The Pittsburgh Pirates were contenders in 2013. They were contenders because of bounce back pitchers like A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano. They were contenders because they relied on unproven prospects, rather than going for the "guarantee" of an established major leaguer. They were contenders because they went against the norms -- placing higher values on defense, pitch framing, ground balls, defensive shifts, and ignoring the myth of "proven relievers".

I've talked in the past about how the Pirates need to stay the course. The approach that got them here is the approach that is going to keep them contenders for years to come. The idea that a team has to act one way to become contenders, and another way once they are contenders is wrong. Teams that act this way and change their appr...

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