Random Ramblings Pt. 2

December 18, 2007

So I don’t have anything in particular to mention in today’s post, so I’ll just give you some interesting links and a few tidbits of knowledge that I’ve got crammed into my slightly undersized head…

  • A must read from Rob Neyer of ESPN.com. Rob came across an interesting article regarding HGH use. Turns out it might not be so helpful after all, at least if you want to believe the college professor/scientist he quotes.
  • Brian Roberts has told the Associated Press that he did in fact try steroids in 2003, but said it was just a one-time deal, and that his moral values (morals in sports????) stopped him from trying the juice again. Question for my faithful readers…Since Roberts was the one name that everyone used to question the integrity of the Mitchell Report (this means you Peter Gammons), has the report gained a little credibility now?
  • A-Rod and agent Scott Boras are no longer talking. It’s been a pretty lousy off-season for Boras, despite A-Rod getting his big contract. Teams have been sick of his negotiating habits for a while now, and looks like players may be catching up.
  • Huntington seems dead-set on finding somebody to compete with Paulino for time behind the plate.
  • I remember seeing numbers somewhere that showed Paulino was a good game caller. I can’t remember where I saw those, but I did manage to find some revealing stats about Paulino’s work with John Van Benschoten this past summer.
  • Some criticism directed at the Pirates front office about the hiring of Troy Buckley as the organizations rover pitching instructor. Some interesting stats and what not at the bottom of that article as well.
  • Another good ‘roid article from Rob Neyer that I figured I’d put in here. Raises some questions about how Hall of Fame voters should view the last 15-20 years in baseball history.
  • For all my Penn State buddies from back home, sounds like you guys might be seeing more than Nittany Lion football at Beaver Stadium in the next couple of years. Definitely something I’d like to see.
  • And finally, some much-deserved props for some Penguins rookies who have been all but carrying the team for the past couple weeks. Without Tyler Kennedy’s offensive production and Kris Letang’s clutch shoot-out abilities, the Pens would be in some serious trouble at this point.

That should give you plenty to chew on for a few hours. Depending on flight schedules and potential blizzards in Boston, I could be stuck in the dorm for a good 3-4 days straight, so there is potential for some serious post-age in the near future.

I leave you with some disheartening news from Mr. College Basketball himself. Looks as though Dicky V might have “awesome baby’d” one too many times. All the best to you Dicky V. We’ll all be eagerly awaiting your courtside return.

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Bucco Meetings Update

December 6, 2007

• Talks between the Buccos and the Indians have supposedly been on and off all week long, and though it was rumored the two teams were close to a five player swap that would send Jason Bay and Ronny Paulino to the Tribe in exchange for Cliff Lee, Kelly Shoppach, and Franklin Gutierrez, the deal was never made and talks appear to have died down, if they ever began at all.

To be honest, it’s a deal that I think has some serious potential, although I don’t see it happening until the season has begun. I have faith that Bay can bounce back strong next season, since I firmly believe that injuries were the main deterrent to his ’07 campaign. For that reason, it’s probably best for the Pirates to hold on to Bay into the start of the season, in hopes that the Tribe will offer a little bit more. Either Jeremy Sowers or Fernando Cabrera, both young pitchers with plenty of potential, could be good fits if Bay bounces back strong.

That said, Gutierrez is a guy I like a lot. He showed some improved power in ’07, belting 13 home runs in just 271 at bats, and his OPS increased for the third straight season.

Also, Shoppach could be a good fit, as he brings a stronger defensive presence behind the plate. His offensive numbers took a considerable jump from his sophomore year, and although I think Paulino can learn a lot from new manager John Russell, I wouldn’t complain about seeing Shoppach behind the dish for the Bucs next year, especially if Paulino continues to struggle early on in the season.

• The Pirates filled a hole when they signed utility man Chris Gomez to a one-year deal. Gomez is a perfect fit for the Buccos, as he can play good defense at 2nd or 3rd, and can fill in very effectively as a pinch-hitter. Though he sports just a .261 average for his career, Gomez is hitting an impressive .293 over the past 4 seasons, with an OBP right around .350. If Freddy Sanchez or Jose Bautista go down with injuries early in the season, don’t be surprised to see Gomez step in and make the Pirates think twice about rushing either of the current starters back into action.

• CF Nate McLouth has been garnering a lot of team’s attention, including the Cubs, Padres, Phillies, Giants, Marlins and Braves. With so many teams interested, it would be a very good idea for GM Neal Huntington to listen carefully to any offers, as McLouth is certainly expendable to a Pirates club stocked with outfield potential.

• Other rumors that I’ve come across include a potential Damaso Marte and/or John Grabow to the Yankees deal. One report I saw even had Ian Snell and Ian Hughes somehow mixed into the deal, but I highly doubt that there is anything behind those rumors.