MLB Free Agency: Pirates' Paul Maholm, Ryan Doumit, Ronny Cedeno, Chris Snyder Become Free Agents

The Pirates declined their options on several key players, making them all free agents.

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MLB Free Agency: Brandon Wood, Steve Pearce, Others Dropped From Pirates' 40-Man Roster

The Pirates have dropped pitchers Brian Burres, Kevin Hart and Aaron Thompson and utilitymen Brandon Wood and Steve Pearce from their 40-man roster, MLB.com reports.

Burres, Wood and Pearce were all eligible for arbitration, so the Pirates are taking them off the roster before they would have had to pay them more than the major-league minimum. All are imminently replaceable players, although after the Pirates declined Ronny Cedeno’s option earlier this week, Wood was the last player in the organization who’s even credible as a big-league shortstop. The Bucs will need to find at least one shortstop this offseason.

Hart has been in the Pirates organization for a couple years, but he was rarely healthy. Thompson was added to the roster this year in order to spot-start, but he won’t be missed.

These moves allow the Pirates more roster space to add players the organization needs to protect in the Rule 5 draft.

For more on the Pirates, be sure to check out Bucs Dugout.

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MLB Free Agency: Paul Maholm, Ryan Doumit, Ronny Cedeno, Chris Snyder Become Free Agents

The Pirates have announced that pitcher Paul Maholm, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, and catchers Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder have become free agents.

Only the Cedeno move is a surprise, but the Pirates’ rejections of Cedeno and Maholm are disappointing, since both players’ options were reasonable. Also, the Pirates often have to overpay free agents, and there are many who aren’t willing to come to Pittsburgh at all except under the most dire circumstances.

Doumit would be nice to have back, but his option covered two years and was a bit expensive; Snyder’s option was simply too expensive.

In any case, these moves set up what should be an eventful offseason for the Pirates, who now have major holes in the starting rotation and at catcher, first base and shortstop. They should have some money to spend, but their unwillingness to shell out for Maholm and Cedeno raises questions about whether they’ll be willing to spend real money on free agents. And, again, with yet another losing season on the horizon (and with Pittsburgh being a cold-weather town without a significant Latino population, and so on, as many commenters at Bucs Dugout have pointed out), free agents largely won’t want to come to Pittsburgh. The Pirates will need to be very creative to fix their problems, or else they could be looking at a 100-loss season in 2012.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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