First of all, I apologize for the site being down for a few days. As you can see, we were moving to a new layout and, unfortunately, there were some technical issues during that process. AKA, I don’t understand how computers work. If you have been following us via an RSS feed, be sure to update to our new feed.
It was a lousy couple of days for me to have knocked the blog out of commission, as Neal Huntington began making moves like a madman. Things kicked off with a bang, as Brian Bixler was traded to the Indians for Jesus Brito. Brito is an interesting fringe prospect, which is much more than anyone expected to get for Bixler. However, he has only a slim chance of turning into anything down the road, and probably will never reach the level that Bixler already has reached. Still, Bixler was a likely candidate to be removed from the roster, so it is nice to get something in return.
Next on the agenda was Zach Duke avoiding arbitration by signing a one-year contract worth $4.3 million. This was just a bit higher than I expected, as Duke is expected to be about a 2-win player in 2010. The Pirates have been paying about $3 million per win this offseason, which would place Duke around $3.6 million when we account for him being in his second year of arbitration. The $4.3 million that Duke received means the Pirates are paying him about $3.6 million per win. This is not shocking by any means, but I was somewhat surprised that he cracked the $4 million mark for the season.
A few hours later, Huntington plucked Brandon Jones off waivers from the Braves. Jones is a nice free pick-up, as he would probably provide average production if given a full-time opportunity in the big leagues. He also has an option left, which gives him an advantage over guys like Brandon Moss and Delwyn Young. With various question marks like Garrett Jones and Jeff Clement (and to a lesser extent, Lastings Milledge) expected to start for the Pirates this year, it doesn’t hurt having a decent young outfielder available in Triple-A. There has been talk that the Pirates may have claimed Jones just to flip him to another team, which may make the previous paragraph irrelevant. But if he hangs around, I would expect him to receive some significant playing time in Pittsburgh at some point this season.
After some fancy temporary roster juggling, Huntington designated Steven Jackson for assignment to make room for Jones. Jackson had a solid ERA last year, but his 21/20 K/BB ratio shows that he is due for some major regression. No big loss there.
Dejan just reported that the Pirates have also agreed to terms with Octavio Dotel on a one-year contract. No financial terms are known at this point, and someone must be cleared from the full 40-man roster to make room for him. I expect we will see a marginal player traded to open that spot, similar to the Bixler deal we have already witnessed.