Free Agency, Now There’s Something New
What? The Pirates are looking into sign free agents? This is weird…
Now I’m not quite an expert, although I do like to think I’m almost there (hehe), but what do the Pirates want with a 30-year old outfielder on the downslope of his career when we already have Lastings Milledge, Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, and Jose Tabata in the organization? Now, Garrett Jones could and should be moved exclusively to first base this year, assuming the Pirates finally give up on Steve Pearce like we are all waiting for them to do. This would leave an outfield spot open until Jose Tabata comes up and takes it, which will probably be at least until June of next season. There’s a good chance it will be longer than that too, but I still don’t get paying pretty good money to fill that void for those months.
The Pirates aren’t expected to seriously contend next year, and despite the lacking fan support and the pressure to put wins on the board in the present, I still believe our focus should be on the future. If Rick Ankiel were 25, then yeah, make the move and have him in case Jose Tabata doesn’t work out for whatever reason, but by the time we can know if Tabata is for real or not, Ankiel will be 32 or 33 and just about done. Sure, if the Pirates get him it will indefinitely give us more wins this year, but I think that will be the difference of 70 to 75, and will still leave us well out of playoff contention.
Now, if the Pirates do sign him, I’m not going to say I’m going to be mad. I have never really experienced the Pirates signing a player like this. I’ve seen them sign Kenny Lofton, Raul Mondesi, and Reggie Sanders, but I think Ankiel is definitely a better player than those guys were at the times of those signings. He would be a valuable tool as a starter in right field for those few months, a definite better option than Brandon Moss or Delwyn Young, but worth the money? I don’t think so.
I’m not sure Ankiel would be happy with coming off the bench, and I’m doubting the Pirates could keep him past 2010 anyways. If I were Neil Huntington, I would avoid Ankiel and try to spend my money elsewhere, like in starting pitching. Granted, there really aren’t many logical options out there for the Pirates this year as far as starters go, but it wouldn’t hurt to explore it. There are guys out there like Erik Bedard, Rich Hill, Justin Duscherer, and Adam Eaton, but I don’t see the Pirates even making offers to those guys.
Another player that is a free agent that I would be ecstatic to bring to Pittsburgh would be Chone Figgins who has been one of my favorite players for years. Although that makes very little sense as well, because he is primarily a third baseman who is 32 years old, and we all know that that third base position is going to be used to get another good look at Andy LaRoche until Pedro Alvarez is ready next summer. Although signing him would be confusing (and flat out not even going to be considered), I would be the first to go out and buy a Figgins Pirates jersey.
It should be interesting to see what happens this offseason, I am personally just hoping the Pirates sign someone to get their name mentioned on ESPN once or twice in these winter months, that would be something new.