It really is amazing to think about. The current FO took over the most neglected talent base in recent baseball history. Not only was the major league team terrible, the farm system was barren. As if we needed another reminder, Baseball America just ranked the talent output of all 30 systems over the last three years. The Littlefield-ravaged Pirates' system, despite a string of high draft picks, ranked 26th and would have been last but for Andrew McCutchen and, of all people, Rajai Davis.
So the front office has tried to address the problem in the short term by using their extremely modest assets to acquire a number of flawed former top prospects who still have some upside remaining. They're doing this in the context of two problems: a desire to break out of the McClatchy/Littlefield pattern of trying to scrape together 75 wins with third-tier veterans, and an extremely angry fan base that wants to know when the team will finally start winning more games. So now they've got a core of these guys, all in the age range where they should be starting to peak at the major league level, and it's time to start producing, right?
Oh, no, not with Jeff Clement. They should pass over a 26-year-old potential power hitter who has nothing left to prove in AAA for a 31-year-old career backup who's coming off a year in which he had a whopping 92 OPS+ and hit 4 (that's f - o - u - r) HRs in well over 400 plate appearances. Mind you, this is the FO that's been ripped for departing from the plan because they acquired a solid, 31-year-old starting secondbaseman to fill a position for which they had no plausible alternative. Ryan Church has spent the last three years proving that he's not a starting-caliber player. If that's not a scholarship, what is? How could they possibly make a move like that and still claim they were trying to build a winning team?
Dave Littlefield would love it, though.
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