Should the Pirates Tank to Get Bryce Harper?

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IAugust 17, 2009

PHOENIX - JULY 26:  Infielder Andy LaRoche #15 of the Pittsburgh Pirates dives while attempting to field a single hit by the Arizona Diamondbacks during the major league baseball game at Chase Field on July 26, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Pirates 9-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Here we go. This is our first article talking about how a team should fold the rest of the 2009 season to better position themselves for Bryce Harper.

Keep losing, Pirates.

Lose like your life depends on it.

Lose like you've been losing this month, which has begun with two wins in 14 games.

Does everybody realize what's at stake here, heading into the final quarter of the season?

It's incredible that more people aren't talking about it: One of the most tantalizing prospects in recent baseball history is expected to be the first pick in next year's draft, and the Pirates might get him if they simply continue to do what they do best.

Lose.

Lose, lose, lose.

On one hand, this makes all the sense in the world. The Pirates need a player like Bryce Harpera player who could potentially transform the organization from laughingstock to contender.
And from a fan's perspective, sure, no one wants to watch the team fold. That sucks. But there will be absolutely nothing for a fan base to gain from the Pirates winning 70 games and missing out on Harper.
Instead, the fan base will benefit down the road if the team wins only 66 games and lands a once-in-a-generation player. And seriously, no one is going to remember how bad the Pirates were in 2009.
People will remember that the team was terrible and that 2009 was a major transition, but landing Harper might actually make the season worth while.
But on the other hand, the Pirates' roster consists of lots of young players and potential pieces for the future, so as a fan, you'd love to see these guys perform and make the team feel confident about them in the future.
Guys like Milledge, Garret Jones, McCutchen, Ohlendorf, Andy LaRoche, Zach Duke, and Matt Capps still have lots to prove to the organization, and the next month and a half could be crucial.
Should the Pirates tank the rest of the season to try and land Harper?

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