11:59- Two things of interest to note to start the day (both from Dejan): the Pirates are close to signing Ramon Vazquez to a 2-year/$4 million deal to play a utility role and the Pirates will probably lose Kyle Bloom in the Rule 5 draft, which is about to start.
12:24- Pirates pick Donald Veal, lose Kyle Bloom in the Rule 5. You can see Veal's stats here. He was a top prospect for the Cubs, but has struggled in AA in both 2007 and 2008. He is (get this) a big, hard throwing lefty with control problems. Bloom had a great stint in the Hawaiian League this year, and frankly the decision to keep guys like Jason Davis protected while he was left eligible was kind of baffling.
12:40- More quick thoughts about Bloom and Veal: I know Bloom was old and he likely won't amount to much for Detroit. I simply couldn't understand why the Pirates sent him to Hawaii, watched him dominate there, and then couldn't make room on the roster for him when there was clearly plenty of chaff that could've been cleared to make room for him. This isn't worth losing sleep over, just something to think about.
As for Veal, I've been digging up some links. RJ Anderson at Beyond the Box Score thought he'd be a good pick for someone like the Pirates because there's reason to think he might be a useful LOOGY now with a rather high ceiling later. That makes him a fairly interesting pick, if only because there's the potential that he won't be a wasted roster space this year.
1:55- Names of the players selected from the Minor League portion of the Rule 5: Andres Santos (LHP, DSL Yankees), Rafael Quintero (RHP, DSL Indians), and Gerardo Espaza (RHP, VSL Mariners) are the AAA picks. Quintero and Esparza are relievers, Santos has done some starting. All have fairly impressive numbers, but were very old for the summer leagues.