-P- My, how things have changed in Pittsburgh, and this article by John Perrotto and especially this one by Wilbur Miller are a lot more positive than any I'm used to seeing. And they should be.
I haven't had a chance to write much in the last few days, and that's a shame, because these last few weeks have been the Pirates' finest in at least a decade. First came a couple of trades that were consistent with the goal of building for the future, and then came a draft in which the Pirates spent an amount of money consistent with the idea that they understand the magnitude of the problems with their farm system. They also did everything they said they would do (as WTM points out), and they looked great in refusing to cave to Scott Boras' demands. For the first time in a very long time, the future of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks bright. I don't want to make it seem like I don't appreciate the importance of these last few weeks just because I haven't written a lot of words. They're huge.
-P- By the way, in case anyone missed it, a lot of BD posters make lists of the top ten Pirates prospects here. Most of the lists look pretty reasonable. It's pretty amazing that three of the four best prospects in the Pirates' system are guys who weren't here in mid-July. And that's even before considering Andy LaRoche, who'd also be pretty high on most of these lists if he weren't already in the majors.
-P- The Yankees have to be pretty happy so far with their trade for Xavier Nady, who's now hitting .312/.391/.649 for them. But via Primer, one Yankees blog has a look at breakout seasons and what they mean. Basically--and if you want to skip some of the specific examples in the article, scroll down to the chart that's in bright green--history tells us that Nady will be able to maintain some of his gains next year, but that he's going to be more like his 2007 self than his 2008 self. That's just common sense, and it shows why most teams would have been unwilling to part with a Grade-A prospect for Nady. In fact, Nady's line with the Pirates in 2008 was almost identical to his 2007, except there were 50 extra points of batting average. Of course, since joining the Yankees, he's hit seven homers in 77 at bats. I'm not sure what that means, but I'd still bet that his 2009 season will be underwhelming, even if he's somewhat better than he was before this year.
-P- The Dodgers have acquired Greg Maddux from the Padres. What the Dodgers are giving up has not yet been revealed. Maddux has a 3.99 ERA overall, but a 5.75 ERA on the road, so it's doubtful he'll be able to help the Dodgers much.
-P- Doug Mientkiewicz has been placed on the bereavement list to allow him time to be with his wife, who had heart surgery yesterday. Nyjer Morgan will take his place. I wish all the best to the Mientkiewicz family.