Espn.com has managed to get three days worth of stories out of the Nate McLouth trade.
Day one: the McLouth trade was worthy of front page material.
Day two: Pittsburgh Pirate players (who will most likely be dealt by the trading deadline) sounding off on the trade probably deserves a link in the MLB section.
Day three: the e-mail sent by Pirates general manager Neal Huntington to the season ticket holders should be on a Pirate season ticket holder's blogspot.
Of course I clicked on the link to read the ridiculousness so what do I know? On with the story:
From Huntington via the e-mail:
"I understand why some people, at first glance, may believe this move was financially motivated, but I can assure you that this was strictly a baseball decision. In fact, our owner, Bob Nutting, was as surprised as some of our fans when we sought his approval for this trade. I am grateful that he has the faith in me, our baseball operations staff and the processes we have in place to approve a move like this, despite the risk of public backlash on him personally and the organization as a whole."
Offensively McLouth is having a slightly above average season. His .345 on base percentage is a little bit above average but nowhere near elite status and his 114 OPS+ is good for a second baseman but okay-ish for an outfielder. His defense, on the other hand, is horrible. If you look at the plus/minus indicator from the fielding bible McLouth ranks dead last in fielding for center fielders from 2006 to 2008. This year, his UZR is a -.6, but he boasts a career of -26.6.
Now if you are the Atlanta Braves, this is a good-enough deal. Their outfield consists of a guy who doesn't believe in on base percentage because it isn't on the scoreboard, a 37 year old who has a 67 OPS+ and a a rookie who probably got promoted too soon Too lazy to click on links?
Jeff Francoeur: .249//275/.351 and a 65 OPS+
Garret Anderson: .248/.288/.355 and a 67 OPS+
Jordan Schafer: .204/.313/.287 and a 61 OPS+
Amazing that all three outfielders are more than 30% worse than an average outfielder at this point in the season.
Small sample size?
Jeff Francoeur career: .267/.309/.427 and a 90 OPS+
He's just really horrible. His best value is if a team is down one in the bottom of the 9th, he's a good bat off the bench because if he does somehow make contact with the ball, it has a chance to be an extra base hit.
Garret Anderson 2007: .297/.336/.492 and a 114 OPS+
Garret Anderson 2008: .293/.325/.433 and a 97 OPS+
With or without Nate McLouth, the Pirates are not going to win this year or next year, so they need to trade the players who are at the end of their peak (or past their peak) for young, talented players. At 27, Nate McLouth is what he is: a slightly above average hitter with horrible defense. For the Braves, they upgraded their outfield by a million percent. Funny how a 114 OPS+ is a HUGE upgrade. Maybe I need to review Frank Wren's brief tenure with the Braves next...