And you thought the Braves had an eventful week, what with Tom Glavine being cut and Tommy Hanson being promoted and three prospects being traded to the Pirates for Nate McLouth and John Schuerholz being moved to apologize to Glavine, who could be filing a grievance. (Got all that? Whew!)
But there were strange doings on the other end of the trade. According to an Associated Press report, Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington took to cyberspace to get his point, such as it may be, across.
In an e-mail to Pirates season-ticket holders (and we can only assume there are some), Huntington wrote: “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.”
Strictly a baseball decision? Is that anything like — Frank Wren’s phrase regarding Glavine — “a performance decision”?
The McLouth trade didn’t exactly light up the Pittsburgh clubhouse. Indeed, the former Brave Adam LaRoche — Ol’ Rochy, as Bobby Cox called him — complained at impressive length to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “There ain’t a guy in here who ain’t [ticked] off about it. They might be trying to hide it or whatever, but … hey, you get a guy’s loved by everybody, not just in this clubhouse but in the community, who does everything you could want a guy to do, a perfect guy to be a leader …
“It’s kind of like being with your platoon in a battle, and guys keep dropping around you. You keep hanging on, hanging on, and you’ve got to figure: How much longer till you sink? … It’s fine. Heck with it. We’re not the GM. We don’t run the team. If they feel like it’s the best move for three or four years from now, great. Unfortunately, that does me no good. I’ve still got to be in here telling guys it’s going to be fine with Nate gone. Well, you can only do that for so long until guys just kind of … well, they know.”
For those who believe the Braves gave up too much for McLouth … well, Kovacevic quotes an unnamed Pirate as saying: “You make a deal for a player like that, and you’d better get at least one elite guy in return. Who’s the guy in this trade? Who is that player?”
Charlie Morton, maybe? The ex-Brave worked seven scoreless innings in his debut for Class AAA Indianapolis, yielding four hits and striking out seven against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Still, the IronPigs aren’t a big-league team, and there are moments when you wonder if the Pirates are, either. And would it constitute piling on to note they haven’t had a winning season since Barry Bonds couldn’t throw out Sid Bream from left field?
And naturally, the Pirates lost at Turner Field on Monday. In 15 innings. When Jack Wilson couldn’t throw out Jeff Francouer from shortstop. Naturally, McLouth had three hits.