The Pirates seem to be close on a deal that was worked out Tuesday. What has happened since, I don’t know. I’ve been instructed not to mention the details which I will respect. We’ll have to wait out tomorrow to see if anything happens.
There is a segment who have been silently questioning whether Neal Huntington should really be doing any deals at all. Remember now, he was an advance scout who typically followed AL teams and their systems and the last thing he had on his agenda the last few years was the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Simply put, nobody really believes Coonelly down to Corrigan can make intelligent decisions about our system – none of them have probably seen even one player play except on film or in limited game action.
It’s one thing for them to have gut feelings about players like Brad Eldred. It’s quite another to start heaving out the door players who have value, no matter how limited, in exchange for even less limited value players.
As examples, Josh Wilson isn’t a difference maker. Jose Castillo can be, as we all saw in 2004 and late 2005. Shane Youman was at best a 6th starter with fringy stuff, but his replacement, Phil Dumatrait, isn’t even that. Josh Phelps wailed NL pitching. His replacement I assume, Kevin Thompson, can only wail Tampa Bay AA pitching.
Simply put, we’re going backwards and people in the industry are noticing it.
The roster names are changing, the type of players on the roster are changing, but we’re headed for disaster.
Let’s me be even more blunt – the Pirates don’t have a 5th starter, we don’t have a bullpen, four of our projected starting eight were not healthy late 2007, we have fringe to average defensive players in center, second (perhaps a tick above average – perhaps), left, right, third, and catcher (again, perhaps a tick above average – perhaps), and we feature an offense of six singles hitters.
We haven’t addressed one of our needs – we’re just shifting them, one-quarter of the 40-man is either brand new or recent young additions and none better than their replacements, and we just signed the Pirates’ bat boy’s grandfather to a $1M deal – the same amount of money the Pirates would have to pay 27 year old Castillo in his arb increase.
Gomez’s signing was praised because Huntington said he wanted a "veteran presence" in the clubhouse. He’s an old fart utilityman with a declining glove coming to a sure 90 loss team – who the heck is Huntington kidding?
And for Gomez, Castillo will probably be DFA’d because he’ll command $2.5M or so in arb – the same amount of money any +0.5 win player should get.
This is classic salary dumping – not changing the culture of the club.
Now from what I am hearing Neal Huntington can’t pull the trigger any better than Dave Littlefield could. He’s overvalued his players, undervalued the market, and missing opportunities at a breathtaking rate because the first thing out of his mouth is "what’s your firstborn’s name?".
The front office has changed, the ideology hasn’t.
Huntington can’t get the job done.. it’s as simple as that. And that’s the buzz I’m hearing.
I’ve locked down the Bucco Blog discussion forum until after the winter meetings. Those that have registered are free to continue using it. Those wanting to join will have to wait until next week until I complete a few changes. Sorry for the inconvenience.