Monday, April 28, 2008


I don't know why I bother, but maybe Dude cares. The Pirates released pitcher Matt Morris over the weekend after his 0-4 start and another pounding. It was clear last year, and more so in spring training this year, that the guy had nothing left.

The Pirates acquired Morris -- and his contract -- from the San Francisco Giants July 31 for outfielder Rajai Davis and minor league pitcher Stephen MacFarland. That move, Coonelly said yesterday, "did not turn out to be a sound baseball judgment."

You think?

Morris' . . . numbers began to fall off prior to the trade. Those numbers continued to track downward after he came to the Pirates. He was 3-4 with 6.10 earned run average in his 11 starts for them last season.

He struggled in spring training and struggled through most of his 22 1/3 innings this season. "I could feel it all coming to an end," Morris said.

And so could every fan and every opposing batter.

Only a losing club could miss this guy.

"One of the best in the game," first baseman Adam LaRoche said a few minutes after the Pirates officially released the right-hander. "That's what everybody who played with him and everybody who played against him say.

LaRoche, acquired from the Braves who tend to trade up, is hitting .165.

Morris' last appearance will be memorable for all the wrong reasons. He threw 49 pitches in the first inning and was lifted after recording five outs and surrendering six runs. His 2008 ERA was 9.67.

But he still gets paid.

The Pirates owe Morris, 33, a little more than $10 million, which includes the rest of his 2008 salary and the $1 million contract buyout he had for 2009.

At 10-15 (.400), the Pirates are on pace to lose 100 games. And like every year, they realize they can lose 100 games with sucky veterans or mediocre young players, and at least with mediocre young players you can try to sell hope. They announced a paid attendance of 17,588 on Sunday, fielding a 9-15 team that rested comfortably in the basement of their division, with no real chance of competing, and as long as they can draw middling crowds that enjoy a nice day out at the ballpark, they have neither the incentive to staff up with good players nor the means to do so. It's a picture of chronic mediocrity.

Full disclosure: I am part of the problem. I will probably take in four games at PNC Park this year. I enjoy a day out at the ballpark, I won't expect great baseball, I'll be pleasantly surprised if I get some and not too disappointed if I don't.

1 comment:

Dude said...

I understand the concept of cutting your losses and getting that scrub out of the rotation, but why not keep him for mop-up duty or clubhouse mop-up, or help the grounds crew or run to Starbucks or something? Why pay a guy ten mill to play with his kids? Surely he could chart pitches at the very least.

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