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Pirates in 2006

Postby SHOCKandAWE » Fri Dec 16, 2005 10:07 pm

Thoughts on how many wins they can get? Impact Tracy will have? Bay can contend for a mvp? Which rookies will make an impact? Is Neil Walker the real deal?

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Postby stevethumb » Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:37 am

i kinda root for the bucs cuz littlefield is a mainer and i had jbay lead my team to a roto championship...i was a little disappointed bmueller didnt sign to play 3rd..his fantsy value is low but he is more valuable in real life..him hitting 2nd in front of casey then bay would have guaranteed 110+ rbis for bay..i look for jcastillo to hava nice yr and mgonzo will finally prove his arm is well suited to close but unless those young LHers throw lights out i am afraid the SP will resign then to a sub .500 season
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Postby iuprell67 » Sat Dec 17, 2005 2:26 pm

Your stupid. Neil Walker wont be here for another three years at least. Bay will not be considered the mvp. Maybe if he hits 20 more homeruns in a season and add on about 40 more Rbi's and about a 30 percent better average. Hes a good player, not an mvp.

If you are talking about being the mvp for the Pirates then yes he will be.
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Postby Mercer Boy » Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:28 pm

As per usual, the Pirates didn't get what they needed - power. Sadly, there really was little chance of them getting it anyway. They had money, but they still couldn't use it. Just one really solid guy would have been nice, but no...they go back to the journeyman strategy.

All I wish is for them to be straight with the fans. The problem is they weren't going to say "Well, we pretty much have no chance of improving the team this year because there isn't anyone to get. So we're just going to fill holes, play hard, and see what happens."

There are promises every freaking year, and whatever happens is spun to the fans as "winning moves." Yeah right. Casey's going to help? Nope...he was brought in as a "hometown hero" for the ads and media to talk about. Randa? Give me a break. He's a decent player, but he's old and won't make us win any more games. Besides, he or both will be gone at the trade deadline for peanuts if they do well or on the unemployment line if they don't. See the trades of the last 5 years.

The only way for the Pirates to improve offense is to trade pitching. All the "young arms" that they've been stockpiling for years are now getting to the point of where they need to use them for the team. I guess they expect to win 85 games by the score of 2-1? Not bloody likely.

Anyway Shock, I'll try to answer the questions you asked because you're a good guy :-). Here's the bad news: There is no way we have a winning year this year. Tracy can't polish turds and turn them into diamonds. Bay won't improve off of last year's numbers because he'll just walk even more and will most likely start chasing pitches in order to try to do something to help. We'll probably never see Walker in a Pirates uniform because he'll stay in the minors too long like all the other guys, and then by the time he gets a shot, they'll sign someone else to play over him. They're doing it with Eldred, and they'll do it with him too.

Possible good news: I hope Duffy tears it up; he may end up being my favorite player this year. I also hope Castillo starts hitting for power and they stick him in the 2 hole. Then maybe they would score runs. I hope that Duke is the real deal, and I hope Perez gets his head back on straight. The team may actually be fun to watch if they do.

The only chance they have is if someone with a lot of money and love of the Pirates buys the team and starts spending some real cash. Good players won't go to a team with 14 losing seasons unless they are way overpayed.

As you can tell, I am pretty bitter at this point. But when you see the same crap happening for 6 straight years, it becomes old hat.
Go Pirates. ;-D
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Postby mbuser » Thu Dec 29, 2005 9:21 pm

i firmly believe that the acquisitions of hernandez, casey, and randa point to the sale of the team. all 3 of those players, our 'major' acquisitions, and all the other players the team was rumored to be considering without exception have/had no bearing on the future success of the club, but could be considered slightly better options than some of our younger players if thinking about this year only -- they are going to sell!
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Postby mbuser » Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:55 pm

One Step Back, Two Steps Back
By Wilbur Miller

We can all rest easy now: Kevin McClatchy has declared Dave Littlefield's off-season acquisitions a success. Littlefield, according to McClatchy, more than fulfilled his mission to acquire two bats. He acquired three: Victor Santos, Damaso Marte and Roberto Hernandez . . . er, no, they all own bats, but McClatchy was probably referring to Sean Casey, Jeromy Burnitz and Joe Randa. Various articles are already referring to these players as "solidifying" the middle of a batting order that ranked at or near the bottom in nearly everything in 2005. "Solidifying" is the word I keep seeing. It seems carefully chosen to avoid use of the more relevant word: "improving." Is there a reason we don't see the latter word? Let's try directly addressing the question that seems to be escaping scrutiny elsewhere.

The following figures compare what the Pirates got out of the 4-6 spots in the batting order in 2005, compared to what Burnitz, Casey and Randa did in 2005 projected over 162 games:

Cleanup Spot 2005

OBP: .361
Slugging: .437
HR: 19
RBI: 93

Burnitz 2005

OBP: .322
Slugging: .435
HR: 24
RBI: 88

Fifth Spot 2005

OBP: .307
Slugging: .388
HR: 16
RBI: 94

Casey 2005

OBP: .371
Slugging: .423
HR: 11
RBI: 69

Sixth Spot 2005

OBP: .345
Slugging: .488
HR: 25
RBI: 99

Randa 2005

OBP: .335
Slugging: .452
HR: 18
RBI: 73

Just eyeballing these numbers, does anybody really think this is an improvement? Except for Casey's OBP—which is limited in usefulness due to his extreme lack of speed—there's either no improvement or a downgrade across the board. No wonder Doug Strange acknowledged recently that the Pirates aren't ready to contend yet.

And consider some other factors. The Pirates' 2005 figures were compiled by a motley, ever-changing assortment of players during a disastrous, transitional season. Those numbers were produced primarily by Daryle "Where'd My Power Go?" Ward; the departed Ty Wigginton; Craig Wilson, who was recovering from two hand injuries; Jose Castillo, who was moved up in the lineup out of desperation; Rob Mackowiak, a utility player who was out of place hitting in the middle of the order; and rookies Brad Eldred and Ryan Doumit, who were struggling to get acclimated to the majors. Not only that, but the ragtag group that produced better numbers in 2005 than Burnitz, Casey and Randa was much younger than the newly "solidified" middle of the order, especially the ones who are still around. Meanwhile, Randa is 36 and showed signs of decline before and after a bounceback first half in 2005 that was partly due to Great American Ballpark. Burnitz is 37 and clearly declining. Casey is 31, has never been in very good shape, is prone to nagging injuries, and has had only one good year in the last four. As a group, these three are far more likely to decline than improve.

Of course, the backup spin—for fans who actually follow the game—is that these are just one-year fill-ins until . . . uh, until when? Until Jose Bautista and Brad Eldred are ready to take over? Well, this is another topic that I don't intend to address in depth here, except to say that Bautista and Eldred simply aren't that highly regarded, at least not as having the kind of potential to give the Pirates the impact hitters they need. In fact, I'll make a prediction here: neither will ever be in the Pirates' opening day lineup. And right field? There isn't even a putative heir, as the Pirates clearly don't regard Nate McLouth as a potential successor. Burnitz is just serving as a placeholder for next year's version of Sanders, Mondesi, Lawton and Burnitz.

The more fundamental question, though, is, When will the one-year rentals stop and the winning begin? Dave Littlefield said after ownership stated it would increase the payroll that the team would finally be able to acquire players who'd be more than just one-year stopgaps. Evidently, that statement is no longer operative. The team is now in its fourth straight season of one-year stopgaps. Why are there no other alternatives? Where is it written that the Pirates can only sign players for one year, or can't trade for players with more than one year left on their contracts, or can't trade for young players who aren't eligible for free agency? Littlefield spent several years claiming that he'd be able to trade pitching prospects for hitters. Where are those hitters? What's stopping the Pirates from doing what the Brewers are doing?

Burnitz, Casey and Randa are just part of a never-ending shell game. "Wait 'til next year," should be the team's permanent slogan. Next year these guys will just be replaced by their own doppelgangers. If the Pirates really had any inkling of how to go about putting together a good team, there's no reason to wait any longer. They can't spend their way out of the hole they've dug themselves into. The help from the minors that they've been touting has already arrived in the form of Zach Duke, Paul Maholm, Doumit and Chris Duffy. There are still other prospects who are nearly there—Eldred, Bautista, McLouth, Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny and a few others—but they're the sort of young talent that most teams in baseball can boast. They're not impact players and they're not going to change the team's fortunes fundamentally. They're not the sort of players that you acquire stopgaps to wait for. If Burnitz, Casey and Randa are the best the Pirates can do now, they're the best the Pirates are going to be able to do next year, and the year after, and the year after that. The teeny weeny light at the end of the tunnel is moving at the same speed as the Pirates.

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Postby Mercer Boy » Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:01 pm

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That guy knows what he's talking about. ;-D

If anyone thinks these three are any better than Sanders, Stairs, Randa part I, Mondesi, Lofton, Lawton, etc. they aren't thinking straight. I'd rather just play all the young guys now and lose 100 games than watch them lose 90-95 with older guys who won't be around after this year. At least if you play all the young players together they may become a cohesive unit at some point in time and lead to better team play in the future...
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Postby bucsfan04 » Sun Jan 29, 2006 5:40 pm

Bay will finally be recognized as one of the best power hitters in the NL. Also, I think Perez will bounce back after an awful 2005. I like their rotation a lot, with Duke, Wells, and Perez leading the way and a bunch of promising youngsters bringing up the rear. I agree, I'd like to see the younger guys get a lot of playing time to give them a chance to develop.
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Postby Cooner » Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:57 pm

i'm a completely idiotic optimist, but part of me gets excited...

1. I like the young core group of Duffy, Castillo, Bay, and Doumit and desperately hope that Burnitz and Casey can protect and set the table a bit. The team's additions certainly aren't a huge improvement, but the maturation of Duffy, Castillo, and Doumit could make this a much more solid front/middle part of the order than last year.

2. If Ollie gets it together, this is a very solid young starting lineup, with a solid setup man and a potentially fantastic closer.

Things haven't changed much from last year, but I keep hoping that the steady improvement of a pretty talented young team will make for a "better year than last year."

Of course, I'm way too optimistic...
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Postby mbuser » Fri Feb 24, 2006 6:07 pm

Cooner wrote:i'm a completely idiotic optimist, but part of me gets excited...

1. I like the young core group of Duffy, Castillo, Bay, and Doumit and desperately hope that Burnitz and Casey can protect and set the table a bit. The team's additions certainly aren't a huge improvement, but the maturation of Duffy, Castillo, and Doumit could make this a much more solid front/middle part of the order than last year.

2. If Ollie gets it together, this is a very solid young starting lineup, with a solid setup man and a potentially fantastic closer.

Things haven't changed much from last year, but I keep hoping that the steady improvement of a pretty talented young team will make for a "better year than last year."

Of course, I'm way too optimistic...

no shame in optimism. along the lines of point #2, i think out new pitching coach jim colborn will be one of the keys to the team's success. perez and wells being able to rebound, and youngsters duke, gonzalez, and maholm having impact seasons will be pivotal to how well the team does overall
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