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Jose Bautista, Craig Wilson and the Mess at the Corners

No, the site didn't shut down - I was camping at Joshua Tree this weekend. So I was surprised to check the box score today and see that Jose Bautista had an RBI single. As most of you probably know, he just got called up after the Bucs placed Joe Randa on the DL. Since Bautista is a relatively young player, I'd normally worry about how the Bucs are planning to use him, but I don't think he's a great prospect and is pretty likely to have a career as a role player anyway. So if that's how the Bucs would like to use him, I'm fine with that. If they think they can use him as a centerfielder like they did today, even better. (By the way - great picture in the story about Randa and Bautista.)

I'm more concerned about whatever's going to happen with Ryan Doumit and Craig Wilson, since the Bucs don't seem to want to have them both in the same lineup at once. Wilson started today against lefty Mike O'Connor (and Doumit may have had some sort of minor injury), but Doumit started at first yesterday against Ramon Ortiz. The Pirates' failure to acknowledge the obvious is stunning - since both Doumit and Wilson can conceivably play at least a couple different positions, there is room for both of them, and Jeromy Burnitz should never be starting ahead of either of them. (Neither should Bautista, but I'll leave him out of this for now.) Burnitz and perhaps his mother should be excused for thinking that he represents a better outfield option than Wilson, but no one else should be. It was inexcusable in December, but it's especially so now given the way the two players have started the season.

Plus, this is just baffling:

That marked the moment manager Jim Tracy, desperate to revive a dormant offense, dispatched Ryan Doumit, a catcher by trade, onto the RFK Stadium infield to try first base for the first time in his life.

After only three days of tutelage and none-too-encouraging results.

"We have nothing to lose, everything to gain," Tracy explained beforehand. "We are struggling as badly as you can struggle offensively. When you have that ... there's nothing to lose."

I'm all for getting Doumit's bat into the lineup. But it does not follow from the fact that the Bucs are struggling offensively that the way to improve the offense is to have him share time with the guy who's leading the team in homers and RBIs and has a .909 OPS. Obviously, it is not true that they have "nothing to lose." It is true that they have little to lose. But it remains possible that they could score fewer runs and win fewer games. Jim Tracy seems to think that because the team stinks, any change would be an improvement, but that is obviously false. If the Pirates would like to have me replace Jason Bay, I will gladly demonstrate that to them.

And no, I do not care that Wilson has struggled the last couple of weeks. No smart team benches a player with a .909 OPS because he has a couple of bad weeks. Meanwhile, Burnitz has a .608 OPS as a corner outfielder, and Doumit can play corner outfield. If the Pirates are really interested in fixing the offense rather than in being stubborn, an enormous potential improvement is right in front of their faces.

And this!

Tracy replied: "We need Jeromy Burnitz. We need him to do offensive things, and the only way to get that is to keep sending him out there."

Burnitz is doing ofFENsive things, alright. The Pirates don't need Burnitz. They never have. That they refuse to acknowledge this is idiocy.