Jeff Pearlman

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Xavier Nady & Damaso Marte to the Yankees


Based upon the staggering number of responses I’ve received to my most recent post about the Pirates, I’m thinking of re-naming Unfortunately, that’d decrease my readership (hanging strong at about 2,000 per day) to, oh, 150 clicks. Maybe 155 if the Pirates win two straight.

Ah, I kid. I’ve enjoyed receiving so many Pirate-related comments, and very much dig the passion. I don’t even take offense to people like “B” (“You’re far too generous and immodest calling that a ‘mediocre column’ Free Tank had you pegged”) and “W.K. Kortas” (“Did you mail in the SI column? Absolutely.”). If you write sports in the 21st century, you accept that you’ll get hammered. And hammered. And hammered. When you’re right. When you’re wrong. When you’re off. When you’re on. Whenever.

All that being said, I want to make a point that I consider, without question, indisputable: Pittsburgh’s July 26, 2008 trade of Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Yankees for Daniel McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf was absolutely, positively terrible. A horrible swap for the Pirates, sans debate.

The Pittsburgh loyalist—an odd breed who gets punched in the head repeatedly (by his loved one, no less) while screaming, “More! More! More!”—looks at this deal 1 1/2 years later and says, “Not bad.” Nady, after all, has been injury prone and, when healthy, only moderately productive. And, before his dazzling World Series showing of two months ago, Marte was pretty much a Yankee bust—a 5.40 ERA in 25 games last season, a 9.45 ERA in 21 games this season.

To look merely through the lenses of hindsight, however, is an ignorant way to view a deal. In the summer of 2008, Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte were hot properties. A. Neither man made an outlandish amount of money; B. Marte was a proven lefthanded reliever who was about to appear in at least 60 games for a seventh-straight season; C. Nady, while hardly Albert Pujols, is a 20-homer, 80 RBI type of hitter who can play multiple positions and is known as one of the game’s better clubhouse influences. If you were a contending team in 2008, you could use both guys. That’s why both the Mets and Yankees were interested; why the eyes of those covering the Major Leagues were, at last, focused upon Pittsburgh. They had players other teams craved, and they were willing to deal.

So what did the Pirates receive for two craved medallions? Daniel McCutchen, who at best will be a fourth starter for a bad team. Jeff Karstens, a non-roster invitee for 2010 who will likely wind up in Triple A for somebody. Ross Ohlendorf, a No. 5 starter or long reliever for 90 percent of Major League teams (but, in Pittsburgh, a key component of the rotation). And, last but not least, the mighty Jose Tabata, a 21-year-old outfielder and the key to the deal for the Pirates. Tabata’s skills have beeCookie+Stealer+AA0911_0053n compared to those of Manny Ramirez, and he was Baseball America’s 12th best prospect in the Eastern League. But, of late, Tabata has been, well, mediocre. In 93 games split between Double A and Triple A last year, he hit a whopping five home runs, to go with 35 RBI and a .293 average. To suggest Tabata has fallen off the Top Prospect list is going too far. But in Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates have a can’t-miss slugger just waiting for a chance. Tabata can miss. An increasing number of people seem to think he will.

That’s why this trade irks me. The Pirates could have done better. The Pirates should have done better. And the under-performances of Nady and Marte change nothing. It actually reminds me of the 1989 NFL Draft, when my New York Jets (I used to be a huge fan) used the No. 14 pick of the first round to select Jeff Lageman out of Virginia. The green-and-white clad fans rightly booed, and continued to boo throughout Lageman’s productive six years with the team. Why were they never satisfied? Because the Jets could have selected Lageman in the second round, and maybe even the third. Meanwhile, they passed on players like Steve Atwater, Andre Rison and Carnell Lake.

Like the Jets, the Pirates blew a precious opportunity to get significantly better. They left chips on the table, settling for lesser value. And if Tabata becomes the next Cameron Drew, fans will look back at July 26, 2008 at one of the greatest lost opportunities in franchise history.

PS: And to compare Nate McLouth and Lastings Milledge is ludicrous. McLouth is a proven Major Leaguer who, while far from perfect, will have a solid 10-year career. Milledge has now been discarded by two different organizations.

  • Andy

    So help me, if one Pirates fan comes on here to defend the mediocre prospects we’ve been getting in all of these trades…

    Thanks, Jeff. That’s spot on.

  • Andy

    I’d like to preface this comment with this: I have been a Pittsburgh Pirates fan for all 27 years of my life on this earth.

    That being said, I’m a man of logic and reason. Neal Huntington is going through the motions of what small markets clubs should do to succeed. We’re trading away expensive players and picking up lots of prospects. However, the key component is that NONE of the prospects we’re getting are GOOD prospects. I’ve just spent 2 days on your Pirates post trying to explain why the Yankees wouldn’t trade Jose Tabata if he were really going to be the next Manny Ramirez. In these trades, we’re picking up guys who are putting up average numbers IN THE MINORS. Typically, average minor league numbers don’t translate into good major league numbers.

    I’m not going to go through all of the numbers, because it makes my head hurt, and it’s not like everything Huntington does is terrible, (trading Jack Wilson and Adam LaRoche was long over-due) but nothing that he does is savvy either. He’s definitely saving ownership a lot of money, which I’m sure they appreciate.

    In conclusion, I’ll continue to go to PNC Park for the All-You-Can-Eat seats and good visiting teams regardless. And as I’m seating in those right field seats, the whole time I’ll secretly be singing The Who in my head…

    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss

  • JB H


    I don’t really understand why you think Nady and Marte were worth much more than what the Pirates got. It seems like you have a blind spot for how much a player’s service time effects their value on the trade market.

    Imagine there exists 20 Xavier Nady clones. Some play RF, some don’t hit quite as well but can play SS. They’re all exactly equally as good on the field overall.

    Say you have one NadyClone with no service time. How many NadyClones entering their final year of arbitration would it take for you to give him up?


  • Vlad

    Andy: Part of the reason that Tabata is putting up average numbers in the minors is that he’s about three years younger than the guys he’s playing against. He was 20 in 2009 – if he’d been an American, he would’ve just gotten drafted in his junior year of college, and maybe put in a bit of time in rookie ball, instead of splitting the year between AA and AAA.

    Jeff: If you have any information about a better available offer than the one the Pirates took, it woud greatly help your argument. As things are, you’re asking us to take on faith something that seems very unlikely (i.e. that there was another team willing to overpay by an even greater amount than the Yankees).

  • Vlad

    Jeff: I also feel that it is incumbent upon me to point out that while Nady is, in your opinion, a “20-homer, 80 RBI type of hitter,” he has only ever put up either 20 homers or 80 RBI in one season – 2008, the year in which he was traded.

    Is it possible that you’re just greatly overestimating Nady’s abilities, and thus by extension his trade value as well?

  • Piggybacking on what Vlad said re: Tabata, I think it’s also worth pointing out that he spent most of 2009 recovering from a power-sapping injury. Considering that he’s playing at very advanced levels for his age and that he was playing hurt, his average numbers start to look pretty good. Context is always key.

    Furthermore, 2009 was Ohlendorf’s first year as a starter. I also don’t see where you see him as a fourth starter. A 3.92 ERA and 1.23 WHIP are pretty good numbers to my eyes for an NL pitcher. I’d place him as a #2 starter if he can put up that production consistently. (A dubious claim – he out-performed his peripherals – but he also improved in every aspect as the season went on.)

    I’d also like to see you back up your data, as Vlad said. If there was a better offer that you know about, I’d love to hear it. Anything else is just speculation.

  • Joe

    Jeff Pearlman … please.

    If it weren’t for the guy from the Post Gazette linking to this blog, who would even know it existed?

    The Pirates have made mistakes in the past to be sure but I’ll give the new regime the benefit of the doubt.

    In the meantime, keep writing your ill-informed posts about the team. You need the web hits.

  • Jeff D.

    Vlad, how dare you expect Jeff to actually be able to find those obscure career statistics on Xavier Nady! I mean, those fancy HR and RBI stats are hard to find.

  • w.k. kortas

    Well, this is timely. I am breathlessly looking forward to your take on the Dave Giusti-Carl Taylor swap.

  • Johnny Nez

    “To look merely through the lenses of hindsight, however, is an ignorant way to view a deal. In the summer of 2008, Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte were hot properties.”

    Ummm… so was Jose Tabata. You contradict your own argument when you go on to say:

    “But, of late, Tabata has been, well, mediocre… To suggest Tabata has fallen off the Top Prospect list is going too far. But in Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates have a can’t-miss slugger just waiting for a chance. Tabata can miss. An increasing number of people seem to think he will.”

    You can’t have it both ways. Tabata was a blue-chip prospect at the time of the trade, if we’re evaluating it that way. And Ohlendorf was viewed as a valuable power arm by most teams.

    So if we view it frozen in time on July 26, 2008, it was a good deal as the Pirates acquired a blue chipper at a time when teams simply were not trading blue chippers.

    If we view it in hindsight, it’s a huge victory in favor of the Pirates. Even if Tabata becomes a career 4th outfielder, Ohlendorf appears to be at a minimum a workhorse #3 starter who is capable of even more. Nady’s price tag (Scott Boras client) was about to skyrocket… if you can trade Nady/Marte for a Gil Meche (Ohlendorf) I’ll make that deal 10 times out of 10. Tabata and his potential are gravy.

  • Justin

    Carnell Lake was drafted by the Steelers in 1989 (2nd round). Consistently getting facts wrong does not help build your case….

  • Andy

    “Anything else is just speculation.”

    Which apparently you don’t mind Nate, since you’re big on all these prospects we’re acquiring.

  • Andy

    And Jeff said that Nady was “…a 20-homer, 80 RBI type of hitter…”

    He didn’t say, “Year in and year out, Xavier Nady will hit 20 home runs and 80 RBIs.” When Nady is playing his best baseball (like he was in Pittsburgh) you can expect a solid 20 HR-80 RBI season.

    In our managements skewed perspective, we’re trading for all kinds of these “type of players.” Like, “He’s a strike-out an inning type of pitcher” or “He’s a high average-little pop-great defense type of player”.

    Jesus. Use that little bulb on top of your neck and do some critical thinking for a hot minute.

  • Jeff D.

    You’re right, Andy, we should just ignore actual career stats and just look at career years. Brady Anderson was a 40-HR type of hitter.

  • Andy

    You can do that, although I wouldn’t recommend it. Since you end up with players like Brady Anderson.

  • Jeff D.

    Exactly, which is why it’s not accurate to describe Nady as a 20 HR, 80 RBI type of player. Just because that’s what he did at his best doesn’t mean anything. If you want to call him a decent outfielder with decent pop and the ability to drive in runs, that’s fine. But calling him a 20 HR, 80 RBI type is like calling Rich Harden the type of guy who will win you 20 games — he may have that ability, but unless you actually execute on it repeatedly, it’s not really a good description.

  • Barry

    I think at this point, Pearlman is just trolling Pirate fans. There’s no question that the Nady/Marte trade was better for the Bucs than the Yankees. It was also just a good trade for the Pirates.

    You would have had a better argument dissing the Bay trade, which has been a bust for the Pirates. Hopefully LaRoche will continue his late season play and make this trade a little better.

    As for McLouth/Milledge, McLouth is not proven. He’s had one good season. He’s better than a fourth outfielder, but not by much. And I would much rather have Milledge than Morgan, which is who he was traded for.

    Why even compare Milledge and McLouth? You might as well compare McLouth and McCutcheon. That’s probably more relevant for the Pirates. Cutch will be the Pirate centerfielder for the next 5 years. That make McLouth a corner outfielder. Is he a major league rightfielder? No.

  • Vlad

    Even if you were to assume that Jeff meant that Nady was a player who, at his best, could give you 20 HR and 80 RBI, that still leaves open the question of why such a player should axiomatically be worth a huge return in trade.

    Nady has a career OPS under .800 (108 OPS+) which is fairly unspectacular for a corner OF/1B. He’s a pedestrian baserunner and defender, and throughout his career he’s been fairly prone to little nagging injuries (which is part of the reason that he has not, in general, been good for 20 HR or 80 RBI). Why would a team surrender elite minor league talent for a player like that?

  • Vlad

    I mean, just for the sake of argument, what does Nady give you that someone like Chad Tracy does not?

    If my team gave up elite talent to get Chad Tracy, I’d be livid.

  • Paul

    I’m a huge fan of Love Me, Hate Me but I am appalled by the stupidity of this post. I realize that you barely follow sports anymore but the fact that you liken the Nady trade to a draft pick by the 1989 Jets shows how badly out of touch you’ve become.

    Nady should have garnered a better return because he’s a “20 homer-80 rbi type of hitter?” Please. Nady is a slightly below average corner outfielder who would ideally be utilized as the strong half of a platoon. Marte is a LOOGY for crying out loud.

    Tabata was in the middle of a poor season when the Pirates acquired him but he would’ve been untouchable had he been performing. Ohlendorf is possibly the smartest player in baseball and a decent bet to build upon his successful 2009. Quite simply, the Pirates sold high and bought low. I’m far from a Pirates front office apologist, but your criticism of this solid trade is completely misguided.

  • Brian

    This article really upsets me. This trade shows how good of a GM Neal Huntington is. Compare this trade and other things that Neal has done to rebuild the franchise to what Dave Littlefield did to ruin the franchise. Praise this trade not criticize it. Do you just not like the Pirates? I don’t understand it. You are the only person I know to criticize the trade. When the Jason Bay trade happened, NH’s worst, people said it was great for the the bucs, but when the Nady/Marte trade happened, people hated the return the pirates got. This shows how unpredictable the return will be with prospects. The pirates had to make this deal. They got rid of an aging, injury prone bad, and a decent reliever for 4 players with good upside. I don’t see exactly what is wrong with that. This was Neal Huntington’s best trade, maybe besides the Delwyn Young steal. Explain to me your reasoning in bashing the pirates for things that had to be done after Dave Littlefield’s destruction of the franchise.


    What you wrote is correct but expect a barrage from the pro front office clowns who populate the PG blog. Dejan the PG writer and moderator does a great job but the majority of the readers and posters there are a joke. Give us your take on the Jason Bay for 4 piles of steaming cow dung swap with Boston and L.A. The PG bloggers still argue with me that that trade is too early to judge and has potential.
    You are correct that both players had major value when we dealt them but the “experts” on that blog think that the fact that they had injuries somehow justifies the return. I have posted on numerous occasions that once you make the trade anything that happens to who you traded is irrelevant and that the key question is did you maximize your return at the time of the trade. Some there are now pointing out Bays signing and saying how that somehow justifies why he was traded (the fact that only one team supposedly was bidding at the end) Looking forward to your Bay trade analysis. I personally think it is one of the 3 worst trades of the decade (in all of MLB not just the Bucs) and I am a lifelong Pittsburgh sports fan who loves all things Pittsburgh.

  • “He didn’t say, “Year in and year out, Xavier Nady will hit 20 home runs and 80 RBIs.” When Nady is playing his best baseball (like he was in Pittsburgh) you can expect a solid 20 HR-80 RBI season.”

    So then Nady has only played his best baseball one year in his entire career? What a hot dog!

  • Andrew

    This is kind of sad. #22 is right about how to judge a trade, but this was STILL a good trade for the Pirates. Nady didn’t have that much value because everyone knew he was an average outfielder having a career year. You CAN take Nady’s injuries into account… because he has been injury-prone over the entire course of his career. If his 2009 injury was a fluke it would be a different story, but he has only played more than 130 games once in his career–during 2008, when the Pirates correctly sold high on him. Furthermore, Ohlendorf is clearly a good pitcher. He was likely a good pitcher a year ago too, when the Pirates properly evaluated his talent and potential. Are you saying that the Pirates should never get credit for properly evaluating young talent (and yes, like in the Bay trade, they should be held accountable for poor talent evaluation–but since this is something you clearly believe you must believe in giving the FO credit when it gets bargains such as Ohlendorf)?

    I too am not a Pirate FO apologist… and you (#22) are misrepresenting Pirate fans by saying that most are in favor of the Bay trade; I read the PG blog and that is not really the case. But the Nady trade was a good one for the Pirates by any stretch of the imagination.

  • MarkInDallas

    Well, I guess we’ll have to revisit the return of the in a couple of years, when we’ll actually have the knowledge of what these players can do for the Pirates.

    It’s really crazy to label the trade either great (as I suspect it will be) or terrible until Tabata and Ohlie have at least a couple of years in MLB.

    As for Ohlie’s potential, he’s had exactly 9 starts since Kerrigan finished adjusting his delivery. He had 6 QS and a 2.75 ERA in those starts. That’s a pretty small sample to say how good he might be one way or the other.

    Tabata likely will be up in 2010, but signs are he’ll do pretty decently. Most recently, he hit near .400 in the AFL. Maybe he won’t hit 20 HRs out of the box, but I think he’ll likely have a better season than Nady did in his rookie season at 24 yrs old.

    Guess you’ll just have to do a followup piece in 2011…

  • Maxwell.c


    First off, most of the people that post on the PG blog are actually quite critical of the current FO compared to other Pirate related sites (BucsDugout, WHYGAVS, BUCCOFANS).

    As for this comment:

    “I have posted on numerous occasions that once you make the trade anything that happens to who you traded is irrelevant and that the key question is did you maximize your return at the time of the trade.”

    If you live by that maxim, you really shouldn’t have been using the Bay trade as an example, because at the time of the trade, that looked great for the Bucs. For 1.3 seasons of a 3 win player, the Pirates got a former top 25 prospect in all of baseball who showed great power at all levels (LaRoche), a former 1st-round pick with dominating closer-type stuff and a track record in AAA (Hansen), another former first round pick who was actually the key to the deal (from the Pirates perspective) and was pitching pretty well as a 21-year old in A ball coming off of major arm surgery (Morris), and a guy who had OPSs of 834/874 in AAA and also excelled in limited time in the hardest division in baseball (Moss).

    That is the definition of a maximum return, and since whatever happens after the trade is “irrelevant”, how can you call that a bad trade? Just using your logic. Which, even if used in the Nady trade, still shouldn’t count the Pirates as losers (see above arguments).

  • Philip

    So help me, if one Pirates fan comes on here to defend the mediocre players we’ve been trading in all of these trades…

  • tim

    Its interesting that you believe its wrong to rate this trade on hindsight based on Nady and Marte’s poor seasons with the yankees and yet you discredit the value of Tabata in this trade becuase he was an upper level prospect at the time of the trade but has since dropped off. If you’re going to discredit using hindsight to evaluate a trade then don’t use it to make your point. I wish that the pirates had target younger pitchers with more upside in the trade rather than what you correctly evaluate as probable borderline major leaguers. However, the Pirates were doing there best to bid the Yankees and Mets against each other and this was there best result.

  • There may be an interesting point or two in the above post, b ut frankly, I was lost and ha da hard time taking it seriously after this line.

    “Pittsburgh’s July 26, 2008 trade of Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Yankees for Daniel McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf was absolutely, positively terrible. A horrible swap for the Pirates, sans debate.”

    This is just illogical. It can be your opinion it was a bad trade. It can be the the general consensus that it was a horrible trade (I don’t believe this to be the case, but it could theoretically be true). But to say that the trade is “absolutely, positively terrible” basically ignores everything that has happened since the trade, which is well stupid and ill informed, which is what got Jeff on the wrong side of Pirate fans like myself in the first place.

  • Ron J

    It must be nice to give away good players and get nothing back HA HA HA HA HA .

  • Dave

    Jeff – I realize some people are lonely and depressed during the holiday season and resort to drinking and/or narcotics. You can get help. I suggest you do it quickly – before you write again.

  • rich

    Pirates suck and will continue to suck until the Nutjobs sell the team. Until then we fans of this once proud franchise have history and that’s it.

  • Colonia Joe

    If John Rocker doesn’t say politically incorrect things to Pearlman in that SI article many years ago, does Pearlman’s career take off the way it did? Would he even get this blog? So why should anyone really care about his analysis of the Nady trade?

  • Mr. Pearlman, if your assessment of Ross Ohlendorf as a fifth starter or long reliever is accurate, where does that leave A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte? Ohlendorf’s 2009 ERA and WHIP were better than both of those Yankees World Series starting pitchers.

  • PhillyJake

    This is kind of pathetic, Mr. Pearlman. After your botched mea culpa on the last hatchet job on the Pirates, it seems you wrote this article as a way to justify or back up your last lame attempt to write about the team. For those other than Mr. Pearlman reading this, forgive me as I explain the obvious: Everyone (rightfully so) beat on Mr. Pearlman because the new management team is not like the old, as he wrote in his first piece. So, he needs to write another piece trashing the current front office, to show that in fact they’re just like the past two administrations, to justify his first piece.

    Look, we get it. They’re bad, and, until they’re not, really, you can write anything you want, and most of the sports fans who read you really won’t care why they’re not good.

    This still doesn’t excuse your lack of professionalism towards your job of writing about baseball as it pertains to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    I haven’t read all of the previous comments, but those I’ve read, especially by Vlad, point out how off target you are.

    I’d like to say I expected better out of you, but that would be a lie.

  • Jeff,

    While I disagree that the trade was bad for the Pirates, I’m more interestedin the timing of your column.

    Why now? How is that relevant today? Did you balk at the deal as silly-bad for the Pirates when it happened?

    I think you are reaching.

    Good day.

  • Hey Jeff,

    Dejan always provides links to articles he references, such as yours. Why don’t you do the professional courtesy by doing the same?

  • It is to be said to be warned about anyone that deals in absolutes.

    “Absolutely, positively terrible.”

    I’m staying away. This is C-level journalism, and even that is a misnomer here.

  • VanSlick

    Since this was so horrible (which I would disagree as I think you severely overvalue one-year wonder Nady and pending free agent LOOGY Marte), please provide a comparable trade in the time frame that was made of appropriate value in that time frame.

    Fact of the matter is that this is what the market would bear, and this was the best value available. Unfortunately, the market for prospects has tighten greatly in the last 2-3 years as organizations better understand the value of pre-free agency commodities. I think a hot prospect like Tabata, a power arm in Ohlendorf, and servicable ML arms seems like a balance in the Pirates favor.

    Lastly, the whole column is a desperate cry for visitors (as you practically state in the opening), so you pick a popular trade and rip it apart, using zero statistical analysis to support your positions, but subjective conjecture. In the end, this column feels like a media strategy for visitors rather than an objective analysis.

  • Matt

    Dig the passion hunh? Is this some kind of lure to get more frustrated Pirate fans to read your crap.I have been a Pirates fan for 30 years and have seen more positive change in the past few seasons than the previous 20 combined. If all you need are readers and people to click on your website then write a fluff piece on the Yankees and the band-wagon riders will click away. Leave the Pirates alone. Our fans are quite aware of the past 17 years and don’t need reminders from another arrogant asshole writer.

  • John


    You are wrong, wrong, wrong.
    If in April of this year, the Yankees were to say,”let’s call the whole thing off”, the Pirates hang up on them.

    Tabata is 21 (was the 17 ranked prospect in the minors before the 08 season)and will be in the majors this year. Ohlie will start 33 times and win 12 of them for a bad team. McCutchen will probably start in the majors as well and Karstens could be a average pitcher.

    Marte is a LOOGY who has not adapted to the AL. Nady gets hurt. Nady would not start in Pittsburgh in 10. If you can name a I’d love for you to name them.

    This trade was a clear win for the Bucs at both the minor and major league level.

    I’ve enjoyed your books, but perhaps you should stick to writing non-fiction as fantasy is not your genre.

  • steve

    do you have any idea what you are talking about? How many games did you see Nady play for the yanks last year? None. He is an injury prone player and the Pirates did the right thing trading him in the middle of what will be his career season. Ross Ohlendorf is the best pitcher we have and when Tabata in the OF next year this trade will be a steal. If you want to say the Bay trade was horrible go ahead there are facts to back it up. But this just blows my mind. WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE???

  • PhillyJake

    Mr. Pearlman,

    How much more pathetic you look in still trying to justify yourself by pointing out you didn’t like the trade back then.

    I wonder why it is you feel this need to go on about this. You should have left it at your attempted retraction. You look less professional with each reply.

    You really are not up on the Pirates, and who can blame you. They suck, and aren’t worth the time. But please stop trying to look like you know what you’re talking about when the reality is, you don’t. There are a few of us who, for some pathetic misguided reason do know what’s up. We don’t all agree with each other on most things Pirates. But we all agree on one thing: You.

    So, why do I keep posting here? The team is bad enough, and has earned the reputation of being a lousy organization. They’ve done it all by themselves. And it will be this way until they win, or at least exceed expectations.

    They don’t need an uninformed well read journalist piling it on with 1/2 truths and unsubstantiated innuendo.

  • Rich

    43 comments (41 by those other than the “writer”) on this dated and misguided column and 65 on his mea culpa column about the Bucs – by FAR the most of any post in the past month. Exactly who does read this site and why should we care that you are uninformed?

    Dejan has given you more publicity than your SI profile ever could.

  • Justin

    If you provided actual analysis, instead of mindless conjecture you might actually get somewhere.

  • The only link there was to Joan Rivers’ picture. Not Dejan Kovacevic’s blog.

  • Leadoff

    Mr. Pearlman, teams trade for need, the Bucs had/have needs, with little attendance and no guarantee of large attendance with the players that they eventually traded, finances became and are a large part of what they had to factor in for any trade.
    My problem with you is that you seem to have your head buried in the sand when it comes to the Pirates, they are no different than any team these days, all of them have financial concerns.
    Why did you not write a column on the Phillies giving away Lee for two minor league players?

  • Davin

    Karstens and McCutchen are AAA pitchers and fill-ins for a bad team.

    But big Ross the hoss got better and better as the year went on. He didn’t tire, he went 6 or 7+ innings every time out. He’d be in the rotation for almost any team out there. And Tabata could be an athletic, faster, better defensive version of Nady. Is he a sure thing, no. It’s a good deal, especially since both Nady and Marte would have left the Pirates by now.

  • Rob

    I have followed the Pirates my entire life and read everything I can find about them. However, I have never commented on any website, Pirates related or not. I have tried to stray from making opinions on trades, whether the front office is competant or not, etc. I am reading more because I am interested in the Pirates and want to get as much information as I can about them.

    That being said, I find the recent Bucco articles by Jeff Pearlman to be so extremely misguided that I had to comment. The article just makes no sense. Jeff obviously knows nothing about the Pirates (for reasons stated by many already) and probably doesn’t know much about baseball in general, as shown by the stupidity of these articles. In addition, he doesn’t seem to be very professional about his journalism as well, as he has obviously not done his research.

    He comes out sounding like that guy at the bar you met that has watched one game the entire season and rambles a bunch of nonsense at you thinking he knows whats going on.

    The timing of the article is ridiculous as well. His apology for his first terrible article was obviously not legit. At first I thought this article might be a way to get back at Pirate fans, but then I thought more and figured that no writer could possibly be this stupid. The real reason must be is because of the hits he generated by the first article, he felt he could get a bunch more by writing another nonsense piece that would be linked by the PG beat writer Dejan. There can be no other explanation.

    Well, it worked this time Jeff. However, I do not plan on reading anything else you write again as it seems to always be garbage. I had heard of you before these articles. You were the guy I would see on every once in a while but would never click on because your articles seemed to be a bunch of fluff (once again, some random guy at the bar that doesn’t know shit about what he is talking about).

    Lastly, I hope you are laughing at these comments and just happy that you are getting paid to do this, because if you take pride in your job these last two articles have got to be a low point in your career.

  • rob

    Why do you refuse to use hindsight to discredit Nady and Marte, but use it to discredit Tabata? That’s just bad logic.

  • rob

    Also, I’d like to know, based on the research that I’m sure the author performed before making such a statement, what other prospects were being offered for the two? If the choice was keep them for 1 more year and lose 90 games, or trade them and lose 99, but get the rights to a bunch of OK prospects, plus one being compared to Manny for the next 6 years, that’s a no-brainer, you make the trade. The only debate is whether there was a better offer to be had. Jeff, I’m anxious to hear the details.

    If you want to talk bad trades, how about Jason Bay? That’s a much more obvious example. Geeze, I think the Pirate’s management is terrible, but the Nady/Marte trade is the one good move they’ve made!

  • JoeBucco

    Thanks to Dejan for pointing out one worthless blog that I’ll never have to check out again.

    Seriously… “To look merely through the lenses of hindsight, however, is an ignorant way to view a deal.”

    Really? Is there any other way to look at a deal? Actually, to have written such nonsense is as ignorant as anything anyone could ever write. Now if you had some kind of inside information that says the Pirates turned down some great players and took these guys instead, that would be fair – but you don’t.

    Your estimation of Ross Ohlendorf alone shows you know absolutely nothing about baseball or talent evaluation. If this deal were Nady and Marte for Dorf alone, we win the trade. This time last year, the Yanks would accept a Nady/Marte for Dorf deal to reverse things, and the Buccos would have laughed at them, so yes, the Pirates won this deal for a change.

    If you want to talk about missing on the Bay trade, that would be a great and valid article. But you whiffed on this one yet again. Absolutely clueless. If you want to talk about when our previous regime turned down a Kris Benson for Ryan Howard trade because we had Brad Eldred in the minors as a 1B prospect, that would be fair and valid.

    But this one, you missed again. I’m starting to think you’re trying to generate traffic by being controversial. But when the content is so flawed and flat out ignorant, it is missing the boat, sorry. You whiffed yet again.

  • Jeff, Dejan is the Pirates’ beat writer. He does a fantastic job over at the Post-Gazette blog.

    I didn’t see you reference his work anywhere, so I’m not sure why you should be linking to him, but that’s who he is.

  • Andy Thompson

    Several thoughtful posts here, despite what Jeff has written. Jeff’s entitled to his opinion, even if he lacks facts to back it up. I would say the way to evaluate the Nady/Marte trade is to examine not what the potential results were, but what the actual ones are. That tells you who made the better trade, since you trade on future potential as much as past performance. Ohlendorf has been a fantastic pickup, and will be a #1 or #2 starter and innings eater for us, barring any injury. Tabata is coming off a great performance in the Arizona Fall League where he hit .393, I believe. McCutchen will likely be serviceable in relief this year, and Karstens, while maddeningly inconsistent, did give us some good relief work last year. That’s a lot in return, especially given Nady and Marte’s performance last year, and what Nady was expected to command if he maintained his 2008 stats.

  • RyanK

    I think I’m just going to start quoting #34 every five minutes –

    “…if your assessment of Ross Ohlendorf as a fifth starter or long reliever is accurate, where does that leave A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte? Ohlendorf’s 2009 ERA and WHIP were better than both of those Yankees World Series starting pitchers.”

    And add to that the fact that Ohlendorf, who was in his first season as a full time starter, got even better as the season went on.

    If you are going to pick and choose just one single Pirates trade to bash, (which considering the number of recent trades is completely illogical and poor writing by the way) at least choose the Bay trade. Geez.

  • Mr. Pearlman,

    Way to miss the fact that Tabata was just MVP of the fall league. He had a broken hamate bone in his hand, which will sap power for a period of a year.

    Look at Mr. Ohlendorf’s splits and note that he got back his velocity at the end of the season. He got stronger although his win loss record did not show that since he was pitching for one of the worst offensive teams in history. He will be an Ace for the bucs, but is a 2 or a 3 for most teams. He was the key prospect obtained by the Yankees for Randy Johnson in a deal in which they paid the big unit to leave NYC so they obtained decent return.

    Jeff Karstens almost threw a perfect game in his second start as a bucco. He is a middle reliever. Middle relievers get paid 3 or 4 million a year. So to get one under your control for less than that figure is wise. He was outrighted to make room on the 40 man roster to protect prospects from the rule 5 draft.

    Dan McCutchen will be a stud this year, or maybe he is terrible. Either way you fail to mention that he won more games than any other pitcher in our organization last year, and more importantly you mention nothing about how the team lacked so much rotational depth that we had to pitch Yoslan Herrara the year before. So even if McCutchen is just a 5

    I love that this piece is so retarded that the only way you could get it on the web is to publish your own website since SI probably wouldn’t let you run it. I wouldn’t be suprised if I never read another one of your articles unless the beat reporter for the Pirates points to it so that us Pirates fans can have a good laugh at how F*cking dumb you are.

    And for you to go back and base an argument off of what the Pirates did give up vs. what they got back IGNORING ALREADY RELEVANT OCCURANCES, then you are a moron sir. You could have, quite easily I might add written about how the Pirates got fleeced on Matt Capps, or even made the argument albeit early as the jury is still out on Bryan Morris, that the Pirates got screwed on the Bay deal.

    But you didn’t, because you are stupid, and don’t bother to do research. I wonder if it’s a coincidence that the first major trade made by Huntington is the one you settled on because your research is done by some sort of google of the news with results being sorted chronologically by default.

    Yep you are a F*cking idiot

    Sincerely Pirates fans.

  • PirateFaithful

    This writer is an absolute fuckin moron. SI should take away his ability to write. He obviously is just looking for a team to bash and he knows that he couldnt do any better than any GM in MLB. Maybe you should realize that Huntington is committed to restoring the franchise. Plus, I’ve heard experts (not numbnuts like you) call this trade one the Yankees will kick themselves for after they see how good Ohlendorf and Tabata are good. Tim Kurkjian called Ohlendorf one of the best young pitchers in the game. I’ll take his word over yours.


    Maxwell C, Your analysis of the Bay trade is beyond laughable. Here is your comment below.
    “For 1.3 seasons of a 3 win player, the Pirates got a former top 25 prospect in all of baseball who showed great power at all levels (LaRoche), a former 1st-round pick with dominating closer-type stuff and a track record in AAA (Hansen), another former first round pick who was actually the key to the deal (from the Pirates perspective) and was pitching pretty well as a 21-year old in A ball coming off of major arm surgery (Morris), and a guy who had OPSs of 834/874 in AAA and also excelled in limited time in the hardest division in baseball (Moss).”
    Look at how silly you sound, “A former top 25 prospect” Yeah and who at the time of the trade
    the Dodgers had demoted and brought up Blake Dewitt to play ahead of him and anyone with an ounce of sense realize how many guys from the PCL post great minor league numbers in Vegas and ALB. etc thin air and then flop in the najors.
    And this beauty “An A pitcher who pitched really well but had major arm surgery” Wow bet the farm on that one. Single A pitcher with major arm surgery.
    And Hansen had gone from first round draft pick to being a guy who could not find home plate with a GPS system and was nothing more than a crap shoot. If you could have found a time machine and went back to 2006 for the guys we acquired it made sense unfortunately it was 2008. And for the record I posted exactly what you see here the day of the trade 17 months ago so this isn’t with the luxury of seeing how it turned out.

  • SJ

    Nady was injury prone with 1 good season behind him, and Marte was going to be a type-A free agent reliever who no one in their right mind would sign away from us (assuming we would be crazy enough to offer arbitration) for a first and second round draft pick. I would hardly call them medallions. Tabata on the other hand is 21 years old and playing in leagues well above his age. I take that trade 100 times out of 100. I would love to GM against you.

  • SteveO

    From one nonsensical Pirate-bashing article last week to this one. I’m getting the impression Mr. Pearlman is doing this purposely to get under the skin of Pirates fans. Is he serious when he writes these articles? What a complete and utter joke. Of all the Pirates deals made under Huntington, this has clearly been the one trade that has tilted overwhelmingly in the Pirates favor.

    Last week’s article looks like Shakespeare compared to this one. What kind of mea culpa shall we expect this time around?

  • Tommy

    Don’t forget that Brian Cashman has buyers remorse after that trade:

    Also – your article argues at least one of the points made – you are looking at what the 3 pitchers and tabata will or won’t be down the road but isn’t that going to be HIND SIGHT?

    You also consider what the buyer in the trade needed, but not what the seller needed: better depth down on the farm, which can provide a more competitive environment that can produce better players. Didn’t the Pirates achieve that and more?

    Lastly (or P.S.) – your commentary about a twice discarded Lastings Milledge does not even have a place in the article. Maybe you can write an editorial about how he was under developed and was thrown into the league by those discarding teams too fast.

    Your column is a waste; congratulations for wasting everyone’s time, or the 150-155 of us.

    • Tommy, you accuse me of wasting your time, but you still write me a 300-word response?

  • Even as a Pirates fan and critic of these pieces, I find that many of you are being far too harsh on Mr. Pearlman.

    So he doesn’t know anything about the Pirates. Why should he? They’re a crappy team and he’s a national sportswriter. I disagree with his opinions, but he’s entitled to them and I don’t think he’s a bad person.

  • What I mean by the above is, the personal attacks are a bit across the line. I agree with the criticism of this piece, and he definitely committed a logical fallacy in switching between deriding hindsight analysis and using it for his own purposes, but is calling him a moron, idiot, etc. really productive?

  • Leo Walter

    Tommy,if he( Pearlman) is a ” national sportswriter “, to use your term for him,and he doesn’t know ” know anything about the Pirates”,he is certainly entitled to his opinion(s).But,the caveat is,don’t put them out there and make yourself look stupid when you don’t have a clue.VLAD,for one,has him dead to rights.

  • PJ

    i totally agree with most of the posters in regards to the nady/marte trade. this clearly was a good deal for the pirates considering both would have been free agents. sorry jeff, but this article is actually worse than the first one. i personally think the pirates ownership is the worst in all of professional sports and being a pirate fan is a very unfortunate thing. all that being said, this was definitely a decent trade for the pirates. a more appropriate column could deal with the pirates fumbling the miguel angel sano situation, not signing tanner scheppers, and the horrible jason bay trade. i believe neil huntington is trying to build a decent team through the draft, but he and the rest of the front office have also made terrible decisions that are greatly attributed to player evaluation and just plain old cheap ownership. sorry fellow bucs fans, pedro can not be the only savior. it will take more than just him and right now i just dont see too much help coming. the farm system has been upgtraded but there are only a couple players that would be considered blue chippers. we have a long way to go.

  • Vlad

    “So he doesn’t know anything about the Pirates. Why should he? They’re a crappy team and he’s a national sportswriter. I disagree with his opinions, but he’s entitled to them and I don’t think he’s a bad person.”

    If he wasn’t willing to do the research and get the facts straight, he should have written about something else. To do otherwise is to demonstrate contempt for your readers.

    I don’t really like the name-calling, but it’s also worth noting that Jeff was the first to resort to it – describing Pirates fans collectively in the piece above as odd and masochistic. As such, it shouldn’t be particularly surprising that some Pirates fans decided to respond in kind.

  • chris roth

    I know this may take you on a trip where you’ve never been before, which would be statistics and common sense land. Maybe you should stick to the easy storylines, such as the Yankees, Red Sox or any other major sports team that any one can have a general uneducated opinion of.
    I will try to keep this brief…but I hate playing in to your game of horrible articles…

    Do you know how much 11 wins, a 3.92, 1.23 whip with 175 innings could cost a major league team on the free agent market these days? That’s worth Nady and Marte alone.

    What were you expecting the pirates to get in return?
    Do you know of packages that they were offered and did not accept?
    That is really the only way an article such as your latest could even be written, right?

    To put this in perspective… something you did not do again…

    -The Pirates had a 28 year old player who took 6 years to get to 20 hr and 70 rbi… once… let me repeat that….. once …. (also below average defender with past injuries)
    -The team acquiring Nady knew they would only have him for one more year (and a boras client)
    -What do you consider an adequate return, considering the team acquiring Nady would probably only have his rights for one year ???

    Matt Holiday was traded for Carlos Gonazelz and Huston Street that year… do you know of a return that a lefty specialist and below average outfielder could even rival that. Holiday had 4 years of 30 hr and 110 rbi before his trade. The Pirates were dealing from a position of no respect from the rest of the league and no current minor league system. How long will it take for even the general fan to realize that they were in the position of quantity rather than quality? Do you really think that was the right time to trade those two players and risk it all on one player in return.???

    Unless that player was the caliber of a Hanley Ramirez, then no… by the way, if you think the pirates should/could have acquired a prospect like Hanley, that only took 4 years of 25 hr and 94 rbi from Lowell and 4 years of 3.5 era, and 30 wins from Josh Beckett

    Lefty Specialist: Marte, aka craved medallion
    Below average outfielder: Nady, aka craved medallion

    No one is asking for you to look up every statistic before every article, but if you are going to write something with such ignorance involving the main point of the article, it may help to research a little further. I never heard of your site or you until I read it on Pittsburgh’s newspaper website. After seeing that your articles are no better than any local blog, I will not be visiting your site again. Its funny that you bring up local blogs interfering with “professional:” sites such as yours. I would rather read info that was interesting from a local blog than from someone that is trying to get hits on a website.

    I know you don’t like to look at statistics before making your statements, but that is the basis of most professional/major league decisions….

    You are exactly the same as any run of the mill blogger on the internet…

    Good Day,
    Chris Roth

  • googie

    Why does Pittsburgh still have a team ? They have sucked for 124 years and will for 124 more. No titles, winning seasons or decent players in their entire history. Simply put, they are RUINING Baseball. If MLB was smart they would move or contract this franchise

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life