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Smizik: Pirates May Lose 110 Games in 2010

Bob Smizik:

There should have been nothing shocking about Dejan Kovacevic’s report that the Pirates were vigorously pursuing a trade for second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who leads the team in hitting. After all, last month the Pirates traded Nate McLouth, who was their home run and RBI leader, and he’s four years younger than Sanchez and was with a more team-friendly contract.

Still, there was a sense of surprise when the story broke at midday Thursday. The news erased all doubt as to how the Pirates are going to proceed for the foreseeable future...

It’s no longer a question of whether the Pirates can avoid losing 100 games this season, it’s a question of whether they can avoid losing 110 next season.

This is honestly one of the silliest things I've ever read. Of course anything's possible, but... the Pirates are on pace to lose 90 games this year, which isn't even close to 100. (In fact, it's better than the Pirates' usual annual win total of 67, which suggests that the trades of the team's "stars" aren't worth anywhere near the amount of fuss they've been getting.) And next year, Smizik claims the Bucs are supposed to lose 110 games, more than only two teams in the past 40 years. I'm sorry, but that's just a brain-meltingly stupid thing to say, even if you think the team is going to be horrible.

If the Pirates feel trading Sanchez, Wilson, LaRoche and anyone else is the best way to go, that’s their decision. But they’re not the only ways involved. The loyal, long-suffering Pirate fans are owed some good baseball. Since that won't be forthcoming, they at least deserve some good, honest answers.

That Bob Smizik apparently thinks the Pirates have a duty to inform the people of Pittsburgh is an irony richer than Death by Chocolate. If Smizik's so concerned about the fans' level of knowledge, perhaps he--a journalist!--could write some columns that make sense.

Let's think about what would happen if the Pirates were to announce a fire sale. Would any team offer them good value in a trade? This front office has actually been a lot more honest than the previous one, but for basic tactical reasons, there are some things it just shouldn't say. That's why we have journalists.

Also, I'm sick of all this handwringing about clueless fans. Don't like rebuilding? Tough. Buck up. The need to have vaguely adequate veteran players and field "competitive" teams are among the problems that got your team into this mess in the first place.

I hate that I've been put in the position of defending the front office this way. I'm completely open to the possibility that they're going to mess things up royally. But the outline of what they're doing is pretty much the only clear right answer for an organization as gutted as the Bucs were, and unfortunately, so much of the debate about their actions has been mind-bogglingly dumb. It's like if you needed to get from Pittsburgh to Chicago by Saturday, you might have a completely reasonable debate with your travel companions about whether you should go by plane, train or car. Here, though, a lot of fans seem to think the best way to get to Chicago by Saturday is to wait for a teleportation device to be invented. That's their prerogative, but if you let these people keep you from making actual travel plans, you'll never get where you're trying to go.