Saturday, February 14, 2009

Back to Baseball

There is no question in my mind that Pedro Alvarez is going to be the most watched player in Spring Training.

Is it because he was the big name first round draft pick from last year? No.

Is it because he is the future of the Pittsburgh Pirates? No.

It's because "El Gordo", as some have come to refer to him as, showed up to mini-camp last month large and in charge. Alvarez irked many in Pirate nation when he showed up out of shape and obviously packing a few extra pounds. And given the contract fiasco of last summer, it's going to take a lot of time Alvarez to fall into the good graces of fans here. There is no doubt in my mind that when he does finally make it to PNC Park, there will be a smattering of boos from the fans when his name is first announced. Many will call him a "cancer". Ol' Pedro has been tagged as a stand-up kid from humble beginnings. Alvarez will need to prove himself as a leader in the clubhouse. He will need to put up ridiculous numbers in his rookie year just to win fans over. Even then, the most cynical of fans will say it was beginners luck. I would not want to be in Pedro Alvarez's shoes the first time he walks onto the field at PNC Park. The magnifying glass will be on him so intensely that he may end up burning like an ant under the hot summer sun.

Moving on...

In an article posted on pirates.com yesterday, Nate McLouth believes that as his agent and the Pirates talk, it is possible for arbitration hearings to be avoided before the scheduled date of February 17th, which is this coming Tuesday. It's not going to happen. Nate McLouth will be the only one of the six Pirates players that will head into his arbitration hearing. McLouth's performance last year was just too good for his agent to agree to what the Pirates have offered Nate the Great. Unlike some players (Jack Wilson & Adam LaRoche) who have fallen out of good graces with many Pirate fans, McLouth is seen as a vital part of the future of this team. He will not be hated by the fans for this sort of thing. With McLouth ready to play an entire season in CF this year, don't expect his numbers to fall off like they did at the end of last season. I'll predict a 30 HR year and another All-Star game for Nate.

Let's Go Bucs!
Vote for Romulo!

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