Thursday, October 07, 2004

Fire McClendon

Chris Kucharski has some suggestions for the 2005 Pirates. His ideas about free agents are, well, terrible. He suggests the Pirates sign Tino Martinez or Brad Fullmer to a two year contract if necessary. Martinez was fairly good this season, but I wouldn't touch him with a ten foot pole - he's old, and he was mediocre in 2003. I like Fullmer more than most people probably do at this point, but he's injury-prone, and a two year contract would be absurd. Also, the Pirates have lots of guys they could try at first or whatever corner position Craig Wilson doesn't occupy. For example, J.R. House is out of options in the spring, and he's not even on Kucharski's projected 25 man roster. Why not? Let him play first, or let J.J. Davis play right. Both players have significant upside, and neither can be sent to Indianapolis next year except on rehab/"rehab" assignments. Both guys - yep, even Davis, and please don't tell me you only need 30 at bats to determine he's a bust - would have a good chance to play as well as Fullmer or Martinez next year anyway.

Kucharski also lists some free agent pitchers the Bucs might sign, including Esteban Loaiza, Aaron Sele, and Glendon Rusch. Ugh. These guys stink, and the Pirates can easily do better by handing that rotation spot to any of a number of the Pirates' young arms.

Kucharski's comments about Loaiza are kind of funny:

He had a terrible 2004 but maybe playing the second half in New York had something to do with it.

The fact that Loaiza is mediocre might also have something to do with it! He had one good season in 2003. In every other season he's played, his ERA has been near or above the league average. Let it go.

The Pirates don't need a new first baseman or starting pitcher next year. If they're going to sign a free agent or two, it should be at a position where the free agent won't block a promising youngster or a good player. For the Pirates, that position is third base.

Kucharski does get one thing right: he suggests the Pirates fire Lloyd McClendon. Kucharski points out that McClendon is a slave to lefty-righty matchups, that he's obsessed with Abraham Nunez, and that he's a poor tactical manager. He also points out that the Pirates have been consistent losers under McClendon.

While McClendon obviously isn't responsible for all that losing, the Pirates would be better with a manager who knew what he was doing. A general manager should always try to figure out where his team's weaknesses are and to replace them with strengths. McClendon isn't the only reason the Pirates are bad, but he's part of the reason. He should go.


Blogger az said...

Usually when I agree, I say nothing. But since I've disagreed with so much of what you've said before, I'll admit you're right on here, all the way around.

Kucharski's FA ideas are either counterproductive in the long run or just plain not productive in the short run. And while I don't hate Lloyd, my opinion of him is below neutral.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Charlie said...

thanks, AZ. the reaction I had to that article was almost visceral, really - I just don't want to have to watch any of those guys in a Pirates uniform. I think any number of young guys we already have would be as good or better, but even if I didn't, I'd almost rather watch some random young guy than Glendon Rusch at this point.

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