People like to knock baseball, but is there any other sport sends all of its management to warmer weather and encourages drinking and trading? And this year, it's in Vegas! Anyways, it's shaping up to be a fairly busy week for the Pirates, so I've put together a bit of a primer of what I think we can look for from the Pirates over the next few days.
Rule 5 draft- I think the Pirates will make a pick here. When I comb through lists of available players (today's Rule 5 links: The Baseball Analysts break down pitchers and hitters, though some of the players on the list, like Pedro Viola, aren't available), I see a lot of interesting players and with the Pirates opening two roster slots on Friday, I think we can count on a pick on Monday. My gut feeling is that Huntington will go with pitching again, but someone like Jordan Brown might be a sleeper.
Jack Wilson- I think we can say fairly confidently that Jack Wilson is not going to be a Pirate by the end of this week. Huntington was mentioning him by name earlier this year when talking about players that weren't going to be back and talks seem pretty serious between the Pirates and Tigers. When the rumors about the Wilson trade happening broke and then backed off, I thought that it was a sign the Pirates were trying to milk LA for more money, but I'm guessing they have their eyes on keeping Rafael Furcal after he spurned the A's offer. For the Pirates, I still think it makes the most sense to deal him now, even if the return isn't fantastic. I know that's not terribly re-assuring, but I think a Wilson trade happens sooner rather than later.
Something unexpected: Yeah, it's vague, I know. But Jack Wilson is not the piece that the Pirates have that's most interesting to other teams. Look at who the Bucs are interested in from Detroit; lefty bats that play a corner outfield spot or first base. Hmm. I'm not saying Adam LaRoche is going to be traded, I'm saying don't be surprised if he is. And who were the Pirates raving over in today's PG? A stocky, flame-throwing reliever. (Side note: if you thought today's article about Evan Meek was BS that the Pirates were pushing, I'll remind you that I saw him pitch in Durham in August and he was awesome.) Again, I don't know that the Pirates are necessarily shopping Matt Capps, but who do they have that's probably expendable at this point in time that has more value than he does?
The point is just that there's a million wheels churning in a front office at any given time and I don't think that Huntington's work this winter is going to end with a Jack Wilson trade. Maybe that's all we'll see this week, but don't be surprised if we see a little more.