By John Perrotto
The Pirates are looking for a left-handed reliever on the free-agent market and the pitcher they would really love to sign is Mike Gonzalez, their former closer.
The only problem with that is seemingly half the teams in the major leagues are looking for a lefty out of the bullpen and most love the hard-throwing Gonzalez. Thus, the Pirates’ chances of winning a bidding war aren’t good.
Throw in the fact Gonzalez has switched agents and is now represented by Scott Boras and it would seem he is one of the few players who is not going to be affected by what many predict will be a sluggish market.
Two left-handed relievers the Pirates have at least some level of interest in are Jamey Wright and Ron Villone.
Wright, 34, was 3-5 with a 4.33 ERA in 65 games with Kansas City last season. Villone, 39, was 5-6 with one save and a 4.25 ERA in 63 games with Washington and was the Pirates’ opening-day starting pitcher in 2002.
The Pirates also have interest in Cleveland lefty Rafael Perez but are hoping the Indians will fail to tender the arbitration-eligible pitcher a contract at the Dec. 12 deadline, which would make him a free agent.
Perez, 28, had an awful 2009 as he was 4-3 with a 7.71 ERA in 54 games. However, he was a lights-out lefty for the Indians in 2007 when they won the American League Central and came within one game of the World Series, posting a 1.78 ERA in 44 games.
One lefty who would likely have interest in coming to Pittsburgh is
Joe Beimel, who broke into the major leagues with the Pirates in 2001. He grew up in St. Mary’s, went to college at Duquesne and lives in the North Hills.
Beimel, 32, split last season between Washington and Colorado, going a combined 1-6 with one save and a 3.58 ERA in 71 games.