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Forget for a moment that the Pirates' everyday team is below league average. The Pirates' replacement players are below the average for the league. And that may be at the core of the team's problems. Well-financed teams like the New York Yankees have respectable strength even on the bench. Cody Ransom is no Alex Rodriguez, but he did his team no harm as a "sub" while the latter was out for a month due to injuries. Not so for the low-budget Pirates Neil Walker, Steve Pearce, Brian Bixler, Virgil Vazquez, Craig Monroe, Luiz Cruz, Jason Jaramillo? Who outside of Pittsburgh has heard of them? To say that they are typical replacement players who (collectively) can win 40 games a season is probably being kind. After a respectable (if losing) 36-41 start to June 30, a team composed largely of t ...

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Article written by Tom Au

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