The Definition of Insanity is Going to be a Theme

8-28-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter

Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. This quote is often misattributed to Albert Einstein, just like the entirety of this problem is often attributed almost solely to the coaches, or Nutting, you pick your favorite scapegoat.

I’m not here to defend them, I mean I just wrote about the need to change something from this management group, and I certainly wasn’t nice on the Pirates Fan Forum this week either. But there’s something else.

The target HAS to be the coaching for those that want to still hold out hope heading into 2023, because they know damn well, most of what you see on the field is probably returning. In other words, it sure as hell better be coaching.

This is a really cynical view I get that, I’m sure most of our opinions on the coaching staff are well informed and well thought out, probably even right, but we’re also masking things that are real issues.

If Ke’Bryan Hayes is going to produce a .248 batting average with an OPS of .674 and 35 RBI in 2023, he’s still going to be the starting Third Baseman. You can say “he’s still a 4 WAR player just because of his glove!” and that’s certainly true, but he also at that level is not a player who should be anywhere near the heart of a batting order. That’s a guy who should probably be hitting 7th, even on this team. Ke’Bryan needs to show real improvement next year, sure hope it’s coaching and not just that this is what he is, right?

Bryan Reynolds has struggled through 2021, that’s no secret. His version of struggle still has him pop 20+ homeruns and hit around .250 but this isn’t peak Bryan Reynolds either. Of all his issues this year, hitting with runners in scoring position has probably been the biggest. Even with these numbers, he’s unquestionably the best hitter in the lineup, and folks those numbers can’t have you still say that, at least not if you’re going to have a good offense. Do I have to tell you he’ll be back? Probably since most of you are dead on sure he’s getting traded. That counts too though, if Bryan is traded or plays like this next season the team isn’t getting better.

Want to go on? I think we have to because the Pirates are going to return the vast majority of this team, so the one way this team is going to get better is getting better performances from at least some of the players that do.

Roansy Contreras will be back too, maybe they’ll even let him pitch.

I think you get the point.

That’s why what this team is doing is so damn alarming. We’ll be seeing more of most everyone here.

It’s not as simple as just screaming to spend money either, they certainly need to, but there must be improvement from some of these guys too.

Think about reality for a minute. They’ve gotten very little out of second base all year, so if you think spending is the path forward, that position makes sense, but don’t you kinda want to see more of Rodolfo Castro, Tucupita Marcano, Diego Castillo? I’m not even mentioning Kevin Newman, Nick Gonzales, Ji-hwan Bae, point is they have options internally. They need to improve, but they need to train and opportunity their way out of this one.

They’ve got positions like that all over the field.

This team can and should spend money on pitching, first base and catcher, just like they did this year, and just like this year I’ll again recommend they spend more money on those positions. I’ll also AGAIN recommend that they think beyond buying rentals, these positions aren’t in danger of being filled internally, at least not in the near term.

It’s a whole lot easier to just point to the coaching, and I certainly do believe it to be a huge part of the problem, but we also have to look to the players. Especially those who this team is simply going to count on, even if they shouldn’t.

When you break down a roster, eventually you’re going to get to this point taking this path. It’s why I wanted them to spend money heading into 2021, because if they were going to buy some landmarks that was the time to do it. As we head into 2023 the team is largely too vested into on boarding the prospects they acquired or already had, to block them now would only retard the process further, whereas back in 2021 it could have created a nice bridge.

Point is, real improvement next year is probably going to have to come from players who had a poopy season having a better one. It’s going to have to come from a prospect breaking through. And yes, it’s going to have to come from signing better free agents or making trades that send out prospects for veterans.

They’ve decided to do it this way, and it’s the hardest possible way they could have gone. Frustrating barely begins to cover it, more than that though, it’s scary.

It’s scary because if 2023 doesn’t show real improvement then suddenly they aren’t anywhere near turning it around. If they do, most of us were just doubting Thomas types.

Either way, as poor as I personally believe the coaching to be, we mustn’t allow the players themselves off the hook. Players need to play better, regardless of their opportunity, where they are in the lineup, how many innings they’re allowed to throw, whatever factor you want to discuss really. Bottom line, lost in all this season’s garbage has been that Bryan Reynolds, and Ke’Bryan Hayes weren’t very good for large swaths of the season.

For every Keller type improvement, there were easily 3 or 4 players who never showed a damn thing or fell off a cliff from something they showed the previous year.

Look at this roster, and I mean really look at this roster. On the current 26-man roster 24 players began this year with less than 2 years of service time.

That is NEVER going to lead to a team that looks good, performs well, let alone wins.

If you’re looking for a positive spin, it’s hope they bring in some better players form those target positions, and these are quite literally a bunch of kids. Kids get better, and they get worse too, but better is on the table too. Wrapped up in that number is both the pain and hope of youth.

Again, they didn’t have to do it this way, but at this point, they’re too far into the tunnel to turn around.

If negative is more your thing, well, it’s like asking where the bathroom is on a camping trip, it’s all around you, and gets worse just about every game.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

One thought on “The Definition of Insanity is Going to be a Theme

  1. From what I understand in my very limited exposure, the Pirates’ minor-league system is drawing widespread praise for what they’re *doing,* not just whom they’ve drafted, signed, or traded for–though that’s also generally received broad acclaim. That’s coaches and instructors top to bottom (albeit not necessarily every last person), hitting and pitching–not sure about the running and fielding, which increasingly seem afterthoughts in modern baseball, to my befuddlement. The pitching talent hasn’t quite had enough talent in enough players at Triple-A to judge the top just yet, but Roansy has generally still looked strong when he’s been allowed to pitch in MLB. The hitting talent has gone from performing well (or better) in the minors to putrid in MLB, as you’ve documented thoroughly, which I think we can pretty firmly say with the number of prospects struggling falls on the MLB coaching.

    You simply don’t see this many guys outperform their peers in the upper minors just for ALL of them to get utterly embarrassed–not just struggle, but suffer horrid results–with all the above being true, unless the things you’ve heard about Haines are true. I know you agree, just wanted to really drive that home.

    All that said, yes, the arb-eligible pillars especially need to lead by example with strong results.

    Like

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