First Pitch: After Signing Burnett, the Pirates are Set Up For a Very Interesting Off-Season

I kind of get the feeling that Neal Huntington has this off-season mapped out. If he did, it wouldn’t be any different than previous off-seasons.

Last year rather than extending a qualifying offer to A.J. Burnett, they tried for James Loney and Edinson Volquez. When Loney signed with the Rays, they turned back to Burnett with the remaining money.

The plan worked out a little better the year before. They were aggressive early in the off-season to get Russell Martin. Then they dealt Joel Hanrahan to the Red Sox, getting their future closer in Mark Melancon. That move also freed up payroll to sign Francisco Liriano.

The year before that, they signed the guys they wanted early — getting Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes — but the results weren’t nearly as good as the 2012-13 off-season.

We’re now about two weeks into the 2014-15 off-season and the Pirates have been active. They haven’t made any big splashes, but they appear to have a plan.

They’ve added several utility players, which was formerly Josh Harrison’s position. However, comments from Neal Huntington have Harrison as the starting third baseman next year.

They acquired Francisco Cervelli this week, giving them a backup plan if Russell Martin signs elsewhere. By all accounts, they’re still in on Martin. But realistically, Martin is probably signing elsewhere, as he would probably cost too much over too many years (with the latter being the bigger factor).

If Martin does sign elsewhere, then the Pirates have their catcher. They also have a lot of payroll flexibility to improve other areas of the team. And today’s addition of A.J. Burnett doesn’t change that. Burnett took less money to come to Pittsburgh, and he did it to give Neal Huntington more resources to add to the team. I doubt Burnett takes a $4.25 M hometown discount (the difference between his deal with the Pirates and what he turned down from the Phillies) if he doesn’t think Huntington is planning on using that money to upgrade the team.

So where do the Pirates go from here?

They definitely need one more starter, and that starter needs to be a top of the rotation guy. They can’t afford someone like Jon Lester, but they could definitely afford to bring back Francisco Liriano or add someone like Brandon McCarthy. Currently the payroll sits at $75 M, and will probably be at $70 M when the first base situation gets sorted out. Liriano and McCarthy have both been projected at $12 M per year, which puts the Pirates in the $82 M range.

From there, they could consider getting creative with the remaining money. They could add a first baseman to upgrade the position. I don’t think it would be a bad plan to go with Pedro Alvarez and Gaby Sanchez in a platoon, banking on rebound seasons from both. But if they want a full-time starter at first base, then that gives them a lot of flexibility in the lineup. If Neil Walker goes down, Josh Harrison could take over at second base and Alvarez could play third. If Harrison goes down, Alvarez is there. If the first baseman gets hurt, they can just turn to Alvarez as a Plan B.

Or there’s the needs in the bullpen and bench. Maybe they keep Alvarez and Sanchez as a first base platoon, and spend some money to get a good infielder off the bench who can do all of the above if one of the infielders goes down. The Pirates have done great at adding bullpen pieces without spending a lot of money, but with a need for a second lefty reliever, and possibly some middle relief help, they could afford to spend some money in this area.

Then there’s the most creative possibility of all. What if Russell Martin decides that he would rather have four years to return to the Pirates, rather than five years to go elsewhere? What if A.J. Burnett and whoever else the Pirates bring in help convince Martin that with his help, they could be serious contenders? The Pirates could bring in Martin at $15 M per year, plus someone like Liriano and McCarthy at $12 M per year, and end up in the $95 M range after adding a few low-key bench and bullpen upgrades. That’s certainly a range they can afford.

Coming into the off-season, it was clear that the Pirates needed two things very badly: multiple starting pitchers and a catcher to replace Russell Martin. Huntington quickly addressed the catching situation, and added one of the two pitchers this team needs. He did so while also leaving a lot of flexibility on the payroll to fill the other needs on this team.

The Pirates don’t seem done at all. In fact, they seem set up for a very interesting off-season.

Links and Notes

**Pre-Order the 2015 Prospect Guide

**Pirates Sign A.J. Burnett to One-Year Deal

**A.J. Burnett Took Less Money to End His Career and Win a Ring in Pittsburgh

**A.J. Burnett Player Page

**The updated 2015 40-man payroll, and the updated Future Payroll Page.

**Tyler Glasnow’s Curve Rated Best in AFL

**Winter Leagues: Mel Rojas Jr. Collecting Extra-Base Hits, Tito Polo Begins Season In Colombia

  • William Maloni
    November 17, 2014 9:01 pm

    With Russ in Toronto for the next five years, go to Plan B. I still like Adam LaRoche at 1B.

  • Rumor mill says Bucs made an offer of $62.5 mill/5 years. Unconfirmed, of course.

  • Okay, so here is my impossible Pirates offseason that would be cool to think about and possible in theory. Non tender all the first baseman taking the payroll down to 62 million dollars. Get Lester and Peavy as a package deal (Peavy has said he would like as such), probably 6 years, 130 million for Lester, 3 years, 33 million for Peavy. Now, we have all this pitching and no first baseman, so we try to get either Brandon Moss or Carlos Santana by dealing a couple pitching prospects, since both of their teams have decent young first baseman, are small markets, and they have reasonable contracts. Now our payroll is at 100 million. We then say why the heck not, give Russell his 15 million, and have one of the best teams in baseball for a reasonable payroll and barely giving up anything.

  • The Pirates could afford Jon Lester if they abandoned Pedro, Ike and Gabby at 1B, saved the payroll and went with Lambo or if he doesn’t work out then Walker at 1B. Dropping the three erstwhile 1B saves about $10MM, which when added to the 12MM probably earmarked for Liriano when Martin signs elsewhere gets very close to the $25MM that would be needed to sign Lester. I know I beat Lester’s drum often, but he is a stud who has performed well on the World Series stage with the Bosox (ignoring his less than stellar effort for the A’s this past year). He’s a guy you’d be very happy to hand the ball to twice in the World Series. Not disrespecting the other Pirates pitchers, but no one we now have is at that level. It’s quite possible that Lambo would work out as well as some combo of the other three, but even if he didn’t the loss of performance at 1B would be more than made up by the effective edge that Lester would bring when compared to Liriano, McCarthy or any of the other possible pitching acquisitions that have been mentioned.

    • You are the first person other than myself mention Walker at 1B, I love this Idea. If you do that you could Trade for a 3rd Basemen, but I suggest finally giving up some farm talent. If you did that you could move Harrison to 2nd, add the new 3rd Basemen, Harrison could backup 2nd, SS, and 3rd. Pedro backup up 3rd and First, and Walker at 1st and 2nd. I like the possibilities. And really don’t even add Payroll other than what you would pay the new 3rd basemen. Personally I would throw one top notch pitcher either Kingham or Glasnow and maybe a Tabata or Snider to Colorado for Arenado at 3rd, He is young and controllable and I like how he plays. Let Pedro play first against Righties and Walker at 2nd against righties, and hopefully Pedro will have a good enough season to drive up his Value and I think we would be in a good place to trade him for something of worth for the Buccos.

      • If you could pull that off I would throw in a comp pick since we will have 3 or 4 of the first 40 picks. Get young talent you can afford to lose the pick and save some money in the draft pool

        • You can’t trade those. You can only trade competitive balance picks and the Pirates don’t have any

          • Thanks, I was not aware of that. Well either way, I think it is time to unload a few prospects and try to get a young talent that is blocked. If I recall the Cubs didn’t have to completely break the farm system to get a guy like Rizzo.

            • The Cubs traded Andrew Cashner for Anthoy Rizzo. Each was a top 100 prospect so it was about what each teams scouts liked. Plus they both turned out well. Also each team added a throw in prospect.

      • The Walker to 1b suggestion has been made numerous times in the past month by several posters, including myself. Generally, when you see someone mention acquiring Chase Headley, that is with the intent of moving Harrison to 2b and Walker to 1b. Personally, I want to trade for Trevor Plouffe, but Headley would be great.

  • what about josh johnson? when he isn’t injured he is an ace. Might only cost 5 mil or so since he is coming off of tommy john last year.

    • I’d imagine their next SP pickup will be of the more established and healthy variety. I love Josh Johnson. But his health is too big a concern for me right now.

  • Paul Krzywicki
    November 15, 2014 1:56 pm

    I was a little disappointed to see Hellickson go to Arizona for what seems like a small return at first glance. I thought he would have slid in well into the No. 3-4 slot in the rotation for a few years.

    Has anyone given thought to putting Snider at first base if Polanco grabs a hold of the RF job full time next year? His stick came to life in the second half and he seems to be athletic enough to handle the job. That would also free up more money for SP and Pen – Franky and Miller.

  • Has anyone seen the team’s financials? Until you do, PLEASE strop insisting that ownership cannot afford to sign Russ, Liriano, Lester, etc. Of course, the FO wants you to buy into the narrative, but without having the facts, why should any fan (or, worse, journalist) accept it at face value? Fans have turned out in droves over the past few years (mo money!), league revenue sharing has increased, the team has received playoff $, and tv and licensing revenue grows, and, still, payroll remains flat or only marginally increases. Remember when the FO said that if fans turned out, it would reinvest that $ and grow payroll?

    Show us the books and, if not, fans should continue to scream, “re-sign Russ and Liriano!!!”

    • Payroll in 2010 was around $51 million. 2014 ended with a payroll around $81 million. That’s roughly a 60% increase in four years, hardly “flat or only marginally increases”.

      More transparency would be nice, but there’s enough public info out there to take an educated guess that the Bucs revenue for 2013 was between $185-$220. Thus they paid somewhere between 36% and 43% of revenue on salaries. The average across MLB is 42%. So yes, they probably had room to go to $92-93M in 2014 and into the high 90s in 2015. But they’re still crippled by an average ticket price of $19.99, even with the announced 9% increase. Third lowest in MLB, $15 less than Cards, who got about $75 mill more from gate alone than Pirates did in 2014. As they’re stuck with the Root contract until 2019, there are no real options to increase revenue other than gate.

      FWIW, if you subtract payroll from revenue, the team with the lowest “net” appears to be the Blue Jays at around $92 million. The Bucs were around $105 mill. So spending that $13 mill difference would make them the least profitable team in MLB, all else being equal.

      The numbers are loose, but they’re consistent with what other teams are doing. IMO, they can’t afford $100 million this year. Maybe next.

      • Cool analysis, but rife with speculation. But, even if you’re right (or close) the team can/should spend more if it wants to win in the playoffs or beyond. The biggest issue, for sure, is the lack of a dominant #1 starter. If the team had one, perhaps they could have game 7 against the Cards two years ago and the Wild Card game this year. Cole has yet to establish himself as that guy. Injuries, some inconsistency, and maybe plain old youth have prevented him from being a top 10 or even a top 20 MLB pitcher… The stats don’t like. If Liriano doesn’t re-sign, no one else comes close to being that guy either. So, we can all toe the party line that the poor Pirates just can’t afford to sign that guy, or we can apply some fan pressure (heightened expectations) that they do.

    • How many freaking companies do you know that willingly show the public their books? That is the dumbest thing i hear baseball fans say. How dare they run a business like EVERY other business wants to run. Dastardly

      • I’m sure you meant to say “private” companies. Public companies have to publish audited annual reports for stockholders.

      • Of course, it’s up to the team to decide whether it wants to reveal its books. If it nooses not to, which, of course is also well within its rights, then why do you buy into the notion that they can’t afford to pay more than they do? How many private companies do you know whose customers fervently argue that the companies can’t afford to invest more into making/providing better quality products or services? You name one and that would be the first I’ve ever heard. Do you understand the analogy?

        • How do you make up the notion they can pay more? I use their ticket sales and attendance numbers and see a team that offers seriously cheap tickets and sees overall lower attendance than most teams in MLB. If you make the argument the Pirates should spend 100 million then get ready for the organization to say “absolutely, now get ready for a $30 increase in ticket prices.” Pirate fans scream that the team doesnt spend enough (they wanted 70 million to be competitive, then 80 was what it took, now 90 and we will be content) yet if the team upped its ticket prices to that of most teams the fans would not stop crying. No team in baseball reveals their finances so accusing the Pirates of doing it in a negative light makes no sense. How dare the Pirates choose not to tell everyone what they are working with… all of its competitors do.

        • Isn’t it interesting that its considered OK to receive public assistance to build the stadium in which the company is operated, but its way out of line for the public to inquire of the company they have invested in concerning the company’s finances?

  • I’m not done with Pedro being a third baseman yet. I prefer the thought of Harrison being a super sub over him being the full time 3b.

  • I’d be fine with McCarthy but I think I would rather have Liriano for 3/$36MM. For one, we already know what he brings to the table and I’m comfortable with it.

    Secondly, a small but important detail, we could use his lefty arm in the rotation. With Cole, Taillon, and Kingham penciled in for the next several years, Morton in the picture, and the uncertainty of Locke, Liriano may be the only southpaw to neutralize the big LH bats in our division.

  • minor league free agents are the pirate way.

  • theres no way the pirates will get anywhere close to 95 million.

  • PiratesForever
    November 15, 2014 9:34 am

    If we want a decent utility infielder we should probably go get Omar Infante maybe trade Lambo, Snider, or Tabata for him banking on that Polanco will live up to expectations.

    • Omar Infante? You mean the starting second baseman for the AL Champ Royals, who is owed $24.25mil over the next 4 seasons.

      • PiratesForever
        November 15, 2014 1:41 pm

        Ya, the Royals need some outfield help and that could be an idea. He didn’t do that great for a starting second basemen, he hit .252 with 6 homers.

        • Yeah no, the Royals dont need outfield help. They have 2 locked in starters and currently 2 young options they would like over a rather useless Tabata and Lambo.

          • PiratesForever
            November 15, 2014 4:37 pm

            Neither of those players are useless, Tabata doesn’t hit for power and Lambo destroys the ball. The Royals have Alex Gordon, Terrance Gore, and Jarrod Dyson as their outfield. Raul Ibanez, Josh Willingham, and Norichika Aoki are free agents. So they just lost 3 outfielders to free agency, yes I do understand that Willingham and Ibanez are mainly DH’s but they are still considered outfielders.

            • Aren’t you forgetting Lorenzo Cain in center?

              • Yes, I did forget about him. But still Dyson or Gore can’t hit, they are only used for speed. Gore doesn’t even have 1 career homerun even in the minors. Dyson only has 8 in his career including the minors, Dyson hits around .280 but isn’t consistant.

  • Just gonna throw some first base names out there, run with them if you want.
    Christian Walker, Balt.
    Ryan Rua, Tex
    Andy Wilkins, ChiWS
    Joey Terdoslavich, Atl
    Andrew Lambo, Duh.

    Also, saw DBags got Hellickson. It mentioned Billingsley in the article. What do you guys think he has left in the tank?

    • I like Christian Walker. Blocked in Baltimore. Was named the best defensive first baseman in the eastern league, hit 26 home runs last year between AA and AAA, and is still only 23 years old. All the other guys would probably provide less than what we have. I’d go with Lambo over the other 3

    • Monsoon Harvard
      November 16, 2014 2:04 am

      I’ve always liked Walker, but I’ve never heard any sign that the Pirates are interested in him.

  • Wilbert Matthews
    November 15, 2014 6:15 am

    Great article. Two concerns i have: why is there not more love for Ike Davis? Willie Stargell he is not but a left handed Bob Robertson …. I think his second half was worthy. And what evidence is everyone using that Pedro will somehow reemerge from the mess of last year? It was bad people, i think some are forgetting just how bad. He is a nice kid but id deal him if i could.

    • lonleylibertarian
      November 15, 2014 9:11 am

      U R kidding of course – Ike batted .214 in August and believe it or not dropped to .204 in September – Lambo should have had those plate appearances and Ike should have joined Tabby at Indy. Pedro still managed 18 HRs in 447 plate appearances – Ike just 11 in about 20 fewer Pas. Power is hard to find – a guy who can deliver 30 HRs for a full season is not easy to find. His problem was throwing to 1st – put him at first for a full year and see how he does. The Pirates do not face a lot of lefties – I would be inclined to either use Tony Sanchez as a first base platoon partner – or find someone who crushes lefies and can play 1st and another position or two. Logan Morrison fits that bill – and Mark Reynolds is a solid defender who struggled for average last year – but has some pop.

  • The starting catching has been addressed? By yet another career backup? I don’t think so. Burnett wants to win now? What happened last year? The Phillies weren’t poised last year. So he needed one last $14 million dollar deal so he can now accept $8.5 million. What a mensch.

    • I think Burnett was just butthurt over not getting the start in that last playoff game and he was immature about handling it. I think he would have left no matter what. He’s obviously rethought that attitude and decided he should have stayed in Pittsburgh. I just hope he has something left in the tank.

    • He is mostly a career backup because he has played behind russ martin and Brian mccann.

      Sure the injuries are concerning, but they probably found a 2 WAR catcher if he can be durable

      • Exactly. I love the move. The catching has been addressed. Lets get some starting pitching and this team will be looking poised for an explosive year!

  • When is this team going to stop sticking band-aids on first base and go out and get a 1B good enough to play everyday. Its been like this for a good 3 seasons. I was so glad when Cutch came out and said the team needs to do more. I like bringing back AJ but 1B is becoming embarrassing with the lack of production from that position.

    • True, but who do you get? Top 1st basemen aren’t cheap and the Pirates can’t afford to pay one on the FA market even if one was available. They also don’t want to empty the farm to get one. It’s a tough problem for sure, but I don’t see an easy solution.

    • “…go out and get a 1B good enough to play everyday.”

      Who would that be? Bring a solution with your argument.
      Trade for…?
      Sign free agent…?

    • 3 of the top 12 first basemen in MLB last year by OPS were all former Pirates – Morneau (5th), LaRoche (7th), and Garrett Jones (12th). If Ike Davis had enough plate appearances to qualify, he would have been 12th in OPS. None of those is Jose Abreu or Miguel Cabrera, but they don’t make very many of those apparently.

      • Ike didn’t qualify tough, because to do so would have meant facing lhp, which would have left him with a much lower number. The bottom line for me is we got a .689 ops overall from first base last year, 24th in baseball. That has to get better. I think Pedro could pull a 750 ops out of the position, and that is probably good enough for me to want to turn attentions to pitching. At the same time, I see the nationals were 9th in basesball in 1B OPS (800) and their guy is a free agent right now…

        • Well, we had Morneau and Garrett last year and let them both go, and we had LaRoche a few years ago and let him go. We could have had Garrett or Morneau all year at affordable prices I’m assuming. They both seemed to like it here. I was pretty shocked that we gave up on Morneau so quickly.

          At some point, you’ve got to come up with a plan and stick with it. Just constantly being dissatisfied and casting about for a solution doesn’t seem to be accomplishing anything. We’ll probably get rid of Davis this year, and he’ll probably go somewhere next year and be relatively successful, while we are still wondering who our first baseman should be.

          • Your playing a “What If” game. To say that Morneau or Garrett would have had the same season in Pittsburgh as they did in Colorado and Miami is absurd. They might have had something like they did this year in Pittsburgh, but it is just dumb to say that. Laroche is in the same boat though. Guys break out in different locations and we do not know if they would do the same in another city. I hate when people make the comparison to some player in another town.

            I will take our 1B issues and rather have a great set of starters. Come on NH, bring in someone of note!

    • what is acceptable 1b production to you?

      that way, we can actually come up with players who would be solutions without just saying “BAHHH I WISH WE HAD ANTHONY RIZZO AND JOSE ABREU”

  • Monsoon Harvard
    November 15, 2014 1:33 am

    I have always felt that Brandon McCarthy would be a good addition to the starting rotation. After seeing his tweet calling Cervelli a stud, I have even more hope now that maybe he can work out a deal with the Pirates. Come on Neal, get it done.

    • I don’t understand the McCarthy love. 31 years old, only has 2 seasons with over 135 innings pitched, and has a career 4.00 FIP. What is there to warrant giving him top of the rotation money?

      • Monsoon Harvard
        November 15, 2014 3:30 am

        I wouldn’t go overboard with top of the rotation money to McCarthy. If they can get a decent affordable deal with him I just have a feeling he could have a lot of success with the Pirates. It’s the same feeling I had about A.J. the first time and Liriano & Martin too.

        • I’m all about gut feelings, but I feel like if his cost really is 12 per year, you could get a reclamation guy and save money, or bring back Volquez and save a little bit too. I’d prefer Volquez over him, and he expressed interest in coming back

          • Save the money for what ??

            • I would let go Gaby, Ike and Pedro, saving over 13 million dollars and go after Kendrys Morales. Last year was his only unproductive season and he was still on pace to hit about 20 homeruns with seattle if you extend the numbers to a full season. Plus he will likely only cost about 6 million from what I’ve read. Also despite playing a majority of DH, his defensive is still on par with Ike Davis. So now we have 7 million left over from this first base deal and 12 from not signing McCarthy so 19. With that I would spend about 2 million on a lefty reliever, one of the ex pirates maybe (Duke, Gorzellany, Beimel). Then, give Brett Anderson who is my reclamation project of choice a 2 year deal with an annual value of lets say 5 million. And now, there is plenty of money left to re sign Martin. Thoughts?

              • I like Anderson, not so much getting Morales as I am pretty sure his defense is way below Davis at 1B. Jason Hammel might be a good fit for the right price too.

                • Actually Morales career fielding percentage is better than Davis, .994 to .992. dWAR doesn’t like either of them, Morales being a career -3.8 and Davis -2.8. But, despite it being a small sample Morales did play 27 games at first last year and was +0.5 dWAR. I also like Billingsley if healthy

      • You are aware that A.J. Burnett’s career ERA is 4.04.

        • Okay, I also mentioned McCarthy only having 2 seasons of over 135 innings pitched. Burnett has done that 12 times. Also as people on here would likely be quick to tell you, FIP is more accurate than ERA and Burnett is 3.90. And most importantly, he is cheaper. More proven and cheaper.

      • Well he did spend the 2013 offseason building significant muscle mass which led to a 2mph increase in his sinker velocity and his first full season of starts. He is also the most Sabr-savvy player in MLB and certainly sees things he likes in our approach.

        • One full season as a starter at age 31 doesn’t make me want to give him as much money as Liriano likely costs. I could be wrong and if they sign him I’ll be fine with it cause they know more than I do, but at this point there are better ways to spend that money in my opinion

          • He did have shoulder problems, but there are also fluke things in there too likr the line drive to the head.

      • I hope that part of that love is because McCarthy gained 2 MPH on his fastball last year. He is an injury risk, but when you gain 2 MPH the past stats cannot take that larger margin for error that he has in to account. He also walked 33 dudes in 200 innings. The guy could even improve moving to a better defense behind him and a larger park.

        • According to brooksbaseball, there was less than a 2mph increase between has highest velocity month in 2014 and his highest one in 2013. I don’t see it. Even in 2011 he was throwing over 93. His increase in velocity isn’t significant enough to warrant the kind of contract he’s rumored to be worth

        • I see a guy without much durability, who someone will pay for and it will be a coinflip as to whether or not he lives up to the deal. The Pirates aren’t in a position to take that risk, some teams are. I wouldn’t make the move, but more power to other teams in a position to do so

    • I would rather have Liriano over McCarthy. Its becoming pretty clear that Martin is as good as gone. I would like NH to use that money and give it to Liriano. I would be ok giving him a 3year-36 mill. Even though AJ will be 38 I would feel pretty good with a 1,2,3 of Cole, Liriano and A.J. not to mention that JT should reach the majors sometime in 2014 if he has no setbacks.

      • Not to be a stickler, Kenny… but 2015 is probably what you are referring to as 2014 already took place.. I hope your correct. I hope JT reaches the majors in 2015 and team with Cole giving the pirates a ridiculous top of the rotation and depth throughout.
        Im also wondering why some want to keep Alvarez over Davis. Aside from the flex issue of having Pedro play 3b if needed (please no). If Pedro is worth more on the trade market then by all means deal him. He is absolutely no better, and in fact worse, than Ike.

        • No problem, thanks for pointing it out.

        • Pedro had success more recent than Davis. Also, Davis is a very poor defensive first baseman, so it’s doubtful Pedro can do much worse so the defensive issues won’t factor in. On offense, Pedro has posted 2 seasons with an offensive WAR 3.0 or better, Davis’ high is 2.0. Davis being better is at best an opinion

          • True. It is just an opinion. It is how we extrapolate the information and statistics to form them. You make good points. I was looking at their entire body of work. Your points on the offense/defense split do make sense. Nice post.

            • Certain stats yield certain results. Runs created gives him an edge in that category, but in offensive runs above replacement , Pedro leads him 90-57 over his career. And on a note that hasn’t been mentioned much in this debate, Pedro is a better base runner than Ike. Overall, they’re a toss up and it cones down to who the scouts like more. They’ve both had ups and downs.

        • There is a good chance that we won’t see Jameson Taillon until 2016. Kingham may replace Locke sometime in 2015 depending how they both pitch.

      • Clear to you maybe, but not every one else. Jon Heyman reported yesterday that the Pirates had made him a ” very strong offer “.

        • I’m with you Leo. Everybody is writing off the Pirates signing Martin. But yet, the numbers being tossed around are in the ballpark for the Bucs to compete. The Dodgers are said to not want to go 5 years, not to mention they’re trying to cut payroll.

          • From all that I am hearing and reading indy, the Dodgers definitely are in on him, along with the Cubs of course. But if it does come down to just the dollars, the Cubs will get him. But if it comes down to money and he still would like to be competing for a WS, it will be between the Pirates and Dodgers. That is the way it looks to me.

            • Anywhere but the Cubs for me. I think we take a step back without him. But we’ll see how it plays out.

    • I’m not saying McCarthy wouldn’t work, but I think the Bucs would be reticent to sign him as that would go against the team philosophy of pitching inside – something McCarthy doesn’t do or believe in, and something that might have spurred AZ to trade him away.

      • Interesting. Where do you see that he doesn’t pitch inside? That wouldn’t be very Pirate-y. But they’ve convinced guys to change before.

        But the dbacks probably traded him more because he was a FA and the team was going nowhere.

        For some reason the dbacks didn’t let him throw his cutter much. Once he went to the yankees, he started to use his cutter, and was absolutely brilliant

        • Interviews with McCarthy on how he didn’t like AZ’s philosophy on moving RH batters off the plate. And that whole blowup with Mitch Williams, who basically said BM getting a liner to the head was a direct result of unwillingness to pitch inside.

          • I think Mitch Williams might have taken a shot or two to the head also. He is a certifiable idiot.

      • He pitches inside to right handed hitters. Doesn’t throw his cutter inside, but would just be dumb.|SI

        • Well link won’t work correctly, but McCarthy has thrown is fastball/sinker inside to right handed hitters, and works his cutter away, and does the reverse for lefties, cutter in, sinker away.

          I thought the problem in Arizona was they didn’t want him throwing his cutter.

  • The BMTIB will never have a payroll over $90M.

    • Just like Marty will never stop whining in his posts!!!

      • Once they do, the goalposts will move to a $100M. It’s always changing.

        • Yep. first it was never going to be above $70 million, then $80 ….

          The whole BMTIB thing is like a badge of ignorance. Fact is that NH and Co are among the best, most progressive front offices in the game. If only the yinzer blinders could be removed.

        • Marty, start bringing solutions to the table. I’ve got a lady in my English dept. sort of like you. Always quick with the complaints, but narry a solution to be had.

    • what would be an acceptable payroll to you? so that when it goes past it, and you’re still saying it’s unacceptable, we can cite this.

      • $100 million, must be at least that. Unacceptable to be less.

        • Says the man with no knowledge of the teams finances and ignorant of the fact that the Pirates are one of the lowest tickets to get in baseball. Yeah, its totally logical a team with super cheap tickets can spend as much as teams with better TV deals and twice the ticket sales.

          • That is what the next gripe would be if the Pirates did hit $100 million. The very next season, fans would be up in arms because the ticket prices jump 25-30%.

        • Do you promise to not say “payroll should be 120 million. Should be at least that,” when they hit 100?

        • I’d like to invite you to root for the Phillies. They have a payroll over $100M. You can’t really enjoy being a Pirate fan. You spin the same whine into every topic. If I was as miserable as you, I’d just move on.

    • Soon as they get the average ticket price over $20, they’ll be primed to go over $100 mill.

    • 5 years ago that number was 70 million from fans like you. 3 years ago it was 80 million. Now its 90 million. When they hit 90 million, it’ll be 100 million that is what it takes to magically be a competent FO. Back must be getting tired of moving those goalposts so often.

  • Same thing I’ve been saying for many moons now, this is going to be an interesting off season. I pretty much agree with everything tim said, with the exeption being pedro. Send him to texas for at least one of the rangers corner infield prospects. Other than that tim’s thinking is spot on with mine. Keep up the good work tim, maybe we’ll meet this spring at a game.

    • You keep posting this and it would be great but what makes you think Texas will do that? I doubt very much they part with Gallo. Also, who plays 1st if Pedro is traded? Please don’t say Ike and or G. Sanchez.

      • Gallo would be great, not gonna happen it would be perfect though. I was thinking somewhere along the lines of alfaro or rua for pedro along with a lower mid- level prospect probably a pitcher.

      • Whoever plays 1st if Pedro is traded is better than Pedro playing 1st. Don’t know why everyone is just assuming he can do it. And before anyone asks, I’m assuming he can’t because, well, he didn’t play it till he had no choice.