Feb 13, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pitchers take batting practice during the Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates Offseason: It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

Feb 15, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (6) talks with teammates during spring training at Pirate City. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Like any argument where there are two parties diametrically opposed to the other, the answer is usually somewhere in the middle. This offseason has featured two main narratives: First, people complaining about the same old cheap Pirates, not willing to go out and sign A.J. Burnett, a big ticket free agent first baseman, or swing a trade for a major piece, and second, people clamoring for the chance to proclaim to all the world the genius of our lord and savior Neal Huntington. Here are the facts of the Pirates offseason:

Bad: No substantial improvements made at first base, and no solutions in sight. First base has been an organizational weakness for the Pirates as long as anyone can remember. Unfortunately that’s going to be the case in 2014 as well, with Andrew Lambo and Gaby Sanchez splitting time, don’t expect anything better than replacement production from this position.

Good: The Pirates didn’t overspend on A.J. Burnett. Everybody in Pittsburgh loves (loved?) A.J. Burnett, and can’t get enough of the guy. He had a cataclysmically good year in 2013, but the Pirates front office was smart enough to balk at the idea of paying him $16 million like the Phillies did.

Bad: Travis Snider is still on the roster. Hopefully this changes by June or July when (fingers crossed) Gregory Polanco gets called up, but until then get ready for another three months of

Good: Andrew McCutchen is still on the roster, and still the best player in the N.L.

Bad: The Pirates have some holes and question marks in the back end of their rotation.

Good: So does every other team in Major League Baseball.

When it comes down to it, the Pirates are still a good team. They aren’t any better or deeper than they were in 2013, but neither is any of their immediate competition in the N.L. central. So, for the bridge-jumpers, let’s back away from the railing for now. I’ll buy you an IC Light and a Primanti’s sandwich. For those who already are marking dibs on their spot for the World Series championship parade, let’s dial it back a notch. Baseball’s a long season, and a lot can happen between now and October. Let’s all just try to enjoy it without killing each other.

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