Images From Spring Opener (Without the Squashed Manatees)

As you no doubt know, the Pirates beat up on a hapless junior college squad in their spring opener by a score of several million to one, roughly.  For some reason, the annual game against the junior college Manatees is usually something less than a laugher.  The Pirates even lost a few years ago, courtesy of Virgil Vasquez.  This time, however, the junior college kids struggled to throw strikes and make routine defensive plays. Not...

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Filling Out the Farm

One of the less attention-grabbing rituals of the baseball off-season is the signing of minor league free agents. Most or all of the major league teams will sign a significant number of free agents, most of whom will end up in AAA. Teams use their AAA rosters partly as the equivalent of taxi squads, to maintain depth in the event of injuries or other problems in the majors. Of course, if all your AAA players were obtained as minor...

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Pitching Depth – Looking Back

Three years ago, Neal Huntington took over a team with a farm system widely regarded as barren. Seven years of poor drafting, unwillingness to spend any money in Latin America, and general disinterest in the system on the part of GM Dave Littlefield resulted in a shockingly weak organization, especially for a team that had been drafting early in the first round for many years. Going into the 2008 season, Baseball America rated the...

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Candidates To Be Added To The 40-Man Roster

The Pirates not only will face a lot of difficult decisions in removing players from the 40-man roster, but also in adding them.  Two factors contributing to the crunch are the numerous trades in which the team acquired prospects and surprising seasons from several players who’ve been around a while.  What follows is a list of the more significant players in the system who will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft, as well as a few...

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Candidates To Be Removed From 40-Man Roster

This off-season the Pirates will probably face a much tougher set of roster decisions than they have in years.  Several factors are coming together to create a lot of those decisions.  The team has spent a couple years now accumulating players, very few of whom have established themselves as solid major leaguers.  Many of the players who were acquired as major leaguers, or near-ready major leaguers, are out of options.  Many of the...

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