12-29-22 By Craig W. Toth (aka @BucsBasement on Twitter)
After beginning the off-season by seemingly checking off the first base box with the acquisitions Ji-Man Choi and Carlos Santana, it appeared as if the Pirates had at the very least given their fans an optimistic outlook.
Then, over the past couple of week we’ve seen a Vince Velasquez Hype Video, Tyler Heineman’s return and a decision made on a stopgap behind the dish.
One would think that the Minor League signing of a familiar catcher, the acquisition of the best defensive backstop in the league and another reclamation project pitcher shouldn’t be enough to cause the majority of the Pittsburgh Pirates Fanbase to go off the rails, yet here we are.
Clearly this frustration has been building since the Pirates traded one of the longest tenured Pirates in Kevin Newman, while making two waiver claims around the same time; ultimately getting a huge boost when Bryan Reynolds-arguably the team’s best player-asked for trade prior to Winter Meetings.
Last month on the podcast Chris and I tied to explain the mindset of a diehard Pirates Fan by diving into the type of relationship that exists with a player like Kevin Newman.
It all starts by expecting him to be some version of a superstar, followed by the realization he is not. Eventually you clamor for/want him to be traded, but somehow expect an overwhelming return for him; mostly because you are now only focusing on the positive aspects of his game. Then you ultimately complain about the return, due to the fact that a regular in the Pirates Lineup should have somehow been more appealing to other teams; regardless of the fact that you once saw him as useless.
To a degree this type of relationship exists with each and every player that proves themselves to be at least competent; with it growing stronger, the longer they stay in a Pirates uniform.
Newman just was the last in a long line of Pirates, who have moved on; with Bryan Reynolds seeming joining him sometime in the near future.
Not exactly the off-season many of us envisioned when Cherington spoke about making improvements in 2023.
Now, to make things even worse, we have teams out there like the Mets bumping their payroll up to astronomical numbers not previously imagined at the same the the Pirates sign Tyler Chatwood to a Minor League Deal, while designating the second half of the Clay Holmes-Diego Castilllo-for assignment.
Obviously these type of discussions are not even in the same church or pew; it’s a whole different denomination. However, that’s not how they will be taken.
The Holmes trade was a massive failure.
The rotation is now complete.
Here’s the other starting pitcher Cherington promised.
And the always popular…World Series here we come!
Of course, I could try to explain the discrepancies in market size, or the difference between being owned by a billionaire fan versus a billionaire businessman; but I won’t waste anyone’s time. Plus it will mostly fall on deaf ears anyone.
As far as the Castillo move, Gary already did a great job examining the situation. For what it’s worth; clearly they could have left Holmes in the bullpen to the tune a 2.26 ERA and a .949 WHIP. Many probably would have preferred it. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have minded it. Still, can you really justify hanging on to what could have been a solid bullpen piece-remember he had a 5.57 ERA and a 1.638 WHIP in 119 innings with the Pirates-instead of taking a shot on a couple utility guys; one with some pop. I mean, in hindsight, you can potentially add it to the pile of frustrations. Nevertheless, a chance on 23 year-old prospect who was showing-and continued to exhibit-power in Double-A, isn’t something I would pass up for a bullpen arm.
Which has now turned into a lottery ticket, along with a Double-A ready arm; a trade off would still make.
If they keep Holmes maybe it equals an extra win or two over the past year or so. What then? I guess it would save another tirade from Pirates Twitter; whatever that’s worth, because we all know another one is coming eventually.
Why did they give $8 million to a 43 year-old pitcher?
The RichRod trade sure didn’t work out, did it?
But honestly, I like a little thread outburst about the Pirates to know that the fanbase is still pumping. It would just be nice if it didn’t have to happen every year.
Maybe next time we can at least wait until Spring Training starts.
Merry Christmas…Happy New Year…Hallelujah! Holy Sh*t! Where’s the Tylenol?