Muffle your laughter, please.
I've been a pretty vocal critic of McLouth for a few years, even when he was on what is now clear was a very flukey ride to an All-Star season and Gold Glove in 2008. There are a few reasons I've never cared that much for him as a player, with the biggest being his statuesque range in center field. He's also small, which made his power spurt in Pittsburgh very suspect. His meltdown with the Braves this year got him demoted to AAA, where he's batting all of .234.
So, with me saying all this, why even float the idea of reacquiring him from Atlanta?
- McLouth has pop in his bat. It's been utterly absent in Atlanta this year, but he does have five dingers in his month in AAA, which suggests that he might have some power left in the tank.
- He could probably be had for next to nothing. The Braves think poorly enough of him that he's in the minors while they're in a pennant race and giving playing time to...wait for it...Matt Diaz, Rick Ankiel, Melky Cabrera, and Eric Hinske. That's getting pretty low. They also have Jordan Schafer, who's cut from the same cloth as McLouth.
- He had his best days in Pittsburgh and was decent for them as recently as 15 months ago.
- He thrived playing for a bad team, which the Pirates unquestionably are. Maybe getting out of the bright lights could do him good. Even if he's only one of the better players on a bad team, he's something.
- He could play good defense in right field and be a great platoon partner for Milledge. There's also the possibility that he simply plays better, rebounds for a 2 WAR season or so, and could be traded again or hold a place until Lambo or Marte reaches the Majors.
- He would make Ryan Doumit irrelevant. His contract would be easier to pay if Doumit was traded.
Huntington loves to buy low. I know it's extremely unlikely, but if Atlanta would pay part of his contract (Nate is due 6.5M next year and has a 10M option for 2012) or take money back, would you swing a deal for him? I'm thinking something of similar value to Doumit would be enough. Or maybe an Adcock or Pribanic type low minors deal.
Remember that this is strictly a baseball move, not some kind of lovable homecoming. I have no interest in revering him as anything more than what he once was and could be: a fair complimentary player.