Pirates: Don't Despair Over Draft, Trade If Pirates Snag Sano

Nick DeWitt@@nickdewitt11Analyst IJune 14, 2009

CHICAGO - MAY 27: Nate McLouth #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes a swing against the Chicago Cubs on May 27, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Pirates 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Attention fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates!  Stop despairing over Nate McLouth's trade and the drafting of Tony Sanchez instead of Aaron Crow or another supposed "can't miss" prospect.

The answer to your hopes and dreams may be arriving soon in the person of international mega free agent Miguel Angel Sano.

Sano, a highly-touted teenage shortstop from the Dominican Republic, has drawn comparisons to Albert Pujols and other major league stars.

Sano is reported to have remarkable power potential, as well as above-average defensive skill. 

The Pirates are favored to land Sano, unquestionably the most sought international free agent this year.

For Pirates fans who are still miffed that the team shipped out McLouth and then went "cheap" in the draft, here's a few thoughts that may interest you and perhaps put your fears to rest.

The team's unspoken goal in drafting a player that could be signed quickly and for money in line with his draft slot was that they would be able to aggressively sign other draft picks and also make a run at Sano.

The Pirates, while not perhaps pumping dollars into the big league roster, have been continually sinking money into their Latin American endeavors. 

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The owners have not, as is widely assumed, been pocketing all of the profits.  They just aren't investing it in the big league club's questionable talent yet.

Sano solves several problems for the Pirates.  The team has long sought Jack Wilson's heir apparent at shortstop.  Brian Bixler and Brian Friday don't inspire much hope yet.  Sano would instantly become one of the team's top two prospects.

The team also needs power hitters badly.  Pedro Alvarez will likely become the team's new centerpiece upon his arrival at PNC Park, but two power threats are always better than one. 

Imagine a lineup the has the speed and on-base abilities of Andrew McCutchen and Nyjer Morgan (to say nothing of Gorkys Hernandez and Jose Tabata) at the top and Alvarez and Sano in the middle of the order.

Sprinkle in the other position players where they best fit and suddenly the team has a lineup to match its much improved pitching staff.

I'm not saying that Sano will be the savior for Pittsburgh, but he would go a long way to solving the team's long standing problems.

While I'm not a big believer in using stats to prove a point, the Pirates are also averaging half a run more per game since the McLouth trade.  While that isn't much, the addition of speedy Andrew McCutchen has undoubtedly improved the team's on base and RBI opportunities. 

As for the players received in the trade, Hernandez is a player who could be added to the team's outfield mix or who could be packaged as part of another deal. 

Charlie Morton might be the answer to the team's rotation problems and Jeff Locke has ace-type potential to develop.  There is no weak member of this deal.

It will take years to properly grade this trade, but so far the Pirates and Braves are both benefiting from the transaction.

For those of you who are superstitious, the Pirates downfall symbolically began when Sid Bream, acquired by the Braves from the Pirates, scored the winning run in the 1992 NLCS.  Perhaps another deal with Atlanta will signal the end to the misery. 

Time, as always, will tell.  In the meantime, if the team lands the white-hot Sano, the Pirates may indeed make some waves this season in the talent acquisition department.


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