Pittsburgh Pirates Splurge on Minor League Talent


Laughing all the way to the bank.. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Well Pirate fans.  If you expected that Bob Nutting would actually use the revenue he made last year to bring in a qualified free agent to fill the gaps at first base, right field, or Pitcher, WAKE UP! because you must have been dreaming.  But then again, spending any money whatsoever would eat into his record profits that he made last year.  CNBC estimated that Bob Nutting is the 10th richest owner in the MLB with his family’s net worth estimated at $1.1 billion.  So surely you can see why he’s so reluctant to spend any money.  He’s practically broke!  I mean… he’s only got one measly billion.  It’s not like he’s got… I don’t know… a bunch of billions or something.. Geez!   Give the guy a break!

Unfortunately, the acquisitions and spring training invites made by the Pirates are exactly what we should have expected even though we came within a few games of the World Series last year.  So just shut up Pirate Fans, spend your money at the games, watch them on TV, buy your McCutchen jerseys, make Nutting even more wealthy then he is, and just be happy that we should have another winning season again this year.

With that all cleared up, let’s examine the players our Management team so kindly brought to our Minor League table and extended Spring Training invites to.

1.)    Travis Ishikawa,  1B

Ishi-y’all Ishi-yay is a 30 year old journey man who’s been with 4 teams in 6 years.  Huntington must be bringing him in to compete for the platoon role with Gaby at first I’m guessing.  He has a career .262 average against right handers, with a .329 OBP.  Which is respectable.  However in the last three years, that has dropped to a .232 BA with a .319 OBP.  Overall, he’ll be a patient hitter with no real power who can play decent defense.  He’ll get on base and he was cheap, so he fits the bill.  What up Ish. Welcome to the Burgh.

2.)    Michael Martinez, everywhere

Yeaa uhh.. I don’t really know what Huntington was going for here.  Martinez was an above average prospect that fell absolutely flat in the Majors.  He’s shown no signs of life whatsoever.  In 3 seasons with the Phillies he hit .187/234/261.  Ok.  That’s just miserable.  Average speed.  Above average defense.  He’s played every position except catcher and pitcher, but I really don’t see what the value is here except maybe filling a gap at AAA.   Maybe NH see’s something there..  Either way, Hiya Mikey : )

3.)    Dan Schlereth, P

It’s never a bad idea to get some more sharks in the shark tank.  If I were to grade out Dan Schlereth as a shark….I’d say he would be a reef shark.  No Great White by any stretch, but he can bite.   Career average of 8.8 strike outs per 9 innings. (although that number has declined every year over the past 4 years)  low 90’s fast ball.  Plus curve ball.  Laid an egg in limited action last year with the Tigers so they released him.  He could help.  We’ll probably see him split time between AAA and the majors with a shot to make the bullpen with a good spring.  He’ll have good games and bad games.  But fun fact time, he’s the son of NFL Analyst Mark Schlereth and also, he tossed Jim Thome his 600th Home Run.  So he’s got that goin for him.  Welcome to the tank Dan.  You can sit down now.

4.)    Adam Wilk, P

If Schlereth is a Reef Shark, Adam Wilk is a Nurse Shark.  Harmless.  In 3 seasons with the Tigers he finished with an unholy 6.66 ERA.  (screams!) AHHH!!! MARK OF THE BEAST!!  But don’t worry people..he is no beast… He started 3 games with the Tigers in 2012 going 11 innings and giving up 10 runs.  Trying to keep that 1 run per inning balance.  I get it.  I get it.  After seeing that, the Tigers shipped him to South Korea?  To play for the NC Dinos where he actually started the season in their rotation.  Hurtin for talent out in ole SK I guess… Anyways he didn’t do so hot, got mad, publicly criticized the coaching via Twitter, got sent down to the Korean minors after throwing only 91 innings and then finally got booted out of the country half way through the season with a one way ticket back to the states.  Ahh yes… Welcome to Pittsburgh Adam!!

5.)     Brandon Mann, P

Brandon Mann.  Poor Brandon’s not even a shark.  We’ll say he’s a Dolphin.  “EEE EEEE!!”…  Brandon was drafted by the D-Rays where he did below average for 3 years in A+ and AA ball.  (about a 5.0 ERA)  They sent him to the Dodgers where he continued the trend with a 4.88 ERA, but actually averaged 9 k’s per 9 innings.  Not too shabby.  But they liked that so much they shipped him to Japan’s Inland Empire 66ers?  What exactly a 66er is I have no idea….anyways, guess he wasn’t 66er material so they sent him to the Yokohama Bay Stars where he came out like GANGBUSTERS with a 1.16 ERA over 21 innings in 2011. YAY!… But unfortunately, he must have hit the Sapuro pretty hard in the offseason because he followed that up with a 5.32 ERA in 2012 and yet another one way ticket back to the states.  Boooo…   But who cares.  Come on in B-Mann!!  Welcome aboard the Jolly Roger!

6.)    Kyle McPherson, P

McFear! (or McFeary as he’s known on the set) was drafted by the Pirates in 2007 and had his ups and downs as he worked his way through the Minors.  Finally got his chance in 2012 where he pitched a total of 26 innings, started 3 games, and put up a very solid 2.73 ERA. Then the arm gave out..  He had Tommy John surgery on 7/10/13 and is attempting his comeback this Spring.  Good Luck Kyle.  We’re all rooting for ya buddy.

And Mark Madden said they wouldn’t spend any money in the offseason…. they really proved him wrong!  So that’s that folks.  Another hum drum off season so far for the almost NL champs.  Way to shoot for the stars guys.  In reality, despite management’s absolute lack of trying, the Pirates are poised to have another good year.  We still have returning stars at almost every position accept SS, 1B, and RF.  We have a few question marks in the rotation and the bullpen, but we should be above average at worst with a chance to be great again.   It is sad and depressing that Nutting still just absolutely refuses to spend any money, but it doesn’t change the fact that we still have a talented roster that will be fun to watch.  *sigh*…it is what it is Pirate fans, take it or leave it.….let’s go bucs.