If they continue at their current pace, the Pirates will win 69 games this year, a level they haven't reached since 2004. That year, Oliver Perez posted a 2.98 ERA with 239 strikeouts, Jason Bay slugged .550, and Jose Mesa saved 43 games. Today's Bucs links:
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports has a feature on the Jeff Clement, one of few draft picks among the first dozen in 2005 who has yet to become at least a big league regular. The Mariners nearly chose Troy Tulowitzki third overall instead of Clement, but GM Bill Bavasi apparently drafted for need. Clement's agent Brodie Van Wagenen believes his client didn't get a legitimate opportunity with the Mariners. Clement is trying to move forward as a first baseman for the Pirates, once he recovers from knee surgery.
- Regarding recent low-risk pickup Brandon Wood, GM Neal Huntington told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Our scouts still see the authority off the bat, they still see the raw power, they still see the impact. Obviously the guy with this kind of pedigree, sometimes a change of scenery helps these guys. Our due diligence we did said it's a good person, it's a hard worker who needed a change of scenery." Wood's Pirates debut will come tonight at third base, batting sixth against John Lannan and the Nationals.
- Freddy Sanchez took his '09 trade from the Pirates to the Giants hard, he told Brink's colleague Dejan Kovacevic. It didn't help that he wasn't able to contribute much to his new team due to knee and shoulder injuries.
- Be sure to check out MLBTR's Pirates Facebook and Twitter pages and RSS feed. For my look at the team's 2012 contract issues, click here.