It’s free agent signing season in Major League Baseball, that time of year when angst runs high among Pittsburgh Pirates fans. The Pirates suck at acquiring players in the free agent market.
When was the last time the Pirates hit it big with a free agent? Or even hit modestly? We’re pretty sure you know the answer.
We looked at a few recent picks like Ramon Vazquez who worked a career high 109 OPS+ in 2008 with the Rangers into a $3.8 million dollar deal with the Pirates. Vazquez was awful.
Vazquez was released in April 2010, and hasn’t had a major league plate appearance since.
As we move left to right on our Pittsburgh Pirates Usual Suspects lineup, Ryan Church was signed in January of 2010 for $1.5 million. Six months later, Pirates fans were thrilled when Church and D.J. Carrasco were shipped to Arizona for some cash for Bob Nutting, catcher Chris Snyder, and Pedro Ciriaco.
Church was ugly to watch. When he wasn’t running over Neil Walker, he was striking out in about 25 percent of his plate appearances. Church posted offensive numbers so low if we were to write them it would be hard to even decipher.
Like a large percentage of Pirates free agents signed over the years, Church was out of baseball last season. The Pirates would be his final paycheck.
We heard from a gentlemen whose son suffered from concussions like Church that the amount of medicine Church had to take was unreal. (We thought it couldn’t possibly match the amount of beer it took us to watch him play the outfield.)
A RumBunter favorite is Scott Olsen. What a great story this guy is. The Pirates offered him a $4 million deal with a $100,000 buyout. He never threw a pitch in the bigs for them. Not one pitch. Just plenty of bitch.
The only action we witnessed from Olsen was when a buxom autograph seeker that tracked him down in the right field corner at McKechnie Field in Bradenton.
Matt Diaz completes our lineup. $2 million dollars a year was invested in the Cave Man. The projections were there for a perfect platoon with Garrett Jones in right field.
In true Bucco fashion, the Diaz/GFJ platoon never worked out as planned.
Diaz was sent to the Braves for Eliecer Cardenas, a reliever who has dominated at the A-ball level. When Atlanta acquired Diaz, the thought would be that he would help put them over the top. They must have had the same feeling in about picking up Jack Wilson.
We all know how that worked out for the Braves. Serves those bastards right.
So the only question that remains is why do the Pirates try so hard in free agency? (Leave your suckiest Pirates’ free agent signing in the comments, please.) The team has proven that paying players in the lower tier of the market a few million dollars simply doesn’t work.
So, why do they continually do it? We know they have to fill out a Major League roster, but free agency isn’t the avenue for such acquisitions. We can’t imagine that all of the free agents the Bucs sign this year will all work out. It never seems to happen. It never happens.
So how about this… sign Carlos Pena to play first base, and wrap it up. Don’t sign another free agent – no matter what the cost. History shows us reaching for any other players is futile.
Here is our idea: since the talent at the higher levels in the Pirates system doesn’t have a starting pitcher that is ML ready, let the scout or evaluator that pushed for the Jose Veras deal select two starters from the scrap heap. Keep the cash that is usually pissed away on a ‘bounceback’ candidate in a secret spot so Nutting can’t get it, maybe in a ceiling tile above Frank’s office, and give it to the players who perform well in 2012.
As you probably know, the movie The Usual Suspects had a whopper of an ending. The Pittsburgh Pirates need an epic losing streak to end… now, that would be a whopper of an ending.
Relying on lower tier free agents seems a ridiculous way to reach such important goals. But heh, we get it.
Every team misses in the free agent market. Our question is this: When will the Pirates hit?