Welcome to the weekend. Four new stories are worth attention.
First, Dejan Kovacevic files his version of the funny water story. McClatchy was speaking at an annual luncheon for the Pirates media. The remarks were almost certainly prepared or premeditated then.
McClatchy argues that the other owners "can't control themselves" and Kovacevic lines up the eye-raising signings in Florida, Arizona, and Cincinnati. I would think the Bucs should be thrilled to see Cincinnati throw that kind of money at Eric Milton - maybe now they won't be able to afford Adam Dunn. Is the threat of one of those teams going bankrupt and costing the Pirates a share of the liability real?
Jack Wilson's strength, conditioning, and stamina are not there because of his appendectomy. I'm not expecting him to repeat the torrid start he had in 2004.
Hard not to like the new pinstriped home jerseys.
Tike Redman says that everyone knows he can hit and he admits his defense "slacked off" in the second half. The Pirates are talking to Jeromy Burnitz, reports Kovacevic. He also does the best of the various back-of-the-envelope payroll calculations:
The Pirates have $29.29 million committed to the 12 players signed for the coming season, minus an unknown portion of Lawton's $7.25 million salary that will be paid by the Cleveland Indians. If the final 13 players on the major-league roster are paid close to the minimum salary of $316,000, the total payroll would be $33.4 million minus the Lawton portion.So the Bucs are planning to spend as much as $6M-$12M on two players.
The team has projected that the payroll would end up close to $40 million, which would appear to leave Littlefield enough room to fulfill his wish list of a power bat and another starting pitcher.
Burnitz doesn't appeal to me. I don't like acquiring guys fresh off seasons at altitude (think Chris Stynes) and Burnitz had his agent disrespecting the Pirates earlier in the offseason. Even if we could sign him for a reasonable price, we'd probably wind up with a grouser, a malingerer, or some other kind of unwelcome clubhouse presence. You can't hire players that regard the team as some kind of joke.