Free Agent Rumors: Dotel, Francis, Webb
The Pirates carry a 41 man roster since Friday, then wait until the day I’m out of town to make their move. Also while I was gone, there were some rumors on the free agent market:
-The Pirates are interested in bringing back Octavio Dotel, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports. The Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays are also pursuing Dotel. We heard two weeks ago that the Pirates had inquired on Dotel. They were able to sign him last year because no other team was willing to give him the closer role. Toronto and Tampa Bay are two teams that are without a closer, so the same approach might not work this year. The rumor is interesting, as it suggests that the Pirates could be looking to put Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek in the set up roles again, rather than using one as a closer.
-Jerry Crasnick reports that the Pirates have interest in starting pitcher Jeff Francis. Crasnick also mentions the Mets, Nationals, Rangers, and Yankees as teams who have shown interest in the former Colorado starter. This also isn’t really news, as we have heard that the Pirates had interest in Francis before. If Francis was acquired, he would be put in a battle for the fifth starter role with Scott Olsen, Charlie Morton, Brad Lincoln, and Jeff Karstens, although if the Pirates traded Paul Maholm, that group would be battling for two open rotation spots.
-MLBTR has the latest on Brandon Webb. The right hander is being pursued by the Rangers and Nationals, while the Cubs pursuit has slowed. There is also a mystery team from the NL Central expressing late interest. The Reds and Brewers have been ruled out, which leaves the Cardinals, Astros, and Pirates. The Pirates have shown an interest in Webb already this off-season, and it’s been reported that the two sides have a mutual interest. Still, there’s no guarantee that the mystery team is the Pirates.