Smoltz: You had been a proponent of the Pirates getting Carlos Pena. If Pena was a 10, how would you rank D-Lee?
Bob Smizik: Pena has tailed off somewhat and Lee has picked it up a bit. I still have preferred Pena, who was not, according to reports, available. That's pretty crazy, but who know? To answer your question, if Pena were a 10, I'd call Lee an 8.
genelamont: Do the Pirates finish above .500?
Bob Smizik: That is one tough question, Geno. I'm going to say 81-81.
Pirates NC: Neal Huntington said yesterday [paraphrased] "they may have seriously undervalued the two month rental players" Is it really THAT far-fetched to believe that if the Pirates brought in some serious players and won this division that the city wouldn't strongly support the team and we could start actually building into a Philadelphia style contender? The Brewers may have sacrificed their farm for CC Sabathia to start their trend, but yet they seem to contend every year since and will probably continue to into the future. No one considers them second class anymore.
Bob Smizik: Sorry, I'm not sure what your question is. The Pirates brought in rental players.
NCPirates NC: Will the Pirates make any waiver moves? Perhaps for someone like Wandy Rodriguez or some bullpen help? Huston Street perhaps or a Brian Fuentes from Oakland?
Bob Smizik: I imagine there might be some moves in August. They are more difficult to make and I really don't see the Pirates picking up a whole lot more salary. I don't see players of the stature you are talking about ending up with the Pirates in August.
Smoltz: Bob - did you catch any of the swimming world championships this weekend? Getting Olympic-fever yet?
Bob Smizik: Unfortunately, I missed the Worlds this weekend. I enjoy swimming but was otherwise occupied. I would say my Olympic-fever is still the the early formative stages.
pittsburgh4life: What is your opinion of Mark Madden off the record? He is just so cocky and thinks he is mr. know it all.
Bob Smizik: Hold it! Are you telling me Madden doesn't know it all?. He sure fooled me. Actually, I haven't listened in a couple of years so I really can offer an informed opinion.
Bill Lane: If Morton continues to falter and not figure out how to pitch to lefties; what do you think the Pirates should do? 1. Leave him in. 2. Make him a bullpen guy and put ohlendorf or lincoln in there? 3.Give up.
Bob Smizik: Morton had four acceptable starts before the last one so I'm not sure ''faltering'' is the proper description. He sure does have trouble with lefties. I see him remaining in the rotation for the foreseeable future.
Bill Lane: Have you heard the status on Evan Meek? Is he a lost cause losing his arm strength? I really hope he wasn't a one year wonder and can come back next year and create a solid 1, 2 punch with the hammer. Veras and resop are more like 6th 7th inning guys doing good every other outing. I love them but I'd rather have 2010 Meek.
Bob Smizik: Meek has yet to start a rehab assignment so his return is not imminent. As for the rest, they have their bad days but as a whole the bullpen is one of the best in baseball. Before Sunday, its ERA was under 2.00. I think Hanrahan has spoiled a lot of people. Most relievers are not perfect. Like starters, they are going to have bad days and give up runs. That said, Verez has been a bit erratic of late.
Josh: Will Tabata possibly lose his job to Presley when both are healthy?
Bob Smizik: It looks like Presley will be back sooner and be able to stake a claim on the job. If he continues to play as he has, Tabata is out of a job. If Presley cools, Tabata could start or the two could platoon. Presley could be used in RF depending on how Ludwick and Jones do out there.
Cableman: Why was the NFL salary cap lowered this year? Kinda rude to all the teams that sign players with the cap in mind last year and the year before. Planning for "x" and then get "x-a few million" don't you think?
Bob Smizik: Same for all. Teams had plenty of time to plan for all contingencies.
DNY: Bob, what do you hear about Tabata's rehab? Hurdle said the other day that he was "not close" to returning...
Bob Smizik: I don't believe he has started playing in games yet. Which means he is probably at least two weeks away.
Cableman: 2012 Bucs at first and third? And is Ronny Cedeno signed again?
Bob Smizik: The Pirates have an option on Cedeno, which I'm sure they will use. Alvarez will hold down one of those positions. They need to sign a free agent with a good bat to play the other.
Kenman: It seems to me that the Pirates are giving up outs on the basepaths at an alarming rate. They are trying to compensate for lack of pop, but I believe this over-aggressiveness is hurting not helping. What do you think?
Bob Smizik: Baserunning in MLB is horrendous. The Pirates are not the only team guilty of this. Ryan Howard made an incredibly stupid play yesterday. I don't see the Pirates as being any worse than the norm. We just see them more often.
WyattBurp: Afternoon, Bob. I'm a Detroit Tigers fan. The Pirates have been the surprize of the National League, so far. Have they acquired enough help at the deadline to stay in the hunt?
Bob Smizik: The upgraded two positions. I don't think they have the same level of talent as Milwaukee or St. Louis. I think it will be hard for them to stay in the race.
Matt: If Beltran or Pence was a 10, how would you rank Ludwick?
Bob Smizik: 6
jimb056: The Pirates inproved themselves. Even with little hope of a pennant chase, we still have a good shot at 82+ wins. Deep down, that's this years goal, dont you think that would be a great success ?
Bob Smizik: Absolutely. I think most people expected this team to lose at least 90 games. If it went 81-81 that would be a great success.
Monday August 1, 2011 12:17 Bob Smizik
WyattBurp: Have the Steelers re-signed CB Ike Taylor? He's a quality player who certainly needs to be shown he's wanted with a nice contract.
Bob Smizik: Taylor was re-signed last week.
James_Taiwan: I think the Pirates should have pursued Wandy Rodríguez to take Charlie Morton's stop in the rotation. Do you think that Rodriguez would be a good fit for the Pirates?
Bob Smizik: He'd be a good fit on almost any team. He's a fine starting pitcher. I think his cost would have been too high for the Pirates. Starting pitching was not one of their primary needs.
JamesinNYC: PBC was made reasonable moves that reasonable fans should be happy about right?
Bob Smizik: Happy but not ecstatic. They are better but probably still not good enough.
Lone Wolf: What are the reasons/rationale the Pirates FO won't bring up Hague or Bowker. Both are doing well at AAA. The FO seems to be late or evaluating incorrectly the players at AAA, ei Neil Walker and Alex Presley?
Bob Smizik: Neil Walker was called to the majors when he showed he was ready. His performance prior to 2010 was not very good and did not merit a promotion. The Pirates were slow with Presley this year. Bowker is 28 and not done well in several trials. I don't see him as an answer. Hague had a hot June but cooled considerably in July.
Pirates NC: Sorry Bob - I guess what I was saying was if the Pirates brought in someone the caliber of CC when he went to the Brewers, although we would have had to sacrifice something on the farm, is it far-fetched to believe that once the Pirates got over the hump once that it could be more than just a mirage and then 10 more years of losing? I think that it would get fans totally engaged and we could build this year to next, then the next, and turn this thing totally around towards a perennial contender. Maybe not winning it all, but being competitive and interesting - kind of how the Brewers are now.
Bob Smizik: Bringing in a Pence would have have turned up the enthusiasm level several notches. I'm not sure the Pirates have the players to get him. It took two top 40 prospects from the Phillies to get him. The Pirates have only one of those and I would not have traded Taillon. Philly was one player from the Series. The Pirates were not.
Justwinbaby: Bob, in Regards to Neals comments regarding Pence: Do you agree that Pence wasnt brought here because of the possibility of paying too much for him in his arbitration years?? That is what NH appeared to be getting at in Ron Cooks column today.........
Bob Smizik: Pence would be a high salaried player, possibly making eight figures in 2012 and 2013. Not sure the Pirates would want to go in that direction. I also don't think they had the players to get Pence.
Mike: Will Derek Lee be in the lineup tonight or will he continue his attempt to stay away as long as possible? He does remeber that he was on the Orioles right? I know its a family thing, but I do wonder if this same family thing would be going on if he was an Oriole still.
Bob Smizik: It was disappointing not to see Lee in the lineup yesterday and I've yet to hear a good reason for it. At the same time, it was his right and the Pirates have nothing to gain by starting a fight with him.
Lone Wolf: Any hope on the trade front to rid of Veras?
Bob Smizik: The don't need a trade to get rid of Veres. He's going through a rough patch right now. He's been a good pitcher for them this season.
sms: no one has really talked of tabata being ready - despite being in the dugout, and really no timetables given on any player on the DL....there was even talk today domut was headed to the 60 day....why can't better information be given on the status of a player day-to-day/week-to-week.
Bob Smizik: Doumit is playing games at Class AAA. Not sure when he comes off the 60-day but I'm sure it's not too far off. Otherwise they would not have put him on it.. Tabata was playing game and reinjured himself. He was back with the team but I expect him to be sent down shortly to resume playing games.
George: Do you think Cutch will ever hit .300 consistently? He looks like a .275-.290 guy to me. Flies out too much.
Bob Smizik: It's a small gap between .290 and .300. I certainly think he can do it.
Matt: Although Lee and Ludwick are better than nothing, I personally was disappointed by Hunington's moves and/or lack of moves to strengthen this (very surprising) team. What is your honest opinion on the matter?
Bob Smizik: I thought he did about as well as he could. They could not get Beltran or Pence. Other than that, who was traded at the deadline that would have helped them more than Ludwick and Lee?
sms: rothlisberger seems to be unofficially "lobbying" for a starks return - but without cap space......if there are going to be renegotiations to get under the cap, would you expect roethlisberger would negotiate his huge salary?
Bob Smizik: I think going to Roethlisberger to get some cap room is a possibility. But I really don't know the fine print of his contract. I cannot see Starks remaining available for the Steelers to re-sign him.
jimb056: any minor league help for next season?
Bob Smizik: The prospects are slim. The farm system is a bit overrated. I have a good read on the farm system on my blog at 1 p.m.
Dave: Do the Pirates realy see improvement in Pedro or is he here just becuase they have no other power option
Bob Smizik: He's shown no improvement to these eyes. He's still a better option than Harrison, Wood or d'Arnaud.
BA: How would you rate Hurdle as a tactician?
Bob Smizik: I think he's pretty good. A lot of fans were unhappy with him not using Hanrahan in the extra-inning road games. But that's how most managers handle the situation.
Bob Smizik: Sorry, that's all the time I have today. My apologies for not getting to all the questions. I will be back next Monday at noon. Thanks to all.
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