• First Pitch: The Five Players That Represent a Microcosm of Neal Huntington’s Abilities

    At the end of the 2012 season I wrote that 2013 was the make or break year for Neal Huntington and the current management group. When the group arrived in the 2007-08 off-season, the system was a wreck. There were hardly any prospects in the system, and very few players at the...

  • First Pitch: The Draft Compensation System is Still Broken

    Last year the Collective Bargaining Agreement introduced some changes to the free agent compensation system. The system was overhauled, drastically reducing the amount of compensation picks that would be awarded. Here were the key changes: **Previously there were Type A and Type B free agents. A player was eligible for compensation if...

  • First Pitch: Killing Your Giancarlo Stanton Dreams

    I've been asked a few times over the last couple of days what it would cost for Giancarlo Stanton. Recently there have been a few rumors that the Marlins would listen on Stanton. These sound very similar to the Justin Upton rumors that always come up. A young superstar is mentioned in...

  • First Pitch: The Impact of Losing the Astros

    Buster Olney has been doing his top ten lists at ESPN, naming his top rotations, infields, outfields, and so on. The Pirates haven't been on any list, but I did see something interesting at the bottom of his infield article (Insider subscription required). Olney had a simulation from AccuScore showing the impact...

  • First Pitch: 13 Boom or Bust Players Who Could Make a Difference in 2013

    The 2013 roster is starting to take shape. There are still a few off-season questions that remain unanswered. Will the Pirates trade Garrett Jones? Who will win the 5th starter job? Will the Pirates add any free agent relievers? Will they add any more free agents, period? One thing that is already...

  • First Pitch: Will a Garrett Jones/Gaby Sanchez Platoon Work?

    Garrett Jones is currently projected to be part of a platoon at first base. -- Image Credit: Mark Olson For the third year in a row, the Pittsburgh Pirates are projected to enter the season with a platoon at one of their positions. Right now we're assuming that will be Garrett Jones...

  • First Pitch: The Pirates Payroll and a Realistic View on Salary Dumps

    When the Pirates make a move that cuts salary -- such as what happened in the Joel Hanrahan trade -- you hear the usual "salary dump" cries. Technically the move was a salary dump. The Pirates saved about $6.5 M in the move. Dumping salary might have even been a key reason...

  • First Pitch: What is the Next Move For the Pirates?

    Could Garrett Jones be the next to go? - Photo by Mark Olson After Jason Grilli was signed, we waited for the other shoe to drop with a Joel Hanrahan trade. Now that the Hanrahan trade is completed, we're left waiting for another shoe to drop. One of the big returns in...

  • First Pitch: Mark Melancon and Remembering When Joel Hanrahan Was a Throw In

    There seems to be some debate over whether relief pitcher Mark Melancon is involved in the pending Joel Hanrahan trade. A few outlets are reporting that Melancon is in the deal, although other outlets are saying that Melancon himself hasn't been told anything. The Hanrahan trade will be delayed until after Christmas,...

  • First Pitch: An Incomplete Observation on an Incomplete Trade

    For some reason, the Pirates can't make a move involving a relief pitcher without the deal dragging on unnecessarily for days. We first heard that Jason Grilli had signed on the final day of the winter meetings. Then we heard he didn't sign yet. Then he did. Then he didn't. Then a...

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