Pirates Can Build on Decent Core

Christopher Horner/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

To capitalize on the steps the Pittsburgh Pirates took last year, they went into this offseason with a plan: emulate the Houston Astros’ “Killer B’s” core of the 1990s. Fine, maybe not. Though what other explanation can the Pirates put forth after their big offseason maneuvers consisted of signing Clint Barmes, Erik Bedard and Rod Barajas – or, as they’re regarded around the sport, Blah, Blah and Blah.

Serviceable pieces they are. The centerpiece of a plan for a team that swears it’s committed to breaking a streak of losing seasons that could reach two decades this year? Not quite. The Pirates work within a budget. That budget calls for skinflint upgrades, if you want to call them that. Owners of bad teams have two choices: spend...

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