After a late tweet last night by Troy Renck of the Denver Post fired up the hot stove, the Bucs made it official: LHP Joe Beimel, from St. Mary's and Duquesne, is returning to Pittsburgh after leaving in 2003.
The left-handed specialist signed a minor league deal with an out clause if he doesn't make the Opening Day roster. And he'll almost certainly make it; there's no proven LH competition. The minor league deal is just some slight of hand to keep the 40-man roster intact for a few more weeks.
Interestingly, Major League Trade Rumor's Tim Dierkes said that Beimel had other unspecified major league offers and even a proposed two-year deal, but chose to return to Pittsburgh for 2011. Local ties, Clint Hurdle, who coached him in 2009, and the lack of lefties apparently swung the deal.
EDIT - Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review tweeted that "Beimel's offers from Baltimore and Boston were minor league offers. He turned down ML offer from Pirates that was for less $$ (than his split contract)." He added the MLB portion of the contract was for $1.75M with $300K in possible bonuses, double his $850K salary from 2010. So add geld to his reasons to return.
Beimel, 33, has a 4.16 career ERA over 562-1/3 innings, and beside Pittsburgh, has pitched for Minnesota, Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington and Colorado. He was 1-2 with a 3.40 ERA for the Rox in 2010, holding lefties to a .221 average, although righties toasted him to the tune of .329. His lifetime splits aren't so far apart: .259 LH/.288 RH.
With Jose Veras and Beimel virtually locked into bullpen spots, the guys that are out of options - Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio, Jeff Karstens, Scott Olsen and Charlie Morton among them - better bring their A games to camp.