Every year, Pirates fans wonder if we've hit the bottom. If we've hit the lowest point for this franchise in the last 18 years. For most on this sight, that bottom was probably last year (me included), simply because it didn't include rookies like Alvarez, Tabata, and Walker who, despite their rough patches, have showed glimpses of the players they can become. For everyone else, including the national media, the local media, and any fan who's tried to convince himself the franchise is ruined under this management, we probably hit that bottom tonight.
This AP article overshadows, on numerous numerous levels, every feel good thing the pirates have going for them. They are going to be chewed out, ripped apart, made fun of, and lambasted at an even higher level than ever before. In the midst of most likely the worst losing season in this whole god awful streak, the AP somehow crams this on top of it. For me, and most on Bucs Dugout, it doesn't do much; we've generally supported management, we like where the team's headed, and we'll continue to support them as the organization moves forward. As far as I'm concerned they've made three important promises involving their plan for the pirates, and, so far, they've kept those promises. They vowed to restructure player development in the farm system, they vowed to build through the draft, acquiring expensive top tier talent, and they vowed to improve the scouting in latin america. When Frank and Neal took their jobs, they said each area was critical to their plan, and as of today, all three are light years ahead of where they used to be. This article just seems like another thing to dump on the pirates for years this team and this management group weren't even a part of. To do so when there's finally a glimmer of hope makes it even worse.
That's why, now more than ever, Management has to stay the course. They're going to be pressured from the media, ridiculed from every angle, and accused of penny pinching, theft, lying... anything and everything. And all this despite the obvious improvements. Our farm system got exponentially better this year, even with the departure of three top prospects, most having success in the major leagues (Brad Lincoln being the caveat). At this time next year, it could be bursting with high end talent. Our major league team is starved for pitching, yet next year we have four pitchers with sub 3.5 era's potentially beginning the year in AAA, and a number of potential flame throwers for the pen (Morton, Veal, Hart, Ascanio, Lincoln). On top of that, the continued growth of Tabata, McCutchen, Alvarez, and Walker provides ample optimism for the offense, without even taking into account the possible addition of Rendon in the middle of the lineup. Management needs to continue adding this type of high end talent in the minors, and ignore the public at least for the moment. A high profile signing isn't going to fix the pirates right now, but 25 bonus baby high school pitchers just might.
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I think this is it, as low as you go, at least for everyone else. Through the end of this year, its going to be distinctly unpleasant being a pirates fans. But next year its undoubtedly going to get better, and the year after that as well. For the first time in a very long while, we're loaded with talent, and after next years draft we should be sinking with it. If everybody wants to ignore that and focus on our accounting? So be it, but within a few years I think the pirates are going to make everybody focus on different numbers, and ones chiefly related to the letter W.