All apologies to Ms. Langosh on this, but I have to respond to the following questions quite differently that she did in the weekly Q&A at pirates.com. I will post select questions she responded to, you can read her answers in the Q&A, I will post my answer here.
Why would the Pirates even consider trading Jason Bay? With four young pitchers ready to have a breakout year and as offensively challenged as this club is every year, why would we trade our biggest offensive threat?
-- Jeff M., St. Clairsville, Pa.
Any chance the Pirates go after some of the players who were recently non-tendered by their former teams? Seems to me like Dallas McPherson, if healthy, is exactly what the Pirates need in a left-handed-hitting slugger to play third base.
-- Noah K., Upper St. Clair, Pa.
Do you think there is any chance the Pirates will consider signing Kevin Mench? I think he would be a great addition to the outfield and has great clubhouse character. Watching him play for Texas and seeing/hearing interviews, I think he could easily be a fan favorite on and off the field.
-- Bobby S., Dallas, Texas
Do you think the Pirates might take a chance and sign Mark Prior?
-- Roman S., Knoxville, Tenn.
We have heard a lot of rumors about a lot of Pirates this offseason, but Freddy Sanchez's name has been out of the mix. What are the chances he will be dealt this offseason?
-- Mike L., Scranton, Pa.
There is a simple answer to all the question.
Yes they should.
The Pirates need to bring in as much talent as possible to the franchise. If that means trading Bay, Sanchez, Nady, LaRoche or any pitcher on the roster to get some legitimate talent in the franchise from GCL to MLB, they should do it. Any move that improves the franchise, they should do it. Any bargaining chip this team has, they should use them to improve the franchise by flipping current talent for future value.
Sanchez should be traded while his value is at it's highest. The same could be said of Wilson and Nady. I can not imagine any of these players worth being higher than it is right now.
Bay is at his lowest worth on the trade market, if he rebounds to All-Star Bay, his value will sky rocket. Going into 2007, many publications had him as a top 5 outfielder. Unless a deal knock Neal's socks off, he should hang on to Bay to see if his value can increase again.
The important thing to remember is to get multiple player to help the team long term, none of the players should be moved for short term needs. Get their actual worth, or above actual worth where possible, in any trade that is made with an eye towards the future.
Should the Pirates sign cheap free agents coming back from injury? Yes, take a gamble. If McPherson or Prior rebound, they could fetch a nice bounty at the trade deadline. It would surely be worth the money, especially if prospects come back later in the year.
As for Mench, or any other free agent of any worth, the same questions should be asked. Will they improve the franchise? Can we flip them for value at the trade deadlines? If the answers are yes, break out the contract and pen.
Realistically, this team could start the season with a $60-$70M team salary and still end up in the $50M range for the year after
salary dumps mid-season trades with a much improved minor league system.
The only way this team gets better is time, talent and proper scouting. If the right deals are made for the right prospects combined with a few gambles on potential high-reward high-risk free agent signings that are rolled into additional moves for prospects. The process will accelerate. After 15 years of sitting on what few good players the franchise has had, it is time to start turning one player into multiple players.
This franchise could get stronger by trade and free agent gambles much faster than relying solely on the draft, rule 5 draft and a few shrewd waiver wire pickups to get prospects.
Another thing to remember, don't worry about blocking a player by having too many prospects at one position. Having too many is a heck of lot better than having none.
It doesn't matter if the Pirates lose 100+ or 82 in 2008. What matters is the franchise has a brighter future.
Pittsburgh can handle a few more years of losing, if the Pirates actually look like they are improving. We haven't seen that since before Leyland left, back before Barry tried the clear and the cream.