> Dejan Kovacevic reported in the PBC Blog that the Bucs are kicking the tires of 37-year old utility infielder Mark Loretta, late of the Astros.
> Frankie Osoria signed a minor-league deal with the Royals that includes an invite to camp according to the Kansas City Star.
> MLB.com reports that pitcher Junichi Tazawa, according to several media outlets in Japan, is expected to announce his signing with the Boston Red Sox in the early part of next week, perhaps as soon as Monday. The deal is for 3 years/$3M.
The Pirates showed some interest in Tazawa, but he had only played amateur ball on the islands, making him the equivalent of a college draftee in the States. They decided the cost was too much for the current product, much like they did with Tanner Scheppers in this year's draft.
> MLB.com has the bios of four former Bucs on the 2009 HoF ballot:
Steve Gilbert recalls the playing days of infielder Jay Bell,
Kelly Thesier covers the career of the king of the curveball, knee-breaker Bert Blyleven,
Ed Eagle and Jenifer Langosch tell the tale of RF'er Dave Parker, aka the Cobra, and
Jordan Bastian chronicles long-time MLB reliever Dan Plesac, who spent a couple of years in the Bucco bullpen.
> Scratch one bargain bin pitcher from the Pirate list. Mike Hampton inked a one-year, $2M deal backloaded with another $2M of inning-based incentives with the Astros, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, pending the results of his physical.
> MLB released its schedule of events for the coming year, from today's arbitration to 2009's winter meetings at Indianapolis and everything in between.