Pirates Named Baseball America’s Organization of the Year

Baseball America has named the Pittsburgh Pirates as their 2015 Organization of the Year. The Pirates got credit for their ability to put a strong team together that won 98 games this year, doing it by developing a core group of players and adding the right free agents and trade pieces. The Pirates also have a strong minor league system, which helps out in BA’s voting.

The Kansas City Royals were the Organization of the Year in 2014, then went on to win the World Series this season.

Baseball America has presented this award annually since 1982 and this is the first time the Pirates have been selected as the best.

News and Notes

  • I think with the subtraction of Pedro & Cutch moving off CF the team would be a greatly improved defensive team and a slightly improved Cutch, Polanco, Mercer could offset the loss of Alvarez’ offense. Then they will just need to add a decent starter, possibly a stopgap corner type player, and maybe one more reliever. Anything from Taillon, Glasnow, Kuhl, Hanson, Diaz, will be a bonus…But I think it’s a safe bet that at least two of those guys will make major contributions and possibly all of them outside of Kuhl who can be brought along slowly.

  • I wonder if the general media drinking public is as cynical as this group is… I’m guessing not and they are generally pleased on the whole in receiving this quality of praise.
    For the most part I’ve been impressed with most of the management team, and the coaching at the bigs… with a few exceptions Clint does a great job. I’m not a fan of his lineup contruction, but again whats to pick about 98 wins. Have a plan, stick to it, and they do. Congrats Buccos! PS: We still want to win it all so what’s next on the agenda?

  • The award seems deserved on the surface but I am a little concerned about this team. They seem like a house of cards to me.

    If McCutchen doesn’t hit like a superstar or isn’t playing, this offense shuts down – always has. He kind of reminds me of Bonds sitting in the middle of the order making the entire line up better. No one else on the team can really be counted on for a .800 OPS besides Andrew. There is some hope on the horizon with a healthy Kang, a maturing Polanco, and minor leaguers Bell and Meadows. But I could also be pessimistic and say that Kang won’t have his swing back in 2016 (or mlb pitchers will adjust to him), Polanco is another Marte (good not great), Bell can only platoon, and Meadows will only be up as Cutch’s replacement.

    It has been written that Benedict was the brains behind the free agent signings. If that is true, we lose that advantage and will need to rely on our minor league system that so far has only completely produced (signed and developed) one mlb starter – Cole. There is a lot of promise in the minors but after 7 years there is absolutely no track record of success.

    • Absolutely no track record of success? Your definition of success and mine are as far from each other as the east is from the west.

      • Drafting success. The major league team has clearly been a success.

        • Even that statement is out of bounds. A team doesn’t become this successful, both at the ML level and as a Farm system, without having success in the draft. You must be looking at the results from the perspective of only the 2009 draft and Alvarez’s shortcomings compared to expectations.

          Clearly they have had numerous successful picks who have produced like Cole, Watson, Hughes, Mercer, etc., or are on the precipice of contributing like Taillon, Glasnow, Bell, etc. I hope you’re not downgrading the draft results based on injuries. That would be foolish.

  • I believe that the Pirates will tender the BIG THREE. Be foolish not to.

    • And that is when the wheeling and dealing will begin. NH and FC will bring that to Nashville and I know there has to be one AL team willing to see Pedro hit HR’s in the middle of the order. My favorite is still the CWS, but Cleveland had Swisher as their DH last year?

  • Fantastic writeup from BA, linked by John above. Well worth the read for an extremely deserving franchise. Huntington deserves Exec of the Year, as well.

  • Would like the pirates to upgrade at first base and pick up a couple pitchers. Would like to see them pick up Henderson Alvarez hearing he’s a non tender candidate think he would be a nice reclamation project.

  • I wonder what the criteria is for this award…

    The Cubs came into the season with everyone predicting they were good – getting better – but very likely a year away from being truly competitive. They made the play in game – beat the Pirates. By all accounts they have the stronger farm system and are frankly better positioned to win the Division than either the Cards or the Bucs.

    To me that is the better organization – but then again I am a charter member of the glass half empty club

    I could also make a strong case for the Cards – most wins in baseball – big losses in key areas – got good production from minor league call ups – and have the resources to fill in the gaps created by losing a vey good pitcher to injury for all of next year and a key contributor to free agency if they choose not to re sign him.

    Then I have not even mentioned KC – or Toronto

    So congrats to the Pirates – but SMH on how you rank them #1

  • So next season are we going to win the WS?

  • BA = Kool-Aid drinking, Nutting loving fools.


  • It’s deserved. Outside of Corey Hart/Andrew Lambo, pretty much everything NH touched turned to gold.

    Hopefully this “strong minor league system” can start producing some players. Honestly that’s primarily what I’ll be watching this year.

    • It is very well deserved especially when you consider the wins per team salary. I will also be watching the development and promotion of pitching prospects to the majors. In order to make this system work, we have to see at least 2 young arms having positive impact this year in MLB. I do not care who the pitchers are, just that we start that development trail into the majors. It could be Taillon and Glasnow or Kuhl and Brault – just so we start to see advancement.

      • I think everyone would like to see them spend more, especially retention.

        But they’ll never win anything significant if these arms don’t pan out over the next 2 years. Josh Bell too.

        • Agree wholeheartedly. The Pirates are fighting a tough battle right now because the Cubs and Cards have their pockets filled with broadcast rights revenues, and they will be buying more talent this year. I think the Pirates deal with Root expires after the 2018 season.

          You mentioned the dreaded “R” word, but I do not see many options to retain. I started 2015 asking for an extension to ‘Cutch of 6/$120. The only other guy I see is Gregory Polanco who has turned down long term offers from the Pirates. Meadows is coming, so I make a best and final to GP of 6/$55 (incl $2 mil signing bonus), and add a CO 7th year. I do not see the Pirates being able to extend Cole beyond his 6 years.

          Bell is coming, and Diaz should also, but guys like Hanson have to wait to see what happens with Walker and Kang.

          • Cervelli will be there next extension. Its coming after Pedro NonTender Day, Wed. If you listen, you will hear NMR scream.

            • “But in speaking with former MLB GM Jim Duquette, he’s under the impression MLB teams are skeptical the Pirates will tender Alvarez. He believes clubs will test the Pirates and see if they will tender Alvarez a contract before making a deal. If he isn’t tendered, Alvarez becomes a free agent. The Pirates, by that logic, would have a better chance to trade Alvarez after the tender deadline.”


              A commenter on this site has only been saying this for months, and being told he was wrong. Oops.

              • Bout 25-30 to keep all three? Even if they do trade one, I’ll be surprised they even take the chance of getting stuck holding the bag.

              • I like your logic but they also lose leverage if they resign him. As in, the trade becomes more of a trade dump than a real trade – and teams would know that.

                We should only resign him if we want to start him

                • Not really 100% true. Its just as much pressure on other teams once they realize PGH is at least willing to roster Pedro.

                  Right now, teams dont believe PGH wants to pay him to be on the roster. If PGH tenders him, teams have to deal with the fact that PGH may care enough to at least bluff them beyond the tender date.

                  • I think it is more complicated than a bluff because of the money involved.
                    Alvarez is a league average DH and a replacement level 1B. If a team wants that security, it will be worth it to lock int the price rather than negotiate with Boras. If a team doesn’t want to lock him in at that rate then they would prefer to negotiate with Pedro/Boras directly – maybe low rate at a great park for one year so Boras can shop him next year. Or if they really feel he will blossom maybe a multi-year at $8 million per.
                    If we tender him, the re-negotiation option would be off the table and would rule out some trading partners unless we take salary back.

                    • Its not clear he is a for sure replacement level 1Bmen going forward. PGH can have enough faith in him to think his defense improves and he gets close enough to 1 WAR to justify 8 million.

                      I dont think its shocking to think PGH tenders him, and then shops him while telling teams 8 million isnt something that stops them from just having him at 1B. I think its a bluff, but one PGH doesnt mind being called on and having Pedro/Morse at 1B.

        • Please tell me what is wrong with the system in place? I see no reason why FO should deviate significantly from what has proven to be successful for last 3 years.

          I expect a sell high, buy low mentality w/this franchise. And I have no problem with it. Let the rich teams overpay for aging vets in this age of natural aging players.

          • Simple. Cole and Polanco aren’t making the minimum much longer.

            And they will still be young.

            • Cole will be paid whatever he earns in arbitration years. Then likely traded for numerous younger pieces. As for Polanco, not as simple because of Meadows and Ramirez.

              You’re not suggesting Pirates won’t pay their arbitration amounts are you? That would mean you’re in the lunatic fringe wing of Nutting is cheap hotel.

              • I am! Leowalter gives me a good rate.

                • You should root for the team across the state, they spend big and lose big, too.

                  • They were dumb to give out big contracts to guys who had peaked.

                    • As much flack as the Phillies get for some of their extensions the more significant and ultimately fatal problem was the utter failure to draft and develop any internal talent. When you operate in the largest market that has a single team you can afford a mistake or three, but what every team outside New York and LA cannot do is fail to develop any cost controlled talent.

                    • What they did have, they dealt.

                    • Not really go back and look at some of those trades, the only players lost of real consequence were Gavin Floyd, Michael Bourn, and Gio Gonzalez. And Bourn and Floyd would have been eligible for free agency after 2013.

                      So only Gonzalez would have helped the current team, the Phillies went from getting some of the best returns in the draft to some of the worst.

                    • Ruin Tommorow, Jr.

            • Polanco actually doesnt hit arb until 2018, so that is a good bit longer for him making peanuts while throwing out 2 WAR.

              Even Cole is still pre arb until 2017, and the first year on arb will still be a large benefit to the team.

    • Oh you have forgotten Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes – for two years the lineup had three sure outs batting seven eight and nine…

      ike Davis?
      Gabby Sanchez?
      Travis Snider?

  • I wonder what all the “glass half empty” fans will say about this…

    • I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but my impression is that the award recognizes the Pirates are in a good place right now — or were at the end of the season, anyway. They have a solid core, a productive farm system and a canny front office that has a good plan and the discipline to stick with it.

      That said, they still have a big hill to climb if they want to stay in this position. I’m confident the returning everyday lineup along with an influx of young talent will have the Pirates playing well at the end of the season. I’m just concerned at this point about bringing in enough starting pitching — even in the short term — to avoid a slow start. Unfortunately, that’s going to require deviating from the formula and spending a little bit of money.

      Long story short, the Pirate ownership and front office deserve this award. It’s just not a license to rest on their laurels.

    • I wonder if this means we will win a championship….?

      (That is sarcasm).

      • So a team that won 98 games last season and is looking to add several prized young players to roster next season isn’t a viable championship contender? Is that how we’re supposed to view your comment?

        (This isn’t sarcasm)

        • I’m fully expecting a step backwards and not hosting the Pittsburgh Invitational for a 4th straight year. Although Bucs could get invited to play at someone else’s park.

          • Take solace in the fact the really smart guys with Zips and Streamers predicted Pirates to take a step back last season.

            You certainly won’t be any more wrong than they were.

            • My predictions for the Bucs have been within 3 games each of the last two years, and I predicted all 5 NL playoff teams last year – including the Mets – so I don’t really see the comparison. I’ll wait and see if anyone of significance is signed, but as I’ve stated multiple times, if we’re counting on Taillon, Bell, Glasnow and Hanson to lead the Bucs to an NL Central title, it’s a year too soon, IMO.

              • Scott Kliesen
                December 1, 2015 5:46 am

                Who said anything about asking rookies to lead the team to success? I expect Hurdle, Cuth, Cole, Liriano, Marte, Cervelli, and other seasoned vets to lead the team and for the rookies to contribute.

                When rookies join a 98 win team, they aren’t exactly under pressure to be saviors of the franchise.

                As for your predictions, if you predicted 95 wins last year, I’m impressed. Zips and Steamers had them for low 80’s.

    • The “GLASS PHILOSOPHY” is as such Wine, Whiskey and Beer are always half empty. Water, Milk and Kool-Aide are always half full.