kids. Now it’s a sport that increasingly freezes out kids whose parents don’t have the income to finance the travel baseball circuit. McCutchen […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates after closing out the ninth inning with a 4-2 win against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park on September 19, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Mark Melancon < 500

In his two seasons as a Pirate, Mark Melancon has this line: 142 IP, 111 H, 30 R, 26 ER, 19 BB, 141 K, 3 HR This is so good that it’s borderline comical. Three home runs and 19 walks in 142 innings? Out of every pitcher in baseball that’s thrown at least 100 innings […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 26:  Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates rounds first after hitting a three run home run in the fifth inning against the New York Mets during the game at PNC Park on June 26, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Gregory Polanco < 500

When I’m trying to figure out what a young or an unproven player will do in a coming season, most of the time I’ll try to find some sort of statistical signifier that points in one direction or another: Josh Harrison’s xBABIP, Gerrit Cole’s short stretches of dominance, etc. For Gregory Polanco, the argument is […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a single in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during the National League Wild Card game at PNC Park on October 1, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Andrew McCutchen < 500

In Charlie Wilmoth’s Dry Land (a great read to prep yourself for spring training if you didn’t read it last year!), he’s got an interview with former Indianapolis Indians’ play-by-play guy Scott McCauley where Scott talks about how Pirate fans would obsess over minor league players in a way that sort of befuddled every other minor league broadcaster that he’d ever […]

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 10: Left fielder Starling Marte #6 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after hitting an RBI single in the top of the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies on September 10, 2014 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pirates defeated the Phillies 6-3 (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Starling Marte < 500

Besides Gerrit Cole, the two players that will have the most bearing on whether the 2015 Pirates are a good team or a great team are most likely their corner outfielders. Just like you can track the club’s mad dash in August and September to the NL’s second wild card with Gerrit Cole’s return from the disabled […]

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 06:  Steve Lombardozzi #12 of the Baltimore Orioles bats during the ninth inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 6, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Orioles defeated the Tigers 3-1.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Pirates acquire Steve Lombardozzi, Arquimedes Caminero

Spring training is quickly approaching with the Super Bowl behind us, but the Pirates are not done making minor roster moves to get ready for the coming season. Last night they picked up Steve Lombardozzi from the Orioles for cash in move unrelated to the Travis Snider trade, and today