There have been a lot of confusing aspects to the State College/Pirates relationship, which ended last week when the Spikes signed a two year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. There have been a lot of conflicting reports, some speculation, and some comments taken out of context. As an example of the conflicting reports, I’ve seen that the Pirates wanted four years and the Spikes wanted two years. I’ve also seen that the Spikes wanted four years and the Pirates wanted two years.
One of the big misconception is that the Spikes were trying to offer suggestions for player development. In Rob Biertempfel’s piece about the Spikes moving on, he has the following comment.
Sources say the Pirates accepted very little feedback from the Spikes on things such as how to market the club.
Note that has nothing to do with player development. Yet the idea is floating around that the Spikes were offering feedback on the player development side. It might be because people took the “feedback” comment and applied it to every aspect of the team, including player development.
I spoke with Spikes General Manager Jason Dambach about this, and he noted that the Spikes never offered demands to the Pirates on player development. Whether it was pitch counts, player moves, on-field moves, or any other player development issue, the Spikes left those decisions up to the Pirates.
There was a lot of attention paid to the team record at the start of the year. However, that didn’t play a factor in the end, even though the Spikes had another losing season as a Pirates affiliate. The Spikes were still willing to sign a two-year deal as late as the deadline on Saturday at midnight, but by then the Pirates were moving in a different direction, obviously heading to Jamestown with the speculated move to Morgantown in the future.