Friday Focus – Evaluation, The Unseen Casualty

Friday Focus

It has been little over five months since Travis Williams and Ben Cherrington were hired as the President and General Manager respectively. The offseason was anything but normal to begin with as the hiring process went late, cutting into the valuable time it takes to make moves and evaluate where the team is.

Toss on top of that, nobody, at least not alive and working today has seen anything like what this season has wrought. Somehow though, these two gentlemen are already failing. Somehow patience has already waned, and its already led to the diagnosis that Bob Nutting has rendered both impotent.

They have made exactly two big moves so far, Hiring Derek Shelton to coach the team, and trading Starling Marte for prospects and International Pool money. We have approximately two weeks of following Shelton as a coach, like actually making lineups (albeit Spring training) and honestly, we were just starting to learn some of his philosophy. We didn’t even get to the point where we see his vision for the opening day lineup.

That’s where we are. Stopped in our tracks, wondering how or if MLB will come back and still no idea what this team will look like when it does.

None of that has stopped many from deciding these are simply the new willing participants in Mr. Nutting’s evil plan to separate idiots from their money. Some folks never saw past Nutting in the first place, it wouldn’t matter who they hired or what moves they made. If the Prates signed Dallas Keuchel to a 3-year deal worth 70 million many would quickly label him nothing more than lipstick on a pig.

This event has cost the world countless in financial losses on top of the actual casualties. Baseball has lost its life’s blood, evaluation. Not only did we lose the ability to evaluate young talent, the progression of players but for the Pirates new management team, they get nothing. They’re powerless to do anything to enhance their perception, incapable of evaluating talent already here, or making moves even if they could. Timelines are off, service time is up in the air, budgets that potentially weren’t even set in stone are now in flux.

There should really be no evaluation of any kind going on toward these men, yet it does. Somehow in the course of having their hands tied along with all their counterparts the narrative that they somehow are failing is prevalent in Pirates Nation.

They haven’t earned our trust, not yet, but surely, they should do, well, something before we deem them failures. It’s not only the management. Colin Moran has somehow become an even worse defender than he was in 2019. Josh Bell has taken a further turn toward inconsistency. Mitch Keller is already lurching toward the bust label, and Bryan Reynolds is firmly locked in a Sophomore slump.

We’ve had no sports for quite some time now and thinking about all these possibilities is natural but thinking about them until they become fact in your mind is unhealthy, both for yourself and the fanbase.
So, what’s the point? Why point this out? Simple. The mantra of this site is pretty straightforward, Fair Pittsburgh Pirates Coverage.

Imagine you are a successful restaurant GM, and you accept a position with a failing restaurant to bring your expertise and turn things around. You start by seeing the inventory management is completely out of whack and the employees by in large were not trained well. You start making changes and anxiously await the new recipes your brand new head chef will implement. Then everything stops.

You at first try to continue as best you can, working on the back end to ensure when you are able to open up, things are in place. You can’t order food though, no wine, employees can’t be trained because they can’t even come to work and worse the ones who do have to learn how to operate in a crippled situation.

Suddenly, after a month of effort you read a restaurant review saying the new restaurant will fail. They have no real reason beyond the fact that the owner you work for didn’t give the previous GM the tools to get the job done and you have dared to not do anything since your hire to correct it. You reach out to tell the reviewer that you have been assured you have the resources you need but spending them at this time is not prudent, you need to get the systems underneath it built, or you’d build on a foundation of sand.

No doubt this is a real situation playing out all across this country. And something very similar is playing out in the Pirates front office.

In order to fail, one must first be afforded the opportunity to make an attempt. Before being called a liar, one must have opportunity to deceive. Make no mistake, the GM in both situations may very well fall on his or her face, perhaps they should be afforded the opportunity to take a few steps first.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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