Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Blogging the Offseason is a 30 team series in which I ask a blogging representative from each MLB team a series of ten questions about their desires and thoughts surrounding the offseason. Check out all of them here.
Today's team NL is the Pittsburgh Pirates and our guest is Pat from the Pirates Blog, Where Have You Gone Andy Slyke?.
1. Do you foresee the Pirates making any significant offseason moves or do you see them going with straight youth?
Well, they've already made one move in trading for Akinori Iwamura. I don't think they'll do anything HUGE like try to sign John Lackey or Matt Holliday, but if another deal like the Iwamura deal presents itself where the Pirates can fill a position of immediate need (like shortstop or maybe to add a starting pitcher) without giving much away, I think they'll do it.
2. Garrett Jones, Lastings Milledge and Andrew McCutchen all won't be eligible for free agency for many a year, what logic will the GM conjure up when he trades two of them prior to the deadline?
McCutchen isn't going anywhere for a long while, and I'd be surprised if Milledge is either. If Jones is traded, it will only be because Pedro Alvarez, Andy LaRoche, and Jose Tabata are all performing at the Major League level and Jones becomes the odd-man out in a situation where they can sell high on him before he comes crashing back to earth.
3. Speaking of Garrett Jones, Fluke or For Real?
Like so many of these situations, the truth probably lies somewhere in between. I don't think he's a 40 homer, .900+ OPS player, but I don't think he's suddenly going to morph back into a Quad-A player that can't crack a big league roster.
4. Any chance the Pirates try to pull off a Longoria-esque move and lock up McCutchen for the long haul?
Every night, I pray that the Pirates can lock him into a deal like the Rays signed Crawford to back in the day to buy out his arbitration years and give us some options on his first couple free agency seasons. I'm sure the Pirates would be interested, but the rest is up to him.
5. Of the Assets garnered in the Outfield Sale Sweepstakes whom do you think will have the biggest impact on the Pirates next season?
I'm going to cheat and give a two-fold answer here. I really thought Lastings Milledge made some progress as a fielder with the Pirates and as the season ended, his hitting started to come back sans power. He recently admitted that his injured hand hampered his power, but he's now feeling better. I just have a good feeling about him in 2010. I also really, really like Charlie Morton, acquired from the Braves in the Nate McLouth trade. He started out rough with the Pirates, but after being bombed by the Cubs at Wrigley in mid-August, things started to come together a bit and he closed his season out with a complete game shutout back at Wrigley.
6. Say the Pirates have 100 million to spare, you want Jason Bay back?
Honestly, I don't. Bay's a very good player, but his defense isn't very good and I don't think his skillset is going to age very well. He's going to command a huge amount of money for a long-term deal, and I think there's a pretty good chance that whoever signs him to it is going to have a major drain on their payroll by the time the deal ends.
7. Say for a day all contracts would not be guaranteed and you could release a player without any salary repercussions, whom are you getting rid of?
Honestly, there's no one left. The Pirates don't have one player signed to a long-term deal that goes much beyond their arbitration years right now. Iwamura is the highest paid player at $4.85 million and he's only in for one year. Can I go back in time and slap the pen out of Cam Bonifay's hand before the Jason Kendall and Kevin Young contracts are signed?
8. Which Pirate minor league player yet to wear the Bucco Uniform are you most looking foward to in 2010?
Pedro Alvarez. He's going to be the next in a long line of Pirates to get screwed out of the Rookie of the Year Award. I can feel it. Just look at this swing. I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about him in a Pirate uniform.
9. All of a sudden the spirit of George Steinbrenner floats into Robert Nutting's body but you have control, which 3 free agents are you signing?
This is such a tricky question, because I don't really have any beef with what the Pirates are doing right now to rebuild and I don't know if three free agents could actually put the Pirates over the top. I know that sounds crazy, but giving out big free agent contracts is a good way for a team like the Pirates to get themselves into trouble. Still, if we're pretending money is no object and there are no long-term ramifications for doing things like giving up draft picks, I'd definitely want John Lackey, because his name is awesome and I could probably convince people we were related and get free stuff (note to John Lackey's lawyers: just kidding), Rich Harden, because he's only 28 and he's got nasty stuff, and, uh, I guess Marco Scutaro because the Pirates need a shortstop and he's got a good glove.
10 And finally, the Pittsburgh Pirates will make the playoffs in _______.
You're trying to trap me into a prediction! Honestly, there are so many moving parts in a full-scale rebuild like this, it's hard to pin down a date. I'll say that it won't happen before 2011 and if it hasn't happened by 2013 I'll probably change my blog's name to "Where Have You Gone, Rusty Staub" and pretend like the Expos are still real, because they'll have as good a chance of winning the World Series as the Pirates at that point.