Pirates Discussion: How Do You Feel About the Pirates Going Forward?

The Pirates weren’t able to take the series against the Brewers, but were able to at least split the series.

It isn’t exactly the halfway point, but through 79 games, the Pirates are 32-47.

Now that we’re in July, how do you feel about where the Pirates stand, and where do you think they need to be by season’s end?

Do you think they have a strong beginning of what could be depth, assuming they finally decide to add this off-season?

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Die hard Pirate fans have to feel better about the state of the current team than in recent years if for no other reason than the young guys are at least being given the opportunities to play and try to develop in the majors with at least some success. Some will make it and some won’t but that’s simply the reality every team has to face. The jury’s still out, but the current trend is at least interesting.

The real problem with the Pirates still relates to the willingness of ownership to bring in quality veteran players to compliment and fill in the holes. Prospects cannot do it alone regardless of how well they develop. It just doesn’t work that way. If I thought Nutting would be willing to spend a basically average amount of money on the team to add to the prospects who eventually figure it out, I would be optimistic that this group could be the foundation of a winning team in a couple of years. On the other hand if he continues to measure success by his own personal bottom line, all that’s happening is that the Pirates are developing major players who will eventually benefit other teams.


I think he just doesn’t want to spend much money to make a mediocre team slightly less mediocre. Once we’re on the cusp of being great I think he’ll spend – how much he’ll spend is the question, and will he be willing to go over budget if necessary to make that final push.

Last edited 1 month ago by john_fluharty

They have done it before. Why wouldn’t they do it again?


While the Pirates have more quantity in prospects than in years past, I don’t really see impact/elite talent (Cruz hasn’t shown he is that player and Davis is struggling at AA). Maybe some become more than utility players, but the organization has too many players that have the same question marks. In comparison, I think the Orioles are in a much better place. Take a look at how their top prospects are playing at AAA. And Rodrigues coming next season and their stud catcher already playing in the bigs.

I still see a lot of work today and more drafting of high-end talent needed. And unfortunately I do not believe that Hayes is a cornerstone/franchise player like the Pirates keep telling the fans. I just don’t see it even if he has this all-world glove.

Not being negative, but I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel just yet. I don’t. I think we still have quite a ways to go, sadly.

Last edited 1 month ago by gosteelers69

May we agree to disagree a bit? Let’s give Davis 250 PA in AA before making any calls. That’s a tough transition, and many players stall there. What I’ve seen of Cruz makes me say things I don’t want to type. Good things, but obscene. After that I see Bae, Gorski, and Peguero as having star potential. I won’t talk pitching, but there’s some serious talent there.


The at bats plus 100% healed wrists. Betting his wrist is preventing him from really being able to hit.


2024 maybe…


I agree with this timeline and don’t expect Nickles to spend any serious money this winter. I’m mostly OK with that because I think the younger players need next year to start establishing themselves as major leaguers.

Since the mass call-ups of prospects began, the team has become much more interesting and fun to watch. They also seem to have some energy which I hope isn’t lost when all the veterans return.


Spend wisely, spend aggressively and cover the bases. SP, Bullpen 1B, C. Keep Reynolds unless someone is serious about trading multiple talents for talent. It can’t be one hot prospect and a couple hopefuls. It has to be, at a minimum, an organization’s top two prospects and one of those has to be an MLB near ready SP. If no one’s willing to pay that price, then sit down with Reynolds and find out what his price is. He’s a steal at 6 years for $90 million and he might take it.

There’s talent in the organization. Spend the next season and a half learning how talent plays out and then hopefully fill in the holes. If Nickles will just spend some money the Pirates can be competitive. Am I optimistic? Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts and minds of men? With Nickles the best I can hope for is he doesn’t sell Reynolds and Cruz this week when the Yankees are in town for a $250 million. I think the Yankees would pay it.


I’d feel better if they jettisoned the players with no long term future (trade, DFA, whatever) and churned through the prospects with more urgency to see what they have giving the team a better idea where they really need to add going forward.


I think most of the riff Raff will be gone by the start of next year at the latest


Happy 4th of July!

If the Pirates decide to trade Reynolds to the Yanks, the key piece to the trade just played his first pro game this morning …



Don’t think I’d want anyone at that low of a leve to be the key piece to a trade of Reynolds

Last edited 1 month ago by john_fluharty

off topic, but something I’ve noticed, especially pertaining to Molina & the Brewers’ catchers . . . The MLB rule covering the catcher’s box is 4.03:

(a)The catcher shall station himself directly back of the plate. He may leave his position at any time to catch a pitch or make a play except that when the batter is being given an intentional base on balls, the catcher must stand with both feet within the lines of the catcher’s box until the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand.

Penalty: Balk


That rule is obsolete now that pitcher’s don’t have to throw 4 pitches on an intentional walk.


I realize that it’s a different game now with hitters facing tremendously more difficult pitchers and better fielders. But I do miss the days of high batting averages. As an example, the 1972 Pirates didn’t have any players with 400+ plate appearances who batted less than .282. Four starters batted over .300, two more were in the 290’s and Cash was at .282. Of the four players with between 300 & 400 plate appearances, one was at .334 and another at .286. Looking at the five full season teams this year, there are very few players batting .270 or higher. I’m concerned about what was supposed to be our vaunted farm system.


My favorite team in the 1970s was the Reds. I loved their combination of high batting averages, power, speed, and good defense.

While I like home runs, I think doubles and triples make for a more exciting game. Games are more fun to watch when there are runners in scoring position.


I wonder how those Reds teams would done against today’s pitchers and defenses.


This question, a good one BNP/JR, is just premature… let the tryouts for role players and potential trade guys end, then let me see how this new core looks in early August, that will be fun to discuss👍👏… just my opinion, and future doesnt start until Bae is cemented as our 2Bman🤣🤣

Last edited 1 month ago by tedwins

I agree re: Bae, I am liking Bae/Marcano and Gonzales bringing back a starting 2 pitcher and further depth.


How to I feel about the Pirates going forward? They have a long way to go. I like seeing the young guys playing but they need to do more at the plate. Get on base more. Cruz’s average and on base percentage are bad and so are the others. If and when these young guys get better is ownership & upper management going to add players, or spend money? Are any top free agents even going to want to play for the Pirates? So I guess my answer to the question is I don’t feel very good.


A beautiful ballpark with passionate fans. What’s not to like? I’ve hired free agents (in an unrelated field). Go hard, go early, bring cash.


First, Happy 4th of July y’all!!!

so far so good. A lot of youngsters playing and even more to come. I have said for the last 2 years that as soon as the prospects start hitting the Show and playing, the Bucs would look to make moves to fill in the holes with trades with excess prospects and will have the ability to entice and sign some good free agents and not just reclamation projects. This should be the off-season to see that improvement. Looking forward to see what goes down.


Please be sure to let Bob and Ben know.

Happy 4th to you, too.


Feels like 2011. The question now is: Will it get better? We need some more offense and SP. The jury is still out, there are flashes, but no consistency, and this year’s promising prospect can be next year’s dud and vice versa.


Promoting someone who is not ready helps no one. Best wishes to Cole. He’s a good example.


It will get better. Don’t stop believing: a sticker I saw on a Dodge Journey.


Whether I believe or not will not affect the outcome one iota.


You have to believe it, sit in the right chair, drink the right beer out of the special mug, wearing the right clothes all while eating the right food…. It will happen 😁

b mcferren

Hitting and Defense I feel really good about

Pitching and Manager not so much

looks like it will be a one and done wildcard for three years and then back to the drawing board

all depends on whether we can trade prospects for some starters that perform instead of bust

Shelton is Russell V2 I hope and we’re waiting for Jason Kendall to take the reins

I think reclaiming guys like Cantina and David Price is a better strategy that waiting for Keller’s Quinn’s and such to learn to pitch


I feel like shit about it. If your not willing to spend money on starting pitchers that are horses I don’t care how fun position players are you not winning a world series. We can make the playoffs which is all well and good but the fans of the pirates deserve a winner!! Second place is the first loser.


From a big picture perspective I am happy with the progress. Day to day there can be painful moments but at the beginning of the year I said I didn’t care about W/L as long as we saw progress and started getting answers on some players. The ultimate test is how they add when the team gets good (and getting good has to be my assumption for now).

While no top of rotation option has come forward, I really just wanted some clarity on our pile of 4-5-DFA candidate pool. I think Keller, Brubaker, Thompson have stayed in the 4-5 competition which is better than looking like DFA candidates. Top of the rotation may need to come via acquisition or some real stepping up from Priester et al. but pitching depth is critical and i see most of the current MLB roster in that depth profile.

We have started to see younger prospects get playing time. Some who are succeeding may still crash and burn and some who looked bad may succeed. But that process needed to get started. I think there will be angst as some vets come off of the DL, but I hope post trade deadline that clears itself up.

My biggest concern, and this is premature, is the scuffling of some of the top tier prospects that Pirates expect to be difference makers. My opinion -> Davis (injury and now lack of hitting), Gonzalez (his strength was bat to ball…oops), Priester (injury and yet to dominate), and Martin(maybe not a top prospect, but he is really struggling to make contact). These are all players who I pictured helping at the major league level in the next couple of years.

I totally get the Shelton concerns, but ultimately they need players to perform and I have to hope (believe?) if he truly can’t manage a playoff contender that he will be gone. That is just another test for the front office along with smart acquisitions and continued development.


Good point on the Development List. While I had not considered that, that general concept was why I thought my observations are pre-mature. I assume and want adjustments to be made throughout the development cycle. Unless you stumble across a Trout or Acuna who seem ready from day one. Sometimes adjustments can also cause a short term step back from an on the field statistical standpoint.

A tangent on the Nicky G topic, one benefit of a deeper farm system is the reality that many will not pan out. If for some reason Nicky G does not ever be what we hoped, Bae is looking every bit as good if not better. Depth is a nice problem or really a necessity to build like the Pirates have to build. They may be able to spend (in the Guardians / Rays type world) to fill a hole but can’t fill 4 holes, that has to come from within or with trading prospects for affordable hole fillers.


I said going into the season that if the major league staff is good at helping players develop, then we should finish somewhere around 71-91 (also factoring in how weak the Cubs and Reds were expected to be). We’re behind that pace by a few games but with Cruz and others up and the bullpen showing some signs of hope, I still think that’s attainable. Get there this year and make a few additions, we should contend for a playoff spot next year. Losing 95+ games would make it hard to imagine a leap to contention.

If we don’t reach that level, I really hope we move forward with a new coaching staff. I feel like that’s fair—just like players are judged by tangible results, coaches need to be too. It shouldn’t be enough to simply have a good clubhouse atmosphere.


Believing it’s a winning team has to happen before actually becoming a winning team. I’m not convinced DS has the skill set necessary to convince these guys they are a winning team. In my opinion, he has this summer to prove me wrong, or he’s gone.


Really, if I had a good bench coach, I could manage an MLB team. Do the players try their best? Do they support each other? That’s where a manager matters. (Actually, I would be a terrible manager, but let’s keep that on the QT.)


Do you think Don Kelly a viable candidate to replace Shelton if the Bucs let him go?


Hard not to be excited about the young core of position players the Pirates are putting together. Appears they have a good combination of speed and power. Cautiously optimistic they will have the division’s best offense within the next couple years.

Unfortunately, the pitching doesn’t look anything close to being division’s best. Lacking a true #1 , and a #2 for that matter. And even worse is the back-end of the bullpen, except for Bednar.

And of course, Shelton hasn’t shown he can lead a team effectively. Lineup construction, bullpen usage, and situational management all appear to be weaknesses of his.

Lastly, ownership needs to free up money for BC to supplement roster with quality FA’s, and BC needs to acquire veteran players via FA & trade to overtake the top teams in the division. Sadly, no evidence this will ever happen under current management.


Agree on all. My biggest short-term concerns are Shelton and the pitching. The position players are fun to watch and the couple of holes in the lineup, especially against lefties, shouldn’t be too hard to fix.

Long-term, the biggest concern remains willingness to spend. I think we’re close enough, that spending makes sense this off-season. Will we though?


History says yes. Just no 10 year contracts.


Agreed. I get why they did not spend on the offense side due to all the prospects coming up. I totally disagreed with how they put the pitching staff together. I get the idea of not spending when you are a bad team but I think that is counter productive. You have to have decent veteran guys to support the rookies and support a young team. Losing breeds losing. They could have easily spent $20 million on a sp and 2 bullpen arms to sure up an inconsistent staff. How many games have been lost due to the train wreck of a bullpen. I would think it’s demoralizing to a young team to lose those games or the games where the they give up 12+ runs which seems to have happened way too much this year. Hopefully the rest of this season will be spent playing the young guys and figuring out which guys have a future.

Last edited 1 month ago by postal911

BN better free up some dollars and BC better Invest them wisely next winter. If not, why did they put us through a half-decade rebuild?


How I feel now: they’re more interesting than they were 2 months ago, but still far from even the fringes of competition because C, 1B and the bullpen are a black hole.

By the end of the season, they need to be free and clear of the 2022 plug-ins (VanMeter, Gamel, Newman, Yoshi, Marisnick), playing Bae every day at 2B, and cycling Swaggerty and Mitchell into the lineup. And Shelton, ideally. He could probably stumble his way into managing a quality team to a winning record, but right now about all he’s managing is the script they’ve worked out for bullpen usage, regardless of the game situation. I don’t know how you turn that switch on after it’s been off for 3 years.

This could be a .500 team or better in 2023, but they absolutely need to address 1B and the pen, because those answers aren’t coming from within. You can see it in the day to day now – they’re just a couple of late inning arms and a couple of lineup spots away from winning the last 3 series. Go 7-3 over the last 3 series instead of 3-7 and suddenly .500 doesn’t seem so distant. And Lord knows there were more than 4 winnable games against the Rays, Nats and Brewers with a little more lineup length and better pen depth.

Last edited 1 month ago by SBRO

D’accord. Do you have any reason to think BC doesn’t get this?


He gets it, it’s just not part of The Plan. When you decide the season doesn’t matter for wins and losses, or fan engagement, then there’s no pressure to deviate from the plan. I think BC went into the season with an understanding from Nickels that they would only spend on the margins and on extensions where warranted. So BC got his ONE bullpen arm, Hembree, who was a disaster; his 1B and DH in Yoshi and Vogelbach, and since then has only made cost-neutral “upgrades” in the pen and infield.

The plan was to spend April and May cycling through/cycling out the post-prospects like Tucker and Alford; June and July prepping the sell-off of soon-to-be free agents while gradually working in the prospects like Cruz and Contreras; and August and September getting the rest of the prospects integrated onto the roster.

The injuries to Newman, Allen, Tsutsugo and Gamel probably accelerated the plan – and thank goodness it did, because otherwise would we have known what Suwinski and Madris could do on a major league field? Would Castillo have had as much playing time?


Even if they had gone 7-3 in last 10, I highly doubt.500 was attainable this year. It was clear management was punting this season when they didn’t make a true effort to supplement the roster before or after lockout, and when they sent down Cruz to start season.

Will they waste another year of Reynolds prime next year? God, I hope not.


I would argue that trading Reynolds is something they should try and do especially if you can get a couple of promising high end pitchers. Reynolds is good but expendable if you can bolster your pitching.I believe we have multiple position players who will probably get better as they mature. Pitching still wins!

Last edited 1 month ago by mikeschalke

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