Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

How To Walk The Plank

This started as a comment to Bob's earlier post, but got too big.

There is an easy explanation for how these two poor excuses for major league baseball teams have gotten so far out of first place already. They stink. They are the two worst franchises in baseball, and quite possibly the worst in American professional sports.

The Pirates in recent years have managed to trade Jason Schmidt for Ryan Vogelsong and Armando Rios, and Aramis Ramirez for Bobby Hill. That's some bad tradin' there, son. A franchise run by guys who can't judge talent better than that isn't going to win many games.

Back in 2002, the Pirates had the first pick in the draft. They chose college pitcher Bryan Bullington. Bullington finally made it to AAA last year and pitched well, but had shoulder surgery in October and hasn't pitched yet this year. Taken after Bullington in that draft? B.J. Upton, Prince Fielder, Jeremy Hermida, Khalil Greene, Nick Swisher, Jeff Francoeur, Curtis Granderson, Jeff Francis, Scott Kazmir, Joe Blanton, Matt Cain, and David Bush. I reckon the Pirates could use one or two of those guys.

In 2000 the Pirates drafted pitcher Sean Burnett with their first pick. Burnett actually looked pretty good, but injuries wiped him out. They picked Chris Young #3. Young is a good major league pitcher...for San Diego.

In 2001 their top pick was John Van Benschoten. Van Benschoten was a college home run champion, so the Pirates did the obvious thing; they made him a pitcher. He hasn't come close to reaching the majors, and now is hurt. They did take Zach Duke in round 20, so maybe that draft won't be a total waste.

The Royals have done even worse. Their 2001 draft is possibly the worst ever. At this point it looks like not a single player drafted will ever appear in a major league game. You almost have to be trying to fail that badly.

The Pirates and Royals are both very good at whining about their financial disadvantages. But other teams face the same disadvantages and still manage to find talent and compete. The Royals have recently joined the "build us a ballpark with public money" campaign, which MLB touts as a winning strategy for making a team more competitive. If anyone in Kansas City wants to believe that, please, take a look at the Pirates. Sure worked for them, didn't it?


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