Pirates Still Not Serious About Winning

New skipper Clint Hurdle will have an array of things working against him.  Most notably would be the Pittsburgh Pirates front office.  No big names were offered anything to come to Pittsburgh this season at the recently held Winter meetings.  A couple of acquisitions were made, and a decent Buc flew South to Arizona.

Scott Olsen was the big prize for the Pirates.  Olsen, who has averaged thirteen starts each of the last two seasons, was given lunch money and told if he can stay healthy, he can earn a real paycheck.  Olsen will be competing for a spot in the rotation.

Kevin Correia comes to Pittsburgh from San Diego.  Correia did some solid pitching for the Padres in 2009.  No one is sure what happened to him in 2010.  He struggled with his control all year, walked a batter more per start than the season before, and was eventually yanked from the rotation down the stretch.  How fitting the Pirates would offer him a contract to soul search at the expense of a still-diminishing fan base.

Gone is Zach Duke.  Duke was peddled to the Diamondbacks for a shovel, a couple of bags of rock salt, and a minor league utility infielder, Cesar Valdez, who will start the season at Triple-A Indianapolis.

With Duke gone, and Paul Maholm still being shopped, the Pirates will have a potential rotation of Correia, Olsen, Ross Ohlendorf, James McDonald, and who knows where the fifth spot will go if Maholm goes away.  Evan Meek is about it in the pen.  The Pirates have done absolutely nothing to help their relief pitching in the off season so far.

Offensively, we need a shortstop.  Send your resumes to PNC Park in care of Neil Huntington.  Word on the streets was a big push for JJ Hardy, but he has since signed elsewhere.  The Pirates plucked Josh Rodriguez in the Rule 5 Draft last week from the Indians organization, but for him to be ready for the big team would be a stretch.

Ryan Doumit may be on his way out the door as the Pirates are telling other teams they will eat a part of his $5.1 million contract to make room for Matt Diaz.  Diaz was basically cut by the Braves at the end of the 2010 season.  The Pirates, always opportunistic in other people’s dumpsters, scarfed Diaz up.  If Doumit hangs around, it will be a platoon situation with Diaz in RF.  The brightest spots in the lineup are unproven second year guys (Walker and Tabata), and Andrew McCutchen who is simply building a blueprint to get out.  This team will struggle to score runs in 2011.

Photo of new Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle was taken from Google Images

Clint Hurdle had some magic in the wand when he waived it in August a couple of years ago and the Rockies won 80% of their games in the last two months of the season.  Hurdle better hope there is some magic left in the old wand if he wants to go .500 this season, and that mark may even be a bit unrealistic.

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