“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” ~ Attributed to Goethe
The Pirates should go after Prince Fielder.
They are need of a first baseman and in need of a cleanup hitter. Prince would take care of both in one move. He is only 27 years of age which has long been thought of as the magic age a player’s performance improves dramatically. I’m not sure one can improve too much on 38 HRs and .299 average, but I’d like to find out. Rumors have it that it will take upwards of $20-25 million per year to land the coveted free agent. Most assume the Pirates can not, or at least will not, afford that amount of payroll on one player.
The new collective bargaining agreement works against the Pirates’ recent strategy of paying above slot for draft picks. The new CBA essentially caps the amount a team can spend on picks in the first 10 rounds. This move discourages money being spent in the draft and encourages money to be spent in free agency. Assuming that the Pirates now will be spending less money in the draft, there should be more money available for the active roster.
The two best teams in the division are growing weaker this offseason. The Cardinals lost Albert Pujols, and needed everything he gave to get the wild card last year. Not only will the Brewers be losing Prince Fielder, but reigning MVP Ryan Braun is facing a 50 game suspension for using performance enhancing drugs (it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy). Adding one of the premiere hitters to the Pirates roster could be just enough to change the landscape in the Central Division.
With Fielder batting cleanup, it would alleviate pressure for other players to provide the long ball and allow them to play to their strengths. Imagine a lineup of Tabata, McCutchen, Walker, Fielder, Alvarez, Presley, Barajas, Barmes. The presence of Fielder allows everyone else to settle down into their roles. It would allow Pedro Alvarez to see a professional power hitter prepare and go to work every day and learn from him.
If the Pirates could increase attendance on average of 2000 per game for an average ticket price of $20 per seat, it would amount to another $3.2 million dollars in ticket revenues. That is also 2000 more people eating and drinking at the games, let alone the sale of Fielder jerseys. If the team could make the playoffs and get just one home playoff game, they would likely break even on the endeavor. I have long been a proponent that winning begets winning. That winning is contagious once it becomes expected. The Pirates may have some young talent and it may seem prudent to wait for it to arrive before investing in competing at the highest level. But, I am unsure when the rest of the division may be this weak again.
The time for boldness is now. Begin it.