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.
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