Spring Training Battles: Bench

The bulk of Pittsburgh’s free agent activity this winter has been additions to the bench. In fact, the only two major league contracts the Pirates have handed out to free agents thus far have been bench players. For a team that traded two of it’s best players, and struggled mightily in the rotation all season, that may not be the best strategy. That’s not to say the Pirates didn’t make good moves here....

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Spring Training Battles: Starting Rotation

Last year the downfall of the Pirates was the starting rotation, which led the Pirates to the worst ERA in the NL, and the 28th ranked ERA in the majors. The starting pitchers racked up a 33-67 record, with a 5.36 ERA in their 162 starts. Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny were the two biggest disappointments. I’d say Matt Morris was a big disappointment, but I don’t think anyone was expecting much from him, despite the $10 M...

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Spring Training Battles: Bullpen

The bullpen is an area that Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington doesn’t like to spend a lot of money on. I’m in agreement with this strategy. All it takes is a quick look to the 2008 Milwaukee bullpen to see that spending money doesn’t equal success. The Brewers spent almost $26 M on the following bullpen arms last season: Eric Gagne, Guillermo Mota, David Riske, Brian Shouse, Salomon Torres, and David Turnbow. Of that...

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Spring Training Battles: Outfield

The July trades of Jason Bay and Xavier Nady brought eight players in to the fold for the Pirates, including top prospects Jose Tabata and Bryan Morris, but in exchange, left the corner outfield spots open for competition this spring. Going in to the 2009 season, the Pirates have Brandon Moss, Nyjer Morgan, and Steven Pearce competing for the two corner outfield spots, with top prospects Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata the eventual...

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Spring Training Battles: Third Base

It’s hard to call the third base position a “battle”, especially since the Pirates have pretty much said that Andy LaRoche will get the first shot over Neil Walker. So there really is not much to talk about, except maybe “are the Pirates making the right call giving LaRoche the first shot?” One could point to the horrible results that LaRoche has shown in the majors thus far (.184/.286/.272 in 316 major...

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