Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman posted an interesting tweet earlier today:
This is a new strategy for the Pirates’ front office. In recent years, they have laid low early in the free agency period in an attempt to wait out any potential targets. Combined with the firing of John Russell, this tells me the organization is planning to make a strong push to significantly improve the win-loss record in 2011. That may or may not be the correct strategy at this point, considering the team needs to improve by at least 30 wins to contend for the postseason. But that is another post for another day.
UPDATE (11/8/2010, 5:45 PM): Heyman supported the tweet in his column this morning, adding a name.
The Pirates, by the way, seem active in early free-agent calls. They are believed to be showing interest in some surprising free agent prizes, such as [Adrian] Beltre. Whether this is because they are being encouraged to spend more by MLB isn’t known.
It is certainly surprising to hear Beltre’s name affiliated with the Pirates. He is coming off a tremendous 7-win season, is a Type A free agent (meaning the Pirates would have to surrender their second round pick in a deep 2011 draft if they signed him), and he just turned down a $10 million option with the Red Sox. A FanGraphs poll estimated that he would earn a contract around four years, $52 million. In other words, it does not sound very realistic.