We continue with our look at the 30 MLB franchises as they head into the 2021 season. And on this piece, we examine The State of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Trading Josh Bell
The Pittsburgh Pirates are undoubtedly going into a major rebuild. The first domino of that rebuild to fall was Josh Bell. Josh Bell had quietly become the face of the Pirates franchise since the departure of Andrew McCutchen. And while Bell would have a poor showing in 2020, his talent is still there. Moving on from Bell only serves to alienate Pirates Fans further and cause them to lack trust in the front office.
Trading Joe Musgrove & Jameson Taillon
Trading off another homegrown (potential) aces in Joe Musgrove and Jameson Taillon brings the same ill-fated ire as Bell. The Pirates were not going to compete in any meaningful games in 2021. But when you trade away two players that fans can rally behind, you hurt your team.
State of the Rotation
One of the most certain things about the upcoming 2021 season is the Pittsburgh Pirates will be rebuilding. And teams that fall into the rebuild category will suffer a lot of losses. The rotation for the Pirates is subject to a lot of questions. However, the young Pirates pitching staff will be afforded a plethora of opportunities. The rotation for Pittsburgh will likely be a rotation by committee. And young players from Pittsburgh’s Minor League affiliates will take the mound in the Steel City. We are also likely to see some veterans attempting to re-establish their value in hopes of securing another Major League contract.
State of the Bullpen
Much like with the starting rotation, the bullpen for the Pirates is likely a fluid situation. Many arms will pitch the more than 1400 innings required to complete the Major League season. And just like with the rotation, the bullpen will be a pitching staff by committee.
State of the Offense
Pittsburgh is facing an identity crisis of sorts. After trading away, many of their best players, the Pirates’ run-scoring ability will be diminished. However, there are bright spots in Pittsburgh’s lineup. Players like Bryan Reynolds, Adam Frazier, and Ke’Bryan Hayes are the offensive threats in the Pittsburgh lineup. But the majority of the lineup, like every other aspect of the Pirates, will be an area in flux and experimentation.
State of the Franchise
We’ve said it several times now in this article that the Pittsburgh Pirates are rebuilding. The 2021 season will play host as a year of search and discovery. There is a real legacy about the Pittsburgh Pirates. And they have a fan base that wants to rally behind them. But they’ve been mistreated and ignored by their front office. So as the 2021 season begins, it will be a season that fans, players, and front office alike will want to be over quickly.
There are a few bright spots that fans can try and latch onto in 2021. But if the Pirates front office has displayed anything this offseason, it’s don’t get too attached to anyone. Because they quickly could end up somewhere else.