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 Post subject: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:44 am 
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I am, but watching the team in person for the first time this season the other night, I realized that if NH sticks to his guns, it will be an even harder sell than usual for a lot of fans. Consider:
  • Ostensibly, he'd be looking to deal 2/3 of an outfield currently sporting a pretty damn impressive mean OPS of .930 — the best offensive outfield in the majors, by some margin.
  • They've managed to stay just a shade below .500 despite significant regressions by their two best starters, marginal offensive contributions from Freddie and Laroche and key injuries to Jack and Doumit. The argument could certainly be made that a reversal of fortunes in any of these areas could put them in the thick of the NL wild card hunt.
  • They seem to have stumbled upon some form of team "chemistry" — however you care to define that.

So what's the general feeling here? Should NH stay the course and deal Bay, Nady, Capps, etc. at the deadline for high-ceiling prospect packages? Stand pat, see how the season shakes out and deal in the offseason, when the returns might well be better? Or if they're still in the vicinity of .500 around the trade deadline, does he trade Nady for some rotation help and make a run, if not for the wild card, at least for ending the consecutive losing season streak? 83 wins would shut up a lot of people...

He's got some tough decisions to make over the next month.

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Last edited by LtCol Kojak Slaphead on Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:01 am 
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Rebuild.

They shouldn't be standing pat for .500 baseball. Marte is gone after this season. Bay is gone after next season as is Wilson. Sanchez doesn't look like he's going to win any batting titles soon. LaRoche takes half the season off. Bautista is not the answer at third. And we could use another starter in the rotation.

The farm system is almost barren, Mccutcheon being the exception. I don't consider Walker or Pearce to be anywhere near sure things.

We need young talent, and we need it now. Bay, Marte, and Nady are the only established players we have that can net us good return. They need to go. Besides, it will give BH at least one more season of claiming Nutting is cheap and NH is just a puppet.

Just my $0.02.


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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:33 am 
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If you think you can make the playoffs, you go for it. Can't be any simpler than that.

You are still allowed to trade in the offseason last I checked.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:52 am 
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I agree with ZM. If the Pirates are in the hunt, then NH needs to do everything he can to win THIS season. If the Pirates become that good that they are in the hunt, then trading and making deals to bring in younger talent over the Winter will be just as fruitful if not more so.

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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:24 pm 
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See, I don't necessarily consider being in "the hunt" a positive. It's great to be able to even think it again, but does it really indicate just how close we are to being a good team for years to come, or just how pathetic (some people like to use the term parity) the rest of the contenders are? You know what I think.

Yes, there is a lot to be said for "the go for it" mentality, but unlike the Pens, who have young talent to fill gaps, I'm not sure we're in a position to "go for it".

As for being able to trade during the off season, I'd rebut with the following

* Nady's value will never be as high as it is now
* Same goes for Bay
* Offseason demand is never as great as it is in late July
* Marte can't be traded off season
* Big difference between Bay for one season vs 1.5 seasons. Especially for a team poised to make a run not only this year but next


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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:51 pm 
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There values will be even higher if:

1. They make the playoffs
2. Finish the season as strong as they started it.

You will get even better value in the offseason, if a GM is trying to tool his contender together for next year. For example, and I don't know what they have to offer in exchange, but for example...

... The Yanks don't win this year, but they feel they need to contend next year. Same could go for the Dodgers, and the White Sox GM thinks this way too...

These kinds of teams wont' give up much in July if they are not going to win, but they will in the winter as they retool.

Oh, and BTW, just when did the Marlins pick up Hanley Rameriz?


ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:59 pm 
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Argentum pretty much sums up my feelings, but to add to it...

Obviously, this is a decision that doesn't need to be mde right now. While I still believe rebuilding is the correct way to go, I could be persuaded to change my mind were the Pirates still at .500 following the AS break. However, if the trading deadline were tomorrow, I would have to be a seller.

A couple thoughts on our recent success:

* Snell and Gorzo looked ok, not great, against the Nationals and a struggling DBacks lineup. I'm not convinced they have turned the corner yet, and would not feel optimistic were they to head to the bump against a strong lineup in their next turn.

* Even if Snell and Gorzo turn the corner, does anyone think Dumatrait will maintain what he has done throughout the season? I'm not trying to say he is not a good, solid pitcher. But how many guys go through their first full season and keep their ERA under 4.5? I would expect he will struggle at some point, not because he isn't good, but because of growing pains. There. I just raised question marks about 3/5 of the rotation, and I'm sure similar question marks could be raised about Maholm and Duke.

* Is Nate really going to hit this well all year? He is still, in my opinion, a guy who will hit .280 with 25 homers and 25 stolen bases, which is darn good, if not excellent for a center fielder. But even those numbers imply a regression the rest of the year.

* Nady and Doumit...likely to not spend any time on the DL the rest of the year?

* We have 3 solid relievers- Capps, Grabow, and Marte. A 4th- Osoria- has good stretches, but is also prone to a run of outings where he can't keep his sinker below the belt. The rest of the pen- Burnett, Yates, Salas- are far from dependable, IMO. That doesn't give Russell many options, and forces him to run the guys that can get outs into the ground.

* Laroche, Sanchez, and Bautista. I don't even need to go there.

* And so on.

Now the optimists among us can say provide counterpoints to each of those, undoubtedly, that would be valid. But its an awful lot of "ifs" to expect us to be able to grab a playoff spot down the stretch. And, even if we were in the hunt, I have a hard time believing this is a group that can be competitive from year to year.

So, you have to trade Marte. If someone offers me a good SP prospect for Nady, I have to take it (as Argentum said, Nady will probably never have the value that he does now). There are just too many question marks still to pass up a chance to rebuild. Maybe, by July 31, however, those question marks are gone.


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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:45 pm 
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If you are talking about a wholesale replacement of most of the existing players, in the hopes that the new guys will be better, I am dead against it. For example, trading Doumit and McLouth to bring in players who are equally talented is not really going to get you anywhere.

However, I do think it is necessary and appropriate to trade some of the better veterans as they approach free agency, but we have to get GOOD young talent in return.

This year's players that fit that profile include Bay, Nady, Grabow, and Marte, I believe. I think we should and will trade at least one of the outfielders, and at least one of the relievers.


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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:47 pm 
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Ralphie wrote:

However, I do think it is necessary and appropriate to trade some of the better veterans as they approach free agency, but we have to get GOOD young talent in return.

This year's players that fit that profile include Bay, Nady, Grabow, and Marte, I believe. I think we should and will trade at least one of the outfielders, and at least one of the relievers.


That is precisely what I am talking about. No way do I trade McLouth or Doumit.


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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:05 pm 
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Ralphie wrote:
If you are talking about a wholesale replacement of most of the existing players, in the hopes that the new guys will be better, I am dead against it. For example, trading Doumit and McLouth to bring in players who are equally talented is not really going to get you anywhere.


Mclouth and Doumit are safe if I'm GM.


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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:22 pm 
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Argentum wrote:
Mclouth and Doumit are safe if I'm GM.

Yes, I'm kinda assuming that those two are off-limits in any sort of rebuild firesale. But no one else, really.

It's a tough sell to the general public, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:29 pm 
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I think most of us are pretty much on the same page. NH has to deal any of the listed players whenever an appropriate deal is worked out. I'd echo that a reliever, Marte first or Grabow should be gone. That Bay first because he is only here for 1.5 years, then Nady or both if the deals are right. I also would shop Wilson cause he'll soon be gone anyway.
Doumit, Nate, Capps most stay. Additionally, I would not trade any of our SP now. Most have little value on the market, and Dumatrait may just be so good we want him as a number 2 or 3 guy.

The team is doing better this year so far. This month is the test as we start playing the monster league. If we stay around 500 after that, we have something to talk about.

But yes, I still support selling for the future.

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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:43 pm 
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LtCol Kojak Slaphead wrote:
It's a tough sell to the general public, though.


Yes it is, but so is selling them on more patience while the Pirates continue to lose more than they win over the next few years.


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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:14 pm 
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I too throw my hat in with the rebuilding crowd. Our pitching and fielding is currently among the worst in the league (345 runs allowed, 15th in the NL), and we can't expect our outfield and catcher to carry the offense day in and day out. Further, attempting to contend this year, with a strong likelihood of failing at it, will eviscerate the Pirates chances at contending in future years, and the chances of the Bucs being successful in 2010 are much higher than the chances of the Bucs being successful this year.

Remember, .500 is not the goal; the playoffs are. Right now, the 2008 Bucs are not good enough to reach the playoffs. The 2010 Bucs might be.

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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:20 pm 
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It is possible that this team is playing about as well as it can. The starting pitching was expected to be better and the hitting to be worse. So it is possible that those will balance out the rest of the season. The team, on a whole, is more healthy. And maybe the voice in the clubhouse is finally one the players gel with and are willing to listen to. That doesn't make them contenders. They are more fun to watch and more competitive for sure.

This is where(in addition to the recent draft) we will start to find out a little more about our new GM. If he gets an offer that improves our club for the future(ie top prospects) for any of the aforementioned players you have to make the move. If nothing else you know for a fact that Mcutcheon is going to be playing CF no later than the start of next year. So someone has to go. And who knows, with the parity in baseball maybe the team can still stay within reach even after making some trades. It's happened before...


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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:50 pm 
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LtCol Kojak Slaphead wrote:
I am, but watching the team in person for the first time this season the other night, I realized that if NH sticks to his guns, it will be an even harder sell than usual for a lot of fans. Consider:
  • Ostensibly, he'd be looking to deal 2/3 of an outfield currently sporting a pretty damn impressive mean OPS of .930 — the best offensive outfield in the majors, by some margin.
  • They've managed to stay just a shade below .500 despite significant regressions by their two best starters, marginal offensive contributions from Freddie and Laroche and key injuries to Jack and Doumit. The argument could certainly be made that a reversal of fortunes in any of these areas could put them in the thick of the NL wild card hunt.
  • They seem to have stumbled upon some form of team "chemistry" — however you care to define that.

So what's the general feeling here? Should NH stay the course and deal Bay, Nady, Capps, etc. at the deadline for high-ceiling prospect packages? Stand pat, see how the season shakes out and deal in the offseason, when the returns might well be better? Or if they're still in the vicinity of .500 around the trade deadline, does he trade Nady for some rotation help and make a run, if not for the wild card, at least for ending the consecutive losing season streak? 83 wins would shut up a lot of people...

He's got some tough decisions to make over the next month.

I don't think that the decisions are all that tough. The Pirates goal should be contending for the division title consistently. This team isn't good enough to do that, and the ages of their key players tell us that it won't belong before they begin to decline. I wouldn't trade them just to trade them, but any time you get an offer than will help you get closer to your goal, you've got to pull the trigger.

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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:52 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
If you think you can make the playoffs, you go for it. Can't be any simpler than that.

You are still allowed to trade in the offseason last I checked.

ZM

I might agree with you if you're talking about winning the division, but chasing the wild card would be a mistake.

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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:53 pm 
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bassoondirector wrote:
I agree with ZM. If the Pirates are in the hunt, then NH needs to do everything he can to win THIS season. If the Pirates become that good that they are in the hunt, then trading and making deals to bring in younger talent over the Winter will be just as fruitful if not more so.

Yes, it will, unless the wheels come off and Bay, Nady, etc. put up dreadful second halves or suffer serious injuries. If that happens, you're doomed for another 3 years or more.

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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:58 pm 
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LtCol Kojak Slaphead wrote:
Argentum wrote:
Mclouth and Doumit are safe if I'm GM.

Yes, I'm kinda assuming that those two are off-limits in any sort of rebuild firesale. But no one else, really.

It's a tough sell to the general public, though.

This may sound horrible, but screw the general public. You can't build a winning team by using public relations as a guide. You do what you think is best and stand or fall by the results. If you succeed, all will be forgiven. Winning trumps all, and the only way you'll be able to see a winning Pirate team is from the Clemente Bridge.

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 Post subject: Re: Roll Call: who's still committed to rebuilding?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:53 pm 
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I don't think you need to radically deplete the talent level in the short term to increase it in the long term. If smart decisions are made, you can gradually increase the talent level while keeping the team at least marginally competitive. I think that is already being done.

We need to reconfigure the team in addtion to increasing the talent. We need a true ace or two in the rotation, plus we have too many lefty starters. Teams like the Cubs feast on our lefties. And we don't have nearly enough lefty hitters.

We need more bench players who complement the starters, meaning bat opposite, the way Minky complements Bautista. And we need a better arm in left field, because of the PNC Park dimensions.


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