The start of spring training is always exciting since this means baseball season and summer are right around the corner. However, there is still a lot of time for articles or blog posts that have no place being written. First you have the articles that talk about a player being in the “best shape of their life”. The example that I saw recently was with Jose Tabata. It wasn’t an article but a tweet from Greg Giannotti.
Thankfully, I don’t think that I have seen any other article like that about Pirate players. However, if Tabata is really in the best shape of his career I hope that it is a good sign for things to come.
The next kind of silly articles which show up in spring training are about the contract extensions which may or may not happen for players. A similar article is if the front office or manager gets an extension on his contract. Both of these happened already. The first was when Clint Hurdle received an extension for 2014, no longer making him a “lame duck” manager. These kind of deals happen all of the time and shouldn’t be a big deal. However, since he has been the manager for two major collapses, the press makes it a bigger deal. Personally I think he’ll at least until the end of the season. If they don’t make it to .500 then the entire front office will be gone and rightfully so.
(Let me digress for a minute to talk a little bit more about Hurdle and his management of the team. It’s been OK. Yes, he did get too predictable when it came to offensive moves last year and that wound up biting them in the rear too many times. I know a lot of the bloggers and more stat focused people don’t like his use of the closer some times; but I think in spite of these weaknesses he has been good for the Pirates.)
The other article was one about if Neil Walker should get an extension. Again, I’m one of these guys who really don’t want to talk about contracts until there is a signature on the contract. So, I feel that we fans shouldn’t be worrying about it right now. The most laughable reason I’ve heard about why Walker won’t be getting an extension is that Neal Huntington didn’t draft him. The “logic” is that since Huntington didn’t draft him, he’s willing to let him walk away after the 2014 season. I think that is the key, he is still under control for next season. Based on the injuries Walker had last season (and back injuries have a way of lingering) the Pirates need to see how he bounces back this year.
Finally, the last silliness that has happened so far is player generated. In an article Grilli stated that the front office should have done more prior to last year’s trade deadline. Here is the money quote:
“I’m not a GM, but any time you change the team chemistry, it always hurts,” Pirates closer Jason Grilli said. “You change the guys you’re comfortable with, it’s like, ‘Wait a minute. That was a piece we liked, we needed.’ Not that anybody’s asking us for our opinions.”
Grilli then went ahead and blamed the bloggers for taking his quote “out of context”. I like Grilli but I have to believe that he made a mistake blaming the bloggers for what he said. As you can see, it seems pretty explicit.
I can’t wait for the season to start so we can get to the real important topics.