January 27, 2009

Free Agents Conclusion

This isn’t the conclusion I was hoping to write, but it looks like the Pirates are close to signing someone.  To recap, Huntington is looking for a versatile right handed bat.  I guess that makes the next sentences all the more wrong.

The Pirates are in contract discussions with left handed hitting Eric Hinske.  Hinske is a corner outfielder/infielder. 

The Pirates have also been in touch with Juan Gonzalez.  Gonzalez is limited to outfield duty and likely would be better suited to play in the AL this season, for no other reason than his age of 41. 

Meanwhile another left handed bat has changed his outlook on free agency.

Bobby Abreu has lowered his asking price to 3 years and $30M.  Abreu, 34, is a 20+ HR guy who can play any position in the outfield.  He is also a player who will have trade value at the deadline.  If the Pirates were willing to go a little over budget, they could have a player to flip for prospects at the deadline.  This type of signing would show the fans ownership is willing to fork out some cash and can bring back more prospects later in the season.

Dejan Kovacevic tallied the Pirates payroll to be near $47.9M if the Pirates win both arbitration cases.  If they lose both cases, the total would be 50.1M.  This would allow the Pirates $4.9M-$7.1M to spend on free agency if they hard capped at $55M.  A deal for Abreu might be had at 3 years $24M with incentives to reach $10M a season.  The market is prime for a market the size of Pittsburgh to add talent on the cheap.  Considering what is being paid to Adam LaRoche, this deal would be a bargain.  After the season and LaRoche is off the books, Abreu would eat up what is freed by LaRoche.

If nothing else, it would appease fans that are begging for a real free agent signing while proving ownership isn’t in this for the pocket lining. 

Signing the next free agent would also appease fans and fit the description of what is being looked for.

Doug Mientkiewicz is still not mentioned, even though he has proved his versatility to the team.  Oh, by the way, he bats right handed.

Some other names to watch for, in some instances again:

Juan Uribe, 28 – Right handed hitting infielder.  He could fill in the shoes Jack Wilson will leave behind if traded.

Ty Wiggington, 30 – Right handed hitter who can play LF, RF, 1B, 2B, 3B.

Brad Wilkerson, 31 – Left handed hitting OF, 1B.  Injuries are always a concern for him.  Has not played in over 140 games since 2005.

One other free agent that will likely be rumored but would not sign with Pittsburgh is Tony Garciaparra.  Also known as Nomar.  If you live in Boston, it is Nomah.

I maintain the best fit for what the Pirates are looking for is Doug Mientkiewicz.  I don’t understand what is going on with the front office when they proclaim they are looking for a versatile, right handed bat to come off the bench and have a player who wants to return that fits the mold to a tee.  Someone please explain.

 

From the pitching side, Pedro Martinez has been mentioned.  Look for a John Garland rumor to start in the next few days.

 

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