Friday, April 03, 2009

Lost In Translation - Neal Huntington

No one knows what the Pirates have been thinking the last 17 years. You can try to ask Neal Huntington, but you won't learn anything. He spins more nonsense than Robert Gibbs. So, to help all of you guys out, WSBGM's will provide free translational services. Here are some recent quotes form Neal and what he's really saying.

Huntington - "Organizations make major mistakes when they send a player to the big leagues because he is the best option, not because he's ready."
Translation - "Winning should not be a priority. Putting the best possible team on the field should not be a priority. Entertaining the fans should not be a priority. Delaying the time until our best players get traded to the Yankees? Priority."

Huntington - "When you have talent like some of the guys coming through our system, they can't make a team because they are our best option. They need to make the Major League team when they're ready."
Translation - "Listen guys, I'm in unknown territory here. Have you seen the "talent" that has rolled through our system in the last dozen years or so? Everybody we draft sucks. And if they show promise, we ruin them. Sure, occasionally somebody survives our interference and succeeds, but then I try to trade them, because I don't know how to handle real talented players. It's easier to hide them in AAA and hope they blow and ACL or something so we never have to deal with things like arbitration, contract extensions or performance bonuses that the player may actually achieve. Scary thoughts, indeed."

Huntington - "We'd rather be a day too late than a day too early."
Translation - "No need to rush to get that winning season. Just think of the satisfaction we'll have in 2032 when we finally win 82 games. Oooh, just think. That's why I only move my bowels every 6 months."

Huntington - "What are they saying, that we'll lose 95 or 100?"
Translation - "Preposterous! The 2009 team motto isn't 'No More Than 94' for nothing."

Huntington - "Every decision we make has some financial or business ramifications, so it would be disingenuous of me to say that this one didn't. But our driving force is Andrew McCutchen's development and growth."
Translation - "Ahhhh, you got me! It's all about the money and not wanting this guy to get "super-two" status. We can't afford another year of arbitration...unless we eliminate mustard from the hot dog stands. That would save a few bucks. But you guys need your mustard, so that wouldn't be cool. We'll just send him down to AAA."



GM-Carson said...

The Devil Rays were mocked their entire existence as a franchise, and it wasn't until the dropped the "Devil" and began to actually put a decent product on the field that they got any respect. The Pirates have now taken Tampa's place as the laughingstock on MLB. 16 straight seasons of losing baseball is just wrong. All those drafts picks should have produced something close to a competitive team, but the Pirates aren't even close in my opinion. They'll challenge the Padres and Rockies for worst record in baseball.

BloodStripes said...

It would be good if Pittsburgh could put a bit of mustard on their play. They need a Gillick out of left field. Rise up ye Pirates!

GM-Carson said...

The Pirates need to hold on to real players like Xavier Nady and Jason Bay and get rid of Jack Wilson instead. They seem to do the exact opposite of what they should be doing.

BloodStripes said...

At least the clubhouse is talking it up positive. Doumit and co. Would be nice if Adam LaRoche hits for an April and May. Plenty of young blokes keen to perform. Lets hope they do.


He looks like a super blonde Lane Kiffin in that pic.

GM-Carson said...

I really wish tonight's game against the Rays was televised so I could see/hear the reception for Burrell at CBP.

GM-Carson said...

Reports have the Mets close to signing Gary Sheffield. Here's to hoping he helps them lose.

dr. steve said...

Sheffield is just another cog in the Met's wheel that will bust and help them choke. Signing him is probably the best thing they could have done to help the Phillies.

Aaron said...

F Shef.

GM-Carson said...

I truly, deeply, and thoroughly detest the Mets.

Charleston Yankee said...

Dropping the Devil had nothing to do with what happened in Tampa last year, but that's besides the point. Are Philadelphia fans still so distraught from the NFC Championship game that they are forced to rag on the Pittsburgh Pirates? They're not even in the same division. Please, act like you've won before and be proud of the Phillies and their World Championship. Wait, what am I saying, Philadelphia fans never learned that byproduct of winning because it happens so seldom.

GM-Carson said...

Who the hell are you? This site started off as a Pirates and Phillies blog. Since our beginning, we've moved to covering almost exclusively the Phils, but we still do Pirates stuff every now and then. The Buccos are my second favorite team. By no means do they compare to my beloved Phils, but I still follow them closely. Make sure you got your facts straight before making such ignorant comments next time. Oh, and neither Corey nor I are the big of Eagles fans by the way.

Charleston Yankee said...

I searched the site and nowhere does it have any mission statement or an explanation for the sites purpose. It's basically all Phillies, except for a Pirates forty man roster, a few links to Pittsburgh Sports Blogs and in one in about every 15 posts, a rather uninteligent ramble on how much the Pirates "suck." All Im asking is that you please leave the Pirate bashing to actual Pirates fans. As far as I can see you do a very good job with Phillies Baseball because you follow them in what seems like a Religious manner. Unfortunately this also shows your glaring ignorance of the PBC. So, as long as you continue posting rediculous comments with little to no backing about Pirates Baseball, I will attempt to offer thoughts from a true Pirate fan. I do appologize for my ignorant slander on Philadelphia, it was shortsighted and completely void of any connection to the post.

GM-Carson said...

Tell me again why we should bash the Pirates for sucking? 16 straight seasons of losing baseball with no end in sight seems pretty gosh darn sucky to me.

Charleston Yankee said...

Suck is a fairly juvenile term. I could write you an essay on why the Pirates have failed to manage a winning season for sixteen years (and most definitely will not win this season) but the basic thesis would involve cheap ownership and terrible management leading to consistently bad on field product. But the problem with your comment and your recent posts is that current management is incompetent and there's "no end in sight." Now many actual Pirate Fans will agree with you, but that's what those 16 losing seasons will do to most casual fans, they lose hope. And I would have agreed with them had the new ownership and management not changed after the 07 season. Now if you can cite specific examples of how the current Pirates resemble the Pirates from 92-07, other than the continual belief that they can compete at the beginning of each season, I will be glad to correct you

Garrett said...

Neal Huntington has been GM for only a year you dolt. He had nothing to do with Dave Littlefield's retardation of the previous years. Huntington is doing the best he can with crap until he can trade/draft some better talent.

Charleston Yankee said...

Thank you for proving my point Garrett. Neal Huntington had nothing to do with the mess DL left him, probably one of the worst situations you could walk into as they had zero organizational depth and one of the worst pitching staffs in the Majors. Huntington has only been on the job for a little over a year and so far, he has done everything you could ask from him considering the situation. He's developed a plan that sets up the Pirates to compete in 2011 and beyond, of course no one in the organization is willing to admit this (We cann win now!), but any REAL Pirate fan can see that it is going to take a few years, to borrow a quote "you can't turn a battle ship around on a dime." That is why I take such offense to your negative posts, they're coming from someone who has no idea what's going on in Pittsburgh. You think because I read the Phiiladelphia Inquirer every now and then I'd become an expert in Phillies baseball? No! That's called a passing observer, not a fan. So as long as you keep posting innaccurate observations on the Pirates, I feel it's only right to defend MY team, just as you would if some Pirates blog began doubting the Phillies chances at a repeat based on spring training results. All I'm asking for is facts and sound argument instead of quote twisting and exclamations that "The Pirates Suck."

GM-Carson said...

Hey fellas, go check out my Pirates Preview from a few weeks back and tell me that they still don't suck.


Still think we don't know what we're talking about?

Corey said...

trading xavier nady and jason bay for nothing sucks.

having eric hinske be the major offseason acquisition sucks.

admitting your putting an inferior team on the field then justifying it with some garbage excuse about player developement when the real reason is money and sevice time, sucks.

neal "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" huntington sucks.

the pirates are a pitiful excuse for a baseball club and until the "PBC" change their losing ways, this site will not buy into the lies and propaganda propagated by the management and instead will call it as we see it - they suck.

GM-Carson said...

I wonder what word they'd like us to use instead of "suck"? Shitty, horrible, abysmal, laughingstock, piss-poor...

Charleston Yankee said...

It's funny, because I remember reading your preview a while back and thinking two things.

1) Well, at least they're not stupid enough to think the Pirates can have a winning season. Just like everybody else who isn't a complete homer, everybody knows the Pirates will be bad this year... probably really bad. Which I have accepted. I have no illusions of grandeur for this season, so I don't know why GM-Carson keeps bringing this up. I know the Pirates will "suck" this year, I've never said otherwise. So Carson, you can use any term you want, and I won't disagree with you on this years Pirates major league team. But..

2) Your preview shows you have no idea what is going on in Pittsburgh, even at the major league level. It's like you just looked at everybody's previous year's MLB season, and made your own observations based off that. In fact, you made the Pirates look a lot better than they are.

Nate McClouth was horrid in the second half of the season and has never put up a solid whole MLB season, and that Gold Glove... he's ranked in the bottom five of MLB CFs in Defensive Efficiency.

Thanks for not putting Adam LaRoche in the mediocre category even though he is anything but. A 1B with a career .830 OPS, that is about as replacement player as it gets.

Your comments on Nyjer Morgan are just absurd. Prospect? He turns 29 this season! No one in the past four years has even thought about tagging Morgan as a prospect. And you totally forgot to mention that the Pirates are going to start the season with a left-fielder who has a career .736 OPS. It's not that he's unproven, he is proven, he's a poor man's Juan Pierre. A complete nightmare, which is why there's been such an uproar over McCutchen's demotion (which I will go over later and prove what a novice Corey is on building a sustainable major league franchise).

Your comment on Jack Wilson is right on, he is incredibly overpaid for a league average SS, but your "Stupid Pirates" comment should really be "stupid Littlefield." The mistake was on previous management, so yes, you can blame the Pirates, but not the current boss.

There are other blunders, such as your shot at rebuilding for 16 seasons, Tyler Yates' phantom "strikeout pitch" (nice one Peter Gammons), and I don't even know where you got Daniel from for Evan Meek.

All of these topics are ones that any nominal Pirate's fan would know, so of course I would expect this from you guys. You just don't know enough about the Pirates to be making these type of comments. Yeah, they "suck", everybody knows that, congrats, move on, find something else to do with your time, like your work with the Phils, a much better and easier team to follow.

Charleston Yankee said...

As for Corey's post, I will address them one by one.

1) The trades have been the biggest argument between passing Pirates' fans and real Pirates' fans. Does it suck to trade your two best bats and break up one of the most productive OFFENSIVE outfields in the majors? Yes, but we were on our way to a 75 game winning season with zero pitching depth and a horrible minor league system.

The Nady trade was a no-brainer, especially since we have seen how good Jose Tabata has hit in a Pirates uniform, and though not all of the three pitchers we got back will be above average major leaguers, odds are one will be. Nady was having a season that didn't match up with any previous performance, so we traded him at absolute peak value. He is a FA after this year and a Boras client, why keep him when you can flip him for a possible future all-star and pitching depth, of which you will own on the cheap for the next three years and hold their rights for the next six.

The Bay trade is more controversial because he is a more proven player than Nady, and the players we got back have struggled in their time with the Pirates. Moss will probably turn into something a lot like Nady and is just holding the spot until Tabata is ready. Hansen has closer stuff, but has struggled with his control. Andy LaRoche has been horrible in his major league at bats, but comes with the numbers and pedigree of a top prospect and is only 25, he also tore it up in Spring Training and we have him for cheap for two more years and his rights for a total of five years. Morris was the toughest guy to pry out of the deal, a former first round pick with top two guy potential, is he a sure thing? Definitely not, but due to Littlefield's horrendous drafts, there was no one else like him in the organization at the time.

As for Bay, he's a tremendous offensive outfielder, but there is also little doubt the Pirate's would be able to afford him after this season when he becomes a FA. So why keep him hoping for a winning season this year and total garbage afterwards when the goal for any major league baseball team, especially one in a market as small as the Pirates, is building a franchise that can compete yearly, not every 17th year. See Oakland A's and such trades as Swisher, Haren, Mulder.

2) Another Pirates Blog looked at the possibility of the Pirates signing all the big name FAs and what our win tally would be based on WARP. We signed Texiera, Sabathia, Abreu, K-Rod, Hudson, Burrell... We still didn't even have enough wins to take the division. You don't win divisions/championships by handing out ridiculous contracts to FAs because they are usually past their prime (27-29) and can put you in a huge financial hole (See Tigers). Eric Hinske was actually a decent acquisition and makes our bench one of the better in the league, if only the rest of team was good.

3) Again, because you follow the Phillies which have the ability to sustain a 100 m. payroll, you just don't understand how to build a competing franchise with minimal resources. You don't do it by pushing top prospects, alla Aramis Ramirez as an 18 year old in 1999, and we all saw how that ended. See, Longoria last year, Weiters and Price this year. McCutchen was sent down for two reasons which have both been admitted by Huntington, financial, and he is not ready (there were no excuses). Did he do well in Spring Training? Yes, but he still struggles to make enough contact for him to be a MLB leadoff hitter, does not steal bases at a good enough rate to see it as an asset, and until a prospect shows that he can dominate the previous level (which McCutchen has not), why push him?

4) Neal Huntington is nothing like Dave Littlefield or Cam Bonifay. He's had one year and has proven himself as an organizational builder rather than a stop-gap/win-now guy that had previously held the position. And Frank Coonelly is much more qualified to run a major league franchise than Kevin McClatchy, of course you probably have no idea who these people are, but none the less.

5) You call it "lies and propaganda" which is fine, thats your opinion. But this is coming off a very basic understanding of the Pirates, therefore is unfound and ignorant.

So as I said before, if you continue to bash the Pirates from a point of ignorance, I will continue to enlighten you from a point of knowledge.

GM-Carson said...

Unless major improvements are done to the team, I don't foresee the Pirates having a winning team for at least 5 more years. That's how bad the entire system is.

Corey said...

1) Why ignore the Nady and Bay trades or pretend that they were positive for the Pirates? First, Tabata has yet to "hit in a Pirates uniform." He hasn't made it above AA. Granted, his one HR every 68 at-bats is mighty impressive. Power that like doesn't come along often. I'm glad Huntington pulled the trigger. The fact is, the Pirates traded a very serviceable outfielder for some back-end pitchers and a hope that Jose Tabata might hit. As for Jason Bay, your evaluation of his value shows your ignorance. The 162 game average for Bay's career is .282-31-103 and at the time of his trade he was signed through the following year for less money than the Phillies are paying Geoff Jenkins. A decent general manager would have parlayed that into major league talent or numerous minor league prospects. What did the Pirates get? A 25 year old reliever with a career ERA over 6, a 25 year old sub-.250 hitting outfielder who never even hit 20 homers in the minors and a 25 year old third baseman who was a hot prospect 3 years ago.

"Does it suck to trade your two best bats and break up one of the most productive OFFENSIVE outfields in the majors? Yes, but we were on our way to a 75 game winning season with zero pitching depth and a horrible minor league system." - After the trades, the Pirates were much worse (what was their record after the trade????), their pitching "depth" consists of Russ Ohlendorf and Jeff Karstens, and their minor league system was marginally improved, if at all. Yeah, great trades.

2) Are you saying that signing Eric Hinske was the best the Pirates could do to make the team better? Or do you just not care if the Pirates are better?

3) "you just don't understand how to build a competing franchise with minimal resources." - NEITHER DO THE DAMN PIRATES. Oakland has winning seasons. Tampa made the World Series. Minnesota has winning seasons. Don't ignore the fact that the Pirates have been the worst organization in baseball for the last 15 years.

"You don't do it by pushing top prospects, alla Aramis Ramirez as an 18 year old in 1999, and we all saw how that ended." - It ended with Ramirez a perennial all-star after Pirates traded him for absolutely nothing. He hit .234 the year before he was traded and the Pirates didn't want to pay him a lot of money b/c they didn't think he would put up the numbers like he did in 2001. But they were wrong and he's been one of the best 3B in baseball since his. Also, when Ramirez was 18 he was in A-ball. He was 21 years old in 1999. He also had a full season of AA and AAA before being established at the hot corner for the Buccos. So, get your facts straight, especially before you call someone else ignorant.

"until a prospect shows that he can dominate the previous level (which McCutchen has not), why push him?" - Because he has the potential to be a good player and help the team this season. And because he's better than any other option they have. But the Pirates, and fans like you, are okay with accepting another shitty year from Morgan and another shitty year from the Pirates, all in the name of "player development" and "rebuilding."

4) "Neal Huntington is nothing like Dave Littlefield or Cam Bonifay." - Yes and no. They did a good thing by drafting Alvarez instead of shying away from a big money draft pick, but like those idiots before, he has shown the propensity to get rid of talent and replace it with garbage.

5) "this is coming off a very basic understanding of the Pirates, therefore is unfound and ignorant. continue to bash the Pirates from a point of ignorance" - i love it when people call me ignorant while proving their own ignorance. unfound? that isn't even a word. anyways...i'm sure all of us who are fed up with losing and the same mismanagement and the accompanying excuses that we are fed year after year are the ignorant ones. And people like you, who drink the kool-aid and don't want to hold the organization accountable for their mistakes, are the truly enlightened ones. Please, go forth and enlighten others with your vast knowledge of baseball management how being the worst organization in baseball is a good thing.

Charleston Yankee said...

1) Again, as I said, the Bay/Nady trades are the biggest arguing point for Pirates fans. Those who are sick and tired of the losing and believe that NH/FC are the same management that has been in Pittsburgh from 93-07 argue against them, while other Pirates fans see a little Beane/Friedman/Ryan in Huntington and have the patience to give him the minimum of three years (only fair) to judge have argued for the trade. Of course, you are of the former while I belong to the latter.

For Tabata, when I said Pirate’s uniform I was just referring to his play this spring (.407/.500/.556), not how he hit .348/.402/.562 in the twenty-two games he played for Altoona. His power numbers are low, but considering he has played each of his minor league seasons two to three years younger than the median age, there’s room to speculate on how his power will improve.

I don’t understand your man crushes on Bay/Nady. Are they much better than what the Pirates have this year in the corner outfield positions? Of course. But Nady is very overrated as he cannot stay healthy, showed his true self as a Yankee (around an .800 OPS, which is what you should expect given his career numbers), is past his prime, and is a complete liability in the outfield. As I said before, just Nady for Tabata is a steal, and though the pitching we got is mediocre, compared to what we were running out there in July/August (Van Benschoten, Herrerra etc.) of last year, we needed anything. Bay is very good, but to think the Pirates could have gotten anything better than they got last July in this upcoming trade deadline is mental. Major league teams have shied away from giving up anything for just two months of service time, see Texiera, or even easier for you Blanton. Is he going to have a good year in Boston this season? Yes, and he probably would have had a good year for the Pirates this season as well. But we still wouldn’t have a winning season with both Bay and Nady because the talent in our organization at the time of Huntington’s appointment was absolutely dismal, and is even worse at the major league level now, but the organization as a whole much better.

The Pirates never expected to be better after the trades, so I don’t know where you got that from. Those trades signaled an actual rebuilding, starting from scratch. The Pirate’s have used the word rebuild before (not every year as you have claimed), but with out any doubt this is the first real attempt. Will it work? I don’t know but its more promising than what they were doing for the previous 15 seasons before NH/FC took over.

One more thing on trades, what Littefield did which drove real Pirates fans nuts was trade any chip they had for low-risk low-upside major league players such as Ty Wiggington. Players like Hansen, Tabata, Ohlendorf, Morris, and LaRoche were all bought at low value and are high upside but high risk. I’d take that any day over Bobby Hill.

2) What I was saying is that there was nothing the Pirates could have done this off-season to make this team better but improve the bench. They tried to improve the bullpen and even offered certain players more money but they signed elsewhere (Baldelli, Ohman) because really who would want to play for this team. And no, I really don’t care how the Pirates do this year, only certain players (Tabata, Alvarez, McCutchen, Doumit, McClouth, Morris, Maholm…). The more the Pirates lose, the better the draft pick, because in a rebuilding year, all that matters is player progression, not wins and losses.

3) Rome wasn’t built in a day. Oakland, Tampa, and Minnesota didn’t become a perennial winner in the second year after they decided that drafting and internal investment were the only way to build a competing franchise in a small market. And I totally agree with you that the Pirates were the worst franchise in the MLB from 93-07, but again, I think NH has done solid work since taking over one of the most horrendous situations you could think of.

I apologize for not doing my research before posting my 1,000st word after back-to-back posts. But it seems that neither one of us did our homework. Aramis Ramirez was given a huge contract after his 2001 season, he struggled the next season while posting a .666 OPS in 142 games, and because the Pirates sunk so much money into trying to field a competitive team in their first few years at PNC, they were in the red about 15 mil. by mid 2003. Kevin McClatchy demanded that they cut payroll, and Littlefield made one of the worst trades in recent history. So you’re wrong in saying that “the Pirates didn’t want to pay him a lot of money b/c they didn’t think he could put up the numbers like he did in 2001.” They actually did pay him a lot of money following that season but couldn’t afford him and traded him at his lowest point, classic Littlefield, classic “stupid Pirates”.

As for your comment on Ramirez’s minor league resume, he has actually never played a game at AA, and also never played a full AAA season either. He tore it up as a 19 year old in A+ in 1997, so it wasn’t unreasonable to skip him a level and see if he could handle AAA, where he put up decent numbers for a 20 year old for 47 games (.274/.374/.423). Unfortunately injuries and a need for some sort of publicity caused Cam Bonifay to bring Ramirez up mid-season in 1998 and it ended up in disaster, a .647 OPS in 72 games all the while starting his clock. They started him in AAA for the next season and he tore it up with a .971 OPS, then they promoted him again when the rosters expanded and he was mediocre. They started him in AAA in 2000, probably not necessary, but when he dominated again, they called him up after 44 games. The rest is history. Now this makes for a good comparison to McCutchen: if the Pirates had kept Ramirez in AAA for all 1998, he would have probably improved enough for them to consider to start him on the major league roster at the start of 1999, but just like with McCutchen, the smart thing would be to send him back to AAA to see if he could dominate (which Ramirez would have) and then if he does, you bring him up after two months, therefore not stunting his growth or wasting the first three cheap years you have him. The Pirates pushed Ramirez and therefore only got one good year on the cheap in 2001, and had to either deal with arbitration or sign him to a deal that covers those years (they chose the latter). So it seems that we are both ignorant.

As I said, nobody should care about this season because it is year one in the process. I’ll take the misery of Nyjer Morgan for two months and then if McCutchen has proven he is ready, he should start in center while McClouth moves to left (a better position for him considering his speed but lack of defensive acumen). I can’t wait for you to make a snarky comment about my use of the word “process,” but I really don’t care.

4) I’ve already addressed the differences between Bonifay/Littlefield and Huntington in the way that they trade their talent. Only time will tell if the eight players they got in the Bay/Nady trades are actually “garbage.”

5) I think I’ve proved my point. I also think you’ve been so scarred from all the losing seasons that you’re unable to make any distinction from the same old Pirates to any progressive change. I don’t blame you for losing patience, but don’t mask that with a clearly pessimistic attitude towards current management.

Oh, and sorry for the typo, Merriam-Webster.

GM-Carson said...

If this blog is still around in 3-5 years, please check back so we can completely laugh in your face for ever giving the Pirates the benefit of the doubt and think they're actually building a team to compete for the future.

Corey said...

okay, this is the last time i'm going to say some of this stuff, because you are ignoring facts and i won't waste any more of my time. but i must point out some of the things that you said and how poignant they are.

"Major league teams have shied away from giving up anything for just two months of service time, see Texiera, or even easier for you Blanton." - First, the Sox got Bay for 2 months and a year at a relatively low salary, so comparing that deal to teixeira is just wrong. and the phils gave up their top-rated hitter to get blanton, so again, not a good example.

"Players like Hansen, Tabata, Ohlendorf, Morris, and LaRoche were all bought at low value and are high upside but high risk." - that's just stupid. Bay and Nady were not "low value". older players like ohlendorf and hansen aren't not high risk/high reward players like tabata is. bobby hill had more upside than those two. and who the hell is morris? warren morris?

"Ramirez never played a full AAA" - you're right, he didn't play AA, but he did play a full season of high and and full season of AAA [131 games in 1999 of a 144 game season] - now you've been wrong about that twice, like most of the other things you've written here.

"traded him at his lowest point, classic Littlefield, classic “stupid Pirates”." - thank you for proving my point.

"Rome wasn’t built in a day." - no, but after 17 years i bet they had a few pillars up. the pirates have only made a basement, where they permanently live.

but all these little arguments, while fun, are relatively pointless. here are the important points you made.

"The Pirates never expected to be better after the trades" - that is exactly right. They never expect to be better. That is a major problem. They make the team worse then argue that the "organization" MIGHT be better. is it? we won't know for years, but given their track record, i won't give them the benefit of the doubt. you call is pessimism, i call it realism.

"nobody should care about this season" - that's the apathy that pirates management counts on.

and is that what a real fan is? somebody who doesn't care if their team is any good of if they win? somebody who just waits for a good/winning team before they "care"?

i hope your blind optimism and hope pays off, but until the pirates consistently show that they are committed to winning, i'm going to give an honest appraisal of the situation, and not "sugarcoat" it rhetoric about development, rebuilding and "processes."

Charleston Yankee said...

I appreciate you taking time to take part in this argument because though we are complete opposites in our viewpoints, the actual back and forth has been quite productive.

When I was referring to those two months of service time, I was arguing against any belief that the Pirates should have held onto Nady and Bay and flipped them for a better package this July. Huntington traded both at their peak value, and got eight players in return, almost all of them were bought at a low value, which is what I was referring to when using the term "low value."

The Yankees had basically given up on Tabata due to his injuries, low production and attitude.

The Yankees also had given up on Ohlendorf as a starter and had decided to turn him into a reliever, thus lowering his value. The Pirates have moved him back to the rotation and he has the stuff to turn into a 3/4 guy in the rotation but lacks the control and stamina.

Hansen was a former number one pick and has dominant stuff, but has yet to show control in the majors, even though he doesn't seem to have that problem recently in the minors. You can't teach his stuff, mid 90s with a nasty slider, but you can try to teach him control. At worst, he never finds the accuracy neccessary, at best he's a dominant closer. Remember that at one point the Red Sox were thinking of moving Papelbon to the rotation to clear way for Hansen. The Pirates bought low for a high upside player.

Bryan Morris was actually the key to the Bay trade going through. The Pirates demanded a pitching prospect but LA was unwilling to budge until 7 minutes before the deadline when they added Morris to the deal. A former first round pick out of high school who missed all of 2007 with TJ surgery, he's got ace potential with a good fastball (90-94) one of best curveballs in the system, a changeup that is being taught to every Pirates pitcher in the organization, and a slider that the Pirates are not letting him throw until he is fully recovered. Another buy low, high upside pickup.

Andy Laroche has been on top prospect lists for a while now, ranking second in a deep LA system just a year ago, not "three years ago" as you claimed earlier. The Dodgers gave up on him as he couldn't produce in the majors while sustaining a bad wrist injury, the Pirates got him at a very low value and though he may not turn out to be the star that people expected a few years ago, his minor league performance, prospect pedegree, and age all give us hope that he could turn into an above average third baseman someday, throw in the fact that he looked much improved this Spring, there may be reason for hope (but also throw in his performance in the first two games of the season and just hope that he's not really that awful).

The Ramirez stuff is just nitpicking, we were both wrong about certain facts, but when I said full season, I meant it literally as in playing at no other level, not even a cup of cofee with the big club in September, as the Pirates did with McCutchen and therefore don't have to put him on the 40 man roster.

When I criticize the Pirates for previous blunders, it usually pertains to the Littlefield/McClatchey years, which as I've said time and again, have nothing to do with Huntington/Coonely curreny time on the job, which has ammounted to a little more than 15 months. When I said Rome wasn't built in a day, I am referring to simply the last year and a half. Those previous 15 years are over, their history, there's nothing more that can change our minds on how terrible they were. NH/FC have started building a foundation for a sustainable franchise starting with securing current assets such as Maholm, McClouth, and Doumit and then adding pieces through trades (...) and the draft (Pedro Alvarez).

A great analogy would be like comparing the Bush administration to the current Obama adminisration. They both are in charge of the same ship, but are going about managing it in two seperate ways. And just like Huntington, Obama has to first clean up the mess he was given before he can implement his own plan.

You continue to lump NH/FC into the same mess that was the Pirates from 93-07. But you're doing it because you think there's no difference between the two. You really only sight the talent for trash trades, which we've both argued on opposite sides and the end result will not be known until a few years down the road. But you can't ignore the record 10+ mil. they spent on the draft, something you've never seen from the Pirates before, or their increased budget in LA scouting along with their attempt at signing players from remote locations (Australia, South Africa, and India). Also they refuse to sign overaged FA to fill out the lineup, but they do for the bench. All of these tendencies differ vastly from previous management.

What I should have said was the I'm not gonna lose sleep over the Pirates wins and losses this year. I shouldn't have said "nobody" because really, everybody has a right to do whatever they want. To say I don't care is a gross understatement on my part, that's why I almost broke my couch from jumping up and down on it after Jack Wilson hit his bases clearing double on opening day. That's why I put msyefl through the misery of watching that slopfest that was the Pirates 9-3 loss last night. That's why I spent a hundred bucks on splitting the MLB package on DircTV with my roommate. That's why I'm gonna watch some bad baseball over the next six months. I love the Pirates, and it's not that I don't care it's just that the total wins and losses in the first real year of a rebuilding process are not the be all and end all, it's about player progress and staying the course (drafting well, trading wisely, and continued spending abroad). Trust me, I am in a very small minority that might not "care" about the final record of our major league team, that's why attendance will be terrible and people will abandon the team when they lose their 82nd game.

But I'll still follow the team and if in July of 2011 the Pirates are still a mess and ten games under 500 with "no end in sight" I will come back and offer an apology for wasting your time and you can laugh in my face, but until that happens I'm going to keep faith with current management and hope for the best. Good luck with the Phils this year.

GM-Carson said...

Your boy Andy LaRoche has 3 errors through 2 games. Damn he's good!!!

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