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Bucs Dugout Asks (Kind Of)

Pittsburgh Piratesv Kansas City Royals
Take a chance, take a chance, take a chance on me ...
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Okay, you didn’t ask me directly, but this question came up in the comments on Brett Barnett’s latest article and I’ll take what I can get.

From lazy fan (their chosen name):

at this point as a Pirates fan I am more interested as to why all acquisitions are RH pitchers and Middle Infielders than their possible metrics.

It’s no secret that Ben Cherington likes his right-handed pitchers. It’d be easy to point out that since most people are right-handed, it stands to reason that there are more righties available. However, Cherington has shown in the past that he’s taken the “pitching wins championships” idea to heart. Pitchers also wash out of pro ball at a high rate, due to injury and hitting their ability’s wall, so loading a team’s farm system with them is never a dumb idea.

As for middle infielders, this is not just a Pirates thing. If you can play the infield, you can play just about any position. When you want to find the best athletes in baseball, you always want to look at shortstops and second basemen. You’re not going to get sluggers here—only two players in the 500 HR Club were shortstops: Alex Rodriguez and Ernie Banks, although both transitioned to corner positions in their later careers. You will, however, get a teachable fielder. There’s a reason why 17 out of the 30 top international prospects this year were designated as shortstops. There’s a reason why Cole Tucker was tested in the outfield, but Bryan Reynolds wasn’t an experiment at third base. Home runs look cool on SportsCenter, but good infielders keep a team competitive.

Ben Cherington’s not the first MLB GM to sacrifice a team’s present for its future.

I guarantee he won’t be the last, either.