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Pirate fans will have to wait to see payoff from Manny trade

The focus of yesterday's three-way trade that sent likely Hall of Famer Manny Ramirez to the L.A. Dodgers will obviously be on how Ramirez will fit into an already crowded Dodgers outfield.  And, of course, whether Jason Bay -- the player from the third-party team, the Pirates -- will take up the offensive slack in Boston.

However, I wonder about the Pittsburgh fans.  Pittsburgh received four prospects for Bay, two each from the Dodgers and Red Sox. Three will report to the Major League club and one to Single-A.   The Pirates are in a longer franchise losing streak than even the Orioles (their 50-58 record has them positioned for a 16th straight season under .500) and Bay was one of their few stars.  Earlier, they had sent Xavier Nady to the Yankees.

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Bay is hitting .282 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs. He's rebounding from a 2007 when he slumped in almost all offensive categories but his career 162-game averages are impressive -- .281, 31 HRs, 102 RBIs and he's only 29 and considered a team leader.  That's a lot to replace, I don't care how many prospects you get or how highly they're rated.

Considering this has been a franchise famous for shipping off its stars who had great careers elsewhere, it would be a shock if its fans didn't view the Bay trade with skepticism, something the Pirates acknowledge themselves. Here's what Pirates team president Frank Coonelly: "I understand there's skepticism based on the history, but I believe the fans will see very quickly that this isn't the same old story. We've made trades here based on sound baseball judgment and building a championship-caliber organization, not for financial reasons, and we're confident people will see that."

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