Dissecting the deal…

I can tell you that this was not what I expected when I came to the ballpark on what is now yesterday afternoon. In fact, I figured when we got word that the game was cancelled at about 5:30 p.m., that I had a nice relaxing evening ahead of me. Yeah. Right.

Anyways, I don’t expect the initial reaction (which based on your blog and story comments seems to be primarily negative) to simmer any time soon, and you know what, I can’t say that that would be a fair expectation.

Did the Pirates make a good trade? I don’t know. Could they have gotten more for McLouth? I don’t know. Was there an urgency to have to do this now? No, which means that the Pirates really had to like what they were being offered.

On one side, the Pirates did get three prospects that are genuinely regarded as legitimate Minor League guys with Major-League upside. The pitching depth has been significantly improved by the addition of Charlie Morton. Instead of having Virgil Vasquez sitting in Triple-A as your next-best starter, you’ve got a guy in Morton who has been one of the best pitchers in the International League all season.

And actually, I’d be surprised if he’s not here pretty soon. The way GM Neal Huntington was talking on Wednesday night, the Pirates feel he’s ready. Should Jeff Karstens – or shall we say, Ian Snell? — not pull his weight in the rotation, Morton will be in.

Gorkys Hernandez is intriguing because of his speed, and one baseball front office person (not with the Pirates) told me on Wednesday that he sees Hernandez as having All-Star potential in the Majors. And it would be a heck of an outfield with Hernandez, Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata (all centerfielders now) out there together in a few years. 

Jeff Locke is furthest away from the big leagues, which, in a way, makes him the most risky of the three prospects. There’s time to fade. Or there’s time to bloom. It’ll be a few years before we know which way that goes.

On the other side, though, you still have to question why the Pirates haven’t been able to get a marquee-type player in the three mega-trades that Huntington has pulled (Jason Bay to the Red Sox and Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte to the Yankees being the other two). The Pirates believe they have three potential above-average big-league players with this latest deal. That’s certainly a plus. But I can understand why there is some skepticism as to how good a deal this is when there is no defined superstar-talent coming in return.

It’s clear that the Braves were not willing to offer top pitching prospect Tommy Hanson or outfielder Jason Heyward, but it’s a bit surprising that Huntington pulled the trigger on this deal without seeing if maybe, just maybe, McLouth could garner a little bit more. 

Then again, maybe Huntington wanted to sell high, not risking that McLouth’s production decreased and with it, McLouth’s value. Not to mention, top prospects aren’t exactly being offered these days. The Braves were desperate for an outfielder — no question — and in the eyes of the Pirates’ decision makers, that desperation was enough to get a good package.

Also, know that the Pirates were plenty familiar with these Atlanta prospects. They had been heavily scouted by the organization last summer as the Braves were trying to make a run at Jason Bay. In fact, the Pirates were ready to accept a package that included both Morton and Locke for Bay before going with the deal that brought them more Major League-ready talent.

Know that the Pirates were not shopping McLouth. And Huntington wanted to make it perfectly clear that when Pittsburgh signed McLouth to a multi-year deal back in February, it was not with the intention of then dealing him away immediately.

Now let’s just hope everyone can stay tuned long enough to see how this one plays out. And in the meantime, you all can continue to debate…

19 Comments

Dear Lord,

Please help the Pirates Management to make better calls than what they’ve been making. Take for instance Lord, Xavier Nady. What happened? Now we have one Nate McClouth. What gives Lord? It seems every time that we begin to get it together somewhat as a team, the management blows the fans away with moves like this! Lord, it is really hard these days to remain a loyal fan (oh, and I am one of the most loyal) with my team being mismanaged in this respect. I am asking for your help? Is there any way that we can trade the management for some new ones that might have a clue?

Thank you Lord

A dedicated Pirate Fan … and I know that this is too late…but the Braves do not deserve Nate!!!

Jen — we know who pays your salary — BUT, we are NOT as stupid as your boss thinks; and, WE [fans] are actually paying you — so cut the crap!!!! — I know a little about young baseball talent and the more I research these three youngins, the bigger gamble this gets to be. We had a solid known talent signed to 4 or 5 year deal, at low cost. Who knows what McCutchen’s contract will be worth. So we just dumped a KNOWN straight-flush for a new hand. Nate is solid in the long-term — a proven non-sandbagging player that wanted to be in Pittsburgh (unlike Jason Bay) — maybe he is crazy, but we have trouble finding guys like Nate — maybe he played, wherever he was, “for the love of the game”; but, for whatever his mentality, he was content, if not happy, HERE. Maybe he recognized that making 2 mill. a year in a small community like Southwestern Pennsylvania, is a blessing. Others might want bigger bucks in Boston or NY — but he gets the point – life is toooo short — enjoy it NOW.
And as for the excitement about McCutchen . . . BOI you might be a typical Pirate fan — excited that you traded a five-tool player (McLouth) for a five-tool player (McCutchen) — YESSSSS!!! WAIT!! OOOPS Wasn’t McCutchen already in our organization? AND how many five-tool players at the AAA level have failed in the majors? AND, Gee, if McC did prove to be a real talent — we would hate to have two five-tool players in the same outfield — afterall, we are the PIRATES!?!?! (remember/heard of Roberto Clemente, Al Oliver, et al of the 70’s? — never again) These days, we always trade that sorta talent (e.g. Bay/Nady trade).
Get off the Huntingdon Kool-Aid — same ol’ crap — diff day — we will remain the farm team for the rest of the majors until we break the cycle. WE cannot keep trading ALL-STARZ for top minor leaguers so that we can make them into stars for other teams, too. And NOW we don’t even get to enjoy our all-stars for even a half season.
DAMNIT, and we (my family) have been wasting time EVERY DAY voting for Sanchez and McLouth, et al. for the All-Star team at the behest of PittsburghPirates.com website– 75 votes (using three different names) EVERYDAY. You Phreaking USERS!!!! BUT, remind me to kiss my “better-half” in the morning — she talked me out of buying those season tickets. She was right, it would have been premature. And HUNTINGTON — KISS ME– right HERE!!!! [Derriere exposed]

OH btw — we love ya Nate!!! sincerely, see you in 5 days in Atlanta when you will be beating our hump butts. How smart is that — trade your all-star , five-tool, center fielder to your soon to be opponent??? 3 games in Atlanta 6/9 thru 11 — and we wonder why , PIRATES=LOSERS!!!
someone asked me, what does five tool talent mean? Scouts drool to find one that has: speed, fielding, throwing, batting average, batting power — they are rare in 2009 since the youngins cant do steroids anymore, and they don’t remember what reeeeal blue-collar work looks like. But, McLouth knew!

this just in andrew mccutchen traded to the mets for a water cooler and some used jocks. another blockbuster trade masterminded by neil ” bad deal” huntington. the water cooler is missing the electrical cord but the all the athletic supporters have high ceilngs and could be in the pirates lineup by the end of the year. I swear to god this idiot must consult a magic 8 ball as to whether hes making a good deal or not. any real sports fan in pittsburgh should do whats right and boo and heckle huntington anytime hes seen in public until he gets the point to stay out of sight. it makes me sad to watch EVERY year as this joke just continues to play out. and what a boost of confidence this must be for the guys still here. i hope they traded away all sharp objects in the clubhouse too or were likely to minus a few more players by the end of the week.

well this is what happens when u8 hire some one from cleveland who was just a lackey to there gm. im sick and tired of hearing about another so called 3-4 5 yr plan.any real baseball fan knows were being sold a botle of snake oil here.step right up get a botle of neals cure foir base ball blues take a spoon full and in 4 yrs another looseing season . seeing how the steelers are run by foot ball people and the pens by hockey people see what happens when non baseball people run a team nuting and huntington havent a clue what there doing since day one when they hired russell. maybe we should trade maholm for some washed up prospects some one dont want and maybe we can get a new mower for the field. no mater what huntington says from now on i wont beleive him.

It remains to be seen if this trade is a good one, but I doubt it. Most everyone blames Pirates management but I blame the ownership. The owner is more concerned with the bottom line than with winning. The Pirates fans deserve better than this and I feel sorry for all of us. However I feel worse for the Pirates players. I am a lifelong fan of the Bucs, but being a Pirates fan is equivalent to being Bill Murray in the movie “Groundhog Day”. You wake up and it is the same thing over and over. Everyone talks about Joe Dimaggio’s streak as the most unattainable streak in sports. Just wait. As long as Mr Nutting owns this team, we will set a record for futility with the most losing seasons that no sports franchise will ever match. Congratulations Mr Nutting, you thoroughly deserve this dishonor. Not that you really care!

I am in dissbelief this gloomy day. An understanding that I have had since the previous owner took over was “we are working on a foundation of core players to build our championship team…” this same phrase was caried over to the new ownership.
As a business owner, I to hold on to this phrase. Build on the talent that I currently have that keeps people coming back time and time again to my service. Out perform every time, producing every time and the service that is deserved. I do not get ride of those that are going above what is expected of them. I get ride of those that do not hold up to there hip.
Why do you get ride of All-Stars on a team that needs them? I can think of 3 players that they could have traded and still get what they got – Moss, Monroe, and Hinske (Why do we have them?)

lol that one baseball person was probaly from the nationals who are just as bad or wrse ans the buccos as are running a team lol

huntington did pull the trigger and shot him self right in the foot

3 centerfielders one postion just how do we do that? well oner palys just night games and one plays just on sundays and the other sets on the bench–trade bait

McCutchen did need his chance, but getting rid of McLouth to do it is absurd. McLouth was locked up at a reasonable salary for a few years and he is young. I understand building for the future, but he was the future. You have Moss sitting there and right field, a .250 hitter with no power or speed. Put McLouth in right and let McCutchen play center. I think management’s ego is getting in the way with Moss. They gave up a lot to get him and they are trying to prove themselves right. He is not an impact player, he’s a bench player at best. How do you set the record for most consecutive losing seasons? You have the worst management in sports. I was willing to give them a break and cut them some slack to this point because I so desperately want the Pirates to be good. This, however, is crazy. Who knows, maybe these prospects will all be all-stars and McLouth will be out of the majors by next year, but baseball is a game of playing the percentages, and the odds on the Pirates getting the better end of this trade are extremely low. Please don’t compare McCutchen to McLouth when talking about the Pirates future, compare Moss to McLouth. That was the loss and that’s a huge difference.

Why, oh why are we the farm team for the major league. Can”t we ever keep our talent here. I feel like I did in October of 92, didn’t sleep for 2 weeks after our loss to the braves & now we send our best to them. I have been a Pirate fan for over 45 years but each trade makes it tougher. Please stop this madness

My family is from Pittsburgh so when they aren’t playing my Nationals I root for the Bucs. I think they made a good deal here. What did they give up exactly? A corner outfielder who has a .819 OPS. Given his minor league and major league track record last season was an outlier not a sign of things to come.

Look he’s a nice player but he’s far from a building block. The Pirates can take the money they save and acquire good young talent through the draft and international process. I don’t think the Bucs robbed the Braves but I think they will come out on top. Check out my thoughts at http://steveospeak.blogspot.com/2009/06/trade-center-mlb.html

How many times must we be told that a player is being traded for prospects? Wasn’t McLouth a prospect at one time? It’s becoming very, very hard to believe management when they tell us, year after year after year, that they are making the trades to build for the future. I understand that McLouth may not have been a long-term stud, maybe last year was a fluke, but sooner or later management needs to build a winning club around good PLAYERS, not good PROSPECTS.

I’ve been a die-hard buccos fan since the early ’70s, but for the first time in my life I can honestly say, I don’t care anymore.

Neal promised us he would he would do what is right for the pirates i would like to see him explain this. Nate deserved better then this it was a big gamble Neal made. The pirates have to play Nate and the braves i think this will haunt Neal

I guess if you need a starter just talk to Neal it will not cost you much July is coming so more of our stars will be going

Im guessing based on past experience, Sanchez or Wilson will be the next to go, Wilson’s bat isnt great but his glove is, and we all know he’s been pursued in the past.

I want to know what world Neil is living in to think this was a good deal, you don’t rebuild by getting rid of young talent with a few years of experience, proven experience and composure throughout the season, and get younger untested arms and abilities. That’s not rebuilding, that’s a Triple-A club that’s only around to develop players for a bigger market club, which we proved well last year. Out of the two of the players I know of we got in the “deal” last year, Karstens and Moss, Moss is the only one carrying any weight, up til his last outing, Karstens hasn’t shown much to show we got anything out of that deal. So why should we have faith that this deal will work out? Bay’s tearing it up for Boston, through the season and through the playoff’s, Nady has been hurt so thats hard to discuss but, come on…

I think my first reaction was…Atlanta is kicking out *** again, and laughing about it. Its been 16~ years since they did, so, time to beat up on us again. I feel sure their front office is giddy as heck at the moment. They got rid of prospects, which doesn’t mean they are good, 17 year old kids are prospects for scouts. Great…almost enough to make me quit watching for awhile.

What the @##$@@? This is NOT about building a team or making business or even “financial” decisions. This is about greed, lying and disloyalty. Nate was being heavily promoted as the team leader (with Ryan), the “new face” of the Pirates (the only Buc featured in promos all winter), and I even seem to remember some management type saying last fall they “expected Nate to retire a Pirate.” They may even have believed it themselves, but the second they were offered what they considered a sweet deal, all that went out the window, Nate included. I don’t blame them for being so sneaky about it, I doubt the city would have let it happen otherwise this time. They might have even been hyping his value to the organization all this time just to make him a more attractive trade.

Well, baseball is no more “just” a business than it is “just” a game. If management thinks the only reason to come to the ballpark or patronize FSN advertisers is “winning,” they don’t have a clue what baseball is about. And if they don’t start learning — and fast — they are going to have a mutiny on their hands. If fans won’t come, they’ll move the team? If players won’t play, they’ll be replaced? No problem. Pittsburghers are real smart. We’ll figure something out.

Why is Pittsburgh the City of Champions? Because no matter how much talent or skill our players have, they mostly play from the HEART. They play for the best fans in the world — look what happened when the Pens came back to the ‘burgh this week. The Bucs are being managed by heartless machines. As long as that continues, the magic will never happen.

This is my message to Pirates management: I hope you’re happy, because you traded away a lot more than one player for those prospects. Three new pups and a winning season — if and when it happens — is sorry consolation now that you’ve shot Lassie.

hey, sorry for the random post…..I’m making the rounds on the mlb blogs to tell people about a new website for Ballhawks,

http://www.myGameBalls.com

You can create a profile, upload pictures, and record balls that you snagged at baseball games. It automatically updates your stats and has top-10 rankings for the current season and lifetime.

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