PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – MLB Network Analyst and former major leaguer Sean Casey joined Ron Cook in studio Wednesday as his special guest co-host on The ‘Cook and Poni Show” and Casey says that the Pirates are really starting to get noticed nationally.

“The Pirates are no joke anymore,” Casey said. “The national perspective is that they know the Pirates are legit.”

Casey said the times are changing since he played here. The Pirates are a destination now for players who want to win.

He points out the signing of Francisco Liriano as a perfect example of that. Casey said he could have made more elsewhere but he wanted to stay here because they have a chance to win here.

Casey also credits the hiring of Clint Hurdle for changing the culture among the guys in that clubhouse to believe they could compete for division titles and now World Series titles.

Sean also talked to Ron about the signing of Korean infielder Jung-Ho Kang.

“It’s going to be interesting to see where he fits in,” Casey said.

He points out that Jordy Mercer at shortstop and Neil Walker at second base had great years last year and he thinks they both have the upper-hand in those spots, but if anything, Kang will help add depth to the team.

Casey also thinks that the Pirates should lock up Walker and he could be an option at first base if Pedro Alvarez fails or if the Pirates decide to move him.

“Walker is a Pittsburgh guy,” Casey said. “If Pedro does leave, why can’t you sign [Walker] and move him to first.”

Casey said Walker has shown enough power to make the move and help carry a lineup if Alvarez is not in it.

Casey had a chance to play for his hometown team, which was a dream of his growing up and he talks about what that was like for him and how it’s an even greater experience now for Walker because he is a big part of the turnaround here.

To hear all of Casey’s thoughts throughout the show check out the Cook and Poni podcast page: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/audio/cook-and-poni/

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