Pittsburgh Pirates: An Essay in Failure



A frequent image of Pirates players over the past 30+ years.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have just completed their 9th 100 loss season, with an abysmal record of 61-101. The worst part? They were even worse last year, with a 162 game Pace of 51.3-110.7.

The Pirates have been a basement-dweller for a long time, and there are many things to blame for this.
For every failing business, there is a failing owner, and Bob Nutting fits the bill perfectly.
Becoming the owner in 2007, they have has a 1069-1256-1 record, not even winning 46% of their games, with just 3 playoff appearances and just 1 series win in 2013.

This can be explained because of 1 thing: not investing in the team.

This year, they had a $40 million payroll, 29th in the league. Francisco Lindor of the New York Mets is making $45.3 million, more than the entire team combined, and for an overall team’s payroll the LA Dodgers leads at over $267 million, over 6 times as much.

Not only is the owner not investing in the product but he also hires the wrong guys as well.
To show you how incompetent management has been for the past 3 decades all I need to show is 1 quote.
Neil Hunnington said after his baseball team went on a 4-24 stretch, “We did 10,000 simulations and we went 4-24 only 8 times.”

That statement is so comical that it perfectly encapsulates how out of touch this team has been for so many years. They constantly tried to balance building for the future and winning now but all that led to is mediocrity and now complete garbage.

The beginning of the end was the 2017 when the 2 biggest stars, Andrew McCutchen and Gerritt Cole, were traded for the equivalent of nothing as the only assets to still be on the team are Colin Moran and Bryan Renyolds, who was an all-star this year. Still, that is not much for a former MVP and a Cy Young candidate.

However, the true “point of no return” was the Chris Archer deal, where we traded for him for Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow, both of whom became key pieces of the World Series Tampa Bay Rays last year.

The manager, Derek Shelton, has an 80-142 record with the club as he has never been a manager at any level before.

The entire team is uninspired from top to bottom and it feels like every time they find a quality player, they trade him.

This team has went from 98 wins in 2015 to the worst team in baseball over the last 2 years and it’s blatantly obvious as to why. The team is bad at developing, drafting, and trading. They are given such little money compared to other teams that it’s extremely difficult for them to make big moves that most other teams could make due to cap.

I only need to go to a few examples because it is all the same at this point, this team hasn’t cracked 100 wins since 1909, hasn’t won a world series since 1979, and hasn’t made it past the National League Semifinals since 1992, and they won’t reach those markers for a long time to come.

The Pirates are an essay in failure, and they pass that test with flying colors.