The Pirates' disappointing 2016 season ended with a whimper Sunday, as they gave up six runs in the seventh inning to lose 10-4 and allow the Cardinals to complete a sweep. The Cardinals, meanwhile, missed the playoffs, although that obviously didn't have anything to do with the Pirates' performance -- the Giants beat the Dodgers in San Francisco to bump them.
The Bucs started Ryan Vogelsong, who was fine, allowing one over five innings while striking out one and walking three. As Patrick Hattman pointed out in the comments of the Francisco Liriano post, though, this was a costly outing for the Pirates. It was Vogelsong's 14th start, triggering a $100,000 bonus in his contract. Another clause called for Vogelsong to receive a different set of bonuses based on an accumulation of points, some for starting games, and others for pitching in relief in particular contexts. By my math, today bumped Vogelsong's points from 57 to 60, earning him an additional $200,000. So the cost of Vogelsong's start today -- above his base salary -- was $300,000. Putting Vogelsong in position to earn that money was ... well, let's just call it generous, particularly for a team that isn't rich.
That $300,000 was far more important than anything anyone did today, because none of that meant anything. For what it's worth, it only really got bad after Vogelsong left. The Bucs were up 2-1 when Antonio Bastardo allowed at three-run homer to Matt Carpenter in the sixth. John Jaso tied it with a two-run shot in the top of the seventh, but Juan Nicasio and Wade LeBlanc made a complete mess in the bottom of the inning, allowing a string of hits that seemingly wouldn't end. When the smoke cleared, it was 10-4 Cardinals.
The Pirates have probably already begun scattering to their respective offseason homes. Here's hoping the best of them return next season, ready to play more competitively than this year's team did. The Bucs finished 78-83-1, and they're currently set to receive the 13th overall pick in next year's draft.