Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nate McLouth will start in centerfield

To a casual observer, the Pirates' naming Nate McLouth as the starting center fielder today probably seemed like something of a foregone conclusion. Maybe it was, but the Pirates were publicly insisting otherwise as recently as about a week ago, claiming that Morgan and McLouth were "neck and neck." We've rehashed the pros and cons of the two a million times here and it generally tends to get ugly, for whatever reason, so I'll just say that I'm happy for McLouth to get his shot at the revolving door position that is center field for the Pirates. He certainly brings a little more patience and a little more power to the position that's generally been manned by the Jermaine Allensworth clones since 1996 (save stints by Brian Giles, Kenny Lofton, and Jason Bay in center) and it's time to try something a little different.

Beyond that, I'm really happy to see them keep Morgan with the big club. I don't see what AAA has to offer him since he's almost 28 and he'll certainly be a better bench player on the big club than Kevin Thompson would be. If he's seeing regular time in center with McLouth seeing regular time in left or right, I won't be pleased, but we'll tackle that when it comes to it.

There's only a few roster slots left to fill at this point. There's the bullpen, which will probably give Huntington nightmares all year anyways, and a decision between Chris Gomez, Josh Wilson, and Doug Mientkiewicz, a group from which the Pirates will probably take two players (unless my math is bad).