Blog Entry

Pirates "salary dump" is best move

Posted on: July 20, 2009 1:46 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2009 2:33 pm
In Pittsburgh people are going bananas that their baseball team is dumping salary left and right and as is my nature I'd like to put a differnet twist on this.

I am by no means a Pirate appologist but I am a realist and in being so I think that Pirate fans need to stop being so negative and take a look at what's really going on.

The first point I'd like to make is that at least this management team has a plan and even if that plan blows up in their faces they are at least trying to fix the problem. Previous management lacked both the plan and the stones to do what was needed for this organization. Had they had either this dump would not only not be going on but the Bucs might be in contention right now. As it is Neil Huntington and his band of misfit toys are left with no other option but to abandon most if not all of it's players beyond 28-29 years of age knowing full well that they simply will not be a part of what they are hoping will be brighter days for the Pirates. The simple truth is that the Pirates are 2-4 years away from contending in the Central and Wilson and Sanchez and LaRoche will be on the down side of their careers at that point.

The second point is that this management team IS spending money, just not where the fan base would like to see it. They recently built a beautiful new facility in the Dominican Republic, they've signed more international players of value to this point than they had in the previous 16 years and are in the hunt for Sano who is the consensus #1 overall international prospect. Also there is money being spent in the draft; the Bucs paid Pedro Alvarez $6 million last year and despite taking a "more affordable" option this season have not hessitated to go above slot on most of their picks. This approach has allowed them to draft players that other teams avoid due to college committments and then manage to sign them. Their single and double A systems are flooded with these kids now and there are plenty of positive results already showing up.

The third and final point is that yes the Pirates are dumping salary...but that's because they should. They should have done this 15 years ago but didn't. Because of this they are parting ways with more expensive players such as Wilson and Sanchez to allow them to further their plan and use that money to sign more draft choices in coming years and more international players because THAT is where the success or failure of the Pittsburgh Pirates truely lies, not in Jack Wilson or Freddy Sanchez. They will sign two players will relatively the same ability for around $1 million a piece and continue with the plan to restock the system. Also, if Sanchez and Wilson sign for more than a combined $10 million next year (aside from the offer they turned down from the Pirates) I'll lick the urinal at PNC Park.

This management team may prove to be no better than those of the last 14 years before they got here. It is true that they may fall flat on their faces, however I can't help but give them the benefit of the doubt to this point. There are glimmers of hope all through the Pirates minor league system and those glimmers are of players projecting to a level that they Pirates haven't seen since Aramis Ramirez. For having a plan and sticking to it regardless of the public backlash I have to give them credit; even if no one else wants to.


Since: Jan 24, 2007
Posted on: July 21, 2009 1:38 pm

Pirates "salary dump" is best move

As a lifelong pirate fan living in of all places Chicago!! watching the Cubs and their fans win year in and year out and chirp is highly annoying. However if you look at the Cub model its not we want to pursue: a plethora of massive backloaded contracts on overpaid players that are underperforming or headed towards the rocking chair is not the way to go (see the NL Central standings for evidence). 

I think we learned those lessons with Pat Meares, Derek Bell, Matt Morris and the like. I want to give Huntington a chance to implement his plan and see where we go. I like the idea of unloading some of the players that clearly are not cornerstone franchise players. Everyone that follows this game knows that McClouth Sanchez and Wilson albeit very solid major league players are not going to lead you to a 100 win season. Lets focus on building the farm system and producing are own major league talent and then retaining it longterm. I think these examples are everywhere in the league in small market cities like Tampa, Minnesota, and Milwaukee. We need to model our team after these very well run, well managed teams and we can look forward to a great city with great fans that are rewarded with 3 model franchises.


Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: July 21, 2009 10:10 am

Pirates "salary dump" is best move

I have been and will contiunue to be a Pirate fan... with that said, some of what I am about to say is going to be difficult for me to write and Pirate fans to read...

I am not sure that 'Salary Dump' is really the right phrase for this latest purge... the Pirates 'New Management' is doing something that appears to be in lines with the Wall Street Generation... Sell High... the Pirates had a very formiddable outfield last season and by the time June and July came around, they looked at their roster and saw Jason Bay, Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte as the players that were at the top of the list for many contenders... they saw this as an opportunity to sell 'High'... gone were Bay, Nady and Marte and in return they received some pieces for the future... all of which came with modest talent, but none would be classified as Super Stars today... notice that this does not mention price/salary... they unloaded talent at its highest value for multiple pieces...

In 2009 the Pirates shocked the Pirate fans and the baseball world unloading a 'building block' Nate McClouth at a point when he was at his highest value... he came off a wonderful break-through season and once again they unloaded him for multiple pieces... he was at his highest value when the Pirates unloaded him, he was the only hitter doing well for the Pirates and with Doumit out, the Pirates management figured he would be pitched around and his value would decrease, thus the weird timing of the trade... then we had the unloading of another outfielder Nyjer Morgan (who I love as a player) at his highest point ever... he was hitting over his head, he was out of position if you will in left field and was hitting second due to the arrival of Andrew McCutchen... value might go down as the season progressed, so unload at his peak... along with Sean Burnett who was having a pretty good season for a pitcher less than two years removed from the heap of injured Pirate Pitching prospects...

In all of the aforementioned scenarios, the pirates unloaded players at a point at which they felt the player had played as well as he was going to... they sold 'High'... as for what they received for these pieces... well some might think that the Pirate management was 'High' for what they received in return, but they have made a decision to get pieces that they feel can make this team more formiddable in the future... time will tell if Ross Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton and Jeff Karstens can be productive, if Jose Tabata and Gorkys Hernandez will mature... ifLastings Milledge will finally get it... and if Joel Hanrahan can become the confident pitcher he once was... i know there are other pieces from those trades and that the Pirates will continue to get more pieces if and when they move Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson... maybe get lucky and find a taker for Adam LaRoche... move John Grabow and Matt Capps as they might be peaking in terms of talent...

The Pirates will do what they can to move LaRoche, Wilson and Sanchez, and maybe the Pirates will get something in return, but as was mentioned, the Pirates as much as I want to believe they can turn things around in each and every game are not close to being the cream of their division let alone the entire National League... so we need to stay the course... give Huntington his chance... and see what comes of this new regime... come on, we gave Bonifay and Littlefield a pass for how many years???

Last thing... in reference to the poster who claimed the Pirates have been rebuilding since Clemente... do your homework... the Pirates had one of the best teams in baseball in the late 70's long after Clemente was tragically taken from us way too soon... the Lumber Company of Willie Stargell, Dave Parker, Bill Madlock, Omar Moreno, Mike Easler, Phil Garner among others on offense and the pitching of Jerry Ruess, Jim Bibby, Rick Rhoden, Don Robinson, Grant Jackson, Kent Tekulve led the Pirates to the Championship in 1979... and the Pirates paid Dave Parker in excess of $1 million, which at the time made him of the highest paid players of his day.... and oh yeah we did have another run with the likes of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke, Jeff King, Doug Drabek, John Smiley in the early 90's that while it did not provide a championship, it did win quite a few games... so recent years... well the last 16 years have been lean, the Pirates are rich in baseball tradition and they have paid players in the past... many cases the wrong ones... Derek Bell, Steve Kemp, George Hendrick, etc... 

Since: May 19, 2009
Posted on: July 20, 2009 10:30 pm

Pirates "salary dump" is best move

I actually agree with EVERYTHING you said except one thing. All those years that we have suffered (and believe me, I spend a lot of my hard earned money at bucs games) no one in the front office was named Huntington. As I said, this may all blow up in their face but they should at the very least get that chance.

Since: Nov 27, 2008
Posted on: July 20, 2009 7:18 pm

Pirates "salary dump" is best move

with all due respect man, the Bucs have been rebuilding since Clemente was last there...annually, the Pirates dump salary, as even they realize that their not gonna be playin in October...out of all this, if they can develop a decent farm system, not constantly trade it off as good young talent, only to find out that it was REALLY good young talent, they have a chance...Historically, the Pirates also refuse to pay the big bucks for are they gonna ever return to prominence?..i'll give em a chance for now, but if history repeats itself, this time next year, the Bucs will be dumping salary again..they've already seen what trying to run a 48K payroll will get you thanks to the
Reds...just maybe, their on the right track this time, and only time will tell...

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: July 20, 2009 4:16 pm

Pirates "salary dump" is best move

Finally someone realizes what they're doing is right. If we kept everyone we would get over .500 then lose them to free agency and suck again. The way to win is to build a farm system, which Huntington has done. This is not Littlefield, don't lump the two together. They're doing well and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Congrats on seeing the light unlike the people who I'm sure will comment later, bashing this post with no real knowledge or reasoning behind their bashing.

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