There’s a lot of stuff going on this week, but most of it is kind of trivial. With the semester starting, I’ve had less time to blog and so I’m going to roll them all into one post tonight.
First off is Craig Monroe. Clearly, he’s on the team to play the Jason Michaels role. I don’t really have a problem with Monroe being a fifth outfielder. I mean, he’s not very good and I realize that, but what do the Pirates need a fifth outfielder that’s very good for? The big question, I suppose, is what signing Monroe means for Steve Pearce. I don’t see a point in sending a guy who’s going to turn 26 shortly after opening day back to AAA when we all have an idea of what he can do. If Pearce isn’t going to start in left field ahead of Nyjer Morgan (which … whatever, that’s an entirely different and much angrier post that I’m sure will appear sooner or later), he should at least be starting against lefties and spelling Morgan, Moss, and LaRoche. Pearce probably won’t develop into an every day player on a good baseball team, but that doesn’t mean that he’s can’t be a useful player.
You know what’s odd? For some reason, Neal Huntington seems to love signing guys with last names that start with “M” to veteranosity positions. Monroe is here to replace Michaels and this is, of course, my awkward segue into talking about Doug Mientkiewicz. There appears to be some kind of pissing contest going on between the Eye Chart and the front office, in which Mientkiewicz has been saying the Pirates don’t want him back while Huntington is saying that Mientkiewicz can certainly come back, should he want to return. I know this story fires a lot of people up, but it’s ultimately a non-story. Honestly, I’d be kind of happy to not have to see Mientkiewicz idoitically charging around the bases, getting thrown out by a country mile, and hearing people praise his grit or something silly like that. Still, it’s pretty doubtful we’d be able to find a more useful utility player so I’m not going to exactly complain if he wants to come back.
And finally, we have mini-camp. The main article today is on Gorzelanny, who’s lost some weight and apparently feeling good, working on strengthening his shoulder which “gave out” on him during last year’s Grapefruit League. It’s mentioned again that Gorzelanny is going to have to earn his spot in the rotation this year and he’s probably fighting with three or four guys for two spots. I’ll get in to this more when I do the long rotation piece on Gorzo (hopefully next week), but I wonder if all this is an indication that Huntington and the Pirates weren’t pleased with Gorzelanny’s conditioning last year. They’ve created a situation where he’s going to have to perform in spring training and it should be interesting to watch.