The Pirates are reeling as the Houston Astros come to town. Our Pirates have played the Astros well this season, sweeping both series on the way to a 6-0 record. Houston is 1-5 since the break. Hopefully this is the team to help the Bucs break out of their funk.
In other news, the Pirates aquired Cesar Izturis from the Cubs yesterday in exchange for a player to be named later. The team and its fans will place all hope for 2007 squarely on Izturis' shoulders. In all seriousness, this move could have been made for a few different reasons:
* The Pirates have grown weary of Jack Wilson's contract and his poor performance, and decided that the confrontation with Jim Colburn earlier this week was the last straw. Management has decided to deal Wilson before the deadline, and may or may not be considering a fire sale. Possible players to be dealt include Damaso Marte, Salomon Torres, and Shawn Chacon. Izturis would take over at shortstop.
* Dave Littlefield was being completely honest when he said, "This has nothing to do with Jack Wilson." With Jose Bautista injured, the Pirates wanted a bit more depth at infield and did not feel that could be provided by Don Kelly.
* We're talking about the Pirates here. There is no plan in place. They might trade Jack Wilson, they might not. What's the difference? Recent trade negotiations went something like this:
[Pirates GM Dave Littlefield looks up, startled by the strange noise. Relieved, he realizes his desk phone is simply ringing again.]
Cubs GM Jim Hendry: Dave? It’s Jim Hendry. How are you?
JH: Jim Hendry. General manager of the Cubs.
DL: Oh. [still confused]
JH: I saw one of your infielders cut his hand and is going to be out for a while.
DL: Really?? Who??
JH: Not important. But I was thinking you might need some help. How would you like Izturis?
JH: Cesar Izturis. He was our shortstop, but he wasn’t really hitting so we are playing somebody better.
DL: Ha ha ha. What a ridiculous way to run a team!
JH: Right. [laying down with a headache] So do you want him?
DL: Well actually, I have heard of this guy. But I can’t afford to pay anyone else. I don’t know if you've seen, but our payroll is over 30 million dollars!
JH: Right. [shaking head] How about if we pay his salary?
DL: It’s a deal! Wait…who do you want?
JH: It doesn't matter. Cesar will be on the next flight.
* Jim Tracy saw Wilson arguing with his buddy Colburn and decided he wouldn't stand for it. Tracy immediately called Littlefield and said, "I don't like this Jack kid. The other night he was yelling at Jimmy, and all the shouting made me nervous. I want him out of here...I don't know who we'll get to play short. Just find me another overpaid good glove/bad bat guy that was an All-Star a couple years ago, just like Jack. And make sure it's somebody I am friends with. I hate all the arguing!"
In reality, we are most likely looking at the first option. That is what Dejan is expecting, and he is not one to throw around unsubstantiated rumors. I fully support a firesale, but why stop with Wilson and our relievers? The Pirates will not get enough in return for those guys to rebuild the future, and that is what the team desperately needs. Xavier Nady's value is high, and Littlefield should look to deal him before the deadline. If Bay and LaRoche have strong second halves, they should be dealt in the offseason. If some GM out there thinks of Freddy Sanchez as a batting champion that plays second base as opposed to a high average-low walk-low power guy that is best suited for third, trade him. If our GM makes some intelligent moves with those guys, the Pirates could have a strong, young nucleus by 2009. They may not win a game in 2008, but it would be worth it.