The dirtiest, 4-letter word in professional sports has crept its way into Major League Baseball.

Cleveland Browns fans simply know it as the “T” word. This word is banned from schools in Philadelphia, as it makes 76ers fans quiver in fear. Parents, please shield your children’s eyes….

TANK.

To TANK is the act of losing intentionally. In the NFL and NBA, teams TANK in an attempt to secure the #1 pick in the draft. This can be a quick and effective way to turn a franchise around (if done right). In MLB, TANKING isn’t common. MLB teams generally become “sellers” at the midseason trade deadline by trading away expiring contracts and veteran players. This allows teams to restock their farm systems in order to rebuild for the future. However, it isn’t often that a team enters a season in full TANK mode.

Enter the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Over the past three days, the Pittsburgh Pirates have traded away two of their best players; Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen. And something tells me they’re not done moving anything not nailed down.

Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated

For real this time. After a fake report that Cole had been traded to the Houston Astros Wednesday, Cole was actually traded to the Houston Astros Saturday.

Astros Get: P Gerrit Cole

Pirates Get: P Joe Musgrove, P Michael Feliz, 3B Colin Moran, OF Jason Martin

Cole, 27, doesn’t become an unrestricted free agent until 2020. This is a great deal for the defending World Series Champion, Houston Astros, as they bolster an already formidable starting rotation (the Yankees’ fan inside me is screaming at the top of his lungs). The Pirates, however, elected for quantity over quality.

Joe Musgrove has bounced between the starting rotation and bullpen, struggling in his 2 years in MLB. Michael Feliz is a strikeout machine, reliever whose career E.R.A. (5.13) doesn’t match his talent. Colin Moran, the former #6 pick in the 2013 draft, has yet to be given a chance to prove himself. Colin, your chance is here. Jason Martin, a former 8th round pick, has showed flashes of a solid speed/power combo between Single-A and Double-A.

Andrew McCutchen

Houston Astros v Pittsburgh Pirates
Photo Courtesy of NBC Sports

Monday afternoon, McCutchen followed Cole out the door, making his way to San Francisco.

Giants Get: OF Andrew McCutchen (Pirates will pay $2.5 million of $14.75 million owed in 2018)

Pirates Get: P Kyle Crick, OF Bryan Reynolds, $500,000 International Bonus Pool Space

Despite McCutchen’s talent, he is potentially a rental, as he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2019. The Giants hope he can return to his 2013 NL MVP form.

Kyle Crick is a hard-throwing, middle reliever. He carries potential to be a staple in the Pirates’ bullpen if he can work out his control issues. Bryan Reynolds, drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft, is a solid average hitter with stolen base potential.

With the Pirates not picking up any star prospects in these trades, expect a slow, probably painful, rebuild in Pittsburgh.

What do you think of these trades?? How would you feel if your team decided to TANK?? Post your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Written by Dave Ettinger

I think, I say it. You may not like it, but I'll always be honest. I'm a walking oxymoron; an objective fan. Yankees, Knicks, Jets, and Islanders. You can find me on the radio every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M. EST on the TuneIn Radio App; Keyword: OWWR. I also broadcast every radio show on Facebook Live: Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can like my Facebook Page at www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports or follow me on Twitter @DaveEttinger2.

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