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I'm worried that all the Pirates have done is enough in the last few years is to push them into the average or above-average category. That means they will beat bad teams, win some against good teams, but not win often enough against good teams to be serious contenders.
Their roster is sort of like that too - no weaknesses that are below-average. But no areas where they are exceptional. Except McCutchen. I am worried that their problem is that they are just so darn average that they will have no problem hanging around, but they will not go to the playoffs.
I think the way to get over the average/above-average category is not to go chasing anybody right now though. I think they need to maintain their approach and hope a few more players emerge to become great. If Polanco, Cole, Taillon, or a handful of other prospects end up being great, we would be there. If they do not become great they will still be useful players, but I think we need a few more all-star caliber players like McCutchen to get over the top.
In the meantime though, being in the playoff hunt and being relevant is better than wandering in the wilderness.
1 week, 6 days ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/the-2014-pittsburgh-pirates-first-half-not-good-or-bad-but-enough-of-both-to-be-maddening.html
It is strange shifting from the mentality of a team who is running experiments with players to get some value to changing into a team that is trying to win now. But I'm not sure it is too different - get your regulars in place, and figuring out "who else to put where" is more of an art than a science.
2 weeks, 2 days ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/game-95-reds-6-pirates-3.html
It sure would be nice to see a 7 or 8 game win streak. It seems like we ought to be able to do one or two of those a year.
2 weeks, 6 days ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/game-92-pirates-9-cardinals-1.html
You said you didn't want to talk about the ninth inning again - and in an odd and super narrow way - you got your request. Maybe now say you don't want to talk about the bullpen letting a lead slip away any more and we'll get that too.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/june-2014/sunday-morning-recaps-previews-ruminations-etc.html
I can't believe this! I wrote "start making your legend" and a home run ! This guy I am going to like!
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/june-2014/7954.html
I didn't think he would really get a hit like that!!!
One out, man on second. Come on Polanco! Start making your legend!
Anybody out there?
CGSHO/CG0 - Walter Sobchak says "are we gonna split hairs here?!?!"
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/june-2014/game-63-pirates-6-cubs-2.html
Six scoreless innings for Locke. Time for the Bucs to put some runs on the board.
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/june-2014/a-big-start-for-jeff-locke.html
Exciting baseball right now.
I wonder if part of the logic is that if you cannot sign one of the elite prospects (b/c they are drafting below the first 25 picks the elite prospects are gone) it is better to stock up on many of the players who are very good even if they are not elite. The bell curve says there are small numbers at the very high end, but then more results are more closely packed as you move over. In other words - the difference between 1 and 5, or 6 and 10 might be a lot - but the difference between 20 and 50 or 50 and 100 is not much. So instead of prioritizing the 30 ranked player over the 40 or 50 ranked player - try to get a bunch of the 70-100 ranked players b/c there is not a lot that separates 30-100 anyways.
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/june-2014/pirates-take-two-high-school-arms-with-second-round-picks.html
I've read a bunch of criticism of the Pirates on this. Not here - but since this is the only place I comment I want to write a thought.
The criticism to the Pirates I don't agree with is the complaint that the Pirates are holding back Polanco for just monetary reasons, b/c Polanco is ready to move up and the Pirates have a need in RF.
Even if that is true - it is fine. No team should be criticized for running things just with an eye on the money. Players do that all the time - they make decisions based only on the money and no one complains. It is fair for a team to do that too.
2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/may-2014/passan-pirates-offered-polanco-7-year-deal.html
You wrote that Alen Hanson "probably doesn't belong at shortstop." What makes you say that? Up to now I've only heard things like Hanson "has the skills to stick at shortstop." But it has been an open question forever and keeps getting debated. What puts you in the he-can't-play-shortstop camp?
4 months, 1 week ago on Morosi: Pirates interested in Didi Gregorius
How is his bunting?
4 months, 3 weeks ago on Gregory Polanco and Big League readiness
I have read this conversation before - that the Pirates sign players instead of trusting their inernal options. But, I suppose waiting is okay. Like you say a lot, wait to evaluate an offseason of work once all the moves are in instead of evaluating them one by one.
But, something I saw in a comment on Pirate Prospects, do you think this could have been done with an eye towards carrying three catchers and using Russell Martin to play 3B against left handers? Sanchez could start when Martin rests or plays 3B, and Stewart could be the third-in-line. Then, this move could mean that the Pirates figured Stewart as a backup catcher is cheaper than getting a platoon partner for Alvarez.
8 months ago on Olney: Pirates close to trading for Chris Stewart
One final thought - in negotiations and in planning for the future, a key is to focus on your biggest weakness. I think our biggest weakness is 1B. I think going after AJ Burnett is a bigger priority b/c of the stability he brings t the rotation. But our weakest position for now, and with no obvious answer in sight, is 1B. As you pointed out - there are going to be more problems in a year or two when other players go. It would be nice to focus on our weakness now and get rid of it by implementing some long term stability so it doesn't keep hanging around when other weaknesses emerge.
9 months, 1 week ago on There and back again: What do the Pirates need to do this winter?
I like this. But I would flip around RF and 1B as priorities. I am not sure if you put RF first in your article b/c it is more important , or if it just ended up there, so I guess I can't tell whether you think RF or 1B are bigger priorities. But, my opinion, I think that b/c we are waiting for Polanco right now - and that might be a long term solution, we need to think a little more about 1B.
This would be my priorities for the 2013-2014 offseason - (1) resign AJ Burnett, at the same time (2) figure out the future at 1B, and whether that is a free agent, a platoon, or waiting for a prospect - and while we are figuring out the answer to that question, (2a) see if we can get a short term patch at 1B - beginning with Morneau to form a Morneau/Sanchez platoon, and then (3) look into a one year patch for RF to buy time waiting for Polanco to get ready and/or see how he does at a major leage level - and the first stop is to see if Marlon Byrd will sign for a one year deal, but if he won't then (3a) decide if we want to go with Tabata/Snider or look somewhere else.
"Wait 'til next year" - now it actually means something for us. I can handle a winter doing that.
9 months, 3 weeks ago on NLDS Game 5: Cardinals 6 Pirates 1 (and so much more)
I am really glad we are not the Reds at least. They are benefiting from this in a big way. What chumps.
10 months ago on The one game playoff is ridiculous
Well written. The point about how 94 wins vs. 87 wins would put the Pirates in the playoffes either way is especially good. But I am also glad you put this post up to get this frustration out of the way and to get excited about the game now!
And the best part, we just made a trade for a month of baseball b/c the next month of baseball matters! I haven't thought about the Pirates in this way since I was in 6th grade!
11 months ago on Marlon Byrd and the urgency of the moment
When I first read about the trade I was disappointed to see Dilson Herrera go. He is the type of depth that I think is nice to have in the system - the type of player that is more likely than not to do well. In other words, a few things have to go right for him to do well, but there are a bunch of things that have to go wrong for him to do poorly.
But then I thought about all the players I would have been more disappointed to see go - Jameson Taillon, Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson, Tyler Glasnow, Nick Kingham, Clay Holmes, Luis Heredia - and probably a whole bunch of other players I am not thinking of right now. In other words, when I was thinking about players I would hate to see leave, Herrera didn't crack my top ten.
And after that, I started thinking about all the players I would have been disappointed to see the Pirates trade prospects for, and Marlon Byrd didn't crack my list. I don't like that he is a little old and that he used dope, but aside from that, he seems fine. When rumors were flying like crazy there were a lot of players I wasn't really inspired by, but Byrd seems fine to me.
And most importantly, it seems to me like somebody on Pirates Prospects said it right. Our needs included a RF, a hitter who can hit a left handed pitcher, and catching depth. I guess I prefer Tony Sanchez as our backup catcher, but those other two needs sure got checked.
This team's problem is lack of offense - which of course we all know. We lost three extra inning games over about the last week and during 15 innings of baseball we could not manage one run. And all the while, our pitchers could prevent runs. I think extra inning games are interesting b/c it usually only takes one run at any given time to win. But, over 15 innings, almost two full games worth of baseball, where the only thing we needed was a run, we couldn't do it.
I don't think we will collapse, but this does not bode well. We are a baseball team that cannot get a run when we need it. It is like a football team that seemingly cannot get a first down when it is necessary. That team can win a bunch of games, but it does not bode well for the playoffs.
11 months, 2 weeks ago on When 'should win' becomes 'have to win'
Yeah - but I sure would like to see a win tonight. The first two losses against the Rockies almost seemed okay. I'd rather lose big and get it out of our system then lose close games. Afterall, each loss is only worth one - whether it is by a lot or a little. But the last two losses were both games that we tried really hard to win, but didn't. That is harder for me to handle.
11 months, 2 weeks ago on Game 118: Cardinals 4 Pirates 3
I sort of like this team as we are. I want to get into the post season as bad as anybody, but I sort of like the idea of getting there with the team we had at the beginning of the season. Now the only trick is finishing the job, which is no small order, but I think this team can do it.
11 months, 3 weeks ago on Friday afternoon links
Thanks - I'll have to check it out.
Pat - You ought to set up some cool type of forum where all of us talk about our memories from the last 20 years. Maybe it is too silly to do a reminising-type of post, but I think it would be fun to talk about. Ending 20 years in the wilderness is a big deal - we need cool ways to celebrate!
11 months, 3 weeks ago on 70 wins
I like the format of the march to 82 wins - give us a little recap with the last season we won X amount of games to relive the 20 years in the wilderness. It will be fun and a little cathartic - I hope you keep doing it!
I am still struggling to figure out when a noun can be a verb. The other day I heard somebody refer to "droning" - which apparently means a drone strike. Now, I have to adjust to the accronyming of our language too??!!
11 months, 4 weeks ago on Tuesday morning links
Maybe this is in the video - but do you think Charlie Morton should be a starter or a reliever for the playoffs?
What does "TNSTAAPP" mean?
I have been in the "don't even trade for Stanton" camp. A few weeks ago we exchanged a few posts about that. Maybe you win though. I think we would have swept the Marlins this last series if we had Stanton and they didn't. On Friday we lost 2-0. Stanton went 2-2 with a home run and two walks. Yesterday we lost 3-2. Stanton went 2-3 with a home run and a walk. If we had that performance on those two days we might have won. That would put us with two more wins, which would have us leading the NL Central right now. I know baseball doesn't work like that, but it is still fun to torture myself over this.
1 year ago on The Cardinals, the playoffs, and the trade deadline
I see a few bring back Jason Bay comments on Pirate Prospects. Could that work?
(I also saw a bring back Barry Bonds comment. I am 90% joking - but could that work too?)
1 year ago on Game 94: Reds 5 Pirates 3
"I know that, as Pirate fans, we've become creaturs of the future, because the present has been so bleak. We have to learn to embrace the now."
I think that is a true statement, and an accurate summary of at least some of my feelings. I guess b/c I don't disagree with what you wrote, but I also don't disagree with what I wrote, it means that I am just looking forward to whatever might happen.
Email threads like this make me wish I was out East to go to a baseball game and beer on a WHYGAVS night. It would be pretty fun I bet.
1 year ago on At the break
I had a big comment I tried to make work the other day, but it didn't work. It was about whether a trade would increase the Pirate's percent chance of making the playoffs, winning in the playoffs, or winning the world series.
According to Pat, above, the Pirates already have a 92% chance of making the playoffs, so it seems like a trade is not needed just to make the playoffs. I had a paragraph about whether a trade was worth it to win the central vs. win a wild card berth. In the end, I think it isn't b/c trading away some of those players just to go from "must win one" to "must win three out of five" was not enough of a reason.
The Pirates also have a 58% chance of advancing in the playoffs - at least to the divisional series, and a 5% chance of winning the World Series. How much do you think Giancarlo Stanton would raise those percent chances? I guess I just don't think he would raise them enough to be worth a trade.
On the other hand, I think trading away Taillon and/or Polanco would decrease our percent chance of making the playoffs next year, and the next year, and the year after that by quite a bit.
I hope the Pirates offense gets hot in about two months. If the Pirates offense had Marte, McCutchen, Alvarez, and all the remaing players who play their role (in particular Jones and Sanchez, Walker, and Tabata) all hitting on all cylinders at the same time, that would be impressive.
I hear where you are coming from, but I end up disagreeing. I feel like the Pirates are on the cusp of two possible things – a playoff run this year, or a return to relevance for years to come. And I think the debates about the Bucs are centered around which of those two things the Pirates should be pursuing.I am more in favor of constructing the team for the second goal – a return to relevance for years to come, not for a playoff run this year.
But I get why some people want to see the Pirates building for a playoff run this year. My personal fear is not merely getting 82 wins, it is that the Pirates end with the second best record in baseball (to the Cardinals) and get a wild card game instead of a full-fledged playoff berth.(I think we exchanged posts about this fear of mine awhile back.)
This is the time of year your blog's quote matters - avoid the Grand Canyon.
1 year ago on A morning pick-me-up
I think the statement was just meant to emphasize that some young pictures are fine and others are not. I don't think there was any aim to determine what percent are fine, and what percent get hurt. (That is interesting to think about though - I bet those numbers are out there somewhere.)
I am curios what you propose though. I thought you were going to say they should be conservative - but then you suggest Cole should keep pitching.
I think this post seems pretty reasonable. Accept that inning count could be a problem, but address it by trying to scale back and limit his starts now instead of shutting him down later.
1 year ago on What should Gerrit Cole's workload be in 2013?
This seasons feels like it could really happen. The last two seasons felt premature to hope for something really great to occur. The let down didn't help but 2011 and 2012 were too soon anyways. Like mom and dad saying you can open a present the day before Christmas - and it being socks or something. It wasn't Christmas yet, so we knew we shouldn't expect anything, but the joy of opening a present just took over. Thinking you should get a present before Christmas is an unrealistic expectation anyways - so the letdown over the socks is partially our own fault for getting too excited too soon. The Pirates are like that. I think a lot of people (probably most people who read this blog I would venture to guess) did not feel like we had been waiting for 2011 or 2012. Back in 2009 and 2010 we were always waiting for 2013. Now, this is the season we have all been waiting for finally!
1 year ago on Game 81: Pirates 2 Brewers 1
Did it work for you?
1 year, 1 month ago on The best in the dark
It is almost hard for me to figure out how we are winning. No outright all-stars and no flashy stats. But I cannot find a person who does not contribute either.
Yeah - I hate the Brewers.
I wonder if Pat would entertain a WHYGAVS night if the Pirates make the playoffs? I might try to make a trip to Pittsburg if that happened. 20 years ago I was a kid listening to the playoffs in my garage - now I have my own kids, and what better way to start them off as Pirates fans.
1 year, 1 month ago on Thoughts and links for an off-day
I guess what I am really getting at is that we can thump on the average team, but I still get nervous about the good teams. I guess that is just a new feeling for me though - thinking about the problems a fan of a good team has. Basically, accepting that we are good, but wondering if we are good enough.
I just said I was nervous about them - not that they didn't have some success.
But those records you set out illustrate why I am nervous. If the Pirates don't win the central they have that one game playoff. If the records you put up there could be translated to a percent chance of winning one game against a good team, the Pirates would only have a 60% chance of winning that game. Doesn't 60% make you nervous?
(Also, didn't we lose our series against the Nationals? But we won wour series with the Giants, so maybe they offset.)
I love two things about the Pirates - but one of those things has me nervours. First, I love that the Pirates are playing so well that when they lose it can be attributed to a specific thing - or maybe to a few specific things. In one loss to the Reds it was a Jay Bruce home run, in another it was a bad inning for Charlie Morton. We aren't losing b/c we suck, or nobody does anything right, or a ton of players do things wrong. When we lose we can almost pinpoint the thing that went wrong. That menas a lot is going right.
Second, I love how the Pirates win against average or below-average teams. We have had some slides, but we just won all the games against the Angels and the Mariners - bad teams. I'm sure we will lose some games against average or bad teams in the rest of the season, but when we win those games, it means we are taking care of business.
But the thing I am worried about is how we fare against good teams. I'd like to see a few series where we really play up to good competition. We did against the Tigers (although for some reaon I feel like we got some good breaks in that game) and a few other teams, but until we consistently win against good teams, I'll be nervous.
1 year, 1 month ago on The Pirates, Giancarlo Stanton, and trading prospects