Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What Do You Do With a Bad Team?

So, inspired by Franco's update of the 2008 Pirates and Satchel Price's update of the 2010 Pirates at Beyond the Box Score, I have to admit that I have no specific idea how I would run the Pirates at this point. And I believe that I can say with a fair degree of confidence: neither do you.

Look, for all the crusty columnists and annoyed running pierogies that were frustrated with GM and manager alike keeping their jobs, I haven't heard one solid answer as to what we could do differently.

Price's post was simply on this:

Opening Day Starters:                                         Present Day Starters
C Ryan Doumit                                                   C Ryan Doumit
1B Jeff Clement                                                   1B Garrett Jones
2B Akinori Iwamura                                             2B Neil Walker
3B Andy LaRoche                                               3B Pedro Alvarez
SS Ronny Cedeno                                              SS Bobby Crosby
LF Lastings Milledge                                           LF Jose Tabata
CF Andrew McCutchen                                     CF Andrew McCutchen
RF Garrett Jones                                                RF Lastings Milledge

McCutchen and Doumit, as you can see, are the only ones who have kept their jobs. And one of them is Ryan Doumit.

The players are bad. The 2008 pirates are now led by Jason Bay (a good player, but not the franchise cornerstone some hoped for) and his resounding 1.5 WAR. The players we have now can't even stay in position for a few months. To paraphrase Bill Parcells, we've asked John Russell and Neal Huntington to make meals out of Spam and rhubarb. I am not a Russell fan by ANY stretch, but how is Lastings Milledge his fault? Yes, I know Huntington is supposedly in charge of buying the groceries, but he doesn't have the spending power to run out and buy free agents. All he can do is try and find bargains (e.g. the Pirates former-first-round-picks strategy), rebuild the scouting system (check) and tweak what he's got (check). Two of those three take years to pay off, and the other one doesn't do much.

I just don't understand the protests. I believe you promote and fire people based on the things they can control. If you fire this management, you still have to hire someone else, and unless you have some reason to believe that person is a wizard, he won't suddenly make Pittsburgh the New York media market or make ownership a bunch of big spenders. What more do we want from guys who have to use bad players for the moment?

In the words of Mr. Price "I mean, hey, at least they noticed they weren't too good."

Seriously, if anyone has an actual answer of concrete things you would do differently, I'd love to hear it.

And hey, at least Daniel Moskos might make it to the big leagues by September. Maybe then I can stop drinking away the pain of his draft selection.

Maybe not.

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