Ken Rosenthal reports that the Pirates are close to trading Dave Williams for Sean Casey.
This isn't what I'd like to see the Pirates doing. Casey's not a bad player, but for a first baseman, he's had one legitimately good year at the plate and two downright bad ones in the last four. While it's certainly possible he'd re-sign with the Pirates after the season, he could just be a rental, and the Pirates might not want him back in 2007 anyway if he doesn't hit and/or Brad Eldred does.
More importantly, unless a lot of cash comes the Pirates' way, this will likely prevent them from acquiring a legitimately excellent player this offseason. (The difference between Casey and Williams' salaries is about $7 million.) And they give up on three years of Dave Williams. Williams isn't a fantastic pitcher, but he's a decent starter who will be cheap for the next few years. I don't mind them trading Williams, but I do think they ought to get someone in return who they're sure to have around in 2007 and maybe beyond. With or without Casey, the Pirates won't contend in 2006, but they might in 2007 or 2008. This doesn't help their chances of doing that.
Casey is, then, another stopgap for the Pirates. While there is a chance he has another year like 2004, the odds are against him, and it's unlikely to take the Pirates to the playoffs even if he doesn't. This strikes me as yet another example of the Pirates shooting themselves in the foot by not planning for the future.