Former Pirates utilityman Jose Bautista is the latest to pile on about the Pirates' supposed unwillingness to spend money:â†µ
He believes the Pirates were ready to win several seasons ago, but management refused to spend the money to upgrade a too-young pitching staff. As a result, the Pirates kept losing and a productive everyday lineup was dismantled.â†µ
Right. Bautista was only in Pittsburgh for one season in which the Pirates' offense was even average, and that was 2008, when the Pirates hitters were productive until they all started getting traded. In 2007, the Bucs scored the eighth-fewest runs in baseball despite having most of the same players they had in 2008. In 2006, they were two runs from being the worst offense in baseball.â†µ
And while no one is mistaking the 2008 Pirates rotation with that of the '71 Orioles, the problem wasn't primarily the pitchers themselves. It was folks like ... Jose Bautista, a key offender in one of baseball's worst defenses. The same guys who were doing all the hitting were failing specacularly at converting batted balls into outs.â†µ
The hitters therefore weren't the core of a contending team. They were part of the problem. And after the Pirates traded them all, their careers fell apart. Jason Bay put together another productive season and a half before falling off a cliff this year. Xavier Nady is now a bench player. Nate McLouth is in the minors. Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson have had one injury after another.â†µ
The only Pirates hitters who aren't at crossroads in their careers are Adam LaRoche and ... Jose Bautista, who's leading the American League in homers. Good for him, but he's a better hitter than an analyst.