It’s not too early to look at the 2023 Pirate season, since the Pirates never wanted to win in 2022, anyway. I, for one, am very optimistic for the 2023 season, despite so many naysayers out there. However, there are certain players who should not be on the 2023 Pirates. Many people talk or write that they should be on the team. There is talk about offering these players multi-year contracts. I think a lot of this is due to the fact that there are people that still take the Pirate broadcast booth seriously. I do not understand that people don’t realize that the booth is nothing more than a shill for the owner. Let’s look at some players who hopefully won’t be on the team next year. If they are, then all bets are off for the 2023 season.
Kevin Newman is hitting a little better than he was in 2020 and 2021, but not enough to think that he should be on the team next year. The way to look at this is, if he is playing 2b then Castro and Mercano are not. In 2019 Newman had a fantastic season. He had a slash line of 308/353/446 and an OPS+ of 110. To think that he would do this every year may have been stretching it, but you had to think he would be at least an average major league hitter. He has not even come close. The next 2 years his OPS+ was around 55 and he “slugged’ .293. This year he has been injured and has appeared in 44 out of 115 games. His OPS+ this year is 90 which is still 10% below the league average. In my view, his fielding has always been a little overrated. After all, you won’t be charged with an error, if you can’t get to the ball and his range has always been below average. He will turn 30 next year and he should not take up a roster spot next year.
Ben Gamel is another player whose name is bandied about when talking about next year. Some say the Pirates should give him a two-year deal or so. Let’s hope not. He has played 190 games for the Pirates and has a WAR of .5. A WAR of 2 for 162 games is considered a starter. WAR is a volume stat and Gamel has played in 28 more games than a season and is 1.5 below that. Why would you want this player? His offense is right around league average, which is not bad, but his defensive WAR puts him on the first bus out of town after the season. The Pirates have a lot of young outfielders that need to keep the process going and Mr. Gamel is just hindering their progress.
Right now, there are only 3 starting pitchers that should be in the rotation next year. J. T. Brubaker should be the no.5 man in the rotation. Mitch Keller will be a good solid mid rotation guy. When people start calling him an ace, my acid reflux really kicks up. Roansy Contreras should be the 1 or 2 man in the rotation. I do not see Zach Thompson or Bryse Wilson being in the rotation next year. Maybe one of them could find a home in the bullpen, much like Will Crowe has. As far as the bullpen is concerned who knows? David Bednar and Will Crow look like the only locks right now. Tyler Beede has looked good at times, but management has messed that up my making him the opener in bullpen games. They got 2 relievers in trades, Johan Oviedo from the Cardinals, who they have not used and Colin Holderman from the Mets, that they have used. They should be in the bullpen for 2023. It is wide open after that.
I feel that 2023 should be a good year if Pirate management finally lets the young talent loose. 2022 has been nothing more than a way to extend control over this group of young studs, and little to do with helping them develop. I do not look for a lot of different strategy for the rest of this season. We will continue to see a lot of Van Meter, Newman, Gamel, Godoy, Heineman, and I wish I could steal first base, Greg Allen. Hopefully all those names will be seen and heard for the last time after the 162nd game this season.