> Frank Coonelly said that, in spite of the 40-man roster being full, that "we have the ability to make a roster move or two to give us an opportunity to select a player or players in the Rule 5 Draft. I fully expect us to be below 40 on our 40-man roster when we are in Las Vegas for the Rule 5 Draft."
Doesn't sound good for Jason Davis or Raul Chavez getting tendered during arbitration. Then again, maybe he plans on a couple of deals in the next 10 days, with the return being guys young enough to leave off the 40-man.
> Jack Splat and Detroit are still an item, according to the Detroit Free Press: "Detroit is involved in ongoing discussions with the Pittsburgh Pirates regarding shortstop Jack Wilson, according to one industry official familiar with the talks.
The teams have not yet exchanged concrete trade proposals, the official said, but there appears to be genuine interest on both sides."
Wilson, by the way, was quoted as saying that he's open to dropping his limited no-trade clause to go to Detroit. The 32-year-old is the only remaining Pirate who was on the roster when PNC Park opened in 2001. Talk about breakin' up the old gang...
> Dejan Kovacevic reports in the Post Gazette today that Doug Mientkiewicz said he will give the Pirates the right of last refusal if he has a deal elsewhere, and also that the Dodgers are still players in the Jack Wilson raffle, too.
In fact, it could very well be that Huntington and Coonelly are playing LA and Motown off one another right now. Maybe Splat will fetch a fair price, after all.
> MLB.com picked its Top 50 Prospects List, and Andrew McCutchen is sittin' pretty at number #12. He's 22 now, and even if the Bucs aren't sure, we think he's about ready to make his move to the show. After all, he was the #8 prospect last year; we'd hate to see him keep regressing. We expect to see him in Pittsburgh by June or July.
> Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com announced something completely different - "General Manager Neal Huntington announced that Marc DelPiano will be joining the organization as a special assistant.
The hiring of DelPiano marks the fourth new special assistant that Huntington has brought on board since the conclusion of the 2008 season. DelPiano, along with new hires Jim Benedict, Joe Ferrone and Keith Champion, join returning assistants Larry Corrigan, Jax Robertson, Doug Strange and Pete Vuckovich on Huntington's team.
As for DelPiano, he most recently served as a special assignment scout with Boston, a post he had been at since 2006. Before moving to the Red Sox organization, DelPiano spent a combined 10 years with the Expos and Marlins. During that time, DelPiano worked as an area scout, a scouting supervisor, a director of player development and an international scouting director."
Maybe they should look for a couple of guys that they can put in the field instead of the front office.
> The Pirates announced today they are freezing the prices of individual game tickets for the 2009 season. They had previously announced that season ticket prices would be frozen and in some cases, even discounted. Sanity prevails.
> Former Buc prospect, SS Brent Lillibridge, is moving on. The Braves sent him to the White Sox in the pending Javier Vazquez deal. The 25-year old's speed and glove are outstanding, but he only hit .200 at Atlanta, and he couldn't win a spot on the club. He's expected to challenge for Chicago's wide-open second base job during camp.
> Free agent Russell Branyan and the Seattle Mariners agreed Wednesday to a $1.4 million, one-year contract, according to the Sporting News.
The left-handed-hitting Branyan batted .250 with 12 homers and 20 RBIs in just 132 at-bats with Milwaukee last season. He has hit 133 home runs in 11 major league seasons, including 24 in 2002 and 18 in 2006. He can also play first base, third base and be a designated hitter.
Branyan said Pittsburgh also was serious about giving him a one-year contract.