Here are some highlights from members of the Pirates' chats with reporters at PirateFest this weekend.
-P- Andrew McCutchen said Neil Walker's departure from the Pirates hit him hard.
"It's one thing losing teammates. It's another thing losing friendship, because they were right there with you. That's the hard part as this business goes on. You have guys in your life who are there, who come up with you. Someone like Walker, who I've been next to since I was in Double-A, we were roommates, and friends, teammates coming up through the system, and now he's gone with the Mets. It's sad [in] that sense."
McCutchen repeatedly emphasized that it isn't his job to evaluate talent, but did share his thoughts on how next year's team might fare despite the losses of Walker, Pedro Alvarez and Charlie Morton.
"There have been times where -- for instance, last year, honestly, and this is being truthful, honest -- [I was] going, 'Do we have enough? Is this enough?' Was our team good enough to make it where we wanted to make it? I sat around in Spring Training, I'm looking around, like, is this enough? We had to believe in each other and trust in each other. That's where it starts. We ended up winning 98 games. We didn't get where we wanted to get, but we continued to excel. We did better than we did the year before. Just because it may not look like it on paper, it's still possible for us to have a great team. I'm just going to go from there. We just believe in what we have."
McCutchen also repeated that he would be interested in an extension that would keep him in Pittsburgh for the rest of his career.
"This is still a place I do want to be. I love it here. If there's something that they can do, then it's something that they can do. I really can't answer from their end. But we'll see what happens in the future."
A member of the media asked how much McCutchen thought he was worth, particularly in light of Jason Heyward's $184 million contract.
"I don't know what I'm worth," he said. "I don't define my worth in money."
Incidentally, McCutchen's chat with the press came after several other players took turns chatting with six or seven members of the media. Unsurprisingly, when McCutchen came behind the media curtain, he was suddenly surrounded by a throng more than twice as big. As he chatted with us, Josh Harrison and Rob Scahill (who had been hanging out in the media area) climbed on chairs behind us and pointed water bottles at McCutchen as if they were microphones. If there happens to be any footage of me turning around and smiling while McCutchen's in the middle of a question, that's why.
-P- Francisco Cervelli says he doesn't know anything about any extension discussions between him and the Pirates. That doesn't mean there haven't been any, but it appears that if they have, they haven't gotten to the point where Cervelli's agent made him aware of them.
"Nobody talks to me about that. Nobody approached me about something like this," he said. "I would love to retire on this team, because it's [not good] to be jumping around too much."
Cervelli also discussed what it's like to work with different types of pitchers.
"The way I learned about catching is, you have to know each personality," he says. "Some guys are quiet. Some guys, their adrenaline is up. You've got a guy like [Jared] Hughes, you cannot be quiet. You've got to just go with him. But Charlie is the kind of guy who, just got to be relaxed, talk to him normal. I spent the whole season trying to figure out each guy."
-P- Jared Hughes on the construction of the Pirates' bullpen: "It's a bunch of guys that can throw over 97 miles an hour. A bunch of guys that just throw fuzz. I don't! But that's okay. I've just got to embrace what I do well."
Hughes said he would be comfortable with Tony Watson as the Bucs' closer if the Pirates were to trade Mark Melancon.
"A bunch of guys could step into the ninth-inning role. I think Melancon's the best closer in the major leagues, though. But I think that, without a doubt, Tony is a very qualified pitcher, and he could succeed in any role they put him in."
-P- Michael Morse dropped an interesting tidbit on last season, which he split between Miami and Pittsburgh.
"It was really a learning experience for me. Starting out with the Marlins, it didn't go well there. But when I did come to the Pirates, the atmosphere and the feel, the chemistry was so much better. It made me feel more myself, being able to play and play to win."
Morse also expressed admiration for Walker.
"To me he was the glue of the team. Neil was definitely one of the leaders in the clubhouse, on the field," said Morse. "He definitely will be missed. But again, you've just got to think of the bigger picture -- that the GM and the manager and everybody has a plan for the team."
-P- Jake Goebbert said the Pirates haven't shared much with him about his role next season, so he's preparing to play either at first base or in the outfield. The Bucs contacted him the first day of free agency, he says.
"They were the first team to call, and they made a great offer, and something I was really excited for," says Goebbert, who grew up an hour west of Chicago. "Being in the Midwest, and being in the National League Central, this is a dream for me."
Goebbert has also been working this offseason, as he usually does, on his family's pumpkin farm back in Illinois.
"My wife and I live about five minutes from the farm," he said. "We're there almost every day, enjoying it. Hopefully I'm not there this fall, though. Hopefully we're in the playoffs."