My apologies to the GW gang for the unexpected vacation; lately Blogger, Comcast, and my PC have been at loggerheads. Hopefully that's now a thing of the past. The good news is that we haven't missed much:
-- Pirates pitchers Ross Ohlendorf and Joel Hanrahan filed for salary arbitration. They'll be given hearing dates in February, and they can agree to a deal any time up to the judge's final decision.
It's likely they will come to an agreement, as the current FO hasn't yet gone to arbitration with a player. But - isn't there always a but? - the market has been very kind to back end relievers so far, and that might impact the bottom line the guys are seeking. Even if the FO hasn't noticed, we're pretty sure the agents have.
-- The Pirates have offered RHP Jose Veras a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training workouts, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes. So have the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, Minnesota Twins, Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays.
The 30-year-old reliever pitched last season for the Fish. He had a 3-3 record with a 3.75 ERA. In his 48 innings pitched for the Marlins, he allowed 32 hits, 20 runs, walked 29 and struck out 54. Veras has spent five season in the majors and has a career ERA of 4.24 and 170 strikeouts in 178 innings. Power arm, Pirate interest.
He should decide which offer to accept this coming week.
-- Pirate target LHP Jeff Francis has signed with the KC Royals. This means the Bucs are probably done adding to their starting pitching, even though Jon Heyman of SI wrote that "a veteran starting pitcher couldn't hurt -- though how much it would help is debatable."
As for the remaining FA's, Carl Pavano is looking at a return to the Twins (although there is some speculation that there is still a mystery team in the bidding), there are questions whether or not Chris Young's arm is ready for prime time yet, and the smart money says that Justin Duchscherer will have to work out the pen, at least in the short term.
Joe Blanton, Tom Gorzelanny, Kenshin Kawakami and Armando Galarraga are the top names on the trade market (along with Paul Maholm). Sure not much to rummage through this year.
-- RHP Ian Snell is back in the NL Central. The Cards signed him to a minor league deal with an invite to camp.
-- The Mets have signed C Raul Chavez to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.
-- The Giants will take a peek at Brad "Big Country" Eldred and Ryan Vogelsong during camp as non-roster invitees.