Crawling Out Of The Basement? Part 5: Pittsburgh Pirates

Dave AugustineContributor IJuly 9, 2009

CHICAGO - MAY 27: Brandon Moss #44 of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes a swing against the Chicago Cubs on May 27, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Pirates 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Wow, where to start.  By the time I'm done writing this article the players I mention may not even be on the team anymore.  That’s how much this team has changed. 

It seems as if every year the Pirates are constantly in, "rebuilding mode."  Every time they rebuild they tend to tear down their nucleus for the time being and try another one out. 

Pirates' fans saw the trade of their beloved outfielder Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves for Gorykys Hernandez, Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke.  The move shocked everyone.  First baseman Adam LaRoche is quoted as saying; "There ain't a guy in here who ain't ticked off about it."

It seemed as if the Pirates had a nice core of young pitchers in Ian Snell, Zach Duke and Paul Maholm.  Currently Snell is in AAA trying to work his way back to the Pirate rotation while Maholm is sporting a snazzy 4.60 ERA.  Duke is the only one that has respectable numbers for a team with very little to cheer about these days.

Duke currently (7-9-2009) is 8-7 with a 3.28 ERA in 118 innings.  Freddy Sanchez, Pittsburgh's lone All-Star representative leads the way on offense.  Currently Sanchez is hitting .316 with 25 doubles.  Not bad numbers considering the lineup he's in.

When McLouth was traded in June the door was open for Pittsburgh's newest piece to the puzzle.  Andrew McCutchen is one of the top prospects in the game today and has shown no signs of slowing down.  McCutchen has hit .291 with five triples and 21 RBI in the 33 games since his call up.  McCutchen also has good range in the outfield and should be (fingers crossed) a staple in the Pirate outfield for years to come.

Along with McCutchen is Brandon Moss who was acquired from the Red Sox as part of the Manny Ramirez-Jay Bay trade last year.  Moss is considered one of the best young outfielders in the game. 

Pittsburgh made a bold move in acquiring incumbent outfielder Lastings Milledge from Washington in exchange for Nyjer Morgan.  Many seemed to balk at the idea of this trade but in the long run it may end up being very beneficial to Pittsburgh. 

Since Pittsburgh is in a major overhaul mode, it may be time to move the likes of Freddy Sanchez and Adam LaRoche while their value is still high.  The rest of the season can be very dismal but it’s the only option the Pirates have in the state they're in now.