So, yeah, I got a call from the Buccos. I guess I'm playing 2nd base on Friday night. Who the hell else is going to start there?
Penned last night for True/Slant. Of course, fewer than 24 hours later, the Bucs traded Gorzelanny and Grabow, too. No huge loss, but you know, that blue light is only on for a few more hours, Pirate-Mart shoppers!
From True/Slant on July 30, 2009:
How to Kill a Sports Franchise.
Are you one of the millions of Americans who would like to kill a sports franchise? You’re in luck. For this special offer, at the low, low price of simply logging on, here’s a handy eight-step how-to guide for killing a professional team, courtesy of the brain trust at the Pittsburgh Pirates.
1. Trade All-Star, Gold Glove centerfielder Nate McLouth, making just $2.5 mil a year (Wal-Mart pricing by baseball standards) to Atlanta. In return, receive several prospects, including left-handed pitcher Jeff Locke (2nd round draft pick in 2006) currently pitching single A ball; Charlie Morton, right handed pitcher who has made eight starts since arriving in Pittsburgh, with a 2-3 record, a 3.72 era and averages 4 2/3 innings per start; and Gorkys Hernandez, an outfielder currently playing AA ball with the Altoona Curve, where he’s batting .257 with two home runs.
2. Wait for the fans to settle down from this dust up. About three to four weeks should do it.
3. Trade wildly popular, fleet of foot, energetic, engaging left fielder, Nyjer Morgan to the Washington Nationals. Be sure to cite his lack of power hitting. In return, obtain pitcher Joel Hanrahan, a right handed pitcher with a 6.7 ERA; and, of course, known headcase Lastings Milledge, who started the season so slowly (batting .167 with 1 RBI) that even the lowly Nats sent him down to AAA ball. Milledge was rehabbing from an injury at the time of the trade. Since returning from injury, Milledge has played 17 games with the Pirates AAA affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians, where he is batting .333 with zero home runs. Whups. So much for that need to get a power hitter in left field.
4. Bide your time. Wait. A craptacular offer is bound to cross your desk on the eve of the trade deadline.
5. Trade Jack Wilson. Yup, the 2004 All-Star rep, the winner of the Silver Slugger for shortstops in 2004, the guy who is one of the five best fielding shortstops in the league and who, as of July 17, helped to turn 100 double plays, most in the majors. Send the guy who willingly took on the tremendous burden of this accursed franchise and actually wanted to remain in Pittsburgh to turn things around to Seattle for shortstop Ronny Cedeno (batting .167), first baseman Jeff Clement (batting .227) and pitching prospects Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin and Nathan Adcock. Oh, last thing, tell the fans that this wasn’t a salary dump.
6. As news of the Wilson move is burning up the internet machines, even causing the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website to go all wonky (not that that’s anything new), quickly orchestrate a trade that sends the other key element of that middle infield to the San Francisco Giants. In return for three time All-Star 2nd baseman Freddy Sanchez, receive Tim Alderon, pitcher who was selected third in the 2005 draft and is currently working in double A ball. Aldereson seems to be a superb pitching prospect, but by this point, the fans can’t even see straight, let alone read this breakdown per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:
“The Giants paid a big price for Sanchez in surrendering Alderson, who was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 4 prospect in the San Francisco organization entering this season. Alderson, 20, is 6-foot-6 and 217 pounds. He has a 7-2 record and a 3.65 ERA in two minor league stops this season. The Giants selected Alderson with the 22nd overall pick in Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft two years ago and gave him a $1.29 million signing bonus.”
7. Act indignant over widespread media indifference to your team while everybody obsesses about the Steelers, who aren’t even practicing in shorts and t-shirts yet. Act perplexed when irate fans start staying away from the ballpark in droves.
8. Blame the media and the fans for an historic 17 year run at suck.
Oh, and would the last fan out of the ballpark please turn off the jumbotron? Thanks.
Meanwhile, my virtual buddy the Sports Noter said in one quick paragraph what it took me 600+ words to say:
All right, settle down, I think we're all here so let's take seats. I'd like to welcome you all to the Pittsburgh Pirates Mid-Summer 2009 Strategy Meeting. Item No. 1 on the agenda ... The Steelers open up training camp in just a few days. What do we do? Okay, let's see some ideas, people. Trade Adam LaRoche to the Red Sox? Didn't we send Jason Bay to them last year? Never mind, it's brilliant. I love it. Make the call. Okay, next ... Trade Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez? Wait, aren't they our double play combo? Whatever, I like it. Do it. Wow, I'm getting goosebumps here. You guys are on fire. What else you got?
Here's Bob's real blog. He's a panic. And quick. Man, is he quick: