See, I’d say the Pirates are by far the worst. Because unlike any other “small market” or “low revenue” franchise, they don’t need to be. They choose to put a crappy product on the field every year and trade away anyone with a chance of being remotely expensive in the future.
Pittsburgh is one of the most passionate sports towns in the country. They flock to the Steelers and Penguins year after year. The only reasons there isn’t a sell out in Pittsburgh every single game is because the team is consistently rubbish and any time a player starts to get good, they trade him.
Following the Pirates is like following a college basketball team, you no that no matter how much you love a player, they’ll be gone in 4 years. And the better he is, the quicker he’ll leave town. It’s shameful.
Immediately doubling their payroll (assuming they sign valuable chips and not just waste $4 MM on guys like Craig Montroe) would still result in a profitable franchise because fans would actually start caring about the team again.
Comment by Jeff Akston — March 11, 2009 @ 11:56 am
The Pirates are going to be pretty interesting to follow. I was expecting them to be a little higher up but since we’re also taking the major and minor league systems into account it does seem like they have quite a bit of work cut out for them.
The Pirates front office/ownership makeover reminds me a lot like what the Rays went through. This team will be good eventually but right now, I think they just got finished with phase 1 of seeing what this team is made out of. Now I assume they’re trying to establish a foundation to build off of.
I’m interested to see how these rankings will reflect the AL/NL disparity. Dave has stated several times that these rankings reflect a franchise’s ability to contend for a World Series title.
Could we all agree that contending for a World Series title is an easier task in the NL than the AL?
My point: So far, four of the worst five franchises are NL teams. There might be a few AL teams that are better than them, but in fact have a worse chance of contending for a World Series title – because they will perennially have to go through the Yankees and/or the Red Sox, and better competition in general.
The Blue Jays, for example, are much better than the five aforementioned teams. But what are their odds of breaking the Red Sox/Yankees/Rays(?) stranglehold in the next 5 years?
As the knowledge gaps between front offices are bridged – and the wealthy teams are just as smart as the upstarts – it’s difficult to project a time when the Jays will have a leg up on that division.
They are clearly better talent-wise than each of the bottom five. But the criteria is their ability to compete for a title.
Comment by Jacob Jackson — March 11, 2009 @ 1:51 pm
They weren’t selling out when they were winning NL East titles either… As a matter of fact, I remember seeing plenty of empty seats during game 7 of the 91 NLCS.
First off, it’s Craig Monroe, and he was signed to a minor league deal and is not going to make anything remotely close to $4 million dollars. And doubling payroll at this point (at the expense of the draft and latin america) would result in a continuation of their former policy.
That was exactly what the old regime did. They overpaid veterans (Joe Randa, Jeremy Burnitz, Jose Mesa, Pat Meares) at the expense of talent development.
The current front office is finally putting investment in the draft and building a facility in the Dominican. The Pirates still have a long way to go, but they are on the right track and this kind of thinking will only hold them back.