Contrary to popular belief, even if you do things the right way, it might not work.
In baseball and sports in general, the reason for using correct objective methodology is to get the best chance of achieving the outcome sought, (winning). You could put a 12-year-old in there basing every decision on a coin flip and 1 out of 100 times he could build a championship team, it’s all about analyzing the percentages.
What team best describes that?
The Pittsburgh Pirates.
Neal Huntington has done a superb job running this franchise, being handed a lousy ballclub that couldn’t reach .500 ball for its life, on a budget that makes Fred Wilpon look like the late Mike Ilitch.
He has built a solid team, that right now it’s at a crossroads, retooling for the near future, sending away franchise icon Andrew McCutchen and former number 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole.
Multiple people in the game, especially some scouts have come down hard on Pittsburgh for getting a light return on the Cole trade, mainly because Neal didn’t go for the flashy top prospect that the Yankees were offering.
Note: There’s a reason why the Yankees have been quick to include Frazier in any trade talks and it’s not because they have no room for him, he’s a Center fielder and while Hicks is a nice player, the feeling would not be the same if they had Acuna.
That’s not to say Frazier will be a bust, but it is a sign they have seen some red flags, mainly his plate discipline, which is awful, as i constantly say power hitters that strike out a lot is fine, power hitters that strike out a lot and can’t walk, that’s concerning.
Anyway, the Pirates got a package of Joe Musgrove, Colin Moran, Michael Feliz and Jason Martin
Funny thing, after the deal was made, FG’s projections had Astros getting 1 win more and the Pirates remained as a .500ish team, why is that, part of it is the fact Joe’s projected to have roughly a 3 WAR season 2.7 to be exact, basically replacing Cole’s production except for that one great year he had in 2015.
FG Depth Charts/Steamer Projections
Musgrove 157 IP 3.95 ERA. 2.7 WAR
Cole 172 IP. 4.29 ERA. 2.6 WAR
The thing people must realize, they are trading away 2 years of Cole, a 3-4 win pitcher, he has that 6 WAR upside but nobody is gonna pay for it.
Joe is a nice controllable starter with good potential, that can replace Cole at least to some degree.
Colin Moran is a nice prospect, former first-round pick, blocked in Houston, now you get a chance to see what he can produce with 600 AB, it gives Pitt flexibility to play Harrison at 2B, or trade him.
Plus you get 2 fliers in Feliz and Martin.
I’d take that any day over Frazier and a couple of lower level top 20-30 prospects.
The Andrew McCutchen trade, one year of control, almost no chance of resigning him, you get Kyle Crick a nice young arm, give him a chance to start 20-30 games see what he does, plus a toolsy outfielder you’re taking a chance on.
The Pirates are a team with a lot of financial flexibility, a very smart GM, promising young pitchers in.
Taillon, Glasnow, Keller, Crick, and Musgrove.
A couple of those guys hit and you’re pretty well set.
Plus an elite reliever on a team friendly contract in Felipe Rivero.
On to the hitting side, controllable long-term assets in Marte, Polanco, Bell, Meadows, and others.
Josh Harrison is still there, will probably be moved, but the good news is they have a lot going for them and this retool might only take 1-2 years depending on how some of these prospects develop.
Right now if you asked me who is a better run franchise, Pirates or the Royals, both teams got over the hump and experienced success these last few years, KC got a WS, Pit didn’t, it happens.
The Pirates got shutout on a couple of wildcard games at home and that was it, maybe on another night, those games play themselves out differently and who knows.
3 straight postseason appearances where all-time great pitching performances killed their playoff hopes.
Game 4 NLDS, Michael Wacha took a no-hitter into the eighth, Cards won at Pitt, tied series at 2 a piece.
Mad Bum and Jake Arrieta threw shutouts in the wildcard game.
Bad luck what can you say.
A couple of breaks go their way and this is a completely different conversation.
KC got those breaks and now they have a WS ring.
But ask yourself this, results aside what roster outlook would you rather have right now.
Unquestionably, the Pirates.
Let it be known, Neal has done a fine job with this team, under these circumstances and it was granted with some bad losses in the postseason, just gotta keep moving forward.
As always feel free to comment, suggest and more.