At this point, in mid-January, it appears that fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates have been lied to by the Pirates’ front office. The Pirates told the fans that once there was a competitive team on the field, that they would be willing to spend the money necessary to add talent to the already competitive roster. With just one month until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, that looks like a blatant lie.
Whether or not the Pirates have had the most disappointing offseason in the National League Central division is debatable. The St. Louis Cardinals seem to have won the offseason, filling their only major weakness, shortstop, by signing Jhonny Peralta. They acquired a great defensive centerfielder, Peter Bourjos, and have plenty of help on the way via their farm system.
The Chicago Cubs have added a few nice bullpen pieces, and remain a team that is on the rumor mill on several players. The Milwaukee Brewers, like the Cubs, are probably a few years away from competing, so they don’t necessarily need to be adding talent to their MLB roster. The only significant move they made this offseason was trading Norichika Aoki to the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Will Smith. Based on the state of the teams, I would argue that the worst NL Central offseason has either been the Cincinnati Reds or the Pirates.
The Reds lost one of the best players in baseball, Shin-Soo Choo to the Texas Rangers, and expect to replace him with young speedster Billy Hamilton. Hamilton is pretty much a one-trick pony (he is fast). The Pirates lost Marlon Byrd, Justin Morneau and Garrett Jones, and are potentially going to lose A.J. Burnett to retirement. To replace them, the Pirates have added a backup catcher Chris Stewart, a terrible pitcher in Edinson Volquez, and some minor league corner infielders and corner outfielders. Instead of spending money on a decent first baseman, the Pirates chose to go the cheap route and acquire minor league players.
To say the Pirates had the worst offseason in the NL Central might be a bit of a stretch, simply because the rest of the division didn’t do a whole lot, but to say they disappointed their fan base is completely true. This offseason had a ton of potential for the Pirates, and — to this point — they blew it.