It's time for the Pirates to win. Period. The NL central is for the taking, and the only team that realizes this are the Cincinnati Reds. This became apparent when they went out and traded for Mat Latos. I'm sure their not done. And there's a reason; the NL Central has imploded.
The Cardinals lost Albert, and they now have a rookie manager. The Brewers most likely lost Prince, and they've most likely lost Braun for 50 games. The Cubs are still floundering around. The Houston Astros are still the Houston Astros. As for the Pirates, well...they've picked up Clint Barmes, Rod Barajas, and Erik Bedard. The three Bs, which stand for BORING, BROKEN, and BOTHERSOME. I'm sorry, that's mean. They're good players and I think that they'll help out, but they're not game changers. The Pirates need to make some moves that won't only help them improve, but make their opponents worse. For instance, the Cardinals, Brewers, and Cubs need to find someone for first base. The best option, other than Prince Fielder, is the much cheaper, yet still effective, Carlos Pena. The Pirates need a first baseman! I'm sorry, but Casey McGehee isn't going to be the answer at first. I'm still not sure as to why the Pirates got him in the first place.
Another move that could benefit the Pirates while taking another option away from their enemies is picking up Edwin Jackson. Jackson is a decent pitcher that would benefit from having a steady home. Pittsburgh needs to be that home. Their rotation looks okay, but okay won't win you championships or push you over the .500 mark. I'm not saying Jackson will make the Pirates' rotation phenomenal, but he would give them a better option than what they currently have. Another pitching option could be Paul Maholm. He's been their constant for years, and despite his record, he had a pretty good 2011 season.
Neil Huntington has said that they have some money to spend, so go ahead and spend it. Now is the time to make the push. I may be a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
Their 2012 Lineup could look like this:
RF Alex Presley
LF Jose Tabata
CF Andrew McCutchen
1B Carlos Pena
3B Pedro Alvarez/ Casey McGehee
2B Neil Walker
C Rod Barajas
SS Clint Barmes
This lineup doesn't only look decent offensively, but good defensively. Clint Hurdle LOVES defense. They need a power bat to drive in all of the speed that they have, and I believe Carlos Pena is the man for that job.
Their 2012 Rotation could look like this:
1) Kevin Correia
2) Erik Bedard
3) Charlie Morton
4) Edwin Jackson or Paul Maholm
5) Jeff Karstans/James McDonald/Brad Lincoln
The Pirates' pitching coach, Ron Searage, turned this pitching staff around in 2011. Their team ERA went from 5.00 in 2010 to 4.04 in 2011. The WHIP went from 1.49 to 1.41. The Ks went up a little and the BBs went down a little. With a couple of additions, and Searage's ability to coach, I think this staff has the potential to be top notch.
Who do you think will win the NL Central? Is this the year the Pirates break the .500 mark?