Casey McGehee could prove to be a valuable pickup for the Pirates.
As spring training approaches, almost every player looking for a bounce-back season claims to be in the best shape of his life. Pirates infielder Casey McGehee is no exception; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Bill Brink tweeted on Thursday that the first-year Bucco has lost nearly 25 pounds and “cut [his] body fat in half.” The premise may be as clichéd as any in baseball, but there is reason to believe that McGehee is not whistlin’ Dixie.
The 29-year-old McGehee will begin the 2012 season with his third NL Central organization in the last five years. A 10th-round pick of the Cubs in 2003, he was claimed off waivers by the Brewers after a cup of coffee in 2008, and unexpectedly took off when handed the keys to the third-base job midway through the next season. McGehee hit .301/.360/.499 in his first year with Milwaukee, then followed that up with a .285/.337/.464 campaign in 2010, contributing 2.0 and 2.6 WARP in those seasons, respectively. But the wheels came off last year, and he was traded to the Pirates for reliever Jose Veras in December.
Should the Pirates keep their team together to flirt with .500 or sell the scraps to improve their future performance?
A report linking the Rangers to Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan made slight waves over the weekend. Folks within the Rangers organization denied the speculation, as team sources are wont to do, and now the talk concerning the deal will permeate not only front offices—assuming there was some form of communication there to begin with—but also the fan and analyst communities. In related news, the July 31 trading deadline is nearing.
By now, most teams know what they need. They also know what they don’t need. The most compelling aspect of the 2011 deadline is the identity of the sellers. Only two teams are more than 10 games under .500; everyone else is either in play or on the bubble, Pittsburgh included. That said, the Pirates are still very unlikely to make the postseason. Entering today, the PECOTA-generated playoff odds have them reaching the tournament less than one percent of the time.
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The Reds try to defend their crown while maintaining the division's third-lowest payroll.
Since 2006, only one club in the National League Central has managed to win more than 91 games in a season. The Reds turned the trick in 2010 and won the division title, despite being outspent by four of their other five Central competitors. Spending will remain flat in Cincinnati this season, but the division’s financial landscape is shifting. Let’s break down the projected 2011 payrolls for the NL Central.
The Pirates are encouraged by the performance of four youngsters in their lineup, along with other news and notes from around the major leagues.
The Pirates are approaching the end of another dismal season. They are assured of finishing below .500 for an 18th consecutive year, extending their North American major professional sports record. They find themselves 33 games off the pace of the first-place Reds in the National League Central.
The Pirates have turned into a three-ring circus, along with other notes from around the major leagues.
Pirates management insists it has a plan in place that will transform the downtrodden franchise from laughingstock to winner. Chairman Bob Nutting says they do and so does team president Frank Coonelly, general manager Neal Huntington, and manager John Russell. However, the plan certainly isn't paying dividends at the present. The Pirates are 25-44 and 13 games behind the Cardinals in the National League Central. Only the Orioles, with their 19-50 record, are keeping the Pirates from having the worst record in the major leagues.
The dirty half dozen throw their money around in different ways and to different extents, but are adaptations coming?
The great Red Smith wasn't a fan of baseball's six division/two Wild Card format. Though he died 12 years before the plan came to fruition, he saw it coming as early as 1978, when he wrote that, "[T]he powers, principalities, and archangels of the game are considering a plan to restructure the major leagues so that almost every team can be a winner, or look like one."