At a time when MLB teams are wheeling and dealing, the Pittsburgh Pirates remain dormant. They might make some mediocre minor league or backup position player moves, but when it comes to the marquee moves like Carlos Beltran to the New York Yankees, the Pirates just sit back and watch.
The lack of movement has a lot of Pirates fans concerned. After all, some would think that after the fantastic season they had in 2013, the front office might change its approach to the offseason.
For those fans that think such things, you must have just started following the team this past season. If you know anything about the Pirates’ front office, it is well known that owner Bob Nutting is very tight-fisted in terms of money spent on the team and when he spends it.
Nutting has said during years of losing that he will spend money when the team is legitimately a contender, and to his word last season, he put forth the money to make several moves after the trade deadline. Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau were players that were brought in with price tags that were usually too high and out of reach for the Pirates organization.
Even though Nutting held up his word last season, that doesn’t mean that the checkbook has been opened for players of Beltran’s status to start thinking about Pittsburgh as a potential landing spot. There have been rumors of possible Pirate acquisitions. James Loney and Mike Napoli are two players names that have been tossed around, and even David Price‘s name has been brought up in trade rumors.
For Pirates fans that have been around the block, they know this as nothing more than lip service. Look at the acquisitions that were made last season. Francisco Liriano was essentially acquired at a bargain basement cost, but the biggest acquisition was bringing in catcher Russell Martin. He was signed as a free agent and the contract was not a cheap one, but moves of this kind are certainly not the norm on the North Shore of Pittsburgh.
This offseason, I don’t expect the Pirates to be buyers again even if they were last season. I believe the Pirates are still holding out hope that A.J. Burnett decides to return for one more season at PNC Park, and a moderate bat might be added to the lineup. However, that bat might not be from outside the organization.
This team is built on pitching, and the organization still feels strongly in regards to their current staff. If there is one thing that ultimately goes through Bob Nutting’s head at this time of the year it is simply this: “This team got to the NLDS and nearly defeated the St. Louis Cardinals to advance to the NLCS. We are bringing back most of our lineup, what else needs to be done?”
That is the difference between the Bucs and a team with deep pockets like the Yankees or Boston Red Sox. They are always looking for ways to improve the team, but the Pirates seem to be content with what they have.
I do see the Pirates making moves at the Winter Meetings or shortly after, but those moves will not be the types that will satisfy the fanbase. Moves or no moves, the Pirates’ fanbase should not be shocked over their lack of movement this offseason. Regardless of how last season ended, some things never change.
Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for RantSports.com and also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @BnGBlitz