-- Clint Hurdle is in town today for his interview. Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that the Pirates are down to Hurdle and in-house candidate Jeff Banister as the finalists for the job. A decision on the skipper's spot should be made shortly thereafter.
-- From Frank Coonelly's MLB.com chat: "...we have the capacity to add meaningfully to our 2011 payroll if we are able to secure players who will help us win in Pittsburgh. We have the capacity to have a payroll over $50 million and we'll add those payroll dollars if we are able to bring in players that can help us win."
He added "...we'll aggressively pursue adding at least one starting pitcher during the off season, either through a free-agent signing or a trade. Of course, the free-agent market for starting pitchers is rather thin this off season and thus there is no guarantee that we will be able to add a free-agent starter..."
-- Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets that notes that Pittsburgh could be interested in Jeff Francis if former Rockies' manager Clint Hurdle is hired to manage the Bucs and if Zach Duke is non-tendered.
-- In with the new, out with the old: the Colorado Rox declined Octavio Dotel's option. And FC mentioned that the team would consider adding an experienced closer to the Bucco bullpen mix. Talk about circumstance and opportunity meeting head on...
-- Beside free agency, Coonelly was upbeat about the rookies on the way to the show, saying "...one or more members of the Altoona Curve starting rotation (Rudy Owens, Bryan Morris, Justin Wilson and Jeff Locke) could force his way into our starting rotation at some point in 2011.
"Alex Presley, our Minor League player of the year, has put himself in the position to compete for a role with the club next year. And there are several exciting young bullpen arms who have a chance to have an impact next year as well.
"Position player prospects like Tony Sanchez, Starling Marte, Josh Harrison, Chase d'Arnaud, Jordy Mercer, Andrew Lambo and others may be a year away but all will be working to demonstrate that they deserve a shot on the Major League roster at some point in 2011."