IAPF’s 2022 Pirates Season Preview: We’re So Screwed.

With the lockout over and a season about to begin, the Pirates got a lot of losing ahead of them to get to October and a Steelers season with "Kissing Titties" Mitch Trubisky as Big Ben’s replacement. With Crosby and Malkin in their mid-30’s and the Pirates being the Pirates, the future of Pittsburgh pro-sports looks less than stellar, however if Cherington has some magic in him, the Pirates may just have the brightest future of all the Pittsburgh pro-sports teams. But that’s at least a full season or two away.

So what about the current Pirates? Well, they traded away their starting catcher in Jacob Stallings and there’s rumors that they might trade their best player in Bryan Reynolds. Their biggest free agent signing was Jose Quintana, a pitcher whose best days are well behind him. With Stallings gone they don’t have a real starting catcher until Henry Davis is ready. So yeah, the 2022 Pirates team doesn’t look very good. Most of the team is full of never-were’s and never-will-be’s, which is good for the young players who might be on the next good Pirates team, nobody to block them.

Catcher: So far they got Roberto Perez and Andrew Knapp. Perez and Knapp couldn’t even break the Mendoza Line last year. I can’t even remember the last time catcher looked this bleak for a season. Henry Davis might come up this year but I’d say it’s more likely he’ll be up in 2023, so we will be stuck watching two backup/AAAA catchers this year. Fun…

1B: With former 1st round pick Will Craig not able to remember to just step on 1B and John Nogowski not working out and Colin Moran gone the 1B job is now probably mostly for huge free agent addition Vogelbach (huge for the Pirates). Tsutsugo will also get some games at 1B too probably. Mason Martin might be able to come up this year, other than that 1B looks pretty barren.

2B: Adam Frazier is gone and so is Wilmer Difo. So it seems likely that they will have to rely on Rodolfo Castro, Michael Chavis and Hoy Park. If O’Neil Cruz is ready for SS then maybe Kevin Newman will slide over to 2B. Nick Gonzalez might be ready to come up too this year.

SS: O’Neil Cruz should be ready to play most of the season (after some service time manipulation) unless he gets hit by the injury bug. Unless he can’t stick defensively at SS, he can probably be penciled in there for next several years.

3B: Hayes is the present and future of 3B. He will be entering his 2nd full season in the majors. With any luck the Pirates got him for the next five seasons and if they’re smart they’ll look into keeping him longer term. Diego Castillo will be playing 3B because Hayes is a bit injury prone, it seems.

OF: It’s Bryan Reynolds and Ben Gamel and a bunch of other guys like Anthony Alford and Gregg Allen. Lonnie White Jr. and Hudson Head are both over a season away if not longer. Travis Swaggerty is recovering from a dislocated shoulder and it’s hard to tell if he will ever make it to the majors as it is. OF is just ok at best. A long fall from the glory days of McCutchen, Marte and Polanco.

DH: Oh great, another position to preview. The DH is already making me do more pointless busy work. I’m guessing Tsutsugo will get most of the DH starts and Vogelbach will probably get some starts too. And I have a feeling that Shelton will put in some guy who can’t hit worth s-hit for entirely too many games at DH.

Bench: Last I saw, the dugout at PNC Park still had a bench. I assume some guys might sit on it this year. Luckilgot a backup catcher to sit on it

Starting Pitchers: JT Brubaker, Will Crowe, Bryse Wilson, Mitch Keller will all be back this year. Jose Quintana will be the new comer this year, well past his prime. They also got Max Kranick. Quinn Priester is the #2 overall prospect for the Pirates and an expected future starter. Roansy Contreras who came over in the Taillon trade made a start last year and looked decent. Miguel Yajure might become a starter some day.

Bullpen: If you can get to David Bednar in the 9th with a lead, the Pirates should be able to win most of those games. Blake Cederlind might be back this year. Heath Hembree will probably be decent enough. Otherwise they got a lot of Chris Stratton and Duane Underwood JR. types to go to in the pen.

Manager and Coaching Staff: We enter the 3rd year of Derek Shelton. I still don’t know what to think about him. There are games the last two years where I saw him do something like pull a pitcher or put in a PH when Hurdle wouldn’t do that and thought "Oh good he’s not being Hurdle-like." Then other times, he’ll do stupid manager stuff and I just wonder if there’s an official book called "The Major League Manager’s Guide to Doing Stupid Stuff that Pisses Off Fans".

General Manager and Front Office: We also enter the 3rd season of the Cherington-rebuild. I’m cautiously optimistic about him. He has a lot of stuff to do to get this team winning again, but I feel better about him doing it than Huntington. We have yet to see any positive results in the standings, although to be fair the mess Huntington left behind, nobody could have built a winner this fast. So I guess just drink a lot of beer, put up with shit MLB baseball in the meantime and wait.

Owner: Bob Nutting continues his reign of terror on baseball fans in the ‘Burgh. I know nothing about the guy that I don’t see through the filter of tv, internet and mainstream media gatekeepers, so I don’t know his thought process in approving the CBA. DK made a bunch of assumptions about him that says he’s ok with this agreement, who knows? He might have just agreed to it to get games started and get fans back in the seats. The draft stuff in the CBA is worrying for fans of teams attempting to do massive rebuilds. In other news, the Nuttings sold Seven Springs, ending years of bad jokes about them using profits from the Pirates to upgrade the ski lifts.

The Rest of the NL Central: So far most of the rest of the Central hasn’t changed dramatically as far as talent goes. With the likely departure of Wainwright and Molina after this year, I think the Cardinals win one more division title for the old guys. The Brewers finish a very close 2nd and make the playoffs. The Cubs still can’t get rich off their tv channel and so they continue to cut salary, trading away Willson Contreras at the deadline but they finish 3rd. The Reds fall off a bit and can’t really win anything and finish in 4th place. And us in last place for the 4th straight year and finishing either 4th or 5th for the 6th straight year.

The rest of Baseball: I haven’t been able to keep track of what teams are acquiring what players too closely. I think the Blue Jays, White Sox and Astros win their divisions in the AL. The Yankees, Rays and Mariners are the WC teams. Braves, Cardinals and Dodgers in the NL. The Brewers, Phillies and Padres are the WC teams. Watch me get nothing right except the Braves and Dodgers winning their divisions.

The Commissioner: F that F***ing guy. I have a whole rant about MLB.TV blackouts that I originally wrote for this article, but I decided to separate it out for its own article.

Final Record: 71-91, getting a boost when Henry Davis and O’Neil Cruz arrives full time.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editors or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.