First, I would like to pay on my sympathy to the Pirates organization, former teammates and family of Dock Ellis who passed away Friday. I remember watching him pitch as a young child. The baseball world lost a valuable member of its family.
Prospects On The Rise:
According to Dejan the Pirates are hoping to start Pedro Alvarez at High A Lynchburg. Tabata could start in AAA, creating a log jam of center fielders in Indianapolis. Lincoln and Moskos could be starting in Altoona to start the season as well.
I hope Coonley and Huntington aren't rushing Pedro too fast to make up for missed time. Actually it looks like they are moving quite a few prospects up quickly. This type of expectation reeks of an organization trying to force its hand and show they are improving well before it is time.
This is a nice change from the Littlefield era where no one seemed to move at all unless they seemingly had been ready to move up for at least half a season.
If Tabata and McCutchen are both in Indy to start the season, look for both to get significant time playing in left as well as center. With the large size of left in PNC, this season in Indy should tell the team who will be the left fielder of the future for the Pirates. I would not be surprised to see an outfield of Tabata, McCutchen and McLouth to close out the year in Pittsburgh.
Another Bucs Outlet:
Another location to follow the Pirates this season, Evan Foley will be covering the Pirates at Study Of Sports.
Doug Is A Good Guy:
An interesting quote from Dejan's Hot Stove Report:
"Busiest guy on the phone this winter might be Doug Mientkiewicz, who has made a habit of calling teammates to ensure they are staying in shape. And this is especially noteworthy, considering Mientkiewicz not only is a free agent but also has yet to receive an offer from the Pirates."
It seems like Doug might return after all, either that or he is just that good of a person. Doug will be a great manager someday.
Free Agent Updates:
No major updates on the Turnbow, Bootcheck, Hairston nor Cabrera fronts. The Pirates are still believed to be in the running for each player. There are at least a dozen teams interested in Cabrera. At least a handful of teams are interested in Hairston and Turnbow. There are a couple teams interested in Bootcheck, with the Pirates being the closest to signing him at this time.
A contract is expected to be announce with Ryan Doumit early next week, likely before the Christmas to New Years break. One thing to consider, the Pirates may actually be busy over the holiday break in hopes of landing an extension or minor free agent signing.
Minor League Managers Named:
Several coaches and managers were named. Here is a link to the PG recap of the moves.