Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2012 MLB Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates

Visit - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Answer: 1992. Question: When was Pittsburgh Pirates last winning season? One play transformed Pittsburgh's destiny for decades. Barry Bonds refusal to better position himself in left field - stayed deep in LF instead of listening to teammate (CF) Andy Van Slyke to move in - allowed just enough time for slow footed and hobbling Braves 1B Sid Bream to score the winning run in bottom of 9th, Game 7 NLCS.

Soon thereafter Pittsburgh attempted cost saving measures. Star players signed multimillion dollar contracts elsewhere. Future talent never materialized while wearing a Pirates uniform. Pittsburgh has won more than 75 games only twice since 1992.

In an attempt to secure their new future Pittsburgh signed CF Andrew McCutchen to a 6 year $51.5M deal. McCutchen enters season number 4 with room to grow. A gifted defender and squad's top offensive threat. It was a good to see this team finally commit to a future.

As for the present, Pittsburgh hoped trading for A.J. Burnett would solidify a staff in need of veteran leadership. It didn't take long for a fluke injury to sideline the teams new number one starter. A fouled bunt attempt crushed Burnett's face. He's out for at least 3 months and probably longer without any baseball related activities for the foreseeable future. The rest of Pittsburgh's spring rotation battle is a hodgepodge of future contributor's and elder statesmen returning from injuries. Eric Bedard, Jeff Karstens, James McDonald, Charlie Morton, Kevin Correia and a few others battle it out this spring trying to earn a shot in the rotation. Joel Hanrahan (40 saves) returns to save victories. Middle relievers are a sore spot again heading into 2012. Spring training determines who makes the trip up north to begin the year.

Offense and defense will be interesting. 1B may become a platoon with Garret Jones/Casey McGehee. Neil Walker returns at second. Clint Barmes at short. Pirates hoping 3B Alvarez puts a disappointing '11 behind and makes great strides this year. Perhaps the Bucs most significant player is catcher Rod Barajas handling the pitching staff. McCutchen anchors the outfield with position battles in left & right taking place right now in Bradenton, FL.

Prediction: Don't expect much from Pittsburgh in 2012 - but don't count them out either. Starting rotation has ability to surprise. Talented hitters need day to day consistency. Bullpen is biggest question mark as middle relief is lacking in a big hitting division. 72+ wins is the line here. Pittsburgh fans are hoping their 2012 team becomes a Cinderella story taking NL opponents by surprise. Same old story. Same ending.

No comments:

Post a Comment