Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pirates Sign Nate McLouth

Today the Pirates made the first move for themselves at the annual winter meetings by signing Nate McLouth to a one year deal, pending physical. McLouth is a former Pirates outfielder that won a Gold Glove in 2008 and was subsequently traded to the Atlanta Braves for Charlie Morton and a few others.

McLouth spent five seasons with the Pirates and in that time he hit for a .261/.339/.462 line with 60 home runs, 96 doubles and had 64 stolen bases in 481 games (1473 at bats). McLouth’s best season was in 2008 when he hit for a .276/.356/.497 line with 26 home runs and belted 46 doubles en route to an All-Star game appearance.

With the Braves McLouth went way downhill only hitting .229 in 250 games and having a .699 OPS. He collected 44 doubles in that time frame and ended up being a bench player as his year while also getting sent down to AAA after struggling so bad.

Here are McLouth’s stats in his career:

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB HBP
2001 19 PIT-min A 96 406 351 59 100 17 5 12 54 21 5 43 54 .285 .371 .464 .836 163 7
2002 20 PIT-min A+ 114 453 393 58 96 23 4 9 46 20 7 41 48 .244 .324 .392 .716 154 8
2003 21 PIT-min A+ 117 508 440 85 132 27 2 6 33 40 4 55 68 .300 .386 .411 .797 181 7
2004 22 PIT-min AA 133 592 515 93 166 40 4 8 73 31 7 48 62 .322 .384 .462 .846 238 8
2005 23 PIT-min AAA 109 451 394 64 118 20 3 5 39 34 7 38 57 .299 .365 .404 .769 159 7
2005 23 PIT NL 41 120 109 20 28 6 0 5 12 2 0 3 20 .257 .305 .450 .755 96 49 5
2006 24 PIT NL 106 297 270 50 63 16 2 7 16 10 1 18 59 .233 .293 .385 .678 74 104 5
2007 25 PIT NL 137 382 329 62 85 21 3 13 38 22 1 39 77 .258 .351 .459 .810 110 151 9
2008 26 PIT NL 152 685 597 113 165 46 4 26 94 23 3 65 93 .276 .356 .497 .853 125 297 12
2009 27 ATL-min AA,A 3 8 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 .000 .375 .000 .375 0 1
2009 27 TOT NL 129 591 507 86 130 27 2 20 70 19 6 68 99 .256 .352 .436 .788 108 221 9
2009 27 PIT NL 45 195 168 27 43 7 1 9 34 7 0 21 29 .256 .349 .470 .819 116 79 4
2009 27 ATL NL 84 396 339 59 87 20 1 11 36 12 6 47 70 .257 .354 .419 .773 104 142 5
2010 28 ATL-min AAA 34 151 128 18 30 1 0 6 18 7 0 19 21 .234 .338 .383 .721 49 2
2010 28 ATL NL 85 288 242 30 46 12 1 6 24 7 2 33 57 .190 .298 .322 .620 69 78 5
2011 29 ATL-min AAA 3 9 6 2 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 2 .500 .667 .500 1.167 3 1
2011 29 ATL NL 81 321 267 35 61 12 2 4 16 4 2 44 52 .228 .344 .333 .677 89 89 3
7 Seasons 731 2684 2321 396 578 140 14 81 270 87 15 270 457 .249 .337 .426 .764 102 989 48
162 Game Avg. 162 595 514 88 128 31 3 18 60 19 3 60 101 .249 .337 .426 .764 102 219 11
PIT (5 yrs) 481 1679 1473 272 384 96 10 60 194 64 5 146 278 .261 .339 .462 .801 109 680 35
ATL (3 yrs) 250 1005 848 124 194 44 4 21 76 23 10 124 179 .229 .335 .364 .699 90 309 13
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/6/2011.

I was pretty vocal on not wanting McLouth back when I first heard these rumors but the more I think about it the more it makes sense for the Pirates. He was signed for a one year deal so there is no long term commitment and barring an unforeseen amount of money being thrown his way (which I doubt) I think McLouth can be a nice fourth outfielder for the Pirates. He is an instant upgrade over Xavier Paul and Matt Diaz and will strengthen the bench while giving the Pirates a viable option off the bench to spell Jose Tabata or Alex Presley here and there.

This is not a deal that is going to jump of the paper to most people or vault the Pirates into first place or even playoff contention but it makes them a better team than it did last year. They aren’t going to ask him to be an everyday player and at this point in his career he can’t do that.

What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments.

4 comments:

  1. I agree that he is a nice 4th outfielder. I am not sure that he is a better fit than Garrett Jones in that role though. I think that this signing may be the end of Garrett Jones and they will not tender him. They have talked so far of upgrading first base and I'm sure they will sign some over the hill 1B which leaves Jones out of a position and who wants 2 LH Outfielders off the bench?

    This is another example of the Pirates being cheap (McLouth is cheaper than Jones) because Jones will command more money in arbitration this year, seeing that he has hit close to 20 HRs in each of the past 3 seasons. Most notably last year as a 'platoon' type player.

    Further my frustrations, why have the Pirates spent an estimated $12 million on 3 MLB free agents, who really are no better than bench players on any other team. This team needs an impact arm and bat. Don't you think that $12 mil would be better spent in those areas?

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  2. This might not mean the end to GFJ. He can play some first base and if the Pirates don't find anyone on the market then he will be in a platoon roll there.

    Jones has been pretty good but I don't think this is the Pirates being cheap. If they were cheap they wouldn't have spent money at the deadline last season when they brought in Lee and Ludwick or when they extended Jose Tabata. Jones is not a player that I would say that the Pirates have to have. He is a streak hitter with some power but McLouth gives you the option of playing all three outfiled positions and being a far superior base runner than Jones. Jones was a one win player last year and played at a replacement level the year before. I don't look at this as a McLouth vs. Jones thing as I do a McLouth vs. X. Paul thing where this move is a no brainer.

    I think the Pirates have done alright so far this offseason. You have to understand that just becuase the Pirates want a better player doesn't mean that they want to play in Pittsburgh. Would an #2 FA pitcher be nice? Yea, I would love to have someon like Edwin Jackson, but does he want to come play in Pittsburgh? If he gets $5M a year on the open market are you willing to pay $7.5M to have him come play here? I'm not. Carlos Beltran was someone the Pirates were high on at the deadline and he said he wouldn't come play here. Can't do anything about that. I think it's best to remember that it always takes two sides to make a move happen and sometimes it just doesn't happen.

    Do I think the Pirates are playing it cheap? No. It is easy to say that when you look at the moves but there are more than one reason for the moves they make.

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  3. The Pirates have already overpaid this offseason for Barmes and Barajas. I know that they need to overspend to get free agents. I'm not talking about signing Reyes, Puljos, or Fielder. I would pay the $7.5 Mil on Edwin Jackson rather than over pay the $2mil on Barmes and Barajas.

    Like I said, I'm not against the McLouth signing for the reasons that you mentioned, I just hope that it's not because they can lose a power bat that comes off the bench, in GFJ.

    To further one point about players unwillingness to come play in the Burgh, maybe because of the culture that management has created in the past, that is why the Bucs have to over pay? - I think so. Do Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, and Minnesota have to overpay like the Pirates? The markets are relatively comparable and they seem to draw interest in keeping/ signing their players at not the ridiculous rates that the Pirates have to.

    It frustrates me when I see management not taking a stance as "We have lost, but gosh-darnit I'm tired of losing and we are changing the culture at the major league level."

    (I know what your repsonse will be to that - They have spent more in the draft to change the culture... well thank you CBA for making that playingfield even now)

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  4. I think that the factor that gets lost in a lot of this is that the same management team hasn't been in place since 1992. This is the third different team and has only really been invested since 2008. The two management teams before this one were horribly mismanaged. All you need to do is look at the system in 2007 compared to now and you can really see how far the Pirates have come.

    Milwaukee and Tampa Bay took the same path as the Pirates are trying to take. You don't see either team making huge signings in the off season. They draft well and use that in order to field their teams as well as use those prospects in order to fill needs. When the Brewers went out and got Grienke and Marcum and KRod they were ready to win now. I just don't feel like if the Pirates went out and got a guy like Jackson that would't get them much closer. You sign Jackson but still struggle mightily at catcher and shortstop without Barmes and Barajas. Sure neither of those guys are great by any stretch but they will improve the team. Cedeno was really good last year but what if that was a one time thing? He was pretty bad the two years before and then do you pay up for Doumit over the two years for horrible defense and maybe 90 games a year? I will take Barajas over McKenry every day.

    It sucks the Pirates lose but I do think they are in the right direction. In baseball it takes a little longer because guys you draft don't typically play right away like in the NFL, NBA or NHL.

    The point of all of this is that the Pirates aren't one big player away from being in playoff contention. Simple as that. There are a lot of holes to fill and even if they got Reyes this still isn't a playoff team.

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