Tri-State at the Plate Episode #61: Brandon Moss or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Trade Rumors

On this week’s podcast, Andy comes up with his favorite title yet before he and Jason open with a discussion of the Supreme Leader of the Atlanta Braves, John Hart, and his plan for the franchise.  Jason then aggressively dissects the trade rumors swirling around Cleveland, particularly as they pertain to Oakland Athletics outfielder Brandon Moss, but also throws some other interesting names out there that have been circulating the Twitter-verse.  He talks plenty of prospect value and which of the batch of Cleveland Indian middle infielders he would feel comfortable departing with.  Andy then discusses his complex feelings towards Russell Martin signing with the Blue Jays, the catching conundrum in Pittsburgh, the Pirates’ first base situation going forward, and pours one out for his homie, Clint Barmes.  The duo conclude the podcast by answering some Tweetmails about free agents from their good friend Dan in Buffalo.

Pittsburgh Pirates Free Agent Target: Kris Medlen

By Andy Burdick

As a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, I have grown averse to risk as it pertains to players’ contracts.  For example, I’d rather pay $8.5 million dollars for one year of A.J. Burnett than $13 million dollars a year for three years of Francisco Liriano.

Spending money on pitchers is always a roll of the dice.  The Detroit Tigers probably didn’t expect their newest, highest paid ace Justin Verlander to throw 206 innings with a 4.54 ERA last season.

That being said, no team has mastered how to fill five rotation spots with amazing starters, so most teams are going to have to spend money on free agent arms in one fashion or another.  And Pittsburgh is no different. Continue reading

An Open Letter To Francisco Liriano

Dear Francisco “Frankie” Liriano,

So, I hear you want a 3-4 year deal at $12 million per. That’s real great for you and your agent, you sound like a reasonable man compared to a lot of starting pitchers on the open market right now. Hell, you make it sound reasonable compared to what certain left-handed pitchers are getting to do less than you probably would and will do, barring serious injury.

Over the past three seasons, two of which in Pittsburgh, you averaged 161 IP and 2.1 WAR.  In 2014, you racked up a 1.6 WAR in 162.1 IP in 2014 alone. You became an unofficial staff ace in 2013, even after suffering a freak injury attempting to scare your children. In fact, on a dollars per WAR basis, you out-performed your 2014 salary!

I’ve got some bad news for you, if I were GM, I’d love to give you $12 million/yr over 2 years. You should know that pitchers have a shelf life, unless they are Nolan Ryan or they have some chemical help a la Roger Clemens. The problem I have, and Neal Huntington probably (hopefully) has is that giving you 4 years would more than likely be a waste in years 3 and 4.

So, I am seriously doubting you will be in a Pirates uni next season. The Pirates are not spenders, and I am pretty sure you know that. Thankfully, there are going to be some possible replacements on the horizon! We will be examining them in the coming weeks in what I like to call the “Possible Pittsburgh Pirates Free Agent Bonanza”.

So long Frankie,


Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Giving Thanks (And Hope) This Thanksgiving


By Jason Ruggiero

Two consecutive winning seasons. A Cy Young winner who is under club control for four more years. Being on the right side of the Yan Gomes trade. Jose Ramirez. These are just some of the (baseball-related) things that I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving.

It’s certainly a good idea to stop and count your blessings every once in a while and that goes for baseball or life in general but this year is a little different for an Indians fan. We always had things to be thankful for, even in the lean years . . .I mean we always have Major League right? But this year we have something special, something that doesn’t always come around . . . hope.

Continue reading

Russell Martin Expectedly Signs Elsewhere

I told Andy that I would write about Russell Martin when he signed with the Blue Jays yesterday for 5 years and $82 million smackers. For the past two months or so (seriously) I had a draft started that changed titles three different times depending on my optimism:

  1. The Pirates Should Sign Russell Martin.
  2. Will The Pirates Sign Russell Martin?
  3. If The Pirates Don’t Sign Russell Martin, I’ll Die.

That last one was to see how many page views we could rack up from people wishing to see me have some sort of nervous breakdown.

Now that Martin’s tenure with the Pirates is over, I thought we could all look back at how the highest paid free agent in Pirates history helped them to consecutive winning seasons.

Continue reading

Noise on the North Coast – Nov. 17 2014

By Jason Ruggiero

Noise on the North Coast


Snow is piling up along the North Coast which means it’s the off-season, time once again for me to philosophize with my (electronic) pen about where the Indians are, where they are going, and if necessary re-hash where we have been. Obviously this column has been absent for quite some time, but rather than waste any digital ink explaining my disappearance, let’s just get right down to baseball, which is why you are really here.

Continue reading

Andy Burdick’s 2014 Fantasy Baseball Review: Part 2

By Andy Burdick

This is the follow up to Part 1 of my fantasy baseball season review.  You can check that out here.  It’s a nice mental exercise that forces me to look at my roster and the moves I made and to analyze the direction my roster is going in the future.

2014 Trades I Made

As a fantasy manager, I am fairly aggressive with trades relative to the rest of the managers in my league.  This is partially because I feel like I have a competitive roster in the present and I look to fill whatever statistical gaps my roster has in an attempt to win now. Continue reading

AJ Burnett’s Steel City Swan Song

By Andy Burdick

A.J. Burnett had a bit of a career renaissance in Pittsburgh and Pirates fans will be looking forward to see if he can continue that success next season.

The Pirates traded for Burnett prior to the 2012 season and from that point forward, he put together two of his best seasons for the club, with the Pirates paying just $13 million for his two years of work.

2012 35 PIT 3.51 31 1 1 202.1 189 86 79 18 62 1 180 9 10 851 107 3.52 1.241 8.4 0.8 2.8 8.0 2.90
2013 36 PIT 3.30 30 1 0 191.0 165 79 70 11 67 3 209 9 12 801 108 2.80 1.215 7.8 0.5 3.2 9.8 3.12

After declining Pittsburgh’s qualifying offer last season and then being unable to reach a deal with the club, Burnett spurned Pittsburgh for the other side of the state and made a ‘no-brainer’ decision to sign a one year deal with the Phillies for $15 million, with a player option for 2015. Continue reading

Tri-State at the Plate Episode #60:

Corey Kluber had an exceptional season.  Everyone agrees.

Corey Kluber had an exceptional season. Everyone agrees.

On this week’s podcast, Andy and Jason analyze the SB Nation Off-Season Simulation and the craziness of letting average fans make moves on a franchise’s behalf. Andy then discusses a busy off-season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, starting with the proactive trade of reliever Justin Wilson for Yankees backstop Francisco Cervelli.  He then discusses Pedro Alvarez‘s transition to first base, the soon-to-be non-tendering of Ike Davis and Jon Heyman’s Tweeting of all things baseball related.  He finishes up by looking at the off-season awards that could have been for the Pirates as well as trades he would love to see happen in Pittsburgh.  Jason then leap frogs into the discussion on behalf of the Tribe, tackling Tribe Town favorites Michael Brantley and the most recent Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber.  He then discusses Yan Gomes‘s phenomenal season, the strength of the starting pitching, the short term upgrades for the Tribe, and finishes by waxing poetic about Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez.  The duo conclude this episodically long podcast by answering Dan in Buffalo’s Tweetmail about how much money the Tribe and Buccos should spend this winter.

Andy Burdick’s 2014 Fantasy Baseball Review: Part 1

By Andy Burdick

Every year I post an annual review for my long-time dynasty league as a mental exercise of where I finished, how I finished there, and the direction I would like to take my roster in the future.  I used to post this on my own personal blog, but now that I manage a baseball-related one, I thought this may prove helpful to other fantasy owners who are looking to analyze their fantasy teams as well.

I will break this review into two different posts.  Part 1 is going to take a look at the season that was.  I will analyze some of the ups and downs as well as disappointments and surprises.  Part 2 will analyze how I will use this year’s roster to help continue to build my dynasty going forward.

So, without further delay… Continue reading