I’ve been keeping an eye on rumor-centric sites (Tim Dierkes’ is particularly good; I read one on Yahoo!, too), wondering when and if the Pirates are going to make a move this year.
I think it’s safe to say there are but three Pirates on the market: Shawn Chacon, Salomon Torres and Damaso Marte. That’s probably the order in which Littlefield would like to move them, too.
- I don’t think Littlefield’s savvy enough to offer Chacon arbitration this off-season (necessary in order to earn a sandwich pick for June’s draft), so he’ll be the typical impending free agent drop. We won’t get much in return.
- Grievance or no grievance, Salomon Torres should be available at the right price. He’s an older player, and the Pirates have a stable of young, unproven right-handed relievers. He’d fit a contender’s bullpen nicely, much like Roberto Hernandez did last year. Since he’s still under our control, there’s a chance he’ll survive to see another season in Pittsburgh.
- Torres is more easily replaceable than Marte. Littlefield might hold onto Damaso because he’s a valuable commodity—but really, he’s not to us. Like a good closer (Mike Gonzalez), a LOOGY really only has a place on a competitive ballclub. Still, moving more than one or two relievers would blow a hole wide open in the Pirate pen. I can’t see the Bucs dropping this entire trio.
I’m sure we’d love to dump Jack Wilson, too, but it just doesn’t seem likely. Jose Castillo would be available, but no one wants him, either.
The problem, I suppose, is this: Every time I look, I see new late-inning guys hitting the trade block. Dan Wheeler, for instance, should catch someone’s eye. Maybe Armando Benitez and Byung-Hyun Kim would, too? Octavio Dotel’s been getting a ton of attention, as have Eric Gagne and Akinori Otsuka. The Scott Linebrink deal made it cool to shop your firemen.
In just the past day or so Littlefield’s lost a lot of leverage. If he asks for a king’s ransom for Salomon Torres, then his phone will stop ringing. Only Damaso Marte stands out from the crowd now; he’s by far the most talented lefty for sale.
I’d like to see something get done, if only to spark a new storyline. This edition of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club’s putting me to sleep.