I haven't wrote anything on the Rats since Bob and I have started this thing back up because I'm both obsessed with the Pens and Bob does quite a bit of writing on the Rats. Anyway I thought I should give my two cents on the state of the Pirates (and holy God look at those alternate jerseys I mean who could've possibly have come up with these. They are just as bad if not worse than the Braves alternates), now unquestionably the worst pro sports team in town!
Alright now let's get something straight right off the bat here, I by no means hate the Pirates. I call them the Rats, make fun of them constantly, and have little to no confidence in the team, but I still love them. I guess they are kind of like a girl that you really want to break up with but you just can't pull that trigger. I'm just fed up with the losing as everyone else is I'm sure, they are still however my favorite baseball team.
Ok let's check out the lineup Bob brought up a couple weeks back:
1.(L) Duffy CF
2.(R) Sanchez 2B
3.(R) Bay LF
4.(L) LaRoche 1B
5.(R) Nady RF
6.(R) Paulino C
7.(R) Bautista 3B
8.(R) Wilson SS
1.(L) Duffy CF
2.(R) Wilson SS
3.(R) Sanchez 3B
4.(L) LaRoche 1B
5.(R) Bay LF
6.(R) Nady RF
7.(R) Paulino C
8.(R) Castillo 2B
I'll be honest with you, I'm ready to hire Bob as the next Pirates skipper. I can't really understand
(1) Duffy has to be consistent and get his speed on the base paths. He is probably one of the faster major leaguers I've ever seen and that includes Jose Reyes.
(2) Jack Wilson has to find a happy medium between last years shit numbers and his all-star numbers from '05.
(3) Bay has to be protected and has to hit in the 3 or 4. To have the teams best hitter hitting in the 5 spot makes absolutely no sense (but let's face it Tracy is pretty goddamn good at making moves that make little sense).
(4) Castillo has to take a couple steps in the right direction. It looked like he was sleep walking through most of last year. I've heard the Manny Ramirez comparisons as far as personality goes with Jose and let's face it, he's no Man Ram so he sure as fuck doesn't get to act like the first Dominican space cadet . I'd pull the plug on him real early, if not in spring training if he doesn't get off to a decent start. I have no problem seeing Bautista at 3B and Sanchez at 2B if Slow Poke Rodriguez can't cut it.
On to the rotation, where 4 out of the 5 spots are all but written in stone. Snell, Duke, Gorzelanny, and Maholm are our one through four starters. Frankly this is the only part of the team I'm Penguins level excited about. Seeing this staff mature and get better will be exciting to watch over the next several years (assuming they all stay...). Snell is looking the most promising in my opinion, towards the end of last season he seemed to have stuff no one could hit at times (I'm thinking of a game against the Mets but can't remember much else). As Bob commented a couple weeks ago Gorzelanny could mature into our ace this season, but I'm sticking with Snell (assuming he matures a bit more). Of course, we have to pray for rain on the fifth day with Armas bringing up the rear of the rotation.
The bullpen, despite the loss of our marquee closer Gonzo, is still in pretty good shape. Apparently the only thing the front office is really any good at is building a decent bullpen. Torres should be solid in the closer role (provided his arm doesn't fall off with all the innings he's been seeing the past couple seasons). Capps should be able to come in and be effective if Torres fails. We also signed notable head case Danny Kolb, who was lights out with the Brew Crew two years ago, but was about as good as the bird shit on my car last year with the Braves, so who knows about that guy.
And now to my favorite part of the team to rip on and the most frustrating by far. If you need any of my opinions on Jim "Dick" Tracy or Littlefuck please check my posts from last summer. I hate both these guys. Bob and I could do a better job running the Pirates and the sick part is that I'm 100 % serial (you need to watch more South Park if you don't get the reference). They are both completely inept (save the Gonzo - LaRoche trade). Just compare the line-up Dick put out with the one that Bob and I both came up with immediately after the LaRoche trade without conferring with one another what so ever.
Anyway, my prediction for the upcoming year is 80 wins. Maybe we will get a winner next year?