Share This Page

Pirates players 'wonder what's going on' with deals

Jack Wilson has seen this before.

He saw it four weeks ago, when the Pirates traded Nate McLouth. He saw it last July, when Jason Bay was dealt on deadline day. He saw it when Aramis Ramirez, Brian Giles and Jason Kendall joined the Conga line of players sent away to other teams.

Tuesday, when Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett were traded to the Washington Nationals, Wilson was not surprised.

"It's tough to see good guys go," Wilson said. "You hope that eventually some of these trades will work out. They haven't yet.

"The biggest question is, when do things start turning around• It's hard for guys who have seen these exact kinds of trades happen before and seen it do absolutely nothing. For nine years, I've seen these trades two or three times a year, every year, and we still haven't had a winning season."

Morgan was not the Pirates' top slugger. In 71 games, he batted .277 with two homers and 27 RBI. But he was the joie de vivre of the clubhouse and helped pull the team together after McLouth's sudden departure.

"I'm sad to leave these guys," Morgan said. "I was just being myself. It's kind of cool that the guys have my back and I brought a little bit of light to them."

With his effervescent style of play, Morgan also became a fan favorite.

"Thank you very much, Pittsburgh, for embracing me," Morgan said. "I don't mind (playing in) our nation's capital. But there was something about being in Pittsburgh — the fans, the baseball tradition. It's the City of Champions, you know• I definitely wanted to be part of that. Hopefully, the pieces they bring in will be part of the new turnaround."

The Pirates acquired outfielder Lastings Milledge and reliever Joel Hanrahan. Milledge, 24, is five years younger than Morgan and has more offensive tools, but his career has been pockmarked with immature actions.

"I still believe in Lastings Milledge, and I think he's going to be a good player in the big leagues," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "It's just tough that it didn't happen here."

Still, several Pirates players openly wondered whether adding Milledge's potential pop was worth another blow to the team's chemistry.

"It's a pretty big hit," first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "If it's something that had to be done, fine. There's nothing we can do about it. It's not our job to understand the 'big plan,' I guess, of the future of this team. That's up to (management)."

General manager Neal Huntington was not surprised by the players' sour response.

"Anytime you take away one of their friends — or you take two or three away in a short period of time — it's unsettling," Huntington said. "The human element is something we can't ignore. But our goal is to put an excellent team on the field and not just to put a bunch of nice guys out there."

Burnett admitted "there were some tears" after he found out he'd been traded by the team that made him a first-round draft pick in 2000.

"Not being (a Pirate) anymore, I can talk now," Burnett said. "In spring training, there was that upbeat feeling. It was a young group of guys who had been around together. A good chemistry.

"That (McLouth) trade kind of made guys wonder what's going on. We don't know what direction we're going in. It's not about talent; it's about keeping guys around who you want to go out and battle with. That's what we're not seeing right now."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.