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Is There Any Precedent For This?

I was watching the Bucs play the Yankees but, given the Pirates' own lack of interest in their future, I lost interest too.

Seriously, is there any precedent for a team intentionally choosing a reliever with the fourth pick in the draft or earlier? Can anyone name a time in the last ten or fifteen years when a team has done that? I only know a lot about drafts going back to 2002 or so, but I can't think of a single time a team intentionally took a reliever in the top ten. The earliest I can remember a team taking a reliever was when the Reds took Ryan Wagner with the 14th pick in the 2003 draft. The Expos took Chad Cordero later that round, and the A's took Huston Street with a sandwich pick in the 2004 draft.

There may be a few others, but those are the only times I can think of in the past few years in which a team intentionally chose a reliever in the first round. And even in those cases, all three pitchers were lights-out, near-unhittable college relievers - Moskos wasn't. And the Expos only picked Cordero because they thought they might be contracted and didn't have a future. In other words, they picked Cordero for the same reason they traded Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips for a few starts by Bartolo Colon.

Right now Dave Littlefield is behaving as if he's worried the Pirates are going to be contracted. I've written at length many times going back to last season about what a mess the Pirates are going to be once 2010 rolls around, and this Daniel Moskos pick is more evidence that Littlefield and the ownership just do not care what happens to the team after 2009. They just want a player who can get through the minors quickly, never mind that he has little upside. (And for what it's worth, I'd also bet against Moskos getting through the minors quickly.)

Littlefield is acting like he's a member of a cult whose leader is claiming the world will end on December 31, 2009. But the Pirates will still be here once the ball drops, and we're going to know they are, because we'll be feeling the reality of an impending 110-loss season.