U mad, bro? Readers want Evgeni Malkin traded, Joe Haden gone, Bob Nutting exposed | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

U mad, bro? Readers want Evgeni Malkin traded, Joe Haden gone, Bob Nutting exposed

Tim Benz
Tribune-Review, AP
Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting. Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin. Steelers cornerback Joe Haden.

We’re all over the map in this week’s “U mad, bro?”

Readers want Bob Nutting exposed, Joe Haden gone and Evgeni Malkin traded.

Aside from that, no one has a strong opinion on much of anything, I guess.

This week I posted a column featuring my questions and answers with Pirates owner Bob Nutting after he fired Neal Huntington as general manager and hired Travis Williams as team president.

“Goterrapin” was particularly unimpressed with Nutting’s explanation of why general manager Huntington was fired a month after Clint Hurdle and a few days after Frank Coonelly left the team.

The answer he gave with respect to the timing of the Huntington firing is really ridiculous. Not that the other two answers were even remotely satisfactory. But this one, it makes you seriously wonder… even more that you already do about this dude.

To be honest, the other responses bothered me more.

My first question was about the duties he wanted Williams to fulfill. Nutting began by saying he wanted the new team president to set the tone for baseball operations and hire the right general manager to carry out that message. A few minutes later, Nutting said that he wanted separation between the team president’s office and the general manager’s.

So which one is it?

And the response he gave about not committing to payroll expansion was totally disheartening.

Sure. How he handled the dismantling of his chief lieutenants was puzzling and sloppy. But it was the right result in the end.

So the other stuff was more troublesome to me.

Dave is dubious of something Nutting said about PNC Park improvements.

I’m with you, Dave. The same thing crossed my mind. I pictured the following conversation taking place in a year or two.

New general manager: “Bob, we are within three games of the divisional lead and we could really use some bullpen help. Can we take on some salary?”

Nutting: “Pfft! Uh, there are at least three urinals that need to be replaced on the 100 level. I think that’s more of a priority. Don’t you?”

“The ‘burgh collector” wasn’t happy with any of Nutting’s responses.

Here’s what I’ll say positively about Nutting. In-season, when the playoffs have been unavoidable, he’ll add payroll.

Derrek Lee, Ryan Ludwick, Marlon Byrd, Justin Morneau, J.A. Happ, Chris Archer.

Right or wrong, those guys were all valued targets at the trade deadline.

The Pirates’ problem is that in advance of seasons — setting up their payroll commitments for the year — they have failed their fans.

Spend when they have to in July. Try to get there in the first place on a shoe-string budget in December.

That’s been the problem.

Stan wants the Penguins to consider an Evgeni Malkin trade.

It may be a good time to contemplate trading Evgeni Malkin for a player or a couple draft picks. I don’t feel that the Pens really need him – he can be a loose cannon on the ice who gathers penalties at the worst possible times. Sullivan seems to love coaching the younger guys that are mixed with the veterans, especially when you have a Sidney Crosby to hold that leadership position.

Just a thought – it would also provide some much needed cap room.

Stan, the only time to contemplate trading an Evgeni Malkin-type player is in the offseason so you can properly use that cap space to restructure your team in the manner you are suggesting.

Or, use/parlay the draft picks your team would get. The only time a team should do something that extreme with a player of Malkin’s cache mid-season is if that club has decided it can’t compete for the playoffs.

It’s not quite November. The Penguins need scoring on the power play. They’ve been decent despite a rash of injuries. And they haven’t missed the playoffs since the George W. Bush administration.

They aren’t trading Evgeni Malkin.

Don is starting to worry about Steelers cornerback Joe Haden.

Is Joe Haden as good as advertised? To me he is looking “past his prime”. Kind of OK, but not great. More like expensive meatloaf but not steak?

Don, I’d still rather have Haden’s meatloaf than the dog food that we’ve seen at cornerback over the years from Cortez Allen to Antwon Blake to Artie Burns.

But “meatloaf” is a bit harsh. He wasn’t good in the first quarter against Miami. That’s true. But “meatloaf?” I’d say he’s still at least flank steak, wouldn’t you?

Even if this year ends poorly for Haden, he was good in 2017 and 2018. And in the words of Meatloaf, “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

OK. I’m done here after that effort.

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.

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