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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Grantland: Keri: Did the Pittsburgh Pirates Penny-Pinch Their Way Back Into Irrelevance?

Though it’s still (relatively) early, the Pirates don’t seem to be headed in that direction. Even after winning three in a row, the Bucs remain two games under .500 and 6½ games behind the first-place Brewers, and they have the fourth-worst run differential in the National League. For that, they can thank some lousy evaluation of both the free-agent market and their own talent, specifically in the starting rotation. They can lament a couple of unlucky breaks. And, after two decades of holstering their wallets, they can blame their failure to progress on their unwillingness to spend.

bobm Posted: June 04, 2014 at 11:27 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pirates

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   1. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:54 AM (#4719452)
Well... yes, they punted the 2014 season because ownership was unwilling to spend any money; that was observed during last offseason. They're a .500-ish team (in the NL Central, anyway).

I don't think that has to mean they'll remain irrelevant for the remainder of the McCutchen era... but they probably will, if ownership continues to refuse to spend money. I don't think enough talent is coming from the farm to build a consistent contender without some reinforcements.
   2. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 05, 2014 at 07:13 AM (#4719457)
Stupid, misleading headline for a reasonable piece of analysis.
   3. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 05, 2014 at 08:18 AM (#4719464)
teh pirates ability to turn the double play has suffered. that's down the list of problems but i noticed a few weeks ago and that hurts the pitching staff. pittsburgh was very slick on the dp last season
   4. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: June 05, 2014 at 08:36 AM (#4719468)
I posted #1 right before I ran out to work; I was thinking further upon the Pirates and my life as a Pirate fan when some guy getting off the night shift pulled out in front of me and wrecked my car.

There's probably a deep, profound meaning somewhere in all of that. Let me drink a couple cups of coffee and I'll see if I can tease out what it is.
   5. Rennie's Tenet Posted: June 05, 2014 at 08:43 AM (#4719470)
I wish they had done the Butnett/Volquez exchange better, but that's not the difference between a very good team and a meh one. The rotation of Liriano, Cole, Morton, Rodriguez, and Volquez didn't have anyone who had been good in both 2012-2013, so at the best you had a volatile rotation coming into 2014, and sometimes that will bite you. You can go after management for having such a volatile situation in place, but I don't see how a team like the Pirates fixes that many questions in the rotation in an offseason.
   6. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4719544)
The thing is, last year's Pirates weren't 'very good'. They were decent, above average--Pythag record 87-75--and they got a lot of breaks. It's not THAT good a team, it needs an infusion of young talent and probably a few free agent reinforcements. Ike Davis isn't going to get them there.

A.J. Burnett cost way more than he was worth and the Pirates made the right call letting him walk. I thought they should have invested in a Phil Hughes or even a Tim Hudson, but... (a) I could be wrong, and (b) for all we know they tried to sign somebody like that and couldn't; free agents aren't lining up for the chance to play for Pittsburgh.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4719576)
You can go after management for having such a volatile situation in place, but I don't see how a team like the Pirates fixes that many questions in the rotation in an offseason.


Do you think the team bought into its own "we are geniuses at defense" hype too much?
   8. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 05, 2014 at 03:39 PM (#4719849)
Do you think the team bought into its own "we are geniuses at defense" hype too much?

Perhaps. More than anything, it appears the Pirates put too much stock into their fluky 2013 season, in which they overperformed in almost every way imaginable. The Pirates' regression was probably the easiest prediction in MLB for 2014.
   9. Bug Selig Posted: June 07, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4720918)
The non-QO to Burnett is indefensible.
   10. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 07, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4720930)
The non-QO to Burnett is indefensible.


I don't agree. Burnett is 37, was up-and-down a year ago, missed time in June, and pitched poorly in his lone postseason start, enough so that the Pirates opted for Gerrit Cole in Game 5 of the NLDS. There was a significant higher than zero probability that had a qualifying offer been made to Burnett, he'd have accepted it - and he's not worth that.

-- MWE
   11. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 07, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4720939)
The Phillies gave Burnett $16m. So it would stand to reason that if Burnett accepted the qualifying offer that the Phillies would have been willing to trade an asset worth up to $1.9m for him.
   12. Stormy JE Posted: June 07, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4720947)
I posted #1 right before I ran out to work; I was thinking further upon the Pirates and my life as a Pirate fan when some guy getting off the night shift pulled out in front of me and wrecked my car.

May we assume that you walked away from the car without a scratch?
   13. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: June 07, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4720993)
I thought I was fine, but I talked to a lawyer yesterday and he explained to me that I have a constant throbbing headache, debilitating back pain and I can't sustain an erection anymore. The trauma of the experience must have blocked it all out of my mind for the intervening 24 hours.
   14. gef the talking mongoose, amorphous lefty blob Posted: June 07, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4721067)
he explained to me that I have a constant throbbing headache, debilitating back pain and I can't sustain an erection anymore.


You mean the force of impact turned you 50?

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