>At least that’s the work according to Jon Heyman in his latest SI column. He had two different blurbs about the Pirates in his latest article.
• The Pirates are thought to be choosing between Hurdle and well-respected organization man Jeff Banister. Hurdle was seen as the favorite, and someone close to him thought he would take the Pirates job if he didn’t get the Mets’ job, as Hurdle is “ever the optimist.”
Nothing really shocking there. It seems pretty obvious that the Pirates were waiting around for someone, and it seems like Hurdle is the guy. From everything I’ve seen it seems like the Mets are choosing between Terry Collins and Wally Backman (who is the clear fan favorite, which does mean something in New York). I’d much rather Hurdle over Banister, but I’m not thrilled with either.
The really interesting part of the column was this one though:
• The Pirates, by the way, seem active in early free agent calls. They are believed to be showing interest in some surprising free agent prizes such as Beltre. Whether this is because they are being encouraged to spend more by MLB isn’t known.
Wow. This tells me a few things. Number one the Pirates are looking to upgrade their defense. That would be a great thing for guys like Duke and Maholm who really need it, and two it tells me that Pedro Alvarez may be moved sooner rather than later to first base.
I’m very skeptical of this report, but Beltre would be a phenomenal signing for this team. He would bring a decent bat with him, and a really good glove. If Beltre were to sign with the Pirates he would actually bring a higher OPS than Garrett Jones, who would get the short end of the straw on this move. He hit 28 homers last year for the Red Sox.
The big problem with singing him is that he is a Type A Free Agent. Since the Pirates have a top 15 pick he would cost them a second round pick, which really isn’t that big of a deal for a player of Beltre’s caliber. He will easily get 11 to 12 million per year on the free agent market, but if the Pirates could lock him up for four or five years this would be a great signing.
Sadly he is one of the most sought after free agents in baseball, and teams like the Red Sox or Angels will match whatever the Pirates offer, so we should probably file this one under pipe dreams…..