OK, the Pirates have their sights set on a RH outfielder with some pop and a vet starter for the bottom of the rotation. We're assuming that they're not looking at the top guns, and that leaves precious few ballplayers that won't want Jay Bay money for Jay Michaels performance.
We took a peek at the upcoming FA crop. Assuming they want to stay at the $5M or under mark, there's not that much out there.
Outfielders? Maybe Juan Rivera and certainly Cliff Floyd and Gabe Kapler are in their bracket, or Rocco Baldelli if he's able to play. That's a huge if. If the list gets expanded to the infield corners, Casey Blake and Hank Blalock should be on the radar, though Blalock has a club option and may not hit the market.
Pitching? The Big Unit? A popular choice, but probably still overpriced for the Bucs, though we'd love to see him in the locker next to Dirt Dog Doug. Do you think that would lift the Buc's intensity level up a decibel or three?
Maybe Freddy Garcia and Odalis Perez, or if they take a risk, McCandless Township's achy Matt Clement are in play. Clement's another big question mark, medically.
Now we admit we're just taking a grope in the dark. We really don't know how much they're going to allocate for free agency, and that will affect the list. But we see them trying to sign someone to a Xavier Nady priced contract, and not much more.
There's not a lot of depth to the pitching after the top dogs, unless you think Kip Wells looked good in a Pirate uniform. And as we saw last season, that gap drives up the going rate for arms. Teams like to lock up the middle of the rotation; it's the smart play.
But hey, it's fun to play GM. Look at the list and throw your log into the hot stove. It makes the off-season a lot more bearable, even if CC and Mark Teixeira don't sign here. Well, we can dream, can't we?