Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday Pirates Rant™

What a Rant™-worthy week we just had. I love it when things come together.

Pirates Trade for Cesar Izturis!

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Stats Geek noted today, there aren’t many middle infielders worse offensively than the tandem of Jack Wilson and Jose Castillo, but the Pirates found one of them. And being that he was a favorite of manager Jim Tracy because of his “versatility” (meaning he’s equally mediocre at a bunch of different positions), there’s a chance the Pirates might keep him beyond this year.

There’s also a chance that, because Tracy loves him so much, the “player to be named later” is actually one of the Pirates’ 3-4 actual prospects. Woohoo.

Jack Wilson for Troy Glaus!

Rather, Pirates “inquire” about Jack Wilson for Troy Glaus. Blue Jays roll eyes, laugh heartily, and hang up the phone.

Here’s the typical Dave Littlefield trade negotiation: 1) Littlefield asks for something unbelievably ridiculous (like Wilson for Glaus, or Kris Benson for David Wright a few years ago), 2) offended, the GM on the other end of the phone scoffs and offers insultingly little, 3) negotiations stagnate, 4) Littlefield caves before deadline, accepting 50¢ on the dollar (i.e. a low-ceiling AA relief pitcher) after aiming for $50.

Former #1 John Van Benschoten uncoached!

"Coming up through the system and being the No. 1 pick and no one really stepping up because no one wants to mess you up," said Van Benschoten, who was the team's first-round selection in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft. "They have a big organization and they need to take care of other people, so I think being almost left alone has just come to a head this year with a crash course here."

Others have a “big organization” and manage not to “mess up” every #1 pick. Just saying.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Van Benschoten, the Pirates’ #1 pick in 2001, is now 27 with a career record of 1-7 and career ERA of 7.49. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

1-8 since the break!

And oh by the way, the Pirates have won once since the All-Star Break and are 0.5 games out of last place in the worst division in baseball. They’re on pace for 93 losses. Average wins the six years before Littlefield: 71.7. Average record the six years since Littlefield’s hire (if they do indeed live up to their 69-93 pace): 70.3.

Honestly, there’s a glimmer of hope here since Pittsburgh is looking for a new CEO, someone who is supposedly an actual, honest-to-God baseball man. If that’s the case, there might actually be a 10% chance for accountability, i.e. Littlefield (and Jim Tracy, for that matter) looking for a new job next year. Cross your fingers.

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