Sunday, July 18, 2004

No More Stopgaps?

Here's a very encouraging column. Kevin McClatchy suggests that the Pirates may not pick up a bunch of eighth-tier veterans this off-season, and will instead simply trust the young players they already have.

Columnist Joe Rutter suggests that Daryle Ward may be back at first, however, which seems strange to me - I believe he's arbitration-eligible, and he's had one good month in the past two years. Unless he has a stunning second half, I don't know why the Pirates would take him to arbitration when they could just as easily play J.R. House or Craig Wilson there. House would probably be just as good as or better than Ward, in addition to being younger and cheaper.

Of course, this is all moot if the Pirates trade Jason Kendall and install House behind the plate. In that case, I probably still wouldn't start Ward - I'd move Wilson to first and put J.J. Davis, Tony Alvarez and Jason Bay in the outfield. But at least you could make a good case that Ward would be a nice guy to have around. In that case, I'd non-tender him and try to sign him to another cheapo contract right after that.

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