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Link Roundup

Starting with a few links from the Post-Gazette:

-P- Jack Wilson is out with a minor injury.

-P- Lots of interesting stuff in the new Q+A. Why didn't the Pirates' management play Craig Wilson?

...[M]y third-party view, for what it is worth, is that it was, indeed, personal.

Way to run a ballclub, Pirates! Bench a player with obvious power potential for long stretches for six years, then dump him for nothing, all for personal reasons.

One wonders what Wilson did to anger the Pirates. No one has ever reported anything about Wilson's behavior that the Pirates might have reasonably objected to - as far as we know, the worst things Wilson ever did were drink Pepsi and complain vaguely and mildly about being benched for no reason for parts of six years. On the other hand, the Pirates have never had qualms about acquiring and keeping guys who were PR problems, jerks and even outright criminals. Two guys even quit the team earlier this year and are still in the organization. Rob Mackowiak stayed with the team for years after getting busted for driving drunk. Jason Boyd had at least a couple brushes with the law. Mark Corey got in trouble with marijuana before the Pirates acquired him. Those players suffered no lasting penalty for the trouble they caused - they all were allowed to be the role players their talents dictated they should be. Wilson was repeatedly benched, disrespected and wasted. Maybe he killed someone?

Elsewhere in the Q+A: How will the Pirates spend the money saved from making all those stupid trades on Monday?

The plan for the team's trade savings, as was outlined in a brief piece in Wednesday's paper, is to put the money back into the baseball operations in some form or other. How that will happen is not going to be clear even after the fact, of course, since details of the budget are not made public.

Bucs Dugout did some investigative reporting* to find out where the money is going. I secretly placed a recording device in the Helping Pirates Vault (HPV for short), where all the money for the Pirates' budget is stored, in cash and gold bullion. You probably haven't heard of the vault, but that's because it's just a utility closet in PNC. Actually, it's a shelf in a utility closet. Well, a corner of a shelf. It's not an easy place to hide a camera. Anyway, here's the** transcript.

KEVIN McCLATCHY: [Cackling] Well, hellooooo, money! I've just told that foo-ol Kovacevic that the portion of you I've saved from these "trades" [making quotation marks with long, yellowed fingers] will go back to the team. Well, I have to keep my word, don't I? [Cackling] Now, here is the $5.4 million I saved from these trades. [Pushes portion of money to the right side of the shelf] This stack of money will be used to pay salaries for next year. [Pause] Ohh, but I have quite a lot of money still over here, on the left side of the shelf. Why, this is much more than the Pirates need, surely. I'll just take a small sum - perhaps, say, $5.4 million - for the Yacht Fund! Did I say Yacht Fund? I meant Very Good And Philanthropic Things Fund! Bwa ha! Bwa ha ha! Bwa ha ha ha!

*not really

-P- The Bucs signed a Dominican shortstop.

"He's a great hitter. I mean, he can really rake," said Rene Gayo, director of Latin American scouting. "Of all the high-profile kids I've seen get taken, I've not seen anyone with the pitch recognition and ability to get the bat on the ball like this kid."

Juan, 18, is 6 feet 1, but Gayo's staff is optimistic that he will grow another 3 inches and develop power to go with his sound approach.

"When you look at him, build-wise, he looks like Vladimir Guerrero," Gayo said. "We think there's more there and, even if there isn't, we love his bat."

There still isn't a single Latin American prospect playing for the Pirates organization in America, but I'm willing to give Gayo the benefit of the doubt here. More than the signing itself, I'm encouraged by the way Gayo talks about Juan. Instead of his speed or athleticism, he's talking about hitting and pitch recognition. That's a step forward, surely. The article also notes, however, that the $75,000 the Pirates paid for Juan in nowhere near the largest sum a Latin American teenager has received recently, and that the Pirates have recently signed fewer Latin American players than most organizations. And where do the Pirates get off thinking that an 18-year-old is going to grow three more inches?

-P- B.P. Chacon's nickname stays for now. So he allowed one run in five innings in his first start for the Bucs - he also walked four guys while striking out three. That's not the stuff of sustained success. Color me unimpressed.

-P- Billy responds to my article about Craig Wilson yesterday.