Wednesday, September 22, 2004

New Paul Meyer

Paul Meyer thinks the Pirates will bring back Daryle Ward next year. This would likely entail taking Ward to arbitration, which would be an extremely stupid thing for the Pirates to do: Ward plays bad defense, he can't run at all, and he doesn't get on base nearly enough to be a starting first baseman. Let me put it this way:

Randall Simon '04 = Daryle Ward '05

Well, that's not entirely fair. Ward has a bit more power than Simon, and Simon's implosion this year was so spectacular that it's hard to imagine Ward duplicating it. But the similarities between the two players are striking, and they're both marginal players in even their best years. The Pirates should save their money on this one. First base can be handled internally - and not by the execrable Carlos Rivera, but by Craig Wilson, J.R. House or even Brad Eldred.

Meyer also reports that Ty Wigginton will likely play third base for the Pirates next year. Again, that's a very bad idea - sure, he'll be cheaper than Ward, but his instincts are terrible at third, and he never reaches base. Wigginton's main skills - looking like a high school bully and piledriving people who wear masks - would be far more useful in the WWE than in major league baseball.

Allow me to offer a potential solution to these problems.

1. Trade or non-tender Ward.
2. Install J.R. House or Brad Eldred at first.
3. Make sure Dave Littlefield is tied to the mast when the Pirate ship passes the Simon's island.
4. Use whatever resources are available to sign a real third baseman. Adrian Beltre and Troy Glaus will be free agents; obviously the Pirates won't be getting those guys. But while the big-market teams fight it out over those two, Meyer reports that Corey Koskie will be available, and he could provide excellent production at a relatively low cost in the next couple years. Unlike Wigginton, his defense is very good, and unlike most Pirates, he has a track record of getting on base consistently. He also runs well.

Koskie might be affordable for the Pirates because he's having a bit of an off year. But he's still been well above average, and his dropoff has been heavily concentrated in his batting average, which suggests he'll be able to bounce back.

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