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Thread: A positive article from ESPN

      
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    Default A positive article from ESPN


    The 17-year nightmare is almost over:

    The Pittsburgh Pirates, behind a sound strategy, are poised to be relevant

    After seeing that headline I decided to buy an insider account just so I could see what they have to say.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/hotst...ory?id=4869229

    TOPIC: WHY THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES HAVE MLB'S BEST ORGANIZATIONAL PLAN

    The Setup

    Quick: What do the Pittsburgh Pirates have in common with Right Said Fred?

    (Waiting.)

    Neither has been relevant since 1992! Zing.

    All right, now that we've gotten a Pirates joke out of the way, it's time to get serious; that's exactly what the Bucs themselves are doing. Since Neal Huntington was hired as GM in September 2007, he has had the singular focus of rebuilding the Pirates from the ground up. The complete housecleaning done by Huntington is pretty much unprecedented in recent baseball history. To succeed as a major league GM, you need to have a vision for the organization that is within your means. No GM in the game has a more clear-cut plan than Huntington, and he is executing it perfectly. Fear not, Pirates fans, relevance is fast approaching.

    The Proof

    As we've learned from teams such as the Minnesota Twins and Colorado Rockies, the formula for winning on a modest budget is relatively simple: Acquire and develop prospects via the draft, international signings and trades. Since a player's salary is controlled until he hits free agency after six years of service time, you can build a winner around pre-free-agency impact players without spending 10 figures on payroll. Additionally, you can sign your best youngsters to long-term deals early on in their careers, buying out their first couple of free agency years in the process. It's a maneuver that was popularized by then-Cleveland Indians GM John Hart in the mid-1990s.

    While the formula is straightforward, the execution is not. The problem Huntington faced when he took over is that he inherited a barren farm system, and a major league roster with one star (Jason Bay) and a bunch of unspectacular veterans like Xavier Nady, Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez and Adam LaRoche. While those guys aren't cornerstones for a championship team, they are not without value. Over the course of the past two seasons, Huntington has done everything in his power to exploit their value, by trading all of the players mentioned above, along with Nate McLouth, Eric Hinske, Nyjer Morgan, Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow in a variety of deals for a boatload of prospects.

    Obviously, the bulk of these minor leaguers are not going to pan out. That's OK, because most prospects don't pan out. (Everyone thought Delmon Young would have a batting title by now. He doesn't.) But if you hoard enough decent prospects, some of them are going to make an impact. And Huntington has certainly been hoarding. In Baseball America's recently published 2010 prospect handbook, 10 of the Pirates' top 30 prospects were acquired in the aforementioned deals.

    Of the players Huntington traded, McLouth was the only one who could legitimately have been part of the rebuilding effort. However, the centerfielder plays the same position as 23-year-old wunderkind Andrew McCutchen, who hit 286/.365/.471 last year and is the cornerstone of the Pirates' rebuilding plan. All the other players traded were approaching free agency, already past their prime or both. While fans had to endure an 18-41 record during the last two months of the 2009 season, the team wasn't going anywhere anyway. The Pirates saved a lot of money they were paying to mediocre veterans, and as they've shown in the past couple of drafts, they now know how to put their cash to good use.

    After being mocked for passing over Matt Wieters in the 2007 draft because of his bonus demands, the Pirates spent big on third baseman Pedro Alvarez with the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft. More importantly, the club has been aggressive in the later rounds of the draft, giving big bonuses to elite high school talents as a way of convincing them not to go to college. They went well over MLB's recommended bonus for three high school players in Rounds 2-10 of the 2009 draft, including giving two players (RHP Zack Von Rosenberg and LHP Colton Cain) bonuses in excess of seven figures. In 2008, in addition to the $6 million bonus they gave Alvarez, the Bucs signed high school outfielder Robbie Grossman for $1 million in the sixth round and right-hander Quinton Miller for $900,000 in the 20th. All of these players would have been drafted in the first couple of rounds if teams didn't think they were going to college. Money talks, however, and when the Pirates flashed the cash, these kids signed on the dotted line.

    For small-market teams (really, for any team), this is wise. If you whiff on a high school player, it's a million bucks. Most teams spend that on a middling middle reliever. But if you hit the jackpot, it's a valuable commodity for at least six years of MLB service time. Unlike big league free agents, the draft is one place where every team can financially compete for the top talents.

    The Conclusion

    By getting rid of players in the age 26-31 range and hoarding players in the 19-24 range, the Pirates are putting themselves in position to compete in 2013. And by showing a willingness to spend in the draft, the Pirates should be able to continue to bring up talent to support the likes of McCutchen and Alvarez. Pittsburgh fans are surely tired of waiting for a winner, but they've already waited 17 seasons for one. What's a couple more?

    Matt Meyers is an associate editor with ESPN The Magazine. You can find his online archives here.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A positive article from ESPN

    Nothing new really and I think he may be a year or two late by saying the "Pirates will be ready to compete in 2013"

    but nice to see someone at ESPN paying attention.

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    Default Re: A positive article from ESPN

    Awesome. I also recently purchased Insider. It has been worth it.

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    Default Re: A positive article from ESPN

    Great, positive article.....I'm on board with the draft philosophy we have displayed and reinforced in the article.......
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    Default Re: A positive article from ESPN

    I have been saying the following words, almost exactly, for 3-4 years:

    Acquire and develop prospects via the draft, international signings and trades.
    Funny.

    Anyways, it is a good strategy--still do not agree with the direction from last year's first round pick, but whatever--and hopefully it works out.
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    Default ESPN Hot Stove : Nightmare Almsot Over

    The 17-year nightmare is almost over

    The Pittsburgh Pirates, behind a sound strategy, are poised to be relevant


    By Matt Meyers
    ESPN The Magazine

    Editor's note: Hot Stove U. is a six-week course devoted to higher learning, a series consisting of 30 need-to-know topics for 2010.
    The Setup

    Quick: What do the Pittsburgh Pirates have in common with Right Said Fred?

    (Waiting.)

    Neither has been relevant since 1992! Zing.

    All right, now that we've gotten a Pirates joke out of the way, it's time to get serious; that's exactly what the Bucs themselves are doing. Since Neal Huntington was hired as GM in September 2007, he has had the singular focus of rebuilding the Pirates from the ground up. The complete housecleaning done by Huntington is pretty much unprecedented in recent baseball history. To succeed as a major league GM, you need to have a vision for the organization that is within your means. No GM in the game has a more clear-cut plan than Huntington, and he is executing it perfectly. Fear not, Pirates fans, relevance is fast approaching.

    Heard this one before? Sure, sure ... Pirates ... relevance ... Jason Bay ... Aramis Ramirez ... Zach Duke as an ace ... right, right ... but seriously, on the other side of this pay wall, Matt Meyers makes some good points about the Buccos. So, if you're into baseball and rebuilding projects, go for this one. However, you'll need to be an ESPN Insider.


    (anyone have insider access to post the rest of this?)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: ESPN Hot Stove : Nightmare Almsot Over

    I'll check to see if I can access. I couldn't access insider stuff earlier.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: ESPN Hot Stove : Nightmare Almsot Over

    The full article was already posted in another thread titled "finally a positive article from ESPN" or something like that. I'll bump it

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A positive article from ESPN

    bump

  10. #10
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    Default Re: ESPN Hot Stove : Nightmare Almsot Over

    Here you go Kip


    Editor's note: Hot Stove U. is a six-week course devoted to higher learning, a series consisting of 30 need-to-know topics for 2010.


    TOPIC: WHY THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES HAVE MLB'S BEST ORGANIZATIONAL PLAN


    The Setup


    Quick: What do the Pittsburgh Pirates have in common with Right Said Fred?



    (Waiting.)



    Neither has been relevant since 1992! Zing.

    All right, now that we've gotten a Pirates joke out of the way, it's time to get serious; that's exactly what the Bucs themselves are doing. Since Neal Huntington was hired as GM in September 2007, he has had the singular focus of rebuilding the Pirates from the ground up. The complete housecleaning done by Huntington is pretty much unprecedented in recent baseball history. To succeed as a major league GM, you need to have a vision for the organization that is within your means. No GM in the game has a more clear-cut plan than Huntington, and he is executing it perfectly. Fear not, Pirates fans, relevance is fast approaching.

    The Proof


    As we've learned from teams such as the Minnesota Twins and Colorado Rockies, the formula for winning on a modest budget is relatively simple: Acquire and develop prospects via the draft, international signings and trades. Since a player's salary is controlled until he hits free agency after six years of service time, you can build a winner around pre-free-agency impact players without spending 10 figures on payroll. Additionally, you can sign your best youngsters to long-term deals early on in their careers, buying out their first couple of free agency years in the process. It's a maneuver that was popularized by then-Cleveland Indians GM John Hart in the mid-1990s.



    While the formula is straightforward, the execution is not. The problem Huntington faced when he took over is that he inherited a barren farm system, and a major league roster with one star (Jason Bay) and a bunch of unspectacular veterans like Xavier Nady, Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez and Adam LaRoche. While those guys aren't cornerstones for a championship team, they are not without value. Over the course of the past two seasons, Huntington has done everything in his power to exploit their value, by trading all of the players mentioned above, along with Nate McLouth, Eric Hinske, Nyjer Morgan, Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow in a variety of deals for a boatload of prospects.

    Obviously, the bulk of these minor leaguers are not going to pan out. That's OK, because most prospects don't pan out. (Everyone thought Delmon Young would have a batting title by now. He doesn't.) But if you hoard enough decent prospects, some of them are going to make an impact. And Huntington has certainly been hoarding. In Baseball America's recently published 2010 prospect handbook, 10 of the Pirates' top 30 prospects were acquired in the aforementioned deals.



    Of the players Huntington traded, McLouth was the only one who could legitimately have been part of the rebuilding effort. However, the centerfielder plays the same position as 23-year-old wunderkind Andrew McCutchen, who hit 286/.365/.471 last year and is the cornerstone of the Pirates' rebuilding plan. All the other players traded were approaching free agency, already past their prime or both. While fans had to endure an 18-41 record during the last two months of the 2009 season, the team wasn't going anywhere anyway. The Pirates saved a lot of money they were paying to mediocre veterans, and as they've shown in the past couple of drafts, they now know how to put their cash to good use.

    After being mocked for passing over Matt Wieters in the 2007 draft because of his bonus demands, the Pirates spent big on third baseman Pedro Alvarez with the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft. More importantly, the club has been aggressive in the later rounds of the draft, giving big bonuses to elite high school talents as a way of convincing them not to go to college. They went well over MLB's recommended bonus for three high school players in Rounds 2-10 of the 2009 draft, including giving two players (RHP Zack Von Rosenberg and LHP Colton Cain) bonuses in excess of seven figures. In 2008, in addition to the $6 million bonus they gave Alvarez, the Bucs signed high school outfielder Robbie Grossman for $1 million in the sixth round and right-hander Quinton Miller for $900,000 in the 20th. All of these players would have been drafted in the first couple of rounds if teams didn't think they were going to college. Money talks, however, and when the Pirates flashed the cash, these kids signed on the dotted line.



    For small-market teams (really, for any team), this is wise. If you whiff on a high school player, it's a million bucks. Most teams spend that on a middling middle reliever. But if you hit the jackpot, it's a valuable commodity for at least six years of MLB service time. Unlike big league free agents, the draft is one place where every team can financially compete for the top talents.

    The Conclusion


    By getting rid of players in the age 26-31 range and hoarding players in the 19-24 range, the Pirates are putting themselves in position to compete in 2013. And by showing a willingness to spend in the draft, the Pirates should be able to continue to bring up talent to support the likes of McCutchen and Alvarez. Pittsburgh fans are surely tired of waiting for a winner, but they've already waited 17 seasons for one. What's a couple more?



    Matt Meyers is an associate editor with ESPN The Magazine. You can find his online archives here.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: ESPN Hot Stove : Nightmare Almsot Over

    Hello??? anybody home? Think McFly, think!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: ESPN Hot Stove : Nightmare Almsot Over

    ****... Ira, sorry. I didnt see your thread and I swear I looked first too..

    I'll merge the 2 and leave yours as the main one

  13. #13
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    Default Re: A positive article from ESPN

    Maybe this will be the year they finally back up their words about being aggressive in the latin american market......so far it has just been talk.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: A positive article from ESPN

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Maybe this will be the year they finally back up their words about being aggressive in the latin american market......so far it has just been talk.
    I think they will be. I have really been heartened by these recent interviews with the FO people. You have to remember that they are all new at this--being the leaders, that is. They made a few mistakes (like with Sano), but they will learn from them. I say this because Huntington is not shy to admit when and how something went wrong. They will only get better, imo. This year is going to be interesting because fans are going to be looking for tangible results at the ML level.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: A positive article from ESPN

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Maybe this will be the year they finally back up their words about being aggressive in the latin american market......so far it has just been talk.
    They spent near $3 million this year from a report or 2 I've seen. That's more than they've ever spent in LA from what I know..

    So, they've already done what you've said. they just haven't signed an overpriced huge risk player that has a small chance of ever living up to hype and money expectations like most Latin american players that get big money... which is fine with me as long as they are finding talent and it's eventually getting itself through the system

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