One can't help but wonder if ... Pirates' owner Bob Nutting and president Frank Coonelly held off announcing the contract extensions (through 2011 for both) of General Manager Neal Huntington and Manager John Russell because they wanted to retain the option of firing them, or at least one of them, during the 2010 season.
Nutting and Coonelly had to know that rumors and speculation thrive in a communications vacuum. They had to know that letting Huntington and Russell twist in the wind wasn't doing anybody any favors, least of all Huntington and Russell. Yet they still kept the extensions a secret. What were thinking? Where are their PR guys? Working for BP??
It's baffling, mystifying and ridiculous. It makes no sense. It's bad business. And just plain stupid. It's so-o-o-o Pirates.
It was absurd of the Pirates to try to keep the extensions a secret.
Now that the secret has come to light, as it inevitably would, one can't help but wonder why the Pirates refused to announce the extensions. Operating as a lame duck could not possibly have helped either Huntington or Russell. What was the point?
After announcing the extensions yesterday, Coonelly said, "a contract will not prevent us from making a change if one is appropriate and thus contract status truly is irrelevant."
... At which point, our "B.S. Meter" went kerflooey.
With that "explanation," Frank Coonelly, speaking as the representative of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club, offered about as much clarity, validity, sanity and transparency as North Korea's Kim Jong-il.
Sorry, Mr. Coonelly, but we gotta call B.S. on all of this.
- In light of Coonelly's statement, just when is a 13-game losing streak appropriate?
- When is a record of 23-43 appropriate?
- When is a run differential of -154 appropriate? ... on June 18, no less! Opposing teams have scored 154 more runs than the Pirates -- by far the worst in the majors! When is that appropriate?
- And, finally, just when is is it appropriate to post a record of 152-238 -- the Pirates' record under Huntington and Russell since the beginning of the 2008 season, and the worst in the majors in that span -- when is that appropriate?
Or was it just possibly the whisperings of agents in the ears of the top two draft picks in last week's draft (Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie) ... whisperings to the effect of, "We have leverage against the Pirates -- their general manager's a lame duck, so he's desperate to sign you. Let's hold out or hold 'em up."
*** *** ***Speaking of the recent baseball draft:
One can't help but wonder if ... Frank Coonelly and Neal Huntington would have drafted slugging high school shortstop Manny Machado instead of fireballing high school pitcher Jameson Taillion, if they had known flamethrowing high school pitcher Stetson Allie was going to be available still when their turn came around in the second round.
You can never have too much pitching, but Taillon and Allie are both fireballing/flamethrowing high school right-handed pitchers.
We have a feeling they would have drafted Machado, if they'd known Allie was going to be on the board still in the second round. There was no way for them to know that, of course.
One can't help but wonder if ... The Pirates had drafted Manny Machado, what the left side of the infield would look like in a year or two with Pedro Alvarez and Machado playing third base and shortstop, respectively.
One can't help but wonder .. How the starting rotation might perform in four or five years with Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie potentially at the top of it.
One can't help but wonder if ... The Pirates will actually be able to sign both Taillon and Allie, or either one of them, for that matter.