I’ve been hesitant to do this for a while. I didn’t buy into the Pirates being ready last season, but thought they should buy some rentals. They did. One worked out, the other didn’t, but the Pirates had a pretty historical collapse. It doesn’t seem like that is the case this year though.
Things are looking great now. The pitching is holding up, the offense is coming around and excitement is in the air. It is starting to feel like last year again. At least from a fan’s perspective.
So should the Pirates be worried about another collapse? I don’t think so.
I do think the pitching will hold up and even Bob Smizik believes!
Not that his opinion really means anything, but the article he passed along is a good one, and it is dead on.
That’s the main reason I think this is the year to start buying.
Neal Huntington has already stated he is looking to add pieces he can control beyond this season, which tells me he wants to start winning now while improving the team in the next few years. That also tells me he seems to think the window is starting to open. Now.
There are guys available who will help this team. Here are just a few.
Carlos Quentin – Quentin is on a bad team and is hitting very well. He is good in the field, and brings some more pop to the lineup. He has posted a .800 + OPS in five of seven seasons, but will be a Free Agent next year. He wouldn’t require too much due to being a rental, but he doesn’t fit the control beyond this year plan.
Seth Smith – Smith has the years of control going for him, and he has been somewhat disappointing for the A’s. He hasn’t been bad at all though, and honestly has a little room to improve in a more hitter friendly ball park. Smith would probably cost a bit, and would be a bit risky but he is a very good player who instantly upgrades the outfield.
Carlos Lee – I know he’s old, I know he’s hurt, I know he’s owed a ton of money. Not only that he is a free agent after this season. That said if they want a rental why not look to Lee? Lee was playing alright before his DL trip, and if the Pirates eat some of his huge salary there is a pretty good chance they wouldn’t have to give up anything of significance in a trade.
This also wouldn’t be a typical intra-division scary trade as the Astros are leaving the division anyway.
Justin Morneau – Morneau is another guy I like. He hasn’t been hitting for a high average this year, but has been absolutely crushing the ball. He is also under contract next year so the Buccos would get some control. He immediately becomes the Pirates best hitter not named Andrew McCutchen and gives an instant power boost.
Kevin Youkilis – Youkilis is another name that has been kicked around. He hasn’t been hitting well and is not in the Red Sox future plans. It doesn’t seem to be if he’ll get moved, but when. He is a free agent next year, which in his case isn’t too bad because he is such a big risk. He has a high salary, but I would expect the Red Sox to want a lot for him. He is also a pretty big injury risk and could very easily come aboard and miss the whole season.
Those are just a few guys who have a realistic shot of instantly upgrading the lineup.
If not now, when? The Pirates are playing good, the pitching is likely to hold up moreso than last year, and the division is extremely weak.
People like to say .500 isn’t the goal, and it shouldn’t be. It still needs to be ousted though. That would be huge for the mentality of the team AND the fans. .500 could go down this year, but with a few moves this team could also make the playoffs, killing two birds with one stone.