And thus McLouth become McCutchen.
In a move that paves the way for 2005 first-round pick Andrew McCutchen to get significant playing time, the Pirates shipped Nate McLouth (!!) to the Braves for three minor leaguers: outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, and pitchers Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette breaks down the minor leaguers:
On Locke: “An intriguing young left-handed starter with the frame, athleticism and stuff to become a quality major-league starting pitcher.”
On Morton: “A power right-handed starting pitcher who is excelling at Class AAA. He is close to being ready for the big leagues and has the upside to become a quality major league starting pitcher.”
On Hernandez: “A dynamic player who has the potential to become an above-average major league outfielder. He is a quality athlete with plus speed and plays above-average defense. He has bat speed and the upside to develop into a productive table setter.”
So all of this sounds good for the future right? Give up a slugging, franchise-type centerfielder for a lefty, righty, and an “above average” major league outfielder. Let’s not forget to mention that McLouth was a Golden Glove outfielder in 2008 and is (ugh WAS) the Pirates’ most marketable player.
Seen in this light, the trade can only be seen as disastrous for the Pirates of 2009, and beyond.
Well, at lease they didn’t wait for July.
As the Xavier Nady and Jason Bay trades of July past shows, the Pirates have a tendency to Deep Six the season just as the summer goes into full tilt. Not this year. No, this year they give the Pittsburgh faithful a full extra month to check out of the season.
Bob Smizik calls out the Pirates management who signed McLouth to a three-year $15.75 million contract in February, in a move that we were told by Pirates Frank Coonelly displayed commitments to “home grown” talent.
“The long-term commitments we have made to core players developed here, both this year and last year, reflect our commitment to build a strong core from within our system.”
Dealing McLouth shows Coonelly’s true colors.
Look, last year at this time the Pirates had one of the most dynamic outfields in the National League – Nady, Bay and McLouth. They have none of those players now.
There had been talk of Nyger Morgan losing his spot in the line-up once McCutchen was ready to play. But trading McLouth didn’t seem to be in the cards. How could it?
This is a gut punch to every Pirates season ticket holder, every “P” hat wearing fan., and everyone of the thousands of people who ponied up over 100 clams for a McLouth jersey figuring that after the Nady and Bay trades, this 27 year old was certainly going no where.
Who knows? Perhaps we’ll look back in 5 years when McLouth has blown out some strange knee ligmanet and Hernandez is a 40-40 threat and think, “Coonelly knew exactly what he was doing.”
But for now it hurts. Losing season 17 is just on the horizon.
RIP 2009 Season. It’s as if I never knew ya.
About the Author
Written by David Fulco