#74: Matt Morris
I don't grieve for the loss of Rajai Davis; I enjoyed watching him fly down the first base line when he'd make contact, but the Pirates have not been an organization that's utilized their speed on the bags. Plus, Davis was just one of about 100 people on the roster who's keeping that center field position warm for Andrew McCutcheon.
However, I am left WTFing over the pickup of veteran right-hander Matt Morris. And not even from the player-for-player aspect...even if you include some middling minor-leaguer as the player to be named later. The fact that the Pirates are picking up a contract with well over $10 million left over the next 2 years.
I mean, is it possible that Dave Littlefield senses his demise at GM from the top and somehow found a way to swing this deal without having it signed off by team owner Bob Nutting? As kind of a "Thanks for making my job more difficult than I already make it?"
Commenter "SteelCity G" on WHYGAVS hit it on the head:
"10 million on Matt Weiters, nope, 10 million on Matt Morris, yes sir."
Of course, the Pirates commentators are praising the deal, putting a spin like this on it: Morris trails only Greg Maddux and Roy Oswalt in wins since 2001. Looking at it like this, Morris is in the company of a sure Hall-of-Famer and a possible Hall-of-Famer.
But consider he was with the perennially playoff-bound St. Louis Cardinals through 2005. Having the offense that they provided during that stretch will improve your odds. Going 9-2 against the Pirates as a Cardinal will pad your stats, too.
I don't think that Morris is mud, but coming to the 'Burgh is not going to help his stats, and his presence won't yield more than 2-3 more wins.
I give points for surrendering what we didn't really need and picking up a piece that we did, but the misallocation of funds in this case is more than equally bad to the talent exchange. I grade it a C-minus.
But what I will give high marks for is what I hope is the tongue-in-cheek comment that Morris said during his interview with Greg Brown on the radio side before today's game against the Cardinals. Brown asked him if he thinks the Pirates are close to being a winning franchise again.
Morris was diplomatic at first saying that the Pirates have a promising young core and have been on the verge for a few years. Then he said this gem, which sounds harmless the first time you hear it:
"But you know, it's funny...when you're pitching against them, they're an unbelievable team." -- Matt Morris
You can only imagine what an opposing clubhouse is saying when it comes to the Pirates. Especially one that's Tony LaRussa-led. "The Pirates are unbelievably bad..."
Thank you, Matt. You brightened my evening considerably.