I'll be honest - I'm already getting pretty tired of this 'quality vs. quantity' argument on ESPN or CNNSI regarding the Pirates' trading strategy. If you make the statement that the Pirates got quantity over quality in their trades over the past 2 years, you would be correct. If you make the criticism that they got quantity over quality, well, frankly, that's foolish. With the exceptions of McLouth and possibly Bay, the Pirates really didn't have much leverage in these trades. They've recently traded the following: 29 yo OF with zero pop and little to no upside; 30-something, (very) impatient, singles-hitting, soon-to-be expensive 2B; 27 yo LHP pitching well in AAA but not expected to regain his form of 2 years ago. I could go on. This is hardly the Marlins trading Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell for Hanley Ramirez, or the Rangers cashing in on Mark Texiera. Not to beat a dead horse over and over again, but they haven't dealt a bonified star since the Bay trade. This fact, coupled with teams' ever-increasing overvaluing of prospects, makes it nearly impossible to snatch superstar-projected prospects.
As a fan, I'd be much more disappointed if I were rooting for the Reds or one of the teams that refused to meet Toronto's asking price for Halladay. The Reds gave away two very young, very hard-throwing guys for an aging 3B. And the plethora of teams that refused to part with prospects to acquire the best pitcher in baseball for 1.5 years is mind-boggling. Holding onto players that are supposed to eventually be great at the expense of acquiring players already dominant at the big league level, though the current trend, is not necessarily the greatest strategy.
I really enjoy reading guys such as Callis and Law, but not everything they write is gospel. I know I tend to discouraged with the team if I read a negative article one of the above guys has written. But in taking the above into consideration, I know now to take these articles with a grain of salt. The Pirates are far, far from digging themselves out of the Littlefield Trench, but I remain cautiously optimistic that these trades and the strategy they resemble will eventually lead them back into contention.