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Pirates Trade Nate McLouth: A Fan's Letter of Resignation

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Pirates Trade Nate McLouth: A Fan's Letter of Resignation
(Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to send their All-Star center fielder Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves for prospects Gorkys Hernandez, Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton. 
I am in no way, shape, or form a Pirates fan and am glad my team’s organization has patience and confidence in the ball club they put out at Miller Park every night.
However, I have started to feel genuinely bad for Pirates fans and have made a universal letter of resignation for any fan that wants to use it.  Here it goes:

Dear general manager Neal Huntington,

I am writing you today for a very serious and important reason and hope that you will take my words to heart. 

I will no longer be following and/or cheering for the Pittsburgh Pirates or any organization affiliated with them.

Yesterday, you traded away the only All-Star we had on the team in Nate McLouth, who not only batted third in our lineup, but also led the team in home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage and OPS. 

Last year, he hit 26 home runs and drove in 94 runs to go with a .276 batting average.  He was loved by many fans and was the bright spot in a franchise that has a great minor league system…that is playing in the majors.

Last year, you traded away Jason Bay and Xavier Nady at the trade deadline (which ironically left just McLouth in the outfield) for eight prospects, four of whom are currently in the majors. 

Andy LaRoche, the bright spot of the trade, has played well and is holding down the hot corner well.  Brandon Moss has one more home run this year than I do and the two pitchers in the majors have a 7-7 record this year. 

I am sick of being average, Mr. Huntington.

I know you tell fans to try and be patient and that we should not a sacrifice star prospects for one winning season.  However, is one winning season in 17 years too much to ask?

Also, it makes it kind of hard for a fan to be patient when we know the prospects you trade for are going to A) flame out in the minors or B) start doing well until you trade them away for more prospects!

Let’s break down the players that we were given in return for a five-tool, 26-year-old All-Star under contract for three more years relatively cheap (wow, that sounded good).

According to Baseball America, Hernandez was the Braves’ fourth best prospect and is projected as the Opening Day left fielder in 2012.  He’s being put in AA ball for the Pirates, so let’s be honest: there’s a chance he does not pan out for us and cannot make the big league transition. 

Fortunately the same cannot be said for Charlie Morton, who assured us he cannot make the big league transition when he went 4-8 for the Braves last year and posted a 6.15 ERA. 

The third prospect, Locke, is 1-4 in single-A ball and is a long ways off from sniffing the pros.  I really enjoyed your quote after the trade when you said:

“When we signed Nate [McLouth] to a long-term contract, we did so with the intent on having him remain part of our core of homegrown talent.  But the quality and quantity of talent we are receiving in this trade moves us closer to our goal of building that sustainable championship-caliber club.”

So just how long is this championship-caliber ball club going to take?  We are only 5.5 games out of first place, but then again it’s June and, outside of the NL West, only seven teams aren’t.

However, there was reason for hope this year and you shattered it all.  The three prospects that we traded have no shot of playing in 2009 so we are basically packing it in this year. *Tally No. 17 goes up on the wall*.

Maybe next year, right?  I understand how excited you are about Andrew McCutchen and, to be honest, he looks like the real deal. 

You might even be right about him being the future in center field…that is, until he becomes good enough to get some more prospects for.

Look, the fact of the matter is that the Braves kept their blue-chip prospects and received an All-Star in return. 

When the rest of the team lights a candle and puts a picture in the spot where McLouth used to play cards, you know something is wrong. 

Freddy Sanchez and Adam LaRoche both spoke out against the move and questioned the path management has taken. 

They have every right to do so and I’m sure they have no idea what will happen to them at this year’s trade deadline. 

In closing, I would like to thank you for the three NLCS’s you gave us fans in 1990, 1991 and 1992. 

Kind of ironic that we lost to the Braves in ‘91 and ‘92 and they are still beating us 17 years later.

I wish Nate McLouth all the best and hope he becomes an even better player down the road and gets to be in the playoffs one day (how cool would that be?!).

As for you, I hope your prospects pan out and that Pirates fans are given more false hope from the front office that they are building a “championship-caliber team”.

Sincerely,

A Former Pittsburgh Pirates Fan

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