Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Piling on the Pirates

As I've noted twice in the past week - here and here - the Pirates are amassing a group of fringe-average Major League players that would likely be picked in or around the 20th Round of your 2011 fantasy baseball draft.

First, they acquired Chris Snyder last season before the trade deadline. Then, last week, they signed Scott Olsen, Kevin Correia, and Matt Diaz.

Excited yet? Didn't think so.

So what did the Pirates do for an encore? They gave $5m to Lyle Overbay. Feel the excitement.

This last move drives me crazy for a number of reasons.

1. They already have a Lyle Overbay, and his name is Garrett Jones.

Look at these numbers-

Jones Overbay
BA vs LHP:.210.259
OPS vs LHP:.630.709
BA:vs RHP:.282.279
OPS vs RHP:.854.838

Granted, Overbay has the track record, and his numbers are a bit better. However, he will cost almost $4.5m more than Jones will this year, and he's four and a half years older.
Put simply, both players should be platooned (playing only against righties). Yes, the frugal Pirates just spent $5m on a player that needs a platoonmate.

2. This money could be better spent elsewhere, namely on a pitching staff. Heading into spring training, the rotation figures to include: Paul Maholm (career record: 47-59, career ERA: 4.48, career K/9: 5.6), Russ Ohlendorf (13-25, 4.40, 6.3), James McDonald (9-11, 3.84, 8.0), Scott Olsen (37-49, 4.85, 6.5), and Kevin Correia (36-43, 4.57, 6.6). None has any track record of proven, sustained success. All have losing records [relax saberists, I am illustrating a point here].

3. This money could be better spent elsewhere, namely on next year's draft. I have to give credit where due. Here goes. One thing that the organization did well in 2010 was spend money wisely on the draft. They took two flamethrowers in Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie in the first two rounds and paid them a combined $8.75m. Overall, they spent $11.9m on the draft, second most in all of baseball. This pattern should continue as there is zero chance the team will be playoff-bound in 2011. If this prevents them from spending similar money in 2011, shame on them.

4. Where does Ryan Doumit play? Doumit, arguably the Pirates' best player in 2008 when he posted a triple-slash of .318 / .357 / .501 has been plagued by injuries the past two years, but he will only be 29 years old on Opening Day. He can still hit. However, with the Jones / Diaz combo in right field and Overbay at first, there seems to be no room at the inn.

It's encouraging to see the team finally spending money, but the recipients of that money will do very little to create wins.

1 comment:

  1. fru·gal [froo-guhl]
    - economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful

    The Pirates have never been frugal. They've been cheap, but when they spend, it's been very wasteful. Remember the $10M they gave to Matt Morris? Look back at their salaries the last few years. Was Jack Wilson really worth the amount he was paid even when he signed the extension?

    The Pirates seem like they search for ways to spend money poorly. That's why they will have 19 straight losing seasons.