The Pirates are a great team right now, but they might not be able to rely on Barry Bonds after this year. That could spell some rough times for the Pirates offense, as they don't have any exciting offensive prospects coming up. Where in the heck is the power going to come from, if not from Bonds? I'm not sure they have anyone you can count on for even 20 homers.
Don't weep for the Pirates, though. They had their run, and I'm sure they'll be back soon. These things are cyclical. It's not like a team can be under .500 for 15 years.
Depressing analogies aside, the Pirates actually might be a team on the upswing. They've pieced together a very nice rotation; if the Devil Rays had Gorzelanny, Snell, Maholm, and Duke, they would make some wild-card noise. The Pirates' offense is struggling right now, but it's a solid core of under-30 players. I'd trade rosters with the Pirates in a second...if we could keep Cain. I'm kind of attached to that guy.
It's come to this: I'm not sure, but I think I would trade futures with about 25 different teams in MLB. Certainly not the Nationals, Orioles, or Mariners. Probably not the Royals, though that's probably a minority opinion. I love what the Pirates are doing, and I've been envying the Brewers, Marlins, Rockies, and Diamondbacks for a while. This must have been what it felt like for the Blue Jays to watch the Indians and Mariners ascend in the early `90s. Those teams? Bah. Never been good, and never will. We, on the other hand, shall continue our dominance until further notice. Cough. Wheeze.
There is one point to keep from putting the Thousand Island dressing on the hemlock, though. If you could start a franchise with two pitchers - considering salary and payroll - Cain and Lincecum would be in the top 15. Cain would probably be the top non-Felix if you were worried about paying a guy like Johan Santana, and Lincecum falls only because he hasn't pitched in the majors yet. Add in Zito - who isn't an ace, but is a pitcher that every team would want in their rotation - and a cheap Lowry, and it isn't canned-food-and-bunker time after nine games. Not yet. It's much easier to build an adequate offense to go with a great pitching staff than the other way around. And if the Giants stink up the joint this season, someone else will get to decide how that offense is built.
Also, it never hurts to play the it's-still-early card in a game of pity solitaire for this season. Nine games have been played. That's it. The offense isn't really this wretched. It can't be. Give us a month to figure it out. In the meantime, the two franchises might be going opposite directions, but I'd still be ticked if the Giants couldn't beat the Pirates.