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New Year, new Pirates? Examining three resolutions for 2023

What’s great is, like many New Year’s Resolutions, these probably won’t happen!

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Have you given any thought to your New Year’s Resolutions yet? If so, how do you plan on fulfilling them?

No matter how you answered those questions, you’ve probably put more thought into your resolutions than the Pittsburgh Pirates have.

The upcoming season holds a lot of meaning for the Pirates. On top of the expected arrival of several notable prospects, such as Endy Rodriguez, Quinn Priester and Henry Davis, 2023 is a big year in terms of fans remaining loyal towards the organization.

After suffering through back-to-back 100 loss seasons, the Pirates can’t afford another chaotic year. With that said, let’s take a look at three New Year’s Resolutions the team must keep in mind ahead of a new season.

Note: “Sell the team” is not on this list.

No. 1: Keep out the drama

Expectations are already low for the Pirates heading into 2023 after the Bryan Reynolds trade bombshell shook social media early in the offseason. Some fans would say the team is past the point of no return considering extension negotiations have gone nowhere.

The best thing this team can do is let Reynolds hop in the driver’s seat. Hear his demands and give him what he wants. Show the fans that you’re willing to preserve your talent instead of letting them walk when they want something.

After all, Ben Cherington made it clear that he thinks Reynolds is a key piece for the Pirates right now, so do something about it.

While you’re at it, don’t feed into the narrative of trading off every veteran you signed this offseason.

No. 2: Play the Young Bucs

As previously stated, lots of notable prospects are expected to reach the MLB at some point this season.

Most fans, if not all, are salivating at the thought of Endy Rodriguez being in Pittsburgh next season and rightfully so. But the Pirates are already facing backlash since manager Derek Shelton publicly said he will start the year in Triple A during an interview at the Winter Meetings.

Frankly, there are pros and cons to either side. If he starts the year with Indianapolis, fans already know it’s due to service time manipulation. At the same time, he can find his stride from last year and then be promoted while he’s on a hot streak.

Meanwhile, while it would be nice to see the organization’s hottest prospect make the Opening Day roster, a potential cold streak to start his MLB career would be an awful look for him and the Pirates.

The same can be said for guys like Priester, Davis, Nick Gonzales and Mike Burrows. Let them mature and bring them up when the time is right.

Put it this way: the longer a whiskey is aged, the smoother it is. If it’s rushed, it has the potential to not live up to the hype.

No. 3: Extend Oneil Cruz

This is more of a task for the next offseason, but it still remains a top priority.

He wasn’t even in the MLB for a full season, but turned heads, including other MLB players. When you have someone like Aaron Judge commending him for the type of athlete he is, you know he is the real deal.

If you base your opinion on Cruz on his 2022 batting average alone and not things like his exit velocity, arm strength, and speed, you’re not seeing his full potential. Just ask the MLB Network crew:

Cruz is clearly a pivotal piece of the Pirates’ future, so why wait to lock him in for the long run? After all, the longer he goes without a long-term extension, it becomes more likely he will gain representation from someone like Scott Boras and sign elsewhere.

We already know an extension with Reynolds is out the door, but a Cruz extension would be a P.R. dream for the Pirates.

Don’t get your hopes up for these things, though. Remember, New Year’s Resolutions always seem to fall through.