The Pirates made a number of moves today, avoiding arbitration with reliever Wilfredo Ledezma by signing him to a one-year deal, and outrighting first baseman Jeff Clement, outfielder Brandon Moss, and pitchers Justin Thomas, Steven Jackson and Sean Gallagher to Indianapolis.
Moss, Thomas and Jackson can all now become minor league free agents. There might be a minor uproar about Moss, who had a superficially nice-looking year in Indianapolis in 2010, but he hasn’t done much to continue to deserve a roster spot at this point. Gallagher can become a minor-league free agent on Saturday, but the Pirates would like to keep him. Clement will not be a minor-league free agent, but he will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft, so it will be interesting to see if any other team is willing to take a flyer on him knowing that he’ll have to stay on their 40-man roster all year. I’m betting he’ll still be with the Pirates come Spring Training.
I love the move to keep Ledezma – his strikeout rates at both Class AAA and the majors and his outstanding velocity suggest that he could be a valuable arm out of the bullpen. He has a spotty history and he isn’t young, but his velocity has improved lately, and his strikeout rates for the Pirates this year were much better than his ERA suggested. The Pirates haven’t announced the terms of his signing, but it probably isn’t for more than a million bucks or so.