After a series of pitchers have seen their careers brought back to life from the brink of retirement, the Ray Searage and Jim Benedict pitching factory has produced stellar returns from small investments for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
From the perspective of a fan, it’s frustrating watching the team spend pennies to dollars hoping the player doesn’t run off with their investment to get five-fold the original investment from another team. From the team’s perspective, it’s one of the best practices for a small-market team like the Pirates to remain relevant in a big revenue sport.
Once the team lost assistant to the general manager Jim Benedict to the Miami Marlins to take the role of director of pitching, many have questioned the ability of Ray Searage and the Pirates to continue churning out results from pitchers that have fallen on tough times or simply never experienced much success to begin with. The effects have already been felt, as a deep pitching market was expected to allow the Pirates restock a depleted rotation, but the departure of Benedict combined with massive inflation of free agent prices have forced the Pirates to roll with a rotation that includes Jeff Locke and Ryan Vogelsong.
So how did the Pirates experience so much success with reclamation pitchers and how can Ray Searage and company continue this success? More specifically, what does it mean for Vogelsong?