I Guess It's Pick On ESPN Day...

But, at least on this score, they started it. There's nothing more embarrassing than smarmy writers who don't know what they're talking about. Where to start with this one?

Please, someone, tell me what I'm missing here...

The two most covered Pirates players, outfielder/first baseman Nady and left-handed reliever Marte, are irresistible additions for myriad contending teams.

You're missing Jason Bay, who's on the trade market and is plainly more coveted than either of these players.

Both [Nady and Marte] would be thrilled to leave Pittsburgh to join a pennant race.

Er... did I miss the article where Nady and Marte talked about how thrilled they'd be to leave Pittsburgh, or do writers just get to assume this?

After six years of Littlefield's incompetence (he will never live down rejecting the Phillies' offer of Ryan Howard for Kip Wells in 2005), Pittsburgh desperately needs to replenish its farm system.

According to everything I've ever heard, Howard was never offered for Wells. He was offered for Kris Benson in 2004. Get it right.

Having lived through the flameouts of the Neil Walkers and J.R. Houses and Chad Hermansens, the Pirates crave young, high-ceiling studs.

Walker's having a poor season, but he's 22 and in Class AAA. Do you really want to call him a flameout?

The Evil Empire reaches the postseason … again. The Laughingstocks at Three Rivers lose 90-plus games … again.

Is there a fact checker in the house? If so, has he or she been hiding behind a rock since Y2K?

When you're the Pittsburgh Pirates, and your farm system is as barren as Phil Gramm's public speaking calendar, you don't simply require good, solid prospects who could -- just maybe -- turn into something. You need Grade-A beef: an Ian Kennedy (Yankees), a Michael Almanzar (Red Sox), an Ivan DeJesus Jr. (Dodgers). You need at least one guy to make up for past misdeeds; one guy who shoots you up the Baseball America rankings.

Anybody who thinks that Ivan DeJesus Jr. is a better prospect than Jose Tabata--or that DeJesus constitutes "Grade A beef" in any way--really should think twice about the smarter-than-thou attitude.

And Tabata, compared by Pirates first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz to a young Manny Ramirez, offers as much risk as reward.

Right, better call up the Red Sox and ask for Michael Almanzar, who's 17 and has played all of seven games above rookie ball. What could possibly go wrong there?

(Almanzar's a good prospect, but an absurd argument is an absurd argument.)

Yes, [Tabata is] 19 years old with oodles of talent. But he's been terrible at Double-A (.248, three home runs in 79 games), turning off Yankees brass with his attitude as much as his inability. Put simply, Tabata is as likely to be the next Mark Quinn as he is the next Manny.

So... for a year and a half of Xavier Nady and half a year of Damaso Marte, the Pirates got a player who has a good a chance of being the next Manny Ramirez as he does of being the next Mark Quinn? It sounds like this guy likes Tabata even more than I do.

Over the past decade, we have seen our share of dreadful trades -- the Mets shipping Scott Kazmir to Tampa Bay for Victor Zambrano and Bartolomé Fortunato; the Giants sending Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser to the Twins for A.J. Pierzynski; the Cardinals trading Danny Haren, Kiko Calero, and Daric Barton to Oakland for Mark Mulder.

How do I just know that at the time, this guy thought the Mulder trade was a steal for the Cardinals?

And, more importantly, if Tabata does turn into the next Manny Ramirez (which I doubt, but which this guy says is possible), won't this deal be just as lopsided as the other three?

The Pirates needed to turn Nady and Marte into an evening at Per Se, with the cappuccino of forest mushrooms, oysters and pearls, chaud-froid and boeuf grillee.

Instead, they got a lunch at a fast-food joint -- lots of calories, no cows.

I have no idea what chaud-froid is, but I'm pretty sure that's an unintentionally hilarious metaphor anyway. Dangit, Neal, why didn't you get any cows?

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