Keeping Up With The Jones’
The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed Brandon Jones off waivers from the Atlanta Braves. Brandon Jones was DFA’ed when the Braves signed Eric Hinske. A scouting report on Brandon Jones can be found here, and stats can be found here.
Jones was dropped repeatedly by the Braves in the depth chart regardless of his readiness due to experienced players being brought into the organization. He is an athletic and highly touted player much in the mold of many of the outfielders Huntington has acquired in his tenure. His defense is above average and he is said to have an above average arm in the outfield. His bat is said to be MLB ready.
While there was speculation a trade was imminent another roster move was made…
Steven Jackson DFA’ed
In a less than expected move, but not quite shocking, Steven Jackson was DFA’ed to make room for Jones on the 40 man roster.
With the number of relievers, quality relievers at that, still available via free agency, moving Jackson off the 40 man roster should not be a surprise. While Jackson will likely garner some attention, he has a good chance of clearing waivers when similar pitchers are still available and willing to agree to a minor league contract that does not tie up a 40 man roster slot.
When pitchers like Brian Bass and D.J. Carrasco sign minor league deals, the odds another team would take Jackson on a waiver claim seems much slimmer to me.
It is a gamble, but I would call it a calculated risk that Huntington is taking.
No Arbitration Hearing For Duke
The Pirates and Zach Duke avoided arbitration by agreeing to a 1 year contract valued at $4.3 M.
No surprise on a 1 year deal as is customary when dealing with arbitration. Duke was in his 2nd year of arbitration with one more remaining after this coming season.
What Does This All Mean? And Thanks For All The Fish.
I believe Jeff Clement will not be on the Opening Day roster with Pittsburgh. It seems the recent moves point towards the Pirates wanting Clement to get a little more time playing first base in AAA before he takes the field for the Pirates at the MLB level.
With the number of outfielders on the roster, Garrett Jones can resume play at his natural position of first base. The athleticism in the outfield with the additions of Ryan Church, Brandon Jones and rule 5 pick John Raynor. Add those names with Young and Moss, and there isn’t much room on the 25 man roster for Clement, Garrett Jones and Steve Pearce.
It has been an interesting offseason so far, but I feel there is yet more to come after the Dotel signing is finalized.
Would the Pirates be daring enough, bold enough, even crazy enough to make a free agent signing that could spur them into the discussion for one of the most improved teams of the offseason? Would the Pirates be willing to sign an ace? Yes I am talking about Ben Sheets.
Why would he sign with the Pirates and why would they try to sign him?
First, the Pirates can guarantee Sheets has the chance to be on a contending team by years end. If/when the Pirates are out of it come the trade deadline, they can move him to a contender.
Second, Sheets would have the opportunity to prove he is still ace quality and earn a large payday after the season while pitching in a less stressful environment for most of the season. Think of it as a minor league rehab assignment while collecting a MLB paycheck and pitching against MLB hitters.
Third, if he led a staff that ended the longest losing season streak in pro sports history, he would automatically be enshrined in the Pirates Hall of Fame and become a legend in the city of Pittsburgh.
Forth, the opportunity to work with the legendary Dave Kerwin and stick it to the Brewers.
For the Pirates:
First, Sheets would provide a true ace on the staff and set up a very nice rotation of Sheets, Maholm, Ohlendorf and Duke.
Second, it would add a player who could be traded at the deadline for a bounty of prospects or be kept and land a first round pick as a type A free agent.
Third, a signing of Sheets would raise the Pirates payroll and keep the dogs of the union and the commissioners office off the trail of not spending revenue sharing. The Pirates do have a sizeable amount of cash still available under their self imposed salary cap they could use to lure Sheets to Pittsburgh.
Forth, it would give the fans a sense the Pirates want to win.
Will it happen, no. Should it happen? I believe yes. It is a gamble considering his history of injury problems, but Huntington seems to be a gambling man based on his history of acquisitions.
Update: I forgot one Item