Pirates Give Pittsburgh Even Poorer Product

McCord RobertsCorrespondent IJune 4, 2009

ATLANTA - MARCH 31: Right fielder Xavier Nady #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is greeted by teammates Jason Bay #38, Nate McLouth #13 and Ryan Doumit #41 after his 12th inning 3-run home run during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field March 31, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Pirates won 12-11 in 12 innings. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

It’s time for Major League Baseball to step in and do something to help the pitiful Pittsburgh Pirates. Their claim of being too small a market to compete also spreads to to the front office, where it’s apparent that their baseball minds are too small for the major league arena as well.

On Wednesday, the Pirates traded their best player, Nate McLouth, to the Atlanta Braves for three prospects.

What is the most puzzling thing about the trade is that the Pirates had McLouth locked up for the next three seasons. He had just signed a three year $15.45 million deal in February, which may have given Pirate fans some hope that errors of the past by management were being reconciled by a positive change for the better.

Remember, it was only last year when the Pirates broke up perhaps the best outfield in baseball and traded two of them and in return got not much in return. Both Xavier Nady and Jason Bay had time left on their existing contracts before being traded, and now when adding McLouth to the mix, it just makes you scratch your head.

Why are the Pirates even in Major League Baseball? Isn’t the old small market issue always about not having enough to retain their top players?

In the early 1990’s, the three-time NL East Champions were dismantled because they couldn’t compete with the big cities when their contracts were up. That was understood. No way could they have kept Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla, but at least they went all in and attempted to win, which they did, until the end of their contracts.

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This debacle the last two seasons with getting rid of their players before their contract year is near is a shame for all Pittsburgh fans. The team has shown the city and their fans that they never have any intention of competing. What is the point in attempting to stock pile prospects when they’ll be traded as soon as they accomplish anything?

The Pirates organization has shown that all they’re about is selling gear, sodas, hot dogs, and beer. They have a beautiful stadium that is fun to go no matter how bad the team is, but now the Pirates are toying with city and their fans by putting a product out there that isn’t MLB caliber, and they have no intention of doing so.

It’s almost too bad that MLB didn’t adopt the relegation rules of the English Premiere League because the Bucs don’t deserve to be in the majors. Their minor league carnie attitude and approach should be in the minors and a team that wants to put a solid product out there for their fans to come see and be proud of should be in the majors.

It would have been nice to see the possibilities of what could have happened in 2009 with the Bucs young pitching staff and a great lineup featuring Bay, McLouth, and Nady.

I’m not saying they would win the tough NL Central, but they really could have made things interesting and been fan favorites across the country because everyone likes an underdog and overachiever in today’s baseball where money rules.

We’ll never know how it may have turned out, but I think it’s safe to say we all know how the Pirates future is going to turn out. Time for Baseball to step in and give the Bucs braintrust Neal Huntington and Frank Coonelly the MLB beginners guide to baseball management.

Why stop at just McLouth? There still is Freddy Sanchez, Ryan Doumit, Zack Duke, and Pat Maholm that surely several Major League teams could utilize as the Pirates continue to be baseball's training ground for baseball's best. The idea is obviously already being mulled over by the braintrust.

If there is any solace that Pirate fans can take is that they get to see their best players perform year after year in the playoffs, even if they are in different uniforms.  

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