I hope that all had a Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a great 2010. The question is for us Pirate fans, what kind of 2010 can we look for?
I think it is not out of the question to expect a winning season, but I think that what is assured is that we will see lots of new faces at Pittsburgh, some long awaited.
There is no doubt that Tabata, Lincoln, and Alvarez will make major league debutes this year, but right now it looks as if Pittsburgh will keep all of them underwraps until midseason. This means that some trades will have to be made to open up spots for these guys. Expect Zack Duke to get traded before the deadline. He is really the last decent piece we have, and that will open a spot for Brad Lincoln. I do not think they will trade Andy LaRoche, and it would probably only take a demotion of someone to the minors like a Ramon Vasquez to elevate Pedro Alvarez. Who they trade to make room for Tabata is anyone's guess. Maybe it will just be as simple as finally deciding to get rid of Stephen Pierce and put Jones at Firstbase for good. Anyway, seeing these three guys come up should make the end of 2010 a nice glimpse of the future of the Pirates.
As for what we can expect on the field, we will see the Pirates break camp in all probability with 5 outfielders, a giant hole at firstbase, and one of the better outfields in the game. The pitching rotation will be young, but talented, and the bullpen will be brand new and will take some time to see if it works out.
I do think the Pirates have an outside chance to win the division. The Cubs are a walking disaster, and the Cardinals look like they are going to lose out on Matt Holliday. They might pick up Jason Bay to replace him, but they still have a hole at third base, and a pitching staff that is good but likely to get injured (Chris Carpenter). The Astros do not have anything that much better than us and the Reds are also in the same boat. It will take a lot of things falling into place such as another good year from Ross Ohlendorf and an improved year from Paul Malholm, not to mention a bullpen that can close games, but the Pirates are good enough to do it, in what just might be the worst division in baseball.
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