A Christmas List For Pittsburgh Pirates Fans
By Marty Leap
What should fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates be asking for this Christmas? And, no, Bob Nutting selling the team is not an option.
As you all know tomorrow is Christmas Day. So, first off, Merry Christmas from all of us here at Rum Bunter! Without our readers and followers we would not be one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates sites on the internet. So, for that, we say thank you!
Growing up as a kid there was always that one gift you wanted every year for Christmas. As you get older, these wants begin to change. Personally, all I want for Christmas is for my two sons to be healthy, happy, and to enjoy their holiday. But, as a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, there are things I wish for the team to get for Christmas.
Instead of waiting for Santa to squeeze down their chimneys, Pirate fans are waiting on general manager Neal Huntington to finish adding pieces this offseason. So, what should be on the Christmas list of a Pirate fan?
A New Shortstop
When the offseason began the team’s biggest need was shortstop. As Christmas Day approaches, shortstop remains the team’s biggest need.
So far this offseason, Huntington has added Lonnie Chisenhall to play right field until Gregory Polanco is healthy before transitioning to a fourth outfield/bench bat role. Jordan Lyles has been added to bolster middle relief, and Ivan Nova‘s bad contract has been traded away. Third baseman Jung Ho Kang was also re-signed in an effort to add much needed power to the lineup.
More from Rum Bunter
- Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Stockwatch: Outfielder Tres Gonzalez
- Pittsburgh Pirates Podcast: Rum Bunter Radio Talks Winter Meetings Fallout
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Leadoff Hitters in 2023
- Pittsburgh Pirates: The Rotation is not being Improved
- Pittsburgh Pirates Make Vince Velasquez Signing Official
While the Pirates have been active thus far, the team still needs to address shortstop. The in house options of Erik Gonzalez and Kevin Newman simply are not good enough to play every day on a team that is competing for a postseason berth.
The Bucs have been tied to free agent Freddy Galvis in recent weeks. At the Winter Meetings they were discussing a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks for Gold Glove winner Nick Ahmed. The new name to pop up is Troy Tulowitzki.
Who will be the shortstop on Opening Day? That remains to be an unknown. Maybe, Pirate fans will get a new shortstop for Christmas this year.
Another Starting Pitcher
Right now, the Pirate starting rotation features a strong 1-4. Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Trevor Williams, and Joe Musgrove is a top four capable of winning a lot of baseball games. However, the fifth spot remains empty.
The aforementioned Lyles could earn that spot in Spring Training, but he is much better as a reliever. JT Brubaker, Nick Kingham, Clay Holmes, and Steven Brault could be options, too, but the first has never pitched in the Majors and the latter three struggled immensely in a starting role last season. There is also top prospect Mitch Keller, but he won’t sniff the Majors before Super 2 passes in early June.
It could come via a trade or free agency, but the Pirates need to add another starting pitcher. Luckily, Huntington has over three months until Opening Day arrives so there is plenty of time to find said starting pitcher.
Last season the Pirates were one of the worst teams in the National League when it came to power production. The team was eighth or worst in the league in slugging percentage, ISO, extra base hits, and home runs in 2018. In 2019, this needs to improve.
Luckily, there is reason to believe this Christmas wish may be granted. Jung Ho Kang should give the Pirates’ lineup a power boost in 2019. Also, new hitting coach Rick Eckstein could help hitters such as Josh Bell and Colin Moran tap their power potential. There are also Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte who are both 20+ home run threats.
If the Pirate lineup finds more power in 2019, then the offense should be more consistent. If the offense finds consistency, then, combined with their pitching staff, the team will be legitimate postseason contenders this season.
What is on your list as a Pirate fan this year? Are they same as ours or different? Comment below or on Twitter and let us know! And, once again, Merry Christmas!