Why Jack Wilson Is Stupid

No, I don’t really mean the title of that post. Just that the words that Jack Wilson keeps speaking are stupid. Yes, he later apologized for his post-Nyjer-trade remarks, but he’s still spoken out vocally against his team’s front office on numerous occasions, and if we’re gonna hold Lastings Milledge accountable for high-fiving fans (that bastard!), we can hold a veteran player accountable for a lengthy, unambiguous statement spoken directly to the frickin’ Pirates beat reporter.

I hesitate to just copy someone else’s words onto my blog, but the following two paragraphs from Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus in his column “Whining” is basically the concept that I’ve attempted to convey in arguments (with limited success) to a bunch of my friends who are casual Pirate fans and continue to say things like “we do this every time!” (as though Neal Huntington has been on the job for more than one and a half of seventeen losing seasons) and “we were close, we just needed some guys” (my answer, “like who?” is usually followed by “I don’t know, anyone.” Anyone, like, seven Albert Pujolses who could also pitch?)

The article is Subscription Only, but if you’re a huge dork like I am, you should subscribe. Sheehan writes:

The Pirates aren’t a very good baseball team. They’re under .500, and…there’s no looking at the talent here—or the talent here three weeks ago—and concluding that they’re a contender. This same group of players, more or less, has failed year after year, and the veteran core here has no business whatsoever complaining about the direction that Neal Huntington has taken. Wilson is an overpaid mediocrity. Adam LaRoche is an adequate first baseman in the Paul Sorrento mode, and is probably the team’s best player; if your best player is Adam LaRoche, you have no hope of contending.

Huntington and Frank Coonelly have a difficult job, turning around a franchise that spent a decade in the woods. They’re doing the job well so far, and that the players they inherited—the core of those .440 juggernauts—don’t like it is perhaps the best indicator of their success. It’s Neal Huntington’s job to make Jack Wilson unhappy, no matter what the short-term ramifications of that are. Jack Wilson isn’t a part of the future in Pittsburgh. Lastings Milledge is.

I’m getting a tattoo of these two paragraphs on my face in flourescent, neon green ink just so I don’t have to suffer through another argument with another angry Pirates fan who doesn’t follow the Pirates and just shouts angry vagueries at me. No, there’s no guarantee the Pirates will start winning with the moves Huntington has made — the only guarantee is that the Pirates will definitely not start winning until moves like this have been made.

The Pirates are not good. They were not good last year. Neal Huntington is aggressively trying to make it so they are good by getting rid of players who are not good and trying to get a bunch of players who hopefully turn out to be good. Anyone who’s followed the Pirates in even the most casual of circumstances should not have trouble understanding this concept. Or at least, they won’t once I’ve gotten that tattoo.

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3 Responses to “Why Jack Wilson Is Stupid”

  1. jmarinara Says:

    When someone starts defending the Pirates moves (and by that statement, I’m not immediately attacking them either) and mentions that Adam LaRoche is the Pirates best player, I stop listening right then and there.

    Adam isn’t even in the top five on a really bad Pirates team. And, by the way, has everyone forgotten Freddy Sanchez???

    Andrew McCutchen
    Freddy Sanchez
    Zach Duke
    Matt Capps
    Paul Maholm/Andy Laroche

    I mean, I’m not going to claim that after Freddy, that my list there is impressive or anything. But I’d rather have Duke, Capps, Maholm, or Andy over a monstrously slow, 20 – 25 HR/80 – 85 RBI a season player, who hits .260, and has an OPS in the high 700’s (which isn’t bad, but definately not superstar numbers). Yes, Adam plays solidly defensively, and he’s consistent in what you do get from him (He never has a SEASON where he is uncharacteristically bad).

    But the best player on this team? PAH-LEESE!!!

    The 5-6 players I mentioned above are the future of the Pirates, and if Neil builds around those guys, we’ll have a solid team. Yes, I just came right out and said he shouldn’t trade Freddy. (Now if he get’s offered 3 Pedro Alverez type players, then yeah, make the trade). Beyond that, get the best deal you can including pieces to build around, or supplement the future that is coming. Move Jack, Adam, Grabow . . . whatever.

    For the record, the only deal I don’t like was the Bay deal. I think they gave up a future hall of famer for 3 nominal players and a solid piece (Andy) but not nearly the caliper of Bay. At the time I said that they got two solid pieces (Moss and Andy) and two interesting guys, but not nearly enough. They needed a guy like David Price in return. Other than that, I think the trades they’ve made have been good ones, including picking up Milledge (whom I loathe, but sure can play baseball when he cares enough) for Nyger Freaking “I can’t believe a major league team actually thinks I’m good enough to play everyday” Morgan.

    Go Bucs.

  2. Dan Hopper Says:

    I agree that calling Adam LaRoche the team’s best player is a stretch, but Sheehan obviously doesn’t mean in terms of total long-term value, just that LaRoche is pretty much their only source of power at the moment and has been their most consistent run producer over the past three seasons.

    I couldn’t disagree more about the players you listed being the future of the Pirates, save McCutchen. Sanchez, Duke, Maholm, and Capps have been prominent contributors on the team for the past four years, and the Pirates have never come close to competing (even when they had Bay, Nady, and McLouth last year). Maholm has a 4.60 ERA this year and has only posted an ERA under 4.60 (well below NL league average) once in his four full seasons. Duke was brutal from 2005-2008, and his low strikeout numbers indicate that he’s probably just as likely to revert back to getting knocked around than he is to continue pitching effectively. Sanchez is a middle infielder with an injury history who will be 32 next season. Capps is a closer with a 4.71 ERA — he’s barely been effective this season, let alone a building block of a franchise.

    They’ve had four years to compete with these dudes and it hasn’t even come close to happening. By all means, I’m not advocating dumping Sanchez or Maholm without getting a solid return, but the next competitive Pirates team will have to be built around McCutchen, Alvarez, Tabata, Brad Lincoln, etc. with possible additional contributions from the players listed above.

  3. jmarinara Says:

    Yeah, Duke, Capps, and Maholm are a stretch. I mean I like those guys and all, there decent players, decent people, but yes, on a real winning team with depth, they’re bullpen arms/4th or 5th starters. My point is that they do contribute now and could contribute somewhat in the near future.

    Look, if we can make a solid deal (i.e. the Nady and McLouth deals) for those three, then great, go for it.

    So, ok, you’ve convinced me there.

    I thought Freddy was younger than 32, I mean I knew he wasn’t 22, but I thought it was late 20’s. However, I will make the case here that he is one of the BETTER 2B in the league and will continue to be so for a while.

    Compared to other Second Baseman in the league:

    He’s 5th in hits, above Orlando Hudson and Chase Utley.

    He’s 9th in OPS (in my opinion, the best offensive stat) above guys like Pedroia, Cano, Kinsler, Uggla, and Hudson.

    Tied for 5th in XBH, above Uggla and Pedroia.

    3rd in doubles, above darn near every other noticeable name but Pedroia.

    He has a hitting style that does not rely on bat speed or power, but rather solid contact and smart swing selection (hence the low homeruns but doubles power, and his strength in hitting to all fields). This kind of style is ideal for a guy who wants to play until his late 30’s.

    His defense is better than any second baseman in the game today, and he is an intelligent player.

    In short Freddy Sanchez is a superstar Second Baseman and the kind of guy, like Bay, that you can build a team around.

    Trading Freddy is a bad idea, unless, UNLESS, you can get back an absolute King’s ransom for him. Then make the trade. But for some “decent prospects”, no. Sorry. It’s not worth giving up a top 5 second baseman.

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