By Simon Stracher
This is my first 30 Teams post and I hope you all enjoy it!
I know I know, the lowly Pirates of Pittsburgh. The once storied franchise has sunken to a new low with their 18th consecutive losing season in 2010. But amidst all of this trouble, there is a beacon of hope for these Pirates. General Manager Neal Huntington has infused the farm system with young talent (Pedro Alvarez, Jameson Tailon, etc.), and he has made several reputable signings of veteran players (Kevin Correia, Lyle Overbay, Scott Olsen, etc.). All in all, the Pirates offseason has been quiet, but nevertheless, very productive.
Major League Signings
- Kevin Correia, SP: two years, $8MM.
- Lyle Overbay, 1B: one year, $5MM.
- Matt Diaz, OF: two years, $4.25MM.
- Scott Olsen, SP: one year, $500K.
- Total: $17.75MM.
Notable Minor League Signings
- Joe Beimel, Jose Veras, Andy Marte, Josh Fields, Garrett Atkins, Justin Thomas,Dusty Brown, Fernando Nieve, Donald Veal, Tyler Yates, Brian Burres, Jorge Julio, Wyatt Toregas
Trades and Claims
- Acquired SP Cesar Valdez from Diamondbacks for SP Zach Duke
- Claimed SS Josh Rodriguez from Indians in Rule 5 draft
- Acquired IF/OF Corey Wimberly from Athletics for RP Ryan Kelly
- Claimed P Aaron Thompson off waivers from Nationals
- Acquired a player to be named later or cash considerations for P Joe Martinez
The losses that the Pirates offseason are actually more like gains for them. Last year, Zach Duke had a 5.72 ERA and a 4.95 FIP. Ever since his dazzling 2005 rookie season (1.81 ERA, 2.3 WAR in 84.2 IP) he has not had a ERA lower than 4.06. He simply isn't a very good pitcher. Former top prospect Lastings Milledge is another "loss" for the Pirates. In
One of the major deals for the Bucs was the Kevin Correia signing. It was also extremely significant for the franchise. It had been 12 years since the Bucs signed a domestic free agent pitcher to a multiyear deal. The Pirates took this chance on Correia because he is a potential sleeper; a pitcher who can potentially throw 200 innings, and if he regains his 2009 form, he can become the "ace" of this Pirates staff. The acquisitions of Lyle Overbay and Matt Diaz were made in order to provide a shread of respectability to this franchise.
I expect the Pirates to contend in 2013. By then Pedro Alvarez, Jameson Tailon, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, and Jose Tabata will provide a nice nucleus for Huntington to build around. My only problem with the Pirates is their lack of pitching depth. Besides Jameson Tailon, James McDonald (who was acquired in a steal of a trade), Ross Ohlendorf, and Stetson Allie, their rotation in the future looks very weak. Ohlendorf seems to have the potential of a #3 starter at best, and he is already 28 years old. In 2013, he will be at the end of his prime. Even though these are four potentially good pitchers, you never know with prospects (especially prospects who are in Rookie Ball, like Allie and Tailon). In order for this Pirates team to compete in the future, Huntington has to make some moves to acquire pitching talent and be able to lock them up quickly for a inexpensive price (the Pirates cheapness has been well documented).
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post and you enjoy posts in the future.