From Jeff Sullivan’s FanGraphs chat:
Kyle: The Pirates trade for Chris Archer seemed to represent a major turning point for management in that they finally made a splash move that was missing during their window of 2013-15. Do you see them being surprisingly aggressive in the free agent market this offseason?
10:20 Jeff Sullivan: No
10:20 Jeff Sullivan: I would imagine that, right now, the Pirates feel a collective sense of regret
10:20 Jeff Sullivan: I know it was supposed to be a statement move, and I’m sure they’re still happy to have Chris Archer, but, boy, that looks like an awful overpay already
10:21 Jeff Sullivan: The worst thing they could do is double down on it
I didn’t really post this to pose a straightforward question, because I think the brief exchange in the chat contains a couple of incorrect assumptions. The first is the notion of the Archer trade as a “splash move,” at least in the sense of a sudden shift to “win now” mode. If it was a “splash move,” I think it was such only in the sense of being a PR move designed to counter a growing conviction on the part of the fan base that the team isn’t trying to win. I suspect there were a couple other factors behind it, neither of which has anything to do with winning now: an unwillingness to acquire rentals, and a growing distrust of their own farm system and their ability to transition prospects to the majors.
The second incorrect assumption, I suspect, is the notion that making a big play in free agency is even on the table. I seriously doubt that Neal Huntington has the budget to go after any free agents other than the bargain-basement types, like Ryan Vogelsong was. That’s why I just can’t generate any interest in the usual off-season discussions, like whether the Pirates should go after Moustakas or Brantley or whomever. It’s just not going to happen.
So my reaction to the exchange in Sullivan’s chat is that it’s a fake issue to begin with, but maybe you’ve got different ideas. And, no, I definitely didn’t intend this as an invitation to rehash every Tyler Glasnow start for the Rays.
- This is a bit dated, but a couple of the Pirates’ injured pitching prospects have been making their way back. Lefty Braeden Ogle and righty Gage Hinsz were both pitching in fall instructional league after missing significant time. Ogle made only four starts this year before going out with shoulder inflammation that he wasn’t able to shake. Hinsz missed the entire season due to heart surgery that was required to repair a faulty valve. The same piece has some discussion about Lolo Sanchez’ struggles to adjust to breaking balls this year. Sanchez had a good second half (well, actually a good June and August, with a rough July in between), and he was young for full season ball, so hopefully he’ll put together a more consistent season in 2019. He’ll probably have to do it in the offense-stifling Florida State League, unless they send him back to the South Atlantic League (but not to West Virginia), which would be unfortunate.
- Coverage of the Mets’ and Orioles’ GM searches has provided a look at a pair of dysfunctional organizations that may have trouble attracting the best candidates. (Sadly, the New York Post reports that the Mets only consider Dave Littlefield a “fringe candidate.”) If you were ranking baseball’s owners, I can’t imagine anybody would put Bob Nutting in the top half, or the top two-thirds for that matter. Even with the McCourts and Jeff Loria gone, though, any fan insisting that he’s the worst owner in baseball just isn’t paying attention.