Inside Conditions…Risk Factor

Aubrey Bruce
Aubrey Bruce

I recently ran into an inebriated Pirates fan in Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh sporting what appeared to me to be a self- manufactured button that just simply said; “Pedro must go.”  Unfortunately, he seems to represent the tip of the iceberg regarding disgruntled Pedro Alvarez fans.

There are beginning to be rumblings, grumbling and mumbling regarding the performance of Pittsburgh Pirates ex-3rd baseman and current 1st baseman, Pedro Alvarez.  To the credit of Pirates manager Clint Hurdle he has tried as many formulas as “Merlin the magician” to maximize the talent of Alvarez but unless a miracle happens the erratic performance of Alvarez may ultimately doom the postseason aspirations of the Pirates and their fans.

From 2010-2014 Alvarez averaged 23 home runs and 64 runs batted in per season.  He also struck out 678 times in 2,063 at bats: that means that approximately every 3 at bats Mr. Alvarez was a strikeout victim.  The defensive side of Alvarez may be daunting as well.  He averaged 22 errors per season as a basically full time 3rd baseman from 2010-2014, yet he was moved from 3rd base to 1st base in order to lessen the liability of him on defense.  However, he has already committed 15 errors in 2015 and the Pirates are just a tad past the first half of the season.

Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez, center, sits in the dugout during a baseball game in Pittsburgh Wednesday, July 23, 2014. The Pirates won 6-1, and neither Alvarez or Marte played. (AP Photo)
Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez, center, sits in the dugout during a baseball game in Pittsburgh Wednesday, July 23, 2014. The Pirates won 6-1, and neither Alvarez or Marte played. (AP Photo)

He is on pace to commit 28 plus errors at 1st base in 2015.  Pedro Alvarez is a congenial, approachable and hardworking young man but his continued performance (or lack thereof) may ultimately doom the Pirates and designate them as the most talented “couch potatoes” left behind when the 2015 MLB postseason begins.

I was talking to one of my Milwaukee buddies and he said to me that it would be very difficult to sit Pedro Alvarez because he is such a fan favorite.  I also said to him that might be true but even a great and loyal fan base will eventually tire of clubhouse concession speeches when the great teams continue to “crack the bubbly” as they continue celebrate championships.

There is no one man that is greater than the sum of the team or at least there shouldn’t be.  A very comfortable bed has been made for Pedro Alvarez, yet players like Josh Harrison still must continue to prove themselves over and over, day after day.  When Harrison comes back from his injury, I suspect they he will feel the pressure (not from his manager) to again prove that he can continue to perform at a high level on an everyday basis. I can’t imagine Pirates manager Clint Hurdle giving Pedro Alvarez the responsibility to play multiple positions because but for his first two years in Pittsburgh, 2011-2012 when he committed just 17 and 14 errors respectively, his hand to eye coordination seems to have maybe taken a step backwards.

The defensive inadequacies of Mr. Alvarez may be due to a physical nature such as a visual perception problem but that that may be a stretch on my part to say the least, because if such a matter was the problem, it would have been uncovered and medically addressed by now.  There are risk’s that may be worthwhile taking such as extending a players’ contract after he or she has experienced a significant injury.  However, let me pose this question to you.

Would you continue to patronize a restaurant that that served fabulous looking food only resulting with you experiencing diarrhea every time you ate there?  If possessed any amount of logic, you would discontinue allowing the physical appearance of the “victuals” to impact you decision to dine there.

Would you continue buying loaves of bread from a manufacturer that featured sexy men and women on the packaging but once you opened it up, the bread was moldy and stale, time after time? I don’t think so. The Pittsburgh Pirates have repackaged and repositioned and have shown great loyalty to Pedro Alvarez by doing so. Now it is time for the Pirates to cut their losses and move on.

Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: or 412.583.6741
He is also a contributing columnist for
Follow him on Twitter@ultrascribe

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