2010 Pittsburgh Pirates Season Preview
For the Pittsburgh Pirates, there remains little hope of a winning season other than the fact that all of the losing has to end at some point, doesn't it?
The Pirates haven't had a winning season since Sid Bream crushed their hopes and dreams in Game 7 of the 1991 National League championship series.
Of course, it doesn't help when the few talented players in your farm system come to the major leagues, have success, and then are later traded away as was the case with outfielder Nate McLouth.
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is one of the lone bright spots on this team, but I'm sure fans are concerned that he too will soon be traded elsewhere for another group of prospects. McCutchen is a pitcher's nightmare with his speed and aggressiveness on the base paths, and it also doesn't hurt that he has a little pop in his bat and hits for a high average.
It's one thing to trade away veteran players, or even stars, for prospects to replenish and build up the farm system in hopes of eventually putting together a contending team. It's a completely different thing to trade away young, blossoming players who are supposed to become the cornerstones of your franchise.
The Pirates did acquire outfielder Lastings Milledge, which is an example of a low-risk pickup that could end up being a handsome reward. Milledge has a lot of talent but really hasn't had much of a chance to stick with one team and show what he can do over a period of time at the major league level.
Pittsburgh also has high hopes for third baseman Andy LaRoche, who seemed to have a promising future ahead of him before he was traded away by the Los Angeles Dodgers. LaRoche may never become a star, but he can certainly be a serviceable third baseman at a relatively cheap price.
The Pirates also acquired catcher Jeff Clement in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. Clement was a top prospect in the Seattle farm system but has struggled at the major league level. He had a lot of success at the minor league level and has a lot of power, but it remains to be seen whether he can transfer those skills over to the major league level.
The starting rotation has almost zero talent, which isn't a good sign since most successful major league teams are built around their pitching. Paul Maholm probably has the most talent, but other teams aren't exactly lighting up the phone lines trying to acquire him.
It's going to be another ugly year for the Pirates. Anyone who sees this team competing for anything other than fighting to stay out of the cellar in the National League Central should probably not consider themselves a baseball expert or knowledgeable fan.