I feel like Major League Baseball gives fans a choice these days.
You can take the traditional route of cheering for a single team. If that team is a small market team, you could be in for a rough experience. And regardless of the team, it’s difficult to get attached to any individual players in the height of free agency.
The alternative is cheering for your favorite player, regardless of the team. With teams showing no loyalty to players, your choice for your favorite player is eventually going to come down to a decision of having to watch a different team to follow his career.
The Pirates have a lot of former players in the MLB postseason this year, giving Pirates fans a chance for some sort of rooting interest now that a team has already eliminated the Cardinals. I’ve listed the remaining former Pirates below, broken down by team. I didn’t include the Yankees or Cardinals players in this list.
I personally will be pulling for the Rays, then the Brewers, for small market solidarity. And while I know it’s sacrilegious to pull for the Braves in these parts, I can’t NOT pull for Charlie Morton.
Who are you pulling for this year? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
RHP Jesse Chavez – Chavez made his MLB debut with the Pirates in 2008, after being acquired at the deadline in 2006 for Kip Wells. He was traded to the Rays after the 2009 season for Aki Iwamura. Chavez settled into being a regular MLB pitcher in 2013 with Oakland. He converted to the rotation from 2014-17, and has pitched in both starting and relief roles with the Braves this year at the age of 37.
RHP Charlie Morton – The Pirates added Morton in the Nate McLouth trade in 2009 that also brought in LHP Jeff Locke and OF Gorkys Hernandez. Morton had a solid run as a starter with the Pirates, albeit plagued by injuries. He was salary dumped following the 2015 season, and was injured most of 2016. His career was revived in Houston in 2017, and he’s been one of the more reliable pitchers in the game ever since, even now in his age 37 season.
RHP Richard Rodriguez – The Pirates traded Rodriguez at the deadline this year, getting RHP Bryse Wilson and RHP Ricky DeVito back from the Braves. They originally added Rodriguez as a free agent prior to the 2018 season. He had a 2.98 ERA in 196.1 innings over four seasons with the Pirates.
Tampa Bay Rays
RHP Shane Baz – The Pirates took Baz with the 12th overall pick in 2017, then traded him in mid-2018 as part of the dreadful Chris Archer trade. He made his MLB debut for the Rays this year, with a 2.03 ERA in three starts. He is currently in the playoff rotation, slated to start game two on Friday.
OF Austin Meadows – Meadows was also in that Archer trade, along with Tyler Glasnow. The Pirates took him ninth overall in 2013, and he made his debut with the team in 2018, with a .795 OPS before being traded. In his time with the Rays he has an .826 OPS in 1360 PA. I’ll note that Glasnow and Archer are both with the Rays, but on the 60-day DL.
OF Jordan Luplow – The Pirates traded Luplow after the 2018 season in a deal with Cleveland that brought back RHP Tahnaj Thomas and SS Erik Gonzalez. He was acquired by the Rays this year at the deadline. Luplow had a .780 OPS on the season, which matches his career totals in 736 plate appearances. He was originally taken by the Pirates in the third round in 2014.
LHP Blake Taylor – Taylor was the second round pick in 2013, traded in mid-2014 as part of the deal that brought Ike Davis to Pittsburgh from the Mets. He made his MLB debut last season, and has combined for a 2.84 ERA in 63.1 innings over the last two years.
San Francisco Giants
OF Alex Dickerson – The Pirates’ third round pick in 2011 was traded to the Padres after the 2013 season, in a deal that brought back Jaff Decker and Miles Mikolas (who was traded a month later for Chris McGuiness). Dickerson has a .260/.330/.470 line in 965 PA in the majors, finding a regular bench role with the Giants the last two seasons.
RHP Hunter Strickland – The Pirates lost Strickland on waivers to the Giants at the start of the 2013 season. He made his MLB debut in 2014, and became a regular starting in 2015. Strickland has a career 3.11 ERA in 312.1 innings in the majors. Strickland was originally acquired by the Pirates with Argenis Diaz fo Adam LaRoche in 2009.
Teams With None: Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers