LAS VEGAS — The last time I was here was in November 1994 to cover the Michael Moorer-George Foreman heavyweight title fight. It’s a much different town than it was then — the Bellagio, which is hosting MLB’s Winter Meetings today through Thursday, didn’t even exist the night grandpa George KO’ed Moorer.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington came here with a modest agenda: listen to trade offers (specifically, for Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Ronny Paulino and John Grabow) and cast about for a veteran starting pitcher and righty bat. If they do make a trade, the return almost assuredly would be prospects, so the best way to get that pitcher will be via free agency.
Lefty Kei Igawa will be available in the Rule 5 draft (which will be held Thursday morning), but the Pirates have no interest. Igawa, 28, has been a bust with the Yankees and is owed $12 million over the next three years. The Yankees tried to trade Igawa before dropping him from their 40-man roster, but found no takers.
Another option might be free agent Matt Clement, who has let the Pirates know he’s available.
Clement, 33, a Butler native, has not pitched in the majors since 2006. He sat out the 2007 season while recovering from shoulder surgery. The right-hander signed with St. Louis last year, but was never fully healthy.