Five Pirates Thoughts at Five 1-11-21

Well, after watching whatever you want to call that Steelers game last night we’ve taken one step closer to baseball season. Let’s get some more Bucco thoughts out there and have some conversation.

1. The Cap Levels the Field

That’s all it does though, it doesn’t guarantee a winner. The cap eliminates the advantage of money from any one team but you can also find yourself locked in a hell of old players who were great when you signed them but nature has taken it’s course.

I say this because if we ever do get a cap in baseball, it still takes a whole lot of things being done well and a little luck, something most Steelers fans should have learned over the years and I have a feeling will start to learn with the Penguins too this year.

It eliminates the belief that the owner has screwed you out of a chance to win, and instead refocuses your aim on the GM who now has a whole new set of math to deal with. In fact most of baseball would have to employ ‘capologists’ just to help them tiptoe through the landmines the vast majority wouldn’t see coming.

The Pirates having a hockey guy at the top would be a great advantage should we ever get there.

2. I Can See Adam Frazier in Left

I’ve written before that I don’t think Adam Frazier is an outfielder long term, and I stand by that, but I can see them using him there for a couple reasons. First, they need outfielders and while I think they ultimately want to move Adam, that may not happen before the season opens.

Kevin Newman can’t just rot on the bench if for no other reason than they need to give him opportunity to show what he is. One thing is for sure, he isn’t the best SS option on the club and if he’s part of the solution here in Pittsburgh he certainly won’t be the best option there come window open time. He could however be a really good 2B, and this is the year I’d get that transition out of the way.

It’s also an opportunity to see if Cole Tucker can hold down SS, because he really holds most value there as a defender and it’s more likely his bat plays there than a corner outfield spot.

Yes, yes, they probably aren’t good enough anyway, so of course it doesn’t matter greatly but lets just say I’d like to give the young guys a shot to play before deciding they’re busts or bench pieces.

3. Super 2

Of all the things that could come from the CBA negotiations following this season, possibly nothing is more on the chopping block than Super 2 status. Some interesting things could happen here, if it goes away would it be grandfathered in for players already here and given that status? Would it come with a modification to the arbitration process in general? For instance, the Pirates as of right now probably think they have at least 5 more seasons with Ke’Bryan Hayes and they probably do, but what would that do to what they’re trying to accomplish to find out they only have 4?

I’m not a guy who wants a cap in an effort to screw the players out of money, in fact for 99% of the players a cap would actually give them a bigger piece of the pie. These are all things that will need to go or change to keep things fair.

Over time changes like this will force baseball to really embrace youth but it will also be a process that takes time to adjust to.

4. Next to No Power

It’s not a shock to say the Pirates have very little in the way of power. Colin Moran is probably the biggest threat they have. If you want to toss in Hayes, ok, but I think if he’s doing well in 2021 he tops out around 20. What would be best for the team would be to let the hitters perform to their strengths. For instance if Bryan Reynolds is trying to hit 30 this year, I think it will be reflected in his average and his ability to get on base and drive in runs rests in his approach from 2019 where he took what the pitchers gave him.

If the Pirates want power, and they certainly should, they need to realize it must be developed from those who posses the skill set. That won’t come this season, so don’t ask anyone to become what you’ve neglected to provide. Everyone should focus on being the best of the type of player they are. If I’m Pirates management that’s exactly what I want too because if you think they have a value problem right now trying to move players, wait ’til next season.

5. The NL Central is Still MLB Free Agent Free

It’s early yet, but the NL Central as a whole has still not signed one MLB free agent. I don’t say this by way of giving the Pirates cover, it’s just an interesting development. I think the market will create a situation where every one of these teams will sign someone (even if on minor league deals) who plays on the MLB roster this season, there’ll simply be too many left out there to pass on gaping hole fillers but this could be a very very down year for the Central.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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