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Showing posts from July, 2009

So long, Adam LaRoche

Adam LaRoche no longer is a Pittsburgh Pirate.

To that, I say, "Thank you."

LaRoche came to the Pirates with promise of a home-run hitter from the left-hand side, one able to launch blasts over the Clemente Wall and perhaps into the Allegheny River.

Perhaps too much was expected from him. Whatever the case, his term in Pittsburgh was not very memorable.

You could count on a terrible first half followed by a solid second half of the season. By the time he started to hit, the Pirates were selling the good players they had. Now, LaRoche is the one being shipped away.

According to WEEI in Boston, the Red Sox gave up shortstop Argenis Diaz and pitcher Hunter Strickland.

Diaz was playing in Class AA Portland, hitting .253 with no home runs and 24 RBIs. He has seven stolen bases. The WEEI report describe Diaz as a gifted defensive player without much of a bat. Strickland, who is 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, was 5-4 with a 3.35 ERA in the South Atlantic League.

If the reports are accurate, Diaz c…

A look at the Pirates' season so far

The All-Star break came at the right time for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

They enter the unofficial midpoint with a 38-50 record. Last season, they were 44-50 at the break and limped to the end of the season with a 23-45 record.

But, hey, look at the bright side, there are at least three days this week where they won't lose a game.

Unfortunately, there's a little thing called reality. A winning record all is but a dream this season. The team's goal should be to avoid losing 100 games.

Not many will notice by then, since training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers will begin in a couple weeks and the real games start before the Bucs officially close up shop for the season.

Here's a look at the Bucs:

Catcher: Ryan Doumit missed most of the season with a wrist injury. Those typically can linger, so Doumit's power might not return in the second half. Odds he finishes the season with the Bucs: 65 percent. Odds on him with 2010 Bucs: 60 percent.

First base: Adam LaRoche (.250-12-39 f…

Fire sale or rebuilding? We'll know soon with the Pirates

Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez is an All-Star.

Of course, someone from the Pirates has to be an All-Star, baseball's rules demand it.

Go beyond the mandatory selection, and Sanchez still is a darn good player.

A former batting champ, Sanchez has proved this year that the title was legit and last year's season was an aberration.

Sanchez is hitting at a .316 clip entering the All-Star break. He provides offense at a position where anything you get above .250 is a bonus. In addition, with Sanchez, there's not much sacrifice on defense.

So, why would the Pirates want to trade him?

There are about 8 million of them and it's all about the money.

Since Sanchez is an All-Star, he needs just 600 plate appearances to make $8 million next season, which is a Cardinal sin on the penny-pinching Pirates.

I can't blame general manager Neal Huntington for trying to trade Sanchez. You need to sell at the highest point to gain a profit, and Sanchez might not get any higher.

So instead …

So much for a Sanchez-for-Sanchez trade

The have been some rumors of a Freddy Sanchez trade to the San Francisco Giants. In return, the Bucs would get pitcher Jonathan Sanchez.

As luck would have it, Sanchez tossed a no-hitter Friday night for the Giants.

My guess is Sanchez heard the rumors and decided the only way to stay away from the Pirates was to pitch the game of his career.

Stan, loved the show

The staple for Pittsburgh sports fans to get an opinion is going away.

Stan Savran's "Sportsbeat with Savran" will broadcast its last show on Monday on FSN Pittsburgh.

"Sportsbeat" has been on in some form since 1991, dating back to its days on KBL.

The decision reeks of economics, with Liberty Media being known as one just to broadcast games and little else. By all accounts, Savran's show was still drawing ratings.

But let's go back to what Pittsburgh sports fans will miss.

Savran's show leaves a void at a time where unrest over the Pirates is quite possibly at an all-time high, and the Penguins and Steelers are coming off of championship seasons. Steelers training camp is just weeks away, so you know there will be plenty of questions out there about who will be the backup linebacker.

Fans love their sports, and they loved this show.

It became really popular with Guy Junker as co-host. The catch phrase from callers was, "Love the show."

Now, ther…

Maybe the Bucs need a chip on their shoulder more often

It's nice to see Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson show some energy, however misguided it was.

He's since apologized for his remarks after the Bucs traded Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett for Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan.

That comes almost a month after players were highly critical of the trade that sent away popular outfielder Nate McLouth.

After each trade, the Pirates won. So, the question remains, maybe the players need to be a little more fired up when they take the field.

They ripped the Mets, 11-6, after the McLouth trade. After trading Morgan and Burnett, the Bucs beat the Cubs, 3-0.

Maybe the players need to carry a chip on their shoulder more often -- or at least show some life. Have you ever seen an Adam LaRoche interview? He makes comedian Steven Wright look like a ball of energy.

Or, perhaps, a couple more trades will do the trick.

Anyone in the market for an overpaid first baseman?

Bucs headed in right direction

So, Jack Wilson and other Pirates are tired of these trades?

I think the fans are tired of losing, I know I am. Maybe the players should be tired of losing, too.

Like it or not, the management in place have a direction to take this team. Some might argue it's to make more money for the Nuttings. That could be the case, but it seems general manager Neal Huntington has a plan in place to make the team better.

I definitely think that's the case.

You can see it take shape. They have outfielders in place in the minors or already playing at PNC Park with Andrew McCutchen, Lastings Milledge, Jose Tabata and Gorkys Hernandez. Pedro Alvarez recently was promoted to Double-A Altoona and could be in Pittsburgh next season. Andy LaRoche is showing the promise he displayed in the minors.

To review, I didn't like the Nate McLouth trade, but I did like Tuesday's moves. But, I will concede that Huntington has a blueprint. He can't be blamed for the past seasons. Let's give him time…