With the Pittsburgh Pirates tied for first place in the National League Central Division and the trade deadline looming Sunday, many fans and sports writers are crying for the team to make a move.
I understand these thoughts. The Pirates were not expected to be any good this year, or next really. This is an opportunity for them to not only break the 18 consecutive years of losing records, but actually win the division. It's a mentality this team and fans haven't known in a long time and it's exciting to think that the team might be buyers. Too bad there is nothing worse buying out there right now.
As a Pirates fan, there is nothing more I'd want to see than this team make the playoffs. Once they're in, anything can happen. But looking at the type of players available this year, the Pirates would be better off in the long run to just sit back and let players get healthy.
I'm not saying Carlos Beltran, Carlos Pena or Hunter Pence wouldn't be upgrades to what the Pirates have right now. They certainly would be. But two of these players are not worth what is being demanded for them. There are reports that the New York Mets want four top prospects, one of whom is major league ready, for Beltran. The Houston Astros have asked a similar price for Pence.
Neither of these players is worth that kind of haul. Their teams are just trying to take advantage of a weak market this season. Beltran would immediately be the Pirates home run leader and Pence would be second but that's not saying much on a team that doesn't hit home runs.
I would be more inclined to snag Pence. He is younger and he wouldn't be a free agent at the end of the year. But if the Astros are demanding anything that includes Jameson Taillon then the Pirates have to say no. Taillon is the best chance this team has of getting an ace any time soon (Sorry, Karstens). And pitching is what wins championships in baseball.
Carlos Pena is interesting because he wouldn't require the Pirates give up a top prospect. At least he shouldn't. The man can't hit for average, but he does get on base and hit the homers. Two things Lyle Overbay doesn't do. This is the one move I wouldn't mind seeing the Pirates make. But at the same time, if they didn't, I wouldn't think ill of the team.
There will be a time when the Pirates can and should take a big risk at the deadline. Now is not that time. If the right deal presents itself, the team should definitely move on it. But they shouldn't sacrifice the future for any of the men named above. They are good players, but they are not superstars that will take this team over the top. Let's be honest, the Pirates lineup needs more than one bat right now. Just one of these guys won't increase their odds of winning the division that much.
Fans will be pissed if the team doesn't do something at the deadline. They shouldn't be. This team has done more than was ever expected this season. They have brought passion back to baseball fans in this town. They can't risk the future, which appears to be promising, for one season. That's just another way teams get stuck sucking year after year.
Big Country - The Promised Land