Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pellas on the Pirates: No Offense

Can the New Bucs Mash Their Way to Victory?

As I recall, in the days leading up to the trade deadline this year, there were a few voices who were vociferously against trading away our big hitters. Bob Smizik, for example, went on record to say that the Pirates should re-sign Jason Bay to a megabucks contract.

Such voices were definitely in the minority, as most observers, commentators, and fans were squarely in favor of dealing our veterans, particularly the position players, in order to obtain young prospects, especially pitchers. But recent events mean that it's only fair I mention the dissenters here so they can say "I TOLDJA SO" if they want to!

While I am not ready to join their chorus, I will say this: OUR OFFENSE, AT LEAST RIGHT NOW, IS TERRIBLE. Certainly I didn't expect that guys like Steven Pearce, Brandon Moss, and Andy LaRoche would step right in and equal or surpass hard-hitting veterans like Jason Bay and Xavier Nady. But neither did I expect popguns and Punch-n-Judy---which is plainly what we have right now.

Which is not to say that making the trades we did was necessarily a bad or stupid or even low-percentage move. I know as most fans do that Pearce, Moss, and Andy LaRoche have nothing left to prove in the minors, and that their minor league numbers are all very good.

Sooner or later guys like that have to prove it or lose it at the big league level. I'll throw them another bone and add that right now we certainly miss Adam LaRoche, who was finally raking after his usual two months of putrescence to start the season.

But this team's offensive "attack" just stinks, there's no other way to put it. As much as our pitching has improved---and a tip of the cap goes to Jeff Karstens in particular---our offense has gone backward at least as far as the pitching has gone forward. Add in the fact that current management is definitely committed to an AL model, and our current struggles and staid, station to station style of baserunning becomes very hard to watch.

Unless Pearce, Moss, and Andy LaRoche can all really mash, and unless they start really mashing soon, we've got big problems, because outside of Nate McLouth, there's no one on this team or projected to be on it next season that can play any kind of small ball and manufacture some runs.

Well, maybe Andrew McCutchen, but while he's fast, he's not a legitimate basestealer because he gets caught far too many times if his minor league numbers are any indication.

This is all extremely worrisome, even though in fairness it's still far too early to tell for sure if any of our 3 young position players are going to make it or not. But I'm beginning to be concerned. That much I do know.

(Will Pellas, GW columnist at large, takes offense at the baby Buc's lack of offense.)

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