Monday, February 23, 2009

Another AAA Infielder

The suits signed Ruben Gotay, a 27-year old utility infielder, to a minor league contract today. In parts of four seasons, he's a lifetime .255 hitter, and about a league average second baseman, where he's spent the vast majority of his playing time.

Gotay has a couple of tenuous Pirate ties - he was traded in 2006 to the Mets by KC for old Bucco farmhand Jeff Keppinger, now a Red, and his uncle Julio Gotay had a couple cups of coffee with Pittsburgh in 1963-64. He'll report to the minor league camp in Bradenton, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette.

Our question is whassup with this move? The Bucs have really stocked up on infielders: holdovers Brian Bixler and Luis Cruz from Indy, to be joined by Shelby Ford, shortstops Pedro Lopez and Anderson Machado, plus Andy Phillips, who plays every infield spot but short. And we expect Brian Friday to start at Altoona.

That's a lot of guys to man the middle of the diamond at Indy and Altoona, even if one of the above lands a utility role behind Ramon Vazquez, and suggests a couple of things to us.

One, and most obvious, is that they want some upper level depth in anticipation of moving the major league infielders, Jack Wilson and/or Freddy Sanchez. That would certainly break up the current logjam.

Two, with all the middle-of-the-infield talent stacked up in Class A and still seasons away from hitting the show, they may just want to strengthen their hand in the minors for competitive reasons.

All that's left behind Bixler and Cruz on the depth chart are Friday and Ford for the short term. That's the state of the Pirate minor league system today.

So it's another small move today to stock the cupboard that Dave Littlefield left so bare. We'll know the new dawn has arrived when the Pirates can promote their own talent from within instead of digging through other people's dumpsters and hoping for the best.

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