-- Jon Heyman of SI writes "The Pirates...are believed to be showing interest in some surprising free agent prizes, such as (3B Adrian) Beltre. Whether this is because they are being encouraged to spend more by MLB isn't known."
Sure an upgrade over Bobby Crosby, Ramon Vazquez and Doug Mientkiewicz, hey? Guess they are willing to move Pedro to first, after all.
-- Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors adds his wager to the pot. He selected the Top 50 Free Agents and matched the team they'll sign with; he even had the Pirates landing one: "The Bucs are not typically big game hunters in free agency, but (Hiroki) Kuroda represents a chance to add one of the better available arms with perhaps only a two-year commitment."
Geez, and we'd have been happy with Jon Garland. We wonder if Neal Huntington knows that Cliff Lee is available?
-- The beat guys report that the Pirates signed LHP Justin Thomas to a minor league deal for 2011 with an invite to camp.
-- RHP Sean Gallagher didn't have enough minor league time accrued to become a free agent, so he'll be under the club's control through 2011 even though he was outrighted to Indy, according to Jen Langosch at MLB.com.
-- The Australian Baseball League, out of action since 1999, has started again this weekend. It’s styled after winter ball leagues in Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic and backed by MLB.
Pirate prospects playing are RHP Mitch Fienemann, LHP Paul Mildren (ex-Bucco; he played for Lynchburg in 2009), C Dylan Child and OF Quincy Latimore for the Adelaide Bite; LHP Rinku Singh with the Canberra Cavalry; and RHP Jarryd Sullivan for the Sydney Blue Sox.
All but Singh and Latimore are Aussies; Singh is from India and Latimore...well, it's a long way from Raleigh, North Carolina to Adelaide, but somehow he caught the bus.