First Pitch: The Case Against Extending Neil Walker

Last year the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata to extensions. At the time there was talk that Neil Walker could also be a candidate to be extended, as the club was talking with him about the possibility. The two sides are still talking, and will enter this off-season with Walker qualifying for arbitration as a Super Two player. Most players who sign extensions don’t sign the deal until they become...

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First Pitch: Finding a Post-Season Team

One of the side effects of the Pirates losing for 20 years in a row is that baseball carries on without them once the regular season is over. For that reason, I usually try to find a post-season team to pull for, as I’m sure any other baseball fan does. I usually go with the underdogs or the small market teams. That seems to be another common trend. This year, that’s the Oakland Athletics. For all the talk of the collapse...

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First Pitch: Reviewing the Pre-Season Over/Unders

At the start of the year I ran a few polls, asking for over/under predictions on several key topics for the 2012 Pirates season. Now that the season is over, I thought it would be a good time to look back and see the results of some of those key story lines. Pedro Alvarez Home Runs Take Our Poll Remember back at the start of the season when people wanted to send Pedro Alvarez to Triple-A? Almost two thirds of voters had Alvarez...

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First Pitch: Yes, The Farm System Has Been Dramatically Upgraded Since 2007

There’s been a lot of frustration with the Pittsburgh Pirates in recent weeks. The team went from 16 games over .500 at the end of July, to clinching their 20th losing season in a row on Sunday. The frustration has brought on a lot of criticism. A lot of that criticism is warranted. But some of the criticism has been a bit of a reach, which is confusing. There are things you can legitimately criticize this team about....

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First Pitch: What the Losing Streak Means to Me

When I was a kid, baseball was by far my favorite sport. I used to watch every game that was on TV, which usually consisted of the Braves on TBS, the Cubs on WGN, and the Pirates. I would keep score for every Pirates game, but at the same time I’d try to keep score for the other games by flipping back and forth. I’d check the box scores each morning in the paper. Ah, the pre-internet days. We had a league in our...

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First Pitch: McDonald and Karstens Should Be Locks For the 2013 Rotation

Looking ahead to the 2013 season, there has been some talk and speculation that Pirates starters James McDonald and Jeff Karstens might not be locks for the 2013 rotation. If you ask me, both pitchers should be locks for the rotation next year. The knock against McDonald right now is that he’s faded in the second half. The right-hander posted a 7.52 ERA in 61 innings in the second half, and was eventually removed from the...

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