Pirates question timing of trades

Updated: July 1, 2009, 6:41 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The reaction in the Pittsburgh Pirates clubhouse to Tuesday's trades wasn't as vocal as it was when Nate McLouth was dealt to the Braves for three players last month. But that doesn't mean the players were happy with the timing, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Tuesday's trades sent starting outfielder Nyjer Morgan and reliever Sean Burnett to the Nationals, and utility player Eric Hinske to the Yankees.

"It's not our job to understand the big plan, I guess," first baseman Adam LaRoche said, according to the report. "We've got to do the same thing we did after Nate left, try to keep it together."

Shortstop Jack Wilson -- himself the subject of trade rumors -- said he was "beyond, beyond tired" of the Pirates' deals the past few seasons, the newspaper reported. "We know that they're looking to the future, which doesn't say much about 2009," Wilson said, according to the report. "That's probably what's so shocking. We're five games out, and we lost two or three of our everyday players" in the trades that sent McLouth and Morgan out of town.

"They're businessmen. They're trying to achieve winning baseball in Pittsburgh. The biggest question is: When is that going to be? When do things start turning around?" Wilson said in the Post-Gazette. "It's just hard for guys who have been here and seen these exact same trades happen and seen it absolutely do nothing. I've been here nine years. I've seen two or three of these trades every year and still haven't had a winning season."

Entering Wednesday's games, the Pirates, who are trying to avoid a major league-record 17th consecutive losing season, were five games under .500 and just six games out of first in the tightly packed National League Central.

Wilson said Morgan, in his first year as a starter, added more to the Pirates than his .277 average, 27 RBIs and 18 steals.

"What you saw on the field wasn't even close to what he brought to the team," Wilson said, according to the report. "That's the type of player, guys of that caliber, like Jason Bay, Nate McLouth ..."

They're businessmen. They're trying to achieve winning baseball in Pittsburgh. The biggest question is: When is that going to be? When do things start turning around?

-- Jack Wilson

Bay was dealt to the Boston Red Sox last year as part of a three-way trade that sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. On June 3, the Pirates shipped McLouth to the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Charlie Morton and a pair of prospects.

Morgan and Burnett were dealt to the Nationals for outfielder Lastings Milledge and reliever Joel Hanrahan.

Milledge, formerly the New York Mets' top prospect, has been injured much of the season and will report directly to Triple-A Indianapolis within a week to 10 days.

Hanrahan, who is 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in 34 games and was demoted as the Nationals' closer, was expected to join the Pirates on Wednesday.

Hinske, the 2002 AL Rookie of the Year, went to the Yankees for minor league right-hander Casey Erickson and outfielder Eric Fryer. The Pirates also sent the Yankees about $400,000 to help pay the remainder of Hinske's $1.5 million salary.

Other members of the Pirates didn't criticize the latest trade, but said they'd miss Morgan and Burnett, according to the report.

"Yeah, man, you almost want to cry," said rookie outfielder Andrew McCutchen of Morgan's departure, according to the report. "This [stinks], man. You know, it's a business. It's a great loss to lose someone like this. Not just on the field, but off the field as well. There's nobody who can replace what he can do off the field."

Manager John Russell, who a month ago faced the task of keeping the Pirates focused after the McLouth trade, undertook a similar task Tuesday, talking to some of his players, according to the Post-Gazette.

"The upside that we're gaining is something we can't pass up," Russell said, according to the report. "Taking away nothing from Nyjer and Sean, but these players can help us win today and for years to come."

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