Ireland Contracting Nightly Sports Call: March 26, 2021 (Pt. 2)

KDKA's Rich Walsh and 93.7 The Fan's Paul Zeise discuss the sports topics of the day.

Video Transcript

- All right, so we're going to continue this Pirate talk. We got Joe from La Trobe. He's a big Buckos fan. Big fan of the show too. How are you doing, Joe?

JOE: Good. Hi, a couple of things about the Pirates. Who will be the backup catcher for the Pirates? Who will be in the bullpen who isn't Krik Rodriguez and [INAUDIBLE]. I'll hang up and listen to your response.

- Paul, I'll let you tackle this, I think, because we don't even know who the catcher is going to be let alone the backup catcher.

- You know, it's funny. I had Jason Macky tonight, and he told me who the backup catcher is. But I forget. There's two guys battling for it. I mean, Jacob Stallings is, obviously, going to be the catcher.

As far as the bullpen goes, I mean, you know, there's a good chance that they're going to have nine guys, I think, in their bullpen. You know, because they have 26 on the roster. So they'll have their five starters, and it's entirely possible they're going to have nine bullpen members.

And, of course, they've got the Michael Felice's, and the Clay Holmes, and those kind of guys still. They've got a few guys that are some younger guys that they picked up that throw hard. I don't know if they throw accurately, but they throw hard. So the bullpen right now is still a little bit of a work in progress.

- Yeah, but what hurts the whole pitching staff is losing a guy, like Steven Brault. I mean, he could be a aflex guy. He could be a starter, probably projected as a starter. He's out for a little while.

Then he could have been a bullpen guy too. They just got so many unknowns with this team this year, and I don't expect much. I mean, even though I said I was optimistic, I was kind of joking there. But I do like what Ke'Bryan Hayes, and Kevin Newman, and Adam Frazier are doing.

Hopefully, they can deal Fraizer something and get something for him, but they need a lot. They need a lot. They don't even have one pitcher that I'm comfortable with. Chad Cole, he's coming off Tommy John. Are you comfortable with him being your number one guy?

- Well, Stephen Brault was supposed to be your number one guy, I think. At least, he was your best pitcher in the spring, so now, you don't have him. I mean, today, Trevor Cahill went, didn't exactly inspire confidence.

There's some discussion that Tyler Anderson could be maybe your opening day starter, which would be a total disaster. You know, Chad Cole and Mitch Geller are the two guys right now that you hope that you can rely on. But I don't know what either one of them has shown that would suggest that they are ready to be those consistent Major League starters, so the pitching is a work in progress.

And there's a lot of unknowns about this team, but there are some good things. I mean, again, Ke'Bryan Hayes is a really good defensive player. That should help your infield defense out. Newman and Frazier have been hitting really well in the spring, if they continue that. You know, I think Collin Morant probably in an upgrade a little bit over Josh Bell defensively at first, so we'll see.

- Yeah, I'm still not too optimistic. I'm going to do my prediction here next week, but I can't-- I don't know if I'm going to predict more than 60 something wins, low 60s, I think. I don't know. They just don't have the pitching staff. I could see them finish the season with 50 some wins this year, which is unbelievable.

- The over under is what? I think the over under is 57.5.

- And a half, yeah. It's unbelievable.

- 57.5, which means they could hit the over and still lose 100 games. That's how bad people think they're going to be.

- Let's go out to Joe in Penn Hills. How are you doing, Joe?

- Hey, Rich. Hey, Paul.

- My hometown of Penn Hills, Della Selous Pizza. I love it in Penn Hills.

- Yeah, you know, another legacy of Huntington. When he drafted Tucker, the next pick was Bruner for the Dodgers. He was going to be a superstar, and when he picked Newman, the next pick was Max Chapman, who's ranked number 23 in all baseball now. He plays for the Oakland A's, so we don't hear so much about him. But that's how Huntington drafted, and that's how it works. And that's why they are where they are.

- Joe, I appreciate the call, and I like the research there. And I love going back through drafts and looking at who you could've drafted. I mean, the Steelers could have got Emmitt Smith, right? But they already had-- they drafted Frank Worley, or something, or Tim Worley. That's who it was--

- Time Worley.

- --the year before. But I love doing that, but you could do that with just about anyone, right? I mean, it's a gamble, especially in baseball. You don't know what these kids are going to do. They're high school kids.

- Or high school or college kids, and it all depends on what you need. And Neal Huntington was a guy that really valued having pitching. So if you look at his drafts, they were pitching heavy, and that's just the way that they went.

I mean, it's not a surprise, but like you said, if you really take a look at it from a standpoint of who was drafted after his guys, I mean, you could do that with anybody in any draft. Because there are always going to be really good players, who get passed over, who are second, third, fourth, fifth rounders. It's just that's a part of it.

- Yeah, look at Mike Trout, for example. I mean, how many teams could have had him and passed over on him?

- Well, again, we talk about the legacy or whatever of two franchises. What if the Cleveland Browns had drafted Ben instead of Kellen Winslow? Who knows? Maybe the Browns would have been the team with two or three Super Bowls, and the Steelers would be still bumbling around. I mean, it's that-- I mean, you could do that with just about anybody.

- All right, now, we're going to go to our Tri-state Office Furniture Tweet of the day before we take more phone calls, and this is a good one here tonight. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby became the eighth fastest player to hit the 1,300 points milestone, so he did it last night with an empty nester. So congratulations to Sidney Crosby, and that's our Tri-state Tweet of The Day. Back with more your phone calls coming up next. Stay right there.