Friday, July 31, 2009

Pirates are officially reloaded

The new look Pirates make their debut tonight. They have officially given up on this season with the trades they have made. People who started the year on the Pirates roster and are no longer with them include: Sean Burrnett, Erik Henskie, Adam LaRoche, Ian Snell, Nyjer Morgan, Jon Grabow, Jack Wilson, and Freddy Sanchez. Only the last three are missed. Also gone is the ace of last years staff Tom Gorzelanny, who did not start the year on the team, but did pitch from the bullpen some this year.

However the trades, with the possible exception of Morgan and Burnett to the Nationals, have all improved the long term prospects for the Pirates. The trades this year have also continued to build the Pirates in waves. The Pirates got some people who are going to be on the team right now and make a huge impact including pitcher Kevin Hart from the Cubs. I also expect you will see Jeff Clement at first base before the September call ups, but at least then. He will have a huge impact. Lastings Milledge will be up in September as well and his try out for the team will begin. I suppose we ought to count Ronny Cedeno here as well. He is the place holder at short stop. It is better than having to try Brian Bixler again at short, but he is just a place holder considering two short stops were drafted in the first four rounds last year. They also received a lot of people who will make their arrival next year including Jose Ascino from the Cubs (pitcher), Tim Alderson (pitcher for Sanchez) and Argentis Diaz (short stop for LaRoche) who will probably make a debut with the club sometime next year. Then a ton more prospects will show up after that including Aaron Pribonic (pitcher), Brett Lorin (pitcher), and Nathan Hadcock (pitcher), Casey Erickson (pitcher for Henskie), and Eric Flyer (outfielder/catcher for Henskie). This was a terrific year for trades for the Pirates and I am not sure I included all of the prospects we received.

I think the future of the Pirates looks very bright now. I have predicted that they will win the World Series next year, and I might have to lower that to simply win the NL. The reason is the bullpen. I am not sure what the Pirates will do next year for left handed bullpen support. They got rid of their two best this year leaving only Donald Veal, who is improving, and possible Phil Dumatrait assuming he does not win a starting job next year. That may hurt them, but they ought to have an amazing rotation next year. They will have a great increase in power with the addition of Pedro Alvarez (who I think will join mid season), and Jeff Clement at first. Let us assume that Garret Jones continues his power and is on the the team next year giving one more year for Tabata to mature, that will keep his power, and if Milledge takes the other corner spot then that is more power than Dwelven Young. The hole at first will be filled by Clement. The hole at third is filled by Alvarez. The hole at short created by Jack Wilson can be filled by Argentis Diaz, or perhaps Brian Friday. The hole at second is the biggest problem. It can be filled by Jim Negyrich (.272 in AA but season ended with a non-basbeball surgery) or Shelby Ford (hitting below .200 at AAA) or maybe moving Cedeno to second or Bixler (.262 at AAA but below .200 in several major league stints). One might could hope that they try to move Andy LaRoche to a new infield spot, but we are not going to get our hopes up for that one. Perhaps the idea that the Pirates will go with is to move Dwelven Young from outfield to second base. He played second once already this year and pulled off an amazing catch and he is hitting above .300. The Pirates management has hinted that will give this a try, and that would open up a spot for Milledge or Tabata to start in the outfield. If they do this, then they will have a real shot at winning the NL and perhaps the world series. Of course they need a healthy Ryan Doumit behind the plate, but they will not need him as much next year. He is the RBI guy and the power guy and without him this year we could not get the big hit when we needed it. Next year adding power with Alvarez and Clement along side the surprising Jones and a healthy Doumit should give us a lot of guys to fear with the bat. Put McCutchen at the top of the line up, and they will have lots of chances to drive in runs.

The rotation could be anything, which means if someone is failing they can do something about it. Brad Lincoln is ready as is Daniel McCutchen from AAA. Virgil Vasquez and Charlie Morton are showing good things at the major league level, Phil Dumatrait will be back from his injury. Zack Duke made the All Star team, Ross Ohlendorf has shown flashes and Jeff Karstens will compete for a place. Add in the can't miss prospect of Tim Alderson just received along with Jose Ascino not to mention Kevin Hart who showed he could win starts and pitch great with the Cubs, and the Pirates have an over abundance right now.

I am looking forward to all of these trades finally paying off.


Larry said...

Alas, we're alway "rebuilding" and never coming to an experience of victory.

Anonymous said...


Jay said...

Your predictions that the Pirates will win the NL next season are hurting your baseball credibility . . .