If The Pittsburgh Pirates can sign their top two draft picks, the perception in Pittsburgh will begin to change in a big way over the next two months. By August 21, Pirates fans will know a great deal about the future of this club. The fact that they aren’t telling their story more agressively is confusing.
The Pirates have suddenly become exciting. They are scoring more runs. They are young. They are highly marketable right now.
The Pirates organization have used the 1960’s team to spark some talk about the 1950’s Pirates teams that lost so frequently before becoming king of the town. In fact, between 1951 and 1957 the Pirates lost 90, 112, 104, 101, 94, 88, and 92 games. The slide ended in 1958 when they went 84-70 followed by a 78-76 mark and then in 1960 the Pirates brought down the evil empire.
It’s cool to know that the 50’s Pirates lost a lot of games, and turned it all around. But I don’t think the youth really care about history. It’s about winning. Period. At our softball field last night, I saw no less than six kids with some kind of Pirates merchandise on their bodies. It was amazing. These kids love Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, and Pedro Alvarez. Unfortunately for the Bucs, there was nobody wearing a jersey with the name of pitcher on the back.
Nonetheless, it was a cool sight to see, one of the boys had a ball he had caught at a game recently. But I was too busy going nine-for-nine to take a picture. (Sorry had to get that in.) So we wish the Pirates would keep focusing on the future please. In fact, here’s a quick idea…use this for the upcoming Rangers series. Pirates Young Guns Roll Into Texas. Hell, I don’t know, do anything except compare or associate this team to losing. It’s stupid.
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The future is now and if it takes some money to get young talent in the organization, the Pirates have little choice.
Regarding the past, Aki Iwamura is officially on the market. For me, I hope it doesn’t happen, please don’t trade Aki. I hope Aki pulls a Taschner and doesn’t accept a demotion. A report by Dejan in the PG today stated Aki Iwamura is being shopped around. MLB Trade Rumorshas a post about the interest in Iwamura and suggests the Angels, Rockies, and Twins could use some infield help. In Dejan’s post he had this to say regarding Aki’s money:
"It is extraordinarily unlikely that any team would assume more than the required $300,000 or so of Iwamura’s remaining $2.93 million, so money will not be a factor. Huntington reiterated that his intent is to move Iwamura to give him a chance to hook up with another team.If there is no trade, Iwamura would be optioned to Class AAA Indianapolis. And, if he refuses the assignment, as reliever Jack Taschner just did, he would give up the remainder of that otherwise guaranteed money."
If this could magically occur with Aki, the Bucs would have some more cash to line the pockets of Stetson Allie and Jameson Taillon. Rene Gayo could also use some cash in Latin America where the Pirates need to make a splash. It sounds like the Bucs are going to spend some cash on young talent. I like the sounds of that scenario.
Speaking of young pitching talent, a report on Bucs Prospects states that Nick Kingham has been signed according to a West Coast scout. The writer, Anup Sinha who was a scout for the Cardinals, says if reports are correct it will be a well over slot bonus. A scouting video of Kingham is located at this site where they said the following quote:
"I think his frame will allow for more power and that his balance, coordination, arm speed and mechanical starting points are all going to improve."
The other pitchers will also demand big checks to keep them from college.
Look, it’s not my money. Spend away. So good news for the Pirates, but Bob Nutting is going to need to start cutting coupons if he wants to get a majority of these picks signed. The trouble is this: Everyone who follows the game realizes one crucial fact.
The Pittsburgh Pirates desperately need pitching in the system.
Hence, the Pirates are starting the negotiations from a point of weakness. In fact, we would say a severe point of weakness. If you need…..you must pay. The fact that these prep draft picks each have a full ride in waiting strengthens their stance. Especially the first two picks Jameson Taillion and Stetson Allie.
OPTION ONE: Come play for the Pirates. Get paid more cash than you can imagine.
OPTION TWO: Come play with the most beautiful girls on the planet while you play for Rice and/or UNC. Don’t get paid more cash than you can imagine. Don’t get hurt.
The agents will point to these statistics at some point in the negotiations. It’s not real pretty when you dig into the AA stats, there isn’t someone right now who projects as anything more than a three. Bryan Morris you say? Uhh, not yet. Give him some time and let’s circle back at his development. Check out some of the pitching talent and tell me what you see:
Donald Veal utilized the frequent flier miles of the Pirates to get operated on by Dr. Andrews.
Charlie Morton. 1.70WHIP. 4.91ERA. 14.2IP, 19H, 14K
Hayden Penn. 1.51WHIP. 4.61ERA. 41IP, 48H, 35K
Michael Crotta. 1.53WHIP. 4.89ERA. 68IP, 54H, 29K
Jeremy Powell. 1.42WHIP. 5.63ERA. 54.1IP, 58H, 28K
Daniel McCutchen. 1.19WHIP. 4.02ERA. 53.2IP, 51H, 25K
Tim Alderson. 1.41WHIP. 4.50ERA. 76IP, 87H, 46K
J Hughes. 1.29WHIP. 3.70ERA. 75IP, 78H, 55K
Rudy Owens. 0.99WHIP. 2.93ERA. 76.2IP, 60H, 58K
J Wilson. 1.18WHIP, 2.99ERA. 69.1IP, 52H, 64K
Bryan Morris. 1.31WHIP. 4.22ERA. 32IP, 32H, 32K
The agents will ask for big money. The question remains, just how much will the Pirates pay in order to make a franchise rebuild of their young pitching staff? And is their enough money to spend on such high risk high reward talent?
It will be an interesting 60 days.