Loretta goes to LA


LAS VEGAS — The prawns were no problem, but I was stuggling a bit with the mussels. I finally had one perched delicately in my chopsticks when … my cell phone sang out. I reached for the phone and, plop, the mussel slipped back onto my plate. Rats.

The caller during my late-night dinner tonight was Mark Loretta’s agent, who wanted to let me know his client had just agreed to a one-year, $1.4 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s a sweet deal for Loretta. For the Pirates, it’s another nice-try, better-luck-next-time player move.

Loretta, 37, probably will fill a super-utility role with LA. He also gives the Dodgers a nice insurance policy at the middle infield spots and effectively takes LA out of the Jack Wilson sweepstakes.

In a roughly five-hour span, the Pirates saw the two initial frontrunners for Wilson (LA and Detroit) both drop out of the picture, plus the Bucs lost out on a talented and affordable free agent. All I lost was my grip on a mussel.