It is another new year for the Pirates. I had completely expected to just be ready for a horrible season that would include dumping a few more players at the trade deadline. I was ready, braced for the bad summer. But then the Pirates traded for Dickerson, an All-Star from the Rays, for a fairly reasonable price.
Now, I am at a loss. The Pirates did send away two greats, but they did pick up some pieces. Third base has a good outlook, and McCutchen's offense is mostly replaced by Dickerson. The Pirates have hope to replace Cole with the many young arms they have. It was the deepest spot on the roster (with middle infield perhaps the other). Nova and Taillon should hold the front down with Williams, Kuhl, Brault, Glasnow, Kingham, and others trying to fill the back end. That is a lot of options.
And Meadows has looked really good in the spring making me think his arrival could be sooner rather than later. That would lessen the need for Polanco to be all we hoped he could be.
I know the NL Central is loaded. The Cubs are loaded. The Cards are never bad. The Brewers are trying to make a run. But, there is a lot of talent on this team. Unlike Pirate years in the past, where I had to convince myself that Randal Simon and Brian Bixler were going take a huge step up, I don't think a lot of convincing is needed.
Sure, the Pirate prospects probably lack that mega-star, but they have a lot of guys that could be better than league average at almost every position. Would we be surprised if Bell was a big home run hitter with a high OBP? No. Would we be surprised if Marte hit .300 with decent pop? No, he has done it before? Would we be surprised if Polanco took a step forward this year? No. Would be be surprised if Moran turned out to be a solid every day 3B? No, not really. Would would be surprised if Mercer hit as he has the last couple of years? No. Would we be surprised if Harrison hit near .290 and provided energy? No. Would we be surprised if Taillon became the top tier pitcher in a year without cancer? No. Would we be surprised if the Pirates found a 5th starter? No. Are we going to be surprised if The Nightmare continues to pitch great? No. Would we be surprised if the rebuilt bullpen is better? No. Would we be surprised if Frazier provided good utility work on a regular basis? No.
The only real holes appear to be catcher where I would be surprised if Cervelli got better or remained healthy, and pinch hitters, where I would be surprised if the bench showed power and if Sean Rodriguez did well.
So, here I am, stressed and in the middle. I would be surprised if a lot of these guys were good. But I would not be surprised if someone of them weren't (Polanco, Moran, and Harrison to be exact). I am impressed the Pirates got me here after the trades, but I might just be a fool again.