Musgrove: ‘Expect a different season’

PiratesFest is usually a time to try to build optimism and excitement about the upcoming season, but coming off a last-place finish in 2019 with mostly the same team in place, that is a hard sell.

On Friday, Joe Musgrove did his best to sell the fans that optimism.

"Expect a different season than last year, for sure," Musgrove told reporters at the new jersey unveiling during PiratesFest, Friday at PNC Park. "I think a lot of things that we went through last year made us all stronger as a unit. Being exposed the way we were last year, I think it opened up a lot of eyes as to what needs to be fixed in this organization, from top to bottom, and a lot of that falls on the players' shoulders.

"So much can be done from the staff and the front office to put us in position, but ultimately, we've got to go out there and we've got to play the game. We all know what's expected of us this year, and I think everyone's prepared properly in the offseason to come out and do that."

After his final start in 2019, Musgrove said last year's team “didn’t really give the fans a whole lot to look forward to" and that he didn't know if he would "pay that much to come out and watch a team perform like we did this year."

Musgrove pointed out this a very similar team to the 2018 squad that finished with a winning record, but he did not shy away from acknowledging the internal problems the Pirates had last season.

"I think we lacked a little bit of leadership in the clubhouse, amongst all the players," Musgrove said. "No one was really willing to step up and take that role."

Musgrove plans on being one of those to step up and take more of a leadership role in 2020, but he thinks it will take more than one person to make a culture change.

"I think it's going to take a culmination of everybody pulling their own weight, and everyone holding each other accountable. Speaking when things need to be said," Musgrove said. "It's hard to look at it as one guy needs to be the leader."

Musgrove once again named Bryan Reynolds and Kevin Newman as two guys who he would like to see step-up and take more of a leadership role because even though they are young, they are well-respected in the clubhouse.

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