Our friendly GM's have submitted their Pirates outlook for 2009, and to be frank they are quite harsh. Although they are not far from accurate.
The Sporting News is not quite as optimistic as the GM's.
Both articles are harsh on the middle infielders of the Pirates. While Jack will be Jack, Freddy should be able to rebound back to his hitting of pre-2008.
Pitching will likely be the week spot on the team, as both articles suggest. However, I hold a little more hope for the bullpen than either of the above do. The rotation could be decent or abysmal. Only time will tell. Until we see any pitcher in real game situations, the body of work for most is so small, noone can make a educated guess other than they pitch for the Pirates so they will suck.
Overall, both have enough points to make it difficult to dispute much.
Walker, Pirates Ranger:
Our last link will send some traffic to The Altoona Mirror, John Perrotto does a pretty piece on Neil Walker.
Not to dis on Perrotto, but the article has the feel of someone who knows who signs their paycheck. Walker plays the good company man and says all the right things about his future and the two moves last season that likely spell another position move for him. Quite frankly, unless Walker can become a solid shortstop, their are now plenty of prospects blocking him in nearly every position. He could play center, if not for McLouth, McCutchen and Tabat all being ahead of him for center, or any outfield spot actually. Corner infield is pretty well blocked with Andy LaRoche and Pedro Alvarez, provided LaRoche can prove himself this year and Alvarez is a sure fire lock. Shelby Ford has the inside track at second. Short is the only position that doesn't have a legitimate prospect who seems like a lock...Unless catcher is Walkers next destination.