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Bob Smizik Attacks Nate McLouth Trade Despite, You Know, Facts

Bob Smizik returns, for the millionth time, to the Pirates' trade of outfielder Nate McLouth to the Braves for pitchers Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez:

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That probably was because fans, quite correctly, saw McLouth as a young, building block of the future and not a soon-to-be free agent, who would cost too much to keep.

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One excellent point Sinha makes, and I think it is very crucial in evaluating the deal, is this: " . . . McLouth had great trade value at the time. Power/speed/gold glove centerfielders who hustle don’t fall off trees! Had they shopped him around, the Pirates surely could have received more than what they got.''

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Several points here:

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1) The Pirates won the McLouth trade. Get over it. McLouth has been completely worthless as a Brave, while Morton is contributing in the Pirates' rotation (finally) and Locke is one of the Bucs' better pitching prospects. Hernandez has been disappointing, but it's too early to give up on him completely. The Pirates win, the Braves lose. McLouth hasn't done anything. Get. Over. It.

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2) There is no evidence that the Pirates traded McLouth because they couldn't afford him. In fact, that the trade occurred just a few months after the Pirates signed McLouth to a $15.75 million extension strongly indicates that they could afford him, and traded him merely because they got a trade offer they liked. The fact that the Pirates, again, clearly won this trade from a baseball perspective makes the baseless allegation that the Pirates were merely dumping salary kind of ridiculous.

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3) For the billionth time, while it's true that McLouth is technically a "Gold Glove centerfielder," that bit of information is irrelevant to his trade value. McLouth was probably an average centerfielder visually and a well-below-average centerfielder statistically. No team evaluating McLouth would have considered him to be among baseball's better defensive centerfielders.

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I wasn't a huge fan of the trade at the time, and I do think that generally, the correct approach when it comes to trades is to evaluate them based on the information available when they are made. But it was certainly a fair deal at the time in terms of the quality of the talent each team got - the Bucs got a major-league-ready starting pitcher in Morton and two fairly interesting prospects in exchange for a decent outfielder who wasn't quite good enough defensively for center and didn't have an ideal bat for left or right. And this kind of complaining two years after the fact, when the trade actually looks much better from the Pirates' perspective, is just silly

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