With the Bobby Crosby signing all but official, the reaction thus far is pretty underwhelming. Charlie at Bucs Dugout is “not impressed” while Matt at Pittsburgh Lumber Company is similarly nonplussed. I don’t disagree with that reaction; I thought I was being pretty generous in describing him as a “mild upgrade over Ronny Cedeno,” and that’s really not a very kind assessment of his skills.
That said, I don’t really think this is a bad signing. The terms are cheap – he’s on board for a million dollars plus a half million in incentives — he will at least exist as some kind of foil for Cedeno, and since the only shortstop prospect worth writing home about will probably start the season in Double-A, he’s not blocking anyone. I’m not on board the “He could regain his form if he gets healthy!” train because I’m just not going to believe that he’s capable of anything other than 90 games and a .680 OPS until he does it.
Still, I’ve spent most of the early part of this offseason talking about how the financials seem to dictate that the Pirates have to do something this winter, but they can’t do anything harmful to the long-term interests of the team. At the very least, Crosby accomplishes that. He drives the extremely low payroll up just a bit, he provides something for them to point at and say, “We didn’t just sit on our hands all winter!” when John Henry goes on his rants against small-market clubs. Maybe I’m setting the bar low, but in an off-season that’s placed Neal Huntington and company at a dangerous juncture between maintaining course with their plan and spending money because they can, Crosby is at worst a throwaway of $1.5 million and at best some kind of upgrade on what we have at shortstop. It’s uninspiring, but given the options I’d much rather have Bobby Crosby for one year at $1.5 million than Miguel Tejada for three at $18 million.