December 12, 2008

Winter Meeting Recap

Thanks to a wonderful site called Woot I have been sidetracked from writing.  Woot was kind enough to have a 3 day Woot-off during the Winter meetings.  Sorry people, my geek life takes precedence occasionally.

Now, onto the recap.

No Mo Ro Pa:

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies swapped catchers.  Ronnie Paulino was sent to the Phillies for a return of Jason Jaramillo.

BTW Take:

Looking at stats alone, it seems Jaramillo has a better eye in the minors based on his walk numbers alone.  Beyond walks, there minor league stats aren't much different. 

The sad think for Ronnie, he went from being a backup catcher to Ryan Doumit to potentially being blocked by Carlos Ruiz and Lou Marson.  People seem to think Paulino is a good hitting catcher.  He never showed a .310 average was in him while playing in the minors.  Remember it took a few injuries to even get a shot in Pittsburgh. 

He was praised for his handling of pitchers, but his defense was lousy and his offense came back to earth after his fluke of a .310 season as a rookie.  A .280 minor league hitter does not turn into a .310 MLB hitter.  Paulino also earned a tag of being lazy, whether he deserved that tag or not is something you can decide.

Jaramillo was considered a top prospect not long ago.  He is only a year younger than Paulino.  This seems to be a trade to grant Paulino his wish of a trade while getting a player back that Russell has managed in the past and was very high on.  More or less, a slacker for a hard worked.


Rule 5:

The Pittsburgh Pirates took Donnie Veal in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft.

In the Minor League portion, the Pirates did something unusual, grabbing players from the Latin Summer Leagues.  The players taken in the Minor League portion are Andres Santos ( 22, New York Yankees) Rafael Quintero (21, Cleveland Indians), Gerardo Esparza (21, Seattle Mariners). The first two were in the DSL, Esparza in Venezuela.

BTW Take:

Veal seems to be a solid pickup.  He has had some tough times over the last 3 years off the diamond.  If he can get his game together, this guy could be a steal.  I found this article on his personal problems over the last 3 years.  He lost both his parents, his mother to cancer and his father to a diving accident.

The minor league pickups I have not found much on, but the fact the Pirates went outside the norm makes these moves even more impressive in a creative kind of way.  Dejan has a nice little write up on this in the PBC Blog, the 6:05 update.


Free Agent Signing:

The Pirates are on the verge of signing a 2 year contract with Ramon Vazquez. 

BTW Take:

Everyone seems to think this is a precursor to a Jack Wilson or Freddy Sanchez trade.  I have my doubts.  This has the smell of a move to have an additional option if Andy LaRoche or Neil Walker can't take the Hot Corner.  Vazquez could play third or Freddy could move back to third if both prospects fail to make the grade.  Vazquez has played 255 games at third.

Just because rumors swirl about a Wilson trade doesn't make Vazquez the next shortstop.


Bixler a Marlin?:

Rumors swirl about the Marlins being interested in Brian Bixler.

BTW Take:

I'd hate to see Bixler go.  I had the opportunity to see Bixler play in College.  If you asked me to give a CHP (Can He Play) rating, I would say he can play.  I think he struggled with the initial call up.  Don't be surprised if he doesn't perform worlds better in his next call up.


McCutchen To Pittsburgh:

In one of Huntington's press meetings, he made a statement McCutchen will "likely" be on the MLB roster sometime in 2009.

BTW Take:

I am anxious to see what he can do.


The BIG News:

The Pirates are in discussions to sign extensions with Maholm, McLouth and Doumit.

BTW Take:

McLouth and Maholm make sense.  Doumit scares me with his injury history.  Last season he stayed mostly healthy, but I'd like to see him do it again before dropping a long term deal on him.

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