Coonelly: Oscar, it is a real benefit to the organization to have former
championship Pirate players in camp working with our players. Players like Virdon, Sanguillen, Tekulve
and Maz add not only expert instruction but also help to instill a championship mentality. Maz in
particular has been reinvigorated by the challenge that Clint Hurdle has given him to help us improve
defensively. Maz's work with Neil Walker at second base has received quite a bit of attention, but he is
working hard with all of our infielders to help them improve.
bucsin09: Hello Mr. Coonelly! Thanks as always for your time. How much of the
Bucs 25-man roster is still up for grabs?
Coonelly: Bucsin09, there are several positions that are subject to significant
competition. Obviously, there are several bullpen jobs that have multiple candidates that Clint and his
staff are evaluating. We brought in several veteran arms and several members of our farm system are
making a strong showing to break camp with the big league club. There is also competition for the
corner infield slot, middle infield and fifth outfielder. Of course several pitchers are competing for the
fifth spot in the rotation. It's early of course but there are spirited competitions going on at each of
Thanatos: What position will be the focus of the Draft this year?
Coonelly: Thanatos, We do not target any particular position in the Draft based
on our perceived need. Instead, our guiding principle for our scouts is to select the best player
available for each and every one of our selections. Often, it may appear that we have targeted a
position based on our selections but that has always been a result of the strength of the Draft. For
instance, last year we selected a large number of high school right-handed pitchers because that was
the strength of last year's Draft, particularly in the positions we selected.
marmari: I'm perplexed regarding Neil Huntington's comment recently that the
Pirates couldn't reasonably compete for everyday players or middle rotation pitchers on the open
market. Don't Lyle Overbay and Kevin Correia fit that profile?
Coonelly: Marmari, Lyle Overbay and Kevin Correia would certainly qualify as
everyday players or starters and you are correct that we secured each in the free agent market. I think
that Neal's point was that we need to develop internally top-of-the-rotation starters and middle-of-
the-order bats. Players like Jameson Taillon and Pedro Alvarez are players we need to develop
internally rather than looking to fill those types of positions through the free agent market.
Bucsfan: Mr. Coonelly, If the injury to Joe Beimel is more than what it seems,
and Scott Olsen is already not doing all baseball-related activities, are you comfortable with Daniel
Moskos and whomever in the lefthanded reliever position?
Coonelly: Bucsfan, we do not believe the injury to Joe will keep him from
competing this spring. Scott Olsen is performing baseball activities and has already thrown several
bullpens. Scott seems to be well on his way to pitching in games, possibly as early as next week. Daniel
Moskos and Tony Watson are two young exciting left hand arms who are in camp and competing for a
spot in the bullpen. It's early, but both have looked strong. Brian Burres is also a veteran lefthander
who can pitch out of the pen if he is not in the starting rotation.
rebelee: What is the status of Alex Presley going into the season?
Coonelly: Rebelee, Alex Presley, who had an outstanding year last year in
Altoona and Indy is in camp and competing for the fifth outfield spot. Alex can play all three outfield
positions and provides speed off the bench.
Thanatos: Where will Tony Sanchez start? How long until he's in
Coonelly: Tony was slated to move up to Altoona last year before he broke his
jaw and needed to be shut down. Kyle Stark and his development staff has not made any assignments
as of yet, but it is likely that Tony will start the year in Altoona. He has been in big league camp for a
second year this spring and is in great shape and looks more comfortable than ever.
bucs777: Would the presence of Pedro Alvarez keep us from drafting Anthony
Coonelly: No. As I indicated earlier, we will select the best player available in
the first round and in every round that follows. If Anthony Rendon is viewed as the best player in the
Draft, he will be the first selection in the 2011 Draft.
Coonelly: Let's take one more question.
marmari: Have there been or will there be discussions on revamping or
removing the Draft pick compensation process?
Coonelly: The Commissioner's Office and the Players Association will be
commencing negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement shortly and I am confident that
the Draft will be a topic of their discussions. One issue that I'm sure they will address is the number of
compensation picks that are granted between the first and second rounds. It is difficult for the Draft to
serve its original purpose when the team selecting first does not select second until the 62nd selection
as it appears we will this year. I'm sure this is an issue that the parties will tackle in collective
Coonelly: Thanks for all the great questions everyone.