The Pirates and free agency

From today’s PG, we’ve got this quote (and more) from Jack Wilson:

“The only thing I wish we could do was compete,” he said in an extensive phone interview from his home in California. “I wish we could go out and get some more players to make our team competitive. And, you know, now that this whole trade thing has probably blown over, that’s going to be my new focus on the Internet: Instead of looking for my name and where I might go, hopefully, we might get some players. Because we need them.”

This point by Wilson goes hand-in-hand with the raising public sentiment that’s coupled to the Bay trade, “Hey, why don’t we go out and sign some free agents! If we kept Bay and signed some free agents, we might have something here!”

Forgive my bluntness here because I’m not trying to be rude, but who the hell are the Pirates going to convince to come play here beyond another Jeromy Burnitz/Joe Randa or a rebuilding project like Daniel Cabrera? The Pirates are mired in a 16 year losing streak, the front office is clearly in rebuilding mode, and THEY’RE IN PITTSBURGH. Heeeeey, Mark Teixeira, come on down!  I love Pittsburgh and I loved living in Pittsburgh, but I doubt that’s a sentiment shared by people not from the area and I doubt the Pirates have any power to change that view in people’s eyes at the moment. Unless we’re talking about a free agent born in Nova Scotia that wants to hang with Sidney Crosby, I don’t see there being a ton of selling points to decent free agents. I mean, the A’s couldn’t attract Rafael Furcal and they’ve got a pretty decent chance of contending in 2009.

This is a noose that the Pirates have fashioned for themselves. Until they can prove that they’ve turned themselves around, like the Brewers have, I just don’t see how they’re going to attract decent, useful free agents to the team. The only time it’s happened for the Pirates (the Reggie Sanders/Kenny Lofton/Jeff Suppan year), the owners later more or less admitted to collusion a few years later.

I’m not saying the Pirates should stay out of free agency altogether, but the Pirates don’t have the means to change their path through free agency alone. They have to clean things up internally and create a self-replicating cycle of players, then use free agency to supplement from there. I understand where Jack Wilson’s coming from and I hate watching crappy, losing baseball as much as anyone, but going out and “getting” players just isn’t what this team needs and it’s not going to help them.

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.