Pittsburgh Pirates have something to gain in season’s final games

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a record of 69-84.  They have nine games left in what has been a miserable 2017.  Overall morale among fans is as low as it has been since the Pirates ended their 20-year losing drought.  It’s time to shut it down completely.  It is time for a micro-tank.

Before Wednesday’s walk-off win, the Pittsburgh Pirates had lost seven straight and 12 of 13.  September has been nothing short of a tailspin.  The team is 6-13 this month.  The Pirates are crawling towards the finish.  Now is the time to shake it up.

New look lineup

This is what the lineup should look like for the final nine games:

2B Adam Frazier
SS Max Moroff
CF Andrew McCutchen
1B Josh Bell
3B Jose Osuna
RF Jordan Luplow
LF Christopher Bostick
C Elias Diaz

Let the kids finish it out.  McCutchen, the only veteran in the group, may be traded in the offseason.  If that is the case, he deserves a proper send off.  In terms of the starting rotation,  Gerrit Cole, Ivan Nova, and Jameson Taillon should be shut down completely as well.

Obviously most of the players above have had at least some playing time this month.  Guys like Frazier, Bell, and Osuna have been with the team all year.  That being said, Bostick has nine plate appearances in September.  He could use the at bats.  Osuna would get an early start on his development at third base.  Sure, nine games is a drop in the bucket, by why not let him get his feet a little wet?

But what about the vets

Let’s face it.  There is really nothing to gain by trotting out the likes of David Freese, Jordy Mercer, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco.  They could be used purely as pinch hitters and/or defensive replacements.

This makes logical sense.  Mercer has logged the second most innings on the team this year behind only McCutchen.  Shortstop is one of the most physically demanding positions on the field.  He could use the early rest.  Freese has played much more than originally anticipated going into this season so he too could use the early rest.  Polanco doesn’t need to risk re-injuring himself.  Marte should just forget about 2017 as a whole.  Cole, Nova, and Taillon have all had rough seasons in their own right.  Why not get an early start on getting fresh for the 2018 season?

Addition by subtraction

To me, this could be considered a micro-tank.  As we see in sports, tanking is quite prevalent.  In the NBA, the Phillidelphia 76ers tanked for years.  In the NFL, it looks as though the New York Jets are in the midst of a tank year.  The concept is seen as taboo.  Losing to benefit the future is dirty, right?  You should always try to win at all costs!

Right now, the Pirates have the eighth worst record in baseball along with the San Diego Padres in terms of win percentage.  Realistically, they could move “up” to having he fifth worst record.  The Pirates are currently 3.5 games in front of the Mets for that mark.  If they lose enough, the Pirates could have the fifth pick in the 2018 MLB Amateur draft.

Obviously the MLB draft is different from all drafts.  A lot of luck is involved and the success rate on drafting a star player is low.  Moving up three or four spots in the draft may not mean much.  But those spots in the draft mean a whole hell of a lot more than these final nine games in 2017.

Losing games on purpose is wrong.  We all know that.  This is not that.  The Pirates would merely be giving playing time to their younger players.  If they flourish and win, great.  That would further their development.

If they lose out, the Pittsburgh Pirates would move a few spots up in the draft.  That is also a positive. Perhaps the final one in an abysmal season

Nathan Hursh

Nathan is a graduate of Duquesne University with a degree in journalism. He has been a lifelong Pirates fans and loves watching baseball. Along with baseball, Nathan also has a passion for watching football and basketball. When he is not sitting on his couch indulging in sports, Nathan likes to be active outside. Along with Twitter, he can also be found on Instagram at nathan_hursh.