Exit Interviews- A Short Buctober


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Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.

I thought this was the year. The Pittsburgh Pirates had been to the playoffs the two previous years, and seemed prime to break out. They did, in the sense that they had the second best record in baseball this year. For the second straight year though, a dominant starting pitcher came into PNC Park in the Wild Card Game and slammed the door in their face. This time it was even worse though, as it was an upstart from their own division doing it to them, in their park.

Obviously the Pirates have to address their Cubs issue, and specifically their Jake Arrieta issue, if they are going to get over the top. They had their chances against him, and seemed both unlucky and lost at the same time. You simply can’t be a lock to lose to a pitcher five or six times in your own division each year and think you’re going to win that division. They have to figure that out, or get personnel who will.

Forget that though, because really the Pirates face a larger issue. They are no longer the feel-good story they were in 2013, they are a team with three playoff appearances in a row and no NLCS games. Their owners have to make a decision to go for it, and soon. Yes, it’s nice to lock up the home-grown talent in the form of Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole, but is that going to be enough? Does this team not need to go get another top of the rotation arm that can throw against an Arrieta? Do they not need to go and get a mega-bat, possibly at first base, to boost their offense. They have a deep staff and play good defense, but they don’t necessarily have an intimidating rotation or loaded offense right now. They have a wonderful outfield. They could use a little more though.

And so, the Pirates enter the off-season disappointed in a season where they had the second best record in the game. They need to give their GM the ability to upgrade this roster a little bit more, meaning spend money, to put this team over the top. If they don’t do that, we’ve basically seen their peak as a group.

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