Under 500 words

I have a problem during the off-season. I have a vanishing amount of time to blog in, and whenever I don’t write anything for a couple of days, I tend to try to make up for it by writing something gargantuan, which then exceeds the scope of what I can contain within the small amount […]

Bucs Dugout: the utility of making a good team great

Charlie’s latest post looks at the odd shape of this off-season and asks about something that I’ve been struggling with for the better part of the last year: Once you have a team good enough to make the playoffs, what’s the value in making them better than that?

Sam [Miller] also suggests another factor, though — teams have realized there’s a lot of value in just getting to the playoffs and letting the chips fall where they may. As you might have heard before, the playoffs are a lottery. A slightly weighted lottery, maybe, but a lottery nonetheless. Billy Beane famously said over a decade ago that his “**** doesn’t work in the playoffs,” and if we needed a reminder, there was Beane last summer acquiring Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija down the stretch and getting bounced in the Wild Card game, or the Tigers acquiring David Price and getting eliminated a round later.

Probably unsurprisingly, I go back and forth between this all the time. Lose the Wild Card Game at least in part because your third best starter is Edinson Volquez? Well then just being good isn’t good enough! But watch a decent Giant team and a mediocre Royal team play in the World Series? Well, then, dammit, getting to the playoffs is the only priority because anything can happen from there!

Honestly, every question about the Pirates at this point (unless you want to get way into the financial woods) is just a variation on this one. It’s pretty much all I think about over the off-season, and I still have no clue how to answer it.

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01:  Pittsburgh Pirates fans prepare for their National League Wild Card game against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on October 1, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

New year, new expectations

One of the big problems of the non-stop news cycle that we tend to allow to consume ourselves is that it becomes literally impossible to give ourselves enough distance to allow for some context. The wild card game bleeds into the early off-season and that bleeds into the winter meetings and suddenly we’re in January, […]

Spring Training ticket preview for Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates ran into a buzz saw at the very end of last season, hosting the San Francisco Giants in the Wild Card play-in game at PNC Park. Unfortunately, toeing the rubber that evening was Madison Bumgarner who went on to pitch a historic postseason, bringing home the World Series Trophy to the Bay […]

Pirates win bidding for South Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang

About halfway in between North Carolina and Hermitage today, I started seeing some tweets come through that the Pirates won the bidding for Jung-ho Kang, a shortstop from the Korean Baseball Organization. I’ve sort of kept one eye on the whole story of his posting process through the Twitter account of Dan at MyKBO, but it […]

sunglasses at night

Pirates sign Corey Hart

The Pirates announced this afternoon that they signed Corey Hart to a one year/$2.5 million deal and DFA’d Preston Guilmet, who I can tell you with 70% certainty was a guy that they claimed from, I think, the Orioles at some point since the season ended. I suppose the assumption here is that he’ll be […]


Kris Medlen signs with the Royals

The Royals announced this afternoon that they’ve signed Kris Medlen to a two-year deal worth $8.5 million with a mutual third-year option for $10 million. That’s such a reasonable deal and Medlen is such a good bounce back candidate that I’m finding myself pretty disappointed that the Pirates were seemingly not interested in Medlen at […]


After the winter meetings, what’s next for the Pirates?

The winter meetings ended in an insane flurry starting at or around the time Pirates finished the Antonio Bastardo trade on Wednesday. The Dodgers and Marlins both went completely nuts remaking their rosters, the Reds traded away 40% of their rotation (on the bright side they kept Mike Leake, but on the bad side they also […]