Spring Training begins and there is real reason to hope this year. The Pirates start this season with so much depth it is scary. They didn't do a ton during the offseason, but every move was with great purpose.
They have made the bench depth better. Cory Hart is probably an upgrade over Ike Davis. Sean Rodriguiz and Kang are both upgrades. Pedro Alvarez is a bit of a question mark at first, but his raw power makes it a real possible upgrade at first over Gabby. And while the Pirates may have stepped back a bit behind home plate, going to get Cervelli is still good enough. Add to that the real reason to hope that Polanco is an upgrade in the outfield, and the Pirates look set in the field.
But the pitching is great too. Lirano, Cole, Morton, Worley, and Locke are back. But adding AJ Burnett is huge. The bullpen looks good with many new faces like Liz to help fill out the long relief. It is a comforting thing.
But the real greatness is in all the people ready to come up and fill time. Andrew Lambo is ready for first or outfield, and may beat out Tabata for the final bench spot. Brandon Crumpton is ready to fill in the rotation. Nick Kingham and Jameson Taillon will be ready by July or so. You have Sadler who can go to the bullpen if needed. Adrian Sampson might prove hard to ignore as well. Lafromboise will probably be a lefty for the pen in the minors. That is a lot of pitching depth.
And I really did not even think about those who could break out to earn shots if needed like Jaff Decker, who is still on the 40 man.
In short the Pirates look good at pitching both starting and bullpen. They look great in the infield with the possible exception of first base where they have a lot of possible parts. They are amazing in the outfield with spare parts. This should be the year to move forward and start thinking division title.
Game thread: Pirates debut at McKechnie
14 hours ago