Big Lead Sports Bar

7/30/2009

PIRATE PLAYERS ARE SPEECHLESS

Neal Huntington took the wrecking ball to the worst organization in Major League Baseball, and many people in and around the team are treating it as if he broke up the 1927 Yankees. A few of the quotes from the locker room:
"All of us are kind of ... ," Maholm began yesterday at AT&T Park, amid a heavy day of trading that saw the front office deal Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez and Ian Snell for shortstop Ronny Cedeno and six prospects. "We don't know when it's going to be finally over, that we actually have the guys in here who are going to turn it around. Hopefully, it's soon. I think the guys that have been here four or five years, it seems like every trading deadline, we go through it. But we've got a job to do. We've got to play, and we've got to win games. ... Until we starting winning, this is going to continue to happen."
But wait...there's more...
Longtime Pirates still standing? There aren't many. Maholm, Zach Duke, Matt Capps and Ryan Doumit -- "I don't have anything to say," was all he offered -- are in their fifth Pirates season, graybeard John Grabow his seventh. Grabow becomes the club's second oldest vet, at 30, behind only Ramon Vazquez, 32.

"Ever since I've been here, seems like we do it every year," Duke said after pitching seven shutout innings in what became a 1-0 Giants victory in 10 innings at AT&T Park yesterday. "You kind of get used to it."

One player swore he never saw so much movement in revolving-door Class AAA.

"Unbelievable," one muttered about the drastic change.
Maybe if these guys played better over the past 16 years (as Maholm alluded to), they wouldn't have to see buddies traded away every summer. But I digress.

Consider that the 2007 Pirates had the following players on board, players whose exits have now been mourned beyond anything reasonable: Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, Adam LaRoche, Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson, Ian Snell and Nate McLouth. Their record that season? 68-94, and last place. That being said, I'm more than willing to take my chances with guys like Lastings Milledge and Tim Alderson going forward. They couldn't be much worse than anything else we've witnessed for the last decade and a half.

Players: 'It's like every other day we're trading' [PG]

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26 comments:

Nate said...

Exactly, Don, exactly.

How many Pirates fans were pissed off when we traded Brian Giles for Jason Bay and Oliver Perez? How many were pissed when we traded Jeff Suppan and Scott Sauerbeck for Freddy Sanchez? How many were pissed when we traded Jason Christensen for Jack Wilson? How many were lamenting that Xavier Nady was ALL WE GOT for Jose Hernandez and Oliver Perez?

The only trade that was universally loved by Pirates fans in the past 17 years was Mike Gonzalez for Adam LaRoche, and how many people wanted LaRoche gone this year?

People over-estimate the intelligence of Pittsburgh fans. Just because we have championship teams doesn't mean we know what we're talking about as a whole. The fanbase that's upset about these trades is the same short-sighted fanbase that thought at various points that Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich should have been starting in front of Ben Roethlisberger.

Matt M. said...

Let's not forget...these aren't all Matt Morris trades. The Pirates aren't getting guys like Jose Hernandez is trades, or picking up Kenny Lofton or Derek Bell in free agency. There is a direction here, which is more than anyone can say in the past decade, at least.

The ultimate irony here is that this is probably the most promise this organization has had in the last 16 years, when in reality, Wednesday was probably its lowest point in that time.

I applaud N.H. for having the balls to do what no one wanted to do since this whole thing started in 1993, and that is blow it up all the f'n way. As great as it would have been to see Jack Wilson or Freddy Sanchez on a successful Pirates team, it didn't happen, and it wouldn't have happened if they surrounded them with mid-level free agents.

Besides, as long as we have those two other trophies glistening off the reflection of PPG Place, I can be patient.

Corey said...

freddy looks good in giants gear!

okel dokel said...

Yes, he does. And Jack looks good in a Mariners uniform, as does headcase Snell.

As a matter of fact the following look good as well;
McClouth - Braves uniform
Morgan and Burnett - Nats uniform Hans Klopek and Bay - Red Sox uniforms

MOVE the NEEDLE said...

all good stuff in the post and in the comments.

As bad as Dave Littlefield was he actually put a winning team together, offensively anyway and we and he thought the young pitching was ready but it was not. The young pitching failed littlefield and the fans and the players. Each season one of the pitchers steps up but all too late. They never gelled at the same time. Duke had a good year then snell then gorzo then maholm and now duke again. Never all at once. Makes you wonder if we had a Joe Kerrigan 3-4 years ago the team may still be together and winning 85-90 games a year. They had the offense I think. Never had the pitching.

YES, be above .500 at the break and you will not see your buddies get traded away every year. Very simple formula. I am bummed I have to wait three years but real excited about the players we have received and excited about Neil Hunnington.

The house rocks

Fonz @ UOS said...

Agreed Matt M.

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

I can certainly understand players being upset about losing teammates that they started or played their entire careers with.

Just because these guys are professional athletes, doesn't mean they aren't entitled to an opinon. I know I was upset when a couple of my co-workers were let go a couple of months ago because you see these people more than you see your own family and when they are gone, it sucks. I don't see what is so bad about these guys missing their teammates?

Or am I missing the point yet again?

AJ said...

Whenever one of these guys gets traded away, I just remember back when the Pirates were in the same situation with Jason Kendall.

Rather than make the unpopular decision to trade away an above average player in his prime for a couple guys who could help down the road, management relented and signed him to a contract that crippled them financially.

I have no problems with any of these trades. As it has been said before, we can finish in last place with these guys and we can do the same without them. At least now we have some glimpse of hope in the minor league system which has been empty of talent for a decade. (Sorry... Neil Walker is a never-was) Between all of these prospects and the players in South America, maybe they can finally build something.

The question is... what happens when/if these guys develop? Does management finally open the wallet, or does Pittsburgh continue to be a farm team for all of the real MLB franchises? That will be the final mutiny for Pirates fans.

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

I am far too eager to see the nuclear fallout if/when management makes these same moves with McCutchen, Alvarez, etc. because they don't want to pay league standard prices for talent. I think that much is evident.

However, these trades really do make sense in the long haul, it is just hard to not be jaded at this juncture.

It's sort of like that neighbor's dog that bit you once: no matter how many times you have been to their house since, you still are afraid the damn dog is going to bite you again.

Jeff_King_Fan said...

questions for people who are unhappy with the current management team: what would you do in their situation? and is it really fair to allign this front office with previous ownerships? what has the NH group done in its short time at the controls other than try to build up a horrible farm system left by littlefied, mcclatchy, bonifay? you get mad because we trade away our best talent. bay, nady, mcclouth, freddy, and jack collectively did not even come close to winning. not even close at all! they have to tear down everything to build it back up. if they were to trade some of these top prospects within the next two three years, then you would have a legit point
NH is doing exactly what this franchise needs. you guys are all mad because you think its the same as before, but its not! he has already made our farm system the strongest its been in over 8 years! now, this is just my opinion, but if you think there is a better way to currently run this team, please stop complaining, and start explaining.

Louis Lipps Sinks Ships said...

"At least now we have some glimpse of hope in the minor league system which has been empty of talent for a decade."

I assume you mean the decade prior to the acquisitions of Rinku and Dinesh...

Chip said...

Some of you guys are such Koolaid sipping fools. No wonder this team still has 10,000 fans in the seats when they field a AAA lineup and make no effort to win.

We are not better off than we were years ago. Prospects are just that PROSPECTS. The failure rate for prospects is huge. Especially AA prospects. How many guys have we seen tear up AA then fail in AAA or tear up AAA and fail at major league baseball (Steve Pearce? Brad Eldred? Do any of you follow this team?)

Also, if the logic of trading Freddy/Jack is "They're old, make too much, and going to be free agents. Best to go young." Then what is the theory for trading McLouth, Morgan, and Gorzo?

They're young, cheap, and under control for many more years. So we sell old expensive guys, we sell young inexpensive guys... WHO DO WE KEEP? Anybody?

You positive people are literally betting that the Pirates are smarter than every team they trade with because teams DON'T TRADE STARS. They only trade guys they think have major flaws.

Honestly, what evidence is there NH has ANY talent evaluation ability? Who has he acquired that has the look of a future Jason Bay or Freddy Sanchez? Andy LaRoche is a below average 3B. Brandon Moss is a 4th OFer. Dorfer and Karsens are 4th starters/bullpen guys. So far he's just traded average talent for average (or below average) talent. And we're supposed to celebrate the assumption we have 6-8 All Stars down in AA? Huh?!?

Jeff_King_Fan said...

again, someone complaining instead of explaining what they would do different. yes, prospects are just that, but i go back to the point that with bay, sanchez, & wilson, the pirates were battling to stay out of the nl basement.

i'm not saying NH is the smartest man alive, but i can see what he's doing. and nobody seems to come up with an alternate plan that would work. again, what would you do if you were dealt the same cards as NH?

Nick said...

I'd fold.

rjj130 said...

If I was in the place of NH? I'd tell management to spend more money and be competitive by KEEPING the core talent on the team and actively approach free agents, trade for MLB ready talent, etc...

This BS of trading for tomorrow, I have been hearing it for 17 years now, is just that... pure BS! I'm 28, so for two thirds of my life, this teams has been beyond miserable.

In 3 or 4 years after these guys are up in the Bigs (providing they make it there) the Pirates in their infinite wisdom will sign the tenders and then a year later trade them away... for prospects!

Yeah, to rebuild from within is definitely a key, but you also have to spend money, potentially losing money in the near, to be competitive and make money as a winner in the future. Don't continue to 'invest' in Latin America.

While I agree that Freddy & Jack were not going to be worth the money they could have potentially made next year, the Pirates should not have put themselves in that situation to sign them to those lucrative contracts. Don't blame DL either. Anything involving money would have to get the sign off by the upper management.

I'm frustrated... I'm angry... I guess I can just say I'm sick of all the failed promises of the last 17 years.

Dallas Mike said...

For the faction that is outraged by these trades...If you inherited/acquired a business that lost money for 16 straight years would you fire the highest paid employees and bring in your own talent, or would you continue to pay them for underachieving as long as they were nice people and tried hard? Most executives would clean house and bring in their own talent. Nobody likes the perpetual losing, but getting emotionally attached to anybody on the Pirates roster is ridiculous. They are simply assets and if you can exchange the assets for newer assets with upside, so be it. Maybe if the old regime would have made some tough decisions years ago instead of chasing .500, the current dismantling might not be necessary. Do I think it will work? No. But I don't blame the new management for wrecking a team that was not going win a division title in its current state.

Jeff_King_Fan said...

rjj130--"spend more money and be competitive by KEEPING the core talent on the team and actively approach free agents, trade for MLB ready talent, etc"

NH cant be spending more money if he walked into a situation and doesnt have a lot of money. keeping the core talent? again, the same core talent that for 4 years was in a battle for the royals to not be MLB's worst. approach free agents? goes back to entering a situation where you have a light wallet. trading for MLB talent? who is someone out there that NH could give up prospects for that would have a different impact than what we've seen over the last 5-8 years?

i feel your frustration brotha, but there is really nothing left that makes sense to do other than what NH is doing. DL approached free agents & mlb ready talent. i dont think benito santiago or wil cordero's jersey numbers will be retired anytime soon.

Chip said...

When NH began his trading binge last season, he had the #1 offensive OF in baseball. Freddy and Adam LaRoche weren't hitting at the time due to injury/usual early season slump. If we had kept the team together (or maybe just traded Nady for the 2 pitchers), we would've still had one of the top offensive teams in the NL.

And keep in mind our payroll was $50 million last year. The Brewers and Rays (same size markets, owners about as rich as each other) have $70-80 million payrolls. Are you telling me the Pirates couldn't have lured 2 decent pitchers her for $20/25 million??

And this argument that "The Pirates lost 90 games with Bay, Nady, etc. so they clearly stink" is retarded. Look up the Rays of 2007. They lost 100 games. Look up the Rays of 2008. They won 100 games. The roster is pretty much the same except for few key players. Sometimes it takes a few years for one specific group to gel.

DL wasn't as dumb as ignorant Pirate fans make him out to be. He was a horrific drafter which is what killed him and the team. If he had drafted Kazmir and Lincecum instead of Bullington and Lincoln, he'd still be here today.

But his trades were mostly pretty good. He was forced to make the Aramis trade by ownership. He traded for Jason Bay. He traded for Freddy Sanchez. What has NH traded for? Do Brandon Moss or Andy LaRoche strike you as future All-Stars or batting champions?

Do you realize that one of these "prospects" has to reach Jason Bay levels and another has to reach Freddy Sanchez levels just for us to BREAK EVEN? Do you really think players like that are easy to find? Batting champions and automatic 30 HR/100 RBI guys grow on trees?

I repeat once again for the learning impaired, TEAMS DO NOT TRADE FUTURE STARS. If you have a David Wright or Albert Pujols at AA, you keep him. Teams only give up prospects they project to be average players (or busts).

All you people slapping NH on the back are assuming he sees/knows things all these (far more successful) GMs don't see. And so I ask anybody who supports the Pirates to please tell me what evidence has there been so far to support this assumption?

Nate said...

"If I was in the place of NH? I'd tell management to spend more money and be competitive by KEEPING the core talent on the team and actively approach free agents, trade for MLB ready talent, etc..."

Wow, that's BRILLIANT! I'm sure nobody's ever thought of that one! It's so simple! Because teams are so willing to give up MLB ready talent in trades, free agents would love to play here, and the core we had was totally awesome and didn't lose 94 games like Don pointed out, right?!

Look, even third-tier free agents like Rocco Baldelli and Will Ohman didn't want to sign with us this year, in spite of us offering more money than the teams they signed with. In the case of Baldelli, he would have gotten more money AND a starting job. You can't sign free agents if they don't want to play for you. That's what makes them free agents. Building through that route is not going to be an option until we start winning.

"This BS of trading for tomorrow, I have been hearing it for 17 years now, is just that... pure BS! I'm 28, so for two thirds of my life, this teams has been beyond miserable."

MORE BRILLIANCE! Not making any distinction between the front office that's been in charge for two years versus the one that was in charge for seven years, or even the one before that! Genius! Only loser bother to fact check!

"In 3 or 4 years after these guys are up in the Bigs (providing they make it there) the Pirates in their infinite wisdom will sign the tenders and then a year later trade them away... for prospects!"

We don't know that yet. Know why? Because no team we have had has had a winning record at the deadline for this entire stretch! Like Don said, maybe if they don't want to be traded, they should win more games.

"Yeah, to rebuild from within is definitely a key, but you also have to spend money, potentially losing money in the near, to be competitive and make money as a winner in the future. Don't continue to 'invest' in Latin America."

They ARE spending money. More than they've ever spent in fact. Would you rather see it go to the draft and Latin America or to more Matt Morris like situations? Lest we forget that the money Littlefield took on to get Matt Morris here could have easily gone to Matt Wieters instead.

"While I agree that Freddy & Jack were not going to be worth the money they could have potentially made next year, the Pirates should not have put themselves in that situation to sign them to those lucrative contracts. Don't blame DL either. Anything involving money would have to get the sign off by the upper management."

Can't blame DL for it, because at least in the case of Freddy, Huntington was the one to negotiate the contract. As for putting themselves in the position: the baseball economy was a lot better then. $8.1MM goes a lot further now than it does then.

"I'm frustrated... I'm angry... I guess I can just say I'm sick of all the failed promises of the last 17 years."

None of which were made by Neal Huntington or Frank Coonelly. The only promise they've made since getting here is that they were going to revitalize a barren minor league system to build a strong core of talent and that in order to do that they'd have to make some unpopular moves. They have yet to lie to anyone in that regard.

Jeff_King_Fan said...

ok chip, there is so much wrong with what you said, but let me start here:

at the time we had the "best offensive OF" in the nl and made the bay trade. the pirates were dead last in the nl central and a nice 14 1/2 games back. laroache wasnt hitting due to his slump, then he broke out of that slump and raised his average to what .248? and it was just the OF putting up big numbers, and i doubt that they would have lasted the whole second half of the season.

"a few years for one specific group to gel" the majority of this group had been there since '04.

DL was a horrible drafting GM. and the only reason why you are complimentin his trades for Bay & Sanchez is because you have been given time to see them progress. time you dont seem to want to give our current GM. will moss, andy, or clement be future all-stars/batting champs? i dont know and you dont either. and i guarentee you that you didnt have visions of ALL-STAR or batting champ when you heard the pirates got bay & sanchez.

he's doing all he can with what is presented to him.

Corey said...

hey chip, i don't like huntington either...just saying

Corey said...

oh yeah, and where's the post about gorzo and grabow?

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

If anything is apparent, there are still a great deal of people in this town who care about the team and desperately want to win. Some of us get mad and blame ownership. Some side with them and hang on their every word. Others are someone in between, but the bottom line is that we all want a winner and if this is what it takes to build one, GREAT!

But if it's not, then I really think the you know who's need to be run out on a rail.

okel dokel said...

I think John Grabow said it best about the deal he and Gorzo were inolved in;

"In all the years I've been there, they've tried to build things piece by piece, and it's never worked. So, I think they've come to the conclusion that, well, let's completely overhaul it, get a young group of players and have them all flourish at the same time. That's my take on it."

You can read about it here
http://community.post-gazette.com/blogs/pbc/archive/2009/07/30/grabow-building-gradually-never-worked.aspx

Dave said...

Hell yeah Don

chriskarel said...

I'm glad to see I'm not alone in thinking that Huntington seems to know what he's doing. 2 years or so and we may be a serious club. Where have I heard that before....???