The last two seasons have seen the Pittsburgh Pirates have a strong first half before faltering in the second half of the year.
The Pirates are trying to reverse that with more starting pitching including the signing of Francisco Liriano this week. The move will make Liriano the No. 2 starter in the Pittsburgh rotation and may just help the team stay afloat even longer in 2013.
Liriano was dominant when he came up with the Minnesota Twins but needed Tommy John surgery and since then, Liriano just hasn’t been the same. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox last season and now is with his third team in less than six months. Pittsburgh does have a decent rotation led by Liriano and A.J. Burnett now but I’m not sure that the Pirates can be good enough to contend for a divisional title in 2013. It is positive that Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez have had another year to mature but the pitching just isn’t there even with Liriano on board.
Pittsburgh has two big-time pitching prospects still in the minor leagues that could be a year or two away but the time is now to win for the Pirates. If the team could get another starter to plug in there, I think they will be in better shape.
I love what the Pirates have done but unless the pitching is there all season long and the offense can keep improving the way it has been, it may be another under .500 season for the Pirates. The fans are interested in Pittsburgh but could be watching another year go by without the playoffs.
Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports or like his Facebook page.