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Marte is OK; McLouth Will NOT Make Team

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Damaso Marte's injury is minor. Phew.

The other main piece in the Post-Gazette today is a write-up about how Nate McLouth could make the team. There is no reason to think that he will, however, and it's just silly speculation on the Post-Gazette's part to put "He could make the team" in its headline. Yes, Jim Tracy says it's possible, but Tracy's at a point where he'd probably say that about 50 different guys in camp if asked. I'll save Paul Meyer the time: Terry Adams isn't making the team. Marty McLeary isn't either. Neither is Steve Lerud.

The only way McLouth makes the team is if a position player gets injured. Meyer writes:

That means the Pirates could face this question with McLouth and Gerut: Would it be better to put Gerut on the 25-man opening day roster and send McLouth, a top prospect, to Class AAA Indianapolis so he can play every day?

Well, yes, clearly. The alternative - putting McLouth in Gerut's spot - would be a move that would make no sense on so many levels that I can't believe even the Pirates would do it. They'd have to eat Jody Gerut's $875,000 contract - I assume he's out of options - just so that McLouth could be the last man on the bench and never play in the majors instead of playing every day at Indianapolis. And then if an outfielder got hurt, the next options would probably be Mike Edwards, Ray Sadler or Adam Boeve, none of whom are on the 40-man roster. Meyer is trying to create some sort of competition between Gerut and McLouth, and unless there's some element of this I'm not seeing, there just isn't one. That roster spot is Gerut's, and it should be. McLouth should be playing every day until the Pirates can find more at-bats for him in Pittsburgh. Dave Littlefield's recent declaration that McLouth would be called up if there were a serious injury to Chris Duffy is, I think, the right idea.

Tracy:

"And you know something? With his ability to process information -- some things that maybe he hasn't heard previously -- and implement them as quickly as he has, it tells you something about the player."

Has anyone here ever met McLouth? Of course this is the time of year when managers have nothing but praise for their players, but McLouth honestly does seem like a bright guy. The Post-Gazette did another interview with McLouth last August. At the time, Littlefield offered that he didn't see anything about McLouth that suggested he could turn into a power hitter. I was startled by what McLouth had to say about that - he named three guys, Brian Giles, Jim Edmonds, and Magglio Ordonez, who all had remarkably similar minor-league statistical profiles to his own and were also athletic outfielders with good on-base skills. All three turned out to be big power hitters in the majors. I'm certainly not saying that McLouth is the next Brian Giles, but at least he knows what he should be shooting for. You've got to love a guy who can out-argue his GM. (Alternately, though, you've got to hate a GM who's less compelling in discussions of the future of one of his players than the player himself.)