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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pirates Fire Two Coaches, That Should Fix It

The Pittsburgh Pirates fired pitching coach Joe Kerrigan and bench coach Gary Varsho because they were "no longer right for the staff." While the Pirates spiral toward their 18th consecutive losing season, manager John Russell passed off ineptitude to his staff. I'm not saying Russell was just trying to save some face but I'm not even sure what a bench coach does. I believe it has something to do with sunflower seed management. The starting pitching has certainly been disappointing though...
The Pirates also allowed Charlie Morton (1-9, 9.35 ERA in 10 games) to struggle for weeks before sending him back to the minors. Ross Ohlendorf (1-9, 4.23) has been a disappointment after going 11-10 last season and left-hander Zach Duke (5-10, 5.32) has given up 142 hits in 108 1-3 innings.
I suppose some of that may be Joe Kerrigan's fault. Or it could just be that none of those pitchers are very good. Or good. Or league average.

Let's face the facts. The Pirates have been a poorly run franchise for many years in a small-ish market. They can't afford to make mistakes. But they seem to have righted the ship over the past few seasons. They're spending money on the draft now. Pedro Alvarez should develop into a nice power hitting, lousy third baseman. And if they can sign Jameson Tallion and Stetson Allie, they win the 2010 draft. They also did a nice job on buying low on prospects Jose Tabata and Andy LaRoche (even if LaRoche didn't pan out).

Pitching is a concern. Brad Lincoln might end up being a good pitcher. Mid to front of the rotation guy. But Charlie Morton and Zach Duke aren't the answer to forming a winning season. So firing a pitching coach who isn't Dave Duncan seems like a nice way to show the fans that you care and realize things aren't going well is a nice enough gesture I suppose. But the bench coach? What could he have done wrong? Misplaced the Gatorade?

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