First Pitch: MLB Teams Crying Poor As the Offseason Turns to December

The calendar is about to turn to December, and based on everything we’ve seen this year, we can all be thankful that the year 2020 has only one month remaining.

Unfortunately, based on everything we’ve seen this year, the month of December might last the emotional equivalent of three years.

In the baseball world, the offseason really kicks off when the calendar turns to December. And yet, it might not really kick off when the winter meetings come around in mid-December, as MLB teams are already crying poor after the pandemic shortened season. The Phillies are already claiming ridiculous, and unsubstantiated loss totals, first claiming to lose $2 billion dollars, and then dropping that a bit to just under $200 million dollars, still with no proof.

I get it. This is a tough year. I, myself, have lost several hundred million dollars this year on Pittsburgh Baseball Network. You can just trust that claim as the only reason why we will not be signing J.T. Realmuto to be our new Pirates beat writer.

At the same time, an MLB team openly talking about losses, and comically inflating them, is not a good sign for an active market.

That might benefit the Pirates in the long-run. They weren’t expected to be active regardless, but if the big market teams are crying poor, it might drop the prices of good players to the range that the Pirates typically operate inside. They tend to have their best free agent years when the rest of the league backs off, such as 2003 with Reggie Sanders/Kenny Lofton/Jeff Suppan, and then in 2013 with Russell Martin/Francisco Liriano/Jeff Karstens.

Will 2021 be another year where the Pirates can benefit from the large markets taking a financially conservative approach? Or is that something which only happens every ten years?

Here’s a look at what you can expect on the site this week:

**Wednesday is the deadline for teams to tender offers to all arbitration eligible players. The Pirates started the offseason with 19 arbitration eligible guys. They’ve already shortened that list, with guys like Trevor Williams, Jose Osuna, and others now removed from the organization.

**We will be finishing our 2020 Pittsburgh Pirates recap series on Monday and Tuesday, looking at the depth the team has on the bench, and their future depth outlook. At the end of the series we will have links to the entire series, which includes over 30 articles of analysis on the current and future Pirates.

**We’ll also have some previews of the 10th Anniversary Prospect Guide, which is almost finalized with a lot of new features for the book. You’ll get a look at those this week. We’ll start recapping the top 30 prospects and breaking down the system following the MLB Winter Meetings.

**We’ve got our Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday deals live through Monday. This has been a crazy year (hundreds of millions of dollars lost, you guys!) and any support you can provide would be massively appreciated, while going a long way to making sure that we’re able to cover the 2021 Pirates and beyond. Check out all of our deals below.

If you’d also like to support in a round about way, and you’re a music fan, you can check out the records I’ve got for sale.

Order your PBN Card Packs today (limit of 10 packs per customer) by heading over to the PBN Shop!

PBN Card Packs

Each pack of cards will include:

  • 10 Cards Total
  • 7 Prospect Cards
  • 2 MLB Cards
  • 1 Rare Card
  • Bubblegum Not Included

Rare Cards Include:

  • Jameson Taillon Rookie Cards
  • Jameson Taillon Refractors and Inserts
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes Rookie Cards
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes Refractors and Inserts
  • Mitch Keller Rookie Cards
  • Mitch Keller Refractors and Inserts
  • Travis Swaggerty Rookie Cards
  • Travis Swaggerty Refractors and Inserts
  • Cole Tucker Rookie Cards
  • Cole Tucker Refractors and Inserts
  • Aaron Shortridge Rookie Cards (Small quantity with refractors included, only available on PBN via card packs)
  • Clay Holmes Rookie Cards (Card photo shot by Tim Williams of PBN, refractors included)
  • Refractors and Inserts of Quinn Priester, Sammy Siani, Deon Stafford, and other players!
We’re also offering 30% off individual cards using the code CARDS at checkout.

Subscription Discounts

We’ve been operating on a sort of “honors system” with subscriptions the last few months. We’ll be putting the paywall back up next week as we launch into our top prospect countdowns, and report on all winter league action and offseason news.

We’re offering massive discounts on subscriptions this weekend, giving you access to the site for 50% off our regular prices. Your subscription will help support this site over the offseason during this difficult time, while also giving you access to our updates on the Pirates, 365 days a year.

Click here to subscribe!

Note: Subscriptions are purchased separately from other products.

Free Shipping

This weekend only we’re offering free shipping for all orders of $40 or more. The discount will automatically update in the cart once the total is reached.

Prospect Guide Updates

This week we finalized the top 50 prospects for the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Prospect Guide. The final edits and roster moves are being made to the book now, and it will be sent to print at the start of December.

This has been a strange year for the Prospect Guide, especially regarding getting information on players during a year when there was no minor league baseball. Rather than releasing what we knew on each player at the end of last year, we worked to get new information on everyone in the top 50, and on as many other players as possible. The result will be the most comprehensive source of information on the Pirates’ farm system, with our exclusive rankings, grades, and reports on every player in the organization.

I know a lot of you have waited patiently for the book to be released. Our goal is to make sure you end up getting the best product possible, with as much information as we can get included.

The digital version of the book will be made available when the book is finalized. We’ll have some previews from inside the book in the next week, detailing some of the new changes to this year’s edition.

The Prospect Guide has always been a massive lifeforce for this site, while also being a key resource that we use to reference prospect grades and tools. I thank everyone who has purchased the book, and can’t wait to get this year’s copy to you!

The 2020 Prospect Guide returns to print for our tenth¬† we are releasing two variant covers, featuring Mitch Keller and Ke’Bryan Hayes. Visit our shop to order these extremely limited items!


First Pitch