The Pittsburgh Pirates traded yet another All-Star today.
Surprised?... Me either. Are you mad?... Maybe you should be.
The latest exodus of big league talent from Pittsburgh has made for another “head-scratcher.” Something similar to giving away of Jason Bay, Aramis Ramirez, or any other All-Star the Pirates have had since 1991.
I’m not ready to anoint Nate McClouth Jason Bay just yet, but he was a considerable talent. McClouth is just 27 years old, a solid bat in the lineup and great glove in the outfield.
Throw in the fact that he was signed through 2012, and you have to ask yourself what was wrong with the situation on the Pirates’ end.
Here’s the deal: McClouth gets sent to the Atlanta Braves for three players, none of which are currently in the big leagues.
The top player the Pirates obtained in the trade is Gorkys Hernandez. Though he is the number four rated prospect in the Braves minor league system, Hernandez’ greatest strengths are his speed and his ability to hit for average. Something the Bucco’s seem to have a little too much of in the outfield at this point.
Looking at the complete lack of a power hitter in the Pirate's lineup, it only seems logical that they should want to develop a young power hitter, specifically a left-handed power hitter to take advantage of the short porch in right field.
Then again maybe they only built that feature at PNC Park for opposing teams to take advantage of. What sportsmanship that is… very classy.
To sum it up the Pirates traded for a variation of Andrew McCutchen, the prospect that will be called up to take McClouth’s spot on the roster.
The two other “prospects” are both Pitchers.
Jeff Locke, a once highly regarded prospect that has been a bust of sorts after a flashy season in 2007. Since going 7-1 in 2007, Locke went 5-12 last season and has started off this season with a 1-4 record and an ERA well over five.
Charlie Morton is the only player in the trade with any big league experience. During his time with Atlanta last year he went 4-8 with an ERA over six.
Now I know that many Pirate fans are encouraged with the emergence of Jeff Karstens. Seriously, how far-gone is this situation when a prospect that wouldn’t be the third starter on a playoff team, makes it to the big leagues and everyone is overjoyed enough to call the trade that cost two of their best players a success.
Not only is the McClouth deal a poor trade, it sends a message to every Pirate fan that still pays attention. It’s a message that the ownership of this team is willing to mail it in, in the month of June yet again.
It’s a message that the ownership is still willing to pocket money while they put a poor team on the field. That’s a message that should insult the intelligence of every real baseball fan in the city of Pittsburgh.
Many have said that the Pirates are trying to do things the right way now. That they are building their team the way the Tampa Bay Rays have done it.
Well I happen to disagree.
The Rays have not traded their young prospects for nothing in return. They acquired top-level prospects, spent money in the farm systems and were willing to bring in mid level free-agents (ones that were still able to play) in order to provide veteran leadership.
The key being that they brought in talent, not sent it away. They developed that talent instead of rushing their prospects to the pro’s so they could fill gaps left by departed All-Stars. All the while, they did it with a lower payroll than the Pirates.
So for now my friends, forget "raising the jolly roger." Because the only thing the Pirates ownership and management is willing to raise this year is another white flag on the way to another losing season at PNC Park.