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 Post subject: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:30 pm 
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I'll start off by saying that I hate expectations. Life is so chaotic it doesn't seem fair to expect things [outside the obvious; the sun rises], especially from professional competition. But mixing philosophy and sports is silly at best. So...

What are your feelings, thoughts, predictions and/or 'expectations' for the 2014 season? How much do you want from this team?

Do you think that you will find yourself more or less frustrated should the Pirates... not win the World Series/win the division/make the playoffs/win 81+ games this year...? Will developmental, individual or 'intangle' progress be good enough for you, or do you want to see quantifiable results [across the board]?

I ask because last year was such a thrill ride. In fact, the last three have been extremely emotional (if not draining). So are you willing to offer a 'grace year' after such a satisfying one or do you find yourself with a now larger appetite?

I'll be honest: I don't really know [what I want from this team]. I'm so invested in these guys that the only thing I am going to try and do is maintain and further develop a bond with them, because it's rare to have a chance like this to 'grow' with something you care about. If I'm still around in 20-30 years, I want to look back and talk about this team fondly; regardless of results. I'd love the chance to always have a memory like the 2005/08 Steelers or 2007-08 Pens, but mostly I'm just glad that the Pirates finally have a corner in my mind in which to stand proud.

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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:43 pm 
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The first month of the season is going to be telling imo with the gruel of a schedule against central foes.

I expect big things. Staying healthy is always a factor. I don't mind the holes at first base and right field. First I like the idea of continuing a platoon look. Gaby is solid and I actually think Lambo is going to fill the other side of it. Gaby late for defense.

Same with right field but that will be taken care of very soon by an extremely talented young man.

Yeah Burnett is gone, hell be sorely missed but the depth in the system is outstanding for starting pitching. The excitement of a Taillon call is coming.

The relief pitching will be strong again I expect. The bench can get it done.

Clint Hurdle. Love his attitude. The rest of the coaching staff. Ray Searage just impresses.



I have high hopes.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:33 pm 
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Establish Polanco, Taillon, and 2 of T Sanchez/Lambo/Kingham as long-term major league regulars and I'll be ecstatic. Rest is gravy, they'll be set up phenomenally if that happens.

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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:28 am 
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My expectations are almost diametrically opposed to those of SA. We'll be lucky to tread water this season after the FO basically made 2014 the year of waiting for Polanco and Taillon. We're replacing Burnett with Volquez, Marlon Byrd is being replaced by the guys he replaced, and we've swapped out Morneau and Jones with Lambo. Last year, I was happy with 82 wins. That's all I needed, first at the beginning of the season and even after we proved we were collapsing again. The playoffs were gravy. Now, I don't need to make the playoffs, and I won't be angry if we don't. I just want to know that we tried to make ourselves better...


.... and I don't we did that this offseason. So it will be up to a bunch of primed-for-regression players to change the course of the season.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:31 am 
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Burnett was a big loss but this organization has great depth in starting pitching. Next up. In my eyes Volquez isn't replacing Burnett because of that depth. Wandy is the wild card.

Byrd and Morneau were trade deadline gets only because the bucs were in a pennant race. They platooned first and right field the entire first half of the season and then some. The bucs were still in it. Guys stepped up and that was with an oft injured Tabata and terrible offense from Jones to go along with average his normal defense.

The pieces are still there.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:16 am 
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I don't know that I expect this team to win 94 wins again...a lot of things went right last year. But I don't think they will regress that much. I honestly think that Marte and Pedro will make substantial gains...I have always contended that the big swingers take longer for the game to slow down, but I think that will happen for Pedro and it will mean better plate discipline, better OBP. Marte has a lot more to offer, too. If we hold our own through May, we will be fine. The pitching won't have to be quite as good because the offense will be better, IMO. I think 85-90 wins is reasonable.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:24 am 
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bradf wrote:
I don't know that I expect this team to win 94 wins again...a lot of things went right last year. But I don't think they will regress that much. I honestly think that Marte and Pedro will make substantial gains...I have always contended that the big swingers take longer for the game to slow down, but I think that will happen for Pedro and it will mean better plate discipline, better OBP. Marte has a lot more to offer, too. If we hold our own through May, we will be fine. The pitching won't have to be quite as good because the offense will be better, IMO. I think 85-90 wins is reasonable.


I'm pretty much aligned with everything you said.

Polanco and Taillon are going to generate a lot of excitement and I think that could create momentum. I'm calling for 90 wins and a wildcard.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:14 pm 
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I expect the PBC to contend. Period. And I sure hope the team didn't hold back resources for the 2014 season because they're waiting for some of the top prospects to hit the majors. That's dumb. Cutch, Pedro, and Walker are in their respective primes, and Cole is ready to put up a great year as a young ace. Plus, the rest of the NL Central took a step back. That makes 2014 a great opportunity for the Pirates. If the team needs help early in the season, I think Neal Huntington has to make an aggressive move.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:29 pm 
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val wrote:
We're replacing Burnett with Volquez.

We are replacing Burnett with Wandy and (later) Taillon.

We are replacing Locke with Volquez and Locke.

We are. Seriously.

val wrote:
Marlon Byrd is being replaced by the guys he replaced

Byrd replaced Marte, who was injured at the time of the trade. Tabata played very well in Marte's absence, but Garrett Jones in RF was a primary reason for the deal. In a significant sense, we are replacing Byrd with Marte.

val wrote:
we've swapped out Morneau and Jones with Lambo.

I agree. I also suspect that Lambo + Gaby will be as productive as Jones/Morneau + Gaby. Jones and Morneau really struggled, and are at an age where the decline seems to proceed apace (now that steroids cannot be used to stem the decline). If Lambo is even modestly successful with the bat - 15 HR's, .330 OBP, slightly below-average defense - he is as good as Morneau and Jones.

val wrote:
I just want to know that we tried to make ourselves better...

I still don't really understand the non-tender to A.J. Not satisfied with that move.

However, credible information indicates that the Pirates offered Josh Johnson more than the Padres did. Johnson wanted to play on the West Coast. The Pirates offered James Loney two years. Loney wanted three. I cannot criticize that decision.

The free agent market where the Pirates compete is filled with the Josh Johnsons and James Loneys. The Pirates are not going to sign Ellsbury or Cano or Tanaka.

So instead, they sign Cole, and Taillon, and Meadows, and McGuire, and Kingham, and Glasnow, and Polanco, and Hanson, and Bell ...


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:55 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
val wrote:
We're replacing Burnett with Volquez.

We are replacing Burnett with Wandy and (later) Taillon.

We are replacing Locke with Volquez and Locke.

We are. Seriously.

val wrote:
Marlon Byrd is being replaced by the guys he replaced

Byrd replaced Marte, who was injured at the time of the trade. Tabata played very well in Marte's absence, but Garrett Jones in RF was a primary reason for the deal. In a significant sense, we are replacing Byrd with Marte.

Ah, yes, the Wandy-is-healthy,-he's-like-a-new-signing argument. Believe me, I've seen this logic, and it doesn't end well. That is if you want your team to actually, you know, improve.

Wandy, Locke and Marte were all on the team at the beginning of the year. That they're back now is of little consequence vis a vis the players that have left.


Bucfan wrote:
However, credible information indicates that the Pirates offered Josh Johnson more than the Padres did. Johnson wanted to play on the West Coast. The Pirates offered James Loney two years. Loney wanted three. I cannot criticize that decision.

The free agent market where the Pirates compete is filled with the Josh Johnsons and James Loneys. The Pirates are not going to sign Ellsbury or Cano or Tanaka.

So instead, they sign Cole, and Taillon, and Meadows, and McGuire, and Kingham, and Glasnow, and Polanco, and Hanson, and Bell ...

Nobody here is expecting Ellsbury or Cano. And I can't argue with the build through the farm system approach, either. But, we had the chance to keep one of two key contributors from last year, Byrd or Burnett, and we whiffed on both. I think, as an admittedly non-knowledgeable fan, that we're weaker than we ought to be.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:05 pm 
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I'm hoping for at least a wild-card berth. Anything less will be a disappointment.

I am not in the camp that thinks we took a step backwards. I think we are in fine shape with our talent base and I expect us to be very competitive.

Especially with Byrd. He was a rental player who played for us for a month. There was never any intent to acquire him for longer. We can get another player like that in July or August this year if necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:06 pm 
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val wrote:
My expectations are almost diametrically opposed to those of SA. We'll be lucky to tread water this season after the FO basically made 2014 the year of waiting for Polanco and Taillon. We're replacing Burnett with Volquez, Marlon Byrd is being replaced by the guys he replaced, and we've swapped out Morneau and Jones with Lambo. Last year, I was happy with 82 wins. That's all I needed, first at the beginning of the season and even after we proved we were collapsing again. The playoffs were gravy. Now, I don't need to make the playoffs, and I won't be angry if we don't. I just want to know that we tried to make ourselves better...


.... and I don't we did that this offseason. So it will be up to a bunch of primed-for-regression players to change the course of the season.


I should probably qualify my opinion by saying I thought they had a lot of room to regress, particularly in run prevention. So I didn't really view last year's team as a legitimate 94 win team in terms of being able to keep the same guys around and replicate the feat.

That's why I'm hoping to just establish the young guys, I think they can get similar production from Taillon as they did from AJ and I don't think Morneau/Jones set a particularly high bar at 1B. Byrd was always a regression candidate to me, and I think Polanco is going to be excellent right away thanks to his on-base skills and defense. Can make an impact in RF even without the power fully developed.

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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:56 pm 
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val wrote:
Ah, yes, the Wandy-is-healthy,-he's-like-a-new-signing argument. Believe me, I've seen this logic, and it doesn't end well. That is if you want your team to actually, you know, improve.

Wandy, Locke and Marte were all on the team at the beginning of the year. That they're back now is of little consequence vis a vis the players that have left.


Make up your mind. Are you comparing the team now with the one that started last year, or the one that ended last year? If the start, remember that Sanchez was in the rotation, while Liriano and Morton were not, and the John McDonald and Brandon Inge were on the team, while Mercer was at Indy, and the bullpen was full of huge question marks. If the end, remember that Marte was hurt, Locke had lost it, and Morneau was a total waste of space who had me longing for the the glory days of Garrett Jones, or Adam Laroche, or any other first baseman who could put up numbers better than the average middle infielder.

val wrote:
Nobody here is expecting Ellsbury or Cano. And I can't argue with the build through the farm system approach, either. But, we had the chance to keep one of two key contributors from last year, Byrd or Burnett, and we whiffed on both. I think, as an admittedly non-knowledgeable fan, that we're weaker than we ought to be.


It would have been foolish in the extreme to offer Byrd ONE year at the rate that the Phillies are paying him for three. The rare player who has a career year at 35 does not repeat. His age makes him suspect physically, not to mention the recent PED suspension. He was a bad, bad risk, and likely to spend three months as a pinch hitter, because nobody is going to hold Polanco back.

As for Burnett, he'd be entering this season as the number four guy, and the difference between his results and those of Rodriguez just doesn't amount to much. If there was one spot on the team that the Pirates have the depth to fill, is pitching.

The roster as it stands right now is FAR better than the one that started last year, and at most a step down from the one that ended last year.

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 Post subject: Re: 2014 'Expectations'
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:55 pm 
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I expect the Pirates to compete for the division crown. The Cards will be even tougher this year though. It feels so good to go into the season with one less monkey on the Bucs back.


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