Taking Stock Of The Pirates

John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus catalogues a decade and a half of poor decisions by the Pirates in his latest column, up at ESPN.com. Some of the team's more memorable gaffes:

  • Releasing Tim Wakefield.
  • Signing Pat Meares to a four year $15MM deal that surprised even Meares. 
  • Commiting nearly $10MM to Derek Bell, then claiming the deal sent "shock waves through baseball" during the same offseason that Alex Rodriguez signed for $252MM.
  • Giving Bronson Arroyo up on waivers only to have him return to Pittsburgh as an All-Star for the Reds and call the Pirates the "most inept organization in baseball."  

But the Pirates have shed some contracts in recent years and appear poised to get younger and better under current GM Neal Huntington. After next year they have commitments to Paul Maholm, Nate McLouth, Ian Snell, Ryan Doumit and Pedro Alvarez, but no one else. They reportedly have a good chance of signing 16-year-old shortstop prospect Miguel Angel Sano and are considering top talent with the fourth overall pick that they hold in this year's draft.

So what's the verdict on the Pirates? They don't appear likely to end their streak of 16 straight losing seasons this year, but are they on the right track? Or do they need new direction? What moves have to take place for the Pirates to join the best teams in the NL Central?

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