Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hot Stove Embers

OK, so Rocco Baldelli proved you can go home again when he signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox.

The Rhode Island native got a guarantee of $500,000, roster bonuses of up to $1,750,000 if he gets through the season without landing on the DL, and $3,000,000 more in plate appearance incentives, triggered by 325 ABs and topping out at 600 visits to the dish according to the Boston Herald for a posiible $5,250,000 .

He becomes their fourth OF, and can DH if his fatigue flares up again. So it's a good fit for Rocco. Heck, the Red Sox even gave him Nomar Garciaparra's old number #5. It's hard to beat home cookin'.

Where's that leave the Bucs in their quest for a RH bat? Well, Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette wrote that the Pirates inquired about the X-Man, who the Yankees are allegedly hot to move, but it doesn't look like much a match for a number of reasons.

First of all, the Bucs are unlikely to ship any arms to the Evil Empire, which is their asking price for Nady (or Nick Swisher, who they also talked about). After all, wasn't getting pitching the point of the original deal?

The 30-year old is up for arbitration after earning $3,335,000 last year, is a free agent after the season, and Scott Boras is his agent. Sounds like three strikes to us.

The pickings are kinda slim for a RH bat in the FA market once you scratch Manny off the list. Possibilities are OF Ty Wigginton and Gabe Kapler, 1B Kevin Millar and 3B Joe Crede. Maybe Jonny Gomes could get a nibble.

Jenifer Langosch at suggests that the Bucs might look at a lefty stick, but assuming Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn are too pricey, that leaves guys like Eric Hinske and hometown hero Dirt Dog Doug Mientkiewicz.

Less hope remains for moundsmen, even with the news that Phil Dumatrait, already way behind in rehab, has been shut down with shoulder inflammation. Pedro Martinez rumors are still whispered, and Atlanta's Chuck James might be worth a minor league deal.

The possibility of a trade exists, too, but if there are any irons in the fire, the rumor mill has been mum about them.

Frank Coonelly said in a fan chat that "We recognize, of course, that our fans are frustrated... We cannot, however, repeat mistakes of the past by making poor investments in overpriced (and over-the-hill) free-agent players simply in an effort to excite our fan base by providing them with unrealistic hope based on the signing of one or two marginal free agents."

Sure sounds to us like the hot stove is down to its ashes.


long4willie said...

If the Dodgers cut ties with Jones, I think it would be a good shot to take. Also, I still believe the Bucs could do a trade with the Dodgers, Jack or Grabow for Jones and a minor league player. If you sign him cheap, nothing lost if he doesn't rebound, but if I somehow figures out what went wrong, you can sell him high for the teams in contention.

WilliamJPellas said...

Not a bad idea in theory, but Jones looks finished to me. I'd rather see Jonny Gomes in here than Andruw Jones.

Big Snack said...

I gotta agree with both of you...I think he'd be a worthwhile risk, or at least the type the Buccos of today should be taking, but at the same time, it looks to me like he's finished.

He seems content with his millions, and I certainly didn't see that flair last year that always made him so much fun to watch. But at the same time, maybe seeing himself in a Pirate jersey at his relatively young age will make him wonder how it all went away so quickly and how he can get back up to where he once was.

Who knows though, if the offseason to date is any indication, nothing will come of this or any other rumor running wild in our minds right now.

Ron Ieraci said...

For my two cents, guys, I liked Baldelli because he was young and fit into a rebuilding mode. I never thought he'd start, but he did have the potential to platoon and pinch hit until he got his physical issues under control.

It's pretty telling when he turned his back on all three NL teams and took the only AL offer.

Andruw is 32, and while he's got a great pedigree, I think the Pirates are at a point where its probably to their benefit to trot out Moss, Pearce, and eventually McCutchen.

Still, I certainly wouldn't be disappointed to see him patrolling right for a couple of seasons.

But he's a big risk - does he have the fire in his belly anymore? He is young enough, but he's been coasting for a couple of years and does have 13 big league seasons worth of wear and tear already.