Pittsburgh Pirates: Reasons to Celebrate? Seriously?
The Pittsburgh Pirates are on their way to having one of, if not, the worst second halves of a season in baseball. So let’s celebrate?
One of the toughest things in baseball right now is to be a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team is in complete turmoil from the dugout to the front office, and even the locker room (i.e. Keone Kela, the players talking about changing the chemistry, etc.). While the Bucs have dealt with a lot of injuries this year, the team itself just does not have a lot to get excited about going forward.
This is especially true since learning that former number two overall pick Jameson Taillon underwent a second Tommy-John Surgery. It really is hard to place blame at one specific part of the organization (of course ownership is to really blame). Some argue it’s Clint Hurdle’s fault as he does not develop the prospects at the big league level, while others say the team’s General Manager has not done a good enough job in acquiring talent.
Either way, this team is not getting enough out of their prospects at the big league level. This is part of the big reason why the team has struggled since the All-Star Break, their farm system has been exposed as being very thin, especially at the upper levels.
Well, do not tell Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington that. According to Neal Huntington, the team has plenty of reasons to celebrate this season. Yes, this season that has quickly turned into one that will be trivia answer in a few years: “After a strong first half, what team had an epic collapse which gave them the worst second half in baseball history?”
Huntington made this claim on his weekly radio show on 93.7 The Fan and the quote was later posted on Twitter by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Pirates Beat Writer Jason Mackey:
First and foremost, when you go around the diamond what are the concerns? Third Base? Second Base? Catcher? So why are they an issue? Those positions did not see any change over from last season. Colin Moran, Adam Frazier, and Elias Diaz were all part of this team last year. If they are the “concerns” he is talking about, then why did he not address that over the last year?
Now the biggest issue really is the starting pitcher. What are we celebrating there? Chris Archer has looked a little better recently but still has yet to look like anything close fans imagined. Trevor Williams is having the worst stretch of baseball in his short big-league career, and Joe Musgrove continues to be up and down. Oh and another top-rated pitching prospect seems to look overwhelmed on the mound. What is there really to celebrate with how the pitching staff looks for next year?
Now he is correct, there are a few reasons to celebrate. Felipe Vazquez continues to dominate teams (when he gets into games). Josh Bell had a stellar first half and now has shown what he potentially could be as he continues to develop. And of course there is National League Rookie of the Year and batting title candidate Bryan Reynolds.
However, with the state of the current team for all the reasons listed above, how can one even think about trying to celebrate anything right now. Just over a month ago, the team looked like they could make a push for the Wild Card, but now they are making a push for a top five pick in next year’s baseball draft. I would say that would be something to be excited about and to celebrate, but does anyone have a lot of faith that will go right either?
Give us something to celebrate, sign someone in the offseason that actually moves the needle, not “we believe he will bounce back to what he was five years ago”. Make changes and bring in a staff that can actually develop young talent at the minor league and major league level. Instead, we continue to get hollow sounding, woefully wrong optimistic statement’s that are falling on more and more deaf ears.