Saturday, November 27, 2004

Pirates Redouble Efforts To Make Themselves Worse

Just when you thought you couldn't be more upset about the Jason Kendall trade, Dave Littlefield just found some new ways to ruin your day!

Here's the fallout: Frank Brooks has been designated for assignment in order to make way for Mark Redman and Arthur Rhodes, both of whom had higher ERAs than Brooks last year. Brooks will be 26 next season, and thus likely to improve; Rhodes and Redman will also probably bounce back a bit from last year, and Redman will probably pitch a lot of innings, but those two aren't getting any younger. I'd put Brooks at even money to outperform Rhodes next year. Unfortunately, he won't be doing it for the Pirates, so we may as well consider the trade to be Kendall, cash, and Brooks for Redman and Rhodes.

Oh, and it gets worse: the Pirates recently found out that J.R. House has another minor league option in 2005, so he probably won't be in competition for a starting job. Thus, the Pirates will try to go get a catcher, even though they like Humberto Cota.

What good would it do to send House to AAA again? He did very well as that level last year and he's a highly regarded prospect. Craig Wilson can also catch if need be, and the Pirates also have Ryan Doumit and Ronny Paulino in the high minors. They don't need a catcher. House and Wilson may not be great defensively, but their offense is so far beyond what the Pirates will be able to get on the free agent market that they'll easily make up for it.

Also, given the market for catchers and the current free agent climate, now seems like a very bad time to try to get another catcher. Damian Miller, who's a good defender but an injury risk who isn't a good bet to outperform House on offense, recently got a three year deal from the Brewers for over $8 million. Henry Blanco, who hasn't posted an OBP above .267 since 2001, recently turned down a two year deal with the Twins. The Twins then reached a two year deal with Mike Redmond, a career backup. The Pirates risk spending too much on a catcher and committing to him for too long. It is an extremely bad bet that whoever they get will be better than House. Also, if the Pirates sign another player to a major-league contract, they'll lose yet another youngster to waivers. Why are the Pirates even considering this?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. We were told this year we wouldn't be signing any worthless veterans to take playing time away from our young prospects, thus setting our development back even further. Then, there are stories popping up everywhere we're going to look for a veteran catcher. For what purpose? To hit .220 and give us a "veteran presence"? I'd rather have a group of young guys fighting for each other and have either Cota or House hit .280 with 20 homers combined.

7:24 PM  

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