Do Pittsburgh Pirates Need Superstars To Break 20-Year Losing Streak?


 

October 3, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics infielder Brandon Inge (7) is poured with champagne after the win against the Texas Rangers at O.co Coliseum.The Oakland Athletics defeated the Texas Rangers 12-5 to become the American League west champions. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

 

The Brandon Inge signing looks just like another low risk, high reward yawner by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The deal with the veteran Inge is a minor league deal, so yeh, there is minimal risk involved for the Nutting coffers, but we are here to say it’s a deal that the Pirates should attempt to make more often.

What?

Brandon Inge?

Yeh, Brandon Inge.  Let me put down my Troeg’s Nugget Nectar and explain.

We read an article the other day at one of our favorite blogs. The title of the article was Do You Need Stars To Make The Playoffs?

Here is David Schoenfield’s fine work.

Of course the answer to David Schoenfield’s question is sure stars are always important.  Most of the playoff teams have stars, some of the teams have numerous stars.  But as you probably guessed they aren’t a necessity to make the playoffs.  Nice?  Yeh, stars are nice to have.

But so are players like Brandon Inge.  It’s why a GM like Billy Beane might have made the most important moves of the winter by trading for Chris Young and Jed Lowrie and signing Hiroyuki Nakajima.  Because sometimes three two-win players can be more important than one five-win player Schoenfield wrote .

So looking at the Pirates 79 wins in 2012 it would be rather easy to see the team regressing in 2013.   No stars were added to the Pittsburgh Pirates roster this offseason.

(Why Beane wouldn’t bring back Inge is interesting to us.)

When you look back at the Pirates 2012 season, that hideous 2012 season, take a look at the WAR of the Bucs roster and let’s add Brandon Inge and Russell Martin.

We would rather see the Pirates sign more players that have WAR closer to league average than hanging on to bench players like Josh Harrison.

The A’s had four players with just 72 plate appearances add up to -0.4 WAR in 2012.

The combination of six players with nearly 1000 plate appearances hurt the Buccos offense in 2012.  Rod Barajas, Jeff Clement, Drew Sutton, Jose Tabata, Yamaico Navarro, and Nate McLouth added up to nearly negative two WAR.

The Oakland A’s won in 2012 with their depth.

The Pirates didn’t win in 2012 because of their lack of depth.

A player like Brandon Inge is still below league average as it relates to WAR, but he has shown the ability to be better than the majority of the 2012 Pirates.

It’s at least a start.

Look, Brandon Inge is 35 years old, and will turn 36 in May.  It’s been seven years since the Virginia native has put up an OPS+ that was above league average.    Yet the Tigers second round pick in 1998 has been productive, good with the glove, and has hit southpaws for a career .261/.337/.455 line.  While he has struggled the past two seasons, his ability to put up numbers against lefties earned him a shot in Bradenton.

We have seen the Bucs reach for players in the past, it reminds us a bit of the Lyle Overbay signing in terms of WAR.  In 2010, the Bucs signed the Jays first baseman after his 1.3 WAR season with Toronto.  Matt Diaz was signed after a 0.5 WAR season with Atlanta in 2010.

Those deals cost the Nutting coffers millions, Inge doesn’t.


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