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The best 25 players not here yet

The start of the baseball season is right around the corner, and Pirate fans are getting excited.  The home opener is almost a sellout, with just single and standing-room only tickets left.
The Pirate players are also ready to show that they can compete.  The players believe in themselves, which is key to have a competitive club.  Another key to a successful season is having the players continue to believe that they can compete.
The 25-man roster is set, but is it the best 25?  Pirate prospect Andrew McCutchen had a .318 batting average with two home runs and seven RBIs in 26 games. The outfielder most likely will be called up later in the season.
Management praised McCutchen but then said he needs to work on a few things.  Fans and media say it's because the Pirates want to push back McCutchen's eligibility for free agency another year.  Shortstop Brian Bixler also had a solid spring training, batting .345. Fans can expect to see Bixler when Jack Wilson is dealt near the trade deadline.
Wilson said he would like to stay in Pittsburgh, but don't expect him to take a pay cut.  The Pirates are not afraid to trade away a fan favorite for prospects and a reduced payroll.
Another player to have a good camp is reliever Evan Meek, but was ill and didn't see much action the last couple week's of spring training.  Meek's absence opened the door for reliever Jesse Chavez, who earned a roster spot by default.  Chavez posted an 11.45 earned run average, which includes a terrible outing before being rewarded with a trip up north.
Despite not having the best 25 players wearing a Pittsburgh uniform in April, the Pirates should be optimistic.  If some of the better players are not on the big league roster, that means the organization has some depth and talent — something it has lacked for many years.
The so-called baseball experts have picked the Pirates to finish last in the NL Central Division.  I can't argue with the predictions.  I think the Bucs will go 63-99.  The Pirates might not get close to the magical 82-win total, but don't expect these players to throw in the towel at any point of the season.
By Jim Spezialetti