Pirates Discussion: Time To Take a Deep Breath

I wish being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan became more palatable as the years went by, but that unfortunately hasn’t been the case. It’s become exhausting trying to find any underlying metric that might offer a glimpse of hope, but the reality continues to be that the Pirates and Ben Cherington are playing the long game. The very long game.

On the surface, trading for Ji-man Choi and then signing Carlos Santana piqued interest that the tides were changing. Then the Winter Meetings came and went with the Pirates snuggling right back into business as usual.

In a couple weeks, the calendar will flip to 2023, and then we’ll be counting down the days in anticipation of pitchers and catchers reporting on February 15th. I, for one, will be ecstatic for camp to open, regardless on the state of the roster. I love baseball, and for that reason I’d highly recommend subscribing to MiLB.tv to free you of the major league trials and tribulations.

Seeing prospects succeed, and furthermore, begin building the foundation of a winning culture, is what primarily drives my interest. I don’t like seeing prospects thrusted into a situation of needing to immediately contribute due to the club’s persistent negligence of the MLB club.

I imagine that is also why this has been such a long drawn out painful process.

Endy Rodriguez looks special, but he still has room to grow and develop. The Pirates aren’t a catcher away from battling for the division, let alone being a contender. Quinn Priester and Mike Burrows likely aren’t refined to the point of stepping into an everyday starting role while shouldering a season long workload. Nick Gonzales and Henry Davis need to find a way to get through an entire season without injuries.

The obvious argument is with regards to service time manipulation and future control, but what is there to gain by opening 2023 with the Pirates high profiled prospects on the roster? The Pirates are set to burn through another prime year of Bryan Reynolds, and prospects wouldn’t likely change that. Why also burn a full year of their prospects who can still mold their craft in a less demanding environment?

It’s fun to envision Endy having an immediate impact such as Julio Rodriguez, but Julio was also stepping into a stable situation. The Atlanta Braves had a reigning World Series team that their trio of Spencer Strider, Michael Harris II, and Vaughn Grissom could arrive at their own pace and supplement the roster. They weren’t leaned on with the expectations of having to immediately contribute.

Bryson Stott opened the year on a loaded Philadelphia Phillies roster and struggled. Spencer Torkelson was a consensus top five prospect who was an advanced college hitter and struggled throughout the year. Another Detroit Tigers consensus top five prospect Riley Greene arrived mid-year after an injury, and while he had an overall positive contribution, he also saw his own struggles. Advanced college hitter Andrew Vaughn has been worth -0.8 fWAR over his first 1024 PA’s in two years.

A better comparison might be in-division rival Cincinnati Reds. They had two consensus top 100 prospects spend majority of the season in their rotation with Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo. They didn’t receive a Prospect Promotion Incentive pick and now have to rely on either finishing top-three in MVP or Cy Young voting in order to receive a pick.

The Reds dismantled their roster and were terrible. They didn’t draw more fans due to enthusiasm surrounding young high-profiled arms. Even if both Lodolo and Greene look like front-end starters during 2023, would it be contributed to the fact the Reds took the opportunity to roster them early on? Are we really going to say the extra three months in the majors catapulted their careers THAT much?

If the Pirates would decide to fill their current hole at catcher with Endy, the best the Pirates could probably hope for is maybe a couple of sold-out homestands by intrigued fans who will then quickly lose interest again because the team still isn’t winning.

The bigger issue isn’t that the Pirates aren’t promoting their prospects soon enough, the issue is the roster they’d be promoting those prospects into. It’s a rostered littered with question marks. It’s the equivalent of arguing who the closer is going to be when we know damn well there will few and far in-between games that we even need a closer.

By all means I would LOVE to see a handful of promising young players begin in Pittsburgh, but I want them to be stepping into an environment that will provide the best possible chance of success.

At this point, I’m not even convinced the major league coaches offer a better chance at success, rather than continued development under minor league coaches.

Raised in Cranberry Twp, PA, Jeff attended Kent State University and worked in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, before moving to New Orleans in September of 2012. His background is as an Engineering Designer, but he has always had a near unhealthy passion for Pittsburgh sports. Hockey and Baseball are his 1A and 1B, combined with his mathematical background, it's led to Jeff's desire in diving into analytics. Jeff is known as Bucs'N'Pucks in the comments, and began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2022 after contributing so many useful bits of information in the comment section.

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tcs3gobucs

I couldn’t agree more! THANK YOU!!!

PiratePrimate

The biggest problem for the Pirates is that Nutting has damaged the franchise so completely that no player who has an equivalent offer from another team will sign with Pittsburgh. The word is out. The union has told its members to stay away from the Pirates, if not in words then certainly in its actions. And now, sadly, their own players are demanding out if they know someone will make a trade for them. Something must be done or this will get worse before it gets better. The only thing we do know is that Nutting doesn’t give a shit as long as he’s making a profit.

TP

If the Pirates would decide to fill their current hole at catcher with Endy, the best the Pirates could probably hope for is maybe a couple of sold-out homestands by intrigued fans
— —- —-
🤣 oh my 😆. I nearly spit out my morning coffee after coffee!

Sellouts? Because of Endy?

Is there any betting action on this? Because I would put big money on this not happening

postal911

No way Endy starts the season at the mlb level. They are just waiting to grab the garbage nobody wants. It’s the Pirates way.

john_fluharty

He said that was probably the best they could hope for, not that it was at all likely.

TP

‘The bigger issue isn’t that the Pirates aren’t promoting their prospects soon enough, the issue is the roster they’d be promoting those prospects into.’

‘The obvious argument is with regards to service time manipulation and future control, but ‘

I believe the popular expression is: Rinse, Repeat

adicesa14

“Rinse, repeat” is exactly right. The Pirates like the Reds and many others are teams that have no chance to develop into year-to-year contenders. They can only assemble prospect laden teams that might briefly be winners, and if extremely lucky, attain World Series success.
 
Prospects don’t always succeed, and usually, they take two or three years in the majors to reach their level of competence. By then they’ve spent half their required ‘purgatory’ toward reaching free agency, meaning the Pirates must move them or lose them. That makes them a AAAA team for the ‘rich’ teams. Then there’s the rare case of a player that reaches ‘elite’ status like Bryan Reynolds. The Pirates cannot or will not sign him to a contract commensurate to his ability. Hence, he’s going the Garret Cole route. So, Mr. Reeds lament regarding a team “littered with question marks” is not just possible, it’s likely, and “rinse, repeat” is the order of the day.

RobForsyth

It’s always very difficult to go through winters as a Pirates’ fan. Watching the Cardinals make one or more moves that makes them better while the Pirates just sit there and sign guys named Moe drives me nuts.

1979andCounting

Rather than taking a deep breath, these posts are hyper-ventilating!! It seems everyone has forgotten that Bob allowed $85M – $99M in payroll (25/26 man per COTS) for years 2015-2018. So I don’t think BC is done this winter. And I expect 2024 to be even more aggressive.

pittsburghbob69

Sign Danny Duffy. That’s the high upside signing the Pirates can make for their rotation. Plus he’s a lefty.

He just turned 33, coming off an injury plagued season so he should be cheap. He has had good success in KC for his career. Has a sub 4 career ERA. He’s a strike out pitcher and has always posted good K/9(when healthy). Should be healthy to start the season.

pittsburghbob69

He’s a big dude too; 6’3, 205 pounds. The type of size Pirates management seems to like.

redwards60

Who in their right mind thought that signings of Choi and Santana were so significant that they represented philosophical or economic change by the Pirates?? That is hilarious. The Choi signing is the typical Pirates free agent signing. Although I liked the Santana signing for his veteran leadership, he is long past his prime.

Zack

The spending got crazy, but the Padres signed Hosmer and then Machado to big deals before anyone thought they were ready to compete. It would be nice to see the Pirates take advantage of a player they could sign for multiple years now. Hosmer was a bad signing, but that was the beginning of an abrupt change in approach in SD.

steve_zielinski

I believe we can put to rest the expectation that the Nutting Pirates will sign a top FA or trade for someone with a salary that exceeds $20M.

Nutting claimed somewhere that he doesn’t take money from the team’s profits. True?

Anthony

Nutting is the majority owner, not the sole owner. This is important to know (or remember). He is also chairman, but many decisions require board approval.

The last time it was actually reported; the board approved, at the request of minority owners, distributions to pay owners’ income taxes, as well as a distribution to BN for principal repayment of a personal loan to the club from years prior. BN actually wanted to convert this to equity, but the minority owners did not want diluted. At the time, FC intimated that distributions were infrequent and atypical.

I think the fans don’t truly comprehend just how poorly this franchise was run under previous ownership. We are talking borderline insolvency in the late-1990s/ early-2000s. It wasn’t until the early-2010s that they even had their debts at a manageable level, so it makes complete sense to continue to pay down debt and retain earnings to build cash on your balance sheet. This is baseball in Pittsburgh.

James_Robert5

Super helpful summary Anthony

“ At the time, FC intimated that distributions were infrequent and atypical.”

Is FC Frank Coonelly?

Do you see the situation improving over the next 5-10 years?

Anthony

Yes, FC is Frank Coonelly.

This is a loaded question James, but I do think their financial situation has improved dramatically over the last ten or so years with the bulk of investment put towards building an actual organizational infrastructure that rivals it’s MLB competitors. OTOH, 2020 and 2021 were likely huge steps backwards due to COVID and the subsequent partial suspension of local revenue sharing in those years.

IMHO, the only way to see substantial improvement is through added revenue generation. This drives valuation in all of professional sports. They will see organic revenue growth via revenue sharing, but to sustain higher payrolls, they will need to rely on gate receipts.

James_Robert5

That’s very helpful, Anthony

Thanks!

BonDrone

Then the questions are, have they paid off their outside debts and has Nutting’s personal loan been repaid? If the answer to these questions is yes, then there is no excuse not to spend more for players. If the answer is no, it is at least understandable why they spend so little. It doesn’t make us fans feel better or make it right, just understandable.

1979andCounting

The last I recall, Nutting was approx 90% owner. So your narrative about Board approval is a bit hollow. Bob controls every decision of the PBC.

steve_zielinski

I know he has bought much of the team, but I didn’t know it was that much. Anthony has a couple of posts that explains things and offers an mild apology for Nutting. His argument seen sound.

steve_zielinski

You know what you’re talking about. Thanks!

redwards60

This is the exact attitude and opinion that enables the Pirates incompetence and grotesque lack of investment in the franchise. Nutting has zero interest in trying to compete or win. Bottom line is only thing he cares about. Please sell the team. Do us all a favor.

Anthony

I do opine on this stuff for a living, but I was just sharing some simple facts I learned through basic research.

Context is a bitch; I suggest you apply it sometime and adjust your expectations accordingly.

NMR

Sort of like if I ran a business, took company profit, and used it to pay down my mortgage while claiming I’m “reinvesting” in the product.

I’m sure Nutting has good enough accountants to cook his books enough for him to believe he’s being truthful.

“I can turn a $4 million profit into a $2 million loss and get every national accounting firm to agree with me.” – ex-Blue Jay president Paul Beeston

tventimiglio

Absolutely not. Biz debt is not the same as personal debt. The team was insolvent in 2003. He bailed it out at great personal risk. He is paying down biz debt to insure that doesn’t happen again. As far as your quote from Beeston. Yes, deductions are available and everyone takes every bit as much as possible. If you have a problem with that you should quit declaring your deductions.

steve_zielinski

You realize your post was short on empirical evidence.

Danatural08

Everyone just calm dahn & relax. See all the teams that are signing good free agents recently? That means those teams have to release players to open up a roster spot & surely those team’s front offices arent as smart as the pirates’ & will release guys that the pirates can pick up without having to convince the players to come here & they’ll most likely play with a chip on their shoulders & turn the pirates into contenders for league minimum salaries!

NMR

Whomst amongst us hasn’t gotten a little hard watching Endy hack

Screenshot 2022-12-16 144259.jpg
steve_zielinski

Longenhagen doesn’t like to change his mind.

ArkyWags

That’s…not even remotely true from what I’ve read. Maybe he takes longer than others to change their mind in that field. I’d also say given the volatility of prospects it’s not the best policy to change always change drastically with a prospect, be it up or down.

steve_zielinski

It’s true. Notice I didn’t say he doesn’t change his mind, I said he doesn’t like to change his mind. You just agreed with my point without noticing it.

ArkyWags

Oh Eric told you he doesn’t like to change his mind! Cool, I didn’t know you two were that close. Whatever you wanna to tell yourself, champ.

steve_zielinski

He didn’t tell me that. I observed it. You need no agree with me.

NMR

Totally why he shoved both Endy and Luis Ortiz way up his board.

You are so embarrassingly petty.

steve_zielinski

Um, Endy hits home runs, but lacks power, according Longenhagen. Such is reasoning found among prospect type.
From where I sit, I stated a fact.
Wilbur was partially right about you. You’re a bit of a troll, but mostly you like to s*** on people.

NMR

Longenghagen literally just agreed with the commenter that Endy could end up producing more power than his exit velocities suggest because the quality of his hit tool allows his to maximize the contact he makes.

You aren’t smart enough to see that, but you are quick to criticize. If you’d like me to be nicer, then gain a bit of self-awareness and project what you want onto others. You went out of your way to criticize, and were ignorant in doing so. I’m never gonna claim to be a saint, but you had it coming. At least I know who I am.

You are the personification of Dunning-Kruger.

Last edited 1 month ago by NMR
steve_zielinski

I didn’t criticize Longenhagen. I stated a fact.
Like I said, your a troll and like to s*** on people.

b mcferren

sources say Cutch sighting at PNC

RAS TN

no

piratemike

The Pirates have been losing for over 100 years, but it seems like everybody treats it like it’s just since Nutting became the primary owner. The Pirates have almost always been on the bottom for over 100 years what makes people think that it will ever change?

emjayinTN

It may seem like that, but the last time the Pirates had 3 straight years of sub-.400 win/loss records was in the early 1950’s – that was almost 70 years ago.

Nutting is like a plague, and his minions are just happy to have their jobs and will not do anything to rock the boat. They have no money to spend unless Nutting specifically authorizes it, and he is not anxious to do that. They follow the plan he has set for them – mindless YES men.

piratemike

Most people consider below .500 to be losing. Since 1950 the Pirates have only one decade that they have more winning seasons then losing, 1960 to 1969 they had 8 years when their record was above .500 and 2 years below. Since 1950 the Pirates have 24 winning seasons and 46 losing.
From 2000 to last year the Bucs lost 18 years to 4 seasons above .500. However, you want to view to Pirates is up to you but for most of my life it ain’t been pretty.

James_Robert5

Before we go too far down this path …

According to our friends at Baseball Reference …

Team Names: Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Alleghenys
Seasons: 141 (1882 to 2022)
Record: 10687-10647, .501 W-L%

Zack

85 more wins than the Yankees! Please don’t check the loss total though.

docdon385

The Pirates have prospects, but virtually everyone agrees that’s not enough to build a winner. They won’t trade prospects for established players for the same reason they won’t sign any decent free agents. Once they have them, they’d have to pay them and as we all know Nutting avoids that like the plague.

Unless or until MLB or more likely the MLPA forces owners like him to spend on the team, the Pirates have no realistic shot at ever contending, EVER. The gap between the haves and the have nots gets bigger every year just look around at the free agent signings over the past few weeks.

The owners are all part of the billionaire club and are very unlikely to say or do anything that even appears to criticize one of their own. The grievance the MLPA filed back in 2018 is still pending as far as I know but gets virtually no attention any more. Sanctioning Nutting and threatening his money might lead to more actual spending on players, but I fear all Pirate fans are going to have to be content with losing baseball games while watching the draft and pretending all prospects will become superstars unless something like that happens.

RAS TN

I am guessing that the Pirates are lowballing Perez otherwise, why is there no signing announcement if they are really interested??? Inquiring Minds…

AdministrativeSky236

Think someone mentioned that he’s playing winter ball to prove health and try for a 2 year deal

Anthony

Odd bc he only got a one-year in 2022.

AdministrativeSky236

Feel like the best he could realistically get is an option for a second season but even that might be a stretch

Anthony

I was thinking there may be a question as to whether it’s an MLB or MiLB contract given his injury issues and age 🤷🏻‍♂️

RAS TN

A 2-year deal rules him out of Pirate’s plans, as they only sign players for 1 yr…

MB21

Bottom line – we are right to be pessimistic until or unless actual money is spent on actual players on the MLB roster. This doesn’t mean going crazy like $30-40M AAV for players but it does mean at least middling investments on real players both internally and from outside the organization. Though there is little evidence to support this, I really do hope the management changes.

steve_zielinski

The bigger issue isn’t that the Pirates aren’t promoting their prospects soon enough, the issue is the roster they’d be promoting those prospects into. It’s a rostered littered with question marks. It’s the equivalent of arguing who the closer is going to be when we know damn well there will few and far in-between games that we even need a closer.

Why not let the prospects improve in the majors without spending money on washed up or nearly washed up veterans?

john_fluharty

Waiting until they’re polished and ready means we’re not burning one full season of the few seasons we get of them waiting for them to get better.

steve_zielinski

You’re right. But the jump is still significant.

john_fluharty

True. So we’re hoping for a quicker but still not instantaneous transition.

steve_zielinski

Prospects rarely arrive polished. The hardest jump is from the minors to the Majors. For every Julio Rodriguez, there is a Riely Green, Spencer Torkelson. The players need to make that jump, and will likely struggle a bit. But having a leathered vet show them the ropes, Reyonlds, Hayes, etc. Will do.

I wish the Pirates had signed Benintendi. But he no longer his humerus, so it may have been for the best that they didn’t.

I agree it will improve the mood here if the Pirates accomplished what you want. But, I’m unsure if having vets teach the rookies how to be major leaguers and then take their jobs — I don’t think that’s a thing.

Last edited 1 month ago by steve_zielinski
Catch_22

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather watch minor league baseball in Altoona.

Catch_22

What are we talking about here? Didn’t the 2022 Pittsburgh Pirates give more innings to rookies/prospects than any team in baseball?

AdministrativeSky236

You know how this goes, MOAR ROOKIEZ

leefieux

The Bucs suck and it is going to take a few more ‘waves’ to get us where we need to go. We have to hope that we ‘hit’ on most of our prospects. That is historically unrealistic, tho.

joesolo6181

Spot on.

NMR

Well said my brother, hang in there.

Wilbur Miller

The bigger issue isn’t that the Pirates aren’t promoting their prospects soon enough, the issue is the roster they’d be promoting those prospects into.

The problem is, the prospects themselves are the only possibility for changing what the prospects are being promoted into. The Pirates are completely unwilling to invest in established players to provide a core for Endy to join. They won’t even extend Reynolds to help with that, so that it’s inevitable he’s going to be traded within a year, with or without the trade request. It’s up to Endy himself (and other prospects) to create that core.

And the fact is, whether they had to produce right away or not (they really did have to, as Atl was under .500 in early June), Harris, Strider and Grissom all did exactly that. That was after Harris played 43 games in AA and none in AAA, Strider threw only 94 IP total in the minors and just one in AAA, and Grissom spent just 22 games in AA and none in AAA. Yet the Braves weren’t afraid to throw them into a pennant race. Because they wanted to . . . you know . . . win.

The inescapable reality is that the Pirates’ one and only plan is to protect Bob’s profits every single year, as far into the future as possible. They tell the fans they waiting for the Altoona guys to arrive, but no serious person thinks that, by itself, will work. But there’s no provision for anything else. The “plan” is, something something, prospects arrive, something something, success!

Last edited 1 month ago by Wilbur Miller
Wilbur Miller

the issue becomes we would need at least half a dozen inexperienced prospects to be above average, at best, which is unlikely

I don’t disagree. I’ve said before you can’t just do this with prospects, which is troublesome because the Pirates clearly have no plans to do anything else. They should be trying to build up the major league team without simply waiting for the Altoona guys to arrive. Instead the absolute most they’ll do is add has-been and never-was guys, and rely on the one-in-a-thousand chance that they’ll become five years younger (Santana) or become something they’ve never been in eight ML seasons (Velasquez), so they can be traded for yet more C+/B- prospects to serve as backups in the prospect wave.

It’s not that promote-everybody-now is a good plan. (And I’m going to point out — and it’s pathetic that I should have to, since this was explicit in the article the other day — that I never said that Endy should necessarily come up now, only that they should behave like real MLB teams consistently do and not automatically foreclose it.) The problem is that there’s no other plan. In fact, BC’s own plan seems to be, promote them all at once. It’s just a difference in timing, except in his version Reynolds will be gone, or within a month or two of being gone.

Wilbur Miller

In fairness, it’s Nuttin. The one and only constant since 2015 is that there can’t be any financial investment or risk whatsoever. There can’t be contingency plans because relying totally on the farm system is the only minimum-cost option. Nuttin has foreclosed everything else. A massively brilliant FO might maneuver their way through, like Tampa, but NH wasn’t and BC isn’t within a billion miles of that level.

steve_zielinski

I have no problem with what the Pirates are doing now. I doubt it would help if the Pirates were to sign veterans to market value contracts unless they were to try for the top or second tier veterans.
That said, they need outfielders and a firstbaseman. The OFers in the system now are not especially good. So, measures must be taken if the Pirates want to win. It’s a shame that teams felt the need to game the system by offer contracts for 10 to 13 years. Now, if the Pirates want to sign Reyonlds, it would take at least $100M.
If Nutting goes real cheap when the Pirates are contending, I doubt I would follow him. It would only be a waste of time.

NMR

I don’t know why you’ve decided to build your entire brand on making the most reductive gotcha’s possible but I miss the old Wilbur.

tventimiglio

Yep, pretty boring and repetitive rhetoric.

NMR

Braves gave five different starters a shot to fill the 5th slot before turning to Strider.

They acquired Robinson Cano and Phil Gosselin – on purpose! – to back up Albies at 2B and gave two other vets a shot before turning to Grissom.

This was no more bold a strategy than promoting Bryan Reynolds after 13 games in AAA or Suwinski and Luis Ortiz effectively straight from AA.

Wilbur Miller

So what’s your answer to the problem of where that core for Endy to step into comes from? The Braves got Cano and Gosselin to BACK UP Albies. The Pirates bring in guys like that to start. I realize this is a diversion from your accustomed trolling, but there are real questions here.

NMR

Now you’re all over the place.

Look, they’ve committed themselves to this disastrously long, slow, tanking rebuild. What’s done is done. It wasn’t my preference, I’m not happy about it, but I’m not goin out of my way to make up reasons they’re failing. They provide plenty on their own.

There’s no distinctive philosophical difference than what Huntington did, just a difference in how they’re going about it. Huntington succeeded when he supported the prospect core with high-quality, under-valued veteran acquisitions and there’s no realistic chance of Cherington succeeding other than replicating this same general strategy.

They more time they waste developing prospects in the majors instead of minors, the fewer years of cheap talent they have to supplement with outside acquisitions.

The lesson some seem to have taken from Huntington’s failure to prepare minor leaguers for big league competition is to just stop trying and turn the big club into a minor league one.

This will neither be successful nor sustainable.

Catch_22

The core has to come from Cruz, Hayes, Reynolds, Keller, Bednar, etc. It sure as hell isn’t coming from free agency.

Trolling? Anyone who disagrees with these wild, inane takes is trolling you?

Wilbur Miller

You’re more of a stalker than a troll. Or both.

Catch_22

At this point in time, you’ve become a caricature. You’re a parody unable to have a real discussion without using words like stalker or troll.

NMR

Tell me we could identify a Wilbur take from Madden or Kovacevic in a blind read and I’ll sell you beachfront property in Montana.

clemo83

Gents, Catch and NMR, you guys always make good points. I genuinely look forward to reading your comments. We’re all just baseball fans, can we discuss baseball without getting so personal in the responses. This is our community here, these are our people whether you believe they have a good take or not. Please continue the well reasoned baseball points but can we just be a little nicer to each other? Everyone commenting cares about the Pirates as much as the next person. If that doesn’t unite us in this world, then I don’t know what can.

bianco599

Does it include a surfboard? Still have sex wax from my younger days. Guess I should ask if it has waves first. Maybe just bring a snowboard?

skliesen

Undoubtedly it has to start with Player Development. Pirates need to develop more Bryan Reynolds type players.

Best hope is Cruz and Hayes unlock their bats, giving the Pirates 3 bonafide All-Star caliber players. Sprinkle in competent SP and a strong bullpen, and there’s the makings of a winning team for Endy, Nick G, Tank, QP, Burrows, and others to supplement.

I give my scenario a 1 in 20 shot of coming to fruition.

Catch_22

If the plan is to rely on prospects and rushing prospects through the system, it’s going to be a failed plan.

Why not put a package of prospects together for Carrasco? They certainly have the prospect capital to make a move without hurting Ben’s farm ranking.

Then again, Bob isn’t going to pony up 14M.

Anthony

If the Mets retain, does that count against their CBT payroll?

Anthony

Still unsure but from my interpretation of MLB’s definition, CBT payroll is calculated on AAV of the players ON your 40-man. The Mets could essentially package Carrasco and McCann, retain 50% salary, and effectively save a little over $20M.

GlypheNotes

There is an assumption here that the offseason moves are largely finished. I don’t believe the team has made more than 60% the moves they are planning to make with the big league roster.

Many teams, including teams planning to win in 2023 have also not made many moves yet. The Dodgers and Rays let the market come to them. The Pirates have said they are switching to moves to make the MLB team, not the system, better in 2023. If they haven’t done much in that approach to impress you all yet, it may be that they are letting the offseason come to them.

There are still many players available who will improve the roster. In free agency there remain starting pitchers, relievers, and outfielders. In trades, most of the players other teams are believed to be willing to move still have not been moved. And these two things are connected, because remaining free agents may be waiting for their market to improve after the trade pieces dry up.

They’re never going to win the offseason headlines, even after they start winning. But that doesn’t mean we are not seeing the new approach in action. Everything they’ve said indicated they are done planting seeds and are looking for talented, experienced veterans to mentor the young guys this year. I think they’re still adding and will be through February.

Last edited 1 month ago by GlypheNotes
skliesen

Let’s assume you’re right and the Pirates are less than halfway to “upgrading” the MLB roster this winter. There’s no reason to believe the handful of players they sign will be anything close to difference makers. Nor players we can expect to be around for multiple seasons.

The evidence is overwhelming they are unwilling to spend the necessary $$$ to acquire even average MLB talent via FA. They consistently go after guys coming off either injury, poor performance, or both, and hope for better value than the market expects. Quite simply, not a formula for success. It’s most certainly a formula for continued pain and suffering.

Their risk averse business model may be good for preventing financial losses, but not so good at preventing actual losses.

Cocktailsfor2

SBRO

You don’t have to squint too much to conclude the surrounding team is better going into ’23 than it was going into ’22, but it’s far from decisively better. Mostly the floor is higher. Chavis, Gamel, Newman, Vogelbach, Tsutsugo and VanMeter combined for 1821 plate appearances and -0.4 WAR. It’s hard to imagine they won’t generate substantially more value from Santana, Choi and additional fractions of seasons from Cruz, Suwinski and Castro.

But again to reinforce your point Jeff, that’s far from solid ground. 1821 PA should generate at least 6 WAR to be average. Maybe they pull that together, but it’s far from a sure thing. There’s plenty of volatility in an older guy like Santana and sophomores like Cruz and Suwinski, not to mention Castro.

But reinforcing the floor costs real money, so I guess we have what we have.

Last edited 1 month ago by SBRO
AdministrativeSky236

Realistically within our budget and spending abilities, raising the floor is pretty much what we can expect. Ceiling will have to come from either good breaks from the floor players or the young guys taking big leaps forward. It’s not flashy but the current 2023 squad has already been a big improvement over 2022

tventimiglio

Many of our best acquisitions of MLB talent have been late in the off season. AJ Burnett, Matt Joyce, David Freese to name a few. All of the panic about lack of “doing anything” is ill conceived.

ravidesai1984

I’m pretty sure Liriano was also later in the process.

SufferinBuccotash

I thought they agreed to terms with Liriano early, but then he broke his arm playing with his kids over Xmas and it delayed the actual signing?

Maybe I am not remembering the time frames correctly…..

Last edited 1 month ago by SufferinBuccotash
ravidesai1984

That actually does sound right.

tventimiglio

I believe that you’re correct.

AdministrativeSky236

A well thought out and succinctly presented article as always, really enjoyed this read!

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