Friday, January 07, 2005

Pirates Sign Koonce

The Toledo Blade reports (scroll way down) that the Pirates have made four more minor league signings. WTM and Rowdy have both also pointed this out.

The news of of catcher Paul Chiaffredo's signing is neither especially interesting nor actually news (WTM has had Chiaffredo's name up on his site for weeks). Kirk Bullinger, another new signee, is just AAA filler.

Brian Mallette carved up the minor leagues as a reliever and put together a good season at Class AAA Louisville last year. He could be a nice fill-in if a reliever gets injured.

The most interesting of these signings is Graham Koonce, a veteran minor leaguer who possesses loads of power and patience but has never gotten a shot in the big leagues. Former Giants first baseman Damon Minor, who signed a minor league deal with the Pirates in December, is about the same age as Koonce and has a similar skill set. Minor, however, agreed to play in Japan a couple weeks ago. Koonce takes Minor's place.

Hopefully, Koonce will be allowed to compete with Daryle Ward in spring training. Ward's contract isn't guaranteed, and even given that the Pirates would have to pay a chunk of Ward's salary if they cut him, Koonce could easily be better than Ward for a fraction of the price. At the very least, Koonce should give Ward good reason not to show up to camp out of shape again.

KFFL reports that the Pirates have also signed Edwards Guzman, a no-hit catcher who might be a backup at Indianapolis.

UPDATE: This post has been corrected based on Brian's note in the comments section. Thanks, Brian.


Blogger Wilbur Miller said...

Rotoworld (or some such place) reported a while ago that Minor was expected to sign with a Japanese team, presumably with the Pirates' blessing. I assume Koonce is replacing him. I'd rather have Koonce, anyway, not that he'll ever see PNC.

10:18 PM  

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