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The Pittsburgh Pirates are “Rebuilding” Again

Here is what the Pirate formula of “Rebuilding” is and why you shouldn’t get your hopes up.

PNC Park by David Mark is in the Public Domain

The Pittsburgh Pirates are “Rebuilding” Again


Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

It happens every 5 years or so, the Pittsburgh Pirates are “rebuilding”. Every sports franchise rebuilds from time to time. However, when you’ve been doing it since 1993, I wouldn’t call it rebuilding. I call it “rebuilding”. Rebuilding gives hope for a brighter future, that things may be bleak now, but they’ll get better. “Rebuilding” (with the quotes) is some bullshit an organization will try to sell its fans on, in the hopes they’ll buy into an idea that it never plans on materializing.

The Pirates have been selling “Rebuilding” for almost 3 decades and fans shouldn’t buy it anymore.

Baseball was back! But short lived…

In 2015, the Pirates had a 98 win season, advancing to the playoffs for the third season in a row. Baseball was back in Pittsburgh! There wasn’t a sports fan near the three rivers who wasn’t referring to the 10th month in the calendar year as ‘Buctober’. Looking back on those three seasons from 2013-2015, there was little done other than rolling with an elite group of protects turned MLB players.

Certain players, like Gerrit Cole, were sure to be priced out of the Pirate’s reach fairly quickly. Other players like Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Charlie Morton, Mark Melancon, Tony Watson, and Neil Walker were going to be on the chopping block because, well, that was part of the formula. Fans were then sold on the idea of a new generation of protects. Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, Jameson Taillon, and Josh Bell. A new young core the team could build around. After completing the fire sale of that core this week, the Pirates formula of “Rebuilding” has now come into the light.

  • Trade players for prospects,
  • Grow prospects into MLB players,
  • Trade prospects for players

Rinse and Repeat

Inevitably any small market team is going to lose an All-Star like Gerrit Cole to a big market team like the Yankees. There was literally a movie about it. And trading an All-Star away for something, rather than losing him for nothing, is a fine baseball move. However, the situation differs when you do that with every player of note on your team.

Just before sinking back into the baseball basement, the fan base clamored for one big move, something that would prove the team was intent on at least trying. In that, they packaged up two of their best prospects (Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows) for Chris Archer. Archer fell flat and the Pirates finished 2020 with the worst record in baseball, as Glasnow and Meadows played in the World Series.

Rinse and Repeat

The Pirates have now dealt away a generation of “prospects turned solid players” that were meant to be the heir apparent to the 2015 crop of “prospects turned solid players” that were also dealt away. The Pirates never add anything higher than a bottom of the rotation arm or a platoon outfielder. Big market free agents are out of the picture, but money ball has seen success in the smaller markets, when the organization tries.

Is there anyone alive out there?

Pittsburgh is a sports town, and it got that way because of the Pirates. It boasts the best ballpark (and ballpark views) in the majors and a rich organizational history. And it’s all wasted on Bob Nutting and the current Pirates organization. Selling us on “Rebuilding” for damn near 30 years. There are 446 bridges in Pittsburgh and the Pirates are running out of ones to sell us.

Rinse and Repeat

The only thing Pirate fans can hope for at this point is this current group of prospects maturing, making it to the big leagues, and making the playoffs before they are traded off. And they will be traded, every last one of them that gets called up to the bigs. It’s all part of the formula.

Rinse and Repeat

Rinse and Repeat

Christian is husband, father and video editor working in New York City. Originally from the Greater Pittsburgh Area he is a life long fan The Steelers, Penguins and Pirates as well as Professional Wrestling.

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