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Dejan Kovacevic chat transcript

| Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dejan Kovacevic: Good morning/afternoon, depending on where you are and how hot it is. It's only about 100 here, but that's just the start. Let's get going with All-Star stuff ...

Dave G in Mason, OH: Hi Dejan! Enjoy the game tonight. I was just thinking that, now that the Pirates finally have a competitive team and three All-Stars, we'll likely not get to see any of the current guys play in an All-Star game in the City of Pittsburgh because MLB gave us two within a reasonably short time.

Dejan Kovacevic: I'd say that's a fair guess. The line is very long ahead of them, and there were many teams -- including the Diamondbacks -- that took umbrage to the Pirates getting two that close together. This is the first one in Phoenix.

Marty: Do you see a scenerio in the future where Cutch moves to left and Marte takes over centerfield• From the reports on here it looks like Marte is the real deal and Cutch has 30 hr power although he has a small frame. Would probably make us the fastest outfield since Tampa Bay.

Dejan Kovacevic: Well, Marte thinks so, if you saw my piece here the other day. I'm tempted to agree for now, but only tentatively and only on the defensive front. Another thing to bear in mind is that Marte has a superb arm, which usually goes in right field. I'd never put my best defensive outfielder in right, though.

But yeah, the outfield would be very fast.

Terry Martin-Bucs Fan in: Dejean, Hope it is not as hot and humid in Phoenix, AZ as it is here in GA...Anyway, question is what does the front office think about Tony Sanchez's season at Altoona, PA-Doube AA• I have been following Tony and am a bit disappointed with the offensive results. How is his defense• Do you feel the Bucs still view him as the next starting Catcher?

Dejan Kovacevic: It's rarely humid here, but the hot more than makes up for that.

Management is disappointed enough in Sanchez that, even when every other catcher on the depth chart was dropping off the list this summer, he still was not seen as a viable alternative, development issues or not. His defense is OK, and his contact is getting back, but he's just not driving the ball. That's a concern.

Mike in Cincy: Is it possible the penguins could sign someone like a Chris Drury and also on the Steelers priorties list where is resigning Lawrence Timmions and Woodley to long term deals?

Dejan Kovacevic: The Penguins have tended to keep one of those father figures around every year, so Drury would fit that bill. Terrific leader, and he still can play a bit. But I just don't see the Penguins using their money in this free-agent market. Better to hold off until February for deadline deals.

Any long-term deals -- and I would rank Woodley No. 1 -- are going to be well below the priorities of keeping Ike Taylor and/or finding more help at corner.

Frank in Ohio: Do you think the Rookie corner backs, and or Crezdon Butler/ Keenan Lewis are prepared to take over Bryan McFadden's spot, provided that the Steelers sign Ike Taylor. My opinion someone or two will surface as the corner back and nickel instead of McFadden, Gay, and Madison respectively. My expectations of the Steelers defensive backfield is high energy, improved coverage in the spread out offense due to the fact that Carnell Lake will be leading this unit with youth. Your thoughts please.

Dejan Kovacevic: If McFadden plays the way we saw in Dallas, one would hope that someone/anyone can step up.

The problem is two-fold: The Steelers are a contender and thus haven't been able to work into the defense any of the extra guys you mentioned other than Gay and Madison. Second, because they're a contender, it's tough to ask those guys to step in the course of one (possibly shortened) training camp and take over for veterans.

cp0hl: How loud were the Fielder BOO's last night• ... Do YOU think he should have choose Upton instead of Weeks?

Dejan Kovacevic: The booing was bad, but man, Prince sure changed that around in a hurry. I know Robinson Cano put on the show, but Prince's bombs were something to behold.

And yes, he should have picked Upton. If Prince's teammate was Jose Bautista, I'd get the gesture. But you have to think about the game in that position.

kibab1979: Dejan, does MLB need to do something with guys dropping out of the ASG, esp. if the home-field farce continues. Maybe someting like the NHL where without a documented injury you have to sit out game/games?

Dejan Kovacevic: No question. For those who don't know, a total of 83 players now have been officially selected to play here. That's crazy. And what's bothered some people here all the more -- and by that I mean MLB people -- is that some of the most important guys who have minor injuries didn't even bother to show up. Derek Jeter has been the focus of most of that.

The players, as you can expect, are mostly defending their fellow players. But that's par for the course.

This game can't get to the point where it's optional.

SouthSideBucsFan: Hey Dejan, great story on Selig and all today. Whose positive look at the Pirates surprised/impressed you the most?

Dejan Kovacevic: The commissioner would be at the top of that list. He and I have spoken on this subject before, and you could tell he embraced the chance to discuss it. Check the blog this morning for details on how all that came about.

I also was impressed that, after I got done asking Prince about the Pirates and thanked him for his time, he replied, "Cool, baby."

That was a career first for me.

Dan: Any chance of Pens moving a defensman and a winger for a high profile winger?

Dejan Kovacevic: You mean a top-four guy• No. They have a core back there, and they're sticking with it until someone better moves up (Simon Despres). I'm fairly sure if they would move Paul Martin's contract, but someone would have to take it.

jefft: DK--as the market for 1B is pretty bad right now, is there anywhere other than first base where the Bucs can add a power bat, or would that mess up the chemistry of the team?

Dejan Kovacevic: I don't get the idea from the Pirates that adding at third base is the primary option, but it might be something I'd consider.

If you saw the blog on Sunday , scouts from other teams feel like Pedro Alvarez would be a drag on the 2011 lineup unless he somehow figures everything out in a snap. No one seems to think that will happen. If it doesn't, you've already used your option. Let him stay in Indy until he gets right.

Patrick: Does the Pirate performance so far, alter your view of the role of team "chemistry?"

Dejan Kovacevic: What do you mean, Patrick• What was my view of team chemistry that you're citing?

Matt: They haven't used the final option yet actually, until he spends at least 20 days in AAA. If he's brought up before then, then they keep that last option.

Dejan Kovacevic: That's a new one for me. Nothing more complex in this world than baseball rules.

At any rate, Matt, he's down there. Let him stay until he gets right.

Theodor: If the MLB trade deadline was analogous to the much-anticipated return of Breaking Bad on Sunday, what kind of TV trailer spoiler would you tease with?

Dejan Kovacevic: I'd have Walt and Jesse from that show riding off in an RV somewhere in the desert and cooking up a hybrid power-hitting first baseman for the Pirates.

Best show on TV right now. Really is.

Marc: Wow. Sounds like scouts are down on Pedro. I know he is young, but the organization has to be concerned about the guy. He wasn't exactly lighting up AAA when they brought him up last year if I recall.

Dejan Kovacevic: Don't misunderstand. They're down on his ability to make an immediate impact, not on his long-term future or potential.

Zach: Do you have any idea if the front office see's Alex Presley as a legitimate long term player or simply as a "bridge" player to the next generation of talent/before we make a transaction?

Dejan Kovacevic: They like Presley. Clint Hurdle likes Presley. Anyone would like someone who comes up and bats .370 while adding a ton of energy.

Seems to be a lot of fretting among the fan base as to whether or not he'll stay in the lineup. Really, don't sweat it. All he has to do when Tabata returns is go to right field and stay ahead of Xavier Paul on the depth chart.

SterlingCooperDraperPrice: Most of the mlb writers on the national sites don't believe the Pirates pitching can keep up their great start, do you agree?

Dejan Kovacevic: I'm much more interested in what you have to say about the Pirates' pitching. What are your thoughts?

sms: is there any way mlb can regain significance in the asg and get rid of some of the hype - or has advertising and $$ taken hold.

Dejan Kovacevic: Hype is what makes the All-Star Game. It's always been that way. And I actually don't want them adding any more significance to the game than they already have with the home-field thing.

Chris: If the Pirates deal for a 1st baseman, would Overbay likely be part of the deal or would he become the bat off the bench?

Dejan Kovacevic: Do you really think, Chris, that another team would want to pay Overbay the remainder of his $5 million salary this year?

I don't. He'd go to the bench.

Scott: Hi Dejan, you the man! Question: What is the status of Ohlendorf• When he returns, is he taking McDonald's spot• We need him in there.

Dejan Kovacevic: It's been so long now, and Ohlendorf hurt the same spot of the same shoulder twice. At the risk of sounding fatalistic, I keep expecting that some bad news will come of this. If nothing else, I can't imagine him being healthy enough to make a meaningful contribution this year, even out of the pen.

But I could be wrong. For the sake of a good, hard-working guy like Ohlendorf, I'd be happy to be wrong.

JohninOshkosh: Hi Dejan-Your coverage at the All Star came has been exceptional. Will the uptick in attendance factor into the Pirates ability or desire to enter into contract extensions with players currently under contract?

Dejan Kovacevic: More money earned should mean more money to spend. Absolutely.

Frank: Speaking of Overbay, any chance he gets released when Tabata is activated• Would seem to me that a Jones/Wood platoon at 1B would be at least marginally more effective than Overbay is presently.

Dejan Kovacevic: In the span of one chat, Overbay has been traded, benched and now released. His next step will be playing goal for the Brazilian women's team.

GeorgeMichaelBluth: When I think back to the 90s Bucs, they had some nice platoons. Redus/Merced. Backman/King (for a year). Spanky/Sluggo. Any chance this is implemented more when the injured huys get back to give more favorable matchups and more runs, or are the Bucs strictly thinking trades?

Dejan Kovacevic: That's a great point, and it's something I hear rarely when people talk about guys who might move to the bench. They can still be involved. On good teams, all guys are involved in some form.

Look at Matt Diaz. He wasn't thrilled about being on the bench and got off to a rotten start. Now, he's hitting. Sure, they're all softies to the right side, but they're hits. And he's very, very well respected in the clubhouse, for however much credence you lend that sort of thing.

(Oh, maybe that's what our previous poster meant with the "chemistry" thing.)

Nate: If the NL has the lead going into the top of the 9th, do you think Bochy has The Hammer close it out• Or do you think he goes with his guy, The Beard?

Dejan Kovacevic: It will be Brian Wilson. Bochy said so yesterday, as I mentioned in my sidebar on the Pirates this morning.

Bucco: Does Steve Pearce fit into any role on this club when he's healthy enough to return?

Dejan Kovacevic: He'd have been playing first base all this time he was hurt, which I know is part of what's killing him this summer.

Guest: It troubles me to be asking this anymore, but the odds that the Pirates will pick up Maholm's option this year are...?

Dejan Kovacevic: If he keeps pitching as he has, that's a tough option to turn down. Never thought I'd say that, but there are a lot of things I never thought I'd be saying this summer. It's $9.75 million, which is a very good price for a guy with a sub-3.00 ERA. He's been outstanding. Moreover, his history even when things weren't going so well has been of durability.

That said, there's no urgency to do it now.

Torrey: Is there really any legit guy that can be obtained and worth adding to the mix• Seems like riding out who we have and letting them gain valuable experience is the way to go. A Pence-type player would be an exception but those guys really aren't going anywhere unless overwhemed with an offer.

Dejan Kovacevic: That's the one that stumped the scouts with whom I spoke. Check the blog entry Sunday for their thoughts on Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee, Michael Cuddyer, Ramirez and others as they'd fit into the Pirates' equation.

Zach: I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that I was thrilled that Cutch FINALLY got his all-star selection. My question is... do you genuinely think Bruce Bochey's initial replacement selection of Andre Ethier was genuinely a shot at Hurdle's rant on Cutch being snubbed?

Dejan Kovacevic: I don't know Bochy well enough, but I did hear Bochy offer unsolicited at his news conference that he was happy to add McCutchen at the end.

One more today ... lots to do here ...

SouthSideBucsFan: How would you rank the "Big Four's" All Star Games, in order of overall excitement?

Dejan Kovacevic: This one is the best, and the NHL's is the worst. It wasn't always that way. The NHL's players went from trying reasonably hard to not hitting (except for Jeremy Roenick) to just flat-out not skating at all. It's become awful to watch, and Gary Bettman needs to do something about it.

Baseball is a different sport that really doesn't lend itself to that. A pitch still has to be delivered a certain way, a swing is a swing and defense is defense. You might even see something spectacular like Dave Parker's throw to Gary Carter.

Looking forward to the one tonight. Thanks to all for participating, and especially for all the kind words on the Selig article today.

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