A backlash? Execs under fire? Nope, not here. In Pittsburgh.

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.

34 comments Add your comment

Bill

June 9th, 2009
11:02 am

Great job Mark. Thanks for info and all the overtime lately. We now have two Bill.

Bill

June 9th, 2009
11:03 am

Ist time Ist

Michael

June 9th, 2009
11:11 am

It was telling to see the reactions of the Pirates on the field when McLouth hit his HR last night. Exasperation, dejection, resignation. It would suck to be a player on or a fan of that team.

Mike In Valdosta

June 9th, 2009
11:12 am

No prose today?

carmatter

June 9th, 2009
11:15 am

It’s early days, but McCutchen hasn’t made them look too bad yet. With a major league ready center fielder in the pipeline, McLouth probably was their most valued asset. But I, too, would’ve thought they could have gotten more in return. I sure didn’t feel bad about losing any of the assets we gave up.

DirtyDawg

June 9th, 2009
11:21 am

Pittsburgh needs to be patient. Just watch, we’ll probably give him back to ‘em at the trading deadline when we’re 15 games out and looking to shed salary.

asdf2

June 9th, 2009
11:21 am

McLouth is a baller…the dude can hit and steal bases like a champ!

Joey

June 9th, 2009
11:21 am

John Smoltz, Jay Cutler, Tom Glavine, Adam LaRoche, etc, etc. Does anyone else get sick of these rich, spoiled brats?

All I'm Saying Is...

June 9th, 2009
11:21 am

Interesting statistical comparison for McLouth and McCutcheon from last night’s game…

Name AB Runs Hits RBIs Walks StrikeOuts AVG OVERALL

McCutcheon 7 2 4 1 0 2 0.400
McLouth 7 2 3 1 0 2 0.258

Although its early and we won’t know until the pitchers get a second look at him and start throwing him breaking balls and see if he can adjust (cause he can certainly pull the fastball or take it the other way as he did with both his triples (take notes and learn how its done Frenchy who still can’t consistently hit to the opposite field), it looks like the Pirates won’t miss Nate if Andrew keeps it up.

And in the two games since Bobby Cox moved McLouth to the leadoff spot for the Braves, the worst offense in the NL has scored 14 runs, 29 hits, and five homers so he has certainly provided a spark for us…

Mark Bradley

June 9th, 2009
11:22 am

Mike, a poet must pick his spots. As I’m sure you know.

Dana

June 9th, 2009
11:26 am

I think they should be encouraged by McCuthchen’s outing last night. He reminded me of Michael Johnson in the 96′ Olympics. But having McLouth in the leadoff spot, I think, is going to yield big returns for our Braves. I was almost embarrassed for the Pirates last night. Almost.

mitch

June 9th, 2009
11:27 am

Mr. MB–in the case of LaRoche’s comment, the problem is that if you are in a platoon in battle and your fellow platooners are dropping like flies, you don’t wonder when you are going to sink. That kind of wondering is what sailors do in the beat of hattle or passengers on a big ‘ol boat like the Titanic just after they hear a loud crashing sound. Platooners wonder when they might get one between the eyes.

The problem I’m raising is a common one when professional ball players talk, especially baseball players. Quote them at your peril unless you’re just out looking for a laugh. Your pal, Mitch

Rufio

June 9th, 2009
11:28 am

I think I saw this somewhere else as a thought, so I won’t take credit, but wouldn’t the Pirates have been much better off to move McLouth to right field to allow room for McCutchen to come up… especially if Nate is only making 2 million this year. I would think McLouth would be a slight upgrade over Moss… who was brought in as a potential 4th outfielder, or so they said on TV last night.

Dana

June 9th, 2009
11:33 am

Mark, would you say you’re pals with Jeff Schultz? Because I’m growing tired of his Glavine-loving antics.

Dr. Warren

June 9th, 2009
11:37 am

Jeez. I need to be half as prolific as you. Maybe a third?

NCBravesFan

June 9th, 2009
11:40 am

So Morton dominated the Boars of Steel? There’s got to be a good swine flu joke in there somewhere.

B12Joneal

June 9th, 2009
11:44 am

I think McLouth is going to be our Andrew jones in center but a little better.But McCutchen is going to be their willie mays.And people need to leave frenchy alone cause the braves are not going 2 trade him.

Mark Bradley

June 9th, 2009
12:12 pm

Boars of Steel? Good one, NC. You’re on a roll, as we say around the campfire.

And yes, Mitch, I did note the slightly mixed metaphor employed by Ol’ Rochy. Par for the course, as we say on the back nine.

Poopy Pants

June 9th, 2009
12:15 pm

McClouth was a steal. Granted, Morton is no push-over and is a good pitcher, but we have a full rotation now (and for at least the next 2-3 years). In fact it will be a crowded rotation once Hudson comes back. We finally have a power hitter in the outfield which is what the Braves were desperate for and they filled that need. Wren has got a lot of crap from Atlanta fans this year and yet he somehow makes things better after bad PR (i.e. signing D. Lowe and Kawakami after Smoltz left)

wxwax

June 9th, 2009
12:26 pm

I’ll be the first to admit I’m no expert on baseball.

But help me, please.

I look at McLouth’s numbers and while they seem decent, they’re not superstar material.

Why all the fuss? Color me confused.

JD

June 9th, 2009
12:30 pm

Joey – Why on earth would you consider Adam LaRoche to be a “spoiled brat”?? That name doesn’t fit in there at all.

NC Braves Fan

June 9th, 2009
1:06 pm

@MarkBradley: after yesterday’s poetic masterpiece by you, I’m just trying my darndest to keep up.

Meat Rabbit

June 9th, 2009
1:11 pm

A little bit overlooked last night was the pitching of KK. We tried our best to give it away, but if we can get starts like that out of him, then look out Phils and Mets.

Bill (SC)

June 9th, 2009
1:30 pm

Who will be available out of the pen tonight?

Charlie Kane

June 9th, 2009
1:50 pm

The Pirates don’t matter in Pittsburgh. The town belongs to the football team. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? They play in the same league as the local buzzards. But only in a technical sense, if you get my drift.

J Dub

June 9th, 2009
2:29 pm

To be honest with you, I still miss Rochy. I can understand how the current players have a hard time staying positive when a team makes a move for the future. LaRoche is in Pitt now, will he be there when Morton, Locke, or Hernandez get there? Who knows? The guys going into battle is a little played at this point but he hits it right on the head. I am so glad we got McLouth.

wxwax, the stats may not be eye popping to you but we haven’t had a legit leadoff since Furcal. His 10 homers lead the team. His RBI total of 36 leads the team. His SB total of 9 leads the team. His 31 runs scored leads our team. We basically brought in a player that currently leads our team in 4 HUGE offensive categories for 3 prospects. That is what the fuss is about.

Coach ( Moon Pie, Anyone?)

June 9th, 2009
2:49 pm

Who is that elite guy? Maybe Morton….I said MAYBE.

The tall right hander has electric stuff and I’m talking million dollar arm. Morton also has the “ten cent head” label to go along with the aforementioned great arm.

As has already been mentioned, since McLouth has been in his natural lead off spot the offense has exploded. Even better, it only took our Hall of Fame manager three whole games to figure this out.

The Cardinals released Blaine Boyer after less than two months. Yes, they figured out in two months the same thing it took Cox two years to grasp. Boyer stinks.

J Dub

June 9th, 2009
2:51 pm

Coach Moon Pie, Arizona must know have figured it out yet because they signed Boyer today. What is it with Boyer? Can people not see that Goo can not get the job done.

Sam Everyman, Citizen Journalist

June 9th, 2009
3:11 pm

Yes, that quote from Ol’ Rochy was entertaining. Here’s another I can’t get out of my mind . . . “When I went to the plate I saw lightning bugs. My extremities were tingling and I just didn’t feel right. I had to step out of the box because I felt light-headed and really dizzy. I think that’s when my water let go . . .”

Well, that may not be the exact quote but it’s close enough for newspaper work. And someone asked, “who’s available out of the pen tonight?” . . . oh, for the days of Buddy Carlyle. Bobby may go with rubber-armed reliever Jeff Bennett.

And now a question for Mark . . . if McDowell was one of the game’s best (arguably) sinker ball pitchers . . . why is it that more of the Braves pitchers don’t throw the elusive sinker? If a pitching coach is going to contribute would it follow that he might teach a player a new pitch? Some players need another . . . will Hanson? Some players have no “out” pitch. Maybe Roger could teach something else but why not the sinker? For those that say this should have been done in the minor leagues, not the majors, the same would hold true for bunting and hitting behind the runner – other skills not evidenced by this Braves team. I say teach ‘em the sinker swim. Or something like that. I will never win a Best of Cox at this rate.

Mark Bradley

June 9th, 2009
3:13 pm

Sam, I get the feeling Roger McDowell doesn’t like talking with me anymore. (Maybe he never did, come to think of it.) I’ll try to ask, but I don’t know if I’ll get much of an answer.

Hillbilly Deluxe

June 9th, 2009
3:39 pm

Nate McLouth is a gamer and a good leadoff man. He probably won’t make the Hall of Fame but he’ll be a good, solid addition to the Braves.

Paul Lentz

June 9th, 2009
6:11 pm

The Braves did the right thing in getting rid of Adam LaRoche. His salary numbers for 2007-2009 were $3.2 mil, $5 mil, and $7 mil. In those years, he hit 21, 25, and 7 homers so far this year…..knocked in 88, 85, and 25 RBIs so far this year…..and batted .272, .270, and .246 so far this year. While those may be pretty decent numbers (especially compared to Franceour’s numbers), they pale in comparison to his last year in Atlanta when he hit .285, 32 homers, 90 RBIs in 2006. He regressed, when one would think that he would improve as he worked towards his prime years.

Franceour’s decline is even more startling. I could understand the Braves getting rid of LaRoche when they did. What I cannot understand is why would the Pirates get rid of Nate McLouth, especially when his contract is VERY friendly from a payroll standpoint. The ironic thing is that if the Braves were to someone go all suicide and offer Jeff Franceour salary arbitration in the off season, he will end up making more than McLouth next year ($4.5 mil for McLouth….at least $5-6 mil for Franceour in arbitration). Now how smart would that be. And not only that, but Brian McCann is scheduled make $5.5 mil. How can any TRUE Braves fan say that Jeff Franceour is worth more than both Nate McLouth and Brian McCann?

Paul Lentz

June 9th, 2009
6:12 pm

I meant to say, “I understand why the BRAVES got rid of LaRoche when they did”.

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