Haha! I know, I know. I’m delusional.
I’m not suggesting they trade all their prospects in order to upgrade for one run this season. I’m suggesting they make one or two acquisitions that can strengthen their run this season while not jeopardizing next season. I know many “fans” gave up on Gregory Polanco long ago, but I’m not one. I think he’s a budding superstar in the mold of Jose Bautista. I believe Polanco is a future MVP. Seriously. He’s been inconsistent, but he’s only 26 years old.
It is well known that many players break out at 27 years old. It seems like Polanco is older because he made it to the majors at such a young age. Since June 1st Polanco has hit .270 with a .368 OBA with 8 HR’s. Jose Bautista didn’t have his break-out season until his 7th year in MLB at the age of 30. Patience can be a virtue, something Pittsburghers are low on.
The 2018 Pirates had four players they needed to round into form to be successful: Polanco, Starling Marte, Josh Bell, and Jameson Taillon. Marte in July has a .375 AVG, .407 OBA, and a 1.121 OPS. Bell in July has hit .304 AVG, .418 OBA, and .853 OPS. Taillon has began to look like an ace the last two months utilizing his slider and pitching with intensity.
These were the four players that needed to carry the team and that is exactly what they’ve done on this stretch that has seen the Pirates return to .500 on the year. It is time to show confidence in this foundation and add to it so they can make a post-season run. I realize that the odds are against them with so many other teams in contention. They don’t need to add much to this team to increase their odds. Perhaps a veteran middle reliever, but the bullpen has been a strength of late. Perhaps a starter, but Trevor Williams is the only one I’d consider bumping from the rotation right now. Perhaps a middle infielder if one can be found, but upgrades may already exist in AAA.
I wouldn’t blame the Pirates for standing pat. I wouldn’t blame them for both selling and buying like they’ve done in recent seasons. But, the psyche of the players matters. The energy created by management matters. So an investment must be made. Minor league prospects must be moved to invest in the now. It doesn’t have to be huge, just substantial enough to show management believes in this team.