Can We Please End the Brandon Moss Project?

Sergey ZikovSenior Analyst IMay 8, 2009

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 13:  Brandon Moss #44 of the Pittsburgh Pirates stands ready at bat during the Opening Day game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on April 13, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Only a season ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates fielded what many considered the most productive outfield in baseball, with Jason Bay, Nate McLouth and Xavier Nady.

Now they field one of the most puzzling.

It's not so confusing because of McLouth or Nyjer Morgan, either. McLouth has played the part of National League All-Star quite well in his sophomore season, reaching base in his last eight contests and hitting .343 in that span.

Morgan is that high-energy guy the Pirates have needed for about 20 years now. Then there is Brandon Moss.

Moss came over from the Red Sox at the trade deadline last season in a package for Bay and has held the starting role in right field ever since. And now, 70 games into the 25-year-old project's career as a Pirate, Moss has been everything short of abysmal.

For the record, the Pirates are paying him $411,500 to hit .213, strike out more than he puts the ball in play successfully, and hit an incredible zero home runs in a ballpark designed for lefties.

For a man who has claimed he "turned a corner" in his professional career, don't tell that to the statisticians.

He left the bases juiced twice, both times with no outs, in a 5-0 loss to Milwaukee this past weekend.

He's got three RBI this season, hitting primarily after guys like Ryan Doumit, Adam LaRoche or Craig Monroe.

Now, in all fairness, it's not just his contributions at the plate. Despite making several inspired efforts in one of the smallest right fields in all of baseball, his overall performance has been, well, lackadaisical.

But Manager John Russell is committed to him, saying that he is the starter in right field.


Why must we sit through this misery!?

It's not like there aren't other options. Although it's probably too early to call Indianapolis and request the services of Andrew McCutchen, the Buccos have a remarkably deep outfield.

The obvious choices would seem to be Monroe and newly acquired miniature speedster Delwyn Young.

Young might be the best temporary option. In 11 games in 2009, he is hitting .333 with three doubles and an on-base percentage that more than doubles Moss' figure. While he may not be the world's best defender, Young has a good bat and superb speed around the bases.

"We're trying to get everyone involved," Russell said to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Delwyn has been swinging the bat very well as a pinch-hitter. We'd like to get him a few at-bats in a row. It wasn't a matter of sitting Brandon,

At this point, I can't figure out why it's not.

Young has proven himself to be the better hitter. What has Moss proved? That he belongs on the bench or in Triple-A?

And if it's still not clear cut, there's nothing wrong with a platoon. Monroe doesn't get enough at-bats as it is. Remind me again why the guy rides the bench while some Yorkshire terrier starts in right.

It's time for the Pirates to end this project and cut their losses.