Thursday, December 8, 2011

Now that the dust has settled....

Today marked the end of the annual Winter Meetings in Dallas that started on Monday. The Pirates weren't as busy as the Marlins or Angels, but they did churn quite a few moves up during the meetings, with some fairly interesting little moves.

Here's a summary of some of the Pirates moves:
1. They signed Nate McLouth. I guess McLouth didn't completely burn all bridges with his crying and whining after his trade in 2009. McLouth signed a 1 year, $1.75M deal with the expectation that he would be the 4th OF. McLouth may be a good reclamation project, as he readily admitted that he dug himself into a hole in Atlanta that he couldn't get out of easily.

2. The Pirates traded Brooks Pounders and Diego Goris to the Royals for Yamaico Navarro. Set aside Goris, who was a 4 year player in the DSL -- without going to the trouble of tattooing it on his forehead, you can assume Goris is not a prospect. Pounders was my personal #31 prospect, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over him. Pounders pitched out of relief this year in West Virginia (and did well), but he may lack the stamina to be a starting pitcher long term. The Pirates have a large amount of starting pitching options going to Bradenton next year, so this was a good use of trading from depth. In return the Pirates get Navarro, who will be 24 in 2012. Navarro was a well-regarded Red Sox prospect that was traded to the Royals last summer for Mike Aviles. Navarro has his warts -- he has an attitude problem and concerns about his weight -- but he should be a nice option as the utility infielder this year for the major league club.

3. The Pirates signed Erik Bedard. This was the most surprising one, to Pirate fans and the media alike. Bedard signed a 1 year, $4.5M deal with some incentive clauses. When healthy, Bedard is a legit #2 style pitcher. The problem is that he hasn't been healthy much in the last 4 years. In 2011, he pitched 129 innings, which was the most since 2007. It's too bad you can't time pitcher injuries, because if Bedard can hang in until Morton comes back from his hip surgery, then get injured, then come back and hang in until one of the AAA pitchers (Owens, Locke, McPherson) are ready....well, that would be handy.

Additionally, the Pirates cleared some space for these guys by:
1. Releasing Ross Ohlendorf. This one hurts a little because Ohlendorf seems like a real good guy that will probably do better things in his life post-baseball. Ohlendorf has had too many injuries to warrant his $2M arbitration award that he was likely to receive this year.

2. Designating for assignment Jason Jaramillo and Pedro Ciriaco. I hope Ciriaco saved all that money he accumulated by being, inexplicably, on the ML squad in 2011. He barely played, even as a defensive replacement or pinch runner, yet hung around for the better part of the year. Jaramillo is a completely fungible back up catcher that will not be missed long term.

Derrek Lee also treated the Pirates like the chubby girl at the dance by declining arbitration, in hopes of getting a gig with whoever missed out on the Pujols-Fielder sweepstakes. It will be interesting to see if the Cubs have interest in bringing him back, as they had some interest in Pujols. I can't see Fielder going there, though.

I have a feeling that the Pirates will be definitely in on Lee or Carlos Pena, as I can't buy the notion that Nick Evans and Garrett Jones will be platooning there in 2012.

The Pirates also signed Jose Morales as AAA depth at catcher. In the Rule 5 draft, the Pirates lost Brett Lorin to the Diamondbacks and picked up Gustavo Nunez from the Tigers. I just don't see where Nunez will fit in at the ML level or even at AA if they can work out a trade.

I will continue to beat the drum that the Pirates should trade some prospects for a pitcher like Ervin Santana or Gavin Floyd. The Angels need to offload some payroll to accommodate the new salaries of Pujols and Wilson. The White Sox are in the midst of a rebuild and can use every prospect they can get their hands on.

The Pirates have made marginal improvements around the edges of the team, with Bedard being a nice upgrade pending good health. Not a bad Winter Meetings period, but I expect another move or two.


  1. Did anyone alert every McDonald's franchise in the state of Missouri that Pounders arrival is imminent?

  2. I'm hoping he makes the majors so that he can go to Arthur Bryant's in KC. That will be like Godzilla v. Tokyo.