As the bewitching hour approached, the FO tendered all its arb-eligible dudes: Joel Hanrahan, Charlie Morton, Chris Resop, Jeff Karstens, Evan Meek, Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones. Jason Grilli was signed to a new contract earlier in the evening, so the Bucs kept the roster in one piece for the time being.
It's good news that the Pirates tendered those guys; all bring something to the table. And we are pleasantly surprised that management kept the gang together, overcoming their innate "grass is greener" syndrome.
First, they let C Jason Jaramillo go, leaving Mike McKenry as the backup to Rod Barajas, although Scooby Doo showed no particular talent with a bat or plays at the plate. They released IF Pedro Ciriaco and picked up Gustavo Nunez, whose next visit to the AAA level will be his first, and Yamaico Navarro of the good bat and iffy glove.
They swapped out OF Xavier Paul for Nate McLouth as the fourth outfielder, which is the closest move to a bench upgrade they've made. 3B Casey McGehee is a roll of the dice. If 2011 was an anomaly and not the norm, he nicely fills a corner role for the Bucs that had no obvious internal answer. And given the market, he's worth the risk.
Barajas and SS Clint Barmes filled self-created holes, but don't figure to add much to the Pittsburgh portfolio. Both are dependable in the field, but look to be the seven-eight hitters in a lineup begging for some help. LHP Erik Bedard is a welcome upgrade to the rotation, especially if Clint Hurdle can nurse 20-25 starts out him, and is easily the top FA signing of the off-season.
Of course, the blueprint to success is based on the improvement of the young guys. If the pups like J-Mac, Charlie Morton, McCutch, the Pittsburgh Kid and Jose Tabata can build on 2011 and Pedro Alvarez returns to his late-season 2010 form, the Bucs have enough pieces to build around. And that is the key to the team moving down the road, not the market.