Tuesday, July 27, 2004

More On Mientkiewicz

I've been thinking about all the Mientkiewicz-to-Pittsburgh rumors. Obviously, 90% of all trade rumors never come to fruition, but this one seems at least reasonably credible, with the Chicago Sun Times reporting that the deal is close to being announced. The way I see it, there could be three things going on here:

1) Dave Littlefield is really, really infatuated with Mientkiewicz. That sounds ridiculous, but Littlefield tried to acquire Mientkiewicz before, and he insisted on the inclusion of Jose Hernandez in last year's Aramis Ramirez debacle.

2) Littlefield is trying to swing some sort of three-way deal. I'm thinking something like Benson to the Twins, Mientkiewicz and Jose Mesa to Boston and Jason Kubel and low-level Boston and Minnesota prospects to Pittsburgh. This wouldn't be too bad - Minnesota clears the salary it probably needs to pay Benson, the Pirates get a good prospect and some lottery tickets and are out from under Benson's contract, and Boston (or the Yankees, or Atlanta, or somebody) gives up very little in exchange for a bad contract and decent relief help.

3) Littlefield is taking on Mientkiewicz' contract in order to increase his asking price for Benson. I think this one's extremely unlikely, since the Nutting/McClatchy administration hasn't wanted to spend on anything recently, but if Littlefield can get more as a result of taking on Mientkiewicz he'll be doing the Pirates a service. Mientkiewicz has negative trading value because of his contract, but if that contract were to be used to help the Pirates acquire a better package of prospects, I could live with having him around as a top pinch hitter and defensive sub for the rest of this year and next. At the very least, it would probably mean we'd never have to see the likes of Randall Simon or Carlos Rivera again.

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