Fresh off a horrible season, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ embarrassment continues as a former Pirates pitcher continues to dominate with his new team.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates made pitcher Gerrit Cole the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, the team almost certainly hoped to see him pitching as a game one in the World Series. Fast forward to now, and that’s exactly what Cole is doing. Unfortunately, Cole is doing that for the Houston Astros, the team Pittsburgh shipped him to after giving up on continuing to develop him. As Cole gets ready to pitch the biggest game of his life, it’s just another reminder of the ineptitude within the Pirates organization.
The Pirates failed to develop Cole, and instead of recognizing the problem was the coaching and organizational atmosphere, they instead gave up and shipped him down the road. The players they acquired in return, Joe Musgrove, Colin Moran, Michael Feliz and Jason Martin, aren’t necessarily bad players, and Musgrove, in particular, was impressive, but Cole is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. With a 2.5 ERA and a league-leading 326 strikeouts, Cole put together one of the best seasons we have ever seen from a pitcher; meanwhile, the Pirates fell apart and lacked a true No. 1 guy.
On the surface, trading Cole made sense for the Pirates. He failed to live up to his potential with the team, culminating in a rough 2017 season that ended with a 4.26 ERA. The problem, of course, is that the talent was always there. From 2013 through 2016, Cole looked like one of the most promising pitchers the Pirates have ever had, but thanks to poor coaching from the since-fired Ray Searage and an organizational culture that had constant in-fighting and strife, he was at a distinct disadvantage. After joining a Houston Astros team that embraces analytics and had a winning culture in place, Cole has flourished, and in the process, has made the Pirates look like idiots for ever letting him get away.
When it comes down to it, the Pittsburgh Pirates are a team that can’t get out of its own way. From poor management to truly awful ownership, the Pirates, outside of a few playoff years, have been one of the MLB’s most downtrodden franchises. Just that latest in a long line of players that have experienced success after leaving Pittsburgh, Cole’s success shows just how bad things have become.