It may be premature to speculate about how the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates will perform within the NL Central.
However, with the official announcement of the Grilli deal ($2.75 mill for 2013, including a $500K signing bonus, and a $4 mill salary for 2014), a jolt of optimism seems to have overtaken Pirate fans.
Like most Pirate fans, I'm glad they kept Grilli. On the other hand, I hope I'm wrong but I gotta feeling that by 2014, the Pirates (and Pirate fans everywhere) will regret this deal. I fear that Grilli will either get hurt or flame out before 2014..... and I don't believe the Pirates will be competitive in 2013, anyway.
I remain hopeful that Huntington will do SOMETHING during the off-season to improve the team. However:
- Retaining Grilli clearly doesn't IMPROVE the team, since Grilli was a Pirate in 2012 (and probably over-performed).
- If they dump Hanrahan, any trade probably will not improve the 2013 Pirates, either.
- Sorry, but I don't see the acquisition of Russell Martin (he of the consistent 5-year decline, culminating in batting averages of .237 and .211 for the Yankees over the past two seasons) as a significant improvement over Barajas-McKenry..... and we all know how bad Barajas was (except for that awesome slide at home plate).
- The release of Karstens seems inexplicable.
- The marginal pitchers NH has acquired don't look promising (at least to me), either.
- Cincy has made what appears to be a significant improvement already.
- St. Louis can usually be counted on to do something positive during the off-season.
- Houston is gone from the NL Central.
- Chicago has money (certainly more than the Pirates) and new management (Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer)..... and I fully expect the Cubs to make progress.
- I wonder if anyone expects the Pirates to overtake Milwaukee???
It will be interesting to see how the experts predict the NL Central will finish in 2013..... but I expect them to be as pessimistic as I am about the Pirates' chances. Nothing would please me more than to see Huntington and the Pirates prove me wrong..... but I won't hold my breath.