Additional Pittsburgh Pirates Info
Pirates Baseball Goes Back Over A Century
For two decades the Pittsburgh Pirates were baseball’s bottom dwellers. That all changed as the decade turned to the 2010’s. The franchise had amassed a glutton of great young talent, led by center fielder Andrew McCutchen. For a while, McCutchen was possibly baseball’s best player, a rare two-way elite five-tool center fielder who boasted a strong bat, Deion Sanders-like speed, a strong glove, and a big arm. McCutchen anchored what has baseball’s best defensive outfield in recent memory. He was flanked by Starling Marte and Jose Tabata, two players who also boasted double-plus arms and gloves.
In 2011 the Pirates began to win some games and in 2012 they flirted with the idea of playing in the postseason for the first time since “Sid Bream’s Mad Dash” in 1992 before fading late, finishing 79-83. Then came 2013 when it all clicked. The team won 94 games making the postseason for the first time in over 20 years. They won the National League Wild Card game before losing in the NLDS to the Cardinals in five games. In 2014 they followed that up with another Wild Card appearance, losing to the Giants this time, who went on to win the World Series that year. In 2015 they won 98 games but still finished second in their own division, losing to the Cubs in the Wild Card game. The Pirates have spent the last couple of seasons fading, winning 78 and 75 games respectively. This offseason the Pirates finally traded McCutchen, and have begun letting other players walk. Even though they did climb out of the cellar which we need to give them credit for, the feeling will always be those Pirates teams never realized their full potential.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of baseball’s oldest teams, dating back to the 1880’s. They were originally founded as the “Allegheny” in 1881, and remained that way until 1886. In 1887 they became the Pittsburgh Alleghenys. In 1890 they changed their name to the Pittsburg Innocents. After one season as the Innocents, they changed their name to the Pittsburg Pirates and remained that way through 1911. In 1912 they became the Pittsburgh Pirates. Throughout their history the Pirates have played at six different ballparks. First they played at Exposition Park (I) from 1882-1883. From 1884 to 1890 they played at Recreation Park. From 1891-1909 they played at Exposition Park(II). Then from 1909 to 1970 they played at the legendary Forbes Field, which is where some of the greatest baseball games ever played have taken place. From 1970 to 2000 they played at Three Rivers Stadium. In 2001 they moved into their current home PNC Park.
Way back in the day, the Pirates were one of the premier teams in baseball. In total, the Pirates have won nine National League Pennants and five World Series championships. However, the recently came out of a 20 year playoff drought, the longest in the history of American professional sports. Now though, they have perhaps baseball’s most talented team, and are on the verge of greatness.
The Pirates are certainly on the rise. One of these years, they are going to overtake the Cardinals. To do that they will need to improve their starting pitching a little more. That could be taken care of be re-signing Francisco Lirano and Edison Volquez. The Pirates are very good with reclamation projects, which is why they are also interested in the likes of Carlos Villanueva, Brett Anderson, and Josh Johnson. Some NL Central franchises pull their talent from a great farm system. Some teams employ a mix of free agents and young “up and comers.” The Pirates tend to look for players that have been in the league a while, but may be struggling in their current situation. They will pick off those players and try their best to squeeze the best out of them. Will that formula bring the Pirates a pennant? They certainly think so.
The Pittsburgh Pirates finished the 2015 season 98-64, good for second place in the National League Central. This was the best record of all non-divisional winners in the National League, meaning the Pirates got to host the Wild Card play in game again, which they lost, again, this time to the Chicago Cubs. Due to financial restraints, the Pirates offseason usually consist of under the radar types, “moneyball” signings, and reclamation projects. This off season, the Pirates signed first basemen John Jaso, relief pitcher Neftali Feliz, infielder David Freese, super utility man Sean Rodriguez, and starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong.
The Pirates entered 2016 with high hopes, and have had a very up and down season to boot. Once left for the dead, the Pirates came back, and got within shouting distance of the Chicago Cubs for first place before the All-Star break. The Pirates have faded a little after the All-Star break, and currently sit at 62-60, which places them out of the postseason picture at the moment. Andrew McCutchen, considered by many to be baseball's second best player behind Mike Trout, is having the worst season of his major league career. To this point, McCutchen is batting .244 with 17 home runs and 51 RBI's. His time in Pittsburgh is coming to an end, barring a miracle, by the 2018 trade deadline at the very latest, as there is no way the Pirates will be able to afford his asking price. Pittsburgh may have been considering moving him this upcoming off-season if he was having another MVP-type season, which he is not. They might want to wait another year before doing so.
The Pittsburgh Pirates struggled to get close to .500 ball last season. They finished the year with a record of 73-89, good for third place in the National League Central division, and nowhere near playoff contention. This was a surprise outcome for a team that was expected to be a wild card contender, and win over 90 games. This off season, the Pirates stuck to their typical “dumpster-diving” philosophy while they continue to build from within. Their biggest move was re-signing starting pitcher Ivan Nova to a three-year contract. They also signed Daniel Hudson to a two-year contract and Wade Leblanc to a one-year deal. In addition, they settled Arbitration with the likes of Jody Mercer, Jared Hughes, Gerrit Cole, and Drew Hutchinson. So far no news on an Andrew McCutchen trade, and 2017 is now or never in Pittsburgh. Stay tuned, this could get interesting very quickly, as the trade deadline approaches.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, after years of being in postseason contention, found themselves nine games out of the second Wild Card spot at the end of this season. Indeed it is the end of an era for the Pirates, and we can only imagine what they could have accomplished if they would have just believed in themselves.
To begin with this offseason, the Pirates added a pair of right-handed pitchers, Michael Feliz and Jordan Lyles, both one-year contracts. Both men could potentially be flipped for prospects at the deadline. In December, they traded right-handed pitcher Ivan Nova to the Chicago White Sox for Yordi Rosario and international signing bonus money. In January they signed outfielder Corey Dickerson and right-handed pitcher Keone Kela to one-year contracts. Late in January they added outfielder J.B. Shuck and right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer on minor league contracts. Both will be given an opportunity to make the roster out of Spring Training.
The Pirates are sitting still, waiting to see how they begin 2019. Once they get off to their expected bad start, that is when we will probably see the train get moving in terms of taking apart their roster and trading veterans for prospects.