November 3, 2010

Ledezma Re-Signed; Manager Search Down To Two

Hurdle, Banister are the finalists for manager
Former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, recently profiled on this very site, will be interviewed tomorrow but is already one of two finalists for the Pirates job. Expect the Pirates to sign him before Sunday, which is the first day negotiations with free agents can begin. It would be a big disadvantage to not have a leader in place for free agent negotiations.

The other finalist is Jeff Banister, who was most recently the Pirates bench coach. Jeff had an astounding 1.000 career batting average for the Pirates, going 1-for-1 for the 1991 squad. But he hasn't managed since 1998 and even then it was at the AA level. It's hard for me to believe he has a great chance at the job - if the Pirates wanted him to manage the team they could have given him the job two weeks ago after he interviewed for it.

What would it take to not be re-signed?
The Pirates got off to an inauspicious start to this offseason by re-signing reliever Wil Ledezma. No details were released, but let's hope this contract is of the minor league variety.

Ledezma went 0-3 with a 6.86 ERA in 27 games for the Pirates. He was brought up to replace Javier Lopez as the lefty specialist out of the bullpen, but got absolutely torched by opposing lefties who put up a batting line of .367/.424/.533. He's put up a 5.26 career ERA, and has a career WHIP identical to last year's 1.58.

Ledezma is a good minor league pitcher, but there's no reason to think at age 29 that he's talented enough to be on a big league staff. No details were released, but let's hope this one was a minor league contract.

Four Cuts Made
Outfielder Brandon Moss and pitchers Sean Gallagher, Steven Jackson and Justin Thomas were all outrighted to AAA. They can all become minor league free agents. Maybe the Pirates will resign one or two of these guys, but none have shown any indication of being major league ballplayers. The roster is down to 38 men after these moves, meaning the Pirates weren't unbelievably anxious to hang on to any of them. Brandon Moss, for one, proved once again in September that he can't hit major league pitching. All four will get AAA contracts somewhere.

Dotel Becomes A Free Agent
Former Pirate closer Octavio Dotel, still featured in the blog's title bar to provide a link to the glory days of last July, is a free agent. The Rockies declined his option as expected.

Dotel pitched well here, going 2-2 with a 4.28 ERA and 21 saves while racking up strikeouts. Overall on the season he appeared in 68 games, gave up only 52 hits in 64 innings, K'd 75 batters and walked 32. Those are basically the same numbers he's always put up, and I would be open to bringing him back in 2011.

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