With the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players coming last night, Denny Bautista certainly wasn’t the only player in the league to not get a contract. In fact, there were 30 guys set loose into the free agent market last night. You can feel free to peruse the list and post in the comments about them because I certainly don’t know a lot about some of these guys, but a few names caught my eye.
The obvious one is Daniel Cabrera. Cabrera is, if you didn’t know, an incredibly hard-throwing starter originally from Baltimore that has huge control issues. The Orioles have been trying for five years to reign him in and they’ve finally given up. He’s only 28, he fits Huntington’s profile, and he’s at least another arm for the rotation with a pretty high ceiling if the Bucs can figure him out. That’s a huge “if,” but I’ll be shocked if the Pirates don’t show some interest here.
Another name that might pique the Pirates’ interest is Chuck James, who was once a top prospect for the Braves but has struggled both on the mound and with shoulder problems the past couple years. He had surgery on the shoulder and will miss most of 2008, but depending on how the medical records look, it may be worth a shot to get him into the organization for when he gets healthy.
There’s also Joe Nelson, a reliever with a big strikeout rate and some nice numbers last year, and of course, Ty Wigginton, who the Astros deemed to expensive despite the way he carried them back into contention down the stretch. The Pirates don’t need corner infielders and Wigginton will be expensive, but I can never resist a chance to bring up “Steel” (sidenote: damn! I was mean back then).
Of this group, I’m almost certain the Pirates will be interested in Cabrera, and I have to compliment Huntington for not trading Jack Wilson to Baltimore to acquire him days before he was non-tendered. The other guys are just guys that caught my eye. It’s pretty unlikely anyone but the Braves will take a risk on James and I doubt Huntington will want a reliever that will be 35 at the end of the season.