Jayson Stark of ESPN had an interesting tweet midday Wednesday. He announced an All-Unemployed team, comprising players who are still looking for work. It is as follows:
1B Casey Kotchman 2B Ryan Theriot SS Jason Bartlett 3B Scott Rolen C Rod Barajas LF Carlos Lee CF Michael Bourn RF Fred Lewis DH Jim Thome
It's a list made up mostly of one-time star players, one-time strong role players and one solid outfielder. It's a safe bet most of these players sign somewhere before the start of the season (and I imagine none will garner more attention than Michael Bourn).
It's also a bit indicative of the free agent market this offseason, whuch was pretty lackluster (save for Messrs. Hamilton and Napoli).
There still might be a move or two the Pirates make, but let's take an early look at what they've cooked on the hot stove.
C - Upgrade Signed Russell Martin to a two-year, $17 million contract. The dollars are high, certainly. And his 2012 statistics leave a lot to be desired. But Martin will be more productive than Rod Barajas. That's not a very high bar, considering how much Barajas struggled last season, but it's a safe bet Martin outperforms Barajas.
1B - Unchanged As of now, the Pirates plan to platoon Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez.
2B - Unchanged The Pirates parted with Brock Holt in the Joel Hanrahan deal, but the job is Neil Walker's.
SS - Unchanged The job belongs to Clint Barmes, who is due $5.5 million this season.
3B - Unchanged Pedro Alvarez will look to build off a strong 2012 season.
OF - Unchanged Perhaps an area that could have used an upgrade, the Pirates will stick with a stable of young players in hopes that someone emerges as a corner outfield producer. Inside track goes to Starling Marte and Travis Snider. Alex Presley and Jose Tabata will also compete for playing time. Andrew McCutchen will look to build on the best year of his career.
Starting rotation - Upgrade The staff is deeper than it was last season, and with the pending addition of Francisco Liriano, it has more veteran arms. Mix in Gerrit Cole, waiting in Class AAA, and Charlie Morton, who should return from Tommy John surgery in June or July, and the Pirates will have a good problem: too many quality arms.
Bullpen - Downgrade Dealing Joel Hanrahan was inevitible, and any small market team would be forced to spend the money he was due elsewhere. Jason Grilli proved competent in late-innings situation, but those final three outs are even tougher. Mark Melancon will need to bounce back from a rough 2012, and a slew of young arms must continue to develop. I also think losing Chris Resop could cost the team in the long run. He was a good clubhouse guy who ate innings when the team needed them the most.
Bench - Downgrade Mostly unchanged, though the Pirates parted with Brock Holt in the Hanrahan deal. This could be an upgrade for the Pirates if the players the team acquired from Boston can be as effective -- or more -- at sparking this team as Holt did late last season.
Those are my thoughts -- what do you guys think?
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