The Pittsburgh Pirates front office has no problem putting headlines out to the public. Due to the dominance of social media in 2017, it’s very hard to keep things close to the chest. The Pirates have one of the worst kept secrets in all of baseball: they don’t want Andrew McCutchen.
Pittsburgh Pirates Front Office an Embarrassment to Baseball
No matter how many times Pirates team president Frank Coonelly tells general manager Neal Huntington to say the right thing to his team’s fans, the message remains the same. On the eve of Spring Training, reports leaked that the Pirates are still interested in getting rid of McCutchen and second baseman Josh Harrison for the right price. It’s really the same old stuff with them year in and year out.
That front office put die-hard Pirates supporters through absolute hell from the beginning of the 2000’s all the way through to 2013. The new generation of Pirates fans finally got to witness what playoff baseball is like. Others got to see their first playoff appearance in over 20 years.
They dragged fans into the abyss, and when they finally got a taste of winning again, they topped out. What smart sports businessman just cuts off all opportunity to win by employing guys like Jon Niese and Jeff Locke in a starting rotation? One year prior, they had the second best record in baseball and lost because their Wild Card opponent was the third best team.
The Pirates were part of the most exciting divisional race in the history of baseball during the 2015 season. The Pirates (98 wins) and the Chicago Cubs (97 wins) finished second and third, respectively, in a division won by the St. Louis Cardinals (100 wins). The race came down to the final day. It not only determined who won the division, but secured home field advantage for the Wild Card. The Pirates were involved unto the end. After years of being humiliated, it looked like the team was destined to be trending upwards for the foreseeable future.
Then came the 2016 season.
McCutchen had a down year. Staff ace Gerrit Cole went down multiple times due to injury. Fourteen different pitchers started games. The players didn’t perform, but the front office didn’t put them in a position to succeed. They were just as responsible for shaving 20 wins off of the previous season as the players were.
Now they want to trade two guys who have been part of the turn around in Pittsburgh? It doesn’t work that way.
The Pirates have given no clear indication of the path they plan to take this season. If they expect to win, why are rumors running rampant about trading players who are part of the solution? If they are tanking again, why resign a guy like Ivan Nova, who’s going to help win games? What is the Pirates plan?
Neither McCutchen nor Harrison deserve the treatment they’re receiving. Spring training is beginning and two of the team’s most vital pieces aren’t even sure they’re going to make it to August in a Pirates uniform. They may not even make it to June.
Huntington has done such a good job building up this team with what little he’s given, but his boss is making him look like an enemy to the public and it’s hardly his fault. The Pirates, much like their president, won’t be reaching the top of their profession anytime soon.