UPDATE: There are four items here. Two had threads I already knew about before I wrote this, and by the time I wrote it and published it, people had posted fanposts or fanshots about the other two, as well. I guess that shows how little there is to discuss right now. Thanks to everyone who has been on top of these things.
Tanner Scheppers, the Pirates' 2nd-round pick in 2008, finally signed with the Rangers for a $1.25 million bonus. Scheppers always seems to be struggling with injuries and amateur pitchers are never the most reliable commodities, so this would seem to be a risky investment for Texas.
Jeff Locke and the Lynchburg Hillcats can win the Carolina League championship with a victory tonight.
There has already been a fair amount of commentary here and elsewhere about this Murray Chass article. For me it's not really worth commenting on, except to marvel at sportswriters' inability to understand the strategic reasons behind the idea of rebuilding. It's not just Chass; a lot of mainstream writers, perhaps a majority, don't get it, or pretend not to get it, and use it as an excuse for all kinds of misplaced moralizing. For example:
The Pirates this year traded Nate McLouth, Morgan, Adam LaRoche, Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson, Eric Hinske, Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny, John Grabow and Sean Burnett. You could almost put a team on the field with that lineup.
Well, yeah--a terrible one, which is exactly why you trade them. Chass apparently hasn't watched the Pirates for the last three or four years, at a minimum.
But what was Morgan (at left)? He was a rookie who showed he was ready to play in the majors. He was hitting .271 when he was traded, and he has hit .351 for Washington for a .307 season average.
They didn’t need to trade Morgan to make room in the outfield for McCutchen because McCutchen was already there and hitting .295 in his first month. They didn’t need to trade Morgan to get Lastings Milledge, another young outfielder, because they didn’t need Milledge, who in trials with the Mets and the Nationals had failed to demonstrate major league maturity...
The belief among officials of other clubs is that the Pirates traded Morgan because of his age. At 29, he is five years older than Milledge (below). The Pirates, though, shouldn’t be concerned about having a 35-year-old Morgan playing center field for them. They would have traded him well before they reached that juncture.
So... the Pirates shouldn't have traded Morgan because they didn't have to worry about Morgan getting old, because they would have traded him before that point? Does that strike anyone else as a bizarre criticism?
This, though, is my favorite:
Right, because Morgan = McCutchen. A baseball writer who is unable to see the enormous differences between the two is like a jeweler who is unable to understand the difference between diamonds and cubic zirconia. Not all shiny things are created equal, and not all fast outfielders are either.