The Pittsburgh Pirates Need To Start Holding People Accountable

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /

As the team’s post-All-Star Break collapse continues, it is time that the Pittsburgh Pirates start to hold people accountable

Accountability is a part of life. It does not matter if it is in the work place, the classroom, or at home, people are expected to be held accountable for their actions. It is time for the Pittsburgh Pirates to start to hold people accountable.

Despite being devastated with injuries in the early part of the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates entered the All-Star Break on a high note. The team had won 14 of their previous 21 games to pull within a game of .500 at 44-45. This 44-45 record put them just 2.5 games out of first place in the National League Central, as well as 2.5 games out in the NL Wild Card race.

Well, since the All-Star Break, absolutely everything has gone wrong.

The team has played eight series since the break and they have lost all eight. They have been swept in four of these eight series, and their overall record is 4-21. Yes, 4-21.

When a MLB team goes on a 4-21 stretch at any point in a season, people need to be held accountable. It is especially true when this 4-21 stretch comes after the team spent the first 55% of the season contending for the postseason.

Were the Pirates ever truly a postseason contender? With the way the pitching staff was performing likely not. However, that does not change the fact that 4-21 is totally and completely unacceptable.

Manager Clint Hurdle, in my opinion, is having one of the worst seasons of his career in terms in game decision making. The infield defense has been among the worst in the Majors, and that needs to fall at the feet on infield instructor/third base coach Joey Cora.

The pitching staff was supposed to be the strength of this club. Entering the season it appeared the Pirates would have both one of the best starting rotations and bullpens in the NL. Well, the pitching has been anything but a strength.

As of August 8th, the Pirate pitching staff ranks 24th in the Majors in staff fWAR (6.0) and home runs allowed (175) and 25th in ERA (5.03). Chris Archer, Joe Musgrove, Kyle Crick, and Trevor Williams are among the pitchers that have either regressed immensely this season, and/or are having the worst season of their career. Not good!

General manager Neal Huntington is not free of blame either. He is far, far from it.

After the team went all in at the trade deadline last year by acquiring Chris Archer and Keone Kela they needed to back it up with a busy offseason. By making those trades they signified they were ready to win now. However, their offseason did not match that perceived urgency.

The team needed to add another starting pitcher, the middle infield needed help, and another bullpen arm would have been beneficial due to Edgar Santana undergoing Tommy John Surgery in September. Well, Huntington failed to address these needs.

Sure, he signed Jordan Lyles. But that experiment went as everyone expected. Lyles struggled as a starting pitcher, just as he has done his entire career, and was then traded to Milwaukee. Signing just Lyles was not good enough.

Huntington recent track record in general is porous. The Gerrit Cole trade prior to the start of last season was a disaster and the Archer trade has been even worse. He also rested on his laurels too much following the team’s 98 win campaign of 2015. The offseason prior to the 2017 season? Yeah, not much to talk about other than an ill advised three-year contract for Ivan Nova.

It is also painfully obvious that the Pirate way no longer works. What was one viewed as one of the smartest, most innovating, forward thinking, and all around best front offices in baseball has become one of the worst. This is due to their inability to evolve with the sport but instead getting stuck in their ways.

Again, accountability.

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The Pirates need to shake things up. There is not argument that can be made to keep anyone on the coaching staff other than hitting coaches Rick Eckstein and Jacob Cruz. Assuming this coaching staff is not in place next season – if it is there is zero reason to believe this franchise has nay desire whatsoever to win – then the sooner you start to cut ties the better.

4-21 can not happen. 4-21 needs to lead to people being held accountable and losing their jobs. If this does not happen, then the Pirates will send the message that there is no accountability in this organization. Then again, maybe there is none. That would be a major issue.