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Thread: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

      
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    Default Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms
    Coonelly prefers Huntington, Russell maintain focus on long term
    Sunday, December 27, 2009
    By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    The calendar will flip to 2010 in four days, and two of the Pirates' most important figures, general manager Neal Huntington and manager John Russell, will enter into the final guaranteed years of their contracts.

    A big deal?

    Not to team president Frank Coonelly, the man who ultimately will decide their futures.

    Coonelly steadfastly has declined to comment on such matters -- and he apparently has no intention of changing that -- but he has, in various ways, made clear over time his general thinking:

    1. Lame-duck years will not be regarded any differently by the Pirates than any other years, and allowing someone to enter a lame-duck year without an extension will not be seen as a lack of faith.

    2. Coonelly would prefer that those under him never go into survival mode and attempt short-term solutions that deviate from the team's overall plan. By not focusing on contract terms or arbitrary lame-duck precedents, the concept goes, those involved are less inclined to single out any year as one in which it would be OK to abandon the plan.

    3. Coonelly displays a strong, genuine and unwavering confidence in Huntington and Russell.

    The latter might not last forever, of course, but it is easy to see now.

    What could change?

    In Huntington's case, he will continue to be judged, for now, more on how he builds up the entire system as opposed to simple wins and losses at the major league level, though the latter will take on more importance when top prospects such as Pedro Alvarez arrive. So, too, will time allow for fairer judging of Huntington's many trades, especially those that involved the greatest risk, such as Jason Bay, Xavier Nady and Nate McLouth.

    Russell's case will be similar. Although management has insisted that his mandate is to do his best to win every game, so, too, has Russell deployed players for extended stretches even when ineffective -- such as Brandon Moss and Steve Pearce -- because management believed it was important to see what they had. Ultimately, Russell and his staff will be judged by their ability to take the talent at hand and make it better.

    In the interim, do not expect to hear much about the lame-duck subject from the Pirates.

    Buried treasure
    If the Pirates had to pick one player they most wanted to see upgrade his game this winter, it probably would have been Ronny Cedeno, their tenuous everyday shortstop. And it would appear he has: In 40 games for Aragua of the Dominican Winter League, he has 10 home runs and a .300 average. He still is not walking much, though, with just six in 150 at-bats.

    One ominous thought as the Pirates prepare to enter the season with Jeff Clement at first base, a position he never has played in the majors and scarcely played in the minors: Even when assigned to Instructional League in October to get extra work at first, he was limited to off-field rehabilitation because of a strained oblique. "From our brief look at Jeff in August, we need to give him a foundation and get him acclimated over there," director of player development Kyle Stark said.

    Huntington, on what he wants to see from Ryan Doumit in 2010: "Health, first and foremost. And a return to the way he played the game before the injury last year and the way he carried himself in 2008. But I think it all starts with his health." Doumit missed 10 weeks this past summer to a fractured wrist, and it clearly hampered his production after returning.

    The Pirates still might fare well in the Lastings Milledge/Joel Hanrahan trade, but it bears mentioning that, in addition to giving up Nyjer Morgan, they sent away one of the National League's best left-handed relievers as per a few 2009 metrics: Sean Burnett ranked among the top three in opponents' batting average (.181, including .176 vs. right-handed batters), walks and hits per innings pitched (1.11), inherited runners scored (15.7 percent) and first-batter efficiency (.159).

    Baseball America, in announcing this week a list of baseball's top 20 prospects that ranked Alvarez at No. 7, wrote that he "has a chance to follow the Jim Thome career path as an early career power-hitting third baseman who eventually settles in as a mashing first baseman."

    Fifty-two days until pitchers and catchers report.



    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09361...#ixzz0atSYkETZ
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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    "Lame duck" status or no, this is Russell's last year as manager of the PBC.
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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    Quote Originally Posted by cocktailsfor2 View Post
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    "Lame duck" status or no, this is Russell's last year as manager of the PBC.
    Who do you replace him with? I don't think he's done that bad of a job, considering what he's been given to work with. I don't think any other manager would have done any better.

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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    Quote Originally Posted by indybucfan View Post
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    Who do you replace him with? I don't think he's done that bad of a job, considering what he's been given to work with. I don't think any other manager would have done any better.
    We have had how many mangers come through here... all with different personalities (and, except for Tracy, all pretty new though).

    So, one question I have is... who do you want, and why?

    Or, if not a person, the traits you want, and how you think those traits will help change anything?

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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    I want a guy that is brilliant with strategy but is a fundamentally sound teacher. From a strategy standpoint, I think Hershiser would be good. Teaching, I don't know off the top of my head.

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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    all i have to say is you can strategically brilliant, but it doesnt amount to a hill of beans if your troops cant execute, and for the past 17 years we havent been able to do that.

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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    Quote Originally Posted by indybucfan View Post
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    Who do you replace him with? I don't think he's done that bad of a job, considering what he's been given to work with. I don't think any other manager would have done any better.
    It's not a matter of how JR's done so far, indy. His contract is up, and I think the FO is gonna want a new Mgr. to get this young team to "come together." Someone who is recognized as having success with young players in the past.

    Which, thank Jeebus, leaves out Dusty Baker!
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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    I think a lot will depend on how the season plays out. Talent or not, it will come down to wins and losses and who's available.

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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    Quote Originally Posted by indybucfan View Post
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    I think a lot will depend on how the season plays out. Talent or not, it will come down to wins and losses and who's available.
    Yup. I've just got a hunch it won't be JR. Once we get Pedro & Tabata up, and maybe another young pitcher, NH is gonna wanna bring in a medium-range ($-wise)manager with a proven track record.

    IMO, that is.
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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    I agree about JR being gone...he always just seemed like the "easy choice" as a cheap replacement for a team that really had no shot at winning...once some pieces come into play, I think that NH is gonna want to put a proven guy in there to get them going.
    The only player in the NHL more overpaid than MAF is Jordan Staal

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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    Quote Originally Posted by cocktailsfor2 View Post
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    It's not a matter of how JR's done so far, indy. His contract is up, and I think the FO is gonna want a new Mgr. to get this young team to "come together." [HIGH-LIGHT]Someone who is recognized as having success with young players in the past.[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Which, thank Jeebus, leaves out Dusty Baker!
    That was actually why JR was hired - his success with his Minor League teams.

    So, we need someone who is experienced, taking a young group of players, and turning them into winners.

    Has there ever been one of these???

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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    Quote Originally Posted by moneytalks View Post
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    That was actually why JR was hired - his success with his Minor League teams.

    So, we need someone who is experienced, taking a young group of players, and turning them into winners.

    Has there ever been one of these???
    Jim Leyland?
    The only player in the NHL more overpaid than MAF is Jordan Staal

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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    The reincarnation of John McGraw couldn't have coaxed more than 2 or 3 wins out of the bucs last year, (pure speculation).

    I see Russell as the manager for the short/long run, depending on the all around success of the team.

    Boy, there's a newsflash.

    If the Bucs are really ****ty this year, they will look a little closer at JR... and conversely, if they're decent, he'll no doubt keep his job... unless Danny Murtaugh's ghost tells them different.

    Seriously, we know which players, coming down the shoot will prosper... if they succeed and the teams wins respectfully, then JR will be a genius. If not? We will wax nostalgic about McClendon.

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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    Quote Originally Posted by squireboy View Post
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    The reincarnation of John McGraw couldn't have coaxed more than 2 or 3 wins out of the bucs last year, [HIGH-LIGHT](pure speculation[/HIGH-LIGHT]).

    I see Russell as the manager for the short/long run, depending on the all around success of the team.

    Boy, there's a newsflash.

    If the Bucs are really ****ty this year, they will look a little closer at JR... and conversely, if they're decent, he'll no doubt keep his job... unless Danny Murtaugh's ghost tells them different.

    Seriously, we know which players, coming down the shoot will prosper... if they succeed and the teams wins respectfully, then JR will be a genius. If not? We will wax nostalgic about McClendon.
    thanks for clearing that up...haha
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    Default Re: Hot Stove: Pirates shrug off lame-duck terms

    Quote Originally Posted by moneytalks View Post
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    That was actually why JR was hired - his success with his Minor League teams.

    So, we need someone who is experienced, taking a young group of players, and turning them into winners.

    Has there ever been one of these???
    Joe Maddon
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