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No surprises: Jackson, Oswalt, Young

Could Dmitri Young be the big bat the Pirates are seeking at first base?

Could Dmitri Young be the big bat the Pirates are seeking at first base? (Getty Images)

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.



  1. John Lease says:

    So, in the best case, Dmitri Young is great, hits near .300 20-25 HRs. Then what? Will he be the first player ever to improve at the age of 38? I highly doubt it. Even if he does, he’s old. He’s looking for one last ML contract, something the Pirates do for many others. Still locked into losing though. Unless Dmitri can pitch…

  2. The Gonsk says:

    I thought Derrek Lee loved Pittsburgh. Isn’t that what Clint (Blowhard) Hurdle said last September.

  3. Mr. America says:

    Dimitri Young will turn this Pirate ship around in no time!

  4. jose ruiz says:

    I am a bucs fan since Roberto Clemente. No team ever will win without a slugger. A at least 35 homer guy. Please!!!!! get one!!! Another suggestion, come to P. Rico and play a Series in here. Players, baseball and the team will love it.!!!!

  5. Da Mayor says:

    Yeah, and I thought this was the year that No-deal Neal was supposed to trade prospects for establshed players. Dude is a compulsive liar.

  6. cfuller says:

    McKechnie field was the best kept secret in the grapfruit league. True….it is small and quaint but…that was the appeal of it. I hope that the coziness of the facility is not destroyed by the renovations

  7. Ron M says:

    PLEASE do not be a sucker for the loser from the Yankees! How could they even consider thinking of trading for Burnett? What kind of desperation move would that show? I know they need some arms, but holy cow!

  8. Seveo says:

    I hear Rick Vaughn of the Penial League is available…

    The Pirates are the most pitiful excuse for a Professional MLB team in the history of the game. Nutting is the laughing stock of the league and this city….I hope they lose 100 games.

  9. Fred says:

    Yeah, Seven Springs isn’t the only snow job that Team Nutting has done on us.

  10. The Big Z says:

    Seriously, don’t we need a GM with cred who can convince free agents to come here? Huntington has had no great success at his position (or any position, really).

    Why would a quality veteran player want to tie his future to a GM and a franchise with such sorry track records and do it in a small market?

  11. Chuck H. says:

    I can’t blame a good pitcher for not wanting to play for the Buccos, because in most games there is little or no run support, and they feel that they would have to pitch a shutout every time they pitch. I remember many Pirate flops who were traded to other teams and were huge successes. A pitcher needs to know that he has a real team behind him, and not have to worry that one run is going to beat him. The present Pirate team needs to cut way down on strikeouts and double plays, as was the case the last nineteen years. Anyhow, GO BUCS!!!

  12. The Big Z says:

    Yeah, go Bucs . . . to Portland or Montreal or Oklahoma City and stay there.

  13. Kathy says:

    I’m sick and tired of the piss-poor baseball in this town. And I refuse to support it.

  14. TAG says:

    More of the NUTTING FUNNY FARM!!!!! Do you actually blame Oswald and Jackson for not wanting to play for this organization? It’s pretty bad that somebody would take a few million less to play elsewhere. Can’t blame the great city of Pittsburgh; i.e. STEELERS and PENGUINS!! This has all been created by the Cheap Nutting.

    Oh I forgot about the great signing of a 38 year old 1B who’s been out of the game since 08. Hey maybe Jason Thompson and John Milner still have a few swings left in them. Hell, I bet we could get Dave Parker and Phil Gardner back in the line-up.

  15. Paul says:

    The problem is that at this point in the process any pitcher with a lick of sense and a decent agent is looking at the Pirates’ offense and realizing that no matter what they bring to the table they’ll damage their career with a losing season generated by an offense that couldn’t even support a pitching staff with an ERA under 3.00 in the first half of last season. The best pitchers in the history of the game would finish with losing records playing for a team with Jose Tabata leading off, Clint Barmes bunting him in to outs when he does manage to get on base and six, seven and eight hitters furiously making outs every chance they get.

    In order to ever attract any pitcher of note NH is going to have to first put an offense out that gives them confidence they have a chance to win if they pitch well.

    The real failure he for the Pirates is Huntington’s pathetic efforts regarding the offense this off season. He should have taken the total of money he spending on stop gaps like Bedard, Barmes, McLouth, Barajas (15.5 million) and made Carlos Beltran an offer he couldn’t refuse then gone after one of these pitchers.

    It’s not Pittsburgh per-say they don’t want to come to, no pitcher who has options is coming to a team who’s offense is promising to finish in the bottom three in the majors… not ever, not for any price.

    Until NH grows a pair and does something bold like that and puts the notion of small ball offenses out of it miserable existence once and for all, the team is going no where and no worthwhile pitcher is coming here.

  16. Ron says:

    Totally agree with the comments on getting some offensive players. Besides helping the pitching staff it would allow the youngsters to come up without the weight of the world on their shoulders. The moment Alvarez made it up here he was expected to start jacking HR’s and be the savior of the offense. Puts a lot of pressure on a young kid. Agree with #15. Stop wasting money on a bunch of small fish and go after a big fish.

  17. Mr. America says:

    I will not spend another cent on the Pirates until Huntington and Coonelly are removed from office and competent people are put in their places. Can’t make it any plainer than that.

  18. The Gonsk says:

    This organization has drafted at or near the top every year in the Huntington era, yet Keith Law ranks only Cole among the top 15 overall. The Bucs lack brains more than bucks if you ask me.

  19. Dejan Shortpants says:

    I read that Jim Bowden doesn’t like the Pirates off-season, either.

  20. Van Man says:

    If Neal Huntington says how much he likes his team one more time, I’ll hold his kids hostage. Your team is headed to a 20th consecutive losing season. Don’t insult us. Just shut up, OK?

  21. Jay Walker says:

    This will hurt, but I have to say it: MLB has outgrown Pittsburgh. MLB is all about money and market size, and this city falls short of the mark in both areas. If it’s any consolation, we’re not alone here.

  22. Gabriel says:

    Bedard can’t stand the media. He’ll fit right in with Fat Pedro and company.

  23. Bob says:

    Yeah, Bedard is just another spoiled, coddled, overrated major league baseball player. Hate ‘em!

  24. BigDaddyHoss says:

    Anyone heard what kind of shape Pedro is in and/or if he worked hard in the offseason?

  25. joel says:

    Things I do not understand. What is the holdup on the AJ Burnett deal, because Garrett Jones is not Babe Ruth. GJ could not carry the Babe’s bat for him. The GJ’s of the world are a dime a dozen

    ,Where was trader Neal when the Chubs traded a young lefty starter to the Reds for their closer??? Neal you have a closer for this year and then he may be done here. Him and Marte or Elvis Presley would have gotten the Pirates that lefty starter.

  26. Barry says:

    Has Karstens been tested for drugs lately? The division is wide open? Has he looked at the Reds and Cardinals rosters lately? The Reds will be better, and the Cardinals added Wainright, Beltran and Furcal (for a full season), so they won’t be much worse.

    The Pirates still need an ace. In Kartens, they have a joker.

  27. Dejan Shortpants says:

    Anybody’s division?! Stop drinking the Kool-Aid, Karstens!

  28. Piglegs Robinson says:

    These folks arent such bad complainers, actually.
    Back in the early 70’s it was worse. I can’t count how many times I heard that Stargell was over the hill, Clemente was always hurt, the pitching stinks, blah blah blah.
    Some things never change.

  29. Paul Babyak says:

    The Pirates need better pitching, better fielding, more homerun power, and hitter’s from striking out.

  30. Lady Di says:

    I saw Chubs Alvarez at PirateFest and he was obvious that he didn’t lift anything heavier than a Corona in the off-season.

  31. Van Man says:

    If the Pirates win the division, I’ll lick Karstens’ shoes. Are these guys told to say dumb things like that?

  32. Piglegs Robinson says:

    I think it’s wide open too. I guess I’m crazy.

  33. Sam says:

    Piglegs: If you think the Astros or Pirates can win the divison, then you ARE crazy.

  34. Harry says:

    A.J. Burnett is another pampered, overpriced baseball player. He’ll fit in fine with Alvarez, Bedard and company.

  35. Jenny says:

    The Bucs are only three players away from a division title — Halladay, Lincecum and Pujols!

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