Big Lead Sports Bar



Yes, I'm aware that Steeler training camp started today, and as I reported earlier, I'm tremendously excited. Just look at that schedule: New England, Dallas, San Diego, Phildelphia, the Giants, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Washington...and we haven't even broached the subject of their AFC North rivals. It's going to be interesting.
Usually, the start of training camp marks the unofficial end of the Pirate season around these parts. Bay, Sanchez, and Wilson gets replaced by Ben, Santonio, and Willie in the daily headlines.
But the Pirates are doing their best to retain fan interest at least for a short while longer, despite the start of Camp Tomlin.
Friday night was a wild ride of rumors that finally ended up in the trade of OF Xavier Nady and LHP Damaso Marte to the New York Yankees. The return on the trade was originally reported as OF Jose Tabata, RHP Ross Ohlendorf, LHP George Kontos, and LHP Phil Coke.

Pirates Nation quickly broke out their Management Disapproval Rubber Stamp throughout the internet, comparing the new regime to the Littlefields and Bonifays that preceeded them. But there was one problem: that wasn't the actual trade.
No, the Pirates actually received Tabata, Ohlendorf, and pitchers Daniel McCutchen and Jeff Karstens as compensation for their part in trying to help the Yankees get to the 2008 World Series. Predictably, statements were revised (by most) who felt that this trade was an improvement over the previously-reported haul. Although Joe Buck and Buster Olney still think the Yankees ripped us off, for what that's worth.
What do I think? Well, this is kind of like evaluating the NFL draft the morning after. It's pretty much just a guess on anyone's part, because no one can see into the future and know how a player will pan out, with the possible exception of Billy Beane.
I'm not going to lie: I do not scour minor-league sites and message boards and have very little knowledge of these prospects outside of what I've recently read. As the proprietor of a website whose audience takes nearly as much satisfaction from bizarre off-the-field news as on-the-field reports, I can say that a player like Tabata could be absolutely fascinating. A high-upside player with a Manny Ramirez-esque mentality? Where do I sign up? The Pirates haven't seen a personality like this in a long time. We're more conditioned to the bland personas and lack of ego that result in 68-win seasons. It's nice to have a potential sign of life down the road.

And tell me the possibility of a lineup populated by Tabata, Pedro Alvarez, and Andrew McCutchen doesn't intrigue you at least somewhat?
In addition to Tabata, the Pirates are receiving not one, not two, but three potential major league starting pitchers. For a team that was trotting John Van Benschoten out every fifth day, that's a step in the right direction.
Tabata is like a high-risk, high-reward stock. He might have a screw loose and he's had some injury issues, but he was considered untouchable for a long time by the Yankee braintrust. It's a different take on the usual high-risk, no-reward players the Pirates targeted, and I think a step in the right direction for at least trying something different.
The three pitchers will probably never be confused with Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz, but I'm hoping they won't be confused with Van Benschoten, Bryan Bullington, and Bobby Bradley either.
So life goes on for the Pirates and their fans. It was a bit surreal watching Nady and Marte immediately thrust into the heat of a Yankee-Red Sox matchup right off the bat on Saturday, but I guess that's something we'll get used to. We'll also be getting used to watching young OF Steve Pearce on a regular basis, which might be fun. And yes, with this move and others that may come, we'll be getting used to another losing season in pursuit of a winner sometime down the road.
More Pirate news:
--Despite the absence of Nady and Marte, the show must go on. Unfortunately, the Padres took another one with a 3-1 victory over Paul Maholm and the Pirates on Sunday. Jake Peavy struck out 10 and limited the Pirates to just four hits; Maholm pitched an equally strong seven innings, allowing four hits and one run while whiffing nine. Unfortunately, John Grabow offered up two gopherballs [Scott Hairston and Josh Bard], which left the Pirates at 48-57.
--I said it Friday, and I'll say it again: if you haven't checked out Dejan Kovacevic's new blog, you're doing yourself a great disservice. He's been all over the trade and everything else Pirate since its inception.
--Barney Dreyfuss, former owner of the Pirates who paid for the construction of Forbes Field out of his own pocket at a cost of $2 million, was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Dreyfuss ran the Buccos from 1900-1932 and oversaw six NL pennants, two World Series titles, and just five losing seasons. If you ask me, his legacy has been greatly overshadowed in Pittsburgh sports history.

--Could Bay, Grabow, or Wilson be the next to go? As Branch Rickey would say, "You can finish last without them."
--The Pirates rank 20th in Paul Meyer's latest Power Rankings.
--The Pirates Charities auction on Saturday night was a huge success and will assist in the building of the region's first Miracle League Field, a baseball field designed to accommodate children with special needs.

1 comment:

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Don't particularly like the trade, but I don't particularly hate it, which is a step in the right direction if that makes any sense. I would have rather seen them get one high ceiling pitcher in return instead of three possible curtain-jerkers. They need depth, but this year is a wash anyway so who cares if you don't have to trot out JVB anymore. I'm just scratching my head that they pulled the trigger on this with 6 days until the deadline. If the Yanks wanted these guys for the Sox series so bad, Neal should have made them pay a litle more.

With Nady off the market, here's to hoping someone gets really desperate and overpays for Beaker.