FEAR. The 2010 Pirates Fans Guide.

smitty
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FEAR. 

We talked about the HOPE the Pittsburgh Pirates have for 2010 and beyond, now it’s time to discuss FEAR.   The fear that surrounds all Pirate fans when we consider the fate of the 2010 team as we look at it today. Yeh, there are many starting positions wide open, I mean as glaring as the stab wounds in the body of a Jason Voorhes victim.

The 2009 Pirates teased us a little bit, sorta like that hot person you were attracted to in college or at Summer Camp on the Lake.  They gave you just enough openings to make you think you had a chance and then we would get played like a seven game Kevin Hart losing streak. 

We saw flashes of brilliance and then would leave 14 runners on base against the Tigers and Padres.  It was awful.

Just when the Pirates seemed like they would come out of the post trade environment with a win, something would blow up.  It was an awful stretch run with the highlight being John Russell’s infamous walk to the mound.  Train wreck.

So let’s take a quick look at the Bucs today and please let me know your thoughts…

COMMON SENSE:

Do you really think 2010 is the year?  Come on.  A total rebuild takes herculean effort.   The team has a glimmer of hope, but career years all around wouldn’t be quite enough.  Seriously.

THE SLUMPS:

Zach Duke go steadily worse each month of the season.

2.43ERA in April, 2.98 in May, 3.83 in June, 3.67 in July, 5.76 in August, 5.84 in September.  An 8-8 first half with 18 starts and a 3.29ERA became a 3-8 second half in 14 starts with a 5.17ERA.

Delwyn Young was hideous at the plate after hitting so well (.301) until August 29.    Young hit .153 (13-for-85) in his final 27 games.  Was it the unthinkable result of relentless work spent becoming a major league second baseman while IN THE MAJORS?   Effectively erasing any doubt that the Pirates will be looking for a second baseman to compete against DY. 

Brian Bixler just kept striking out in his effort to show the Pirates brass he could play at the Major League level.

Steve Pearce.  See Brian Bixler

Brandon Moss.  See Steve Pearce.  Moss hit .203 in April,  .305 in May,   .281 in June,   .185 in July,   .218 in August and   .213 in September/October.

RIGHT FIELD/SECOND BASE:

Two wide open positions.  Typically most MLB franchises have RF figured out.  The Pirates don’t.  Hell, the Pirates are still a year or two away from having a strong RF.  So looking at the current fears head on,  If Andy LaRoche moves to 2B, will DY headed back to RF?  If not, who?  Jose Tabata

If LaRoche moves to second, who plays third?  Pedro Alvarez will not make this club out of spring training.  Won’t happen.  Would a strong season in Venezulean winter ball seal a spot at third base for Neil Walker?

Or does Ryan Doumit move to right field?  A move which would/could/should help the club, but further complicate the words of the front office who said Doumit is their catcher.  It’s an interesting mix of players that we feel strongly about, but which all have glaring questions to be answered.  

Bixler was being counted on, and he failed in 2009.

Shelby Ford was being counted on, and he failed in 2009.  Ford is now Rule 5 eligible. 

Doumit needs to stay healthy.  Impossible for him at catcher.

DY and LaRoche need to get physically stronger in the off season.

Jose Tabata has the skills and a curious affection for cougars.  Could he put the TMZ like 2009 behind him, stay healthy and pull a Cutch next season?

Decisions swirl around the team, scary decisions if you have hope for 2010, first these fears must be addressed.  The off season will be interesting.  Surely, the Pirates need to write a check for a free agent?  But who will it be.  And where will he play?

So many questions……hell, this FEAR column could become a mini-series for God’s sake.  Now it’s time to hit the links like the rest of the team is doing.  It’s the off season Pirates fans, soak it in and if the last few years are any indication, prepare to be underwhelmed.

Coming to your computer screen soon from Rum Bunter

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