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AP: Russell Taking The Fall For Huntington

There's already a fanpost about this AP piece by Alan Robinson, but since it's pretty likely to be widely quoted, I'll add a couple of comments.

Is this supposed to be reporting? And if so, how should I square that with comments like this?

While Russell was fired, general manager Neal Huntington was retained despite making a succession of poor trades and questionable moves that have left the Pirates with one of the majors’ least-talented teams—a pattern that began long before either arrived in Pittsburgh.

Are these supposed to be facts? There's no doubt that the Pirates are currently one of baseball's least-talented teams, but it's far from clear, at this point, that Huntington's trading record has been poor. He acquired mostly younger players, so it's not a surprise that the Pirates' record got worse, but that doesn't make the trades themselves bad. We've debated the trades ad nauseam, so I won't belabor this here, but for every Huntington trade that looks bad (and there certainly are some - Bay, Gorzelanny, Bautista), I can name one that, at this point in time, looks good (Nady/Marte, Dotel, McLouth, Wilson/Snell).

And by the way - the McLouth and Wilson/Snell trades have turned out well so far, in that the Pirates got something (Jeff Locke, Nathan Adcock, a vaguely-functional starting shortstop in Ronny Cedeno) for nothing. Which leads to this:

Russell’s first team in 2008 was competitive until midseason, when the franchise—eager to stockpile a talent-bereft farm system—began dealing away or cutting productive players such as Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson, Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche, Matt Capps, John Grabow, Tom Gorzelanny, Ian Snell, Sean Burnett and Nyjer Morgan. Also traded was 2010 major league home run leader Jose Bautista during a two-year roster purge.

How many of those players are still productive? Would the Pirates have been better off this season with all those players but without Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata, Joel Hanrahan, and Lastings Milledge? Maybe, but the difference would be slight - Wilson, Nady, Snell and McLouth are close to worthless, and Bay and Morgan are coming off awful seasons. And that's not even considering that several of the traded players would have been free agents after 2009 anyway, and that the Pirates acquired a bunch of young players who haven't gotten to the majors yet. The Pirates were going to be terrible no matter what, so they might as well have picked up a few young players who might be able to help in the future. The Bucs' decision to rebuild was a no-brainer. You can argue about the way they did it, but I can't believe someone who is paid to write about the team still isn't convinced it was a good idea.

I half-expected this article to end with, "And that is why Neal Huntington should go jump off a bridge." I don't agree with Robinson's opinions, but even that isn't the point - the point is that this is supposed to be a news article.