Next in our Offseason In Review series, the Pirates.
Major League Signings
- Octavio Dotel, RP: one year, $3.5MM. Includes $4.5MM club option for 2011 with a $500K buyout.
- Ryan Church, OF: one year, $1.5MM. Arbitration-eligible for 2011.
- Brendan Donnelly, RP: one year, $1.35MM.
- Bobby Crosby, SS: one year, $1MM.
- Javier Lopez, RP: one year, $775K.
- Total spend: $8.125MM.
Notable Minor League Signings
- Brian Bass, Brian Burres, D.J. Carrasco, Vinnie Chulk, Neal Cotts, Wilfredo Ledezma, Jack Taschner, Tyler Yates, Luke Carlin, Brian Myrow, Jonathan Van Every
Trades and Claims
- Claimed P Justin Thomas off waivers from Mariners
- Acquired 2B Akinori Iwamura from Rays for RP Jesse Chavez
- Claimed P Chris Jakubauskas off waivers from Mariners
- Acquired Rule 5 pick OF John Raynor from Marlins
- Acquired 3B Jesus Brito from Indians for SS Brian Bixler
- Claimed OF Brandon Jones off waivers from Braves
- Jesse Chavez, Matt Capps, Chris Bootcheck, Denny Bautista, Phil Dumatrait, Luis Cruz, Robinzon Diaz, Brian Bixler, Jeff Salazar
Between Iwamura and their free agent signings, the Pirates added about $13MM in guaranteed money this winter. They also non-tendered Capps, who earned $2.425MM last year.
In Dotel, the Pirates may well get a performance similar to that of Capps. And the club option on Dotel gives the Pirates a possible second year at a defined price rather than a potential arbitration disagreement with Capps for 2011. That said, GM Neal Huntington has to be questioned for getting nothing at all for Capps. Huntington blamed his front office's leak of a potential non-tender for the disappearance of Capps' trade value, but the reliever could've been dealt during the '09 season, during Spring Training 2010, or during the '10 season.
They aren't big names, but I like the Pirates' free agent signings. The relievers could have midseason trade value, and getting Carrasco on a minor league deal was a win. Church and Crosby will challenge the incumbents and even offer a little bit of upside for $2.5MM.
Surrendering five years of Chavez for one of Iwamura, and paying Iwamura $4.85MM, diverges from Huntington's plan. Reading Huntington's comments to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the GM seems to be going for respectability with this move. Why not keep Chavez and sign Kelly Johnson at half the price, while also potentially retaining Johnson for 2011? Maybe Iwamura puts the Pirates on the radar of other Japanese players, but this move raises an eyebrow.
Despite concerns about Capps and Iwamura, I liked the Pirates' offseason. The Orioles and Nationals, in a similar rebuilding-for-2010 position, threw down $30MM each. The Pirates spent only $13MM, and most likely will be open to trading any of their new acquisitions if it improves the club in the long-term.
I liked the Pirates offseason too. Yeah, the Bucs screwed up on the Matt Capps affair, but I don’t think it will have long-term ramifications. I definitely think trading for Aki was a way for the Bucs to lure in future Japanese players. I don’t see the Pirates dealing Aki midseason unless two things happen: 1) Pedro Alvarez is ready for the big leagues and 2) Andy LaRoche is productive enough to justify a move to second base when Alvarez reaching the majors.
This is exactly how non-contenders should conduct an off-season. I’ll bet that the Pirates improve at approximately the same rate as the Nats and O’s but do it with only spending 1/3rd of the money those clubs did.
I love the Aki trade. He is a solid 2nd baseman and a good on base Guy who can fill our 2 hole. I hope to see him sign an extension because we have no 2nd base prospects, unless Chase D’Arnaud is moved there. This IS also to help them attract Japanese players. Since NH took over they have tried to sign players like ryota igarashi, junchi tazawa, and that lefty screwball Guy whose name I can’t remember.
hisanori takahashi was his name
The pirates bolstered their pen with former stars that could revitalize their diminished skills. For instance, with Javier Lopez delivering a side arm ERA of about 2, and Dotel slated to save at least 20 games as their new closer, they could possibly make a short-lived run against other teams in their division. So, this season is not a lost season for the pirates, yet. There is hope.
I think Pedro Alvarez will be up in June…if not sooner if there is an injury to a 1B or 3B. The sooner they can get him into the big leagues, the sooner the Pirates will have one of the best-hitting young lefties in all of baseball.
i think their outfielders should be fun to watch! Milledge (if he can get his head on straigh), McCutchen, & Garrett Jones, awesome!
John Raynor could end up being a real steal, and it shouldn’t be hard to keep him on the roster all year because he is useful with his speed and has good strike zone judgement for a AA player. He also has completely outplayed Brandon Moss, Ryan Church and every other outfielder on the team this spring save for maybe Delwyn Young, who was also a steal.
Iwamura’s hard nosed play, and excellent baseball instincts will be a help to all the youngsters on the team. They can learn a lot from this guy.
I agree on Raynor. He brings some tools to the table that this team could really benefit the club when/if used correctly throughout the year. Can play CF when McCutchen needs a rest or either corner spot (could be especially valuable if that deadbeat Milledge keeps going the way he does). Question (in reference to Milledge) at what point does one’s “prospect potential” vanish and the reality that he’s never going produce set in?
Like this becasue if at deadline were loosing badly, we can trade veteran bullpen guys to contenders