In 2008, the Pirates fielded perhaps their most potent offense since the days of Bonds, Bell and Van Slyke. Anchored by Jason Bay and augmented by career years from Xavier Nady and Nate McLouth, the Pirates appeared to be making progress towards that elusive winning season.
Unfortunately, Pittsburgh was able to cancel out a formidable offense with a thoroughly awful pitching staff. Forgettable names like Yoslan Herrera, Jon Van Benschoten and Jason Davis all took the mound as starters for the Bucs that season.
At the trade deadline that year, GM Neal Huntington made controversial trades that dismantled the offense in an attempt to bolster the pitching staff and add depth to the farm system. These trades have had a large effect on the makeup of the club this year.
While the pitching staff is not a major strength for the team, there is reason to believe that it is improving. If nothing else it is far better than the 2008 staff that humiliated themselves on a daily basis.
Let's see what to expect from Pirates starting pitchers in 2011