According to multiple reports, including this one from Jenifer Langosch, the Pittsburgh Pirates are very near bringing an old friend back to the Pittsburgh outfield.
Nate McLouth, now 30 years old, is reportedly close to signing a one-year deal with the Pirates.
The Pirates drafted McLouth in the 25th round of the 2000 MLB Draft. The left-handed hitter made his major league debut in 2005 at age 23. In 2007, McLouth hit 13 home runs and a .258 batting average in 137 games as a preview to his great 2008 season, where he hit 26 home runs, 94 RBI and a .276/.356/.497 slash line en route to being named an All-Star and winning the NL Gold Glove in the outfield.
McLouth was notoriously traded to Atlanta about 50 games into the 2009 season. The Pirates received then-top prospect Gorkys Hernandez plus pitchers Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke in return.
I remember stating that this trade essentially put an end to my Pirate fanhood. I felt the Pirates could have built around McLouth, who was on pace for a 30+ home run season at the time of the deal and had signed a three-year deal just a few months earlier. I was simply baffled that the team would trade away its clear best player who was in his prime for a few prospects.
Thankfully, my cooler head prevailed, plus McLouth sucked in Atlanta.
Now, McLouth simply sucks. He’s hit a combined 10 home runs and .210 batting average in the past two seasons (166 games) with the Braves.
Note: Looking at these old pictures of McLouth in a Pirates uniform is pretty awesome. Brings back some memories.
Rumor has it the Pirates believe McLouth could compete with Alex Presley for the team’s third/fourth outfield spots.
The Pirates are also believed to be close to signing utility infielder Wilson Betemit to a short-term deal.
The Pirates want to find a better backup plan should Pedro Alvarez struggle again this season. Betemit has played mostly third base in his career, though his glove is borderline atrocious. Offensively he does well to get on base, hitting .290/.359/.479 with 21 homers and 42 doubles in 599 at bats over the last two seasons as a part-time player in Kansas City and Detroit.
It remains to be seen whether Betemit would/will be an overall upgrade over Josh Harrison behind Alvarez at third considering his lack of a glove, but the Pirates will welcome essentially any offense onto their roster at this point.
Betemit is a switch-hitter and mashes righties pretty well.