Nobody asked me, but . . .
* Gerritt Cole continues to dominate in spring training, including a stint yesterday against Spain’s World Baseball Classic team in which he struck out the first six batters he faced. Still, Cole’s chances of opening the season with the Pirates remain unchanged at zero. Whether he’s ready or not, it would be fiscal stupidity for the Pirates to start Cole’s free-agency clock, when, if they waited about another five weeks, they could delay it by a full year.
* The Steelers are in contract negotiations with James Harrison, who is due to make $6.57 million in 2013 and $7.575 million in 2014, which is more than the Steelers can afford. If the team is lucky, the negotiations will go nowhere and they’ll have no choice but to release Harrison. The Steelers need to make sound economic decisions based on the years ahead, not the year ahead.
* Women’s basketball isn’t exactly a front-burner issue, but the status of Pitt coach Agnus Berenato, whose teams have been winless for two consecutive seasons in Big East play, is drawing interest. Will she be retained, the case for which is stated in these 1,700 words by Paul Zeize? Or will she be fired for winning way, way, way too infrequently and for having issues within her program that have caused Pitt to ``lose two entire recruiting classes?’’
* Any hope the Steelers might still sign Mike Wallace, who becomes a free agent next week, was dashed when Kansas City re-signed wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to a five-year $56 million contract that includes $26 million guaranteed and a $15 million signing bonus. That deal not only takes some of the competition off the market, it sets a wage scale in place for Wallace and it is one the Steelers cannot and should not match.
* My candidate for 2013 Pirates surprise supreme: Jose Tabata.
* Interesting and somewhat disturbing factoid about Travis Snider. According to stats provided by David Schoenfield of ESPN.com, in 346 MLB plate appearances that ended with a fastball being thrown, Snider has a .234 batting average. The MLB average is .280. Schoenfield writes, ``If you can’t hit the fastball, you’re not going to make it.’’
* What makes the Berenato story compelling is that if she is fired the obvious candidate to replace her is Suzie McConnell, the face of women’s basketball in the region and currently the coach at Duquesne, where she has raised the profile of that program above Pitt’s. Would Pitt, which can pay a lot more, raid Duquesne? Would McConnell be interested?
* Little-known fact: It was the signing of Jose Contreras, now a Pirate, by the New York Yankees that spawned one of baseball’s most famous baseball quotes of recent years. When he learned that the much sought-after Contreras had signed with the New York Yankees in 2002 instead of his team, Larry Lucchino, CEO of the Boston Red Sox, famously said told Murray Chass of the New York Times, ``The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America.’’
* The World Baseball Classic is not only nonsense, it’s a pain in the butt. Jameson Taillon is Florida-born, Texas-raised and extraordinarily vital to the future of the Pirates. But he is away from spring training camp and preparing for the WBC, and not with the U.S. where he’d have no chance of making the team, but with Canada. It’s hard to imagine Taillon has a burning desire to perform for Canada. Either the Pirates or Taillon -- or both -- should have said no. Taillon gave up two runs, four hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings yesterday in pitching for Canada against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Cole can't pitch himself on to Opening Day rosterWednesday, 06 March 2013 12:15 AM Written by Bob Smizik
Nobody asked me, but . . .