Before I get to the meat of the post, here is a quick link for an interview on Mets Paradise of the best blogger I know personally. He really is a great guy.
Free Agents Signings
Frank Coonelly did his monthly chat on the Pirates.com website. The full transcript can be found here. One question and answer caught my attention more than the others:
bucsin09: Hi, Frank! Is it safe to assume we are done with free-agent signings and trades before Spring Training?
Coonelly: With the [Octavio] Dotel, [Brendan] Donnelly, [Ryan] Church, [D.J.] Carrasco and [Javier] Lopez signings and several Minor League free-agent signings, it is likely that we will head into Spring Training with the current group. We are, however, keeping tabs on certain free agents who might be a fit if their financial demands soften.
Coonelly and crew are “keeping tabs on certain free agents who might be a fit if their financial demands soften.”
Who would “fit” if they soften enough?
Let me compile a list from the MLBTradeRumors.com free agent list.
First, let us eliminate some positions.
The Pirates are well stocked in the outfield with the following outfielders on the 40 man roster:
Shortstop is very thin with remaining free agents, so they also can be ruled out. Here is the list:
Chris Gomez (39)
Third base is a no brainer on the depth chart with LaRoche, Walker and Alvarez on the 40 man. They won’t be looking into 3B options.
Second base also is fairly well manned right now, I doubt any interest will be made of the following FA’s:
Adam Kennedy (34)
Felipe Lopez (30) - Type B, not offered arb
Pablo Ozuna (35)
I do think it may be worth keeping an eye on all three, depth never hurts considering Iwamura did have injury problems last season.
Doumit and Jaramillo will man behind the plate. I would not be surprised to see Tony Sanchez make an appearance if either gets injured. Although it is more likely we would see a call up from AAA or Neil Walker stepping behind the plate as a super utility guy. Here are the free agents available, just for reference sake. I removed Torreabla since he is rumored to be nearing a deal.
Paul Bako (38)
Rod Barajas (34) - Type B, offered arb
Michael Barrett (33)
Jose Molina (35)
Javier Valentin (34)
Now, that ends the elimination round. Lets look at who the Pirates may be considering.
Ideally Jeff Clement or Steve Pearce show they can handle MLB pitching and field the position. If neither steps up to the plate during spring training, Garrett Jones is the fall back option. This makes me wonder if the Pirates may be looking at an outside option. I bolded the players below who may be a “fit” when their salary request “softens”.
Rich Aurilia (38)
Hank Blalock (29)
Russell Branyan (34)
Tony Clark (38)
Carlos Delgado (38) - Type B, not offered arb
Nomar Garciaparra (36)
Mike Jacobs (29)
Daryle Ward (35)
Dmitri Young (36)
The three of Blalock, Branyan and Jacobs could all add some decent pop to the middle of the lineup. Protection for Garrett Jones and Ryan Doumit can only help whatmay be an anemic lineup.
Branyan hit 31 home runs in 116 games for Seattle last season.
Blalock hit 25 home runs in 123 games for Texas.
Jacobs hit 19 home runs in 128 games for the Royals.
The list is long, so I am only bolding the ones I think may “fit”.
Brandon Backe (32)
Cha Seung Baek (30)
Erik Bedard (31) - Type B, not offered arb
Kris Benson (34)
Paul Byrd (39)
Bartolo Colon (37)
Adam Eaton (32)
Shawn Estes (37)
Tom Glavine (44)
Mike Hampton (37)
Livan Hernandez (35)
Jason Jennings (31)
Jason Johnson (36)
Braden Looper (35) - Type B, not offered arb
Noah Lowry (29)
Pedro Martinez (38)
Eric Milton (34)
Dustin Moseley (28)
Mark Mulder (32)
Odalis Perez (33)
Sidney Ponson (33)
Mark Prior (28)
Jason Schmidt (37)
John Smoltz (43)
Brett Tomko (37)
Chien-Ming Wang (30)
Jarrod Washburn (35)
Todd Wellemeyer (31)
Kip Wells (33)
Lowry, Wang and Prior are coming back from injuries. There should be some scheduled workouts for both in the coming months. Neither Wand nor Prior are likely to be ready for the start of the regular season, though Wang just started doing long toss and Prior is working off of a mound. Lowry recently postponed a workout session to get some extra time on the mound.
I did skip a few other names, mostly due to rumors of them signing in the next couple weeks.
Left Handed Reliever
Considering there is only 1 lefty in the pen, this could be the actual target for a free agent. Like before, look for the bolded names.
John Bale (36)
Joe Beimel (32) - Type B, not offered arb
Alan Embree (40)
Ron Mahay (39)
Will Ohman (31) - Type B, not offered arb
Glendon Rusch (35)
Scott Schoeneweis (36)
Ron Villone (40)
Jamie Walker (38)
Considering the lack of lefties, any one of them could be a target. I selected the ones that have been scouted by the Pirates in recent years and or weeks.
Leave some comments below as to anything I may have overlooked. I’d like to get a good discussion started on this one.
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