Can someone just pull the plug on the Pirates already?
Just a few hours ago the Pirates traded OF Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves in their latest “salary dump” deal, with “dump” being the key word here. Just awful.
Look, I’m not the biggest McLouth fan in the world but this trade just flat out sucks for the Pirates. They traded their #3 hitter, a guy who played in the All-Star Game just 11 months ago, and all they got in return was a future 4th outfielder, a 4/5 starter and a Single-A lefty with a 5.52 ERA. More on those guys in a bit…
Again, just to repeat, I don’t think McLouth is a stud. He’s a decent player, though, and at $5 million a year or so he’s not making too much money for any market. Hell, if the Pirates wanted to dump money they should have just given Jack Wilson or Adam LaRoche away for some Big League Chew and a bucket of baseballs.
Trading McLouth is okay by me, but you’ve gotta get a higher caliber of player than they did. Even if it means taking just one or two guys in the deal instead of three. Quality should be more important than quantity.
I’m all for clearing the way for Andrew McCutchen, no doubt about that, but how ’bout sitting Brandon Moss down and making room that way?
As for the players the Buccos received, well, let’s take a look…
OF Gorkys Hernandez – Hitting a decent .316 at Double-A as a 21 year-old but 54 K’s (in 212 AB) to 15 BB doesn’t strike me as much of a leadoff man, which is what he’s supposed to be, and neither does the fact that he’s been caught stealing 8 times in 18 attempts. Best case scenario, he’s a right-handed hitting Nyjer Morgan.
SP Charlie Morton – Has put up some nice numbers at Triple-A but doesn’t have great stuff and has had back problems. Also, check the pitchers the Braves have traded away over the years. Other than Adam Wainwright, who has really turned out all that well? They know which guys to keep and which to deal. Morton will probably be okay, but he’s a 4th/5th starter.
SP Jeff Locke – Lefty with a live arm who is still just 21 years-old but that 5.52 ERA in 10 starts at High-A this year isn’t exactly exciting, nor is the fact that he averages 4 1/2 innings per start and walks too many guys. He’s talented, as you would expect of a 2nd round pick, but he wasn’t exactly stellar at Low-A last year either (5-12, 4.06 ERA). Might be projectable but that’s not saying too much.
So, the Pirates trade their 3-hole hitter for three guys who may or may not become serviceable Major Leaguers?
Yep, that’s about the size of it.
All that to clear a $5 million-a-year contract when you’ve got Jack Wilson and Adam LaRoche scheduled to come off the books at the end of the year?
Kevin Wheeler is the host of Sports Open Line (M-F 7-9 PM ET) on News Radio 1120, KMOX in St. Louis (www.kmox.com) and he is a baseball instructor with All-Star Performance (www.all-starperformance.net) and the St. Louis Gamers (www.stlgamers.net). You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org