January 18, 2011

Is the Offseason Over?

"You need one more, Coach."
"My team's on the floor."

It was a good coaching move by Gene Hackman, but he did that for one game. It helped in the other games to, you know, field a full team.

I referred to the three primary singings - Matt Diaz, Lyle Overbay, and Kevin Correia - as good moves for the Pirates. And they were - but it's not enough. If this is it, nothing in this offseason suggests that the Pittsburgh Pirates want to win in 2011. True, the primary use of free agency is to bring in complementary players who would improve a playoff-caliber team - but when you have a roster, only half of which is made up of legitimate major league players, what are you playing 162 games for?

At the time of the signings, the allegation was made that these were Dave Littlefield-like moves. Well, Littlefield would have made ten of those moves. He would sign any established regular at the end of the line and trade anybody for a low-celing prospect, but at least he would play his cards. He would enter every season with a club that, at a minimum, had Dave Littlefield convinced they would win. That's something.

There is no indication that Neil Huntington thinks he can win in 2011. He thinks he can win in 2012. That's an interesting outlook considering without winning in 2011, Neil Huntington will be gone in 2012. I have defended nearly every Huntington move, but we need more of them. We need another starting pitcher who will push Scott Olsen to fulfill his immense talent. With the bullpen devastated by trades, we need another glut of relievers similar to last offseason's group of signings. We need a righthanded first baseman to platoon with Overbay. We need a starting shortstop. You aren't getting these guys by waiting for someone to offer you all of them in trade for Ryan Doumit.

This is even more appalling considering only two or three teams in baseball have as much high-ceiling young talent in their lineups as Pittsburgh. The Pirates are one or two players away from a legitimately good lineup, and I hope I'm wrong but it looks like they're just deciding not to field one. Same thing in the bullpen. Even the starting rotation could be adequate. Nobody knows. But what's going to happen even if it all comes together for this team? Nothing when you are entering the season with major unfilled holes. We do know Lyle Overbay can't hit lefhanded pitching. We do know Ronny Cedeno can't hit period. Awful relief pitchers with no control aren't going to get anybody out.

What is Neil Huntington hoping for? A fifth place finish in front of a decimated Astros club? Get real. If only for our GM's personal job preservation, this offseason cannot and should not be over. And I hope it isn't.

1 comment:

  1. They're waiting to make a splash until the Steelers' season ends. They know that no matter who they sign, no one is going to spring for season tickets at the height of a Pittsburgh Super Bowl run.