A week or so ago I posted the following on More Hardball.
The city of Pittsburgh has the Penguins and the Steelers. Typically playoff caliber teams. Then they have the Pirates. Seventeen straight losing seasons. Wow. When I was a kid they had Sid Bream, Bobby Bonilla, Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke, Doug Drabek, John Smiley, and the Jolly Roger flying high. Since then, down the shitter. The Buccos play in beautiful PNC Park, which I finally visited this past season. That park deserves a better product on the field. A look at the Pirates current clubhouse composition and you will find a product far from quality, it's quite putrid.
Andrew McCutchen has star power. The rest of the team, not so much. The offense on paper appears to be one of the worst in recent memory. It's like they're a team full of middle infielders from the 70's. You'd think with all those high draft picks that they'd be able to put together a solid homegrown team in the mold of the Tampa Bay Rays, but not much hope is on the horizon aside from Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata. I'm a Philadelphia Phillies Phan phirst and phoremost, but being from Pennsylvania, I'd still like to see the Pirates be competitive.
Was I being to hard on this franchise fallen upon hard times? No, they suck, it's official. Their major upgrades this offseason were signing Octavio Dotel, DJ Carrasco, Ryan Church, Javier Lopez, Bobby Crosby, Akinori Iwamura, and Brendan Donnelly. I'll give them credit for strengthening a very suspect relief corps. I'd have taken any of those relievers in the Phils bullpen. Their offense will once again rank near the bottom though. Even after adding roughly $14M from those signings, the Pirates still look to come in around $40M overall for 2010 (or 3/4 on A-Rod's salary). It's a damn shame they can't develop some young exciting players that would generate a buzz in Pittsburgh to have the fans return and the team be competitive again. They wouldn't have to get rid of players like Aramis Ramirez, Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez, or Adam LaRoche. Then they could fill in the voids with free agents and break .500 and maybe even make a push for the Wild Card. Hahaha, just kidding, that's not going to be happening. Not with the current management in place. I truly feel bad for the players on this team, because they are in a hopeless situation. Most teams go in cycles, but 17 years of losing baseball is more than that, it's a bad habit that isn't likely to be broken.