Sunday, November 2, 2008

Free Agent Follies

OK, not much here. After the debacle in the early 90s when Barry Bonds, Bobby Bo, Andy Van Slyke and Doug Drabek walked out of town, even Cam Bonifay and Dave Littlefield realized that you have to move your guys before their contract runs out if you can't re-sign them.

The Pirates were never free agent players historically, and that certainly is true of this decade. The list reminds us of a walk down a spooky old lane, waiting to see what apparition of an over-the-hill ballplayer will pop up next and yell "Trick or Treat, Pittsburgh!"

Still, you wonder if they'd kept a couple around, or at least gotten more than a bag of BP balls for them (except, notably, for Jeff Suppan and maybe Roberto Hernandez), if Pittsburgh might have won a game or three more...nah, probably not.

Here's the stuff that fueled the last ten local hot stove leagues (and don't rag over the year listed - some of these guys have been brought back two and three times. GW doesn't know if it's the players that never learn, or the Pirates):

2008 - Mike Burns, Raul Chavez, Elmer Dessens, Casey Fossum, Chris Gomez, Michel Hernandez, Byung-Hyun Kim, Jose Macias, Doug Meintkiewicz, Luis Rivas, Craig Wilson, Jaret Wright;

2007 - Mike Edwards, Jose Hernandez (they just love this guy!), Matt Kata, Danny Kolb, Victor Zambrano;

2006 - Jeremy Burnitz, Masumi Kuwata, Joe Renda, John Wadsin;

2005 - Ben Grieve, Roberto Hernandez, Albie Lopez, Marty McLeary, Todd Ritchie;

2004 - Pat Mahomes, Carlos Maldonado, Ruben Mateo, Orlando Merced, Jose Mesa, Raul Mondesi, Rick Reed, Randall Simon (especially useful for those road trips to Milwaukee), Chris Styne, Daryle Ward;

2003 - Jeff D'Amico, Kenny Lofton, Jeff Reboulet, Dennys Reyes, Reggie Sanders, Jeff Suppan, Julian Tavarez;

2002 - Brian Boehringer, Mark Corey, Wayne Gomes, Josias Manzanillo, Brian Meadows, Curtis Pride, Pokey Reese, Scott Service, Matt Stairs, Ron Villone, Mike Williams;

2001 - Mike Lincoln, Mendy Lopez, Ramon Martinez, Solly Torres, Marc Wilkins;

2000 - Derek "Operation Shutdown" Bell, Terry Mulholland; (manager Lloyd McClendon actually said of these two signings that "This sends shock waves. Pittsburgh is no longer a doormat in the free-agent market." Good thing he wasn't a scout.)

1999 - Wil Cordero, Pat Meares, Todd Von Poppel, Luis Sojo, Dale Sveum (Meares inked a $14 million, four-year contract, and then hurt his hand, virtually ending his career).

Might the Pirates sign a mid-level free agent this year? Maybe, but we're betting against it. Kinda makes you wonder about all this buzz around free agency, hey?

BTW, do you guys think Pittsburgh should be kicking the tires of Juan Uribe now that he's on the market?

(The filing period for free agency began Thursday, October 30th, and will run through Thursday, November 13th, so we'll have more on that when everybody has declared.)

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