Losing isn’t fun, but it sure as heck is contagious. The story hasn’t changed for the Pirates and quite frankly, it will continue to read the same way.
You need balls to be a general manager. You need a money-smart, aggressive business man who’s not afraid to get burned so that he looks good when an investment pays off. The owner has to be willing to give him the funds to do so. The Pirates current regime hasn’t. In fact they’re the complete opposite.
Despite Pirates general manager Neal Huntington‘s persistent ‘WE can do this next year’ attitude, his fielded teams have failed to hit .500 in six out of nine seasons at the head of the organization since he took over in 2007. It figures to be a seventh time in 2016.
In the past, I’ve been very supportive of his ways. He’s often been called the ‘Best GM in Baseball’ because he’s given limited money to work with. There’s a case to be made that he’s not aggressive enough in asking owner Bob Nutting for extra funds to get that coveted free agent that could help push the Pirates over the top.. The notion that Nutting won’t pull the money out of his pocket, even if his GM were to ask, to see a successful team take the field is also prevalent.
The team had ample opportunity to sign guys inside and outside of the organization, most notably JA Happ after turning him around last season. His run support qualifies as top 10 in the entire league because the Blue Jays offense is incredible from their lead off hitter all the way down their bench. The argument can be made that his numbers wouldn’t be as noteworthy in Pittsburgh due to their very inconsistent and stagnant offense. Happ would still have been the team’s best pitcher this season and would’ve kept a rotation spot from Jeff Locke or Juan Nicasio.
The reality is that you need to spend money to compete with high market teams. It’s not going to be easy to outspend the Yankees and Dodgers, but when you’re given the opportunity to talk to your organization’s players before they hit the open market, such as JA Happ last offseason, there isn’t any excuse for not coming up with some sort of compromise.
Huntington and Nutting have constantly been reliant on luck since the beginning of their tenures. Ever since this duo began operating the Pirates, they’ve boasted time and time again about how their prospects were going to be here soon enough to elevate the Pirates into a prime playoff contending team.
Many of these prospects hadn’t panned out. The Pirates used a first round draft pick, top-5 mind you, on Daniel Moskos. The same Daniel Moskos that was projected to be a starting pitcher. He ended up being a relief pitcher and wasn’t even good at that.
It’s about time that these pitchers like Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow have made their mark on the MLB organization. It’s about time we get to see Josh Bell play first base.
I’m sick of running out guys like Jon Jaso, Michael Morse, and Ike Davis to play at first over the past couple of years. These kinds of guys were has-beens or never-were’s. Pedro Alvarez was just a big bull.
To be fair, the tandem kept preaching the need to be patient and let everyone develop, but no prospect is a guarantee. Anything can happen between injuries or just underperforming, which makes this route a risky one to go but as stated before, its about the only risk Huntington and Nutting take.
As Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin says, “We don’t live in our fears.” That’s good that our football team doesn’t, because the Pirates management system does. They have since 2007 and they will until 3007. It’s a very unfortunate reality that has unfolded even more knowingly in recent years.
The Nutting Way is obvious: Put a good product on the field with the cheapest and most mediocre players you can find. Make people believe that the small market teams can consistently win games with cheap, untalented players and then when the product gets stale, raise ticket prices and tell people the future will be better.
Just incase you haven’t heard, Bob Nutting wants this team in his family for a long, long time. He has no intentions of ever selling the Pirates. The Pirates have no intentions of being more than a one game Wild Card phony.