A defining day for the Pirates organization

I don’t know how you can call it anything but a defining day for the organization.

I was in the process of turning my computer on after having just arrived at AT&T Park on Wednesday morning when the first press release came through. Jack Wilson, Ian Snell gone. That was only the beginning of what is now a more than 12-hour day.

For those overwhelmed with all the content, here it is laid out hopefully in an orderly fashion:

  • Here is a look at the goodbyes from Wilson and Freddy Sanchez, both of whom were sincerely sad to be leaving the organization. As you will read, both contacted the Pirates on Tuesday with counteroffers because both wanted to stay. On a personal note, I’m going to miss watching the two play defense. It had become one of my favorite parts of the job.
  • Here is a look at all the prospects the Pirates received in return on Wednesday. I’ll point out that my colleague and Draft guru Jonathan Mayo was extremely high on RHP Tim Alderson, who the Pirates received straight up for Sanchez. It may not be of solace to you all who are emotionally torn to see two fan favorites go, but a member of the Giants media corps just came up to me and told me he had already begun receiving all sorts of emails from San Francisco fans who believe the Giants gave up too much for Sanchez in parting ways with Alderson. Take that for what it’s worth, but remember, many years ago both Sanchez and Wilson were “prospects” in Trade Deadline deals.
  • Here are some final thoughts from Snell, who was dealt to Seattle along with Wilson. I got Snell on the phone while he was sitting in the Norfolk airport. He was flying back to Indianapolis on Wednesday to gather his stuff and then heading to join his new team on Thursday. It wouldn’t shock me at all if Snell finds his way and becomes a solid Major League starter again. And I sincerely hope he does. However, no matter how successful he might become, I don’t think he ever would have again in Pittsburgh if for nothing more than he had mentally already left this team.
  • And here is the today’s game recap on a game that I will admit I did not see any of. I wish I was exaggerating when I say I didn’t see Duke throw a single pitch. From the look of the box score, though, he must have been darn good. Huge thanks to the Giants MLB.com intern, Andrew, for stepping in and taking care of Wednesday’s gamestory so I could devote all my time to trade-related items. 

Some other items to wrap up the day…

  • Ronny Cedeno will get the majority of the playing time at short, while Delwyn Young will make most of the starts at second the rest of the season
  • Lastings Milledge is expected to join the team in Pittsburgh on Friday, though that roster move has not been officially announced as of yet.
  • No cash was included in the deal that sent Sanchez to the Giants
  • The deal also wasn’t made official until after Sanchez underwent another examination by the San Francisco medical staff. He sat out the entire series because of inflammation in his left knee
  • Sanchez, a three-time All-Star, ended his career with the Pirates going 0-for-20
  • Ironically enough, the Pirates had their team photo day just before leaving for this road trip. Might have been wise to have waited until after the July 31 deadline in retrospect.
  • Wilson joined the Mariners in time for their game in Seattle on Wednesday night, but he did not play in the game.
  • In addition to sending Wilson and Snell to Seattle, the Pirates also covered all but $400,000 remaining on the contracts of each player for the rest of the season. If my math is right, that is something around $3 million in total.
  • GM Neal Huntington emphasized during his second press conference on Wednesday that Wednesday’s trades were not salary dumps but good baseball trades considering the contract status of both players.
  • Manager John Russell said that he plans to address the team after Friday’s 4 p.m. Trade Deadline. He said he also expects Huntington to address the team.

So the big remaining question… Will there be any more deals in the next 40 hours and counting? Huntington wouldn’t commit either way, saying: “We continue to have ongoing dialogue. We’re not looking to make any more trades. We weren’t looking to make these trades. We don’t need to make other trades. But if the right baseball opportunity presents itself, it’s certainly something we take a look at. Again, if it’s strong enough, we move forward.”

If there is anything else on the horizon, it would likely involve John Grabow. The Pirates also could very well get swamped with offers late on him after Orioles lefty reliever George Sherill is snatched up by someone.

One other quick personal note (since I know Wilson reads this blog because he has called me “By Gosh” all season): I wanted to thank you, Jack and Freddy, for your professionalism in all my time covering the organization. For those who didn’t have the pleasure of getting of getting both personally, the Pirates are losing two standup people and competitors.

Actually, one other note as well to the faithful readers of the blog. I will actually be completely out-of-pocket for the next three days. I am taking a red-eye tonight to St. Louis to be in a wedding of some good friends of mine. The wedding (fittingly) is Friday afternoon, so maybe in a way I’m lucky all this went down today instead of then. Anyways, you’ll be covered on the main pirates.com site if anything happens, but the blog and twitter will be on a short hiatus. I apologize for the timing, but obviously my friends didn’t consult the baseball calendar when planning their wedding. I’ll be back on the blog on Monday.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB    

6 Comments

I feel really down. jack wilson was a friend, something I gave him still hangs in his house, freddie sanchez was great and Ian Snell was a long time fav of mine as I remember him signing a baseball for me at dodgers stadium and backing my comment next year is our year. i hate what we’ve become. for the first time in my life i don’t feel like being a pirates fan. i’ll come around but for now i really hate what we’ve become I once told Jack he was gonig to be an All Star and he was, I also told him by staying in Pittsburgh all his career he’d get a ring and the HOF. I hit 1/3 and in BB that’s not bad. I feel bad he never got the chance to play out the rest. I hated to see him leave the Bucs, but now for his sake I hope he’s super in seattle and gets traded to the Dodgers. At least then he’ll be close to home. .. . his other home. thanx Jack, we love you man!!! bob brill

Jen, this is the first time I have ever left a comment on anything relating to the sports of Pittsburgh. I love the Black and Gold, everytime I see the colors and the skyline it makes me cheer and grab a beer. I am in the Army and have been for quite a while, and every time i make it back that way I catch a game. Whether it be the Pirates, Steelers or Penguins. My fanhood is the same across the board. The Pirates have not had a .500 season in a very long time. I know the Pirates are under new management, but I just do not understand why the Pirates always get rid of players? The Pirates get rid of D- players for F players. The website sends out news headlines of propaganda like WWII. The Owner has to invest. The GM can not purchase players or deal for players if there is no money to give out. Owning a team is an investment. You have to lose money to gain money. The current owner is not spending any money. Look at the Pirates roster for the past few years. We trade these players for prospects. Will these prospects work out? Who knows. I do know that the day they bat .290 or have an ERA of 3.00 they are going to be gone for more prospects. I just see this going on for a while. I always look forward coming home and catching games with my Father and Grandfather. Drinking $6 flat beer and catching a hot dog out of a bazooka. My family and I agree that this trend started with Bobby Bo, and we know that this will continue on for years to come. I will have to tell my daughter that she will not be allowed to date until the Pirates reach the prestigious .500 mark. Thanks. Lets Go Pens

I am deeply sadened to see two of the Pirates’ cornerstone players leave the team. Freddy and Jack were incredible to watch while playing defense. They always made it exciting to see a double-play come to fruition.
I’ve been a big fan of Freddy’s since 2006 when he battled for the National League’s batting title. What a bunch of fun that was! Since then, I’ve gotten my husband to become a fan of the buccos and of Freddy’s. We even started our own fan website. Without naming the site, so that I don’t get deleted, it contained Freddy Sanchez’s name. People have walked up to us, at PNC park and thanked us for the website, because they were such fans of Freddy’s. We had alot of fun, putting the site together, going to different functions to take photos of fans, and of coarse, going to the games to watch Freddy (and Jack) play ball. The website will continue, but it may be more of a general Pirate fan site. I, however, will still remain a huge fan of Freddy Sanchez, wherever he goes. I will miss you, Freddy Sanchez, my baseball hero. God Bless and good luck to you and your family.
I also want to make well wishes to Jack Wilson and his family. Jack has an enormous heart and deserves the very best. God Bless you, Jack Wilson.

Thank you, Jack. I’ll always be a fan no matter what uni you’re wearing. I’ve seen you do things at short that just can’t be done by mere mortals.

Thank you, Freddy. You have a heart of gold, a glove and a bat to match. Some say your in your prime due to your age, but with your swing and style, you’ll have a long prime-time.

The Pirates will never be the same without you guys. A better double-play combo has never and never will exist.

And finally, you guys each played the game the way it’s supposed to be played. I know that’s just a stupid cliché, but it’s true. You didn’t play it like your boss’s play it, as a business. Your love of the game and love for your fans was so obvious. There’s no doubt you’ll fit right in with your new teams, as they’ll learn right away what stand-up guys you are.

Thanks guys. I’m sorry to see you leave.

I hope that Jack and Freddy have moved to quality orgnaizations that appreciate their skills. Every year at playoff time, the sportscasters start to identify the guys that not only excel on the field, but are positive locker room types and good teammates. Every winner needs them. While I don’t know these men personally, I have always heard positive things about them. Even for a losing team like the Pirates, their steller play stood out. I look upon the Pirate’s extreme makeover with a healthy dose of skepticism. Losing 17 years in a row with more likely does that to you. Yes, the players need to produce. The management team, the scouts and especially the ownership needs to perform at a competitive major league level, too. Let’s face it, they haven’t for a long time.

I’m crushed.

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