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MLB

Pittsburgh Pirates Enter 2013 With Minimal Expectations

Pittsburgh Pirates fans

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates look considerably weaker than they did this time last season but, perhaps entering 2013 under-the-radar could be a good thing. Let’s not kid ourselves the Pirates haven’t entered a season as favorites in over two decades. Now, with shut-down closer Joel Hanrahan leaving the club I don’t expect much from this team in 2013.

Offseason acquisitions include Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano but neither are the type of players that I want lining up for me on a daily basis. In large part because of Martin’s disappointing efforts the last time he was in the National League as a Los Angeles Dodger. Liriano hasn’t been a factor for years and I doubt he can make waves as the fourth starter for the Pirates.

Andrew McCutchen has to be tired of shouldering so much of the offensive load in just his fifth professional season. Had it not been for a great season from Buster Posey I have no doubt that McCutchen’s 31 home runs, .327 batting average and National League Leading 194 hits would’ve won him the MVP.

To ask McCutchen to put up these ridiculous numbers may be a little much as they need someone else to step up big in 2013. I wonder if the Pirates have the offensive pieces to put together an MLB playoff team. Currently Garrett Jones is hitting behind McCutchen and he slammed 27 home runs in just 145 games in 2012 and he will be a big factor if the Pirates look to capitalize on a weak NL Central.

Aside from the Cincinnati Reds the NL Central has to be one of the worst divisions in the league–the Pirates aren’t expected to much this year but could easily place second in 2013.