Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pirates making big waves

By Jeff

Who said the Pittsburgh Pirates aren't willing to spend money on big name free agents? They have been very active in the past few days signing Scott Olsen, Kevin Correia and Matt Diaz.

OK, so maybe they're not making a splash in free agency. Instead, they're just doing what they always do in grabbing a bunch of guys nobody else wanted. Sweet.

Olsen is coming off major arm surgery, has a career ERA of 4.85 and career WHIP of 1.479. But at least he's a lefty. Crap. So was Zach Duke and Mark Redman.
Zach Duke thinks Scott Olsen sucks.

Correia has a career ERA of 4.57 and a WHIP of 1.441 in eight seasons playing in the NL West. He had a decent year in 2009 when he posted 12 wins, a 3.91 ERA and 1.303 WHIP. But then he took a step back last year and saw his ERA climb to 5.40. It's encouraging that his K/BB ratio is almost two, but he is still just a mediocre pitcher on a staff already full of them.

Diaz is a career platoon outfielder. He's batting .301 for his career (Hello, Cooperstown!), but he has very little pop and it's doubtful he could be an effective everyday starter.

And that's what it's like to be a Pirates fan. While other teams are out shopping for big name players and bringing excitement to their fans, the Buccos are going dumpster diving. But unlike your typical dumpsters divers, who are hoping someone actually threw away something very valuable, the Pirates and their fans know that what they're finding isn't going to help the team win. They're getting enough guys to put a team on the field until their prospects get to the majors, or have major arm injuries that set them back two years.

With all that being said, I still believe in the current management's plan. They are trying to build from within and not overspending on the market's biggest free agents. I know it has been their plan for the past 10 years, but scouts are actually praising the team for their recent drafts, rather than tearing them apart.

Fans will come out in force ripping the team for not spending, especially when you look at the money the Washington Nationals just threw at Jayson Werth. But would you rather the Pirates pay $126 million over the course of seven years to a good player that won't put them over the hump, or would you rather them remain cheap for a few more seasons and grow their own talent? A team like the Pirates can't afford a big free agent signing like Werth to be a bust. If he sucks, the team is set back for years, they will trade him for very little and fans will be unhappy anyway.

So yeah, the Pirates' additions so far are not exciting, but they don't hurt the team at all beyond this year. They are just a bridge to guys like Stetson Allie and Jameson Taillon. You've waited 18 years, what is two more?

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - The Waiting

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