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While it's completely possible that 2012 was Cutch's career year and he won't reach those heights again, that doesn't really mean that the proverbial clock is ticking on the "window" and the Pirates aren't quite ready. As long as McCutchen continues to be a good player (even one who never replicates his amazing 2012) the team could still be in fine shape. Just for example, you mention that the '79 club had 2 players who had a 7-win season on their resume. The thing is that neither one of those guys put up a 7 win season in 1979. Dave Parker was 2 years removed from his 7 win season (although he had an outstanding 6.5 WAR in '79) and Stargell was 6 years removed from his. That means that if Cutch winds up playing the "Stargell" role on the next true contender, it could still give them until 2018 (although I hope not) with Marte, Polanco or Hanson playing the role of Dave Parker. I do understand what you're saying but I don't think it's really a concern that Cutch might have had his best year on a mediocre team just so long as he is able to put up some good years for some better teams.
1 year, 10 months ago on Open your windows, baseball is coming
@TanTrax35 If you believe that the team's failure over the past month has anything to do with Nutting's willingness to spend money, then clearly you do need things broken down for you. As for killing myself...nah, no thanks.
2 years, 3 months ago on Game 141 Precap: F*ck you, Pirates | August 2012
@gonfalon @GamingPessimist Obviously the W-L record sucks, but what I'm saying is that I don't think that the team did a bad job at the deadline. I hate losing the pick and I would have liked to see a LOOGY but beyond that, I believe that what the team gave up was less than what they got back. It seems at least plausible that the two "flashier" moves they could have made (Pence/Victorino) would not have helped the team at all and it would have cost them more to get either one of them. I believe that the team's struggles since the deadline has more to do with the guys who were already here (Cutch/NFW/AJB/J-Mac) than the guys that they failed to bring in.
@GamingPessimistHow did they botch the deadline? Hunter Pence has been terrible and so has Shane Victorino. They needed a pitcher and the one they got (in exchange for meaningful prospects) has been very good. Wandy has pitched really well for the Pirates, they just haven't scored any runs for him. They couldn't have known Snider wouldn't stay healthy and Brad Lincoln's ERA since the deal is almost 4 so it's not like they gave up "the missing piece." The team has faltered badly since the deadline but I don't think that the deals made (or not made) have anything to do with it.
Ya know what pisses me off even more than (or at least as much as) this soul crushing losing streak? Stupid people like you. There is so much to be angry about with this stretch. The Pirates, despite the rest of the NL desperately trying to lose their out of the playoffs, continue to do stupid things like that uber-predictable squeeze (isn't that why baseball has signs in the first place? Couldn't a tip of the cap and touching your belt buckle at first have sent the same friggin' message?) and it's costing them games. Clint Hurdle is a bad manager. He has been bad all season but the team won so people overlooked it. However, blaming money on the losing streak is idiotic. The Pirates spent nearly $70M on Cutch this winter but does that matter? Of course not. People wanted a starting pitcher this offseason so they got AJB. People wanted to trade prospects for big leaguers so they dealt for Wandy. LA went out and spent so much money, they are now almost certain to be over the luxury cap next year. You know what it's getting them? Just as much frustrating baseball as we have in Pittsburgh only at 4 times the cost! Crap like this bugs me because you overlook so many valid and infuriating problems to spout off the same tin foil hat crap that stupid people have been yelling about for years.
@Carnegie Chip I disagree that the Pirates and/or NH missed an opportunity in how the team handled the trade deadline. The biggest reason for this is that some of the other options you mentioned simply are not marked upgrades over what the Pirates wound up getting. Shane Victorino is certainly a bigger name than Travis Snider or Starling Marte but is he a better player at this point in his career? I really don't think he is, no. When you looked at his numbers and his batted ball rates, he looked like a player in decline. That trend has continued since going to LA. The Pirates wanted to upgrade their rotation as well. They did. They traded some solid pieces to get Wandy Rodriguez. Rodriguez has a track record and (at least based on his ERA, which I realize is not the best indicator of performance) he has outpitched Greinke since the deadline.
Sure they could have gone out and traded for Justin Upton. That would have been a big splashy move. But then again, Upton has a .761 OPS since the deadline. Hunter Pence has an OPS+ of just 85 for San Fran. Chase Headley...OK, Headley's 68 HR-226RBI pace since the AS break would have looked pretty nice in black and gold while Cutch has been slumping, but isn't that kinda the point. If Cutch were still dominating baseball like he did for two months or if James McDonald hadn't made 8 lousy to awful starts in 11 games since the break (and one that was mediocre in it's purest form) then we wouldn't be concerned with who the Pirates failed to add. Not catching lightning in a bottle from a trade acquisition isn't the reason for the team's struggles. The inability of the core guys-the players that any trade would have been designed to build around, not replace-to get the job done in the past month is what has crippled the team. Hopefully, they get right and quick. If they don't, it could be a really depressing next 3 weeks.
2 years, 3 months ago on Actually, I'm not sure I do want to talk about it | August 2012
Just throwing it out there, it might have been low-probability for McKenry to score, but he did score. The throw beat him by a mile but Ruiz made no attempt to get the tag down and got him on the shoulder. If you want to see it, mlb.com has a couple of really good angles that show it pretty well. Fort was pretty clearly safe.
2 years, 5 months ago on Game 72: Phillies 5 Pirates 4 | May 2012
@Mornacale Josh Hamilton (AKA the best hitter on the planet) misses about half the time he swings at a pitch outside the zone. He is also more likely to swing at such a pitch than any hitter not named Clint Barmes. I really don't see it as a fatal flaw for Petey. He is going to strike out a lot. No matter how capable he becomes as a big league hitter, he's likely to wind up among the league K leaders most seasons. I'm not overly concerned with Pedro's most recent slump because he has still put plenty of good swings on the ball. He's hit a number of balls hard and they happened to either go right at somebody or land just shy of the wall. Hitting the ball 390 feet is a good sign even if it comes up just shy of the wall. As Pat acknowledged, in a sample size this small the numbers can swing wildly. It would be really easy for 4 extra balls to land on the grass (or in the seats) and which would give him a more palatable ~.250 average.
2 years, 7 months ago on Pedro Alvarez's most recent slump | May 2012
The SB thing is really driving me insane as we seem to routinely run ourselves out of innings. The only thing that I'd say about the sac bunt thing is that it might not tell the whole story. Run expectancy doesn't take the hitters into consideration (at least to the best of my knowledge) meaning that having a runner on 1st with Walker, Cutch & Pedro due up would have the same run expectancy as having Barajas, Barmes and Bedard due up. In the grand scheme of things the stats normalize so the .9 expected runs comes from an average of the two. If, however, 22 of the Pirates sac bunt attempts came with the crappy part of the lineup at the plate, it's possible that their "true" run expectancy would be lower.
Also, I'm not sure that the last chart is necessarily demonstrative of the problems caused by sac bunts and caught stealing. It could also show that those teams are simply bad offensive clubs. A failure to get base hits (or to a lesser extent walks) will make it difficult for teams to score baserunners, too. All of the teams that are below average at scoring baserunners are also below average at getting on base. The Giants, Cubs, Marlins, Padres and Pirates all have an OBP at least 10 points below league average. So while I agree that the team should stop giving away so many outs, I'm not sure that the chart showing their ability to score baserunners (which at first glance might be the most damning) tells us anything that we didn't already know; that this team isn't very good at getting on base, even when they're trying to...
2 years, 7 months ago on I have an idea to help the Pirates' moribund offense: STOP GIVING AWAY OUTS | May 2012
The majority of Barmes' homers last year were on the road, not in Houston. It wouldn't surprise me if Barmes only hits 2 or 3 home runs at PNC this year but he could still reach double digits which isn't bad for a glove first SS.
2 years, 8 months ago on Game 1: Phillies 1 Pirates 0 | April 2012