Coonelly: Hello everyone, and thanks for joining me today while we take on the Reds at PNC Park. Let's get started.
timaz78:: Mr. Coonelly, do you see Alex Presley and Jim Negrych as probable September call-ups?
Coonelly: Alex Presley has had an impressive season beginning with Altoona and continuing with an impressive start in Indy. Jimmy Negrych has also returned this year from the injury he sustained in Altoona last year to put together a strong season. Neither Alex or Jimmy are on the 40-man roster, but that would not preclude a September call-up. Brandon Moss has really come on over the last several months and is certainly a candidate for a September call-up. Neal and Kyle Stark and their staffs have not yet, however, made any decisions in terms of September call-ups.
kevschwarz: Will there be any trades or signings for pitchers this year or next?
Coonelly: As I have mentioned in probably each of the last two chats, we are very encouraged by the development of the pitching prospects in our system , and particularly those currently leading Altoona to one of the most impressive seasons in the Minor Leagues, those players include: Bryan Morris, Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, Jeff Locke and Jared Hughes. Nevertheless, we will aggressively evaluate outside options for both the starting rotation and the bullpen in the trade and free agent markets this offseason.
SnakeWesker: Could we see John Bowker in the big leagues this year? What about Brandon Moss?
Coonelly: SnakeWesker, thanks for mentioning Bowker. As I indicated in a previous answer, Brandon Moss has earned the right to be considered for a call-up at some point this season. John Bowker, who we acquired from San Francisco, is another player with Major League experience who we will get to know and will be considered for a call-up at the appropriate time. Both Bowker and Moss are experienced lefthanded bats that we think have a chance to help us.
ahouser95: What is the progress made with signing the two recent pitchers in the draft, Taillon and Allie, along with Heredia?
Coonelly: We have had positive dialogue with both Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie and remain confident that we will be able to sign both players. As the August 16 signing deadline is now less than two weeks away, we look forward to those discussions picking up and reaching resolution with both players and bringing in two quality right-handed power pitchers into the system. Luis Heredia is a young pitcher who we have followed but who is not yet eligible to sign a contract.
18nalax: What is the future of Chris Snyder/Ryan Doumit? Snyder will be making $5.5 million next year, so will management be looking to pay that?
Coonelly: We acquired Chris Snyder to bolster our catching for the remainder of this year and next year and did so understanding his contract terms. Ryan Doumit is a dangerous offensive bat who John Russell will continue to utilize as a catcher and look to get him in the lineup at other positions as well. Using Ryan in the outfield will allow JR to give Lastings Milledge, Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen a day off as he sees fit.
pgharsteve: Are you proud (effort, wins-losses, progress, depth, etc.) of the team, especially the big league team?
Coonelly: pgharsteve, as I have said on several occasions this year, we are extremely disappointed by the team's record. We expected much better and our fans deserve much better. I do believe, however, that the players and JR and his staff have worked extremely hard to get the club moving in the right direction. There have been no signs of a lack of effort or a lack of caring. Our fans need only look in the dugout during last night's game as Evan Meek and Hanrahan maintained the lead in a tight game that our players cared deeply about winning every game that we play, regardless of our record. Our focus is the continued development of this young core and finishing this season with a strong push. Individual players are fighting hard to establish starting roles with the club and the club as a whole is working to develop a winning mentality and those efforts will continue to drive us through the end of the season.
timaz78: Mr. Coonelly, I haven't seen Yhonthan Barrios' name in any stat lines yet, however on the MILB site he is listed as being assigned to West Virginia. What is his status?
Coonelly: timaz78, Barrios is currently on the disabled list recovering from surgery to remove the hook of the hamate. It is uncertain whether he will be able to return this season, but we expect that he will fully recover and be ready for Instructional League. This is the same surgery that Starling Marte and Pedro Alvarez have had and is relatively minor as surgeries go.
Coonelly: One more for today...
jm_bucsfan: Are you happy with the trading deadline deals?
Coonelly: We are pleased with what Neal and his staff were able to accomplish at the deadline. They were able to convert a group of free agent signings from this past offseason into six players over whom we have control for multiple years, some of whom are helping the Major League club now and others who are continuing to build the depth of talent in our organization.
Coonelly: Thanks again everyone for joining me. Going to get back to the game, and hope we can plate a few for the W today. I will see you all again next month.