by The Last Hollywood Star
Here’s why, briefly, Pirate management has trouble convincing fans that it knows what it is doing.
Every time that a prospect is acquired in a trade for an established player, Manager John Russell and General Manager Neal Huntington tell the press that Pirate scouts, coaches and its “baseball people” see “something” in the newly arrived player that they can develop and thereby make him into a quality producer.
But there’s little evidence to support that claim.
Look at Kevin Hart who has gone backward as a Buc.
Hart is 1-5 with a 6.46 ERA since coming from Chicago in the John Grabow/Tom Gorzelanny trade, statistics that got worse with his line yesterday of four runs, six hits and six walks over five innings. And he needed 108 pitches to get that far.
With the Cubs, Hart was 3-1, 2.60 ERA.
Hart pitches from behind in every count. Worse, he pitches slowly. I was at PNC yesterday and the fans moaned about his deliberate pitching style.
From the broadcaster’s booth, an exasperated Steve Blass urged Hart to just throw the ball over the plate to “see what happens”.
What happened was that the Cubs banged the ball all over the park.
To make matters slightly worse, Grabow filled his role as a left-handed middle relief pitcher to perfection, tossing a hitless seventh inning. Grabow’s ERA since arriving in Chicago is 1.72
The most frustrating of all might have been Russell’s post game interview where he said Hart’s performance “encouraged” him.
Right now, the Grabow/Gorzelanny for Hart trade resulted in the net loss of a quality left-handed middle relief pitcher---a commodity tough to come by in the major leagues and one the Pirates will need if the team expects to reach .500
The Pirates can’t even fall back on one of their favorite excuses: “he’s young” In December, Hart will be 27.
The Pirates may avoid 100 losses. But as a fan sitting close to me yesterday asked, “What difference does it make if it’s 99 or 101? The team is painful to watch and not on the verge of getting better.”
And by the way, the announced attendance of 10,990 was grossly overstated. The actual “fannies in the seats” count was about 5,000