The Marlins have to be one of the most enigmatic teams to ever be a fan of.  From there hey-days with Wayne Huizenga to their current penny-pinching days, they have done an amazing job of finding talent . . . then trading it away to lower payroll.  The Pirates, have a long tradition of winning, but in the past two decades have really lost their way.  Both teams now though struggle to stay afloat financially,  while offering little hope to their fans.

Yesterday the Marlins reached a deal with Dan Uggla, a one year deal for one of the better players on their team.  The sad part is, that he is sure to be traded away this season, maybe before the season even starts.  While Dan may never be a contact hitter, the Marlins desperately need behind Ramirez, he does offer power, which is something the Marlins are in dire need of.  He is not going to be a 0.270/30/100 guy, but he will be a 0.250/30/100 guy which if I am a Marlins fan, I am very happy about.

Hey at least the Marlins have one of the better farm systems in baseball.  They have to if they are going to continually trade away talented players year after year (as soon as they finish their arbitration years).  The Pirates on the other hand have nothing in the cupboard other than Pedro Alverez, and not a whole lot in the majors with the exception of Andrew McCutchen and if you think Andrew is going to be there at the end of 2011 think again.

McCutchen is an electric player, he is capable of being an All-Star maybe even as early as this season.  However, there is so little talent in the franchise that it almost seems pointless for the team to continue.  It is almost as though they have already given up hope by trading some of their best players over the course of the past few seasons including Jason Bay and Nate McLouth.  They quite possibly have one of the worst bullpens in baseball and their rotation is only marginally better.

In truth both teams either should move to fan bases that will rally around the team, or sell the franchise to owners willing to put a good product on the field.  There are cities around the country that would rally around a franchise, New Orléans, Salt Lake City, Portland and even Norfolk, Virginia.  It’s time to push out franchises that don’t want to compete or force them to move to cities that would allow them to compete with owners that are willing to try to win.

Does this mean a salary cap?  Only if it forces all teams to have a competitive roster.  As a Yankees fan, I can understand the need for a salary cap, but that isn’t going to help teams like the Marlins and the Pirates.  Even with a salary cap, those teams are going to be the breeding grounds for up and coming talent for the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Mets and Cubs.  Contraction may be the only solution.

As far as the hobby goes, some of the more popular players have come out of the Pirates and Marlins organizations.  For Uggla, his autographed cards run about $5 – $10 on eBay, more if he is featured on a card with more than one player.  The card of Uggla featured below sold for $10 on eBay a few days ago.  He remains one of the more popular Marlins and carries a bit of a premium when it comes to his cards.  For McCutchen, being one of the première young players in the game has spiked his autograph values.  Depending on the release his cards can run from $20 – $100.  The card featured below finished at $27 and I think it is one of his better cards.

8 responses »

  1. Paul says:

    Let’s wait and see what happens to the Marlins after their new stadium opens. They’ve gotten their slap on the wrist, and they responded by signing Josh Johnson and Dan Uggla. They still manage to field a competitive team.

    The Pirates are a problem, but without seeing their books I don’t know if they could really afford to spend more. I certainly can’t fault any fans who are lukewarm in their support for a team that hasn’t had a winning season in almost two decades.

    Don’t forget to include San Diego, Oakland and even Tampa Bay in your group of “problem” franchises — there just wouldn’t be enough cities to let you move all the struggling teams. (And I doubt that stadium construction bills would have an easy time passing anywhere.)

    Maybe the solution is to take all of the big market teams and dump them in one league, and let the smaller markets play in the other. Let them meet for the World Series, where anything can happen. It might make for fairer and more compelling games — or it might create a AAAA league that no one cares about.

  2. jasper says:

    It pains me to read your blog when you talk about sports and show little knowledge. When you write about collecting your blog is so much better. If MLB had some form of revenue sharing and or a salary cap like the four other major sports then many teams would be more competitive. The Pirates have had years of bad mangagement but they have more in their farm system then just Alvarez (look at their recent trades). As far as trading McLouth he is horribly defensively and they made room for Mccutcheon,who is much better defensively, by trading him. Plus Mccutcheon is not eligible to be a free agent after 2011 so he will be around for more years the McLouth would have been. Please stick to collecting.

  3. motherscratcher23 says:

    So you think that moving the Pirates out of Pittsburgh is going to make their front office smarter? Moving the Pirates would be a tragedy. Pittsburgh is a great city that will support professional sports teams that win, like they’ve proven in football and hockey. Research has borne out that increased attendance follows winning, not the other way around.

    Put the Pirates of the last 20 years in any one of the cities that you mention and take a look at the attendance. The problem isn’t the city, it’s inept management and the inherent unfairness of the league structure.

    In 1990, the Yankees finished in last place but had over 2 mil in attendance. The 2 following years, despite finishing better each year and nearly doubling payroll they failed to break the 2 mil barrier in attendance. Low attendance followed losing.

    Since then they have steadily been climbing in attendance and payroll. This is because they have been consistently winning. Increased attendance followed winning. If you put the Pirates in a league where they can compete and a front office that can figure out how to do it, they will pack that stadium, just like the Steelers do.

    I can’t believe that you are blaming the Pittburgh fan base for the Pirates problems. But what is really offensive to me is that you put me, a diehard Cleveland guy, in a position where I felt I needed to defend that cesspool of a city full of inbred yinzers! LOL.

  4. ny_hitman_23 says:

    It wouldn’t be so bad if the Pirates used the luxury tax money they receive to put a better team on the field. Instead, they use the money for player development in the minors (at least that’s what it was used for in the past). To me, that’s not what the money was intended for and it doesn’t seem to be working.

    The Pirates have also turned an operating profit of $18.6 million, on average, since 2005 including $16 million in 2009. So why can’t they spend a little of that to retain some of their players? In 2008, when they traded Jason Bay, and others, they made $18 million.

    I think the Pirates need better ownership but I don’t think that’s something we’ll see anytime soon since they told Mark Cuban the team wasn’t for sale 5 years ago.

  5. Jim says:

    I live in Pittsburgh and I am as big a baseball fan as they come. Believe me when I say I would be crushed if the Pirates left Pittsburgh. There is nothing I enjoy more than heading to PNC Park on a warm summer day to catch a ballgame. I am surprised that, in your article, you suggest the Pittsburgh fan base is to blame for the team’s recent struggles and imply that, by moving the team, the influx of money from a new rabid fan base would reinvigorate the team.

    Can you really blame the people of Pittsburgh for not wanting to attend Pirate games or purchase Pirate gear given the current state of the team? The Pirates have traded away every well-liked player they’ve had in the past few seasons and haven’t gotten much in return. If that’s not a slap in the face to every season ticket holder…I’m not sure what is. Sure, I understand the Pirates mentality on players…buy low…sell high…build the farm system. It’s a good business model…and it’s something new the Pirates have done in years…but it sucks if you are a fan. The only reason I go to PNC Park these days is to get the free bobblehead or check out the Phillies when they come to town.

    I agree that without some kind of salary cap system, Pittsburgh (or any other small market team) will never be able to compete with teams like Boston and New York. The best free agents will never be attracted to Pittsburgh because we can’t pay them like Boston and New York can. Our only true chance at being a competitive team lies in our farm system and our ability to grow players and sign them to long-term deals before they become superstars. It worked for Tampa Bay…but their ability to keep some of their better players will really be tested over the next few seasons…and no doubt they will find themselves in last place again soon.

    Pittsburgh management has become adept at signing free agents who will have inflated values during the trade deadline (such as middle relivers and platoon outfields) and then trading them away to build their farm system. I get it. It just sucks to be a Pirate fan right now…but I will not take responsibility for how crappy the team is.

  6. nick Cee says:

    It would be bad for baseball to move the Pirates out of Pittsburgh. The problem as stated is the management being stingy with money. It can’t be the city. The Penguins, Steelers, as well as the many different Pitt College teams all to do well. Some of these owners are garbage. The people who bash the likes of Steinbrenner and Jimmy (Douche Bag) Dolan, and Mark the clown Cuban are the best things for sports. These guys take profit and inject it back into the team. These owners who own these other teams and run them into the shitter like what almost happened to the coyote, and penguins. These owners should be taken over and bought out by their respective leagues. Or move teams to one of the major cities or Vegas, or take the low market teams turn them into a division and move them down to the Caribbean and from a division with them.

  7. jasper says:

    nick Cee…It was not the owners of the Penguins that almost killed them it was no slary cap/revenue sharing. While the Pirates ownership is questionable (hopefully new management helps) they are at an extreme disadvantage as all the other major sports have some form of salary cap/revenue sharing. THe Penguins got good again after the lockout the changed the business structure of the NHL.

  8. Heather says:

    Howdy I was just poking around the internet, looking for some entertaining sites to link to and bumped into your site.

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