Not that I take MLB Rumors at all seriously, but the two most clueless franchises in baseball are the Devil Rays and Pirates. I’ve dealt with the D-Rays before; they aren’t getting Chuck James. They always overreach in trades, and this tendency did not begin with Scott Kazmir; that was just the only time anyone was that stupid/desperate.
The Pirates may actually be worse. This is the team that wouldn’t trade Jose Mesa in 2004 when he was actually pitching well for once, because if they did they wouldn’t have a Closer and everyone would get discouraged and the team would lose even more than the 87 games and presumably they’d get a higher draft choice which they would just blow anyway. And then when Señor Table was pitching badly in 2005 they still could have gotten prospects, but no, that would have hurt their chances to lose fewer than 95 games. Then last year they could have traded Salomon Torres for someone who might actually contribute to a team that had a chance at finishing above .500, and they didn’t pull the trigger that time either.
And it’s not just mediocre old relievers they overvalue. It’s mediocre young starters. Hence the Kristin Benson saga. You may recall that the Braves supposedly were going to trade Marcus Giles and Ryan Langerhans for Benson, at a time when Giles had just made the All-Star team. Also, the Susquehanna is made of hot fudge. The next year they wanted Jose Capellan and Andy Marte, though at least that would have been a better return on Capellan than the Braves eventually got. The Pirates did eventually trade Kristin, to the Mets — and got a lot less than the D-Rays did from them that same week.
There’s simply no point in hanging onto these guys. Mike Gonzalez, now, he might actually be special. But the Pirates aren’t helping their cause by trying to add utterly useless players to the deal. So for LaRoche and Kyle Davies (who still might be useful someday) they will offer Gonzalez and a collection of scrubs who play positions where the Braves are already deep? Jose Castillo is a nothing player, a replacement-level placeholder who is no better than Martin Prado. Humberto Cota is a miscellaneous backup backstop who would interest the Braves if he were five years older (he’s 27). And at his current pace, Nate McLouth might grow up to be Tike Redman. Give me a break.
If a deal does not work, there is no point in adding on major league scrap to the deal. If you won’t add a useful player, at least add prospects who might, someday, turn out useful. No wonder the Pirates lose every year — they think these guys have value.