Adam Laroche ($7.05 million per season) making more money than Xavier Nady ($6.65 million per season) in 09 won’t sit well with Pirates fans. The good news is the Pirates will not open contract talks with Laroche about an long-term extension this winter. Last off-season the Pirates entertained the idea.
Baseball’s salary system is truly rigged when Zach Duke made $400,000 last season while going 5-14 with a 4.82 ERA and signs a one year deal worth $2.2 million, the following season.
Nate McLouth has submitted $3.8 million which is a fair submission. The Pirates are offering $2.75 million. The Pirates are offering a player who hit 26 home runs and won a gold glove, only 555,000 more than the contract they gave to a 5-14 pitcher.
The Pirates were 67-95 last season with Jason Bay, Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte on their opening day roster. Over/Under on 100 losses in 09?
The Pirates are going to be patient with CF Andrew McCutchen. There is no guarantee that he will be the Pirates opening day centerfielder.
The Pirates and Paul Maholm continue to discuss the parameters of a long-term extension. If he signs one before the season expect Maholm to sign a four year deal.
Prospect Report

Baseball America’s Pirates top 10 prospects
1. Pedro Alvarez, 3b
2. Andrew McCutchen, of
3. Jose Tabata, of
4. Brad Lincoln, rhp
5. Bryan Morris, rhp
6. Neil Walker, 3b
7. Jeff Sues, rhp
8. Shelby Ford, 2b
9. Daniel McCutchen, rhp
10. Robbie Grossman, of
Analysis: The Pirates have three players to build around in Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata. Pitchers Bryan Morris and Brad Lincoln are two wildcards. Both players have injuries problems but they are good talents. The Pirates finally had a strong draft in 2008 and if the Pirates take the same approach in 2009 & beyond, the Pirates will be on their way to building a competive team in the future through the draft. 2009’s draft class is strong in pitching which is one area the Pirates system is thin at.
ESPN’s Keith Law’s #18 prospect CF Andrew McCutchen
Keith Law just came out with his top 100 prospects report: Andrew McCutchen came in at #18
Law‚Äôs Report: ‚ÄúAndrew McCutchen has been rushed. Repeat after me: He ‚Ķ has ‚Ķ been ‚Ķ rushed. This isn’t a criticism of the current regime in Pittsburgh, as the rushing all took place before Neal Huntington could even get a catalog to pick out new drapes for his office, but they inherited a player who had arrived in Triple-A before his 21st birthday despite posting a .710 OPS in Double-A, a level he reached after the Pirates skipped him right past high-A. He’s been rushed, I say. The good thing is that he has survived this hazing and even performed well in several areas, notably his plate discipline. McCutchen has strong wrists and forearms and makes hard contact, but doesn’t get his lower half involved at all and thus hasn’t hit for the kind of power he’s capable of producing. He has great bat speed and has hit for average while making plenty of contact. He’s a 65-70 runner but had an uncharacteristically sloppy year as a base stealer; he’s a plus glove in center but could use a little work on routes. The power should come — he’s too young for us to assume that it won’t — and the new regime in Pittsburgh has a much better player-development protocol in place. ‚Äú
Law’s Overall Ranking of the Pirates Farm System
22. Pittsburgh Pirates: ‚ÄúImproving, and no, the two kids from India don’t really count. Jose Tabata’s return to form, if it’s real, gives the Pirates three potential impact guys (Daniel McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez are the other two), but they’re extremely light on pitching. Their willingness to spend money in the draft is a welcome change from the past 15 years of toeing the line.‚Äù
Rumor Front
The Pirates appear willing to go 1 year – $3.5 million for pitcher Pedro Martinez. The Pirates are obviously not his first choice and Martinez will use their offer to his advantage.
Ty Wigginton turned down a two year offer from the Pirates worth $10.25 million.
The Braves and Blue Jays have been the most active teams pursuing Paul Maholm this off-season.
A Pirates source tells me Scott Boras is claiming the Pirates were among six teams to “reach out” to Andruw Jones.