Optimism continues in the Pen

A month or two ago I was nervous. The Pirates bullpen looked to be in shambles after a horrendous year in 2009.

There were injuries and youngsters that set the club back. It seemed that when the offense got the job done, a lead was blown thanks to a shaky bullpen.

Not to mention four of the mainstays in the bullpen were traded during the year. It was no secret that it was definitely an area of discussion that needed to be strongly discussed.

The offf season of 2009 gave Pirate fans mixed feelings. While acquiring Akinori Iwamura from the Rays, Pittsburgh also sent one of our best relievers, Jesse Chavez to Tampa Bay.

The Matt Capps situation was also ugly. Capps had a bad year, but I did not feel it was warrented to non-tender the guy after a one dismal year. But anywho, you cannot change the past.

Since that moment the Bucs have added a considerable number of relief pitchers.

Brian Bass, Vinnie Chulk and Jack Taschner were anything but groundbreaking but nonthesless a nice quantity to start re-building the pen.

Then things started to bulk up.

 
Thumbnail image for javier Lopez.jpg

 Javier Lopez, the lefty veteran, gives the Bucs a presence. He has been with the Red Sox and Rockies over the past five years and has had solid stints at each stop. It was not a good year for Lopez in Boston last season. He was injured for a bulk of the time while only pitching in 14 games. However, while we dumped Capps because of a bad year we picked up another guy who had a bad year. Lopez is a cheaper option and very well could bounce back quickly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

bdon.jpgBrendan Donnelly joined the mix recently. He is 38 and also will be a veteran to accompany Lopez in a relatively young bullpen. He is well-seasoned and well mediocre. However, he is indeed the epitome of a journey man. Pitching for 18 different professional organization since being drafted by the White Sox in 1992, he is surely not short on experience. I’m hoping he can overpower hitters and be a viable long inning guy.

carrasco.jpgThe American League leader in innings pitched is now a Pirate. D.J. Carrasco joins the pe as a fresh face. He looks to be building a solid career and should be welcomed full heartedly in Pittsburgh. Various Whote Sox blogs reportedly were very sad to see him go.

 

 

 

octavio dotel.jpgThe Grandaddy of them All. Sorry Rose Bowl, just stole that from a very exciting bowl game and I apoligize for that because I am a devout college football fan. And if the Rose Bowl committee knew I made that reference to Octavio Dotel they may sue me. I was happy to see us pursue this aging veteran. To actually sign him to a one year deal sent shockwaves through Pittsburgh. Yes his best years are behind him but he still has gas left in the tank. He is said to be the frontrunner for the closer position even after not being the closer for the White Sox last year. He made 6 million last year, but will probably make less in Pittsburgh.

In closing, it looks like the Pirates have completed their off season spending spree. Maybe. The pieces are there with the rebuilt and even stronger bullpen. The bench is filling out and viable talent. There will still be a rat race for the final spots in the starting rotation and that is where Ben Sheets comes in.

ben-sheets.jpgIt was reported that the Pirates had representatives watching Sheets’ throwing session earlier this week. It was been well documented that the Pirates are not in the full hunt for Sheets mostly because of monetary reasons. He is asking for 10 million a year which may scare even the top teams away after his injury problems. However, the Pirates may be willing to spend a pretty penny to make a splash before Spring Training begins. Just like the MLB did to the Marlins a few weeks ago, the Pirates may be investigated in terms of their revenue sharing allocation. By spending some last second cash on an available free agent, a starting pitcher ideally, it may cause an MLB turnoff and bypass the investigation.In the end, it may be the  thing for the organization to be under the microscope and right the ship so to speak. 

photo credits: bygoshitslangosch.mlblogs.com (2), fullpitchcount.com (2), whitesoxblog   

16 Comments

Chulk is less then impressive, and was terrible for us last season. You can have him..lol We’ll see how it turns out.
http://clevelandbaseball.mlblogs.com/

I hope Javier Lopez works out well for you guys in Pittsburgh. We could not get rid of him fast enough for our Red Sox Fans’ liking! I hope the change of scenery does him some good, as it appears some other former Red Sox (like Brandon Moss) seem to be doing well. I hope he, Moss, Donnelly (another former Red Sox), and your other additions help move the Pirate Ship in the correct direction, and give you guys a winning season! ;)

I don’t see how Dotel is any better than Matt Capps. Again, the Pirates send me off into the lands known as “confusion”.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

The Pirates do seem to be rebuilding. It is amazing that sometimes players who suck with some teams, shine with others. Some teams want to get rid of players who demand a high salary and get another who is not so high priced and cross their fingers. I think your Pirates will have a break out season.
http://catlovesthedodgers.mlblogs.com

Dotel, He’s got some left. I always like him.
http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.mlblogs.com/

If they’ve got money, the Pirates should use it. Everybody loves to spend, and Sheets can give them a high reward. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pirates sign him and he is the ace they need. Because relievers and position players can be only so much…I’m thinking that’s what’s keeping them really down and out, the lack of an ace.

I was at work during the Haiti telethon but I heard today that it was record breaking. I plan on donating myself.
http://catlovesthedodgers.mlblogs.com

Matt: Nice to see the Pirates spend a little money. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Pirates attempt to get Sheets. Go for it!
-Virginia
http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com
http://fanhuddle.com/newyorkyankees

Im loving the pen this year. There are a lot more options there than last year. Will you be at Piratefest next weekend?
-steve

HREF=”http://section316.mlblogs.com/”>http://section316.mlblogs.com/

ugh! Speaking of bullpens.. the Angels’ bullpen is horrible! Just not what it used to be. I’m worried about late inning games for sure now. Having a great ‘pen is such a strong advantage in my opinion. You know for sure that your guys will be able to finish what your starter well.. started!

best of luck i can’t WAIT until the season starts!

http://mimi.mlblogs.com

Matt,
LOL on using the name “The Grandaddy of them All. ” Yeah, hope you don’t get sued LOL. $10M for Sheets! Sheez!
.
Sooon Pirates Opening day with the Dodgers!
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/

Wow, Pirates bullpen is looking good. Padres should definitely watch out.
http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com

I like that D.J. Carrasco addition for the Pirates bullpen. I saw him a lot with the White Sox and he was great. Overall, the Pirates bullpen looks pretty darn good this year!

http://heidimn.mlblogs.com/

Many of us are having the bullpen woes this offseason. As for Taschner, he was not real consistant for us, but he is a nice guy :O) I think some of those other guys, like Carrasco, will be nice adds for ya!

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

I think the Pirates made the right choice on Sheets. For the money he wants he is just too big a risk I think.
I like the Pirates offseason so far. They seem to be really trying to get what they need. I hope soon they can really start to compete.
Melissa
Indians, Cardinals, and Tigers! Oh my!

I can´t remember the terms of Sheets´deal, but i always figured it would be a great sign and minimal risk for ANY team if he would accept an incentive-based deal, guaranteeing bang for the buck ;-) With regards to Chulk and Taschner, watched them play on the Giants – you´ll be disappointed with Taschners composure, and Chulk´s aswell (thus their journeyman title) ;-)
- Alex

http://fosterchild.mlblogs.com

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