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Detailed Analysis of The Pittsburgh Pirates

Are The Pirates Punting on 2016?

It has been a little more than two months since the Pittsburgh Pirates’ season ended at the hands of Cubs in the Wild Card Game. And we are still about two months away from the start of Spring Training. That puts us at just about the half way point of the offseason. The good news is that still leaves plenty of time for GM Neal Huntington to strengthen the club to make a run at 2016. The bad news is he has so much work left to do that it feels almost inevitable that the team will take a step back next season. Even worse is that the club seems almost resigned to that fate. The actions thus far by the front office this offseason do not resemble a confident contending baseball club that senses they are on the cusp of winning a championship. Instead the team has been focusing on controlling costs almost to the point it appears they are content with punting on the 2016 season. It is one thing to trim the fat of overpaid and underperforming players such as Pedro Alvarez and Charlie Morton. Sure, those moves were to some degree salary dumps. But those decisions have potential to help the team by addition from subtraction.
More troubling are the plans to jettison solid performers just because their salaries have risen to an “uncomfortable” level. The Pirates are rumored to have been shopping closer Mark Melancon all winter. They have already dealt 2B Neil Walker to the Mets for Jon Niese. I actually like Jon Niese as a 4th starter. And Niese’s salary obligations are not that far below what Neil Walker was set to make in 2016. From that standpoint the trade wasn’t a salary dump. But wouldn’t this team be better had they kept Neil Walker AND SIGNED a competent left handed starting pitcher? They actually had one of those at the end of last season. His name was J.A. Happ and they chose to watch as he was signed away by the Toronto Blue Jays.
It hasn’t been all bad moves for the Bucs this offseason. They did make an intriguing acquisition by dealing for 1B Jason Rogers from the Brewers. Rogers has some positional versatility and he has hit at every level in the minors. He acquitted himself quite well in his first taste of big league action last season. I also like the free agent signing of pitcher Juan Nicasio. Nicasio could be a nice piece in the bullpen. He also could get another crack at being a starting pitcher. But these are really nickel and dime type moves. A strong contender like the Pirates should be moving beyond just thrift signings in the offseason. It is time the team gets a little “uncomfortable” with their payroll instead of just making the fans of the team “uncomfortable” over the thought of punting on the 2016 season.


  1. Owners don’t care if they win, just want to be competitive enough to draw good crowds and still be in the wildcar hunt by September. Very sad.

    1. Agree! Our Pirates are never gonna win a World Series under this ownership. We don’t have one Ace to win any post season games. Hitters go cold in Post Season. Poor farm system.

      1. Maybe you should study the Pirates organization before you make a statements like that. They have one of the best farm systems in Baseball!!! Huntington and Hurdle have forgot more about baseball than you will ever know. Also, I wish everyone would wait and see what they come up with. After all, they have brought baseball back to the Burgh.

        1. I have been a Pirate fan since the early 1960s. If this farm system is so great, why aren’t there any great players coming into the team? Notice how they hafta go out and get some has been player from around the league? Just look at what they R loadin up on this year. Cast offs from other teams. No great players.

      2. You obvoiusly know nothing about the state of the bucco’s farm system…

        They are actually in very good shape.

  2. I don’t know. I think that it is still early to say that the Pirates front office is punting on 2016. There is still time to sign a second tier starter. Maybe I’m too optimistic but if they can sign a Mike Leake or Scott Kazmir (and I think they have the money to do it) then all that would be left would be replacing walkers hitting. A trade for a decent hitting first baseman could do that. At that point we would be down the power that Pedro brought but better hopefully defensively at first base. I think it could be worth the trade off.

  3. Another day, another signing by a national league central team other than the Pirates. As a season ticket holder, it boils my blood to feel like we are waving the flag on 2016 already and waiting for our young arms to make it to the bigs. Meanwhile the young legs in center field are getting older!

    Spend some of the money you held back from Cutch on pitching!! He, and we, deserve a pennant!!!!

  4. Well, I’ll be spending my money at Kennywood Park this summer. Can’t C our Buccos any higher than third place in our division.

  5. Jaso is a nice pick up for the buc’s offense- We are close to being an elite team- Lets get one more bat to hit for power and pick up another quality starting pitcher- the core is there,
    lets keep improving or we wont even get back to one and done!

  6. This is my opinion Bob Nutting will never spend a lot of money. I will say they picked up some decent players except for Vogelsong he is terrible. If u look at what the pirates are doing they r drafting good players so when players like McCutchen contract comes up they will let him go and replace him with a player from there farm system. This is going to be how they Do things so they can keep the prices down. They will do the same thing with Marte and Polonco as soon as they want big money they will trade and replace them with a player from the minors.
    If u want a World Series team it all starts with the owner and if he doesn’t want to spend money then they will always be better than average. Tell me who does the Pirates have in the minors that can hit for power other than Bell. This is one place were they need to draft some power hitters if u r going to build from there farm system and be good.

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