Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Morning After

OK, the best DP combo the Bucs have had since Maz and Dick Groat have moved on after a couple of weeks of drama. How does that situate the Pirates in both the short and long term?

In the immediate future, GW doesn't see a huge dropoff. Delwyn Young will hit as well as Freddy, and Ronny Cedeno will field almost as well as Jack Splat.

But there's no doubt the team will be a little weaker; Young may or may not become competent at a position he hasn't played regularly since 2005, and Cedeno is in an 0-for-26 funk coming to Pittsburgh. So both the offense and defense both take a hit.

But it shouldn't send the team into a death spiral. People bemoan the loss of leadership; we say it's time the diaper dandies take control of their destinies; if there was any question that it's their team now, yesterday dispelled that notion.

What there is little doubt of is that the team won't be feeling its oats until 2012, when the puppies that Neal Huntington has in the minor league kennel start to show their fangs.

The team is still thin in starting pitching, and he addressed that by picking up Tim Alderson. He's highly thought of, but he's young and has a barely discernible K-rate. But he's projected to be a middle-of-the-pack starter, and the Pirates needed an arm like that in the upper levels of the organization badly.

He also added three guys at the A level, and that's an infusion that was way overdue. Maybe one will make it to PNC, maybe not, but at least he did something to add some hope to the mix. Rudy Owens is overachieving; Bryan Morris, Jeffrey Locke, Justin Wilson, and Quinton Miller aren't.

It does look as if they've gotten a couple of kids with a shot to rise to the top in this year's draft, but they're years away.

Jeff Clements may or may not become the next Ryan Doumit. His college power hasn't translated into pro ball, but he's still capable of 15-20 MLB homers, and being a lefty at PNC doesn't hurt.

But the catcher has a bad case of the dropsies in the field, and his surgically repaired knees don't seem to indicate a long shelf life behind the dish. The Bucs will try him there and at first. Otherwise, they'll just bundle him up and ship him to the junior circuit as a DH.

All in all, nothing to get excited about, at least for a couple of seasons. The dynamic duo brought back a couple of prospects, and only time will provide the answer to their potential.

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