The Pittsburgh Pirates seem to be gaining momentum at just the right time. They are improving offensively and are playing solid defense at almost every position; in light of major unforeseen injuries coupled with less than stellar performances by Jason Grilli the former Pirate relief ace now a member of the LA Angels, and other negatives.
One of the spotlights at the end of the tunnel is super utility man Josh Harrison. Let’s cut the cake, as AWB might say, and get to the meat of the matter. Why is Harrison playing every day such a big deal?
If he is better than a player, any player at any position, as far as, I am concerned the player who is better offensively and defensively should be the one trotting onto the baseball diamond, not the fan favorite or the darling of management. Some folks have the audacity and the stupidity to say that “he is not an ‘everyday player.’” Should we be asking this next question? Are some of the so-called “everyday players” really talented enough to play everyday or are they players that have garnished the favor of management so that it insures that unless they are injured or experience major offensive slumps or defensive incompetence, their place in the lineup may be assured? That is not to say that the Pirates General Manager Neil Huntington or skipper Clint Hurdle don’t have a handle on acquiring and developing, because everyone in and out of MLB understand that Hurdle and Huntington have developed into one of the most dynamic partnerships in baseball.
However, is it possible that another player should be “bench warming” waiting to get some playing time instead of Harrison?
As of last Monday, Harrison had 63 hits in 66 games with a batting average of .306. Compare those stats to those of Jordy Mercer who has appeared in 74 games with only 56 hits and whose batting average is a whopping .227. Both Harrison and Mercer bat and throw right-handed. Plus Harrison was injured for a few games, so there shouldn’t be many situations, except death and taxes, that should dictate that Mercer has anywhere near the playing talent that Harrison has. When he is not needed elsewhere, Harrison should be the Pirates everyday shortstop.
Other MLB teams would love Harrison on their roster, but the Pittsburgh Pirates seem to be sending a clear message to those in management positions in the world of MLB. That message appears to be that they no longer give away minor league talent, nor their established stars, unless suitors are willing to get reservations and pay a lofty price for dinner at the “Poop Deck” to start negotiations. Oh stop with the wrinkles in your brow and quit turning up your nose already. When I lived in Nassau, Bahamas, the “Poop Deck” was an exclusive restaurant located about a mile from the Nassau Airport. My point is now when you come to the table to negotiate with the Pirates you better have a blank check because the bargain basement deals of the past are over, over and gone.
Check this out guys and dolls, the starting outfield of the Pittsburgh Pirates is developing into a formidable opponent because The Pirates management is beginning to utilize the one element that will almost insure success in any sport; that component is speed, speed and more speed.
Harrison brings speed and energy to the outfield or the infield. Wherever you put him it is plug’n’go. Harrison brings a bit more than just speed and energy to the baseball diamond. He appears to have an insatiable hunger for winning that won’t be satisfied with anything less than a championship.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741.)
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