What a pirate says: AAARRRRRRRRRR
What a Pirates fan says: AAARRRRRRRRRR you kidding me !?!?!
Once again this week the Pittsburgh Pirates showed their total disregard for winning and their fans.
They traded away All Star infielders Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez, along with their best left handed relief pitcher Doug Grabow, Also sent packing were starting pitchers Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny. This is on top of earlier trades that shipped out Adam LaRoche and promising young outfielder Nate McLouth.
For the most part in return, the Pirates have received "minor league prospects".
These deals have all but guaranteed the Pirates will suffer through a 17th consecutive season with a losing record. An entire generation of Pirates fans has grown up without knowing a winner. And these latest changes have probably condemned the Pirates to several more seasons of futility. Young Pirate fans can only imagine what it was like in the era of Clemente and Stargell, and the "We are Family" Buccos that were a dominating force in the National League.
Why isn't Pittsburgh competitive?
The Pirates have been playing the "Small Market" and "Building for the Future" excuses for far too long. Small Market teams in St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Minnesota have been able to win in the current dynamic. Building for the future?. Are we talking about the future in our lifetime, our children's lifetime, or our children's children's lifetime?
The sad fact is that the Pirates don't choose to compete because they are making plenty of money while putting on a losing product. PNC Park is beautiful and entertaining place to watch a game, even if the team can't compete with the opposition.
Wilson and Sanchez commanded million dollars salaries because they are outstanding talents. And Nate McClouth was due for a big increase in his contract after making the Major League minimum his first three years. The bottom line about these trades was the Pirates bottom line.
If Pittsburgh wants to have a minor league payroll, maybe they should swap franchises with their Class AAA franchise Indianapolis. Indianapolis would love to have a Major League team to go along with the Colts and Pacers. While Pittsburgh management could take its cost cutting measures to a new low and boast about having the best minor league ballpark in America.
Pittsburgh should be compelled to compete or pay the price. Baseball has a Luxury Tax to penalize a team for spending too much on payroll. Teams should also be penalized for being excessively frugal. Force them to cough up the difference between their payroll total and the league's average payroll. That way the Yankees and Red Sox can get some of the Pirates money for a change, and tolerating losing wouldn't be profitable for Pittsburgh's ownership.
The motto on the Pittsburgh Pirates website is Pride and Passion. With the team's latest moves, it should be replaced it with Gall and Greed.