Outspoken critics are clueless about the Pirates’ situation
This from an AP story:
“To cut payroll, the Pirates have shed former All-Stars Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez, Nate McLouth and Jack Wilson in trades, along with nearly every other player who was arbitration eligible — or close to it — or free agency: Tom Gorzelanny, Ian Snell, John Grabow, Xavier Nady, Adam LaRoche, Damaso Marte, Nyjer Morgan, Ronny Paulino and Sean Burnett.”
Really? Technically some of these players are indeed former All-Stars but if a different franchise had shed these players, the situation would be viewed differently. All of these players are mediocre veterans. It is even more important for a franchise like the Pirates to shed mediocre players like these than it would be for a different franchise.
There is a striking lack of context here, for those who want to read into the Pirates making profits while losing. A new regime took over the Pirates in late in 2007, inheriting an awful situation. The previous regime traded for Matt Morris, for God sake. The Pirates were loaded with veteran players who weren’t very good, who were making too much for their contributions to the team and who weren’t going to be around the next time the Pirates are ready to contend. So the new regime shed those contracts that weighed down the organization. Now they are capable of building a solid core of young players and they can pay to keep the best ones. Plus once they are ready to contend or near ready, they can go out and sign a free agent or two or three that will get them over the hump.
What does everyone expect from the Pirates? Should they have jumped into free agent bidding, giving yet another mediocre vet a bad contract in the context of their situation? Should they have overspent for a good free agent and given that free agent a contract that they would regret in a few years when that player starts to decline?
Many don’t understand that free agency and acquiring expensive veterans is not the appropriate way for most teams, especially small-market teams like the Pirates, to build a solid core of players that can push them into contention. By the time most players hit free agency, they are at an age when they are starting to decline. Unless a team has enough money to get the very best free agents or can pay a reasonable amount for a free agent that can fill in the gaps, teams should limit their involvement in the free agent market, especially when any free agent signing isn’t going to be around the next time the franchise is ready to contend.
I can understand the misreading of the Pirates’ situation by casual baseball fans or people that don’t know anything about baseball. But those of us who understand context and understand the basics of baseball management, should realize that the Pirates’ profits mean very little to what they are trying to accomplish. Now if they don’t contend for another 15 years, then we can look back and criticize the current regime. Right now, their profits mean nothing. In fact, it’s a sign that the GM is doing the right things, namely shedding contracts that bog down the rebuilding process.
Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates