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FRANCISCO LIRIANO never had higher than a 3.38 ERA in the 2013-2015 seasons for the Pirates. He then was traded in 2016 to the Toronto Blue Jays. (AP PHOTO)

NEWSBREAK—Aug.1, 2016—“Shortly before Monday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Pirates made a flurry of moves. In the minutes leading up to the 4 p.m. ET Deadline, the Pirates sent Opening Day starter Francisco Liriano and two well-regarded prospects to the Blue Jays for Triple-A right-hander Drew Hutchison. Shortly before that unexpected deal, Pittsburgh returned left-hander Jonathon Niese to the Mets for lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo and cash, and acquired right-hander Ivan Nova from the Yankees for two players to be named.” (By Adam Berry MLB.com)

Where is Drew Hutchison now?

Folks, this is the classic case of the Pirates sorta, kinda giving up established players for players who had not really lived up to their “potential” and that word is used very loosely here. Francisco Liriano might have been a few years older but he had a great influence on younger pitchers. Just ask former Pirates and now Houston Astros pitching ace, Gerritt Cole, what effect that Francisco Liriano and other veteran players that were part of the Pirates roster had on him.

“In Pittsburgh, pitching Coach Ray (Searage) and Jim Benedict were very influential (on me); also working with A.J. (Burnett), Francisco (Liriano) Charlie (Morton) and (catcher) Russell Martin,” Cole said in a past interview.

There are times that wins and losses might have to take second chair to the chemistry of a baseball, basketball or football team. The Pirates upset a “winning” chemistry in their clubhouse just to save a few dollars.

Sports is about winning but also about personalities. A team can have a dugout or clubhouse loaded with all-stars but sooner or later the purple monster of vanity and narcissism will creep in some way, form or fashion. There was a chemistry with the Pirates that was infectious but that is a moot point when dollars and “no sense” are at hand. In the summer of 2009, there was another “questionable” deal made by the Pirates management…

“Shortly before Monday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Pirates made a flurry of moves—some buying, some selling —to create payroll flexibility, strengthen their bullpen and further overhaul their struggling rotation.In the minutes leading up to the 4 p.m. ET Deadline, the Pirates sent Opening Day starter Francisco Liriano and two well-regarded prospects to the Blue Jays for Triple-A right-hander Drew Hutchison.The San Francisco Giants, taking another step to upgrade the National League’s 15th-ranked offense, acquired three-time All-Star Freddy Sanchez from Pittsburgh on Wednesday for pitching prospect Tim Alderson,” ESPN.com reported on August 1, 2009.

Folks, I’ll ask the question again. Where is Tim Alderson now?

Alderson was a former first-round pick by the Giants in the June 2007 MLB amateur draft. Alderson is floating somewhere in the “purgatory” world of the Pirates and MLB. Another questionable deal by the Buccos management team.

On Aug, 21, 2008, the Pirates traded infielder Jose Bautista to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later, who eventually was Robinzon Díaz. The Blue Jays needed a third baseman due to an injury to Scott Rolen. Bautista batted .214 in 21 games for Toronto after the trade. When the Pirates unloaded Jose Bautista to the Toronto Blue Jays maybe Pirates fans had relaxed a bit, but little did they know or even suspect that they would get rid of Freddy Sanchez, whom they traded a year later! Here was a multiple NL All-Star in Sanchez, and they ship him off for basically Robinzon Diaz?

JOSE BAUTISTA had a slow start as a Pirate, but then hit 31 home runs in his final two full seasons in Pittsburgh (2005-06). He was traded to Toronto, where he later became a six-time all-star. (AP PHOTO)

Charlie Wilmoth, in July 2008, wrote the following: “Finally, we have something…Jason Bay has been traded to Boston in a three-team deal. The most current reports I have suggest that the Pirates get 3B Andy LaRoche and SP Bryan Morris from the Dodgers, along with RP Craig Hansen and OF Brandon Moss from the Red Sox.”

Now, when the Bucs dealt Jason Bay they seemed a bit confused as to who would get what. I continue to suspect that the move was all about dough…not even remotely about upgrading the Pirates’ on-field personnel. There are a few fans that have the audacity to suggest that Josh Harrison be put on the trading block now that Jung Ho Kang has been released from the “imaginary prison,” otherwise known as South Korea. The dream infield for the Pirates is Josh Bell (accepted grudgingly), Josh Harrison (already drawing up his walking papers) (was it because he spoke out about the trade of Andrew McCutchen?) Then at shortstop it would be Jordy Mercer (seems to be safe but lordy, lordy, they better not get rid of Jordy). And of course, Kang at third base.

This is just a small sample of the attitudes that are now running rampant among some of those that profess faith and allegiance to the “Jolly Roger.” Take heed to this tidbit, boys and girls. You may not see it now but pay attention to your nostrils because sometimes smell no evil may be better than see no evil.

(Aubrey Bruce: abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com)


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