Pirates trade another starting player away
PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates, swapping outfielders at a rapid rate for the second successive season, sent starting left fielder Nyjer Morgan to the Washington Nationals in a four-player deal involving outfielder Lastings Milledge and also shipped backup Eric Hinske to the Yankees yesterday.
The Pirates, spurred to trade because their farm system has been unproductive, acquired Milledge and reliever Joel Hanrahan from the Nationals for the fleet Morgan and left-handed reliever Sean Burnett, a former first-round draft pick.
Hinske, the 2002 AL Rookie of the Year, went to the Yankees for minor league right-hander Casey Erickson and outfielder Eric Fryer. The Yankees also get about $400,000 to help pay the remainder of Hinske's $1.5 million salary.
Just as they did last season by dealing Jason Bay and Xavier Nady, the Pirates traded two of their three starting outfielders before Aug. 1. They sent former NL All-Star center fielder Nate McLouth to Atlanta on June 4 for pitcher Charlie Morton and two other prospects.
Like the McLouth trade, these deals weren't popular with players who have seen regular after regular traded — Aramis Ramirez, Brian Giles, Jason Kendall, Bay, Nady — since 2004 with the Pirates getting little in return. The Pirates are on a pace for a major league-record 17th consecutive losing season.
"What's so shocking is we're (six) games out and we've lost three of our everyday players," said shortstop Jack Wilson, a nine-year veteran who could be traded this month. "It's tough for the guys who've been here and have seen these trades happen and absolutely do nothing. I've seen these trades two or three times a year and we still haven't had a winning season."
Boston Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hip. ... The Seattle Mariners put star third baseman Adrian Beltre on the 15-day disabled list after shoulder surgery yesterday and added newly acquired outfielder Ryan Langerhans to the roster.