Hi. I’m your blind spot.
And my job is easy.
Hide. Big. Things.
If you’ve enjoyed the Mayhem commercial by All State you know what we are referencing.
About this time in the commercial a really big crash happens. Here it is…
So what will be the blind spot in the 2013 season of the Pittsburgh Pirates? We say it will be the pitching staff. What do you think?
James McDonald. Who knows when first-half JMac will show up, if he ever does.
Certainly A.J. Burnett isn’t going to pitch like he did last season. But how much of a regression will we see? And think about this…. will Burnett be in black and gold for the entire year? Seriously, at the trade deadline contending teams are going to ask about A.J. Burnett. Hopefully JMac too.
The question is will the Bucs be buyers or sellers? Or will they be both?
The man who captured the hearts and souls of Bucco fans last season with his strong pitching effort and outgoing personality would be difficult to stomach being put on the trading block. Of course when Burnett threw out a Sit-the-Fu** Down….that didn’t do anything to hurt his persona either. The guy is a huge personality. Burnett would be a rental and wouldn’t conceivably get much in return, but it makes me really have to think about what the Bucs might do.
Burnett and McDonald are two of the biggest blind spots for us. It’s just not crystal clear what both pitchers will do between the lines in 2013. How much could A.J. possibly have in the tank and forseeing JMac flip the switch to be first-half JMac seems like wishful thinking.
It’s pretty easy to see why the Pirates brass compiled so much pitching depth in the off season. If all goes well, the Bucs will have more than enough arms to eat up the innings. But do you really see that happening? You think the 2013 Pirates staff turns into the 2012 Reds starting rotation from last year? Nah, we don’t see it.
But we also don’t know how the hell it is going to turn out either. We are going to take a moment and just scream now.
Charlie Morton is working his way back.
Frank Liriano is working his way back well, supposedly we haven’t heard much in the way of Liriano.
Wandy Rodriguez will be the number two starter in the rotation. PNC Park will definently help the left-hander, but the reduction in strikeouts is a big concern.
If a few of the pitchers do go to shit, at least Kyle McPherson, Jeff Locke, Phil Irwin, and of course Gerrit Cole are waiting in the wings to plug holes/start over. It’s not like Brad Lincoln is the only swingman option anymore and the more we look back on the trade for Travis Snider the more sense it makes, especially if you believe Snider will produce as he is capable of in 2013.
And we haven’t even discussed the bullpen.
A bullpen that went to hell down the stretch in 2013 after pitching so well when the Pirates were stacking up wins will be getting a slight makeover. Gone is Joel Hanrahan. Gone is Chris Resop.
Jason Grilli the new closer? Sorry, we’re not sold yet. We can see Grilli blowing a few saves in April.
Mark Melancon as the set-up man. Sorry, we’re not sold. Jared Hughes and Chris Leroux……we can see that working out. It’s pretty easy to see powerful, efficient arms coming out of the bullpen in 2013, but to think it’s clear sailing is simply a mistake. Just who will be the lefties? Mike Zagurski? Justin Wilson? Probably Tony Watson again, but is he healthy?
Jose Contreras? Jonathan Sanchez? Andy Oliver? Brook… God, the choices are many, the answers are few.
The Bucs will head down the highway in 21 days. Do us a favor, just keep an eye on the blind spot. We don’t want you to be surprised.
In the meantime, we will keep our eyes dead ahead on the final 15 exhibition games in Bradenton and will keep telling ourselves ”you’re good Pittsburgh Pirates, You’re good!”