Pirates fans won't like Ben Cherington's comments on Rowdy Tellez's struggles

Ben Cherington's comments will make a lot of fans mad
Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin Berl/GettyImages

When the Pirates acquired Rowdy Tellez to be the everyday first baseman, expectations were that he would provide some solid pop in the middle of the lineup. A group featuring the necessary star power in Oneil Cruz, name recognition in Andrew McCutchen and Bryan Reynolds needed an old-fashioned slugger in the meat of the order.

Tellez seemed like a decent bet after hitting 35-home runs in 2022 along with a .461 slugging percentage. The 29-year-old lefty bring zero value with the glove, but for Pirates' fans, that was likely okay because the potential for 20 or 30 home runs is there.

As we sit here, some 50 games into the season, it is very clear that the 2022 season is the outlier for Tellez. The potential for impact is obviously there, but the ability to translate that from potential to actual results is far gone. Fans have grown tired of watching the lefty swing at bad pitches, while watching cookies right down the middle (signs that a hitter is just truly lost at the plate) in key moments.

Recent comments from Pirates General Manager Ben Cherington via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette may frustrate fans, particularly if you were hoping for some sort of move to be made to address the issue at first base. Cherington knows that Tellez isn't performing up to his capabilities and what the Pirates paid him for, yet he defends him, stating that he knows that improved production is within Tellez. Of course, it is. Is it within me to dunk a basketball? Sure. Is it likely? Absolutely not! What makes Cherington think that Tellez will get back to his 30-home-run power? I am not sure, but Pirates fans will continue to grow frustrated seeing Tellez get meaningful at-bats.

"The underlying physical traits are still there. The bat speed, the ability to hit the ball really hard — he's healthy. He's working hard. He's scuffling. He knows that. We all know that."

Cherington to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Cherington's comments will certainly get a rise out of Pirates fans after his struggles led to a swarming of boos in the series against the Giants (one that saw him get four plate appearances, striking out twice). Can you really blame Pirates fans? These comments don't really even support what Tellez is as a hitter. Sure, he has solid bat speed, but that doesn't mean much when you have a 12th-percentile barrel rate and just about a major-league average exit velocity.

This team can certainly do better than what Tellez is giving them, and fans will only continue to grow more restless as Tellez continues to struggle. The offense, surprisingly, has been clicking on all cylinders recently, and adding an actual contributor at first base, could catapult this team into legit contention for the National League Central Division title. Though, from Cherington's recent comments, it doesn't seem like he is ready to make that move.