Let's Go Succos!
Yes friends, it's that time again. That time where we get excited about what the Pirates season will bring, until we find out what time the next Penguins game is on, and who the Steelers might select in the next draft. It's been 1992, or, 5th grade for this writer, since the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning season, which was also the last time they won their division (then, the NL East), and took the Atlanta Braves to...well, you know the goddamn story. They've played and looked like complete whaleshit since then, and haven't come close to winning dick since 1997, the year of the Freak Show when the entire NL Central mailed it in. This year, the Pirates have some faint hope of not losing 100 games, though with this squad, anything is possible. (Except to be in the pennant race in May.) Let's take a gander at the 25 people who will start the season on the roster.
LHP Zach Duke, RHP Ross Ohlendorf, LHP Paul Maholm, RHP Charlie Morton, RHP Daniel McCutchen (R)
On a good team, Duke, Ohlendorf, and Maholm are solid 3-4 starters. Morton showed signs of brilliance last season, and also signs of having major mental lapses. Daniel McCutchen has the potential to be a pretty good insurance salesman when the Pirates designate him for assignment in 2012. Still, there is some potential in Duke, Ohlendorf, and Maholm to not completely shit the bed, and be slightly above replacement-level pitchers. Morton could go either way, and McCutchen will probably be struggling in AAA by the end of the month. Grade: D+
RHP Hayden Penn, RHP D.J. Carrasco, RHP Joel Hanrahan, LHP Javier Lopez, RHP Brendan Donnelly, RHP Octavio Dotel
Sucks, Sucks, Potential to not suck, sucks, sucks and is a piece of shit of a human being for crossing the picket line in '95, sucks and should have retired. Seriously. There isn't a bigger collection of stiffs in the world outside of Madame Tussauds than the Pirates '10 bullpen. Hanrahan is the only one with any potential, as he turned a complete 180 after being acquired from the Nats last season. Grade: F
C Ryan Doumit, C Jason Jaramillo
Doumit has never put together a completely healthy season, but when he has, he has shown some ability to hit the ball with power, and take a few walks here and there. Defensively, he's not a liability, but only because of a decent arm. Jaramillo is the definition of replacement level, but has a plus arm. Grade: C
1B Steven Pearce, 2B Akinori Iwamura, SS Ronny Cedeno, 3B Andy LaRoche, IF Bobby Crosby, IF-OF Delwyn Young
Pearce has the ability to be a slightly better than average hitter, but compared to other first basemen in the league, he's still quite sub-par. Iwamura and Cedeno are a decent double-play combo in the field, but Iwamura is an acceptable major league hitter, while Cedeno is a AAAA player at best. LaRoche projects to be a plus hitter, with room to grow into a solid gap hitter who excels at taking walks, and is an excellent defender. Crosby and Young are the bench players, and while neither are particularly spectacular, they're both solid options off the bench. With defensive whiz Argenis Diaz, and the team's top prospect and projected savior Pedro Alvarez at AAA, the Pirates could likely move Cedeno in a trade, and Pearce might have to worry about splinters in his ass. Grade: C-
LF Lastings Milledge, CF Andrew McCutchen, RF Garrett "Fucking" Jones, OF Ryan Church, OF John Raynor
Finally, the flower growing out of this giant shitheap. Milledge put away his jerk attitude and became a charismatic fan favorite overnight after coming to the Pirates from the Nats, and has turned into an excellent defender and has potential to be a relatively good hitter at the plate. McCutchen is the only true star on this team, and is a legit five tool player. Jones was handed down as a sympathetic gesture by the Lord Jesus Christ to the Pirates fans to ease their suffering, and all he did was hit a lot of dingers, and make a lot of panties wet. The oft-injured Church is a decent hitter, and excellent defensive replacement in the outfield. John Raynor is really fast, fields well, bunts well, but couldn't hit a bull in the ass with a banjo. Grade: B
Milledge/McCutchen/Jones will be fun to watch, and the fans will be clamoring for Pedro Alvarez after watching Steven Pearce after about the third inning on opening day, but other than that, there really is no hope for this season. Maybe the pitching pans out, but you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning the same day you win the lottery, than the Pirates do of competing this season. Overall Grade: D