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McLouth and Morgan May Both Make Team

This is a pretty infuriating article.

Nate McLouth and Nyjer Morgan, who all spring have competed for the starting center field job, could make the team's 25-man opening day roster and, on occasions, play in the same game.

As Huntington pointed out the other day: "They bring a different dynamic to the lineup."

Like speed, a commodity the Pirates sorely lack.

McLouth stole 22 bases in 23 attempts last season. Morgan stole 26 bases in 33 attempts last season with Class AAA Indianapolis, then was 7 for 10 in a September cameo with the Pirates.

You know a team's offense is terrible when the local reporter starts writing articles about how they're somehow going to win games by focusing on speed.

"Plus, Nate has some pop," Morgan said.

"I bring a little more excitement."

Great. Does "excitement" win baseball games?

In September, the two were paired at the top of the order in nine games. Morgan always batted first and played center field, while McLouth batted second and played left or right field.

The Pirates were 4-5 in those games, but they did score 47 runs -- an average of 5.2 per game. In their other 153 games, they averaged 4.4 runs per game.

And therefore... what?

Couple this with contact expert Freddy Sanchez batting third behind the two left-handed batting speedsters, and you have the potential to produce a run out of almost nothing.

I'd say they'd just have the potential to produce almost nothing.

"Absolutely," McLouth said. "Like Juan Pierre and Rafael Furcal with the Dodgers."

Yes, like the Dodgers, who finished fourth in the NL West last year and were 21st in baseball in runs scored.

I could show you how bad Pierre and Furcal actually were last year, but would it matter? I could talk about how this cockamamie strategy reminds me most of the 2002 Brewers, who had two speedy players (Alex Sanchez and Eric Young) at the top of their lineup and won 56 games while pathetically trying to get them around the bases, but would it matter? Would anyone be convinced who isn't already?

Ultimately, articles like these aren't about facts, or what actually happens when you do things like destroy all of McLouth's value by moving him to a corner and start Morgan in center. They're about some writer's idea of what baseball should be, and how that idea hasn't changed since about 1978. And yes, I know some of the quotes come from players, but the writer is pretty plainly using them in the service of an argument.

Fortunately, it appears the Pirates are thinking something else. Neal Huntington:

"There are enough at-bats for Nyjer to continue his development and to continue to impact the club in a positive way."

It sounds like the Pirates are thinking about using Morgan as a bench player. Which I'm fine with.