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in Pirates "Re-building" By Peter Fritsch The last remaining piece of 2008???s most productive outfield (Jason Bay, Nate McClouth, Xavier Nady) has been sent elsewhere. Like last year???s trades of Bay and Nady, the Pirates have sent away a productive outfielder in his prime for a few prospects. Nate McClouth, the Pirates Gold-Glove All-Star centerfielder, was traded to the Atlanta Braves for AAA RHP Charlie Morton, AA outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, and A-ball LHP Jeff Locke. Morton failed miserably in 16 appearances with the Braves in 2008, though he is dominating AAA this season. Hernandez has no power and has some pundits describing him as another Nyjer Morgan. Locke has not been pitching well in Class A Carolina League. So where does this leave the Pirates and their beleaguered fan base? Staring directly into the oncoming train that is a major league sports record 17th straight losing season. Sadly, the long-term outlook is not much better. For now, McClouth will be replaced by the Pirates??? top prospect Andrew McCutchen, who is definitely ready for the big leagues and for whom the fans have been clamoring all year. An outfield with Morgan, McClouth and McCutchen is exciting and a reason for hope. An outfield with low power Morgan, low power McCutchen, and low everything Brandon Moss is a serious problem. In order of value, here is what the Pirates received for Bay, Nady, and McClouth: 3B Andy LaRoche - High OBP/AVG, no home run power RHP Ross Ohlendorf - Consistent #3 or #4 pitcher this year OF Jose Tabata - Injured AA outfielder has only played 43 minor league games since 2008 trade RHP Bryan Morris - Injured A-ball pitcher, has barely pitched since 2008 trade RHP Charlie Morton - wildcard, who knows if poor 2008 MLB performance is an indicator of future performance or just an adjustment period? OF Gorkys Hernandez - career .350 OBP in minors, no power, lots of speed RHP Jeff Karstens - replacement level #5 starter, there are 25 guys just like him available right now RHP Craig Hansen - injured reliever who cannot stay healthy or throw strikes when he is healthy LHP Jeff Locke - not much hope based on his minor league performance so far; he???s a long way from Pittsburgh??? RHP Daniel McCutchen - AAA now, replacement level #5 starter OF Brandon Moss - career OPS+ 91, good OF range and arm; always-available retreads like Craig Monroe and Eric Hinske can provide more production than Moss While the trades have brought more belly-buttons to the Pirates??? barren farm system and MLB roster, they have not brought impact talent. There are no #1 or #2 starters in this group. There are no 30 HR bats. Beyond LaRoche and perhaps Ohlendorf, most of these guys are at or near replacement level. How does this make the Pirates better?

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