Pittsburgh Pirates – Rebuild It & They Will Come
By Tom Smith
Jun 14, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates fans cheer on the left field rotunda against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Pirates – Rebuild It & They Will Come.
A large number of Pittsburgh Pirates fans stayed up late last night waiting for a move to be made to improve a roster that includes the following players.
Pirates – Rebuild It & They Will Come
The Bucs were poised to add a starter, bullpen help and probably a bench bat to a roster that could certainly use one of each.
But nothing happened last night as midnight came and went.
So a large number of people were up early this morning–checking twitter, checking the papers, checking out blogs– waiting for the same sort of news. The Bucs were going to make some moves. Baseball moves. The best moves.
Trades were made. More trades were made. And oh yes, the Pirates were mentioned in all of the biggest trades of the day. Jon Lester, hell even a deal to bring ace left-hander David Price to PNC Park and the golf courses of Pittsburgh region was in the works.
But at the end of the day, the team felt it best to not make a move. Or as Neal Huntington said, the team made the best move. No move.
We refer you again to the Pittsburgh Pirates roster. The 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates have played their asses off to get to where they are in the National League and somehow after the MLB non-waiver trade deadline, the roster still looks exactly as it did yesterday. Huntington said some players in AAA could help the club soon. Gerrit Cole will be returning soon. Everyone knew that…as the GEICO commercial amusingly states, that’s not how this works…that’s not how any of this works.
The Pirates have been fortunate enough to show Major League Baseball that it just might work their way.
But deep down, sometimes I wonder if everyone else in the organization puts in as much effort as the…oh, 18 or so of the current 25 man roster puts in. Those players that have allowed the Pirates to be in a pennant race as August looms must be shaking their heads tonight. Surely a move could have been made that would protect a lead in the seventh or eighth inning? Certainly a bench bat could have been added that would allow the Pirates to send someone to the plate, late in a ballgame, not named Michael Martinez.
Jul 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Michael Martinez (3) singles against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning at PNC Park. The Dodgers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Pirates scouts were sent out to do their work. We presume they were sent out to look at starters and bench bats and bullpen help for a team that certainly needed it. So we can only assume the asking price for such talent was just too much to pay, or maybe the scouts saw something in the players that were traded to other ML clubs today that they didn’t like. Meanwhile the Brewers added a piece. Of course, the Cardinals added pieces to their roster. And much like the offseason, the Pirates did as little as possible.
Yet, when looking at it closely, the Pirates didn’t make a move that would improve the team in the offseason and it appears that they didn’t need to do such work. The Pirates fixed Edison Volquez and Vance Worley rather than overpaying for more established starting pitching. Jeff Locke got himself right. Gregory Polanco played winter ball at the highest level. All of these players have helped get the Pirates to the position they are in right now. Meanwhile Andrew McCutchen is playing like another MVP could be in the works. Russell Martin, Neil Walker, Josh Harrison….you know the names, …the list goes about 15 more players deep.
But perhaps it’s the work behind the scenes that fans simply can’t appreciate. The Pirates don’t shop in furniture stores, they head down to 84 Lumber and get the pieces to build furniture. Or they grab furniture that others have left out in the yard for anyone to take. Sometimes the project turns out, and in some cases it doesn’t. Last year the team added important pieces to the roster after the non-waiver trade deadline. This year, we’ve been told that will certainly be more difficult to do.
But that’s the Pirates way.
The team shops in the fancy stores, but politely walks out the door empty handed.
Hell, one must give them credit. So far, it’s a method that has worked for them. What’s wrong with hand me downs like Edison Volquez and Vance Worley or a fix-me-upper like Franisco Liriano? We don’t think they will ever pitch well deep into the playoffs, but the Bucs might…..just might do just enough to get to the postseason. And maybe that’s all that matters to the brass on Federal Street–just get to the postseason and anything can happen.
At this moment we are certain that the same scouts that were watching Jon Lester, David Price, and the like are getting ready for a different journey. Now it turns to a much more complex situation. What players might be broken that the Pirates could simply claim off waivers without surrendering as many precious assets. What players are playing well, but their team is out of contention? Who can be re built, re cycled, re energized by a Pirates team that prays to God this team doesn’t go on a losing streak at the worst possible time of the season.
It’s the Pirates way. Many don’t like it. But do you think the Pirates really care?
PNC Park will still be full. Don’t you understand? Pittsburgh has become a baseball town! The Pirates will do it their way, because it’s what they have done all along. The big deals didn’t line up today. Maybe one day they will. But until then, the Pirates will continue to re build it and you can bet your ass, they will come. Oh my, will they come.
Oct 1, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Fans arrive through the turnstiles before the National League wild card baseball playoff game between the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports