The Pittsburgh Pirates have completed a huge purge of the vast majority of their roster since Neal Huntington took over leadership of the franchise a few years ago. They’ve traded a large number of serviceable major leaguers including the likes of Jason Bay, Nate McLouth and Jack Wilson.
All these trades have provoked a huge amount of outrage among the Pirates’ fanbase. (Yes, there still is a fanbase). I think most fans would have preferred to keep that lineup largely intact and then perhaps raise the bar on the pitching staff by going after some free agents. Wishful thinking. Free agents wouldn’t want to come to the Pirates right now.
The alternative is to develop great pitching. But by the time the pitching could catch up, the offense would have started to go down. It’s a half-assed approach. You either spend more to bring the pitching staff up to par quickly, which won’t happen, or you tear it all down. In almost all the recent trades, Pirates GM Neal Huntington has gone after pitching, pitching and more pitching.
The Pirates went 67-95 playing a large part of the last season with the most productive outfield in baseball. There was solid, if unspectacular play, from the likes of Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez. But whither the pitching.
Now I have my doubts as to whether Pirates owner Bob Nutting will pony up the money to keep a developing team together if recent drafts and trades start to pan out as we all hope. But the plan itself is solid. Some fans may have been content for the team to make a run at .500 this year, which may have been doable with the collection of players that came out of spring training. But in the City of Champions, we cannot accept anything less than a team that wants to win titles. We don’t do Loveable Losers.