It’s officially 2016, everyone, and you know what that means…baseball season is just around the corner! Unfortunately for us Pirate fans, we haven’t had much to cheer about this off-season. In fact, we have had nothing to cheer about this off-season. No blockbuster deal was made that we were all hoping for, but come on, who really expected Huntington and Co. to open up their checkbooks more than any other team. I’ll admit, I had some aspirations for the Pirates that were just unrealistic (like most Pirate fans).
The bottom line is the team that the Pittsburgh Pirates would field right now just won’t cut it in the tough National League Central. Sure, another wild-card season might be in the future, but it’s time to go beyond that. It is time for the Pirates to take the NL Central. In all honesty, the Pirates and this city should NOT be content with just making the playoffs anymore. Yes, I get that it was over 2 decades without a winning season, but with McCutchen in his prime, the time to win is NOW.
When we look at the roster, it doesn’t seem likely that the latter will happen. Odds are, the field would be as follows; C: Fransisco Cervelli; 1B: John Jaso; 2B: Alen Hanson; 3B: Josh Harrison; SS: Jordy Mercer; LF: Starling Marte; CF: Andrew McCutchen; RF: Gregory Polanco; Jung-Ho Kang on DL. On the bump; Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, Jon Niese, Ryan Vogelsong, Jeff Locke. Since the Bucs lost some of their bullpen, don’t look for the bullpen to be as stellar as they were last season.
The lineup has some upside, but the Bucs are still missing that homerun machine. When it comes to the pitching rotation, the issues start at the 3rd man in the rotation. We can disect each player all we want, but in the end it isn’t going to make a difference. This team will not contend for a Penant Race with the team they have right now. Moves need to be made before opening day. I’m not saying this team can’t get us to the All-Star break with decent record, but if this is who we have come opening day, look for some deals to be made before July 31st. I have full faith in Huntington, and I sure hope he doesn’t let this city down.
The off-season is far from over, so the Pirates still may be able to make some moves before Spring Training. Although most of the highly sought after free-agents have been swept up by other teams, there are still some players available who would benefit the Pirates.
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