Pirates Eyeing Rick Ankiel, Possibly John Grabow

The Pirates have money to spend in free agency and a desire to be more aggressive than last year, GM Neal Huntington told Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  Huntington admitted that former Pirates may be of interest, leading Kovacevic to speculate that lefty reliever John Grabow could be a target.  Kovacevic also learned that outfielder Rick Ankiel is on the Pirates' radar.

A few weeks ago, we discovered that the Pirates will have less than $30MM committed heading into 2010 after beginning this season with a $48.7MM payroll.

Grabow may re-sign with the Cubs before reaching free agency.  But if not, it's pointless for a team like the Pirates to spend even a few million on a walk-happy 32-year-old lefty reliever.  The situation would only be compounded if the Cubs offer arbitration to Grabow, who projects as a Type A free agent.

Kovacevic suggests Ankiel's "superb athleticism is a potentially fine fit for PNC Park's spacious left field," and I agree.  It's been a brutal year (.234/.286/.390), but Ankiel has suffered through groin and shoulder injuries.  He'd be intriguing on a one-year deal in the $3MM range.  Plus, such a signing would prove the Pirates can deal with Scott Boras despite last year's Pedro Alvarez drama (Chris Bootcheck's minor league deal notwithstanding).

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