If releasing Tom Glavine wasn't enough the Braves went out and obtained All Star outfielder Nate McLouth from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for three prospects.
McLouth was drafted by the Pirates in 2000 and made his big league debut with the Bucs in 2005. But his breakout season was in 2008 when he hit .276 with 26 home runs and 94 RBI. He was selected to the NL All Star Game and won a Gold Glove for his play in center field. He also led the NL in doubles with 46.
In 45 games with the Pirates this season, McLouth was hitting .256 with 9 home runs and 34 RBI.
Jordan Schafer was named the Braves starting centerfielder at the start of this season. Schafer hit a home run in his first major league at bat on Opening Day against the Phillies. But Schafer has struggled with a .204 average and was sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett yesterday. Although Gregor Blanco was called up to take Shafer's spot on the roster apparently the Braves think he isn't the answer either. The Braves think they have a chance in the NL East only 5½ games back of the Phillies and wanted someone who has proven himself at a reasonable price.
If your a Pirates fan this has to be frustrating. The Pirates are only 6½ games back of the Brewers in the NL Central and yet it seems the Bucs are giving up on the season at the beginning of June. Not only is this demoralizing for the players but the fans. This is a team that hasn't had a winning season since the Bush Administration - the first Bush Administration.
Last season, the Pirates sent Jason Bay on his way and now McLouth is gone. Of course, there's a chance that McLouth will be a bust in Atlanta and one of the guys the Bucs acquired (pitchers Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez) could become fixtures at PNC Park. But if any of them do become that good chances are the Bucs will trade them too.
No wonder the Pirates are a distant third in the hearts of Steel City with the Steelers winning 2 Super Bowls in four years while the Penguins are in their second straight Stanley Cup Final. The Pirates last post-season appearance was in 1992 (their last winning season) and they last won the World Series exactly thirty years ago.