> The Bucs are supposed to be one of the teams in play to sign Ty Wigginton, who Dave Littlefield dumped in 2005. He'd provide another third base/OF option for the Pirates, and also has experience at first and second. Wigginton would be a good fit, and Devan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette confirmed Pittsburgh's interest.
So far the Indians, Giants and Reds are kicking his tires, and the Twins are known to be looking for a thirdbaseman. The going price is guesstimated by Tim Dierkes at MLB Trade Rumors to be $5-6M/year, based on Casey Blake's recent contract.
We don't see him returning. Not only does his cost seem high, but the Bucs aren't in a position to offer him a starting position unless other guys - namely, Andy LaRoche and Brandon Moss - flounder. Still, he and Juan Rivera look like the only right-handed OF options left with some pop in their sticks, and Wigginton's versatility is a huge plus considering the many Pirate question marks going into 2009.
> In a related note, Alyson Footer writes in MLB Hot Stove Blog: "Chris Gomez could be an attractive option (for the Astros). The 37-year-old veteran of 16 Major League seasons played in 90 games in 2008 for the Pirates, batting .273 with eight doubles and 20 RBIs in a backup role. He also earned only $1 million, which suggests he may be affordable for a team like the Astros, who are attempting to fill out their roster under extremely frugal guidelines."
> Rob Beirtempfel of the Tribune Review writes that "(Daniel) Cabrera's agent, Mike Powers, exchanged several e-mails over the weekend with a Pirates official. The Pirates have not yet made an offer for Cabrera, a right-hander who last season went 8-10 with a 5.25 ERA in 30 starts for the Baltimore Orioles.
Powers said he already has gotten two firm offers for Cabrera and expects a few more this week. Pirates management is very interested in Cabrera, and almost assuredly will make an offer."
There'll be a line, we think. The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly reports in Peter Schmuck's column that eleven teams have called Powers and "expressed interest" in Cabrera.
> Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com has some kind words about RHP Bryan Morris, an often forgotten piece of the Jay Bay deal. She says: "Those who have scouted Morris and watched him pitch project him as being a mid-to-upper rotation starter down the road. Morris could very well be the best piece to come out of that (Bay) deal.
Morris has a fastball in the mid-90s and a power breaking ball and is probably one of the best pitching prospects the Pirates now have in their farm system."
> Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports that Jason Michaels has signed with the Astros. The deal was for a year, with a base of $750,000 plus incentives. Despite a .224 batting average in 2008, the career .271 hitter drove in 53 runs over 286 at-bats. So much for the Pirate suits wanting to bring Michaels back, hey?