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MLB Hot Stove: Pirates Reportedly Interested In Nate McLouth

Free agent outfielder Nate McLouth had a breakout season with the Pirates in 2008, hitting 26 home runs, driving in 94 runs and stealing 23 bases on his way to an All-Star selection and National League Gold Glove award at season's end. Many thought he'd be a staple of the Pirates' outfield for years to come.

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Shockingly, McLouth was traded to the Braves midway through 2009, however, in a deal that netted the Pirates pitchers Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez. Now, Fox Sports' Jon Morosi tweets the stage may be set for McLouth's return.

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#Pirates may add another outfielder, and sources say they have interest in a familiar name: Nate McLouth.
Dec 05 via txtFavoriteRetweetReply

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McLouth's last two  seasons in Atlanta were rough and injury ravaged. After posting a .773 OPS after the trade in 2009, he fell off to figures of .620 and .677 in 2010 and 2011, respectively, never hitting more than six home runs or for an average higher than .228.

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Those struggles could probably help the Pirates get him on the cheap and at a rate that wouldn't cost them too much to have McLouth backup the established outfield of Jose Tabata, Andrew McCutchen and Alex Presley. If they're lucky, McLouth could rebound from his injury issues and provide some solid depth. If they're not, well, McLouth won't cost them a whole heck of a lot any way.

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Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.