While the Pirate pitchers and catchers are getting poked and probed by the medicos, GW thought he'd take a quick lap around Bradenton and the league to see whassup as we enter spring traing:
* Now that the batteries are in camp, the next reporting date is Monday, when the position players are due in. Full squad workouts start Tuesday.
* The Bucs and Nate McLouth still may reach a middle ground on contract numbers and avoid arbitration. "It's possible we will be able to reach an agreement, and maybe more so today than when I spoke to you last," McLouth told Jen Langosch of MLB.com. "I don't know what odds I would put on it or what percentage, but there's a chance."
If they do ink a deal, it'll be a one-year contract, and they'll agree to disagree until next season.
* Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette picks out what he sees as the top ten issues confronting the 2009 edition of the Buccos, topped by Adam LaRoche's miserable April starts.
* Rob Beirtempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that LHP Phil Dumatrait just began tossing this week and looks like a very likely bullpen candidate to start the season.
* The Associated Press' Alan Robinson talks about the Pirate pitching. Buc skipper John Russell had this to say about Joe Kerrigan and his staff: “Joe is not going to be a miracle worker, he’s not going to come in and sprinkle fairy dust around and everybody’s going to be a Cy Young pitcher. But these guys will be better.”
* The Top 100 prospects list of 2009 was released by Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus. Pittsburgh is represented by Pedro Alvarez (#4), Andrew McCutchen (#25), and Jose Tabata (#91).
Current Bucs that were on the 2008 list were Andy LaRoche (#14), Andrew McCutchen (#24), Steve Pearce (#43), and Neil Walker (#94).
* The Sporting News takes the view that the 2009 Pirate squad will end up in the cellar of the NL Central Division.
* Tom Singer of MLB.com explains how the hot stove turned cold for so many free agents this year. He lists the guys that took the biggest pay cuts this off-season:
• Jason Giambi: cut $15.75 million ($21 million with Yankees to $5.25 million with A's).
• Mike Hampton: $13 million ($15 million with Braves to $2 million with Astros).
• Bobby Abreu: $11 million ($16 million with Yankees to $5 million with Angels).
• Andy Pettitte: $10.5 million ($16 million to $5.5 million with Yankees).
• Carl Pavano: $9.5 million ($11 million with Yankees to $1.5 million with Indians).
• Pat Burrell: $7 million ($14 million with Phillies to $7 million with Rays).
• Adam Dunn: $5 million ($13 million with Reds/D-backs to $8 million with Nats).
• Omar Vizquel: $4.9 million ($5.3 million with Giants to Minor deal with Rangers).
• Jason Varitek: $4 million ($9 million to $5 million with Red Sox).
• Angel Berroa: $3.95 million ($4.75 million with Dodgers to Minor deal with Yankees, valued at $800,000 if on big league roster).
• Juan Uribe: $3.5 million ($4.5 million with White Sox to Minor deal with Giants, valued at $1 million if on big league roster).
• Brad Penny: $3.5 million ($8.5 million with Dodgers to $5 million with Red Sox).
* Baseball America rates the #1 draft picks of the decade - and hey, they actually have three numero unos they consider worse selections than Bryan Bullington!