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Various Thoughts and Links

-P- Some interesting spin from Dave Littlefield:

"Obviously, it's a little clouded right now because our record is not good, and it's been a disappointing season relative to this point and my own expectations," Littlefield said before a 9-8 loss Sunday to Detroit. "But I do feel good in that we've got some talent and I'm confident we'll play better and win more games sooner than later."
Wow. Even forgetting Littlefield's terrible track record, that's not remotely convincing. We've got "some talent"? We'll "win more games sooner than later?" More games than what? Than we're winning now? That's not saying much, is it?

Come on, Littlefield! Where is the bravado? Where are the absurd promises?

-P- There's an excellent new essay at IrateFans comparing the Pirates to the Marlins.

-P- Via Romo Phone Home, congratulations to Jeromy Burnitz for being named to Page 2's Worst of the Worst team.

-P- I'm just now watching Tom Gorzelanny's recent start on We've seen start after start of Oliver Perez, Victor Santos and, sometimes, Kip Wells throwing junk, and Paul Maholm and Zach Duke don't exactly throw hard. It's really wonderful to see a guy in a Pirate uniform who really looks impressive. The FOX Detroit gun has Gorzelanny throwing as hard as 97 MPH.

-P- Paul Maholm is pitching tonight. It's easy to lose track of the big picture when you're watching nearly every game, so it's worth noting now that Maholm is not pitching well:

92.1 IP 10 HR 61 K 47 BB 4.97 ERA

The 4.97 ERA is not impressive, and the other numbers indicate that the ERA isn't likely to improve any time soon. Batters have a ridiculous .397 OBP against him - in terms of OBP and slugging, he makes the average opposing batter hit like Chipper Jones or Jeff Kent. In addition, Maholm's K/BB is similar to Josh Fogg's.

All of this is to say that I don't currently see Maholm being a key contributor to a playoff-caliber team. He isn't fooling anyone, and he's not having the sort of mediocre season that could suddenly look very nice with a slight improvement in control, or something. Obviously, he's young enough to improve, but it looks to me like his future is that of a #4 or #5 starter. Those sorts of players have value, obviously, but not as much as you'd hope a first-round pick would have.