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Link Roundup

-P- Ken Rosenthal defends the Bucs:

One executive after another has been critical of the Pirates' high asking prices for players such as outfielders Jason Bay and Xavier Nady, shortstop Jack Wilson and left-hander Damaso Marte.

But as one GM of a low-revenue club said Thursday, teams like the Pirates do not exist to serve as farm clubs for big-money teams — and thanks to revenue sharing, they now can make the best possible baseball trades instead of simply dumping salaries.

It seems to me there's a middle ground between "dumping salaries" and what the Pirates have reportedly asked for, but Rosenthal's right: we won't really know anything until after the deadline.

-P- In a similar vein, here's an interview with the Red Sox's VP of player personnel that demonstrates why it's too early to panic about unsigned draft picks:

Kevin Goldstein: With a lot of these "over-slot" type of picks, you don't sign them until late, and at times there isn't even an offer made until very late in the process—kind of collapsing the process to the very end. Why is that?

Ben Cherington: I think the advantage of drafting in particular high school players, because they are the kinds of players that usually fit into this category, and waiting to make an offer—and in some cases we never get to the point of making an offer—but the advantage of doing that is that it does allow for a little more time to get to know the player... We've used that strategy with several high school players over the last two or three years... and we came to the conclusion that we were not comfortable offering a bonus anywhere near what their demand was. In other cases, after doing all of the work on a player, we decided that their asking price was closer to what matches up with our valuation of him, and we go ahead and try to get a deal done.

It's been reported before that the Pirates have made their final offers with some of these high-upside, late-round picks, but perhaps that will turn out to not be the case.

I feel a bit calmer today.

-P- Dejan Kovacevic  talks to Scott Boras:

"Neal, when he got the job, called me, and we've had a few good conversations since then," Boras said. "In general, I've found Neal and the Pirates to be cooperative and professional."

He doesn't offer a whole lot of specifics, but this is still worth checking out.

-P- The Cubs have called up pitcher Jeff Samardzija, the former Notre Dame football player. He's looked like a huge disappointment throughout much of his time in the minors and continued to look that way after a poor start to the year at Class AA Tennessee, but he made some adjustments and pitched very well after being promoted to Class AAA Iowa. Funny quote from Lou Piniella:

"Actually, he has been throwing the ball better in Triple-A than in Double-A ball," manager Lou Piniella said. "Maybe if we move him up to the big leagues, he'll even throw the ball better."

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's the way it works.