DK'S GRIND

Kovacevic: Rebuild now a must, but start at top

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The Angels' Luis Rengifo scores on a Little League home run Wednesday night in Anaheim. - AP

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Fire everyone.

Before broaching anything related to this franchise's future, whether 2020 or beyond, just remember that's got to come first.

Man, it was a woeful Wednesday for the Pirates here at Angel Stadium, from the stunning, seismic word that Jameson Taillon fell victim to another Tommy John surgery, to his teammates' visibly emotional reactions to, eventually, the 7-4 evisceration by the equally awful Angels that followed.

And all through it, speaking solely from this perspective, all I could think about was this: Is it time to rebuild? To rip it all down?

In a way, that's never felt more inevitable than now. Because, with Taillon out for all of 2020 and undoubtedly part of 2021, the rotation's left in the potentially capable but predictably unstable hands of Chris Archer, Trevor Williams, Joe Musgrove, maybe Mitch Keller, maybe Steven Brault, maybe Dario Agrazal ... and maybe it's just too much predictable instability to withstand.

Know what I mean?

Now add into it that Bob Nutting, no matter who's working for him in the front office this winter, isn't about to authorize a fraction of the tens of millions needed to add a Taillon-level starter, so wipe away any notion of free agents at any level, much less a Stephen Strasburg, Dallas Keuchel or, hey, Gerrit Cole. Even a middling starter costs a mint anymore. As close as the Pirates will come to spending on this will be exercising Archer's $8.25 million club option, which, given how he's looked of late, might be an unforeseen bargain.

But that's it. The rotation will be constructed on crossed fingers. And I'll say it again: That'll apply no matter who's in charge.

It's scary stuff.

Or, if seen through another prism, it's an opportunity to truly rebuild. To truly do it right.

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