Thursday, December 09, 2004

New Bucs Minor League Signings

Dave Littlefield has made several nice no-risk signings.

One of them is Mark Corey, who we've all seen before. He'll likely do what he did last year, spending part of the season at Class AAA and pitching in Pittsburgh when someone gets injured. He should continue to be a pretty good low-cost option.

Littlefield also signed Damon Minor to a minor league deal. I like this move a lot. Minor was looking like a very good prospect after he racked up 30 homers and 87 walks in the PCL as a 25-year-old in 2000. He barely played in 2001, then was a helpful role player for the Giants in 2002. He didn't hit in 2003, which got him traded to the Phillies, who sent to AAA Scranton, where he didn't hit much either. He was back in the Giants' organization in 2004 and he again hit well, with 17 homers and 50 walks in only 338 at bats. He can apparently handle first base and he possesses obvious power and patience, so if the Pirates are lucky they could end up with a very good bench player next year at virtually no cost to them.

Another new addition is Joe Roa, who's a control pitcher - he doesn't strike out many guys, but he doesn't walk many either. He's pitched for about a jillion organizations and hasn't been effective for all of them, but he was decent all year coming out of the Twins' bullpen.

Indianapolis' third baseman next year will be Jose Leon, who turned 28 yesterday and has spent his career with the St. Louis and Baltimore organizations. He hasn't hit in any of his brief stops in the majors, but they've been brief, and he tore the cover off the ball at AAA Ottawa last year. Hopefully, he won't be the Pirates' 2004 version of Chris Truby, killing the ball all year at AAA despite a gaping hole at third base at the major league level.

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