Some random tidbits...

Neil Walker

- It's funny how things tend to work out with prospects some times, and how quickly that light bulb can go off and the tides can turn in their favor.

At this time last year, Walker seemed to be lost in the shuffle, with no real long term future in this organization. I can distinctly remember a thread on the old Buccos board here where many of us debated Neil's long term future, and the majority believed his future was in another organization.

Fast forward to 2010, and you've got a player who looks more and more like a fixture of the lineup. He's been hitting very well since getting the call up, he's got very good poise for a rookie, and fundamentally looks to be as solid as they come.

What I like about Walker, besides his poise and his bat, is his versatility and attitude. You're talking about a guy who has been positionally shifted more times than a stripper at Blush, yet he's handled himself professionally and worked his *** off at each to become adequate and versitile. Such versitility is extremely valuable for the Pirates.

In a nutshell, Walker looks to be the real deal. If he becomes a sticking point, between he and McCutchen, perhaps there's some hope left for Dave Littlefield having a passable legacy. Also, with Moskos looking good in the minors (surprise, surprise-- again, those who remembered my posts on the old board, who suggested the kid could be a closer??) there's at least potential for us to be left with something from Littlefield to be remembered fondly. Granted, he whiffed far more than he hit... but that's a different topic for a different time.

As is, I'm liking Walker and I think he's a starter for the long haul.

Ryan Doumit

- I'm saying this as a person who played the catcher position for 16 years here.. Ryan Doumit has some of the WORST fundamentals I've ever seen on the Major League level.

Case in point-- tonight against Cleveland, there was a stolen base attempt. Doumit didn't even ATTEMPT to throw the guy out. Cleveland may as well have been given a "free pass to second card".. No effort whatsoever.

Sadly, this wasn't a one shot screw up by Doumit, who seems to greatly struggle daily behind the plate. Problem is, he doesn't have the power to play 1B or the OF.

It almost frightens me to think he's due to make a base salary of $5.1 million next year. Granted, for some teams that's chump change. For the Pirates, they're banking a hell of a lot on someone who's production is mediocre, and who's defense behind the plate is untolerable.

I know noone wants to think like this, because there's still questions about his bat, but I'd just as soon rather see them cut ties with Doumit and go with a Tony Sanchez- Jason Jamarillo platoon at catcher next season. Sanchez may struggle with the bat, but at least defensively he'll be a HUGE upgrade.

PNC Park on Game Day

- I don't know what kind of training these people get before the season, however there's quite a large number of the Game Day employees who need to be retrained on the basics of Customer Service.

The people in the team store on game day are as pleasant as a bout of explosive diarrhea (mind you, there's one in there who's good, but the rest of them who need to buy a personality and customer service skills with their next payday) and the stands are slow and equally personality-less.

I know it's cheap entertainment, however I also go to a game and expect to be at least SOMEWHAT treated like a paying customer.

Trade Deadline

We're roughly over a month away, and I FULLY expect Pittsburgh to be in sell mode, again.

Question is, who goes?

If I'm the Bucs, I put the for sale tag on Doumit and see if someone bites. I'd also put the tag on Duke and Maholm if I had any faith whatsoever in the immediate prospects of the pitching staff. In the hypothetical that Duke and Maholm are shopped, we're looking at a staff of Ohlendorf, Lincoln and three bandaids. Unless the Pirates open up the purse in the post-season and bring in a mid-level pitcher to hold the ship down until Morris and Alderson (I'm thinking 2012 at this point) or Adcock (2013) are ready, we're looking at patching the rotation with Kevin Hart (who I have no desire to see pitch as a Pirate again), Charlie Morton and Brian Burris.. No thanks.

I would at worst though, test the market and see what you can fetch in return for either Duke or Maholm. Perhaps they can get a decent, MLB ready prospect. Whoever it is can't be much worse than what they have.

At this point, if both are put for sale, I'd bank on Maholm being able to fetch a higher return.

Lastly, this may **** some off, but I'd even put feelers out to see what kind of return Jones would net. I'm not as much on trading him as I am say Doumit, but if the price is right, I'd at minimum at least consider moving him.

Lastings Milledge

- I'll laugh and point when I'm right, and I'll be the first to chop myself when I'm wrong.

Thus far into his run, Milledge is looking like a fourth outfielder. The guy has been great to deal with here, but he's just not cutting the mustard.

I'm not saying completely give up on the guy, but that window is closing quickly for him. Granted, Ryan Church isn't a long term answer and has looked worthless at times this season, and Milledge should continue to platoon with him, however I just am not feeling confident that he's going to be the haul I thought.

With that said, I'd STILL do the Morgan/Burnett for Milledge/Hanarhan deal..