Andrew McCutchen was a beneficiary of the Nate McLouth trade, earning a full-time job in the Pirates’ outfield. But it hit McCutchen a bit closer to the heart today when Nyjer Morgan was traded to the Nationals.
“When Nate McLouth was traded, I never really played with him. I didn’t really feel it,” McCutchen said. “Now that I was here, playing beside (Morgan), it really hits you.”
• The deal is just another improbable turn in Morgan’s career.
“Being a 33rd-round (draft pick), I’m not even supposed to be here (in the majors). So, just being able to open somebody else’s eyes is a beautiful thing. It’s flattering. I look at it as a positive thing, not a negative thing. I loved going to war with these boys here. It’s unfortunate that I have to go, it sucks leaving, but that’s part of business.”
• Sean Burnett’s career had gone riches to rags and back to riches. A former first-rounder, he was derailed by a slew of injuries and two years ago lost his spot on the 40-man roster. This season he turned into a solid reliever and, according to Nats interim GM Mike Rizzo, was the key piece of today’s trade.
“It’s pretty cool when another team wants you,” Burnett said. “Two years ago, when I was taken off the 40-man, nobody wanted me. I’ve made pretty good strides in the past few years, getting back to the big league level and establishing myself as a big league pitcher.”
• Rizzo said he and Pirates GM Neal Huntington began talking trade several weeks ago.
“The second piece of the trade (Burnett) was the main part that took us to this point to get the trade done,” Rizzo said. “There were several names bandied about. We felt that Burnett was a guy we had to have in the deal because he’s left-handed, (because of) his track record, and because he’ll be a piece for us not only in the short term but for the long term.”
• Joel Hanrahan, who will join the Pirates’ bullpen tomorrow, already is familiar with some of his new teammates. He played with Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young in the Dodgers’ farm system and met John Grabow on Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
“It’s nice knowing a couple of people,” Hanrahan said. “Andy and DY [Young] are two of my better friends around baseball, so that’s good.”
• Lost in the hoopla was the Pirates’ other trade today: Eric Hinske was dealt to the Yankees for two middling prospects. Hinske was traded in the morning, cleared out of his locker and was gone long before the clubhouse opened to the media this afternoon.
“When we recruited Eric, we felt he was going to be a great fit here,” Huntington said. “We felt there would be lots of at-bats for him. Andy LaRoche has stepped up and hasn’t needed to be spelled, and Delwyn Young came over and started to poach a lot of Eric’s at-bats.”
• Morgan, Burnett and Hinske are the latest in a long line of teammates to whom Jack Wilson has said goodbye over the years. Wilson understands what management is trying to do but that doesn’t mean he has to like it: “They’re businessmen; they have a plan. They’re trying to achieve winning baseball in Pittsburgh. We (players) don’t have a plan. We have a plan to go play baseball tonight at 7:05. It’s the same plan we have every day. We don’t see or talk to (management), so we don’t know what they are doing. Obviously, they’re thinking they’re getting deals they can’t pass up on … I guess.” Wilson paused and frowned. “I guess. Whatever.”