Five Pirates Thoughts at Five – 2-8-21

It’s cold, we’re expecting like four inches of snow tonight in Pittsburgh, the Super Bowl was last night, so…. baseball season right?

Well, maybe not yet, but we sure are close. As of this writing only 6 MLB teams have officially announced their dates for pitchers and catchers reporting, and the Pirates aren’t one. That said, everyone that has are slated for either the 16th or 17th. We’re close.

So, let’s have some fun talking Buccos!

1. Trevor Bauer Makes Lots of Money

That’s right, Trevor Bauer and his insufferable agent are rich. They did it, they achieved their Jerry Maguire moment, it’s a love story just like Taylor Swift sang.

His 40 million dollar salary as we sit here is larger than 3 teams in MLB, yup, the Pirates, Orioles, and Indians.

But there’s no problem.

The Dodgers starting rotation, that now has to choose between Dustin May and Urias to kick out of it, will make 88 million dollars this season.

Yet national coverage doesn’t consider for a moment that this is anything other than want to.

Does it? If you make 50K per year, can you get a Porsche? Sure you can, you’ll have to pinch elsewhere but you can do it. Now what if you make 300K? Do you ever even ask yourself the question “can I”?

I don’t hate the Dodgers for doing it, I even get the gluttony what with Kershaw needing rest each of the past 3 seasons. But c’mon, can we please stop pretending these teams are all equally capable of this?

And really, take off the Nutting laser beam on this one. He makes a bad situation worse, but don’t allow yourself to pretend that means there’s no situation.

Imagine being the Padres, totally decided there was never going to be a way past the Dodgers without drastic payroll increases. Went and got it, and just got trumped again, at least if you believe Bauer is that good. The difference is, the Padres won’t be able to sustain that level indefinitely.

2. What Do they do with Frazier?

What else can I say? Totally thought he’d be gone, and I suppose he still could be, the Super Bowl isn’t exactly the “end of the off-season” it used to be. But let’s just imagine life with him remaining.

He has to play. Let’s just get that out of the way. Left field, second base, whatever, he has to play. Either nobody offered enough, the Pirates want too much, or nobody is interested. The only way to address any of those is to play him.

Last season as it came to a close, Derek Shelton was asked if players like Polanco were capable of having bench roles. This was asked directly about Polanco but I’d be inclined to think the answer fits both as he said it was indeed possible, and competition will decide who plays.

I believe he believes that, I really do. But man, if either of those two players are on the bench by way of being outplayed, I’ll be shocked if the business side doesn’t win out. I’d also be really refreshed by it. Keep an eye on this one, we’ll learn a lot from how they handle situations like this.

3. Chasen Shreve, meh, OK

There isn’t much to get excited about here, but I get it. Need a lefty to compete with Sam Howard and Austin Davis, who they mush love as he is one of the few waiver claims that have survived all the 40-man purges of late. He smells a whole lot like a lefty arm that ultimately won’t survive the minimum batter rule, but we’ll see, certainly not going to complain about a lefty.

4. The Super Bowl Might Have an Effect on MLB

I know there were a bunch of cardboard cutouts and a lot of vaccinated members of the crowd last night in Tampa. But wish MLB luck in it’s continued endeavor to delay the season because it’s unsafe. It wasn’t full last night, but it sue did look like it could be done didn’t it?

Once they come to that realization and the season get’s going at the Spring sites, we’ll see them turn their attention to local and state governments for help getting fans back at games.

Now, how long before everyone feels safe going? Don’t know, it’s an individual choice. I’ve had it, I’d go tomorrow. Someone else might want to no longer see it on the news first.

5. Mitch Keller, Assassin in the Weeds

I was discussing Mitch Keller this season and it’s hard not to see him as the top pitcher in the rotation. At least the one that has the most expectation put on them. When the Pirates formulate their starting rotation, perhaps they should consider putting him in the three spot rather than number one. Not because he isn’t good enough, but maybe facing everybody’s top of the mountain out of the gate should be avoided. Let him have a better chance to experience success.

Give him a chance for some more run support, and after the All Star break if he’s done well re-slot if you think it matters for psyche.

Question of the Week

Well, Shannon I suggested a few before but my favorite is still on the board Ben Gamel. I think he could get done reasonably and his stats don’t pop him off the page. He’s used to a bench role so there wouldn’t be any locker room stuff. That’s my vote.

Anyone can read the list and pick the best, only a Pirates fan automatically skips down the list to something they can afford. Jake Marisnick, or Josh Reddick make a lot of sense and could get done.

But if I had one more flyer, I might go Nick Markakis. He’s 37, so I doubt he’s looking for much length, if any. Probably more than they’d spend but this team is so lacking in power it might be worth it. 0.0 WAR player here so spare me how much he’ll want paid.

Starting pitcher, I still like Julio Tehran or Mike Leake. That said, zero clue, haven’t so much as heard a murmur. Maybe a Tyson Ross could be a guy. Just need to eat innings, that’s requirement number one.

Good Stuff Sir.

Bonus Question

I already answered this to someone else on Twitter last week so figured, why not.

I’ll take a crack.
1. SS Tucker
2. LF Reynolds
3. 3B Hayes
4. 1B Moran
5. 2B Newman
6. RF Polanco
7. C Stallings
8. CF Alford
Right now, this is what I’d do. Not what I think they’ll do.

Now what do I think they’ll do?
1. 2B Frazier
2. LF Reynolds
3. 3B Hayes
4. 1B Moran
5. CF Alford.
6. RF Polanco
7. C Stallings
8. SS Gonzalez
Again, what they have right now, and what I think they’ll do. I also think he’ll change it almost every game except 2-4.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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