Pittsburgh Pirates: The Time for a Firesale Is Near

John BucoCorrespondent IJuly 11, 2008

The Pittsburgh Pirates are on the verge of their 16th straight season under .500.  Now, I'm not a huge baseball fan, but being from Pittsburgh, this borders on embarrassing.

The Pirates are long overdue for spring cleaning, and a firesale should come shortly after the All-Star break. In light of that situation, the Pirates should get fair market value for some of their players.

1. Xavier Nady

The Pirates cannot wait for his injury problems to go away. However, at this point, he's had a solid season, despite his trips to the DL. They might be able to pawn him off on some AL team in need of a DH. He's an average outfielder, so his frequent injury problems make him a good DH candidate.

2. Jason Bay

It is time to say goodbye and part ways with Bay. The Pirates had hoped he would lead them back into the playoffs, but the pitching and other supporting characters were just never there.

Bay could hit three home runs a game and the Buccos would still lose 5-3. Jason Bay fit the Brian Giles mold very well, so they may be able to get a viable, young starting pitcher.

3. Adam LaRoche

He looked like a good piece of the puzzle two years ago. Now he is just another mediocre contributor in an awful system. Bullpen help and maybe a minor-league prospect is the best that can be expected for LaRoche.

4. Freddy Sanchez

Sanchez would be a great addition to the Rays, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers, strictly as a person to get on base. Sanchez is the best start to manufacture runs in a strong system. The Diamondbacks would be the best option, since they are in the financial cellar and they need something to turn things around.

Once they get some fresh, young players into the system, they may have more success. They still need a marquee starting pitcher. Ian Snell has the potential, but he needs to have a season where he spends no time on the DL. Matt Capps also has the potential to be a great closer as well. They have a solid foundation of quality guys in Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit. They just need the supporting cast.