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David Freese Sounds Off On Why The Pirates Haven't Been Competitive The Last Two Years: "Our Environment Doesn't Allow It"

I’m sure this is going to piss off a lot of people, more specifically guys like Bob Nutting, Frank Coonelly, Neal Huntington, and the handful of Pirates players who will get defensive about half-assing their season last year. But, damn. This is really refreshing to hear. I look at it this way — there’s nothing wrong with coming into spring training and having some optimism when you’re not exactly a slam dunk candidate to make it to the postseason. But the Pirates, as David Freese mentioned, lost 87 games last year, and then promptly traded away their franchise player in Andrew McCutchen and their ace pitcher Gerrit Cole this past winter.

A guy in Freese’s position, who’s clearly frustrated at not just the lack of winning in Pittsburgh the last two years, but the lack of motivation to win — how is he supposed to feel? We lost 87 games last year WITH those guys. How am I supposed to stand in front of the media on day one of spring training and tell you all how excited I am for the 2018 season when we’re even worse this year than we were last year? Good for him for not giving some lame ass underdog speech about how, “We’re still talented” or “Don’t count us out just because the front office sold off some pieces.” Fuck that.

He’s being real with you. And not only is he being real with you, but he’s also voicing exactly how the fans in Pittsburgh feel. They’re fed up with the same exact environment that Freese is condemning. He calls into question the urgency and the accountability of the Pirates organization, and also doesn’t excuse himself from the blame, either.

In his two seasons in Pittsburgh, Freese has hit .267 with a .751 OPS. Those aren’t exactly All Star numbers, and he recognizes that. However, in his defense, he’s only gotten an All Star nod once in his career, and those numbers are right in line with what his production had been in the six seasons prior to joining the Pirates when he hit .275 with a .760 OPS with the Cardinals and Angels. So, in a way, I’d argue that he actually has done his part.

You’ve just gotta feel for Pirates fans here. Back-to-back disappointing seasons with really no hope in sight. They knew that already, but to hear it directly from the players themselves really has to be yet another kick in the balls.