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Bucs Interested In Byrnes

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It's official - a desperate, beer-goggled Dave Littlefield is lewdly licking his lips and pointing at Eric Byrnes from across the bar.

Littlefield's euphemism this week is "outfield depth," as in the outfield depth he's trying to acquire by grabbing a player to share time with Craig Wilson, Jody Gerut and Nate McLouth who is markedly worse than the first and probably worse than the other two as well.

A glance at the Pirates' current outfield convinces me that acquiring more depth is probably a good idea. The cupboard is just about bare at Class AAA and the only credible option at AA is Adam Boeve.

However, the way to acquire that depth isn't to pay a million dollars or more to acquire more of what you already have. The Pirates have Jason Bay in left, Chris Duffy and Nate McLouth in center and Craig Wilson, Jody Gerut and McLouth in right. If they're looking to upgrade their outfield, what they should do is acquire a serious upgrade in center or right - and Byrnes isn't an upgrade at all - or acquire cheap depth to play in Indianapolis and fill bench spots while Gerut, Duffy or Sean Casey are injured and/or playing badly. There is no reason to spend real money on this sort of depth.

Of course, the real problem here is that the Bucs don't want Byrnes to be a fifth outfielder, and Byrnes probably doesn't have to accept a job as a fifth outfielder right now anyway. If the Pirates honestly did want Byrnes as a fifth outfielder, I wouldn't think that would be a great use of resources, but I wouldn't be too hung up about it, either. What the Pirates really want is for Byrnes to get 400 at bats next year for them, and they want to acquire Byrnes so that they have enough depth to ship Craig Wilson out of town, probably in exchange for just enough cash to throw themselves a killer party to celebrate his departure. That's the problem. Byrnes isn't nearly as good a player as Wilson is. It is embarrassing that the Pirates don't realize that Byrnes and Juan Encarnacion and Larry frigging Bigbie and Kevin Mench and Emil Brown and Craig Monroe and Jeromy Burnitz and Jacque Jones and Raul Mondesi and Randall Simon are not better than Wilson.