The 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates are not expected to light the world on fire this year. Will it be possible for new GM Jesse Rockwell to end 19 straight losing seasons? With a solid mix of youth and veterans the team does not look like much on paper. So making the right moves, or hoping for guys to outperform expectations will be the only way this time can have a winning season. Offense: Catcher: The team added Rod Barajas this year who brings the potential for some solid pop at a position which normally does not have it. He has had 8 seasons of double digit HRs, with a career high of 21 for Texas in 2005. His arm behind the plate leaves a lot to be desired however. 1B Garret Jones/Casey McGehee are expected to platoon this year. Neither is a world beater at the position and after a fantastic 2010 season, 2011 was a bust for McGehee. Can the Pirates get a positive VORP out of this platoon for the season? 2B Neal Walker batted cleanup for the Pirates in 2011, and that certainly shows the lack of power for the ballclub. Walker is a solid contact hitter, but he has only hit 12 HR each of the last 2 seasons. Defensively, while sound, he does not have the range you would like at 2B. 3B Casey McGehee/Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez's ratings for this year's version of the game disgust me. Yes he had a horrible .289 slugging % in 2011, and struck out 80 times in 235 ABs, but he has always showed promise. I expect to play Alvarez much more than I probably should, in the hopes that he outperforms his ratings by a long shot. SS Clint Barmes is another FA aquisition, this time from a guy who has spent nearly his entire career at Coors Field. His career .703 OPS is not shabby from the SS position, but more importantly, he brings the best glove on the infield to play. LF Alex Presley had a breakthrough season with limited playing time in 2011. This kid has + speed and + contact and really should fit in well at the top of the Order. CF Andrew McCutcheon is easily the best player on this team and outside of Matt Kemp in LA probably the 2nd best in the big leagues. Excellent Range in the OF combined with ++ Speed, + Contact and + Power he has the chance to go 30/30, but 20/20 is certain. RF Jose Tabata- Although he does not have the power you would like at the corner OF spot, he makes up for it with excellent defense, ++ Speed and ++ Contact. He will probably bat leadoff, and expect us to give him the green light all season long. Projected Lineup: L Pressley R Tabata R McCutcheon L Alvarez S Walker R Barajas L/R Jones/McGehee R Barmes Pitching: SP Eric Bedard- Bedard was a huge signing for the Pirates. Since his days with the Orioles, he has had all sorts of injury problems. When healthy though, he is still one of the best pitchers in the game. Last year, he pitched the most innings in 5 years. And that was only 129 IP. But in those 129 innings he struck out 125 and only walked 48. We can only hope we can get 200 innings of Bedard. RP Chris Resop. 10 Stuff, 9 fastball, 9 curveball are his ratings. Yeah he has control issues, but he's darn near unhittable when he's on. 2011 he struck out 79 batters, in 69 innings. CL Joel Hanrahann has one of the best sliders in the game (10) and his 10 stuff is just nasty. Last year was a great year for him and we expect the same this year. Financial Outlook: It's no secret the Pirates Owner is frugal. That gives us a challenge right from the beginning, but no one says he has to make a huge profit. Right now we have about $14 million we can still spend for the 2012 season and still make a small profit. Add in the $2 million cash on hand and we have some wriggle room. That has been part of the problem for the Pirates, they are pocketing their profits instead of spending to make the club better. When our highest paid player is AJ Burnett at only $5 million we have problems. Organization: We are currently have the 6th best Farm System, and with a small market team this is key. Don't expect the Pirates to be trading many draft picks. But we will certainly deal depth in the organization. The Pirates have 2 absolute studs at SP as their top 2 prospects: Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. Both of these guys are future #1 pitchers and we can't wait until they hit the big leagues. In addition we have two more very good OF in Josh Bell and Starling Marte. This farm system has some talent, and we hope to continue that trend. Outlook: The NL Central is certainly more winnable now. Ryan Braun was discovered to be a fraud, and Pujols and Fielder have both moved to the AL. The problem is... This Pirates team needs some help. Offensively, there is no legitimate power on this ballclub. We have plenty of speed and a couple of good contact hitters, but outside of Cutch no one strikes fear in opposing pitchers. So there has to be a power hitter added from somewhere. The obvious position would be 1st base. Because we intend to see if Alvarez can really figure it out with a full season under his belt. The pitching staff is ok, but has a lot of questions. Can AJ Burnett harnass his control? Can Bedard stay healthy? Can someone step up to impress us? We feel comfortable about the back end of our bullpen with Meek, Resop and Hanrahann. But outside of that, its a collection of misfits. Do we wait for one of our own pitchers to develop and hope for the best? Or do we had a solid SP? For the Pirates to win this year, a lot of what-ifs have to happen. The good news is that the division is probably one of the weakest in baseball. But still, there are a lot of holes to fill and we need to decide what resources we are willing to part with to fix the holes.