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Gammons on the Bucs

Dave Littlefield waffles some more, this time to Peter Gammons. Hopefully he's trying to be unreadable, as opposed to not having a plan.

"In years past," says Littlefield, "we had to move contracts and get our payroll down. We got it down $20 million. Now we're right where we have to be. We don't have to move payroll, our attendance is up 20 percent and we now want to start winning. There is no one we have to move. We have an option on Jose Mesa for next season, and I think it's good for Mike Gonzalez to break into the closer role with Jose [on our team]."

Wanting to start winning and actually having the pieces in place to do it are two different things, obviously, and the Pirates don't really have the pieces yet. Littlefield is right that the Pirates don't need to move payroll, but now they have almost no payroll to move. We can only hope that he isn't serious about the last part about Mesa - Mesa's already bad, and his option for 2006 costs $4 million, which, if vested, would probably make Mesa's contract the stupidest the Pirates have handed out since the Derek Bell deal. I assume Littlefield is just posturing here.


We need some more power and production," Littlefield says. "But we're getting better. This winter we can start to do some things. For now, I'm not interested in Double-A prospects. If someone wants to make a trade, it has to be for someone who can help the Pirates now."

Now this, I agree with. Not the "getting better" part, since the Pirates aren't, particularly, but the Double-A thing. The Pirates are, sadly, past the point where they're going to be helped much by prospects who are more than a year away. There's not a whole lot at Class AA now, and even less anywhere below that. The Pirates have an extremely small window where they might be (very) modestly successful, and that window opens in 2006 and will probably be closed by 2008, at which point there will probably be several more years of painful retooling. Littlefield should trade his veterans for young players who are already in the majors or who are extremely close to being ready.