Williams: Losing Juan Nicasio on Waivers Wouldn’t Matter, But This is What Does Matter

The date was November 30, 2012.

The Pirates were coming off a losing season. It was their 20th losing season in a row, and it ended in horrible fashion. They were contenders at the end of July that year, and in first place at one point. They followed that up with a horrible collapse during the final two months of the season that really added the sting.

And then, on November 30th, the Pirates non-tendered Jeff Karstens, and mass hysteria followed.

They did sign him back to a smaller deal about a month and a half later. He then got hurt, and outside of the seven rehab innings he pitched in the minors that year, he has never pitched in pro ball again. The Pirates, meanwhile, got some good results that year from Charlie Morton — who they did tender, despite similar injury concerns — and Francisco Liriano, who they signed during the offseason.

But that doesn’t erase all of the outrage over the decision to let Karstens temporarily walk. The Pirates were incompetent for letting someone with such value go, while keeping a guy like Morton. They didn’t know what they were doing and didn’t have a plan. It was just another example of how this management group would never be able to bring a winning team to Pittsburgh.

Of course, people probably don’t remember the Karstens outrage much. That will happen when the results turned out the way they did. I could probably find other examples of over-the-top outrage that year, and maybe a few examples from before that year. (Anyone remember the outrage over letting Doug Mientkiewicz walk as a free agent?)

When you’re in the moment, these moves seem huge. The Pittsburgh media and fan base can create an echo chamber of anger sometimes, where even the smallest and most meaningless moves can blow up into “FIRE EVERYONE!” hysteria. That anger manages to stick around, even though the reason for the anger gets forgotten and chalked up as meaningless with the passage of time.

In the long-term, if Juan Nicasio and/or Wade LeBlanc get claimed off of waivers, I doubt anyone will really remember. But the anger will probably stick around.

Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported last night that the Pirates placed Nicasio on irrevocable waivers, which means if another team claims him, they would lose him for nothing. It was later reported that Wade LeBlanc was also on irrevocable waivers.

Before we continue, here is a quick primer of how the August waiver process works:

**Teams can place players on revocable waivers. If a player is claimed, a team has 48 hours to work out a deal with the claiming team. If no deal is reached, they can pull the player off waivers and keep him.

**A player can’t go on revocable waivers twice. Placing a player on waivers a second time would put him on irrevocable waivers. I don’t know if this is what happened with Nicasio/LeBlanc, as players can go on irrevocable waivers at any time. I just wanted to point out this rule that players can’t have multiple trips on the revocable waiver list.

When I saw the news that Nicasio and LeBlanc were both placed on waivers, I was surprised. I thought Nicasio at least would have some trade value down the stretch. It’s kind of similar to the Karstens situation from a few years ago. I thought Karstens would have some value as a starter, and was surprised he was non-tendered at the time.

I don’t bring Karstens up again to suggest that the Pirates have been correct in their assessments before, and that they would be correct now. I bring it up to help illustrate my thinking in this case. I bring it up not to try and defend the Pirates and their moves, but to try and challenge my reactions to those moves.

I had a belief in both scenarios — Karstens had value in the Pirates’ rotation, and Nicasio would have trade value. The Pirates made moves that challenged those beliefs — non-tendering Karstens, and placing Nicasio on waivers to lose him for free.

In each case, I was surprised by the move and initially disagreed in some part with it. But in every move, I try to objectively look at all sides of it. Sometimes that changes my opinion and sometimes it doesn’t. My opinion wasn’t really changed with Karstens, as I thought (incorrectly) that he would be a help to the Pirates, and wasn’t any more of a risk than Morton.

In Nicasio’s case, there was my initial reaction that the Pirates should have been able to get something in a trade for the reliever. But rather than fit every bit of information around that belief to try and prove the belief correct, I tried to prove it wrong.

If the Pirates could have gotten something in return for Nicasio, then what would their motivation have been to turn that down and let him walk for free? They actually would have every motivation to get some sort of value in return for him. They’ve done this in the past with other players, and did it just last year when they traded Arquimedes Caminero for two lottery tickets in Low-A ball, getting Pedro Vasquez and Jake Brentz.

So then why wouldn’t they place Nicasio on revocable waivers and try to trade him? No one has an answer for this, but my guess is that they didn’t get an offer, and decided it was better to keep Nicasio until they felt they were out of the mix.

But how could they not get an offer on Nicasio? That’s actually pretty reasonable to imagine.

The Pirates got Nicasio as a free agent prior to the 2016 season when the Dodgers non-tendered him. He was coming off an 0.9 fWAR season in his transition to the bullpen, but the Dodgers gave him up for nothing. All of the questions above would apply to that decision that the Dodgers made, and the simple answer would be that the Dodgers let Nicasio walk because he had no trade value.

If Nicasio had no trade value with two years of control remaining and coming off an 0.9 WAR in his first year as a reliever, then why would he have trade value now, with just one month of control remaining?

It’s not just Nicasio. The Pirates added Wade LeBlanc last year around this time for nothing at all. They added George Kontos earlier this month for nothing at all. Nicasio was better than both, but those two had years of control remaining and were both serviceable relievers.

Maybe we need to stop being shocked when the Pirates get a middle reliever for free, or outraged when they let one walk for nothing, and instead realize that middle relievers just have no trade value. I do emphasize trade value there. I believe relievers like Nicasio, Kontos, and LeBlanc have value to a contender, but they’re also a dime a dozen, which is why teams don’t usually trade for them, or trade much for them.

The problem here is that the Pirates are not a contender. They have a ton of MLB-ready arms in Triple-A, and the month of September would be better used giving them innings, rather than using them on guys like Nicasio and LeBlanc who probably won’t be in the mix next year. It would be unfair to those relievers to bury them on the roster, rather than allowing them to move elsewhere and get innings. And unless we’re assuming the Pirates have no interest in adding any kind of value to their organization, we can then assume that they tried and were unsuccessful at making a trade — which fits the large middle relief value trend.

I think that problem is where the anger comes from, just like in 2012. The big issue here is that the Pirates aren’t contending this year, and have some work to do to get back to being contenders. Nicasio and LeBlanc don’t matter this year, and probably won’t be factors next year. The Pirates could always sign Nicasio back in the offseason if they felt he could play a big role for the 2018 squad.

But just like 2012, we’re currently reacting to a plan without knowing the plan. It seems that the plan in this case is to get rid of the veterans and let the young guys play in September. If that’s the case — and we’ll find out in due time — then it’s a plan I support, as I wrote about last week. I’d like to see that plan taken to more of an extreme, with guys like Elias Diaz and Jordan Luplow getting playing time over Chris Stewart and John Jaso.

I think the real anger and frustration here is that the Pirates have made moves or have lacked the moves that put them in this position of being stuck in no man’s land for the second year in a row — not really full-blown sellers, but also not really contenders. It’s hard to see the plan and the absolute direction the team is heading in right now, and it’s impossible to point to one single thing and conclusively say that it is the reason they aren’t winning.

But it’s easy to see Nicasio placed on waivers, think a thought of “I figured he would have trade value”, and then allow the anger of the overall situation to take over for this nothing move, rather than just saying “Huh, I guess he didn’t really have any trade value.”

It won’t matter if Nicasio and/or LeBlanc are lost to waivers, and we can safely say that they didn’t have value, since the Pirates would have traded them if they had value. Even the debate on value doesn’t matter, because no one would be celebrating or even caring about getting one low-level wild card prospect with a limited upside if they could get any small amount for Nicasio.

Keeping Nicasio for the final month of a losing season doesn’t help the Pirates. Letting him go for a month doesn’t hurt the Pirates. In fact, giving his innings away to younger players who can help beyond 2017 might actually help the team a small amount. The thing that does matter here is the overall situation, with the Pirates needing to get back to being a strong contender like they were from 2013-2015.

  • Nicasio had trade value all season. Now he goes for nothing more than $600K in savings? Tim please stop trying to defend the move, I care about going to games and seeing them compete. I feel most PP writers are NH apologists at this point, time to let the sub go.

  • Logically, the argument makes sense, but the optics are horrible for the Pirates and stokes apathy among fans.

  • The Steelers picked up McDonald and Joe Haden the last two days. They’re trying.

    • I doubt that people who have jobs on the line, have had enough competitive nature to drive success to make millions, and have public exposure- don’t “try”- it’s a fallacy.

      You can blame their eye for who they have decided to pick up, who they slot in the lineup, etc- but to imply that these people don’t want to win is absurd.

      • I never said they don’t want to win. This is an organizational issue that goes beyond CH and NH.

  • Perhaps it was signaling to him and his agents that they are over playing his value. I can’t imagine that the Pirates wouldn’t want him back in Free Agency (although this has to make Nicasio question the Pirates)

    If we are about saving money, which I’m not opposed to per se, then I want to see Jaso, Benoit, Hudson, Chris Stewart on irrevocable too.

  • I wanted to add (after watching the bullpen crumble last night), they may miss having a second trustworthy arm in the pen – instead of just one.

  • Tim thanks for the fun article. Is been a while since I had a good article to vent on.

  • Pirates are hitting rock bottom. They will be fortunate ot avoid 5th place finish. Goodbye, Clint, thanks for what you contributed up through 2015. Likewise, NH. FC, maybe you might consider practising law. Maybe they’ll see .500 season in another 10 years. A disgrace.

  • I for one am looking forward to seeing Santana, Sanchez, et al get hammered in September. Another season of non-meaningful games in August and September. I can’t wait for Pitt-Penn State. HTP!

  • Tim, if that is your rationale then why didn’t they place Hudson on irrevocable waivers? I think you know why.

    • Because he has a really good chance of not being picked up it’s probably insulting to do that to a guy who will be on your team next year

      • And? They could have released Hudson if he had zero interest.

        • And they remain responsible for his salary regardless when they release him even if someone else picks him up. Lackey was let go by the rsox and paid his salary while he was tearing it up with the Cardinals who only had to pay him league min. The problem is that Hudson is better than the 7/8 guys in the bucs pen so the pirates would be paying for Hudson but getting Barbato if they released him. If the pirates can fill the pen with 8 guys below 3.5 ERA I’d say release him the likelihood that the pirates could pull that off and stay within their budget is low.

          • They released a far better pitcher in Nicasio. They kept Hudson instead and he sucks. This is solely a money decision. Downgrading the team to pinch pennies is irritating to the fan base.

            • It’s possible Nicasio asked to be let go so he would have a chance to play on a contender.

    • My guess is Hudson cleared waivers and nobody wants him. The Pirates are not ready to admit to a 10 million dollar error just yet.

      • For that they have earned the fans ire. Downgrading the team to pinch pennies isn’t OK in the eyes of the fans.

  • Thank you Tim for writting a purely rational article and not attempting to sensationalize cutting a vet with no trade value and no value to the team. I agree 100% with your logic.

  • I seem to recall former Pirates GM Larry Doughty being forced to make a trade around 1990 when he sent OF prospect Wes Chamberlain and some other guys to the Phillies for 1B/OF Carmelo Martinez. http://articles.latimes.com/1990-08-31/sports/sp-285_1_minor-leaguers

  • I am actually very happy with these moves. Keep in mind in addition to all the young guns who are lining up to prove themselves in the big leagues, the Pirates have several players who came back from major surgery with significant success Casey Sadler and Cumpton might offer 6 years of better potential than LeCasio they are literally the bottom of the depth talent in the system. I wish we had this situation with outfielders, but we don’t. It’s time to promote our strength.

  • However you shake it it is incompetent and laziness that you do not get something for him. The only reason he was put on waivers was to save more money. It’s a consistent narrative and trend and no one is surprised anymore. Rosters are expanding, there is no excuse you can make other then money to dump him.

  • Tim … I’ve always liked your approach to the seemingly absurd!

    In this case, I am left with a bit of a conspiracy theory on this one:

    NH expected an outrageous return for Nicasio the first time he put him on Revocable Waivers. He might have thought to himself “if I can’t get a Melancon-type of haul from some desperate team, I’m going to keep him.” When he didn’t find takers at that price and the Pirates tanked, he was stuck because, as you said, he can’t place him on Revocable Waivers twice.

    So he releases him. This scenario is similar to the one you stated but it paints NH in a poor light – as many fans think he has outrageous expectations for his pieces.

  • They are closer to last place then first and in genuine danger of ending up there. That tells you everything you need to know about this organisation. As does their brain dead refusal to play Diaz every day!

  • I do not remember for sure if I was part of the outrage over the Kirsten’s situation. If I were placing money on it I would guess that I was. Not because I though Karstens was a supreme talent that I thought the Pirates were losing out on, but simply because I liked him. I thought he got more out of his limited abilities than a lot of guys got out of far superior talent. Kind of the same reason I like Trevor Williams.

  • Good to see Clint’s going with his offensive team tonight, with Stewie catching again. Now just remember that the word “offensive” can have two different meanings. We all know what it means with regards to Stewart swinging a bat.
    Brings back memories of when I was a kid watching the original Mario Mendoza.

  • Great article and analysis.

  • strong analysis.

  • There’s a decent chance this is a goodwill gesture for Nicasio, giving him a chance to be picked up by a contender, perhaps, and compete for a title. He’s worth signing again. The stuff is electric, and he made an adjustment this year to help negate his issue with lefties.

    For the rest of the season, though, I agree it’s valuable to let the young arms audition and gain experience. I’d like to see Rivero and Nicasio back again next season, but finding out who else can fill out the bullpen and assessing whether or not we need to look outside the organization to fill it up with effective arms is a good idea.

    We should be doing the same thing with the bench, I agree. Though I wonder if there are reasons besides playing time that Jaso and Stewart are kept around. Like if Stewart is still here because he’s especially good with young pitchers. Or if Jaso is because he’s helping Bell with the transition to first base, having gone through a similar thing. (Stewart may also only still be on the roster because Cervelli is hurt, and Hurdle’s favoring of veterans is the only reason he keeps starting.)

  • “Over the last two years, he’s thrown 116 innings in relief, running an 8% BB%, 28% K%, and 47% GB%. That’s good for a 3.35 ERA/2.87 FIP/3.35 xFIP. Opposing batters have put up just a .288 wOBA against him, and he’s been just as good against LHBs as RHBs. Nicasio isn’t a one-batter specialist. He’s a effective high-leverage reliever who can pitch multiple innings and stay in against whoever the opponent sends up.

    In terms of production, he’s not all that different from Addison Reed”


    • And yet, for some reason, he didn’t draw trade interest. I don’t understand why. He’s definitely more than a middle reliever, but perhaps his spots of inconsistency keep him from the tier of back of the bullpen in executives’ minds? Perhaps there’s something in internal analytics or scouting reports we’re not privy to? I mean, this is his third straight year of putting up really good numbers out of the bullpen.

      • That’s false.

        He absolutely did draw trade interest, just apparently not enough for Huntington to trade him at the time. Now he’ll go for nothing.

        • I should have read farther down. Someone blocking the transaction seems the most likely outcome now. Maybe a fringe contender who wouldn’t mind having him, but mostly just didn’t want a team after them to get him. Basically thinking, “Eh, we don’t need him and don’t want to pay for him, but for the money alone he’d be a fine add, and we cannot let those other guys get him.”

  • Tim,

    I get the logic behind the move and don’t care one way or another.
    The problem is that it is a bad look. It looks to the average fan, who thinks the organization that sat on their hands when the team was within striking distance, that they gave up on a good player to save VERY little money. When attendance is down and the teams play has been uninspiring lately, it’s just a terrible message to send….even if that wasn’t the message that was sent.

  • My issue, is they can’t use that as rationalization, and then continue to play Stewart and Jaso over Luplow and Diaz. Stewart and Jaso have no future with the pirates, and the young guys need to be evaluated. It can’t be true in one case, and not the other.

    More likely, Jaso wouldn’t be claimed, so they get no salary relief. Nicasio is almost a lock to be claimed, meaning they are off the hook for his salary, and this is just a dump

  • Where I disagree is that Nicasio has had a very strong season while LeBlanc, Kontos, Watson, etc have been mediocre to poor and have been a dime a dozen. Rosters expand in a few days, so the Bucs didn’t really need to clear a spot for anyone, so what’s the upside to letting him go vs keeping in the bullpen another month?

  • If players like Nicasio are a dime a dozen we need about 1/2 dozen of him next year. There I just put in my 5 cents.

    • Agreed, the Bucs have had 2 good relievers this season out of 7 bullpen spots. Seems odd to let 1 of the 2 go for nothing. How does this benefit the Pirates?

  • You can’t measure what they didn’t get though. They should at least of put Nicasio on revocable waivers.

  • terrygordon30
    August 30, 2017 12:14 pm

    I find it interesting how so many people know so much people know about Nutting and his motivation for doing things, his shoe size, what brand of soap he uses, and what confederate statue he secretly plans to tear down. Oh how we must yearn for the days of Kevin M and David Littlefield where money was spent with minimal results, and the Plan….was there a Plan or even a plan?

    • This is a false comparison. The standard for comparison is good performance — as represented by a consistent winning (or truly competitive) major league team. Both Huntingdon and Littlefield have failed, to different degrees, to produce a consistent winner for the Pirates. So just because Huntingdon has done comparatively better than Littlefield doesn’t make him successful or mean he’s done a good job.

      • terrygordon30
        August 30, 2017 3:33 pm

        My comment had primarily to do with people somehow “knowing” so much about Bob Nutting as why decisions are made. I should have stuck with my main point.

        Oh, by the way, if the Pirates get nothing for Nicasio, I will be frustrated. I was really looking forward to getting a good prospect for him.

        • i feel the same way about losing Nicasio. I get the “logic” with saving a buck with Nicasio. Don’t necessarily agree with it. If I were on the team, I’d be kinda pissed though — feel like I was let down. Hard to convince a team to play hard through the end while mgmt is waiving the white flag. I agree with Tim that the Pirates were lukewarm approaching the deadline so this is one of the consequences of that timidity.

      • michael schalke
        August 30, 2017 3:48 pm

        Littlefield never accomplished anything close to what Huntington has. Come on man.

      • Scott Kliesen
        August 30, 2017 7:00 pm

        So 3 straight years of postseason play in which they had 3rd best cumulative record of any MLB team is basically same as Littlefield years?

        I hope you make more compelling arguments in court than you do on P2.

        • I wrote that NH has done better than Littlefield comparatively. Clearly b/t the two, he’s done better. I didn’t say they were the same. That comparison can’t be the only measure of success. Sometimes a mgmt group has a performance ceiling. What I will suggest is that this group has seen its ceiling. The team is going backwards (in the majors and overall level of talent organizationally), with no real glimmer of hope beyond 2018 (assuming they don’t find a way to wreck 2018). If they must depend on acquiring talent and developing it via draft/international in order to succeed due to budget constraints, they aren’t doing a good enough job of that.

      • So who do you use as your metric with a similar budget/market?

  • Point of clarification on waiver rules for anyone that can answer:

    “Teams can place players on revocable waivers. If a player is claimed, a team has 48 hours to work out a deal with the claiming team. If no deal is reached, they can pull the player off waivers and keep him. A player can’t go on revocable waivers twice. Placing a player on waivers a second time would put him on irrevocable waivers.”

    If I understand this correctly, a player claimed on revocable waivers can be sent to the claiming team for only the cost of his contract. If Nicasio was put on revocable waivers and was claimed, the Pirates would have the ability to let him go for free – just like if he were on irrevocable waivers – while still having the ability to negotiate a trade. If a player gets pulled back on revocable waivers (deal wasn’t made and team didn’t send player for free) and then gets waived a second time, it automatically becomes an irrevocable waiver.

    What then would be the point of immediately putting a player on irrevocable waivers? Why not at least allow the possibility of an actual trade being made?

    • Alan Saunders
      August 30, 2017 12:29 pm

      Most of the roster has already been on revocable waivers. I can’t specifically report that Nicasio has been, but it would shock me if he has not been.

      • “…but it would shock me if he has not been.”

        Which means that for him to now be on irrevocable waivers Huntington would’ve had to pull him back off revocable waivers, correct?

        And if a player is pulled back from revocable waivers, it means that the claiming team did in fact offer something for the player that was refused by the waiving team?

        • Couldn’t a team have refused to offer anything in an effort to block another team?

          • My first thought as well!

            Except by placing a claim on a player doesn’t the claiming team assume the risk of being given the contract if the placing team chooses?

            Isn’t this how player’s with contracts underwater clear waivers? If a team claimed him, the placing team can just dump the contract.

          • yes, but if a team makes a claim they have to ready for the waiving team to just let them take the player. In that scenario the Pirates would know someone took the salary on.

        • “And if a player is pulled back from revocable waivers, it means that the claiming team did in fact offer something for the player that was refused by the waiving team?”

          No. The claiming team could offer nothing at all. That’s what happened with Kontos. The Pirates offered nothing, and the Giants decided to let him go for nothing.

          So if a team offered nothing for Nicasio, the Pirates would have a choice: Either let him go at that point for nothing, or keep him around for a bit longer and try to contend, only to let him go for nothing a little later if that doesn’t work out.

      • The reports I read said players like Nicasio usually don’t make it through revocable waivers. Players like Stanton can clear waivers because a team doesn’t want left holding the bag his salary. They want to work something out.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    August 30, 2017 11:56 am

    Well written article, and Tim will probably slump over and grab his chest when he reads this, but I agree with most of the content of the article.

    First, speaking me myself, my disgust with NH and the FO in general is not related to any one bad trade, bad draft pick, bad FA signings, or other dumb personnel decisions – it is in reaction to the cumulative affect of far more bad decisions that good decisions over the past 3+ years….although I acknowledge that NH has made some good moves (and I acknowledged them at the time – like the Melancon trade last year), the list of bad moves and decisions is far longer and significant.

    My biggest gripe with the FO, is I see no evidence of an overall team vision or plan that is reflected in their drafting, FA signings, player moves, lineup decisions, etc. – or that maximizes their home ballpark. The continual playing of Stewart, Jaso, and others at the expense of gaining valuable experience for Diaz, Luplow, Osuna, etc. is beyond dumb….

    The placing of a very marketable asset (Nicasio) on irrevocable waivers is just more of the same….I’ve said this for 2-3 years now….NH looked great when the team was bottomed out and had no where to go but up. But, he has shown for 2+ years now, he is not equipped to get this team to the next level. He has hurt this team and franchise with his cumulative decisions. I realize ownership also has hindered him, but you can’t blame ownership for the draft picks, trades, poor use of FA dollars on guys like Hudson, Gosselin, LeBlanc, etc. and his continual blocking of his own prospects by mediocre and over priced vets.

    • While I look at NH far more positive than yourself, I do agree with sentiment that he has had bad trades. I also agree about the kids getting playing time. How you don’t just totally bottom out giving all of the kids playing time, baffles me. I want to see glasnow pitch now, I def want to see luplow getting all the starts, and Diaz should be starting from here on out.

      This team has a lot of good pieces but they need that superstar that cutch was back in the heyday. We need to go for it next year. We have a solid team from top to bottom and I believe, depending on the Cubs, that the division will be far more wide open just like this year. Like shit, my buddy who is a reds fan sent me the stat and granted I don’t know it exactly; but we have gotten owned by them!!! They are the worst team in our division! Anyway, rant aside, we need to find a 3B in free agency. We need to find a solid/above average outfielder, and for gods sake, can someone explain to Cole that he has all the talent but no mental strength!! Dude should be an easy number 1 pitcher and is barely a number 3.

      • A solid team from top to bottom? That’s wht they are rapidly collapsing toward the bottom!

      • They are not a solid team. They are 13th in ERA, 26th in Batting Average, 27th in Runs scored, and 29th in HRs. What the numbers say they are is a team with an AVERAGE pitching staff and WELL BELOW AVERAGE every day line up. Those are the facts.

        And for those who want to blame the season on Marte and Kang alone, ask yourself would a whole year of both of those guys really have made them a winning team? They are 8 games below .500 and sinking fast. Even if both of those guys played like 4 WAR players, you’d expect the pirates to be a .500 team. They aren’t close to contending

    • Scott Kliesen
      August 30, 2017 6:55 pm

      They do have a plan and draft to it. Lots of big, tall, RHP’s with projectable upper 90’s fastballs, and position players who hit line drives and have positional flexibility.

      One can take issue that their plan hasn’t been successful, but there is no doubt they have drafted with this in mind.

  • How long can they remain on waivers before a follow-on action must be taken if they are not claimed?

  • Great article. I hope people read this instead if making clueless statements about how this shows how bad of an organization they are.

    • It’s an exemplary organization! Anyone who feels differently is just irrationally angry!!

      • Nice trolling! He didn’t say exemplary. There is a lot of room between bad and exemplary.

  • Don’t try to make sense, Tim, while others (one in particular who contributes to your site) incites panic and calls for all to be fired.

  • Anybody know what Jeff Karsten’s doing these days?

    • justinblain1996
      August 30, 2017 11:06 am

      Not really much this year but in the past few years since his playing days were over I’ve seen him at PNC Park as a fan, so might be still local or at least makes a trip to Pittsburgh annually. I’d say for that reason he isn’t employed with anybody in any capacity but that would be a guess

    • Alan Saunders
      August 30, 2017 12:27 pm

      I see him at the ballpark from time to time.

    • Jeff had a real bad set of teeth.

  • I strongly suspect Nicasio was placed on waivers early in the month, someone claimed him, but they were unable to work out a trade. Thus, they can’t place him on revocable waivers again and can’t trade him.

    So, to clear room in the bullpen for younger guys their only option now is irrevocable waivers.

    At least I hope this is the answer…

    • Rosters expand on Sept 1, so making room was not the reason.

      • It could be if they plan to call someone up who isn’t on the 40-man

        • Martin.

          • If they planned on calling up Martin, then they would have kept Nicasio because then we are talking about a playoff team

            • If only they were a little closer in the standings. I can see it now – Martin hitting a game winning HR in the river. Mr. Martin ripping down the RF foul pole in celebration. Maybe in 4 years…………..

      • A favor to him and $600k savings if someone claims him. Didnt want to bury him in the back of the bullpen while Never, Brault, Santana get innings.

  • Now let’s see Jaso get the same fate and I’ll be pleased. Not terribly excited about the idea of Luplow being the starter the rest of the season but understand it at last serves a purpose with tgis team bring out of it.

  • michael schalke
    August 30, 2017 10:32 am

    All this hand wringing over what? Clearly this season was lost a long time ago with Kang’s situation, Marte’s stupidity, and Cutch’s continued decline. Who cares about Nicasio and the money? It doesn’t matter, we need to regroup, get healthy, possibly get Kang back and let the younger guys get some playing time. Now that we’re officially out of the race although never in it I suspect that’s what will happen.

  • My issue is holding on to Nicasio at the deadline under the premise of competing and doing NOTHING otherwise. Middle of the road theme and getting run over at every turn. No one is arguing about moving forward at this point and bringing in the young guys but maybe this should have happened months ago with Brault. If Liriano can fetch a decent outfielder Nicasio should be able to achieve something in the neighborhood of the Watson deal. I hope they can make some serious moves before ’18 otherwise it’s an organization lacking direction and destined to fall further next year.

    • Why do you assume Nicasio had any trade value at the deadline?

      • Because NH gave an interview where he said they easily could have moved him, Jaso etc but chose not to because they wanted to “compete”. His words

        “We feel like we allowed this team the opportunity to continue to compete,” Huntington said. “We could have very easily moved the three expiring contracts [Watson, John Jaso, and Juan Nicasio] and moved completely toward 2018.”

        • What exactly was that quote?

          • An interview NH gave to 93.7 immediately after trade deadline. This was written up by an author on Bucs Dugout at the time.

            • What was the quote?

              • “We feel like we allowed this team the opportunity to continue to compete,” Huntington said. “We could have very easily moved the three expiring contracts [Watson, John Jaso, and Juan Nicasio] and moved completely toward 2018.”

                • And what in that quote suggests they would have gotten anything for Nicasio, outside of just “easily moving an expiring contract”, but doing it earlier?

                  • Tim are you really arguing that Nicasio who had a 2.69 FIP at the deadline could not even have brought back the same sort of lottery ticket that Benoit or some of other relievers on expiring contracts did at the deadline? HIs numbers really weren’t much different than Swarzak’s at that point in time who brought back a semi-interesting prospect.

                    • Benoit was acquired for Seth McGarry. He’s probably never making the majors, and if he does make the majors, it will be as a cup of coffee type player. Is that what we’re arguing about here? The Pirates didn’t get a low level reliever with a 2.0 likely upside and a possible 2.5-3.0 ceiling?

                      No one would give a shit about that prospect, and they’d still have the same complaints about dumping Nicasio.

                    • Nicasio numbers at deadline basically exact same as swarzak and clearly better than Benoit. Should have brought back more than mcgary type

                    • If Nicasio has no trade value, how in the world did Camerino net us two pitchers, granted they are of a questionable MLB future? why not let Jaso go and see what Espinal has for the Pirates? Or maybe that will happen in sept along with Benoit.

                  • Another question: if guys like Nicasio had basically zero value at the deadline why the hell didn’t NH add one to the bullpen? Because we sure as hell could have used another Nicasio quality reliever in the pen a month ago.

                    • Ummmm…we DID add Kontos…..for free.

                    • They had bullpen issues for at least 2 weeks before they nabbed Kontos on August 5th and were well within the division lead after the Brewers series.

                    • That was my opinion at the time. Relievers were going for fire sale prices. When the Pirates were winning they had a much better than average bullpen and one of the reasons was that was the cheapest way to improve the team. Prices were apparently really low at the deadline so why didn’t they add to the pen?

              • What I personally think happened is this. NH could have moved Nicasio at the deadline for a modest return- quite modest and lottery tickets probably of lower quality than what he received for Watson.

                He didn’t want to do so because that would have clearly demonstrated giving up on the 2017 season at the time as Nicasio was the only reliable reliever in a horrible bullpen after Rivero to that point in time.

                Nicasio really has not pitched great in August. I do believe NH was unable to get anything of value for him now. But I don’t believe he would not have brought back a lottery ticket a month ago.

                But this is all symptomatic of NH’s desire to lukewarm his way through things without committing to one direction or another. And he obviously was trying to sell the fanbase on the idea that we were still “competing” at the deadline on August 1. Which as anyone with half a brain knows was complete nonsense.

                A competing team doesn’t run John Jaso out to play rightfield when Jay Bruce or Granderson could have been had for a marginal prospect and taking on salary.

                • I agree with the first three paragraphs, with the exception of the definition of a lottery ticket. If they’re getting a Seth McGarry back at the deadline, then I’d just keep Nicasio around.

                  My guess is they weren’t getting more than a low level minor leaguer who would likely end up an organizational guy. With where they were at the deadline, keeping Nicasio around is worth more than that. And losing him for nothing now, and missing out on that type of prospect has no impact on them.

        • I recall the comment from NH to be substantially the same as summarized by John.

      • Comping Watson and Liriano. But I suppose anything is possible sir.

      • I consider myself a rationale human being and so I wasn’t in the rooms. God knows who they called or didn’t call about Nicasio. But I guess my question is why did Watson have any value and Nicasio had none? Because Watson was a lefty? Because the Dodgers had a need? These aren’t rhetorical questions. I’m asking your opinion – do you really think Nicasio had no trade value at 7/31? Or do you think it was so low that they thought – why bother.

        • I mentioned it in the article and on Twitter last night. I think that we need to stop being surprised when middle relievers have no value.

          The exact same complaints about Nicasio right now were made about George Kontos. After he was claimed by the Pirates, every Giants site I saw questioned why he wasn’t traded a few days earlier.

          The Pirates have shown that they’re willing to trade a guy like Nicasio if they can get a return. The fact that they didn’t trade him, and the fact that other middle relievers around baseball weren’t traded and later lost for pretty much nothing, suggests that he just didn’t have a market.

          • If he didn’t have a market, fair enough. I don’t think that NH is an idiot. I don’t. It’s not his first day on the job. I’ve been a HUGE supporter of his for years now. Any questionable move he’s made I’ve tried to see the other side of it and trust that he and his people know more than I do, as I’m sure they do.
            But to be honest with you I’m on the other side of the fence now. I’ve gone from NH apologist, to objective, to now probably overly skeptical. In the past, when things were going well I probably would’ve believed there was no market for Nicasio and for the reasons you’ve mentioned (i.e. we got Kontos for nothing.).
            But now the skeptical part of me wonders if they were thinking they could actually contend and they passed on offers even if they were Low A lottery tickets. And if that’s the case that’s bad judgment.

          • That doesn’t answer the question.

            “I guess my question is why did Watson have any value and Nicasio had none?”

            • That’s really what it comes down to for me. To be fair Tim’s right – when they grabbed Kontos I really didn’t question why the Giants let him go for nothing. I thought it was a decent, affordable addition and moved on with my day. Cost them nothing.
              And even though Nicasio was trending the wrong way a hard thrower with a 3.64 XFIP and K per inning should have some value right? Watson’s was a full run higher at the point of the trade. But the truth is I can’t prove Nicasio had any value. That being said it’s hard for me to swallow that Nicasio couldn’t fetch anything at the deadline.
              Bottom line is I’ve gone from “I’m sure they had their reasons” attitude to “They need to explain this.” I’ve always been a NH guy. But to be frank he’s lost the benefit of the doubt. Even on these smaller decisions.

            • It did answer the question on Nicasio’s side.

              I didn’t think I needed to explain why Watson has more value than a normal right-handed middle reliever.

              • You don’t need to justify your *opinion* of why a player who was worse in every measurable category *and* made twice as much money was not just *more* valuable than Nicasio but so much more that Nicasio was rendered worthless?

                That makes sense to you? Okay.

                • Actually nothing in the way you wrote that question made sense. Let me read through it a fourth or fifth time…

                  • How did Watson have more value than Nicasio just because once apon a time Watson was a closer. Over the past year, I thought Watson barely deserved a roster spot. Nicasio has shown he might even be good enough to be a closer. Watson wasn’t even being used in high leverage situations and Nicasio has been one of the best relievers in the MLB.

                    • LOOGY. In pennant races, and especially in short series, the specialists take on far greater importance.

                      I think in particular it’s noteworthy that the Dodgers of all teams picked up Watson. Their roster management particularly among pitchers has been something to watch.

      • Are you really arguing that Nicasio had NO trade value at deadline? Look at his numbers on July 31st compared to Swarzak

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        August 30, 2017 12:01 pm

        You can’t be serious Tim – Nicasio had and still has value – the question is, how much value. If, at the deadline, they could have received a C+/B low level prospect (position player ideally – like the Cruz kid they got for Watson), they should have made the trade. Nicasio’s value would and should have been relatively close to what Watson fetched….

    • Liriano throws with his left hand. Same with Watson. Lefties will always fetch a better return than righties, apples to apples.

      • I appreciate being told something common knowledge to everyone here. That’s a weak explanation for two dumpster fires maybe someone should have traded for Bastardo because he throws with his left I bowl with my left maybe I can get some relief ops. Kintzler did fine maybe a tick better Swarzak did too arguably a tick worse. If Nicasio wasn’t a suitable setup guy why weren’t the pirates out looking for one that’s a more important question than this tree falls in the woods argument on value.

        • And yet two of the best run teams in the game traded away decent prospects for guys you call dumpster fires.

          Truth is, neither Liriano nor Watson were dumpster fires for the roles they would be assuming for their new teams. Liriano had a 2.17 FIP against same-handed batters at the time of the trade, and Watson’s was 2.47. Both acquiring teams brought them in primarily to face lefties.

          Nicasio was at 2.69, which is nothing to sneeze at. Just not better than Watson.

          The point being you made a statement:

          “If Liriano can fetch a decent outfielder Nicasio should be able to achieve something in the neighborhood of the Watson deal.”

          and I didn’t agree with your premise. Good lefties are rare and in demand come playoff time, and apples to apples they fetch better returns. Watson and Nicasio being equal performers to a playoff-bound team, Watson should get the better return.

          I’m not arguing any of the other positions you took, just the one above.

          • This is absurd, post-hoc rationalization.

            • Oh, come on, man. You can do better than that.

              Are you really taking the position that there isn’t a premium on LHRP (among other specialists) at the deadline?

              Do you really believe there was an offer on the table for Nicasio that would have returned better than two 40 FV prospects, and NH rejected it?

      • Except when the Pirates trade the lefty then we have to throw in two prospects.

  • First of all, I fully support the Pirates for creating spaces for the AAA pitchers. However, if you wanted to create space for younger guys, why not DFA Benoit? If you wanted to shed salary, why not place Jaso on waivers?

    They choose to dump Nicasio and LeBlanc but not Jaso and Benoit. This is the part where I’m lost. If they dumped all four, I’d be disappointed but understanding.

    • I didn’t think the Benoit addition was a good one. I also think Jaso should be placed on waivers for the same reason.

      They haven’t dumped anyone though. They placed Nicasio and LeBlanc on waivers, which means they could be claimed. We don’t know if they’ve done the same with Jaso and Benoit, or if those guys would be claimed if they went on waivers (or have gone on waivers already).

      • Yep, my bad. Dump is a strong word. This move tells me we finally gave up, so I hope we see more retooling-like lineups than to see veterans starting. I’m sick of seeing Jaso play RF when we actually brought up a OF who was hitting very well in AAA.

    • I don’t think dump is inaccurate. They chose these guys b/c they aren’t too expensive to preclude being picked up and will save the club some dollars. It would be a waste to put Jaso or Hudson on waivers b/c no one will pick them up due to salary and poor performance.

    • Because the guy who would have to DFA Benoit is the guy who just signed him.

    • My guess is all of those guys are on some kind of waivers. its likely nobody wants Benoit or Jaso (and why would they)

  • justinblain1996
    August 30, 2017 10:17 am

    This article makes clearer sense to me. Losing Nicasio in a lost season really didn’t bother me but LeBlanc did but not so much anymore after reading this. The reason is because of innings. LeBlanc has the capability to throw more than one inning. And yeah now I agree that those innings that they would give on LeBlanc can now go to Brault or Kingham, but I thought with rosters expanding in two days that losing a guy that give you innings in September when pitching changes are quicker to happen in September compared to other months was confusing. But now that makes more sense if they give them to the young kids.

  • I would also add that while this Nicasio thing is a nothing move in actual baseball terms the anger it will generate in the fanbase is probably worth more than 600K. And whether or not someone thinks that is reasonable or justified is besides the point. PR is a very real and important part of running a baseball team. And this wasn’t a “hard” decision that had to be made such as not being able to resign Cutch or something like that. The FO is incredibly tone deaf.

    • The people who get angry about saving $600K in this scenario are people who would get angry about anything. They’re looking for reasons to be angry.

      If the Pirates operated in a way to try and keep those people happy, they’d be in big trouble.

      • See- this type of thinking is just rationalizing a decision that did not need to be made.

        Um, if you haven’t noticed Tim- they already ARE in big trouble.

        • We’re talking about different types of trouble. The trouble of building an MLB contender versus the trouble of making moves that cater to the torch and pitchfork masses. The latter doesn’t usually achieve the former.

          • LOL catering to the torches and pitchfork masses by keeping your 2nd best reliever for 600K.

            I don’t really care because this team isn’t going anywhere this year. But the pittance they saved itsn’t worth the PR blowback.

            If anything, I’d argue you keep Nicasio and severely limit the innings Rivero throws the rest of the way. I bet a lot of Nicasio’s workload ends up going to Hudson as opposed to young relievers.

            • Agree to disagree.

              • You disagree that Hudson will be getting a lot of Nicasio’s workload going forward?

                • Gawd I hope not. If Hudson didn’t have another year on his contract, he’d been irrevocabled’, too

                  • Could the bucs have packaged Hudson and Nicasio and given them away for free?

                    • No one is taking on the 6.5M for a year and one month of Hudson even with Nicasio. NH is eating that contract. Or I should say, Pirates fans are as you can expect to see plenty of Daniel Hudson in 2018.

                    • Yay

                    • When Searage was asked about fixing guys and Hudson came up his response was that he couldn’t go into that discussion.

                    • They paid Hudson a lot considering middle relievers and even set up guys are “a dime a dozen”

                • I stopped reading by that point. I’m talking about the PR nonsense.

                • What if they do? You do realize they did make a sizable investment in Hudson for this season and next? I’d argue their success in ’18 hinges just as much on his performance as it does on Santana or Lithuanian Lightening, or whichever young pitcher you think should get Nicasio’s innings.

              • If the Pirates continue to pitch like they are tonight their will be plenty of opportunity for all the AAA relievers to get hammered. Who are we going to have to give up to get rid of Nova?

          • …”making moves that cater to the torch and pitchfork masses”

            They’ll never be happy.

            If you kept these pitchers on the roster, there’d be the inevitable howl that they’re not in the plans for ’18 and just sucking up innings the young pitchers need for development…but that management always wants to play veterans over young guys.

            • Well then, I’m holding my breath for Stewart and Jaso to follow suit. I don’t ever claim to know the whole situation, but basically releasing your second best bullpen arm for nothing, when you’re keeping arms like Benoit kind of baffles me.

              • Jaso I can agree with, but it would make no sense to cut Stewart. Starting him over Diaz? Yes, that’s nonsense…but releasing him? Nah, that would be ridiculous.

                • Wait a minute.

                  Why is letting Stewart go for nothing “ridiculous” but letting Nicasio go for nothing “logical”?

                  • It only makes sense to the minions.

                    • I absolutely love the irony of certain people whining about echo chambers.

                    • As for me I like the information on prospects in the system. It’s interesting to know what NH’s rationale might be, but defending it is another thing. These couple moves probably don’t mean much at all for the future, it’s the cumulation of crazy moves that bugs me.

                  • The Pirates have a ton of arms at AAA. What’s more important to a team that is going nowhere this season…having Nicasio rack up useless innings or getting the young guys experience?

                    As far as Stewart…the Pirates don’t really have catching depth. So, if you dump him…and Cervelli is injured (as is becoming quite common)…your depth chart is now:


                    That’s an injury away from Jackson Williams getting 1-2 starts/week as the Pirates backup catcher.

                    • So you’re taking this even further to say that not only should Stewart remain with the club but that he should also be brought back next year as the backup?

                      My goodness.

                    • No….not what I was saying at all.

                      I’m saying the jettisoning of Nicasio is, really, no big deal. The Pirates have plenty AAA arms to audition in just a few days…heck, pretty much the entire starting rotation at Indy, minus Glasnow, will probably end up in the Pirates pen…no reason to have any of them blocked by a guy on his way out. As far as Leblanc…does anyone really care?

                      With Stewart, sending him packing today really makes no sense for the remainder of the 2017 season. With Cervelli out, an injury to Diaz or Stallings means the Pirates are going to be carrying a AA+ player as their backup…heck, an injury to Diaz, alone, means that.

                      When 2018 comes around, I’d fully expect Stewart to be gone, Cervelli to be the starter and Diaz the backup with Stallings as the starting catcher at AAA and some career minor leaguer backing him up.

                    • So your concern is the 4th string catch for the remainder of *this* season, the one in which the Front Office has already given up on?!

                    • Well, you can say the fourth string…but with Stewart gone he becomes the 3rd…and one injury makes him #2.

                      Couple that with the Pirates trying out new arms in the BP for the next month and who would you rather have calling their pitches…a guy who has no business in the majors or having Stewart in the mix?

                      I don’t hate the decision to let Nicasio go…if I have a gripe about it, it’s that it should have happened at the July deadline when the Pirates could have gotten a (better) return.

                    • I would rather have a catcher from A rather than Stewart in the final month of his career. Not that it matters there is no way Stewart doesn’t get hurt if he has to run the bases (though there is a chance he has already had his last hit of the year)

                    • I would much prefer Jackson Williams over Stewart at this point. As for all those potent arms at AAA I saw a couple of those guys get hammered tonight. In fact I have seen all of them get hammered when called upon this year. Lets not fool ourselves into believing that we have much of anything outside of Glasnow worth bringing up in September. Any pitcher we might want to see (Holmes) or any pitcher any good will not be called up because we only call up what we believe are talented players in June or July because thats the Pirate way .

                  • Because the Pirates STILL need a backup catcher, even with Diaz.

              • Stewart should be next. They can always get a cheap back-up as depth option and put him in AAA. Diaz needs to get reps at the major league level now.

              • They would have to pitch in an extra million to have someone take Stewy

          • On another note, your perspective on the future of the Pirates future seems to have changed somewhat recently? You seem to be not far off from thinking this team looks middling for the foreseeable future?

            • Define recently. I’ve been writing the same thing most of this season.

              • Nicasio’s value can be debated and debating it is a sideshow. What people are “angry” about is a lack of discernable direction in the last handful of moves/non moves.

                • It’s really not the Nicasio decision that I’m solely upset about. It’s the lack of a discernible decision as you’ve said. Look, we as fans, don’t need to know everything that goes on behind closed doors 24/7. Tim or John mentioned the other day that they played Rodriguez last season down the stretch in the hopes of signing him. Ok, so that’s why they didn’t play Hansen. Makes more sense now.
                  Another move – Polo and Tarpley for Nova. Made no sense at the time for someone who was going to be a free agent the following year. And yes technically they could’ve signed Nova in the offseason but they made the trade and got the inside track on Nova, evaluated and signed him – probably below market value even with his recent struggles.
                  But why does Jaso get playing time? Why does Stewart get playing time over Diaz? Who cares if the pitchers are more comfortable with Stewart. If Diaz has deficiencies they’re not going to improve riding the bench! Benoit getting innings over Brault and Neverauskas. It’s not that McGarry was that great. It’s that Benoit is taking innings from AAA arms.

                  • GM staffs the team – Manager writes the lineup. How much they collaborate is a different story.

      • Bob Nutting and the BMTIB to an enraged fan base: We’re not stuck in here with you; you’re stuck in here with us.

      • Well not everyone views the Pirates moves with a sterile, objective eye. Fans (i.e. “fanatics”) are emotional. This isn’t science or accounting so let’s not castigate fans for being angry. This front office has earned its penny-pinching reputation. Most wouldn’t get angry over a single money saving move but it’s the history of short-arming a team to save a buck that generates anger over particular moves. They also don’t speak forthrightly about moves. It would have been better for them to make a statement explaining these moves as making room for younger players, looking forward, etc. They don’t have enough regard for their fans to bother to do that. Sorry but that attracts rightful anger and disappointment from their paying customers and fanbase. In my view, they are reticent to face the fan criticism and that begins at the top of the organization.

        • They haven’t said anything about this move, because there is no move yet. If Nicasio is claimed, then we’ll have to see what they say about the reason for it.

          • Does this remove them from the 25 and 40 effective immediately? We usually don’t know about all the revocable waivers, but it will be obvious when they are not on the team.

        • Your entire supposition hinges on your opinion Pirates ownership and management cares less about winning than the team’s fan base. I find it incredibly ridiculous to think people whose livelihood depend on the success of the team care less about winning then people who are basically overly emotional backseat drivers like may of the commentators on this and other discussion boards.

          • “…people whose livelihood depend on the success of the team…”

            This isn’t even close to being true.

          • I didn’t compare the level of caring b/t fans and management. I did say that management has little regard for fan opinion though. I’m certain management cares about overall success and would agree that a suggestion to the contrary is silly. But I didn’t write that.

            • Scott Kliesen
              August 30, 2017 5:33 pm

              Fan opinion is not accurately reflected in these message boards most days. We are the vocal minority. The majority watch games, root for team to win, and give far less thought to business aspect of the team than hard core fans like us. Also, they’re much more apt to move on to something else if team is a loser like this one.

              Win/Loss record determines attendance much more than anything else in Pittsburgh.

      • “If Nicasio had no trade value with two years of control remaining and coming off an 0.9 WAR in his first year as a reliever, then why would he have trade value now, with just one month of control remaining?” You don’t think he rebuilt his trade value. He was the Pirates 2nd best reliever.

        • That’s like having the second biggest penis in first grade.

          • I was quoting the article did you notice the quotes. It seems many Pirates pitchers have been signed to big contracts after reviving their careers in Pittsburgh. Watson hadn’t been good for 1.5 years. Nicasio was one of the best this year, so I’m not comparing him to what he did 3 years ago. I’m going on recent success. You are the one looking back to evaluate players on once apon a time, (Watson was a good set-up man), but was never a good closer.

      • Tim your missing the mark on this. They kept Hudson and jettisoned Nicasio. That is a money decision.

  • You’re correct Tim, in the big picture this isn’t that big of a deal although I’m sure you understand why it upsets some of the fanbase. But anyway, what is a big deal:

    1. This team has not drafted well and really looks to be a very mediocre offense going forward(moreso after Cutch leaves)

    2. NH did absolutely nothing to help this team when the costs were quite minimal(see Howie Kendrick or Jay Bruce or Granderson etc).

    There are a multitude of reasons to be legitimately upset with NH but the Nicasio situation is pretty much a red herring. I wish this was the only thing we had to be upset abut.

    • Jed Lowrie

      • Jed might have been a better option than srod, but srod also fills in as a 4th outfielder

        • He has above average splits v rhp can play 3rd and SS option for ’18. I like Rodriguez as 4of option plus what he can do in IF

          • The problem with SRod is he probably never overcomes his injuries and if he was good for the team now why not just have signed him when he was a free agency (ditto for Bastinko last year)?

    • 1. Bell, Mercer, Frazier, Cole, Taillon, Kuhl, Watson, Glasnow…I think they’ve had some success drafting. If you’re referring to the disappointing years by Newman and Craig, it’s too early to write them off and use them to pass judgement.
      2. Weren’t Bruce and Granderson traded after the deadline? I’d guess the asking price for them at the deadline, when the Bucs were trying to hang on, was much higher. That’s why they stayed put at the deadline. By the time the price dropped there was less reason for the Pirates to add them.

      • I’d also take it on step further and say they were banking on having their major league lineup in tact long term and focused efforts on pitching where they’ve built strength

      • There’s a website devoted to the history of the draft and production as measured by WAR that’s been touted on some other Pirates sites. The conclusion is that the Pirates have not done a good job of getting MLB production from the draft.

      • Bell, ok. Mercer, Frazier, Cole, Taillon, Kuhl, Watson and Glasnow do little to prove the point you are trying to make.

      • If thats as good as it gets the last ten years then you have proven the point of the negaBucs

  • Tim the roster expands on Sept 1. They werent holding anyone back by keeping them and they could have just kept them in low profile roles giving younger RPs a shot. They saved a few hundred thousand dollars…thats it…there is no other deep reason behind it. That is the Nutting way. NH didnt just wake up 1 morning and decide to release these guys. His boss called ..6K saving for Nic. and 1K savings for Leblanc is real money in Nuttings pockets. Attendance down, just saved over a half million bucks…

    • Those savings don’t even cover a day of operations cost and if someone gets called up in their place, the amount they save drops. The Pirates just invited 22 DSL players from the Dominican to Instructs, when in most cases, they bring ten. That’s 12 extra players they bring, which equals 24 extra flights, 1,080 extra meals for them, a monthly salary and whatever else they go through down there. They just flew three catchers around to fill one spot in WV, when a GCL catcher could have filled that spot for five days as the backup, saving two flights. They flew a DSL player up to Pittsburgh for a third opinion on an injury and it turned out to be nothing, which was the original opinions, and then flew him home two days later. What I’m saying is there are so many other ways to save chump change (in baseball terms of money), and this is just from the last three days.

      • Chump change? 600K/year is what 1/2 of our pitching staff will make next year at the major league min. salary. Every PENNY matters to Nutting. What you just described is NORMAL operating procedure for EVERY team in baseball. The Pirates do it and you are acting like they handle situations like that so much better than other organizations. My point is the NH didnt wake up and release these guys for the hell of it. He did it to save a few bucks which is the amazing world he lives in. If Kontos makes 3 mill next year, NH just paid for 25% of his raise. That is the sick world NH lives in. And please don’t tell me this move was anything but to save a few bucks… At least we didn’t have to give up any prospects to get rid of theseguys since they have no more guaranteed money. NH knows what its like to work for Trump. Defending the indefensible.

        • Yes, $600K is less than one day’s worth of baseball operations cost and sending 22 DSL to Instructs isn’t normal. If it was, then I wouldn’t have mentioned it. Mentioning anything remotely political in a response to baseball operations doesn’t help your case at all and won’t get responses in the future. If you want to talk baseball civilized then I’m all ears.

          • And the savings doesnt amount to $600k. Those authors are wrong. He will still get his remaining pay with a new club being on hook for only 1 month of salary at the MLB minimum or about $60k. Pirates pay the rest.

            • That’s if he gets released and then signed. The signing club would owe the minimum and the Pirates owe the rest. If he’s picked up on waivers, the new club owes his entire salary

              • Well obviously, but, if another club acquires him which seems to be the line of thought in the article it applies. Some contender will wait for the release to happen. Now my question is, now that he is on non revocable waivers is he still with the club until waived or is he automatically waived as of now with the non revocable waivers?

                • Near 0% chance he goes unclaimed. There are 17 teams within 4 games of a playoff spot. One of them is going to put in a claim – and the other 16 know that, so you’ll likely see more than one.

                • Still with the club, he was there in he bullpen yesterday

        • O lighten up….it was a joke…good lord…Obviously we agree to disagree which is fine. But I am being dead serious. Talk to any employee at Seven Springs or a Nutting owned business and ask them about the running joke about saving and re-using paperclips.

          He is a brilliant business man. He doesn’t have to apologize for running his business any way he sees fit including the Pirates.

          I apologize, I defer to your judgement, the Pirates are the cadillac of major league organizations in lavishing there prospects with everything they need regarding travel and wonderful accomodations.

      • Even more reason to wonder why they did it. No one cares about Leblanc but Nicasio certainly has pitched well for them. I am not upset that they got nothing for Nicasio (I am not surprised) but it seems they go out of there way to save pennies when there appears to be no need. I find it interesting that it appears other teams are are not just giving away players for nothing that have done well. Maybe it has happened and I don’t remember If the player in mind had a really large contract and they saved a lot of money that would be used going forward that would make sense but in this case this player doesn’t have that big of a contract. To me the negative publicity is just not worth it.

      • dWe talk about hundreds of thousands of dollars while teams like to the Rd sox dump a 50 million dollar guy for nothing and just move on. Then Connelly threatens to reduce payroll (as if we haven’t already done it this year and last year) if we don’t show up to view the mediocre product that is the Pirates at this time. I love the Pirates but I look forward to the days of new ownership and someone who really does want to win more then make a steady profit

      • Releasing Nicasio instead of Hudson is a money decision. Hudson sucks but he is guaranteed a lot of money. I suppose I wouldn’t characterize it as “savings” but it is a money decision and that is irritating to the fan base.

    • I thought major league salaries are guaranteed?

      • Some team would have to claim them for the Pirates to make those meager savings. Just releasing them would actually cost more money than keeping them.

    • There is no upside at all to keeping them. Why can’t you understand that?

    • Ever consider they are doing Nicasio a favor by letting him go to a contender, while simultaneously opening up innings to a young player who actually has a future in Pittsburgh? Of course not, because the only thing you think about is Nutting’s wallet.

      • Irrevocable waivers means a team like the Reds can claim him. Revocable might mean a team that still has a chance might claim him.

        • I think in either case the claiming rights go in reverse order of the standings. It’s just a matter of whether the Pirates can pull him back. I’m not sure why a team like the Reds would claim him because he’s a free agent at the end of the season anyway. What would they have to gain?

          Instead, I’m guessing he’ll go to the Cardinals–the team with the worst record that’s still in contention and needs help in their bullpen. (Earlier in August the Pirates would have pulled him back had the Cardinals claimed him but now they have no reason to.)

        • What non-contender is going claim him? Why would a team going nowhere pick up a bullpen arm for one month?

      • Why not cut everyone whos contract runs out then. We can be the team that cares for its players so they can all go to contenders

  • The Pirates were incompetent for letting someone with such value go, while keeping a guy like Morton.”

    Hahahahahaha….I vividly recall the first class tantrum DK threw over this.

    • Jeff Karsten has long been rumored to have been DK’s ‘deep throat’ source inside the Bucs’ clubhouse and that helped feed his rage.

      That, plus DK has long had an axe to grind with NH.

      • An interesting angle is that DK isn’t going on the offense with the Nicasio move. He again says he has a source in the org and likes where they’re looking to go in ’18. Then it said I had to log in to read more and I wasn’t going to make that happen.

        • The only way he likes the direction they’re going in 2018 is if he thinks they’re letting Huntington go.

        • Who is DK?

        • “To repeat for a third time, that’s idiotic and indefensible, to be counting relative pennies like that.” This is the basic gist of DK’s logic. His overwhelming bias against the Pirate’s management is senseless and does little to persuade me to his point of view. Thank you Tim for trying to give an unbiased slant to this story. I appreciate it and agree with you wholeheartedly. Hoka Hey!!

          • I didn’t get to see the 2nd half of dk’s article w/o a subscription. Based on the first half he’s not criticizing which was the opposite of what I was expecting but again I have no idea where he was going when he agreed with where they are heading going forward – I hope it means they are trying to put a better team together but he could be implying that they’re getting rid of NH – which doesn’t necessarily excite me because ownership could be using NH as the fall guy when they’ve imposed insurmountable constraints – it’s not always clear who to blame for any given transaction.

      • Doesn’t matter he speaks the truth the Pirate organization is sad at this point what other organization that tries does this?