To date, the offseason produced by the Pirates front office has featured a variety of moves. The rumor mill started up when it was announced that the team decided to decline the options of Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder, Ronny Cedeno, and Paul Maholm. It was somewhat surprising to see them let go both catchers, even though they both possessed costly options. These moves left holes at catcher, shortstop, and a spot in the rotation.To fill the void at catcher, the Pirates picked up veteran Rod Barajas on November 10th for 1yr/4mil. Barajas should provide solid defense and steady offense, even though his career is on the decline. He will be the starter with light-hitting Mike McKenry backing him up.
Next, the Buccos acquired Clint Barmes for 2 yrs/10.5mil. Some considered this to be a very generous contract for the slick fielding shortstop, but I will take it as long as he stays healthy and makes consistent contributions both offensively and defensively.
Heading into the Winter Meetings in Dallas, it was said that the Pirates were not expected to make any splashes but they could lay potential groundwork for future deals. However, they reached out to former Bucco Nate McLouth by offering him a 1yr/1.75mil deal. Nate will most likely be the fourth outfielder, replacing Xavier Paul, who was released in late November. The same day, the Pirates acquired LHP Erik Bedard. Although he has a heavy injury history, Bedard could be a potential “ace” of the rotation if he can stay off the disabled list. Also, the price was right at $4.5 mil for 1 year.
As the deadline to tender players approached, the Buccos were left with a few important decisions. Ultimately, they decided to tender all players (Joel Hanrahan, Garrett Jones, Jeff Karstens, Evan Meek, Charlie Morton, and Chris Resop) except for Jose Veras, who they dealt to Milwaukee for Casey McGehee. Despite a rough season in 2011, McGehee is a solid backup plan in case Pedro Alvarez flounders again. He could also see time at first base if need be.
The Pirates have also made a plethora of other minor moves, such as signing Jake Fox and Nick Evans, acquiring Yamaico Navarro via trade, and selecting Gustavo Nunez in the Rule 5 draft. We will see where these players turn out in the organization, as only time will tell. Spring training is just a few months away.