Recap: Offseason developments thus far- Part 2
So, in part 1 of the offseason recap, we discussed the players lost by the Pirates. In this part, let’s take a look at the warriors (should that be robbers) that have been added. The Pirates have been very very busy, and a ton of non-roster invites would bear witness to that. Some are more likely than others to end up on the ML team, and some interesting enough to appear here. The additions have been most diverse, with Neal Huntington and his front office getting creative in their endeavors to make Pirates out of interesting people from other walks of life. Without further ado, let’s plunge ahead…
Akinori Iwamura was the biggest addition- nicknamed Japanese Lightning, Iwamura slugged home runs in Japan like he was the next A-Rod. Once the Rays acquired him and he moved to the US, the grounds became a bit larger, the pitching a bit better, and the crocodile skin bat had to struggle harder to put the ball into the stands. Nonetheless, so great was his threat that Joe Torre had to distract him by calling into question the flatness of his bat. Still, what he couldn’t accomplish with the bat, he accomplished with his style. It wasn’t just Longoria, Crawford and Pena whose bats lifted the Rays to the Division title- much of the inspiration came from the Rayhawk, that even Joe Maddon sported. What will Akinori Iwamura bring to the Pirates?
John Raynor brought unprecedented dash to the top of the Greensboro order in the Sally League, being among the best in OBP, average and steals. His reward for an MVP season was high-A Jupiter that he was allowed to skip, and slide headfirst into AA, where he did his status no harm. As the level increased, so did the strikeouts, but the numbers didn’t drop till AAA. Once they did though, the Marlins and their stocked farm decided they didn’t want to protect my namesake anymore. Neal Huntington immediately hooked the fish with his Rule-5 bait, and has Raynor coming into spring training after making all the right noises. Will this fish become a Pirate?
Chris Jakubauskas was picked up off waivers from the Mariners, and was immediately heralded as the next arbitration-eligible-Jeff-Karstens. The impressively named Chris appears to be on the periphery of the Pirates plans with the signing of DJ Carrasco.
DJ Carrasco appears to be one of the more interesting DJs on the baseball circuit- the Pirates will first see the kind of music he produces before handing him that $950K check. Sometimes, though, it seems his music is of the ker-plunk variety and gets him attacked. Can a DJ become a Pirate?
Brendan Donnelly would appear to be the one who should have the easiest transition to Piracy. Stingy by nature, he was a member of some of the better Angels bullpens, drawing on all his experience, pine tar and some performance enhancing drugs to keep runs away. Donnelly has also periodically shared deep personal moments with Jose Guillen, when the latter is not squealing on him. Their conversations have also been known to cause benches to clear without a punch thrown. We appreciate the ahimsa (or non-violence) in Pirates. Unlike 2009, the Pirates won’t face Guillen and the Royals in 2010, and hopefully Donnelly won’t perform so as to having to match his pal in thinking of ways to be worth his salary.
Octavio Dotel is the signing-that-still-isn’t, for still unknown reasons. It appears Neal Huntington is trying to create space on the 40-man for the pitcher who has been suggested as the 2010 closer for the Pirate-ship. If signed, Dotel might replace the Mad Capper as the 9th inning man. He has pitched for many many teams already, and will now add Pittsburgh to his travels. When will Dotel become a Pirate?
Ryan Church gives the Pirates a prayer going into 2010, but is better known for chasing injuries when healthy. He had his share of controversy with remarks whose context I am not too familiar with, but it seems the women in New York think of him as quite the hottie. So do some Brewer fans! What can the Pirates do with a Church?
Bobby Crosby is the former 1st round draft pick and AL Rookie of the Year brought in to resurrect the Pirate franchise. We all know what Crosby did for the Penguins. What can Crosby do for the Pirates?
In other additions, Wil Ledezma eats hats, Javier Lopez pitched in and won a World Series as well as played in the outfield for the RedSox, Brian Burres has an identical twin brother, and Vinnie Chulk and Brian Bass have done nothing interesting that I could find.
Here’s to 2010, when we will find out how a DJ, a Church, a Fish, a Rayhawk and a Crosby did as Pirates!