The Pirates signed veteran first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz to a minor league contract today. Mientkiewicz, 33, missed much of last season with the Yankees nursing a broken wrist. He posted solid numbers when healthy, sporting a line of .277/.349/.440 in 166 at-bats. Mientkiewicz’s last productive season came as a 29-year-old with the Twins in 2003. He hit .300/.393/.450 in 487 at-bats that season. Since then, he has been mostly mediocre.
This is not a bad move for the Pirates. They are risking little, and Mientkiewicz can provide some extra depth to a bench that is looking to be a huge weakness for this team. He can draw a walk (11.6% career BB%), so he should be able to post a decent OBP even if his average is unspectacular. This signing continues the pattern the team has followed this offseason. Sign a bunch of low-risk, low-reward type players and hope to get lucky. It is a solid strategy for a team that desperately needs to rebuild the organization.