"They needed to bolster their clubhouse, and the Ford really needed some new tires before we go on vacation," said Bill, who thought both sides would benefit from the exchange.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington said the club would be active leading up to the trade deadline, seeking a deal that would provide short-term improvement, but also help to sustain their long-term vision.
And that's just what they did.
Facing today's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, the Pirates have sent $475 to Bill from Craigslist for a five-year-old front-loading washing machine.
"We are really happy with how we've positioned ourselves to do our club's laundry, both now and in season to come," Huntington said in a brief press conference.
The team's post-break winning streak put the Pirates back into the race for the NL Central title, causing many fans and pundits to wonder whether the team would approach the deadline as buyers or sellers. Huntington believes, however, that he made the kind of splash this team needed without giving up too much.
"As a smaller-market club, we know the kind of limitations we have to deal with," he said. "But, as a GM, when you see a deal that can deliver instant results while also stabilizing your bigger picture -- well, you just have to pull the trigger."
Huntington discovered the listing of the 57-year-old Swissvale native, Bill McArthur, while perusing Craigslist for something to invigorate the clubhouse after an unsuccessful bid to trade Austin Meadows for a new team charter bus. It is said that negotiations were fierce and lasted nearly an hour.
"We started correspondence via e-mail," said McArthur, wiping some sweat from his prescription transition lenses, "but then Neal called me on the phone and said, 'Come on, Bill, let's make some magic happen.' That's when I knew he was dead serious about landing that washer."
|Bill McArthur joined Huntington at today's press conference.|
"And you know what, I was in serious trouble if we didn't get those tires changed, so here we are," he added, chuckling alongside Huntington.
The Pirates GM wanted to make it clear that he felt this appliance was sure to be an impact acquisition.
"I mean, you want a guy who can do it all: power, speed, range. This machine has got it. Not only can you finish a load in under 10 minutes, but we are also talking about some serious coverage here. Grass stains, dirt stains, chew spit, BBQ sauce -- it can handle anything. Not to mention that technique. Wait until you see this rotation on the rinse cycle. Silky smooth."
The Pirates still find themselves five and a half games back from the division-leading Cubs, but Huntington thinks the club has got what it takes to win.
|There is high demand already for the new arrival's jersey according to a spokesperson at MLB apparel.|
"It's a pretty simple principle, really. If you can get ground-in dark stains out with one wash, then you can win baseball games. And that's what we think we can do now."
Upon being asked how he foresaw the team winning without a reliable starter on the back end of the rotation or help in the outfield, Huntington said he had to leave to attend to an urgent matter, but that McArthur would be more than happy to field this and any other similar questions at this time.