The goal each and every year for the past 17 years has been to finish the season with a .500 record. This year the Pirates will once again try to break the curse of Barry Bonds, they have not had a winning season since Barry left town 17 years ago. It seems in 2010 that the lineup could be good enough to break even, but their are big questions in the starting rotation, and we all have to wonder when management will decide someone makes too much money and trades them to a contender. That is all the Pirates are anymore, a developmental team for the rest of baseball. Don’t like it, step up Pirates management and prove me wrong.
So just how good is Andrew McClutchen? He is the 11th overall pick from the 2005 MLB draft, and was drafted between Cameron Maybin and Jay Bruce. While he has taken longer to get to the majors than the other two, he clearly had the best 2009 season of the three. He is a five tool player that has inherited the center field position due to a trade. Many project him as a 30 home run 30 steal player, and the Pirates are sure going to need him to step up big time.
What about Pedro Alvarez? Well if Andrew is Mr. Right now, Alvarez is Mr. Next big thing. This third baseman will likely start the season in Triple A ball, but at some point he should get a crack at some major league pitching. He is more offense then he is defense, but they may be able to live with that.
Other than that the Pirates have questions at the back end of their rotation, and their starting rotation will feature at least one 2009 all star, Paul Maholm who has started 29 games in each of the last four seasons, but their best individual ERA was the 2.92 put up by Ross Ohlendorf. That is going to have to come down.