Authors’ NOTE: Someone just wrote saying I forgot the weekly wrap. I notice that’s true! But there wasn’t much to wrap in hindsight, save more non-roster invitees. I’ll post something on it tomorrow, if I don’t find something more interesting!
After another hum-ho week, things came to life yesterday night when Dejan Kovacevic reported that Penguins owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle had made an offer to buy the Pirates. There are two thoughts that spring to my mind immediately. One, its not going to happen, certainly not anytime soon. A few people have been interested- Mark Cuban, Chuck Greenberg- and haven’t made progress. If anything, this is the time Nutting is much much less likely to sell. Two, the timing of the news is too perfect to be accidental! It was designed to hit the Pirate fanfest slap-bang in the middle with absolutely no way out. (I am not at the Q and A today, but wish I was; and I am certainly waiting with baited breath for Dejan’s coverage of the matter.) The Pirates could have had nothing to gain from such news leaking, so it must have been the other side. More of my thoughts on the stunning development after the splash jump.
There has been much speculation over draft picks and their values in the past. More recently, there have been more quantitative studies on this issue with actual stats being used to compute the values of draft picks- of course, if you don’t put your stock in stats like Wins Above Replacement (WAR), you might not agree with or believe the results entirely. See here for a recent such study by the Baseball Analysts; other studies including those at Beyond The Boxscore and The Hardball Times have found that picks 1-20 tend to be the most valuable in a draft, and that high school pitchers are not a good early investment and that college hitters tend to do better than pitchers.
No one, of course, is suggesting that later draft picks won’t have success- we all know Albert Pujols was drafted in the 13th round, and Tommy Hanson in the 22nd round. However, the further into the draft you go, the harder it becomes to find quality players who will make an impact in the big leagues. That theory should be acceptable to all readers, as should be the value of the 1st round draft pick. In this post, however, I want to take a quick, qualitative look at a small part of the draft. To begin, let’s ask the following question:
Q: What is common to Jason Taylor, David Christensen, Michael Felix, Chris Tillman, Jeff Locke, Brett Anderson and Justin Masterson?
It seems it’s been a busy week, not just for me, but also for the Pirates. Unlike them, I’ve accomplished some things of great importance, but, again unlike them, mine don’t matter much to people. However, I am here to talk about the week for the Pirates, when a number of moves happened, none of them of particularly great import, some of greater surprise though than others. Let’s recap the week quickly, and see what’s going on out there.
So, in part 1 of the offseason recap, we discussed the players lost by the Pirates. In this part, let’s take a look at the warriors (should that be robbers) that have been added. The Pirates have been very very busy, and a ton of non-roster invites would bear witness to that. Some are more likely than others to end up on the ML team, and some interesting enough to appear here. The additions have been most diverse, with Neal Huntington and his front office getting creative in their endeavors to make Pirates out of interesting people from other walks of life. Without further ado, let’s plunge ahead…
This is meant to be a lighter post, while we wait for the rest of the moves, the signing of Octavio Dotel and the clearing of roster space for the newly signed relievers, so read it in the spirit. So what has Neal Huntington been upto this offseason- one where Alex Anthopoulos dealt his ace in return for 3 premier Phillies’ prospects, and promptly celebrated by marrying and taking off for a honeymoon in Hawaii, Jack Z earned more praise from the Mariners’ fans for acquiring Chone Figgins, Cliff Lee and Milton Bradley, and one the MLB joined the union in asking the Marlins to spend more of their money, and presumably better? Dealin’ Neal has been at it again, letting players go and signing some more. Some love him, some hate him; in this post, we look at some of the pearls that Neal didn’t protect, letting them get away from the Pittsburgh coffers.
UPDATE: The Pirates have agreed to terms with Brendan Donnelly, as per Dejan Kovacevic. The contract details are not known yet, except that it will be a 1 year deal.
UPDATE Again: Jerry Crasnick says the deal is worth $1.5M with incentives that could push it to $3M. I had speculated in the morning (in the post below) that it would be $1-1.5M, and I expected it to be about $1-1.2M with incentives that took it to $2M- depending on how easily accessible the incentives are, this seems a little high.
According to reports, it looks increasingly like the Pirates will sign Octavio Dotel. Since my last post on the bullpen composition then, some things have changed. DJ Carrasco has been signed to a minor league deal, which would seem to be a pretty good effort from the front office, as Carrasco had a pretty good year in long relief. Carrasco also has a clause that says he can earn up to $1.2M with $0.95 M in base pay, if he makes the big league team. If I am not mistaken, I believe he also has an out-clause if he doesn’t make the team, but I couldn’t find a reference at the time of writing. So what do the signings mean for the composition of the pen?
Major League Baseball and the players’ union have expressed concern that the Marlins aren’t using enough revenue-sharing money to increase players’ salaries. The team said it will increase payroll. – Miami Herald
Here’s the story from the Sun Sentinel, and from the Palm Beach Post, and some reaction from Fish Stripes, a Florida Marlins blog. On a day when the Pirates officially signed Ryan Church, at a bargain ($1.5M had been my most optimistic prediction, and I think he’s well worth having at that price), the biggest news comes from the unprecedented joint statement by Major League Baseball and the Players’ Union citing the labor agreement in asking the Marlins to spend more on payroll. As a Pirate fan, I am well aware of the grumbling surrounding the low payroll of the team, which is far below the rest of the NL Central. To start with, note that the Marlins’ spending over the last few years has been well below that of the Pirates, and there should be (and rightfully so) no conspiracy theories as to why the Pirates were not mentioned in the statement. The amount spent on payroll is one reason, the present state of the team (rebuilding) is another, and finally, it seems Major League Baseball is confident that the Pirates are not pocketing the revenue instead of working on building a winner.
What, if any, are the implications of a statement like this? Does it put pressure on other teams? More importantly, should it? The Marlins have been competitive for a while- what effect does being asked to spend more money have?