PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – MLB Network and FOX Sports 1 analyst John Smoltz joined The Fan Morning Show on Friday to talk about the Pirates after they were blown out by the Giants in the Wild Card Game, and offered his thoughts on their exit from the playoffs and the offseason that lies ahead of them.
Smoltz told the guys that the Pirates appear to be on the precipice of being a perennial contender.
“If they can just find that front-line rotation that sticks together and doesn’t have to every year try to find something or somebody to have a breakthrough year,” Smoltz said. “I think that’s where they’re getting close to doing. They’ve got that foundation in Gerrit Cole, and now if you had a few more pieces and get a few more developed young starters, and next thing you know, you’ve created something special.”
Smoltz thinks it’s important for the Pirates to have a veteran catcher entering next year, especially given how young their pitching staff should be.
“You may be able to mix in some young starters and be able to massage them through the game with a veteran catcher,” Smoltz said. “I don’t think the flip side works. I don’t think a rookie catcher can massage and work through a rotation. I’m not saying it’s impossible- Buster Posey may be one of those guys who have exceeded that.”
Smoltz also talked about how he dislikes the one-game wild card format.
“I want competitive balance,” Smoltz said. “I want the ability to say that we played 162 games in 180 days and let’s get it closer to that in the playoffs. Let’s not have so many off days. Let’s play it where you reward the best team and the team with the best components that got you there. Let’s get it back to a series. Let’s get it two out of three. Let’s find ways to play with less off days. Let’s play a five game series in six days, a seven game series in eight or nine days, and let’s just do what baseball is used to doing. Players won’t complain about that.”
The interview can be heard here: