Before settling in to watch the Pirates-Nats game tonight (currently 3-0 Nats in the third inning), some thoughts and observations.
I do not usually go crazy over criticizing and savaging the Pirates front office over every little move they make, but I have to say that I got a little P.O.'d when listening to the game on, I believe, Wednesday night, and hearing Greg Brown and John Wehner launch into a dialog about how it is going to be pretty much impossible for the team to re-sign Russell Martin for 2015 any beyond, because, gosh, you know Russell has indicated that he might want to test the market to see what his value might be, and, you just know that one of those crazy big market, cash-rich teams is going to make some crazy offer that the Pirates just will never be able to match, and it would be good business for them to do so anyway.
I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing. The whole thing just smacked of being orders from on high (Nutting and/or Coonelly and/or Huntington) telling the broadcasters to start spreading the word that "we ain't going to sign Martin and it's not our fault - it's Martin's fault and the fault of the Angels/Yankees/Red Sox/take-your-pick". Hey, the announcers are paid by the Pirates, and who among us hasn't done things at our employers' behest that we didn't necessarily like, but that was really insulting to the audience's intelligence, and I can't believe that Brown and Wehner kept a straight face while doing it. As one Pirate Chatter put it on Facebook, it was a line of b.s. akin to parents preparing their six year old for the fact that the family dog was about to be put to sleep.
Michael Martinez has been playing second base in place of an injured Neil Walker. Martinez is hitting .135. You read that right One-Three-Five. He also made an error in the Tigers game that may - and I emphasize may - have cost the Pirates a chance to go into extra innings in that game. A Pirate Chatter made a statistical case that Martinez may be among the dozen or so worst players in all of baseball history!! All. Of. Baseball. History.
Now I realize that when you lose an all-star caliber player, which Walker has been this season, to injury, you are not going to replace him with a player of equal talent. But really, in all of organized baseball, couldn't the Pirates have found somebody, anybody, better than Michael Martinez? I mean...
The Pirates make a waiver deal and acquire relief pitcher John Axford. Axford was once an All-Star (at least, I think he was), but like many older relief pitchers, he's not what he used to be. At best, he is an improvement over guys like Pimental and Gomez, and he may take some of the strain off of Hughes and Watson and Wilson. It's a deal that could be of marginal help to the team. It's not worth celebrating with champagne and dancing in the streets, but it's not one that is cause for boiling up tar and feathers for the Front Office, either.