Wednesday, July 19, 2006

More trade dope

This could be a long trade-dope bender we've embarked upon. David Briggs offers this bit of news for In it, he upgrades the Pirates' pursuit of Shealy to "heavy." Heavy pursuit. As in heavy-footed? Or hot and heavy? We will ... find out.

Let me shoot down some cavilling objections I've heard to this pursuit of Shealy. (I like the word cavil. It works for me.)

One: he's not left-handed. Jimmykat brought this up in the consistently amusing PG Bob Smizik chat transcript. This kind of thinking got us Jeromy Burnitz. The Pirates have to be flexible; they have to make the best choices from the available options. Unless you can recommend a left-handed first baseman languishing in someone's farm system, do not raise this trivial objection. As we saw today, he can double into right-center just fine, and often. Park effects are real but tiresome in that too many people exaggerate their importance.

Two: he's gonna be expensive. Who cares? The Pirates, because they are the Pirates, should make this trade. They can not afford top-quality first-base free agents. Shealy comes with the usual, incredibly favorable rookie contract. When you really need something, you should not be ashamed to pay for it. Give the Rockies what they need and move on.

Three: the Rockies will want young players. Great! That's about all we got. The inconvenience of being stuck with Joe Randa, Jeromy Burnitz, and Sean Casey after the deadline pales beside the inconvenience of starting the season 30-60. If the Rockies want young relief pitchers, fine, I say, they should have them. The Pirates can replenish the bullpen with our collection of failed starters now toiling at AAA.

As for the other objections, they remain open questions. Is his nose hard enough? He has to be hard-nosed. Can he flat-out hit? It has to be flat-out. Does he play the game right? If he doesn't know the rules, that's a strike against him, of course. And last but not least, is he clutch? Today he struck out with the game on the line. Not all objections are cavilling--some are quite serious. They are edifying. They proceed deep from the principles which are the heart of Pirate baseball. I thank my fellow fans with the intelligence to note them.

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