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 MLB.com 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.