Good afternoon from the beach. I know I’m supposed to just shut down for the week, but that’s just not how I’m wired. I’ve listened to every game this weekend including on the drive down Friday Night, what a nuts game that was.
There is just something about fishing from the shore and listening to a baseball game while blowing the froth off a couple brews and having family members ask you why the Pirates stink this year. Unlike all of you I don’t have to give a “pro” answer, I can just tell them its a rebuild and the owner sucks. Usually does the trick. One of them actually asked me how Pedro Alvarez has been doing, so, you know, game over really.
1. Ride the Surf
When the top of the Pirates order awaken at the same time this lineup can really be something. One thing Derek Shelton and crew haven’t done a good enough job of is maximizing them as a unit when they are firing on all cylinders. Now, before you hammer me that this isn’t fair because parts of the group have been injured most of the season, I acknowledge that. Since they’ve been back though, I don’t agree with resting them one by one. I’d prefer the old “Sunday Lineup” that rests most of the names at once rather than spreading out the rest over the course of a week. A team like the Padres can afford to do that, a team like the Pirates need to keep that engine together as much as possible.
That said, it only matters if the team wants it to.
I could argue this one either way. One, it’s good for the club to not do well this season, now it’s also hard for me to get too excited about it either way because reality dictates they’ll finish in the bottom five, and that’s going to provide a good player anyhow. So I come back to, don’t you want these guys to experience some success? Seems to me that can’t hurt.
Want Bryan Reynolds to be the seasoned veteran on the winning club of the future? Well maybe let him experience a bit of success in that role now.
2. The Shell Game
Sometimes no matter how convinced you are that you know who is and isn’t in the plans, what role they’ll play eventually, players will surprise you.
For instance if you told me 5 years ago that Jacob Stallings would be the Pirates starting catcher, I might have believed you, but I’d have attributed it to being cheap. Turns out the 31 year old is actually very good at baseball.
Fans tossed him aside, writers expected nothing, heck the team DFA’d him years ago and now he’s become indispensable to the cause.
How about JT Brubaker? Not too many people had spot of hope that he’d stick in the lineup let alone be heads and shoulders above Mitch Keller in the development track.
When you look at the depth chart, and think about who will and won’t be part of this thing when it matters, don’t forget to leave a few spots open for the guys who you already gave up on.
3. Comb the Beaches
The Pirates need to get creative as they continue to fill the minor leagues with talent. That’s why they brought in players like Anthony Alford, Dustin Fowler, Troy Stokes Jr. and Ka’ai Tom, but it’s time to stop being that kind of creative.
Next season, more Ben Gamel types, fewer crap shoots.
Is Ben Gamel going to confuse anyone with Barry Bonds out there? Oh Hell no, but he can hold his own, and he’ll hit enough to contribute. That is more in line with what a team trying to build from the ground up really needs to do to keep the arrow pointing in the right direction.
So by all means, keep taking a stab on talent, just maybe change the baseline to replacement level MLB player.
4. Stormy Skies
People have been predicting doom when the Pirates move players at the deadline later this season. I completely get it, how could I possibly not right? Can’t move a player like Adam Frazier and honestly believe the club is going to get better or even tread water.
I’m not even talking about moving Richard Rodriguez or some other players like Tyler Anderson. Of course the team is going to lose some mojo, but that’s the point of all this isn’t it? They aren’t getting all these prospects so they can never ascend.
This is the natural order of things, and entirely needed if they are indeed to keep the train rolling on bringing in even more. Players need to evolve, and for that they need room. It’s likely that nobody ready to step in will adequately fill the shoes of anyone I mentioned, it’s still the right move. They’ve gone too far down this road to decide to turn now.
5. Bust Out the Aloe
I’m not sure how many times people need to get burned by the same dream. Bob Nutting doesn’t want to sell this baseball team.
This isn’t some lecture from a blogger to a beat writer about what is right or wrong to publish. The recent piece by Jason Mackey talking about a guy (and that’s as far as I need to go really) putting together a consortium to buy the Pirates is just dreaming.
I’m sure it’s a story, I’m sure he did his job by covering it, I’m even sure the dude “wants” to buy the Pirates. I’m also equally sure as Jason himself pointed out that Bob isn’t interested.
None of that matters.
See, Jason also knows something that I too experience, the headline is what will get pumped around the internet and all most people will read. The story will live even while everyone involved knows it won’t go anywhere. I had at least 15 direct messages and 20 emails within 2 hours of that piece dropping asking me if it’s true.
If they’d read the piece they’d know it wasn’t much more than fodder for the disgruntled. The fan base has been burnt by things like this before, I mean it’s probably been close to a decade since Mark Cuban seriously inquired about purchasing the Pirates and I still get asked questions about his “imminent” purchase.
I’m not here to tell you that Bob Nutting will never be met with an offer he couldn’t refuse, but it won’t come out in a newspaper first. The story will be broke right before a deal is done, not when some dude is thinking about it. Certainly not when some dude is thinking about maybe starting to consider asking some other rich guys if they want to help him get closer to being serious about maybe talking to Bob.
C’mon guys, you’re smarter than this.