On Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates dropped an afternoon game to the Chicago Cubs to ensure their 17th consecutive losing season, an ignominious record for professional sports in North America. That said, the team is clearly working on, well, something. As the owner of a house built in the 19th century, I find myself using a fair amount of housing metaphors, and the way I see the Pirates is that the new administration began a gut rehab in 2008, but after a reassessment, 2009 became a complete teardown.
On June 3, Pittsburgh sent outfielder Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves for three prospects, beginning a flurry of transactions that would end with 10 big leaguers getting sent out for a whopping 16 prospects. Theoretically, adding 16 potential big leaguers should be a system-changing event, but a deeper look shows that in some ways it's just a younger version of the same old stuff we've seen losing games in Pittsburgh for nearly two decades. Consider the talent added (and the players' ages), running first through the position players, then the pitchers:
Potential Star Player
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