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Link Roundup: 9/11/08

-P- Just noticed that Baseball Prospectus's Playoff Odds Report now predicts the Pirates will win 67 games. They're remarkably consistent: last year they won 68 games, and the two seasons before that, they won 67. 

-P- Freddy Sanchez will miss some time with blurriness in his eye. The blurriness has been an issue for well over a year now, but Sanchez has still been able to see decently with the help of eye drops. Recently, though, the blurriness has gotten worse. It would be nice if the Pirates had some decent second base prospect to give playing time to while this is going on, but they don't.

-P- Tom Gorzelanny may miss the rest of the season with a finger problem.

-P- I didn't comment on this news item yesterday, but it's interesting: the Pirates' agreements with their Class A teams in Lynchburg and Hickory are expiring, and it's possible that Hickory could move to West Virginia (it's just called West Virginia, but the team is in Charleston). As a Brewers affiliate, West Virginia finished first in the northern division of the Sally League this year and in the past few years has featured prospects like Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo, Alcides Escobar, Mat Gamel, Angel Salome, Matt LaPorta and Jeremy Jeffress. Also, the Brewers had six first- and second-round picks in last year's draft, many of whom will soon play for their Low-A affiliate. I can't imagine West Virginia would be thrilled to pass that up in order to receive all the guys who played at State College this year, and I don't think Southern West Virginians have much loyalty to the Pirates organization anyway. But I rarely understand the reasons teams change affiliates.

-P- Speaking of which, this article about the Spikes' season is pretty entertaining.

-P- One of Pedro Alvarez's former coaches blames the Pirates for taking advantage of the fact that his family is poor:

Marc Cuseta, Alvarez’s former coach on the Bayside Yankees, a summer league team, said the discrepancy between the bonuses offered to Posey and Alvarez indicated that the Pirates were being unfair.

“He’s obviously in a situation where, to be honest with you, they’re trying to take advantage of a lower socioeconomic kid,” he said. “It’s certainly not because he’s not well represented. He’s represented by the best agent in the history of baseball.”

You know, I'm as sympathetic to these kinds of arguments as just about anybody, but... the Pirates agreed to pay Alvarez six million dollars. The largest bonus paid in that draft was $6.2 million. The difference between the two figures is a lmost negligible.

If the idea is that the Pirates knew that they could get away with paying $6 million instead of, say, $6.5 million because they knew that either amount would change Alvarez's life, well, either amount would change any middle-class American's life, too. I won't deny that the draft system is unfair to players or that I'm surprised Alvarez apparently doesn't feel that signing and suiting up is in his best interest, but really, it's that way for nearly all first-round picks. First-round picks are paid amounts of money that are life-changing for all but the very, very rich.

Surely that money is more life-changing for a disadvantaged kid than a middle-class kid, true, but suggesting that the Pirates took advantage of him by agreeing to pay him $6 million instead of $6.3 million seems absurd to me. When the amount of money is that stratospheric, a few hundred thousand dollars is chump change. If Alvarez had received the top bonus in the draft, my guess is that we wouldn't have this problem, and $6.3 million  would have done it.

Anyway, the significance of this is that this coach talks to Alvarez or his father on nearly a daily basis, so this may be as good an indicator as any of what Alvarez actually thinks is going on here.