After 16 consecutive losing seasons, is there hope for the Pittsburgh Pirates or are they in for a record 17th season under .500? Daniel Paulling gives his take on the team.
When will fans at PNC Park see a home team with a winning record again?
2008 Record: 67-95
Rank in NL Central: Last, 30.5 games back
Home Park: PNC Park
RP Chris Bootcheck (Signed from Los Angeles Angels)
OF Eric Hinske (Signed from Tampa Bay Rays)
OF Craig Monroe (Signed from Minnesota Twins)
3B Andy Phillips (Signed from Cincinnati Reds)
OF Jeff Salazar (Signed from Arizona Diamondbacks)
3B Ramon Vazquez (Signed from Texas Rangers)
Walking the Plank
3B Chris Gomez (Signed with Baltimore Orioles)
SP John Van Benschoten (Signed with Chicago White Sox)
SS Luis Rivas (Signed with Chicago Cubs)
OF Jason Michaels (Signed with Houston Astros)
C Ronny Paulino (Traded to Philadelphia Phillies)
As you can tell from the players added this offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t contending any time soon. In fact, they are looking toward their 17th consecutive losing season this year, which would be a Major League record. It’s going to be another ugly year in Pittsburgh, but at least Pedro Alvarez, a stud third base prospect, showed up to spring training in good shape. He’ll be the anchor in that lineup in a few years.
Strengths – Not much
There really isn’t much the Pirates have to look forward to this season. A few years ago, there was discussion about the young arms coming through their farm system, but it seems as if only one of those has panned out: Paul Maholm. The end of the bullpen could be interesting with John Grabow setting up Matt Capps.
Weaknesses – Lack of offense
Catcher Ryan Doumit and outfielder Nate McLouth are the only returning players who posted an on-base percentage over .350 last season. They barely did so, coming in at .357 and .356, respectively. Outside of those two and first baseman Adam LaRoche, there isn’t anything remotely appealing.
LF Nyjer Morgan
2B Freddy Sanchez
CF Nate McLouth
1B Adam LaRoche
C Ryan Doumit
3B Andy LaRoche
RF Brandon Moss
SS Adam Everett
SP Paul Maholm
SP Ian Snell
SP Tom Gorzelanny
SP Jeff Karstens
SP Zach Duke
CL Matt Capps
RP John Grabow
RP Craig Hansen
One Question for the Pirates
Are they ever going to contend? The answer is not anytime soon. Even in the weak NL Central, there are too many holes in their lineup and too many future journeymen in their rotation. This will be the 17th consecutive losing season, and it’s a wonder how many more Pirates fans can take.
This team is destined to lose more than 85 games, and it would be no surprise to see it drop 95 once again.