Pittsburgh Pirates fans for the most part have grown anywhere from impatient, to just flat out tired with the Pirates. Twenty straight years of losing is an awfully long time, and there’s nothing wanted more than a team that will win right now. Even some of the players have gotten to the same point as the fans (such as Jason Grilli) where they are clearly, visibly upset at how long the Pirates have been losing.
Pirates fans want to win so badly, that they are desperate for Gerrit Cole to get to the big league team, and if all goes according to plan, become a number one starter, bolstering the team for years to come. Cole has had a decent spring with the big league club (1-0, 4.50 ERA, 4.5 K/9) , and has had a couple of performances in which he’s shown the potential to dominate when he gets to the big league club. That being said, here’s why Gerrit Cole should not be with the Pirates on opening day:
First, Cole has spent an exceedingly limited amount of time at AAA. As well as Cole has progressed through the minors, what would essentially be a jump straight from AA to the show would just be silly. Prospects are so easy to miss on, or screw up, and even with how much of a no miss kind of guy Cole is, you don’t want to risk that, it’s just not safe.
Twenty years of losing doesn’t come from having one or two bad teams, it comes from a terrible ability to develop and maintain prospects, and despite impatience from fans, the Pirates will do best for themselves to leave him there for the first half of the season.
Secondly, let’s be honest here, pitchers are head cases, every one of them.
Show me a completely mentally stable pitcher, and I will show you a three-headed monkey in a hula skirt doing the Macarena. The pressures of pitching are enormous compared to any other position on the field. If your third basemen goes 0-for-4 with three whiffs, and boots a ground ball in a game, you can still pull out the ballgame.
If your pitcher fails?
“Pitching wins championships” isn’t just a cliche, it’s truth. In order to fully prepare Cole to be a number one starter for years to come, the Pirates need to focus as much on his mental development and maturation as they do on his secondary pitches.
Thirdly, if the Pirates wait to call up Cole for a few months, he won’t be eligible for arbitration for an entire extra year, and which would you rather have, three months of relatively ineffective starts, or an entire extra season of Cole in his prime? As a small market team, every year the Pirates can maintain control of a guy this talented needs to be held on to with all their might, because great arms like this don’t just grow on trees.
Speaking of arms, the fourth and final reason the Pirates shouldn’t call Cole up for the first few months of the season: There are a ridiculous number of arms just sitting around in Pirates Spring Training right now.
If you haven’t noticed, the competition for the 5th starter is about as backed up as I-75 through Atlanta at 5 PM on a Friday.
Granted, some guys have set themselves apart from others, but it seems pretty clear that there’s not exactly a shortage of options for the Pirates to plug some gaps until Cole is completely ready.
So, there you have it, four reasons why Gerrit Cole should head to Indianapolis when things wrap up in Bradenton in the next couple of weeks.
How long do you think the Pirates should wait before calling him up? Am I wrong, and should the Pirates call Cole up immediately? Feel free to sound off in the comments.