A few days ago, Frank Coonelly said to KDKA that he feels the current Pittsburgh Pirates team is better than the team that ended the 2013 season. I'm higher on the 2014 team than most, but I don't think I agree with the idea that they're better at the start of 2014 than the end of 2013. If given the choice, I'd take A.J. Burnett over Edinson Volquez, and I'd take Marlon Byrd over the combination of Jose Tabata/Travis Snider. Of course, the latter means that Gregory Polanco would be blocked, but we're just doing a simple roster comparison here.
I don't think you can successfully argue that the team now is better than the team at the end of last year. I do think you can argue that the team at the start of this year is better than the team at the start of last year. I also think you could argue that the team at the end of this year could be the same or better than the team at the end of last year. And here are my arguments for each case.
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.