Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pirate Update

I am on vacation, so I will just do a quick Pirate update. Let me start by saying that it is time to officially give up on the Pirates post-season chances. Yes, even though they are less than 10 games out of the Wild Card spot, the chance has passed by the Pirates. However, this is a good year for the Pirates over all. One that I think they have taken a step forward and I am excited to see the rest of the season.

First, the Pirates are only six games below .500. That is much better than normal, and the Pirates are coming off a really bad stretch where they had lots of injuries especially to starting pitching. Ian Snell comes back today and Dumatrait came back yesterday. I do believe the Pirates can make .500. That would be a win for the Pirate fans.

Second, the new management looks like it can be trusted. They are doing their best to put a good team on the diamond. They have demoted several high name players to the minors like the starter of the home opener and last year's starting catcher. If they do not produce, they will be sent down. Good message. The big test is the trading deadline. One should expect the Pirates to be sellers again. I fully expect to see John Grabow, a quality left handed reliever to be traded. I also expect the team leader in average and a league leader in RBI's Xavier Nady to be traded. As long as the return is good I am okay with both of those trades. The big question surrounds Jack Wilson. His injury early this year showed how valuable he really is to the Pirates. He needs to stay, but he might be traded. That would be a bad sign without excellent returns. Desmond Marte is another lefty out of the pen that might go, but when he signs with another team in the off season the Pirates will get two first round compensation picks for him, so I doubt he will get traded.

Third, and most important, the Pirates have a good farm system. Their Triple A team has an all star outfield right now. I drove through Indianapolis a few times and got to listen to a few games. Andrew McCutchen is ready for the bigs right now. This is why trading Xavier Nady is okay. McCutchen is the real deal. Although, when Nady gets traded I bet the Pirates will bring up Steven Pearce. Pearce plays right field for the Triple A team, but is a natural first baseman. Bringing him up would allow him to play at both places and let the Pirates sit LaRoche a little more often.

I think the Pirates have a great team that just needs a little more time to gel. Zack Duke and Paul Malhom have held down the pitching this year and that is great news. Dumatrait looks good and Snell will return to form. When that happens, the Pirates will make a run. It looks like it will be next year, but that is close enough to taste right now.


Anonymous said...

Hope springs eternal! The Pirates are in a small market with a small budget and therefore will always be mired in the lower half of their division!

Get a life and pick a team that you can enjoy that will have some success. You could pick the Twins (if you can stand the DH rule) or the Cardinals if you prefer pure baseball.

Lee said...

What the Cardinals as pure baseball? Are you talking about the team managed by Tony LaRussa, manager of Jose Canseco, Mark McGuiwre and Rick Ankiel (all HGH users)? Can I really trust anything that Albert Pujols is doing knowing the atmosphere the manager encourages? No thanks.

The Twins are my favorite AL team, and they are a small market team. They will be in the playoffs this year. In fact the Twins are a source of hope to Pirate fans and small market fans everywhere.

And before we beat up on the Pirates too much. Let us not forget that they were in the first world series ever. They have won 5World Series titles, and were dynasty in the 70's and again in the early 90's. They are not that far removed from greatness.

If they can just get some consistent pitching they would be good this year (last I looked the Pirates were fourth in runs scored). Other than pitching their main problem is the three best records in the National League are in their division.