With all the rumour and innuendo – seriously, Jon Paul Morosi tweeted that a Marlins official had a knowing smile while being asked about Albert Pujols – currently being attached to which 10 year, $220 million contract the best player in baseball will choose, we’ve forgotten about some of the less publicized agreements that have occurred during the winter meetings.
Most recently, it seems that we haven’t projected the proper spotlight on America’s Team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Over the last two days, the Pirates have not only added fourth outfielder Nate McLouth for far less money (one year for $1.75 million) than his previous contract with the Bucs (three years for $15.75 million), but GM Neal Huntington has also wisely decided to kick the tires on catcher Jose Morales with a Minor League contract.
Morales doesn’t fit the standard catcher as batter template which requires the player collect a ton of out but have some pop with his bat. The 28 year old has a .289 AVG/.365 OBP/.344 SLG line in a limited 252 big league plate appearances with the Minnesota Twins and Colorado Rockies. Given the lack of MLB ready catching depth on the Pirates’ roster after Rod Barajas, the Mirales pick up could prove to be quite astute.
As for McLouth, sure. Why not? At that price, is anyone going to mourn a lack of at bats given to Gorkys Hernandez?