Primus reference aside, Andrew McCutchen is sailing in some cheese, dinero, fat stacks, green, or any other slang for money you can think of. He signed himself a pretty little 6yr/51.5 million dollar contract this off-season. Good move, Buccos. Now he has the security of a nice contract, and you have the security of being able to trade him in 5 years instead of 2. When I see the picture above, it just makes me think of this guy. Everybody has a price.
That will help for the future, but what about last year?
The team actually improved for once, going 72-90 for a 4th place finish on the 2011 campaign. That's up from a measly 57-105 the year before. They have finished last or second to last the six previous years. After being in first place for a while, and even flirting with .500 before trailing off towards the end of the season was quite a step up for the Nasty Hook's of the East(at least east of Bronson Arroyo) . So what's up next for the Fightin' Dustin Hoffmans?
Who are the key losses/additions this season?
There has not been a lot of turn around this off-season for the Pirates. The biggest move they made, besides locking up McCutchen, was the trade for A.J Burnett. Seemed like a decent deal on a reclamation project, until he broke his freakin eye during spring training bunting practice. He's out for a couple of months, so let's move on to Casey McGehee. The Trade Ship Hijackers pick him up after the Brewers kicked his ass to the curb for a less turrible Aramis Ramirez. It sounds like he may be platooning with Garret Jones at first, but he has to stop sucking so bad for that to happen. Erik Bedard is also in the house, and should help their rotation if he can stay healthy. Clint Barmes and Rod Barajas signed to play SS and catcher, respectively. Barajas is old, and Barmes is fairly pedestrian, so it sounds like they have their Clutch Man Monie(without the Clutch or Monie), and Paul Janish with stronger wrists. They also signed Jo Jo Reyes and Brian Tallet to minor league deals. Don't expect much, or anything, from those two guys.
Departing from the Sea Hooligans was Paul Maholm(Cubs), Ross Ohlendorf(Red Sox), Joe Beimel(unsigned FA), Derrek Lee(unsigned FA), Ryan Doumit(Twins), Ryan Ludwick(Reds, sad face), and Ronny Cedeno(Mets). Cedeno is a Bill Hall All-Star that's at least leaving the Central. Good riddance, you rat bastard. OK, now that I got that out, on to who's still there!
Who they got that I don't wanna watch play baseball against the team I like, or ever again until the Mutant Zombie Apocalypse of 2077, if I survive that long cuz that's a really long time from now?
They have some good young hitters in McCutchen, Neil Walker, and Jose Tabata. Those guys can go away. Pedro Alvarez was supposed to be good, then wasn't. Garrett Jones has a decent stick, and Alex Presley was pretty good in his short time with the big club. All in all, the lineup is OK, but nothing that scares you unless some of these guys turn it around. The pitching rotation had some turnover with the additions of Burnett and Bedard. They should help if they can be healthy and somewhat effective. Both of which are a bit of a toss up. The bullpen remains anchored down by Joel Hanrahan. He saved 40 games last year, while only blowing 4. The Reds were responsible for 2 of them 4 blown saves, so nuts to you Mr. Hanrahan.
Prospects and stuff?
Staling Marte is a pretty badass OF prospect. He is a center fielder, so they have a decision to make when he comes up. Most likely sometime this year. They also have 2 great pitching prospects in Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole. Taillon was the 2nd overall pick in the 2010 draft, and Cole was 1st overall last year. Cole is probably closer to the bigs since he came out of college, but it's reasonable to expect both in Pittsburgh in 2013.
The ole' river plunderers of the Allegheny are heading in the right direction. I just don't see a whole lot of improvement from last year to this year. I'll say that they will have to wait another year to hit .500, and go 74-88.
So why the hell I be talkin' Ninjas?
Some people think Pirates are stupid. Some think Ninjas are cool. The Pittsburgh Ninjas sounds pretty cool. Maybe a change of name would change their luck. I say we put it to a vote. I will give you some examples to help you with your decision .