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A trade by the Bucs that I like

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington was busy Tuesday, making two trades.

In the first, the Bucs sent outfielder Eric Hinske to the evil Yankees for a pair of minor leaguers, pitcher Casey Erickson and outfielder Eric Fryer.

Hinske didn't have a role or a future for the Bucs. In fact, Hinske goes from the lower class to the elite. He should be happy.

The Bucs should be happy that they get some help for their farm system. Erickson was 3-3 with a 2.25 ERA at Class A. Fryer hit .250 in Class A Tampa. The Bucs will be lucky if either contributes in the bigs, let alone has an impact.

The bigger trade happened hours later when Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett went to a team that appears worse off right now than the Pirates, and that's the Washington Nationals. In return, the Bucs got toolsy but troubled outfield prospect Lastings Milledge and former closer Joel Hanrahan, who actually lost the job twice this season.

This trade works for the Bucs because it's the classic sell-high, buy-low move.

Morgan, who'll turn 29 this week, probably won't get much better. Milledge, who has a power and speed combination that teams drool about, is coming off an injury and, before that, a demotion to the minors. His value can't be much lower than what it is right now.

Look at it another way: If the Bucs made this offer last year or earlier in the season, the Nats would have scoffed at them.

Milledge gives the Pirates power bat that they need. It also gives them a late-inning reliever that possesses an electric fastball in Hanrahan. Teams collect players like this, and the Bucs can never have too many of them.

Unfortunately, Hanrahan hasn't been able to harness his stuff this year. Should he turn it around, and I think he can, they would have a reliable arm. Hanrahan's potential is a solid set-up reliever, but his ceiling is a closer.

Morgan's enthusiasm and excitement grew on me this season, and I'll hate to see him go. However, the Pirates don't need a speedy outfielder when they have Andrew McCutchen in the bigs and Gorkys Hernandez waiting in the wings.

I've been following Milledge for a few seasons now, and I'm eager to see him in uniform for the Pirates.


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