As we have all made our way through the most recent abnormal holiday of 2020, Thanksgiving, and are preparing for the next one in line, Christmas, we sit down at our computers for the new version of Black Friday; which seems a lot like Cyber Monday. This isn’t much different for me since I can’t even tell you the last time I bought any present at an actual store, but I understand that this is like a sporting event for some of you. As I take a breaks from my shopping I do something, which is almost second nature for me; studying the Pirates current roster, mulling over recent transactions, reading articles, scouring free agent lists and mentally weighing the positives, negatives of tendering contracts of each arbitration eligible players and of course flipping through Pirates Twitter. During my research/brainstorming here are some of the thoughts that kept
1) Why does General Manager Ben Cherington continue to stockpile pitchers who have been otherwise cast aside by other Major League teams? Simple, you can never have too many pitching options. As a team the lost seven contributing pitchers from the 2020 season; Tropeano, Waddell, Neverauskas, Holland, Kela, Burdi and Williams. Also Archers option was declined, so that brings the total to eight. Those spots need to be filled and not all of this can be done internally. Plus any of these moves could turn into a reliable bullpen arm like Sam Howard, or they could turn out to be a guy who doesn’t even make the 26 and/or 40 man roster to begin the year. Honestly, no one knows.
2) Do the Pirates need more catching depth in their farm system? Need is a very strong word. Could they benefit from this? Yes. Has it gone from a need to a want for me? Also, yes. Now I know that we don’t have a catcher in our top prospects list on any site, so it would be nice to see one there. Nevertheless, what would this actually mean? Does every top 30, 40 or 50 prospect turn into something? No. Was Stalling a top prospect? Also, no. Are most people happy or content with him being our back stop for at least the next couple of years? Yes. I also start to think about how the previous Pirates regimes filled the position when they became competitive, as well as the at least 3 catchers we have in the lower levels that could still turn into something.
3) This whole situation between MLB and MiLB hurts my head and heart. Anyone who has read my articles or listened to the podcast knows that I am a prospect junkie and huge supporter of all things Minor League Baseball. Chances are my beloved West Virginia Black Bears will no longer be associated with Pirates. Rather they will be offered a place in a new college wood bat league, so at least I will more than likely still get to visit one of my favorite towns in MiLB. Also hearing that Fresno will have to accept reclassification from AAA to low A or lose MLB affiliation, makes me shake my head. I guess at least they still have an option, which may not be true for other places such as; Round Rock, Rochester, San Antonio and many others. I have seen that we may be made aware of MLB’s final plan for MiLB as early as next week. Until then it is a waiting game; one that many have no control over.
4) Arbitration is clearly still the most pressing issue at the moment. The Pirates have until December 2nd to make decisions concerning 13 current players. With the Williams and Osuna DFA’s, along with other previous moves, the list has shrunk slowly from around 20 players to its current number, so Cherington has already been busy. He will continue to be for the next five days and beyond. For what it’s worth my list of players I think the Pirates need to keep, in my estimation, has dropped from around 10 to a solid snowman; 8 for the non-golfers in the audience.
5) Why can’t the Pirates Front Office just call it a rebuild? Truthfully, what difference would it make? Would it actually appease fans? Does it guarantee they will actually be competitive in 3 to 5 years? In my mind they can call it whatever they want because if you know me at all, you know I believe the most rebuild already started between the 2017 and 2018 seasons. It was just preemptively delayed or crushed for that matter by the Chris Archer Trade. Now Cherington and company are left to pick up, trade off and build using some of remaining pieces. Sure they could use different language, which has been suggested by many. However, once again, what difference would it make?
These are just some of the things that have been swirling around inside my head, down here in the basement, on this lazy Black (Cyber) Friday.
What are all you other Pittsburgh Pirates Fans thinking about today?