I cannot believe I am writing this story in June. Especially considering all that has gone right for this team. Josh Bell has been incredible, even if he has cooled off in the past few weeks. Kevin Newman looks like a solid middle infielder and Bryan Reynolds has made the McCutchen trade more than worth it.
Other guys like Starling Marte, Colin Moran, Melky Cabrera and Elias Diaz have also played pretty damn well for the most part. Yet, when you think about it, this Pirates team is probably the worst team the franchise has had since Clint Hurdle took over as manager in 2011.
The Pitching has been laughable. Every phase of it. From the injuries, to the poor execution to the god awful management and decision making revolving around it, its all been an absolute dumpster fire. A dumpster fire that none of us saw coming.
Entering 2019, things were a bit more positive than they had been in the past. People were excited about Taillon and Williams and the back end of what was a very strong bullpen in 2018. Coming off of just the fourth winning season since Bonds left town in 1992, this team had the looks of a club that would be average at worst with the potential to surprise the league if a few things went their way.
Well nothing has gone their way. It has been pretty damn miserable to watch this club every night. Especially knowing that the guys who are playing well deserve much, much better.
You cannot anticipate for the amount of injuries the Pirates have had. However, what you can control is how you how develop talent and how you fix an obvious problem. Those two things have led the Buccos to an early death.
While injuries to the outfield and infield allowed the club to give more opportunities to younger guys who stepped up, it was clear from early on that the pitching reinforcements were simply not good enough. Yet, the team ignored it.
If I had an opportunity to speak with Neal Huntington, I would ask him if he has a working cell phone. If he does, then my follow up would then be… “Why the hell didn’t you use it to get this team some help?”
Huntington and the front office simply sitting on their knees and praying that guys like Michael Feliz and Montana DuRapau can get the job done (all while guys they traded for like Joe Musgrove and Chris Archer also stink it up) is a bigger slap in the face to the fans than any other trade the club has ever made. Huntington even acknowledged his faliure in the off season to add pitching depth, yet even after saying this, he has still done NOTHING.
I get that the team wont ever sign a guy like Dallas Keuchel. They totally could have but that just isn’t how they do business (which blows). However, Keuchel was not the only dude out there. He was the best one, by a long shot, but there are literally hundreds of more pitchers he could’ve went after.
Every day MLB teams DFA players. Most of the time, they are relief pitchers. I get that those guys also suck but could they really be worse than what the Pirates were using? Was it really not worth rolling the dice on? When it is so bad that you have more than half the bullpen with an ERA over FIVE, I don’t think anyone is worth looking over.
Yet they did next to nothing. Sure they went out and got Chris Stratton and claimed some bum off waivers from the Orioles… But why didn’t they do more moves like that? Especially when you consider that Stratton is hurt and the Orioles guy has yet to pitch for the big league club.
They could have also traded for good players. I know that isn’t something the Pirates normally do. I know that meaningful trades don’t really take place until June or July but desperate times call for desperate measures.
That is just it though, there was no desperation shown to help this team. Hurdle and his club have fought tooth and nail each night. They needed help and its a damn shame they work for an organization who wont give them any. It is like a general refusing to send more soldiers into battle because he doesn’t want to waste money on helicopter fuel.
The Pirates had a huge problem develop early on and it was ignored until ultimately it killed them, which is a fucking shame. There is talent on this team and this season should have been much different. Rather than making excuses this franchise should have looked for answers. When the answers aren’t in your own text book, you look elsewhere to find them. They didn’t. They shrugged their shoulders and now they are dead.
So start the fire sale. Gut this club of all short term value and try to not let this shit show happen in 2020. The scary thing about this team is that next year, the farm system will be dry. All the key prospects will be up at the major league level and like this year will the bullpen, there will be no legit help waiting to help in Indy.
They better build up that farm system for the remainder of the year. Get as much as you can or else, this team will forever remain irrelevant. Doing something in the off season would probably help prevent that is well. What the hell do I know though, right? I have never built a team that won a division title, a playoff series or a championship. Then again, neither has Neal Huntington.