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Thursday, July 14, 2005

I actually have some time to post today

There have been a bunch of hot topics in Pirate-dom lately, including the trading deadline, "clutch hitting" or if it even exists, pitching woes, and so on. Naturally I've got a lot to say about all of it and upon starting this entry I promptly forgot everything. Most of what I've said has been covered in various other blogs, and since I haven't posted in a long time some of it will be old news, but it's new from me to you.

First off, the trade deadline. DL says we'll be sellers, and I say we sell off as many players as we can possibly manage to get rid of. Lawton is highest on my list of people we need to dump, mostly because of his salary but also because of his unbelievable lack of skill running the bases and fielding. I'm sick of watching pop-ups fall right in front of him while Castillo and even Ward have made huge efforts to run halfway to the right field wall trying to chase these things down. Plus we're paying him well over $7,000,000. Since his only good attribute is his bat, that makes him highly overpaid. Get rid of him while we can still get something for him. I'd also be willing to part with Kip Wells, because while he is occasionally good he is also often bad. Everybody knows that as soon as he goes somewhere else he'll become a fantastic pitcher, so let's all hope that he lands in the AL somewhere, or at least out of the NL Central. He should be able to land someone decent in a trade, hopefully a young bat. I will also trade Mark Redman. After the start he had to the season I never would have wanted to get rid of him, but he's cooled down rapidly and has decided that his option isn't good enough, so he's going to want more money than we should give him. I don't think we'll be able to get anybody fantastic for him, but we should at least be able to get some quality farm guys which we desperately need right now. Now that Craig is back, I'd also like to have some offers for Ward. I have started to like him a lot this year, recent power outage aside. His defense is improved, his patience at the plate is much better, and he actually turned out to be a decent guy. If he's willing to stick around for the great price we're paying him now (somewhere around $950,000) then I'd be ok with keeping him, but if he starts to want more and more money I feel like we could find somebody else, or perhaps start calling up the younger folk like Eldred.

The lineup I'd like to see as we start the second half:
1) Freddy Sanchez, 3B
2) Jose Castillo, 2B
3) Jason Bay, LF
4) Craig Wilson, 1B
5) Rob Mackowiak, CF
6) Ryan Doumit, RF
7) Humberto Cota, C
8) Jack Wilson, SS
9) Pitchers: Perez (if he can get himself together, Snell if not), Duke, Redman, Fogg, Williams

Obviously there will be platooning, Ward at first and myriad lumps in the outfield (Redman, Restovich, perhaps Lawton if we have to keep him) but I think that's the lineup that puts our best guys on the field. There's no reason that that lineup couldn't run at .500 or even a little bit better. I don't see us getting to .500 for the season when all is said and done, but we can be close. If we manage wisely through the deadline and when the roster expands, we'll have a number of skilled, ready-to-go guys for next year.

We still have a lot of talent coming up in Paulino, Eldred, Bautista, Gorzelanny, De Caster, Koonce, Duffy, Mclouth, and others. Not to mention that stud Ty Wigginton. Who, by the way, strikes out roughly 22% of the time against AAA pitching. We have two guys at Lynchburg who are ripping the cover off the ball: Adam Boeve (OF) is hitting .313 with an OPS of .957, and Pat Magness (OF) is hitting .300 with an OPS of .991.

Andrew McCutchen watch: in 12 games, he has 42 ABs, is batting .333 and has an OPS of .916.

As we enter the second half, I think most Pirates fans are hoping to just get the young guys some playing time, as our chances of actually contending for anything other than pride are pretty bad. I see no real need to keep Lloyd as our manager unless we're looking for a team cheerleader, because he's not good at much else like managing a baseball game. Of course a new manager would mean we'd have to start the rebuilding process all over againbut at least we'd have some promise for the future. I like Lloyd, I really do, but I don't think that he's a very intelligent manager. Actually, come to think of it, I'd like to get rid of pretty much everybody from Lloyd up, but if that happened we wouldn't really have a team anymore, so I guess we'll have to take what we can get.

--Jeremy

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