According to his bio, the Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic has been watching the Pirates since 1972. He’s been writing about sports since 1990 and covering the Pirates since 2005. He’s seen highs, and he’s seen a ton of lows (some of which were the result of highs). In light of that, when he says something like this, you have to take heed:
These Pirates are on a course to prove conclusively that they, and
not some predecessors, are the worst team in the franchise’s 124 years.
His reasoning is sound. While the Pirates’ current 109-loss pace doesn’t put them in record-setting or even franchise worst territory, Kovacevic correctly notes that due to increased player movement and a greater number of teams in each league you just don’t see as many utterly putrid clubs as you used to see back in the day. Sure, I’d consider making a case for that 1890 Alleghenys squad who gave up 1235 runs in a 136-game schedule, but there were extenuating circumstances there, with most of the players jumping ship to the Players League in mid season. But yeah, I get where Dejan is coming from.
His article made me go look back at the Pirates’ history, and maybe the most shocking thing about this is that the 2010 Pirates are going to be only the second team in Pittsburgh’s 18-year run of futility that will lose 100 games. I probably would have taken the over on three or four to be honest.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.