Archive for February 4th, 2007

04
Feb
07

Pirates finally make some moves: Part 1

It’s been a slow offseason for Pirates fans. Basically, we’ve sat and watched as other teams signed all of this season’s good free agents while Dave Littlefield yammered on about how their focus was on acquiring players through trades. However, in the last two weeks the Pirates have actually made a few moves. Here’s a breakdown:

Adam LaRoche for Mike Gonzalez: I have to say that I’m sorry to see Mike Gonzalez go. That guy had electric stuff and was very entertaining to watch. On the other hand, he always looked like he was on the verge of coming apart, much like former Milwaukee closer Derrick Turnbow, who actually did come apart and lost the closer role. Also, as a closer playing for the Pirates, Gonzalez didn’t have a lot of opportunities to play, since closers generally only pitch the 9th if their team is winning. All in all, in spite of my affection for Mike Gonzalez, I think this trade will benefit the Pirates. He only pitched in 54 games last year while LaRoche will likely play 150 games or more. Plus, LaRoche will add some much-needed power to the middle of the lineup. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do for the Pirates this year.

Tony Armas, Jr.: Last week the Pirates announced that they had signed right-handed starter Tony Armas, Jr. to a one-year contract with a club option for 2008. I’m less enthusiastic about this signing because Armas, Jr. is the guy they signed because they couldn’t get Jeff Suppan or Tomo Ohka. Last year Armas, Jr. started 30 games for the Washington Nationals, finishing with a 9-12 record and 5.03 ERA. This is not the kind of help the Pirates need. They got this kind of starter when they got Shawn Chacon from the Yankees in exchange for Craig Wilson before the trade deadline last year. His career numbers are better than his numbers from last year, so hopefully, he’ll do better this year. Only time will tell.

In future installments I’ll look at other transactions the Pirates have made this offseason, including the signing of Cuban defector Yoslan Herrera and the re-signing of current Pirates players like Freddy Sanchez.




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