First Call: Pirates’ Melky Cabrera’s rising trade stock; Antonio Brown embraces ‘Hard Knocks’ |
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: Pirates’ Melky Cabrera’s rising trade stock; Antonio Brown embraces ‘Hard Knocks’

Tim Benz
The Pirates’ Melky Cabrera bats during against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 25, 2019.

For “First Call” Wednesday, is Melky Cabrera getting traded? How about Derek Dietrich? Antonio Brown seems pumped for “Hard Knocks.” High praise for a Pitt product in the NFL. And the Pirates first-round pick insists his arm is fine.

Will Melky move? posted a list of 10 players whose trade stock is rising.

Pirates outfielder Melky Cabrera is No. 1.

Author Mark Feisand writes, “Cabrera boasts an impressive .833 OPS in 59 games, which would be his highest since his All-Star season of 2012. He’ll be 35 on Aug. 11, but he can play either corner outfield spot, and he’s earning only $1.15 million this season, with a chance to add $850,000 in incentives.”

Feisand lists the Indians and the Athletics as the top potential destinations for Cabrera.

Also on the list, the guy every Pirates fan loves to hate: Cincinnati’s Derek Dietrich.

Antonio Brown embraces ‘Hard Knocks’

This will stun Steelers fans, I’m sure.

But Antonio Brown seems content with the notion of network cameras following him around 24-7.

Brown’s Oakland Raiders will be the subject of HBO’s all-access training camp show “Hard Knocks.”

At “Breakfast With Benz,” we’ve been openly campaigning for this result.

Normally, players and coaches seem to hate the intrusion. But the always camera-thirsty Mr. Big Chest appears to be on board.

My guess is there will be an A.B. cam rolling nonstop.

From the other side

We outlined how Pittsburgh should be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final victory over the Red Wings on Wednesday.

Well, it’s being acknowledged in Detroit, too. Just not as fondly.

As WDVI-TV in Detroit points out, that was the last night a Detroit team had a chance to clinch the championship. Also, the station reminds its readers, “While the Penguins went on to win two more Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017, the Red Wings haven’t made it past the second round of the playoffs after that lost opportunity at home 10 years ago.”

Not that Detroit is still disappointed or anything.

No concerns

Pirates first-round draft choice Quinn Priester reiterated what his high school coach told us last week about the state of his pitching arm.

Despite concerns about some tendinitis in Priester’s right arm during his junior season, the Illinois high schooler said yesterday during his introduction to the media that his arm has never felt better than it did his senior year.

“The last offseason I went into a throwing program and a plan,” Priester said. “In between starts I made sure I did all my band work, my weighted ball, my plyo, throwing off the trampoline. Just to make sure my arm was recovering.”

Like his coach, Ryan Passaglia, told us, Priester connected the arm issues a year ago to overuse from throwing a football too much during his time as a high school quarterback.

“My junior year, I did a lot of throwing whether it was a football or a baseball, and I wasn’t doing a lot of the right things between (starts),” Priester continued. “My senior year, after going through some of that fatigue, I needed to make a change.”

Priester made the switch to receiver before his senior season, and that appeared to help matters. Despite the position change, he was still being looked at as a two-sport athlete at Northwestern before deciding on TCU.

Then eventually signing with the Pirates Tuesday.

Best of the bunch?

It wasn’t the strongest NFL draft class for running backs. But Pitt’s Qadree Ollison may be one of the most impactful of the bunch.

That’s according to’s Gil Brandt.

Here’s what he said about the Falcons’ fifth-round pick.

“In a perfect world for the Falcons, Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith would handle the bulk of the rushing load this season. But Freeman has struggled to stay healthy, and both he and Smith lack the ideal size for short-yardage situations, which is where the 6-1, 228-pound Ollison can find a niche.”

Brandt also praised Ollison’s punt-protection ability, which he thinks will have him ready to participate on passing downs. He feels Ollison is “capable of catching the ball, as well, which could make him dangerous in Dirk Koetter’s offense.”

I was always a fan of Ollison at Pitt. But jockeying for position on the depth chart with the likes of James Conner in 2016 and Darrin Hall in 2017 kept his stats down.

I’m not quite sure Ollison will have the impact Brandt is guessing. But I do think he can be a serviceable NFL rookie.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.