Did Pirates Upgrade In Center?

Don’t get me wrong about Nate McLouth. Great guy, hustles, works hard, busted his butt at an All-Star Game, better than anything the Braves had in their outfield before tonight’s trade.

I’m just not convinced Pittsburgh didn’t improve its line-up by replacing him with Andrew McCutchen.
McLouth’s explosive 367 at bats before his epic night in the Bronx? 19 homers, 65 RBI, .281.
His 346 at bats since August 1st of last year? 13 homers, 66 RBI, .261. And he is approaching his 28th birthday in October, the time at which the all-time graph of batters suggests improvements stop. The great hitters plateau at the peak. The others begin their descent. What you are seeing with McLouth is what you are likely to get henceforth: around 20 homers, around 20 steals, around a .270 batting average. Nothing to sneer at, but nothing to make Pirates’ fans believe that they have just had another Jason Bay or even Xavier Nady ripped from their bosom. Let us not forget that only a year ago, McLouth barely shook off Nyjer Morgan for the starting job, and the year before he lost a lot of playing time to Chris Duffy, for goodness sakes.
The key to this trade is that McLouth’s replacement does not come from it. McCutchen, who arrives in Pittsburgh as McLouth’s equal in speed and outfield skill, probably more than his equal for batting average, and eventually capable of producing 75% of his power, nearly made the majors out of spring training. The Pirates were sorely tempted to damn arbitration and take him north – that’s how authoritative a hitter he looked in Florida.
The worthiness of the trade depends on which Charlie Morton appears for Pittsburgh. The version Neal Huntington dreams of, dominated the International League last spring and this one. The other appeared as Atlanta’s starter fifteen times last year and could’ve been mistaken for a BP pitcher – but he was both hurt (back) and ill (weight loss). It should also not be assumed that the Braves think Morton is a washout – they have already seen sparks of interest caused by Kris Medlen, and are confident Tommy Hanson will shine as he steps into Medlen’s slot in the rotation on Saturday. The second pitcher in the deal, Jeff Locke, is an intriguing lefthander with a curve and control. If he and Morton both make it, the Pirates will have won the trade.
This is not to say Atlanta didn’t have to make it. McLouth not only fills a huge hole, but also takes enough pressure off Jordan Schafer that we might see the latter return this year, or at worst next, and force McLouth to either corner. McLouth might also serve as some sort of last-stab-in-the-dark at resuscitating the almost tragic Jeff Francoeur, before the Braves – do what? Sell him to a Korean League team?


  1. terry.kent@ymail.com

    The most significant takeaway from this posting is the visual evidence of the pink/salmon pants you are wearing. Keep up the good work, both written and sartorial.

  2. grk9

    There’s a lot of traffic over at the Pirates’ site about this trade. So far, all I’ve read has been very disappointed (a nice for word what’s being said.)

    It’s really not a case of whether or not McLouth has shown all he’s ever going to show or if McCutchen will be far better…

    It’s really little more that the fans just feeling like every time they find a player to root for he gets traded — and usually for some no-name who never makes the majors.

    Plus — I’m sure that most fans figure that IF McCutchen turns out to be great, he’ll be traded for a bunch of no-names too…

    What is there in the Pirates’ history to prove anything else?

    We are sad, frustrated and mostly just this far from simply giving up completely. And management refuses to pay attention. Of course they’re going to claim this trade was brilliant. Every trade they’ve made has been brilliant to hear them tell it.

    Who would be crazy enough to spend money on a Pirates jersey with the name and number of a current player?

  3. dlinz43@hotmail.com

    Sign me up for a McCutchen jersey, I should be able to get 4 years out of it.

    I’m very sad to see McClouth go, but then again it’s been a very long, sad 16+ years to be a Pirate fan. Mostly I’ll miss the fact that this guy won a Gold Glove as a Centerfielder with only slightly above average speed. He never once took a bad route on a batted ball. He’ll be much better in a lineup where he doesn’t have to bat 3rd, and I think the Braves (as much as I hate them) are going to be very happy with him. This isn’t David Eckstein we’re talking about here, McClouth has bounced ’em into the Allegheny with the best of them.

    And the salmon pants are CARGO pants for crying out loud. Boldest of choices, Mr. Olbermann.

  4. grk9

    Every year the Pirates get one player on the All Star because it’s required… He’s never voted on the team, the manager picks him…

    A while ago it was Brian Giles. He’s a Padre. The last couple of years it was Jason Bay. Now he’s a Red Sock. Last year, with very little to choose from, it was Nate McLouth — Now he’s a Brave…

    I wonder where this year’s All Star will wind up next year… cause you know he’s not gonna be in Pittsburgh.

  5. oliverfan

    Sanchez seems hands down to be the Pirate’s best player now. If they trade him I really will be angry, I love watching that guy hit. If he and Morgan don’t get on at the top of the lineup the Pirate offense basically flatlines.

  6. logos1@aol.com

    Oh, Keith. If only you had stayed with sports and away from politics, I’d be much happier on both fronts.

    As a lifelong Pirates fan, I can honestly say that you nailed this one. I like Nate McLouth and respect the effort he’s put in to become an every day player, but he is likely at his ceiling and his trade value will likely never be higher. He was not going to be a member of the next Pirates championship team (or, in all likelihood, the next Pirates contender) and he is blocking McCutchen. If any of the three prospects pan out in a serious way, the Pirates have won the trade.

    What Pirates fans need to get there heads around is exactly how bereft of talent the Pirates system as a whole was when the current regime took over; almost like an expansion team. Trades like this are necessary if they ever want to see the Pirates play a meaningful game in October again.

  7. mlbdaw

    Keith I respect your opinion, but are you a Pirates fan? What we have been through since the Atlanta playoff series debacle has been terrible. The owner of the Pirates is a business man who could care less about anything other than making money at our expense. We have seen this before Ramirez, Bay, Nady. As I wrote on the Pirates blog 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 again. McClouth may have had a career year last year and may not achieve those stats again. However last year was the first year that he had a chance to play every day. I don’t doubt that McCutchen can be a future star. However when it is time for Mr Nutting to pay the piper, McCutchen will be trade bait. The Pirates will achieve one thing as long as Mr Nutting owns the team. They will break the record for the most futile sports franchise in sports history with the most consecutive losing seasons. And each year they will add to it. You thought DiMaggio’s streak was unbreakable. It will be” Nutting” compared to the Pirates consecutive years losing streak.

  8. the_mi11s@yahoo.com

    “I’m sure that most fans figure that IF McCutchen turns out to be great, he’ll be traded for a bunch of no-names too…”

    That is exactly the sentiment. The Pirate’s management team has been quoted as saying that they want to build a core of players that they have developed. However, anytime during this embarrassing losing streak that they are actually successful in acquiring anybody that can actually play baseball and contribute to wins, they get traded for prospects. Yes, Nate McLouth is not a future Hall of Famer, but he is one of the few Pirates players that seem like they are trying to actually win games. At what point does the team stop rebuilding? My guess is that as long as they are making a profit, never. The Pirates are ‘The Producers’ of baseball. Put out a bad product that makes money.

  9. johnlease

    Keith, sure this trade MAY work out for the better. But the odds are against it. It must be nice being a fan of a team that tries to win every year, but it sure isn’t fun being held hostage to a team that surrenders each and every season before the all star break.

    It’s 17 consecutive losing seasons with this one. Exactly how many times do we need to re-build. How about BUILDING, just once?

    Where is it written that we can’t have more than one good player? We could have gone with an outfield of Nate, Nyjer and McCutchen. Instead, all of the pressure is now squarely on McCutchen. And if he falters(as almost everyone does making the jump to the majors), what then? Maybe by next year he gets his feet on the ground, at which point more of the pitching is gone.

    It is a horribly depressing never ending cycle. Check out the comments by Frank Wrenn in the Atlanta paper. Do you think he was rooked by the Pirates? I doubt it.

  10. dustin113

    I’m impressed with your knowledge of the Pirates situation. A good analysis Keith.
    Much better than most of the national media’s rudimentry analysis of Pittsburgh baseball.
    A closet Pirates fan? Hope to see you out at PNC Park this year. Perhaps during the G-20 Summit?

  11. blustrk6@aol.com

    Keith, I am a life-long Pirate fan and Pgh. native. I am SICK. I was so excited by this year’s team and it’s prospects. I LOVED the core of young players they have and WAS very hopeful. The brave’s outfielder, IF he ever makes the majors, cannot match the power that McClouth provided, one of the few Pirates that had it. They keep running a commercial on FSN showing the young stars and having them brag that they “are a Pirate.” Then they dump, probably the best Pirate for 3 unproven nobodies. The braves would not part with one of their TOP MINOR league guys, but we give them our best MAJOR league STAR. Last year, even with HORRIBLE pitching, the team had .500 in its sights and then they GAVE away Bay and Nady. If they believe in McCutchen, then add him to Nate and Nyjer. Moss can be a good back up. WE built them a GREAT ball park so they could build us a decent team. I am so disappointed. Thanks Keith.

  12. salfilli

    You are completely missing the point (why does this not surprise me) The Pirates did not need to dump McLouth to play McCutcheon. If McCutcheon is a better outfielder than McLouth (not established as yet), McLouth could have been moved to RF. The trade was McLouth for Charlie Morton. It wasn’t made to get rid of McLouth and bring up McCutcheon. McClouth was traded made for money reasons (despite Coonelly’s denials). The average Pirate fan sees one thing. He sees an outfield without McLouth, without Jason Bay, without Xavier Nady, without Bobby Bonds, Andy VanSlyke, Dave “the Cobra”, and more and more and more. A never ending departure of decent players. The average Pirate fan sees sixteen years as the worst team in the NL with no end in sight to the misery. They see an ownership group feeding at the trough of the MLB welfare system with no incentive to improve. As the non-Mexican bandits in charge of the Pirates might have said to Humphrey, “Fans, we ain’t got no fans. We don’t need no stinkin fans.”

  13. tre11style@hotmail.com

    Sorry… But this is a downright joke.

    McCutchen may be an improvement, but as many have said… the reason why we (Pirate fans) are upset about it, is because we feel then next Bucs star will be gone as well.
    But guess what PIrates fans… YOU ARE TO BLAME AS WELL!

    The real fact here is… Why would Nutting EVER decide to fill a decent contending Pirates team, when he can keep doing what he is doing and make money. We are consitantly at the bottom of the league year in and year out, but the Pirates are in the top 15 of profit year in and year out… WHY? Cuz of FANS in Denial!!!

    It’s the STUPID… (and I mean STUPID) Pittsburgh Pirate fans… that continue to buy merchandise… buy tickets to PNC Park, buy food and such at the games, etc.. that continue to put money in Nuttings pocket. I haven’t gone to a Pirates game or bought anything for the PIrates in the last 2 years… because that is the only way Nutting will have a chance to learn.

    GET A CLUE PIRATES FANS!!! STOP buying Pirates tickets, jersey’s, and other merchandise until this Idiot Nutting is forced to sell the team… or PRODUCE a team!

  14. fwidman

    Keith, I’ve admired your honesty since you were here in the L.A. area on channel 4, but I think your thinking is slightly off here. With that kind of thinking, the Pirates would have traded away Roberto Clemente because he was getting too old and past his hitting/fielding prime!
    I just wish the front office in Pittsburgh would remember that the average fan doesn’t give a flying fig for the future, they are more interested in THIS season, not seasons two or three years down the road as we deal away a fan favorite for some kid in the minor leagues.

    McCutchen is having a great game today against the Mets, and I hope he continues to have great games until he gets to be a really great player and a fan favorite and the front office trades him away to some other team 🙂

  15. forbes2pnc

    The trade MAY someday work out for the Pirates, Braves or both. I just want to be able to root for a good guy on a good team. McLouth was fun to watch, played hard and wanted to win. That’s all a fan can ask. Please give us some roster continuity and a shred of confidence that the next Bucs “star” will be on the field in a Pirate uniform for us to follow for a few seasons after he starts to put up numbers. My son has given up, and is now a Dodger (barf) fan (we live in LA now). I will not give up, but it’s getting harder and harder to remain loyal.

    Go Bucs!! and I will continue to buy merchandise and go to a game when I’m in the ‘burgh. Without $$, they will never have a chance to field a winner. I still love the Pirates!!

  16. sweet_as_jeet

    I love Countdown, but this topic is one area where we disagree. People that are not Pirates fans don’t understand the BS we have been constantly fed about “building for the future”. We’ve heard that line for years as we watch quality players traded for NOTHING year after year. The Bay and Nady trades last year hurt, but we all knew this was coming. The McLouth trade blindsided all of the fans, and by what I’ve read, McLouth himself and the entire team. The team didn’t need a centerfielder. They needed someone in right to replace the Moss/Monroe tandem. In other words, this trade DID NOT NEED TO BE MADE! I believe 95% of the anger Pirates fans are generating about this trade is not so much about McLouth, but the empty trades and promises of Pirates ownership and pathetic front office to “build a winner”. As a fan, I know Freddy Sanchez will be in another uniform by the end of July and when/if McCutchen pans out (no one knows if he’ll be any good) he’ll be on his way out of PNC too…along with Alvarez, Morgan, Maholm, Duke, and Doumit. Neil Huntington has proven himself to be A FRAUD. The sad state of the Bucs does not rest with the fans or players (watch McLouth’s comments to the press and tell me if he wanted this trade). The blame rest directly with the lousy ownership and the GM that makes more empty promises than a second rate used car salesman. They seem more interested in driving fans away from the park than bringing them in. I don’t see how the Pirates’ front office can show their face in the same town that the Rooneys and Mario Lemieux call home. Anyway, congrats to Nate for being placed in an organization that actually cares about its players and, more importantly, its fan base.

  17. brian.churney@gmail.com

    Amen Keith.

    For God’s sake someone finally got it right. And I think that oliverfan supplemented your analysis well also. What real Pirates fans know…not Pirates fans that go to PNC to see players they recognize…not Pirates fans that tune in in late June after Penguins lose and duck out in early August when the Steelers start camp…not Pirates fans that can’t tell you where our four minor league teams are located.. not Pirates fans that believe that we could’ve pried away a top prospect for a player who really is defensively a rightfielder who plays centerfield and who offensively is a leadoff hitter hitting third…what those Pirates fans know is that this..and other trades need to happen.

    We lost two great players last year. One is an all star again and the other played like 20 games before going down. In their places we have 2/5’s of our starting rotation, 2/9ths of our starting lineup, and 3/10 of our top ten prospects. That’s a re-tooling of an entire organization..an organization that was literally starved to death by past management.

    And spare me the…we’ve lost so much…we always do this kind of thing. Current management hasn’t made one trade yet where you can definitively pronounce the Pirates as the losers. It was the last group who killed us with Matt Morris’s salary. It was the last group who gave away Aramis Ramirez. It was the last group who didn’t draft Wieters. It was the last group who’s associated with names like Bullington, Van Beschtochen, Moskos and Burnett. Blaming Hunnington for Littlefield and Bonifay’s mistakes is like blaming Obama for being in Iraq or blaming the new guy in Detroit for the Lions dismal last season.

    Is this trade a slam dunk? Maybe not. But it’s the right thing to do. And it’s the right time to do it. A desparate team at Nate’s peak. For crying out loud, they gave us players that were associated with the Peavy trade…I love Nate McClouth..but he’s no Peavy.

    So to those who just don’t get it…I invite you to sit back, relax and go back to enjoying Sidney Crosby.

  18. douthettj

    Look… I like Nate McClouth. Always did, even when Jim Tracy had his head up his you-know-where and swore that McClouth was never going to be better than a 5th outfielder. Good ballplayer. Hustles. The kind of player you can show to your kid and say “Play like him.” But Mr. Olberman is seeing this clearly.

    The whole idea behind the Pirates’ new philosophy is that you trade players when their value is HIGH in order to get quality player(s) who can help the team down the road. The Pirates fans — and I’ve been one for 44 years — who are crying over this trade don’t get it. It’s about building a strong team from top to bottom. Having one or two stars isn’t enough. As Branch Rickey told Ralph Kiner (who was also traded at the peak of his value), “We finished last with you. We can finish last without you.”Has anyone noticed that the trades of Bay, Nady, and Marte last year have not been the unmitigated it’s-the-end-of-the world disaster that so many said they would be? Today’s game aside, Ohlendorf and Kartens have been improvements over the pitchers they replaced. The jury is out on Moss and LaRoche, but, then again, the heart of the Yankees trade was Tabata and it will be a few years before we see how that pans out.No matter what others may think of Nutter, I think that any claims that he’s only in this for the money are unsubstantiated. If that were the case, Pedro Alverez wouldn’t be playing in our system now. And it’s unfair to lay the “we’ve had 16 years of losing” at Nutter’s doorstep unless he was channeling through previous Pirate ownership groups.The bottom line is that when Huntington came on board, this is what he said needed to be done to rebuild the organization. He didn’t mislead us. What did you think he meant? That he would trade only third-rate players at their highest value. So, yesterday, he traded one of the Pirates’ stars — who actually will only be a good, solid supporting cast member on a team like the Braves — for three players who have some potential.I know it’s frustrating. I know it’s hard to get attached to a player when you believe that he’ll be out the door next week. But we either have to give Huntington time to demonstrate that his way is the right way or we can knee-jerk react every time we lose a good player in a trade that may have a pretty decent upside.So, I’m going to keep rooting for the Bucs and go to games when I can. I might even buy a McCutcheon jersey. Old habits die hard.By the way, Keith… nice pants.

  19. sweet_as_jeet

    I know that the Pirates have farm clubs in Indianapolis (been to a few games), Altoona, and I also believe that they have a farm facility in Pittsburgh called PNC Park for the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, etc. To quote the Who, when talking about Huntington, “Meet the New Boss, same as the Old Boss”.

  20. brian.churney@gmail.com

    You got two out of four wmhoke…and got a well-worn jab in too. Better than I expected I must say. So, go ask the Pirates parent club, the Yankees if they’d make the same trade they did last year? The Red Sox probably would at this point, and there’s no denying that it hurt to lose Bay (though I’ll argue that 2 major leaguers and a prospect are better than the one major leaguer we gave up..but that’s certainly still debatable).

    But honestly, McClouth was hitting .250 and he was a subpar centerfielder. And please don’t tell me about his gold glove..Raffy Palmeiro won a gold glove while playing DH for 120 or so games. Gold gloves are closely tied to offense unfortunately. His zone rating was awful and he let too many balls get over his head. There’s a reason they play Nyjmo in left-center. He was an excellent baserunner. And we’re going to miss his 22 HRs a year, for sure (not exactly power numbers though), but this isn’t equivalent to losing Bay. He was an all star by default last year, and probably was the least deserving of our three outfielders by the time the game rolled around. He just started really fast.

    Be prepared though becuase the Buccos will (and should) trade big LaRoche, Grabow and probably Freddy too (by far my favorite player..that’s gonna hurt). I’d say trade Jack too, but I dont’ think we have a viable option to replace him.

    The Pirates problem is that we had management that would go out and get a big “name” that would enable us to “only” lose 87 games instead of 100. They never took risks and always tried to appease the ignorant fans (which are about 80% of them in a football-first city) by picking up D-List free agents that used to be good. This wouldn’t be an issue had this management started in 1993. Had we blown the house down then and re-built as they should’ve, we would’ve been back sooner and the frustration wouldn’t be there. Instead, people are tired of hearing re-building re-building, when in reality we’ve only been re-building for two years. We wallowed in muck for the other 14.

  21. furiogiunta

    Hah ha ha! Dennis the Menace’s father look alike!
    Thats rich!
    What the hell, it’s better than a Mr. Wilson look alike.

    Anyway, I like you as long as we stay away from politics. You are a funny man and I loved your MST3K-like riffing back when you were on sportscenter doing the nights baseball high-lites.
    Tha aside, You may well be right on this.
    Nate was the Pirates best source of power though, and now they have none. If management can somehow address this lack of power, I will be much more happy.
    I was around in the 70’s when the Bucs had Moreno and Taveras 1-2 in the line-up, but back then they also had Garner, Parker, Stargell, Robinson and Milner/Easler afterward. Now a McCutchen-Morgan 1-2 punch is nice, and Freddy Sanchez can be Garner-like. But after that, the Laroche’s are no Parker-Stargell.
    I can deal with this trade as long as they address the power outage.

  22. sweet_as_jeet

    Hey .churtney, it seems the only “ignorant” fans that reside in Pittsburgh are the ones that keep making excuses for the blunders of Pirate management. Ever think the reason Pittsburgh is a football first city is the fact that the people figured out long ago that the Pirates weren’t going anywhere and showed no signs of even trying? The McLouth move does very little to show any desire to move in any right direction by once again trading a decent (not stellar) player for two unprovens (the team already had McCutchen, so he’s the third unproven and today’s game does not make a pro career). Maybe the Pirates’ management should follow the examples set the the other teams in Pittsburgh. They seem to be doing pretty well; one has won two Super Bowls in three years and the other is currently playing in their second consecutive Stanley Cup Final. I wonder where the “ignorance” lies in Pittsburgh? When Pirates’ management actually starts to stand behind what they say and really show they are rebuilding around certain players, rather than trading them away, maybe Pittsburgh could be a three sport town.

  23. brian.churney@gmail.com

    Pittsburgh hasn’t been a baseball town since the 70’s. I’ll never forget visting my relatives in Pittsburgh for the first time in 1990 and watching the turn off a critical baseball game for a Steelers pre-season replay from the day before. We couldn’t even sell out when we were good. I love the ‘Burgh and wish I lived there, but baseball towns love baseball regardless of the product on the field. That’s fine, but it’s true.

    Perhaps ignorant was too strong of a word and I apologize for using it. Maybe “less die-hard” or “less obsessive” are more appropriate.

    But I stand by the fact that this was a good trade, or at least it has the potential to be one (we never really know until later anyhow). Sure it sucks to lose a good guy who was a name. But McClouth’s numbers have been falling from a level that wasnt’ superstar level in the first place. Where would a .260 hitter bat in a contender’s lineup? Maybe leadoff if he can bring his OBP up, but certainly not 3rd.

    Trading for unprovens is how you win championships. Ask those the Bluejays about giving away “unproven prospects” Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Cliff Lee for “decent” Bartolo Colon. Ask San Francisco about giving away “unproven” Francisco Liriano and “marginally proven” Joe Nathan for “decent” A.J. Pierzynski. Ask the Meets about trading away “unproven” Scott Kazmir for “decent” Victor Zambrano. Need I go on? If you want a Pirates example, I cried (I was 7 at the time), literally cried when the Buccos traded Tony Pena, my favorite all time player for relatively unproven Andy Van Slyke, Spanky and Mike Dunne. People hated when we traded all star Brian Giles to the Padres for unproven Jason Bay and Oliver Perez. No team ever likes to trade away its stars. But those that want to win have to recognize that you occasionally need to do so.

    This is how teams take steps in the right direction. The problem is our last management has caused most of us to forget what it looks like. You can’t blame the sins of the Littlefield crew on Hunnington. He’s made good, albeit painful deals. You can’t find one that hasn’t turned out o.k. at this point. Sure we’re going to lose a trade here and there, but we aren’t going to get Matt Morrised in one or Aramis Ramirezed. Those were the definition of stupid trades perpetrated by our FORMER general managers.

  24. swarty


    You better be right. I just dropped Mark DeFelice to pick up McCutchen (Grady is on the DL). I figure I’ll keep him on the bench for a bit to see how things go.

    Are the Pittsburgh Pirates any relation to your Somali Pirates?

  25. swarty

    Also, Nate McLouth’s nipples appear to be hard in the photo. What am I supposed to make of THAT??? Ick.

  26. Brian Wright

    I think it was a good trade for both teams. Although I am surprised the Pirates chose to move McLouth instead of Nyger Morgan. Who is certainly not on the same level as McLouth. As a Braves fan, we got an All-Star gold glove caliber centerfielder who can steal bases (which we desperately need) and has power to all fields, unlike the rest of our outfielders. I like the blog Keith, but I hate your TV show. Keep it up!


  27. sweet_as_jeet

    I understand the point that Huntington can’t be blamed for the mistakes of the past. I know a lot of fans want to give him the chance he deserves to build this new team he says he wants to “give the fans”. I also realize that teams that can’t buy instant talent have to build it from within. However, people also need to realize that the way that this trade was conducted makes him look just like the past GM’s. As a Pirates fan since the “We Are Family” days of the 70’s, I am tired of seeing this happen to a team that fielded the likes of Clemente, Stargell, Blass, VanSlyke, and even Bonds. Yes I do focus more on the Steelers and the Pens, but I still am quite aware of the Pirates and I DVR games almost every night on Extra Innings. Sorry I don’t have time to pour over every scouting report, so according to some posters here, I’m not a “real” fan. Anyway..It was a shame to read some of the 1000+ posts about this trade on the Pirates site where fans since the 60’s and 70’s are claiming that they have had enough; are tired of giving the organization second, third, and fourth chances; will never go to another game; or that they will get their kids into other teams that have a winning tradition. No, I guess this is not ALL Huntington’s fault, but he’s not doing much to make the fans of the team he “runs” feel too positive about his actions. Is McCutchen a part of Huntington’s long-term plan? I doubt it and I’ll bet most Pirate fans do too. I hope he turns out to be the real deal. If he does, he won’t be in a Pirates uniform long. He’ll get dealt for more prospects and play for a contender. The management has yet to do anything prove this prediction wrong. Fans aren’t going to wait forever. I’ve seen some fans claim that “2012 is the year!!!” Well, the Mayans predicted the word will end in 2025. Why do I believe the latter prediction more given the past and current Pirate management’s actions (so far)?

  28. fdpopa@comcast.net

    Whether or not the Pirates improved in center field is not the question that needs to be answered if one is one of those few still giving Pirate’s management the benefit of the doubt. I.e., why not play BOTH McCutchen and McLouth.

  29. robby100

    At SOME point you need to stop trading your good players away, and build AROUND them. Every time someone on our team gets good – he’s gone. Because “We’re not winning with him, so why not trade him and get players that’ll be good for when we are winning?” That seems to be the logic. It’s a never ending paradox being a Pirates fan. If McCutcheon does become great – it’s a NO-BRAINER IRON-CLAD GAURANTEE that he’s gone in 5 years. Bonds, Giles, Neagle, Bay, Nady, Ramierez, Schmidt to name just a few over the years… do we EVER keep anyone good? Time to move on people until someone else owns this team.

  30. grk9

    The Steelers were not always a great team… until the 70’s they were terrible. But the fans always packed the stadium.

    That’s because the ownership didn’t betray the fans.

    The current Pirate ownership is playing 3 card monte with their players and the fans just keep putting their money down.

    I echo the words of many others… McLouth isn’t the second coming. But the owners KNEW he was a fan favorite. They were building this team around McLouth. That’s what they said when they traded (got rid of?) Nady and Bay. I know he’s had problems at the plate lately. Can you think of a single player that doesn’t have occasional problems? I can’t. Sanchez had problems, too — he’s coming out of it. You’re basically consigning McLouth to mediocrity — are you saying the Braves can’t see a good thing?

    It’s obvious that Americans have horrible memories in terms of politics — but Pirate fans have long memories.

  31. josh.keaton1@gmail.com

    I’d probably take all you “geniuses” a lot more seriously if you’d bother to correctly spell the name of the dearly departed. It’s MCLOUTH!!! Not McClouth. Get it right. If you can’t spell the man’s name, you clearly don’t know enough about him. You know why I never spout off about Yuniesky Bentancourt? Because I can’t spell his name without going on the interwebs to find it.

    That said, as a Pirates fan, the more I look at this trade I like it. Nate McLouth is at his peak value, and if you think we got jobbed it’s only because your valuing him too generously. He’s not going to get much better than what we saw last year. That plus his affordable contract, the overwhelming fact that we aren’t competing, and the haul we received make this deal acceptable. Only acceptable, because I don’t like that we got ANOTHER toolsy lead-off type centerfielder. Christ, how many guys like that do we need. A power bat here would have made more sense here. But even so, this Gorky Hernandez fellow seems to have a good reputation, so I’ll reserve complete judgement.

  32. dtx180

    Im surprised Keith knew anything about the pirates, given the fact that ESPN has said maybe 10 words about them since 1993.

    Im a firm believer that Nate started declining a little bit because of the nady and bay trades. I really like the Nady trade now, and the Bay one is getting a little better (despite Bay tearing the ball in boston), but Mclouth’s numbers were bound to decline when he became the most feared hitter in our lineup…yet he still produced quite a bit.

    With all that said, I was really looking forward to a Morgan/Mclouth/McCutchen OF for the next 2ish years (or until Tabata was ready to take the odd man out…most likely morgan). Yes that OF would likely only give up 30 to 40 HRs, but the pirates need to realize that they arent gonna out slug teams. They need to win via defense, pitching, and high average/OBP hitting to tire pitchers out early.

    That OF would be well above average defensively (the only weakness is we wouldnt have a legit RF cannon arm to throw out runners advancing to 3rd…but all 3 have at least average arms), plus that OF would be our 1-2-3 hitters (Morgan/McCutchen/Mclouth). All three of those guys could each steal 40 bases if given the green light. Mclouth is a 25 to 30 HR hitter. That woulda been a hell of a top of the lineup, the lineup seen on…..playoff teams.

    We didnt get a potential ace pitcher, we didnt get a potential 40 HR hitter. We got a bunch of 3.5/5 star prospects. Huntington needs to realize that its not quantity of decent prospects that matter, its having a handful of high quality prospects.

    Wieterless, Mclouthless, Bayless, soon to be Sanchezless/Larocheless/Wilsonless.

  33. bobdoerge@yahoo.com

    The point is missed by comparing McCutcheon’s potential to McLouth’s potential/performance. Obviously the least productive outfielder for the Bucs has been Moss, the “prospect” traded for last year. McLouth is a proven player, not a superstar but a proven major league performer. Hunnington is quoted as saying we need depth at all levels. I take that to mean that they need to improve quality at the minor league level. But is not the most important thing is for the Pirates to be competitive at the major league level? Granted hopefully most of those players will be drafted and developed within the organization. Good college prospects are ready in 2 or 3 years. What do the Pirates gain by trading a productive player (and look at the whole, don’t exclude a hot period for Nate, as everyone knows the ups and downs of hitting well except some radio commentators.) The Pirates must get a player ready to play now at least at McLouth’s level now. Anything else is a salary dump. Did I not hear the Pirates were going to build around McLouth, Doumitt, Sanchez? Granted Nate is not a superstar but he is a productive major league player just as Xavier Nady was. Jason Bay was a legitimate star. Soon Wilson, Sanchez, and even the up and down Adam LaRoche will be gone. If any of the pitcher put together two good seasons in a row, they will be gone too. At some point you have to stick with some of the players you have. The Pirates have no power at key positions, McLouth provided some. He was a gold glove yet “experts” are now saying he really wasn’t that good. Face it, as of now the trade stinks, and unless the Pirates contend in the next few years, it sucks.

  34. hbremmer@sbcglobal.net

    Now that the Pirates have given up on this season perhaps they have an impact bat to send to the Cardinals. You know, as long as Pirates management does’nt care anymore about winning and all that.

  35. carl0530

    This article is ridiculous. First of all Nate was arguably the Pirates best player and most consistent. To offense to McCutchen as I believe that he will eventually be a star then he’ll be traded as well. However he didn’t exactly dominate in AAA. It would have made more sense to get rid of Laroche and promote Walker or Alverez. Then again think Huntington will part any of the rejects he signed? Plain and simple the pirates got rid of their best player for more rejects.

  36. niki.hatzilambrou@gmail.com

    Excuse me, but it’s idiotic to think Keith is a Pirate’s fan or could do anything more than show the obvious sympathy he has shown by even blogging about this. You have to be born a Pirates fan, otherwise WTF?! Keith is a Yankees fan, who sometimes shows flashes of sympathy for (my team) the Mets. If anyone should be grieving, it’s the Mets who have continuously bought worthless players for tons of money, only to see everyone on the DL within months of their contract becoming valid. Unfortunately, we can’t buy the players we want. But Keith is taking notice of things that give voice to fan frustrations, and that is a great place to start – not that management seems to give a f**k.

  37. grk9

    So, I thought I’d go back to the beginnings of this website and I came upon this from Keith in March…

    “As to the Buccos – an organization filled with some of the best people in baseball – they would be competitive if they had more than one starting pitcher. There may actually be a deep bullpen: Evan Meek has inherited – no, sorry, I’ll stop there, but he does look like he grew up after last year – and they think Donald Veal might have, too. Combine them with Grabow and Capps and it’s an entirely different concept from last year’s bullpen, which more resembled the firemen from Fahrenheit 451. Pittsburgh’s problem, of course, is July 31st. Since the starters would have to perform miracles to get them to .500, they will have to sell off again, and that means Adam LaRoche and Jack Wilson and maybe even Freddie Sanchez. But McLouth’s the real deal, McCutchen will be, and they think they’ve straightened out Andy LaRoche. Sadly, the sports-record-breaking 17th straight losing season still seems tragically inevitable.”

  38. cnale73@gmail.com

    The Pirates are the WORST team in the league!! I don’t even know why I bother to continue to buy your merchandise or watch your games. The only thing they seem to be able to do is fuel their minor league teams but when you can’t win in the pros; who gives a crap!!! Try spending some money for once!! Get some players who can actually win and QUIT GETTING RID OF THE ONES YOU HAVE THAT CAN!!!!!!! I’m so sick to wake up and find out you traded another QUALITY player for a whole pile of minor leaguers that will EVENTUALLY do something in the the MINOR leagues!! You have great fans who still continue to pay top dollar for LOW GRADE baseball and this is the best that you can offer them?!?!?! GET WITH IT FOR ONCE AND ALL!! It would be so wonderful to go back to the days of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Andy Van Slyke all being on the same team and still being contenders but I fear those days are done. And you don’t have to look far for ideas on how to produce winning teams. TRY LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW!!!! Your two neighbors, the Steelers and the Penguins, both know how.

  39. aslam720@gmail.com

    ALL!! It would be so wonderful 70-680to go back to the days of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Andy Van Slyke all being on the same team and still being contenders but I fear those days are done. And you don’t have to look far for ideas on how to produce winning teams. TRY LOOKING OUT THE 646-205 WINDOW!!!! Your two neighbors, the Steelers and the Penguins, both know how.

  40. aslam720@gmail.com

    Pittsburgh’s problem, of 642-813 course, is July 31st. Since the starters would have to perform miracles to get them to .500, they will have to sell off again, and that means Adam LaRoche and Jack Wilson and maybe even Freddie Sanchez. But McLouth’s the real deal, McCutchen will be, and they think 642-902 hey’ve straightened out Andy LaRoche. Sadly, the sports-record-breaking 17th straight losing season still seems tragically inevitable.”

  41. rbogy@hotmail.com

    The Pirates are the WORST team in the league!! Get some bartending lessons I don’t even know why I bother to continue to buy your merchandise or watch your games. <a href="The only thing they seem to be able to do is fuel their minor league teams but when you can't win in the pros; who gives a crap!!! Try Succeeding Tomorrow and spending some money for once!!

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