Though they’ve yet to be eliminated from the NL playoff chase, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ recent 9-23 run has made it rather unlikely 2012 will see their first return to the postseason in two decades. Upon learning the Pirates’ Florida Instructional League players are about to undergo training at the hands of Navy SEALS, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Dejan Kovacevic suggests such schemes “are emblematic of a franchise that has no clue how to prioritize winning.”

Tell me what Bob Nutting, the man with the most say, has done this summer to advance the cause of the 2012 Pirates.

He authorized trading for Wandy Rodriguez and his guaranteed $12.2 million at the deadline. It was the right move. But was that same authorization in place to get the more sorely needed bat?

The Pirates could have had Chase Headley from the Padres for a top-five prospect, either Brad Lincoln or a sandwich draft pick, plus a third piece. That was a fair, affordable price, even before Headley erupted into the National League’s best player in the second half.

Moreover, Headley’s rights could be controlled through 2014, assuming the team would pay a high salary through arbitration the next two years. Was cost the problem?

Tell me what Neal Huntington did at the deadline beyond getting Rodriguez and giving up little for Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez. Assuming the GM worked without financial restraint, that was a case of little ventured, little gained.

Tell me how Clint Hurdle has overseen two collapses now.

I applaud the man for turning the Pirates around. Really, it took a special personality. But he’s the one who came up with the slogan FINISH for his team, and he, maybe more than anyone, must come to grips with why that line gets drawn in July.