Opinion: Pirates' Fans Need a Pre-Spring Training Pep Talk

Craig Toth

Visiting a Pittsburgh Pirates social media site has gotten extremely exhausting lately. Optimism and excitement about going to games with your family and/or friends is quickly met with the "Spend Nutting, Win Nutting" and "Go Nutting’s Wallet" gang to come out of the woodwork in full force. Fans suggesting free-agent or trade targets are likely to receive plenty of often derisive comments. Talk about an up-and-coming prospect and you will hear about how the Pirates have never been able to develop a prospect in their entire history. Try to explain the moves Cherington has made or why he is not making certain moves and the same crowd will light you up from all angles. Try to bring up stats, sabermetrics, analytics into a conversation and people will tell you how much they don’t matter because that player “sucks”! And don’t you dare bring up the word “rebuild” or “build”. Lecturers, philosophers, and scholars will break down the origin and meaning of each word and tell you how Professor Ben is incorrectly using the term or that he is inaccurately describing the current state of the organization, as well as the direction the team should be going. Here is my advice to everyone…take a breath!

If you show hope and optimism or just enjoy going to a ballgame, it doesn’t mean that you are Bob Nutting’s biggest fan or that agree with having the lowest payroll in all of Major League Baseball. If you have an idea for a trade target or free agent that you feel could benefit the present and/or future of the team, let’s hear about it. If prospects are your thing (and everyone probably knows by now they are mine), tell everyone what you like about a guy, a time you went to see him play, or provide a good player comp. If you have an interpretation of the moves the Pirates have made or haven’t made this off-season, go ahead and talk about it; you could be right or you could be wrong, but at least you can smile knowing you are having a debate about baseball. If you really care what words Ben Cherington uses, I can assure you that you are worrying about the wrong thing. Everyone knows actions speak louder than words! He could call it Chinese water torture for all I care, as long as it works! 

So, what do you all say, can we move forward? Can we have discussions about baseball? Can we let spring training start before we actually make judgements as to how the season is going to go? Because I will let you in on a little secret…NO ONE knows what exactly is going to happen! Not you, not me, Not Ben Cherington, Not Derek Shelton. I repeat, No one! For just one day can we just all take a break and wait for the four most beautiful words in the English language to be uttered; pitchers and catchers report! 

 Follow Craig on Twitter: @BucsBasement

Comments (17)
Clevelander
Clevelander

They signed Dyson. To replace Marte? Are they kidding? A guy whose asset is his speed when he was in his 20s and who now is 35? Wow. Tanking for the number one pick? This isnt the NFL.

No. 1-3
kdog864
kdog864

You're about 4 years too late to try and tell Pirate fans to "take a breath". This franchise hasn't won a playoff series in 40 years. 6 times in the last 40 have they played more than 162 games. 2015 they won 98 games. All they needed for '16 was to keep the team together and add 1 starting pitcher. Instead it was a salary dump with nothing added and it's been downhill since. We were told the youngsters would pick up the slack. Yeah, that's happened. A year ago we were told there were only 1 or 2 spots on the roster open because this young core was so good. What a crock. The Nutless Bunch get $90,000,000 before they sell 1 ticket, park 1 car or pour 1 beer. The payroll is under $50,000,000. Take a breath? YOU spend your time and take money out of your own pocket. Do it for about 5 years with the miserable ownership that has a stranglehold on our team. The owner shoves the profits in his pocket and we get left with lousy teams. I'll be back when The Nutless Bunch grows a pair and shows they want to try and start winning.

13 Replies

Craig Toth
Craig Toth

I have been taking money out of my own pocket for at least the past 24 years and having been giving my time longer than that. One of my biggest frustrations was not making a bigger push after the 2015 season. There have been many owners over the past 40 years. None of them have been able to deliver what is truly deserved.

Yark
Yark

Payroll went up un 2016

Craig Toth
Craig Toth

Go back and look at the transactions between 2015 and 2016 and then tell me that payroll going up mattered.

Yark
Yark

Not sure there was a move that makes any difference. Even just say happ and get prospects for Walker instead of Neise. Nothing was gonna make up the 20 more games they lost from underperforming core in that year.
Probably shouldve been more aggressive in 14 15 upgrading from Mercer and maybe another SP. That rumored Zobrist deadline deal wouldve made a real difference that season IMO.

Yark
Yark

Just saying that narrative is a false 1. I was looking at the available FA the other day from that offseason. Sure they couldve added happ pr a similar type SP but that was never gonna make up for how bad 22 liriano were along with down years from others.

Craig Toth
Craig Toth

I agree that more could have been done prior to that off-season and that NH was comfortably riding the wave. However, it also goes a long way to disproving the narrative that spending more money is a sign of competing. Who became our first baseman after Pedro and his 27 HRs left? Who was the starting Pitcher that took Happ’s spot in the rotation after he signed a fairly reasonable contract with Toronto. Who else did we allow to go to go to Free Agency? How well did Neil Walker do the next two seasons before his production started to drop off? Payroll going up ever so slightly that year is smoke and mirrors.

Yark
Yark

First base was filled by 0.6 war jaso Freese (1.6 war splitting 1b/3b) pedro was 0.5 and regressing. Kang was brought in with his 2.1 war in short time. Josh bell got his first taste and hit well 122 wrc+ but the defense ruins his war -0.1.
Happ was an unsustainable 2 war after the trade and he signed in the first week or so of FA not sure if Toronto gave him take or leave it deal.
Neise deal obviously didnt work out but should've. For most of his career hes a steady 2.5 fwar guy. He didnt need to be happ just close enough.
In Freese jaso Kang bell more jayhay at 2b more prime years from marte Polanco they more than replaced what left.
The problem was the core from 2015 being bad. That's how you lose 20 more games.
Not being more aggressive and leaning on Bell and Taillion to be major contributors was prob a mistake but not the big issue when talking of 2016. Maybe 4-5 games difference still a bad team. Thank liriano Cole cutch etc

Craig Toth
Craig Toth

I can’t disagree with that!

Craig Toth
Craig Toth

Niese’s WAR had been declining since 2012. Happ’s WAR almost doubled the next season to 4.5 and dipped to 3.6 in 2017. Harrison’s WAR didn’t take a big jump until 2017. Walkers WAR was almost a full point higher in 2016.

Yark
Yark

They only had happ for 2 months in 2015. Neise didnt need to be great just ok and he shouldve been. Ya gonna call that Walker stuff a fluke all of a sudden hes positive defender gtfo lol.

Craig Toth
Craig Toth

I love ya brother, but you can’t use “two flukes” or should’ves in your argument. Like I said Neise was declining, walker wanted to stay. Did they even make Happ a half way decent offer?

Clevelander
Clevelander

Agreed.

Yark
Yark

NH mentioned they were supposed to get a chance to match but happ signed in the first week and they didnt.
I'm saying walkers 2016 he was a very good defender strang outlier because he was never that.
If walker wanted to stay he woulive. They made him offers. Isnt it funny that all thise guys signed extensions but him. Well and pedro but ya know Boras.
Cutch tabata marte Polanco Morton jayhay etc
Walker wanted market value at every turn of his career(dont blame him) but hes always overvalued his market

Pedroyyo
Pedroyyo

Great point!! At least for spring training can we just enjoy baseball and talk actual players and stats without the salary crap!!


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