Hayden Penn is your newest Bucco, and with that lip sweater, I couldn't be happier. Facial hair aside, Penn is another flame-out prospect reclamation project who hasn't had a really good season since 2006. It's certainly worth the flier, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with his control issues on the ML roster to start the season, but unfortunately he has no option left, so he must clear waivers if the Pirates try and option him to AAA.
So Penn may not be in a Bucco uniform for long, but for all the Mo Bucco fans out there (myself included), I hope he sticks around. He's got good stuff, but just has control issues (reoccurring theme in Pirate pickups); which is an enticing but dangerous combination. Maybe Joe Kerrigan can work some of his magic...
In other Pirate news, manager John Russel has said he will bat the pitcher eighth, Ronny Cedeno ninth, Aki first, and McCutchen second. This is actually a smart move. The only real problem is not having a second lead-off guy for the nine-spot. Cedeno has the speed, but not the plate discipline for the spot, while Andy LaRoche would provide the OBP, but is too slow to be on the bases in front of Aki or Cutch. So, I guess Cedeno is the only real choice, although Chase D'Arnaud can't get here quick enough.
Also, Charlie at BucsDugout took a flame thrower to Bob Smizik's assertion that John Russel and Neal Huntington should be fired if the team under-performs this year. I actually understand where Smizik's coming from a bit; lame-duck managers and general managers are rare and usually point to a parting of ways, but this only proves that the two need to be extended, not that they should be judged solely by the record in the past two years. Just for fun, Vlad has a nice list of Smizik wonders in the comments section of the post; highly entertaining.
Rob Neyer has his say on the Pirates recent moves as well. I think Neyer is being a little aggressive in saying the Bucs have traded good players; I would say everyone but Bay was an average talent on an expiring talent, and unfortunately, you just don't get much talent back for those types of players. Actually, McClouth is good, but McCutchen is better and I think Morton will be more valuable in the long haul. See, that's why it's so important to go with quantity over quality when trading mediocre talent; odds are you're gonna get someone back who is comparable or better.
Only I can get through four Pirates links before getting to the biggest headline of the day in Steelers Country. I like Deadspin's post title the best. As with most Steelers non-football news, it's best to follow it over at Mondesi's House. I don't have much to say about this, except that it sounds really sketchy.
I'm not overly worried about next season, this is the NFL; when the regular season starts, anything can happen. I think the Steelers will be quite good next year with the depth they've added and more importantly a healthy Troy Polamalu. But the biggest question surrounding the Steelers will be the Steelers Way; whether it's a myth or reality, people believed in it and now it is in serious doubt. It starts with the leadership, which includes guys like Deshea, Farrior, and Hines (actually, I think the defense has leadership, but the offense is a mess because no one likes Ben accept Willie Colon). But Tomlin and Rooney are also to blame, and they'll be the ones who have to make the tough decision of where to draw the line.
Speaking of classy organizations, the Pens won a thriller yesterday at the Igloo. Recap here, here, and here. Great game entertainment wise, frustrating game Pens fan wise. But two points are two points and with the Devils getting shut out by the Flyers (thank you, Philly?), the Pens are in first place of the Atlantic (although the Devils have a game in hand). It'll be a fairly slow week for the Pens with Tampa on Wednesday and Atlanta on Saturday afternoon. The Pens should win both games, but at this time of year, that don't mean shit.
If you didn't see KSWA Part I and II, you better catch up before tomorrow's final installment.