Sorry I've been away from the blog for so long; you don't want to read a list of excuses, so let's just say that I've got a lot on my plate right now and there just isn't much that's happened to the Pirates this winter, as we'll discuss below. Now that spring training is getting closer (!!!) I hope to be at the keyboard quite a bit more. Certainly, I'm not planning on going away anytime soon.
I'm back! I have a longer piece that I'm hopefully going to get posted tonight about the state of the team over the off-season thus far, but it's the first Monday in the first full week of the New Year and I want to get back into the swing of blogging, so let's start with some news.
Buried in this story about the Cardinals' search for talent in emerging markets is a quick mention that the Pirates have supplanted the Cardinals as Baseball America's best farm system heading into the 2013 season. Travis Sawchik confirmed it with John Manuel. This should tell you quite a bit about what Baseball America thinks of Gregory Polanco, Jamesion Taillon, and Tyler Glasnow (I'm guessing Polanco in particular — everyone loves Polanco), because the Pirates managed to jump up into the top spot of the rankings despite losing Gerrit Cole as a prospect. We can, of course discuss more of what this means in the coming days, but it's worth a mention right now since there's not much else going on.
The Pirates also signed outfielder Chris Dickerson today. Dickerson's a depth signing, and he's one that the Pirates probably need until Polanco is ready. For reference, his most similar player on Baseball-Reference is Alex Presley, and I'd suspect he'll play a similar role for the Pirates in the first part of 2014. He's not a good hitter, but he's capable enough of playing well in short stretches and he's a capable outfielder that can play in all three outfield spots. It's just a minor league deal, so presumably he's coming to camp to compete with Jaff Decker and Travis Snider for back-up outfield spots (that is, Decker and Snider will probably compete to split time with Jose Tabata and Dickerson will be up against the loser of that competition for one of the last roster spots).
Anyway! Winter is winding down, but hopefully my hibernation from blogging is over.