We the undersigned,
Blackbeard, Long John, Captain Hook,
"Sticky-Fingers" Cutch, Doumit the Crook,
"Peg-Legs" Pedro and "Planks" Walker,
do hereby solemnly offer
to retract for good our last retort, the one before "avast",
to the effect that it's the nice ones who will always finish last
It's been a while, but I think the Pittsburgh Pirates are genuinely in a position to look down on another team in the NL Central this year, thanks to the Houston Astros' continued insistence that they're not the Dave Littlefield-era Pirates, they just keep on signing average players to fill bigger and bigger holes with no organizational goal in sight.
Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez aren't going to carry an offense on their own, but they're both extremely promising hitters, and the hitters who are only kind of promising—Neil Walker had scuffled in the high minors for years, Jose Tabata may or may not be 21, which makes a difference when you're an outfielder with no power—still happen to be much younger than their Houston counterparts.
They're not the Royals; the talent they have stashed away won't make John Sickels reconsider his life's work or cause Baseball America to spontaneously combust in your hands. But this team looks more promising than it has in a while.