Friday, December 3, 2010

Milledge, Veal Cut Loose

In a bit of a surprise, the Pirates non-tendered OF Lastings Milledge and didn't offer a contract to LHP Donnie Veal, along with SS Argenis Diaz and LHP Brian Burres.

Milledge, whose erratic outfield play, sometimes comical baserunning and lack of power became trademarks in 2010, still was the closest thing the Pirates had to a platoon/fourth outfielder on the roster, is only 25, and always gave 100% on the field physically.

The brass say they're open to bringing him back, but it's difficult to imagine LM not wanting to start clean with another organization after becoming an afterthought in Pittsburgh. It's also difficult to imagine that the FO feels he has any upside, as they let him go when his salary would probably be in the $750K-1M range.

If the Pirates don't make another move, it appears that Ryan Doumit will become the RH right fielder, and he only batted .186/2/10 in 129 AB as a righty. The nearest thing the Pirates have to MLB ready RH outfielder in their system is Altoona's Gorkys Hernandez, who is a much better defender than Milledge but has no pop at all in his bat.

Veal underwent TJ surgery last season. Rather than carry him on the 40-man roster, the Pirates didn't offer him a standard contract but plan to resign him to a minor league deal.

Burres' release was also unexpected; he fit in adequately as a fifth starter, going 4-5 with a 4.99 ERA. Just yesterday, team president Frank Coonelly said in his monthly chat that Burres was a candidate for the fifth rotation spot. There's a chance they may ink him to a minor league deal, though Altoona's staff is ready to land at Indy en masse in 2011.

Diaz, a good gloveman, got caught in a numbers game of upper level Pirate middle infielder prospects, and his bat (.242/.306/.273) wasn't strong enough to hold off the more toolsy Pedro Ciriaco and the approaching wave of prospects.

Joel Hanrahan and Ross Ohlendorf were tendered contracts. They don't have to file for arbitration until mid-January and the hearings aren't until February, so they have that long to work out a deal with the Bucs before an administrator does it for them.

Ronny Cedeno signed a one-year contract reportedly worth $2M+ with a club option in 2012, and Jeff Karstens signed for one year/$1.1M.

Previously, the Pirates had signed Wil Ledezma to a one year contract, dealt Zach Duke to Arizona, and released Andy LaRoche and Delwyn Young, who are now free agents. Their 40-man roster is now at 36, so they have some room to bake and shake during the upcoming winter meetings.

There are a couple of interesting non-tender players who were cut loose around the league: Jack Cust, Matt Diaz, Sean Green, JP Howell, Bobby Jenks, John Maine, Russell Martin, Andrew Miller and Zach Miner among them; maybe there's a player or two there who interest the FO.

Former Bucs that were tendered are Jose Bautista, Sean Burnett, Matt Capps, Rajai Davis and Zach Duke (Duke signed a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2012). Those who were non-tendered include DJ Carrasco, Ryan Church, and Ronny Paulino.

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