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Roberts: Pirates trade to impact Indy Indians

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Like hostages used as bartering chips on an open sea of futility, the Pittsburgh Pirates have once again commandeered Indy's prize prospect to save some cash. But in return, we might actually get some decent pitching in Indianapolis. Yarr.

Yesterday former Indianapolis Indian and 2008 MLB All-Star Nate McLouth was traded by the Pirates to the Braves to make room for Andrew McCutchen on the big league roster.

McCutchen has consistently flirted with a .300 batting average, hits for relative power, runs well, and has been a top 10 prospect ever since he was drafted in 2005. He hit about .700 as a high school senior in Florida, and spent the last season and a half as a Triple-A stud here in Indianapolis. Godspeed, 'Cutch. You'll be missed.

It was hardly unexpected for him to be draped in that shameful black and gold (the Pirates are now in the midst of their 18th consecutive losing season) by season's end, but the hidden booty of yesterday's treachery is that the Pirates traded away their best player - Nate McLouth, to make room for him.

'Cutchen's former teammate in Indy Nyjer Morgan exceed expectations by developing an eye for pitching early in the season. It was assumed in April that Morgan would stay in Pittsburgh for a few months while 'Cutch developed his sea legs at Victory Field, and then would be optioned down to Indy as soon as the front office felt that 'Cutch was ready.

But since Morgan proved himself to be a capable everyday outfielder at the Major League Level, the Pirates were able to trade McLouth (and his fat contract) for prospects, instead of optioning Morgan back to Indianapolis.

The end result is that the Indians, who have been starving for a formidable Starting Pitcher, get one of the best pitchers in the entire International League - Charlie Morton. If you've been to Victory Field this year, you probably noticed that the scoreboard looks like that of a high school basketball game.

For once, it looks like the Pirates have made a move that actually benefits Indianapolis.

By the end of this season or at the start of next, Indy is also likely to see Gorkys Hernandez, another top prospect from the Braves organization that was traded to the Pirates as part of the barter. He will start out in Double-A Altoona and make his way to Capital Ave by August, methinks.

But of course next season the Pirates will trade away their entire team again and call him up to save four dollars. So don't get too attached.

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