Chaz: Who do you see getting moved down to make room for Sutton?
Hunter: So... who's getting sent away from the pen when they add Sutton to the roster?
Bill Brink: It will be a reliever, of which they currently have eight: Slaten, Watson, Lincoln, Cruz, Hanrahan, Grilli, Hughes and Resop. I have to think the number of pitches Hurdle let Slaten throw last night may be an indication. Either him, Resop or Hughes, potentially, if his undisclosed injury flares up.
Hunter: Any indication that Barajas might have to go on the DL? If he doesn't and is out short term who is the emergency C? If he does who comes off the 40 man roster since there are no other catchers at the moment?
Bill Brink: Too soon to tell about the DL; he said last night X-rays were negative and the stability tests showed good signs.
McGehee is the emergency catcher.
Eric Fryer or Jose Morales are the options at Indy. I don't think they call up Sanchez at this point. As far as a 40-man move? That's a tough one. Maybe one of the minor league guys is DFA'd, someone they think they can get through waivers, but the options are limited.
Matt Tobin: Biggest trade deadline need to me is corner OF. I'd love for them to add Quentin or Willingham. What are your thoughts on biggest needs, etc? Pedro seems to be coming along, so I don't want to give up "a lot" for Headley as SD says it would take.
Bill Brink: Anything other than center field would improve this offense. Realistically, they'll probably get a corner IF or OF guy, because there are more of those available. They may look for someone who can play first and third, or left and right field (like Ludwick). Good middle infielders are hard to come by.
Mike in Downtown: Of all the HS pitchers taken in 2009, only one, Colton Cain, has made it as far as Bradenton (Victor Black was a college guy, he's in Altoona). Not to mention already giving up on Pounders in the trade for Navarro. Too soon to call the draft year a bust? The numbers for Sanchez at Altoona are OK, but not what I would call stellar.
Bill Brink: You generally want to wait at least five years to call a draft a bust, sometimes longer, but each draft's a snowflake. The top portion of that draft is not looking good, for sure, and if Sanchez doesn't put it together that will set the draft back a ways.
Paul: What is happening with Jose Tabata? He's not hitting and making mistakes in the field. I think I speak for all of the fans when I say that we expected more.
Bill Brink: Both are surprising, and I think people expected more. I don't know that his .299 2010 is the true Tabata, but I don't think his current .226 is either. He's still running even though his leg is bothering him, but he's getting thrown out, too.
The fielding mistakes are the most troubling. I was alright with his throws -- the one that got away from Alvarez one-hopped right in front of the bag, on target, but he got the error. The play that struck me was when he let what appeared to be a catchable ball drop in front of him, allowing a run to score.
It would not surprise me to see him sent down, Jones play right field and McGehee take first.
Hunter: It appears Lincoln will be the odd man out of the rotation with Karstens return. Barring injury would you expect the remaining five to be in the rotation after the trade deadline or could we see a starter moved?
Bill Brink: Burnett, McDonald and Karstens aren't going anywhere. It would not shock me to see Bedard or Correia moved, with Bedard the more likely option. At that point, though, they must be absolutely convinced that either Lincoln can start every fifth day or that someone from Indy is ready, and I think they are far from that point right now. They also want to maintain pitching depth -- a wise move considering what's happened to their rotation this season. Every starter except McDonald has missed time or had a start pushed back due to injury.
JAL: Cole starting tonight, how many good outings does he have to put up before they move him to AAA
Bill Brink: I said on the radio a couple weeks back that I thought he had another two weeks in Bradenton, and they bumped him to Altoona that evening, so take this with a grain of salt. He now has to get better hitters out in addition to working on pitching his fastball down in the zone, and that means working his changeup and breaking pitches more often. I think it's possible he moves up at the end of the season, maybe when some members of Indy's rotation come up to the majors when rosters expand. It depends on both his performance and how well he follows the club's directives on repeating his delivery, throwing downhill, etc.
James_Pittsburgh: Do you really buy that no players are available? I believe that Soriano could be acquired right now. I am not saying that I am in favor of acquiring him, just that he appears to be available.
Bill Brink: Everyone is available; just depends on the cost. The Pirates could go get Braun, in exchange for their six best players, if they wanted. Because all but four or five teams are in a legitimate race for that second wild card, teams will not part with their players yet until they get a great deal, so the acquisition costs are higher than the Pirates want to pay at this point in time.
James_Pittsburgh: Bill, do you prefer the Pirates acquiring a rental bat or someone who can play in the outfield with Marte and McCutchen in 2013?
Bill Brink: Ideally they'd want someone under contractual control, but those players cost a lot more to acquire. The new CBA removed the compensation for players acquired in-season, so the Pirates would not have a shot at a comp pick if they let a rental player walk.
James_Pittsburgh: Can the Pirates really send Jose Tabata down before Starling Marte is ready? There really isn't anyone better to play. I don't really see Hernandez as an upgrade.
Bill Brink: Hernandez's bat is what it is, but he's the best defensive outfielder in the system, so he would help there. Jones would probably get the majority of the playing time, with Harrison playing right field against lefties.
James_Pittsburgh: MLB is on pace to achieve record attendance numbers in 2012. Do you see these numbers as indicative of baseball prospering or do you see them as a mirage?
Bill Brink: Good question: Certainly moving in the right direction. I think the way the regular season ended last season, plus the excitement of the World Series and the extra wild card, has the fans into it. Doesn't hurt that teams like the Pirates and Mets are playing well and the Nationals have turned the corner.
RC: Is it really that hard to find a leadoff batter with an OBP better than .271?
Bill Brink: Shouldn't be, huh? The two best options, Presley and Tabata, are not performing as the Pirates hoped. I believe Presley is capable of reaching a better OBP, though I don't think he will hit .298 like he did last season.
Hunter: Starling Marte has hit well in June (.845 OPS). Do the Pirates view him at all as an option to upgrade the outfield in the next month or is he still most likely a September call-up?
Bill Brink: When we last spoke about him with Huntington, the indication was he still needed to work on plate discipline. They also don't want to bring him up until he has a chance to play every day; I don't think they'll put him on the bench. Whether an injury or trade creates that chance, or they think he's ready to replace one of the corner guys, we'll have to wait and see.
JAL: Do you get any indication the team thinks Mercer or d'Arnaud is close to being a MLB ready SS? Seemed odd to have Mercer up for a couple weeks and not give him a good look.
Bill Brink: It doesn't appear that they think either one is ready. Hurdle said he had Mercer up to spell Barmes for a few days, then to free Josh Harrison up so Harrison could play other positions and wasn't the last guy on the bench who could play shortstop. Doesn't sound like they thought he was ready. Huntington said the idea was to flip-flop Mercer and Navarro after a few weeks, but Navarro's development had slowed at Indy.
Bill: With McGhee and Garrett Jones, Matt Hague appears to be taking up space rather than being a real option....Is he the next in a long long of Pearce, Eldred, etc...
Bill Brink: It's interesting with Hague. He's only an option at first, but he's behind McGehee and Jones, who are both hitting better now. That's a situation that could turn into what happened to Mercer; he's good enough to be on the roster but not quite good enough to get enough playing time to stay sharp.
Paul: Last year's minor league player of the year Robbie Grossman recently had some kind of an incident. How serious was it and will it affect his future with the organization?
Bill Brink: It will not affect his future with the organization,at least not at this point. Huntington declined to comment on it, and Kyle Stark told the Altoona Mirror that they handled it and moved on.
We found that it wasn't a legal issue, at least not that took place in Altoona. He should be good to go moving forward.
Bill Brink: Lightning round time. Fire away.
PhillyJake: Pat's or Geno's?
Bill Brink: Geno's.
Bill: Is money the issue on acquiring talent?
Bill Brink: No, to a point. They won't kick in $15 million, but they'll eat a little bit.
Hunter: Is there really a no ice cream rule in your car or do you just like to bug Michael Sanserino?
Bill Brink: Just bugging Michael. Ice cream is encouraged, preferably cake batter or mint chocolate chip with brownies and cookie dough.
Matt Tobin: Prediction on what happens with Bucs at season's end? .500 club? Wild card? Division?
Bill Brink: I'll call it at a few games below .500, as we sit here right now.
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