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Adam LaRoche fails at being a team leader

Jun 5, 2009, 9:29 AM EDT

Adam LaRoche and other Pirates’ players are not happy about the Nate McLouth deal:

“There ain’t a guy in here who ain’t pissed off about it. They might
be trying to hide it or whatever, but . . . hey, you get a guy’s loved
by everybody, not just in this clubhouse but in the community, who does
everything you could want a guy to do, a perfect guy to be a leader . .
. It’s kind of like being with your platoon in a battle, and guys keep
dropping around you. You keep hanging on, hanging on, and you’ve got to
figure: How much longer till you sink?”

An anonymous Pirate veteran was critical of the haul the Pirates got in
return, saying “You make a deal for a player like that, and you’d
better get at least one elite guy in return. Who’s the guy in this
trade? Who is that player?”

The article notes how Adam LaRoche had declared himself a team
leader earlier in the season. It strikes me, however, that if you’re
going to be a team leader, you have to do things that a team leader
does such as ensure that this sort of discontent is not aired in
public, both from yourself and from the teammates you purport to lead.
That’s especially true when the discontent involves specific criticism
of the guys that are coming to join your team. Lamenting the loss of a
friend and valuable veteran is fine, but this kind of thing isn’t
helpful to anyone. Not the fans, who don’t want to hear one of the
team’s best players suggest that the team is sinking or giving up, not
Gorkys Hernandez, Charlie Morton or Jeff Locke, who have now been told
that they suck even before arriving in Pittsburgh, and last but not
least, not Andrew McCutchen, who represents the future of the Pirates’
organization whether LaRoche and his veteran friends like it or not.

Maybe this was not the best haul Pittsburgh could have gotten for
McLouth, but it’s not a lay-down trade by any stretch. The difference
between the Pirates being good and the Pirates being bad is more than
Nate McLouth, and any trade that brings them some needed organizational
depth and creates an opportunity for a guy like McCutchen to play has
much to recommend it. A team leader would recognize that or, at the
very least, keep such criticisms in-house rather than publicly sow this
sort of discontent.

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