December 17, 2008

A Wild Thought Looking to 2012

All the anticipation of a Mark Teixeira signing has me thinking.

While listening to an interview on MLB Live (XM 175) during the winter meetings, a key quote came from one of the GM's who were being interviewed.  He made a comment that you aren't building a team for just this coming year, but also building with an eye five years down the road. 

This had my mind wandering with thoughts of what the Pirates moves might mean five years down the road.  None of the recent signings fall under that scenario.  However the rumored discussions going on with McLouth, Doumit and Maholm would at least be looking three or four years in the future.

That lineup in 2012 could have a nucleus of McLouth, McCutchen, Tabata, Alvarez and Doumit.  A few other names could be Sanchez, Andy LaRoche and Walker.  All in all, that seems like a pretty nice lineup to manage.

The rotation in 2012 could consist of Maholm, Gorzelanny, Snell and Bryan Morris and about 10 others to chose from for the remaining spot.

Now the question is, should the Pirates be looking at adding to that lineup now?

Adam LaRoche likely will not be a Pirate beyond 2009. 

In 2012 Alvarez will be manning one of the corner infield positions.  Walker or Andy LaRoche might be manning the other.

Why not make a move to have the veteran centerpiece to the lineup added now?

Teixeira is a rare talent.  Offering a contract to him with an eye to the future could make a nice lineup be formidable.  Obviously there would have to be some sort of out for Teixeira in the event season 20 of losing is looming.  The Pirates would probably like an out too.

Offer Teixeira a $200M 10 year contract with opt outs after year 3 (2012), year 5 (2014) and year 8 (2017).  The Pirates also should receive an opt out after year 5 also.

This would destroy payroll, and could never happen with the somewhere in the range of $50M payroll.  Or could it?

Adam LaRoche will be getting somewhere in the $7-8M range after arbitration.  If that contract was traded, the Pirates still have $12M to pick up.  Ironically there have been many references to the Pirates have $12-15M to spend if the fit is right.

A trade of Jack Wilson would free up some additional room under the estimated payroll.

It seems most of the rotation is already in place.  Why not add the key piece if he would be interested in playing on the east coast, close to where he calls home.  If Teixeira is honestly considering Baltimore or Washington, why not Pittsburgh?  He could be mentioned with Stargell, Clemente, Maz and many other in Pirate lore and be a local hero in a town that follows baseball until Steeler camp opens.  That could change with a player like Teixera on the roster.

A signing like this would sell some tickets in a tough economic time for the Pirates.  Teixeira would be a named face of the team for years to come. 

If LaRoche is not moved?

Teixeira can play third.

Why would Teixeira want to play in Pittsburgh besides being a Pittsburgh hero? 

Take another look at the talent that will be around him in the next couple years.  If $20M isn't enough, the talent that will be coming in the next couple of years could make the decision easier.  He won't be coming into a rebuilding project.  He will be reaping the benefits of coming in at the end of a 16 year rebuilding project.

If Baltimore and Washington are actually part of the discussion, the Pirates have a better future looming based on prospects than Washington.  Baltimore has Weiters and a few other nice prospects similar to the situation the Pirates are in.  My personal biased opinion is the Pirates have better closer than Baltimore.

Another reason, in three years he has an opt out that would likely be a much better market for free agents. 

Why would the Pirates make such a 10 year gamble?

In order for Huntington to build the franchise through trades, there needs to be pieces to trade.  The Pirates could always trade him for a bounty of young talent before year three and further rebuild their minor league system.  Teixeira could be that huge piece, even if he is not in the 2012 lineup.  If he is still here in 2012 and beyond, the Pirates have their new star to hang their hat on.  Not just a nice player hyped by the team as an elite player.

This scenario will never happen, but it is fun to dream isn't it?

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