I was not surprised to learn yesterday that the Pirates had tried to woo Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt. There are legit concerns about whether Erik Bedard, Kevin Correia and Jeff Karstens can make it through a full season in the starting rotation. Bedard and Correia are injury risks, while Karstens tends to run out of steam after the All-Star break. The Pirates have money to spend and getting either Jackson or Oswalt would have boosted the rotation while also giving the front office something to tout to Pirates fans and other free agents.
I also was not very surprised to hear that 38-year-old first baseman Dmitri Young will get a tryout at Pirate City. At first blush, it might seem crazy. Young is 38 and hasn’t taken a hack in the majors since 2008. From 2006-08, Young played a total of 234 games and hit 24 home runs.
But don’t be in a hurry to laugh off this move. For starters, the Pirates desperately need a solution at first base. Could it be Young? I did a double-take when I saw Young in the lobby of the Hilton Anatole during the Winter Meetings. (Here’s a photo.) He’s dropped 75 pounds — down to 232 — and is as light as he was in high school. Also important, he seems to have finally gotten a handle on personal issues that dogged him over the past few years. The Pirates were wowed by reports that Young is swinging the bat well in workouts and figured it’s worth a gamble to give him a shot.
»»» McKechnie Field, the Pirates’ spring training home since 1969, will soon get a $7.5-million facelift. Manatee County officials yesterday approved funding for improvements that include more seats, a boardwalk that will ring the 90-year-old stadium, a tiki bar and a new sound system. The Pirates in turn will hike their annual marketing budget to $400,000.
»»» Last week’s Pirates fan poll asked what you think about the team’s offseason roster moves. Here are the results: Super! They filled all their needs and will be a better team. — 38 votes (6 percent); Meh. They did OK, but did not do enough to improve the team. — 398 votes (67 percent); Ugh. They’re worse off than they were a year ago. — 161 votes (27 percent).
This week’s question concerns what the Pirates must do to lure big-time free agents. You can find the poll on the left side of the Trib’s Pirates coverage page, a bit below the link for this blog.
»»» Here’s a disturbing account of censorship by the New York Mets. Author/blogger Howard Megdal had his credentials yanked because his coverage isn’t rah-rah enough for the team’s liking. Megdal has written a book, “Wilpon’s Folly,” which details the Mets’ financial and legal woes.