Advertisements

WTF Pittsburgh? Are You Contenders Or Are You At The Kids Table?

This club has improved a great deal over the last 8 years, and they are in great His strategic moves over the next 12 months will determine if that means a playoff round win.

This Pirates club has made themselves relevant in the NL for the last 3 years with appearing in the Wild Card game – and pushing the Cards to the brink of elimination in 2014.  However this organization has looked petty in looking too much to the bottom line so far this offseason.  They have lost 4 players from the 98 win team of 2015 – and only have Jon Niese and Juan Nicasio as guys that help the MLB squad in 2016.  They still have 3 months to go, but thus far the winter has been a tire fire.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

What the hell are the Pirates doing this offseason?!!  I mean I have tonnes of respect for Neil Huntington – however the brass has made some highly questionable moves to save some money.

The Pittsburgh window to win is 2 – 3 more years, yet it almost looks likes the management is throwing a preemptive strike to blow the club up.

Okay, I may be overstating the facts a little here – as there is still well over 3 months before the club even hits Spring Training.

The club first non-tendered Pedro Alvarez – rather than head to the last year of Arbitration with him.  He would have made in the neighborhood of $10 MIL in 2016 – I get that, but losing a 25 – 30 HR out of your lineup will be tough to adjust for.

Neil Walker has hit for a Career 3 Slash Line of - .273/.339/.423 in 5 years, with an average of 16 HRs. 80 RBI and 35 - 2B's per 162 Games. This is above average for a Second Baseman. He broke up a 0 - 0 score in extra innings during the home opener at PNC Park, with a solo Walk Off HR.

Neil Walker has hit for a Career 3 Slash Line of – .272/.338/.431 in 7 years, with an average of 18 HRs 81 RBI and 35 – 2B’s per 162 Games. This is above average for a Second Baseman.  Who in their right mind wouldn’t want this guy for their team for one year at $10-11 MIL in Arbitration?  What…They couldn’t have received a better deal for him?  Like a guy who is cheaper than Niese – or had more years of team control to give them flexibility all around? This move may come back to haunt the Bucs in more ways than one.

Really the team should have gone to 2016 with he and Michael Morse, then decided who was the better player by mid year – and then trade one of them near the deadline.  Now 1B will be up to Morse and potentially Jake Goebbert.

I will rescind some harshness if the Pirates end up bringing in a different guy to play First before the season starts.  Morse is just an inconsistent player who is better of as a DH in the American League.  At least you knew Alvarez would run into one every so often.

Secondly the deal of Neil Walker for Jon Niese is pathetic.  Walker is a top 5 second baseman in the league where Jon Niese is barely above average and better of as a #5 Starter.

You also gained no more in team control or financial flexibility which would be the only reason to flip the guy/  With Jung-Ho Kang’s injury not being 100% certain he won’t need some time to work out the kinks, stupid move.

Now the club trades Charlie Morton, who was slated to be their #4 Starter next season, for a A ball pitcher who will not help the big team in 2016 – and had an ERA north of 4 last year in the Minors.  All to save $9 MIL.

The team better reallocate those dollars to another Starter coming in or this was a waste and a joke.  After the Morton deal, the club should have a payroll of around $92 MIL.  They need to spend more to compete!

I get the fact the Bucs need to tinker with the Roster in certain places, and maybe Morton had a poor 2015 campaign, but if they think they can replace him internally – than that is a massive gamble with a club that should still be able to win 90 games next year.

There is no doubt the club could use an infusion of young pitchers like Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon (coming back from TJ Surgery).  Usually an organization will use 7 – 10 Starters in a given season – and this looks tough for the Pirates to accomplish considering.

The penny pinching days of the Pirates should go out the window for the next 2 years while you have one the most incredibly valued contracts out there with Andrew McCutchen.

We wrote an article giving the Pirates a template for their 2016 agenda a few months ago.  That tactic would be better perceived by the fans than what is being slung around right now.

Pittsburgh has been selling out PNC and finished in the top 15 for MLB attendance this year for the time since the venue opened.  The buzz at the ballpark has been incredible.

Yes the Pirates are in the same Division as the Cubs and Cardinals right now, which is a most unfortunate circumstance currently – with all 3 clubs possessing the top record in the league during the 2015 year, but you have to spend money to be in the dance.

I was the first one to say that you can reassess your situation in July if things are looking bleak. 

They have a few tradeable commodities that are in the last year of their contracts like Mark Melancon, Francisco Cervelli and Mike Morse, while Francisco Liriano and Tony Watson would be sought after with just 2 years left of team control.

By doing some of these transaction I fear the club will have to go down this avenue without giving the roster a chance to make it to a 4th straight playoff position.

I would love for them to also pull the trigger on a guy like Ian Desmond for the mix.  Yes they might overpay him a little, but it would help solidify your Infield with Kang, Harrison and Desmond for a few years.

Again it goes back to why didn’t they just keep Morton, Walker and Alvarez, and then they would only need to find a Starter and they would be the same Roster that won 98 games.

Instead they only will have Jon Niese to show for the 3 departed players on the big squad.  I hate all of it.

Go get a big league Starter that can pitch in the playoffs for you like a Doug Fister, Alfredo Simon or Colby Lewis.

When you add the retirement of A.J. Burnett, that is another player that was on the 2015 Roster of 98 wins that will not be on the 2016 squad.

Now is not the time to stand around and do nothing. 20 years of losing was a tough pill to swallow for your fanbase.  The club is right at the precipice of a title – and the management needs to help them take the next step.  It may be another 20 before you are in this position again!

With how the Cubs are operating this winter, and likely how the Cards will follow, staying dormant – or falling back is not an advised method of attack here.

It is time to eat at the big boy table Pittsburgh!

Neal Huntington was named General Manager by the Pirates in 2007 and was yet to have a playoff berth heading into the 2013 year - and now has made the Wild Card game three years consecutively. This club has improved a great deal over the last 8 years, and under his watch, they are in great shape for 2 - 3 more. His strategic moves over the next 12 months will determine if that means a playoff round win.

Neal Huntington was named General Manager by the Pirates in 2007 and was yet to have a playoff berth heading into the 2013 year – and now has made the Wild Card game three years consecutively.  He has to keep trying to add players that upgrade his chances this winter.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A Big thanks goes out to our chief writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s feature post.

"<strong

To Subscribe and listen daily to  ‘Our Lead Personality’  Sully’s 20 Minutes Daily (every day since Oct.24, 2012) Podcast click here.  Guaranteed listening to the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast will be the best time you invest in online!

2016 MLB Previews: Team Salaries + SOTUs (MLB Teams State Of The Unions) Links Page here.

To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage. Like us on Facebook.

Advertisements

About MLB reports

24/7 MLB talk, news, and reports: If baseball is your passion, this site is for you! Follow us on twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/MLBreports

Posted on December 12, 2015, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on WTF Pittsburgh? Are You Contenders Or Are You At The Kids Table?.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: