FanPost

Do You Want 'Accountability' Or Don't You?

"Accountability" -- the big buzzword thrown around by the masses with regard to the Pirates all of last season, no? Sure, accountability is an important part of any successful organization; if you are unsuccessful at your job, it must not go ignored. I generally agree with this notion, as does anyone else with a lick of business sense.

The Pittsburgh media as well as many fans seem to have this idea that accountability does not exist within the Pirates organization. I must say that this statement makes me laugh -- not only because it's a false claim, but because of the hypocrisy also spouted forth by those who used that statement the most.

Two of the more negative things I have seen used against current management lately are the Jose Bautista situation and how Neil Walker was handled before his call-up.  As Pirates fans who know how to read, I'm sure everyone here is aware of the season Bautista had : 50+ HRs, seven kittens rescued from burning buildings and a congressional medal of honor. Oh, and the Pirates used to have him under contract, and he was their starting third baseman for a few years before the acquisition of Andy LaRoche. When Bautista was traded, not one hair was dropped into the proverbial Pirates fan soup bowl. Of course, that all changed once he started to produce.

'The Pirates gave up on him too early!  The talent should have been recognized!'
'They traded Bautista for squat!  Huntington is terrible!'

Now, lets take a look at Bautista's statistics before the Pirates let him go:

YEAR Avg. OBP SLU OPS+ WAR
2006 .235 .335 .420 94 -1.4
2007 .254 .339 .414 96 0.5

 

Obviously, he wasn't very good while in Pittsburgh. In his age 25 season, he had a WAR of -1.4. He cost the team a win. He didn't look like someone who could cut the mustard. The next year he improved, but only enough to become a replacement lever player. Again, he was not really worthy of a starting third base job considering, among other things, his age of 26 years old.

He was traded next year for scrap, and rightfully so. He didn't do his job well, and was let go from the team.  Accountability at its finest, just like the doctor ordered. But, with the benefit of hindsight, it can now be used against the team as a lapse of judgment. Accountability was used to make a decision, so how could it also be the wrong move?

Hypocrisy reared its head again much more recently, with regard to the Walker situation at the beginning of the year. Someone I am acquainted with mentioned that Huntington was a fool for the way Walker was handled this year, being treated as a utility player until he started the year hot. This left me blindsided, as a few other people agreed with him.

Walker's career OBP in the minors is .320. That's below average in the majors - in the minors, it's quite concerning.  Accountability was used again, and Walker was demoted from his role as a potential starter to potential super-utility man. Of course, it's all a moot point - Akinori Iwamura busted, Walker hit well, and he is now the Pirates' starting second baseman for, let's say, the next couple of years (this depends on his defense either improving or regressing, obviously).

So Walker was held accountable, he proved himself again, was reintroduced to being a starter full-time, and ran with the role. And yet the Pirates made a mistake somehow - even though Walker is still with the team, which means the effects of the supposed mistake are negligible.

Some Pirates fans just live to complain. Accountability exists in this organization. Just remember to bring that up to the next person who mentions Bautista as he or she boos Andy LaRoche for being a replacement level player for the Pirates.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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