Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bucs shopping Perez and Doumit to Phillies?

See this comments thread at Baseball Primer. One commenter cites a rumor at Baseball Prospectus that Perez and Doumit are being offered to the Phillies. Rumors such as this rarely materialize, but this one both reflects and intensifies the fear that the Pirates will make yet another bad decision about their current glut of catchers.

UPDATE: link here

I also agree with the commenters who suggest that Doumit's situation is eerily reminiscent of how the Pirates have mishandled the careers of both Craig Wilson and Chris Shelton--a catcher/first baseman/third baseman/right fielder type whose inability to excel defensively at any one position leads the Pirates to underutilize the player's offensive potential. When a team's organizational bias is to look for any opportunity to disqualify a good hitter because of his defense, the result is a poor offensive team like ours has been for many years.

Rowdy at Honest Wagner has argued (such as here) in favor of continuity in ownership, and the argument would be persuasive if the Pirates hadn't shown repeatedly that they don't learn anything from experience. Littlefield has stated clearly that losing Shelton in the Rule Five was a mistake, but I don't see evidence that the organization has internalized the reasons why it was a mistake in a way that immunizes it from making the same mistake again. Doumit's new status in purgatory reinforces the impression that this organization's philosophy and ability to evaluate talent is fundamentally and irretrievably flawed.

As the game is about to begin tonight, I brace myself for the anger I almost always feel when I get my first look at the lineup. It's a conditioned response, and I've been having it in the half-hour before game time for years. Part of the bitterness that I, and I suspect that many other Pirates fans, feel this year comes from the expectation that the firing of McClendon and hiring of Tracy represented some kind of a change. I almost forget what it's like to root for a team whose management you trust to make sensible decisions. That's the way it was for me when Jim Leyland managed the Pirates; I wish he were managing them now.


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