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July 31, 2013

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Some ideas to help Pirates

0PINION — I KNOW YOU DIDN’T ask but here’s my thoughts on ….

ä The Pirates signing former San Francisco closer Brian Wilson would bolster the shark tank bullpen.

According to several published rumors, the Bucs join the Giants as serious suitors for the bearded former all-star, who could join Steeler defensive end Brett Keisel in several interesting advertising campaigns featuring their equally famous facial hair.

Aside from that, could you imagine a bullpen that featured Wilson and Mark Melancon at the backend, especially if Jason Grilli comes back in top form before the playoffs?

If he signs here, teams better get a lead in the sixth inning or earlier because they’ll have a hard time doing so in the seventh, eighth or ninth innings.

ä I’ve already devoted a full-length column to today’s non-waiver trade deadline, so I’m not going to say too much about it except that I hope the team doesn’t sell the farm to get some dude that’s not a game-changer.

Lots of people are in love Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and it’d definitely be cool to see him roaming right field for the foreseeable future, but it’s not worth Jameson Taillon, Gregory Polanco and a couple more top-tier prospects.

We have to remember that A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez are no spring chickens; there’s no guarantees that Francisco Liriano will continue to be the stud he’s been; Gerrit Cole has been up and down; or that Jeff Locke will continue to be as consistent as he’s been.

Which makes keeping Taillon around all the more important, while Polanco is a rare positional player that is producing in the minors.

I’d rather see those two guys in Pittsburgh in a year or two than Stanton.

ä It was simply amazing to watch the Pirates-Cardinals game Monday night and see PNC Park jam packed.

A couple years ago, I would never have imagined such a sight would ever occur in my lifetime.

It reminded me of my early teenage years and going to Three Rivers Stadium to watch the Killer Bees stomp their way to three straight NL East titles.

I don’t know how accurate my memory is, but I remember going to a late regular season game that Doug Drabek and the Bucs beat St. Louis to capture the league crown.

ä I’ve been asked by a lot of people where I see the Steelers’ final record in 2013 being and I tend to wear very Black and Gold tinted spectacles.

I may be way off here, but I can see the Steelers finishing somewhere in the realm of 11-5.

OK, stop laughing and take a looksy at the list of 2013 opponents.

There’s only a handful of quality opponents on the list, so reaching double digit victories should be easy.

The Steelers will split with the Bengals and the Ravens, while sweeping the still hapless Browns.

By my count that’s four victories and doesn’t even account for easy wins against the New York Jets, Oakland, Buffalo and Detroit.

So we’re at eights wins before even thinking about games with Tennessee, Miami, Chicago and Minnesota -- all of which could be victories. The only games that I’ll concede losses to -- aside from Baltimore and Cincinnati -- are games with New England and Green Bay.

Suddenly, 11-5 or 12-4 isn’t crazy now is it?

Contact Corey at gcsportsguy@yahoo.com.

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