John Perrotto reports on the players David Littlefield might be considering:
Among the possibilities are Cincinnati outfielder Wily Mo Pena, Milwaukee first baseman Lyle Overbay, Tampa Bay first baseman/third baseman/outfielder Aubrey Huff and third baseman Hank Blalock and outfielder Kevin Mench of Texas.
Blalock looks like a good fit. He may outgrow the need for a platoon partner.
It's hard not to like the 23-year-old Pena, who plays some centerfield. But he's not exactly cleanup material at this point. With his low OBP, he's something in the Brad Eldred to Preston Wilson range. With the CF abilities, however, Pena deserves a long long look. If he can't help us much in '06, maybe he's worth a year for '07.
Lyle Overbay has been, I think, pretty consistent. Maybe the stats don't support that view, but until I see otherwise I'll regard him that way. With Bay and Overbay as two steady eddies, Tracy could then play whatever players are hot that week.
Aubrey Huff regressed heavily in 2005. Is that the kind of player we want to depend upon for 2006?
Kevin Mench looks like Craig Wilson to me. I'm not sure we need him, or more of players like these guys. As much as I love Craiggers in Jim Thome mode, I don't want to start another season with him hitting cleanup. We can't survive such slumps from such central players.
All those guys are good players, however, and if we can palm off the right goods to get any of them, then I say do it.
I'm not sure what to make about different styles of righties needed in the bullpen. Right now, complaints about the bullpen don't have much purchase with me. It's a bit looking at a damaged car and talking about repairing the racing stripe, which got dinged here and there.
The Pirates need at least one damn good hitter. Two damn good hitters would be even better. We can worry about the bullpen once we solve the scoring runs problem.