The Sad, Inevitable End

Sunday, April 27th, 2008, 12:11 pm

I take no pleasure in the Pirates releasing Matt Morris today. When the Bucs traded for Morris last year I said the trade was a world-class blunder. Nor was I alone in that judgement–just about everyone on the planet not named Dave Littlefield and Bob Nutting would’ve laughed at the proposed deal. Why a team going nowhere fast would trade a promising young outfielder for a 33-year-old pitcher with over $10 million on his contract was beyond human comprehension. The Pirates needed to acquire prospects, develop their young players, and keep an eye on the payroll. So they trade for a pitcher San Fran was so desperate to dump that the Giants would’ve eaten most of his salary. Not only did the Pirates give up a player, they agreed to take on Morris’s ENTIRE salary. Un-believable.

Morris made 16 starts as a Pirate–he won 3 of them. This year he was 0-4 with an ERA close to 10.00. Opposing players were hitting .390 against him, meaning that when Morris was on the mound the average NL hitter was George Brett. From all accounts Morris is a consummate pro, a good guy who simply couldn’t get the job done at the major-league level anymore. I feel bad for the guy that his career is apparently over…though the fact that the Pirates are going to give him ELEVEN MILLION DOLLARS to go away should take away a bit of the sting. Morris gets the remainder of his $10 million salary, plus he gets a $1 million buyout of his 2009 option.

It’s a hard number to get your mind around, $11 million. And while the fans will no doubt be clamoring for the Pirates to re-hire Littlefield just so he could be re-fired, let’s not forget that Bob Nutting, who took over as managing partner from Kevin McClatchy, signed off on the deal. Anyone who thought that the Pirates’ staggering incompetence would be fixed by removing Littlefield and McClatchy from the equation had better think twice.

Then again, maybe the Pirates’ powers-that-be ARE smartening up. They announced Morris’s release on a day featuring both the NFL Draft and a Penguin playoff game. It’ll be weeks, months, before anyone notices Morris is gone. Of course, it might be weeks, months, before the Pirates draw more than 15,000 fans to a game.

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One Response to “The Sad, Inevitable End”

  1. John_W Says:

    I’ve got 3 words for you brother. “Let’s Go Pens”

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