The Braves also have asked for starting pitching. It is not clear which of the Pirates' four young starters -- Zach Duke, Ian Snell, Paul Maholm or Tom Gorzelanny -- they sought, but it likely was Maholm. It probably does not matter, anyway, given that the Pirates have displayed a clear distaste for moving any of those starters in one-on-one deals, much less a two-for-one.
An imaginary dialogue:
LITTLEFIELD: With where we're at, we need a middle of the order hitter.
SCHUERHOLZ: Well, we have one who's 27 years old, is left handed, plays good defense at a position where you have needs, and had 32 homers and a .915 OPS last year. We're willing to be reasonable. Just give us Gonzalez....
LITTLEFIELD (screaming): Deal! Deal! You have a deal! That is a deal!
SCHUERHOLZ: No, I...
LITTLEFIELD: Deal! Nya nya nya nya nya!
SCHUERHOLZ: Look, Gonzalez is a good reliever, but cheap power hitters in the primes of their careers just aren't traded one-for-one for relievers! Name for me one time that has happened.
SCHUERHOLZ: Look, I'll make this easy for you. Your team traded Ricardo Rincon for Brian Giles in 1998. That's the last example I can think of. And even in that case, Giles never even started for a full the Indians before he was traded. LaRoche has. LaRoche is good and everyone knows he's good. So, as much as I like Gonzalez, you're going to have to add a second player.
LITTLEFIELD: Brian Rogers!
SCHUERHOLZ: In a perverse way, that's sort of generous, since I know no one fetishizes relievers like you do. But no. That's not even close.
LITTLEFIELD: Humberto Cota!
SCHUERHOLZ: You've got to be kidding. We want Chris Duffy.
LITTLEFIELD: Nate McLouth!
SCHUERHOLZ: Dave, give me a break! Those players have no value! McLouth had a .293 OBP last year. We already have about 19 tweener-ish outfielders who are better than McLouth - Ryan Langerhans, Matt Diaz, Scott Thorman, Kelly Johnson... McLouth might someday be a good fourth outfielder, but why would we bother waiting for him?
LITTLEFIELD: So Gonzalez and McLouth, then? I'll call the commish!
SCHUERHOLZ: You're obviously not listening. Duffy is not a good player, Dave. He's basically a fourth outfielder himself. But he has one thing our other fourth outfielders lack: defense. Besides, he'll be totally irrelevant to you within a year, whenever Andrew McCutchen is ready. If you're not currently willing to pony up to pay a fair price for a player who is so obviously well-suited to your franchise, will you ever be ready? If you won't trade Duffy, who will you trade? A reliever? Carlos Maldonado?
LITTLEFIELD: LaRoche for a reliever and Carlos Maldonado! You've got a deal!
SCHUERHOLZ: No, we don't...
LITTLEFIELD: DEALDEALDEALDEALDEAL! NYA NYA NYA NYA NYA NOT LISTENING NYA NYA NYA!