Bucs Sign Tony Armas Jr.

The Bucs have signed Tony Armas Jr. to a one-year deal with an option for 2008. They designated Franquelis Osoria for assignment to make room.

As bad as Armas is, he's a markedly better option than B.P. Chacon. Armas doesn't strike out enough batters and he isn't especially reliable, but his peripherals are still far better than Chacon's or Shane Youman's. This move improves the Bucs. Well, not by much, but the fifth starter spot easily could've been an endless parade of horrible pitchers with 8.00 ERAs. This move decreases the chances of that happening.

UPDATE: According to the Post-Gazette, Armas gets $3 million in 2007. He gets $5 million in 2008, or a $500,000 buyout. Unless Sean Burnett makes a spectacular comeback or Brad Lincoln mows down three levels of the minors this year or both, Armas will probably be back in 2008. So you can basically consider this a two-year, $8 million deal that the Bucs get to make one year and $3.5 million if Armas gets injured or really tanks. That's not bad, although I can't get too excited about this (and judging from the lack of comments here and elsewhere so far, none of you can either). The Pirates' strength is supposed to be pitching, and a pitching-rich organization shouldn't be paying Tony Armas to start for them.

There's also the fact that John Thomson and Tomo Ohka signed for far smaller amounts of guaranteed money, despite being arguably better pitchers (albeit with injury issues). We know Ohka didn't come to Pittsburgh not because the Pirates wouldn't pay him, but because he simply didn't want to. This illustrates one reason why it's unwise for the Pirates to depend on free agents year after year - while a lot of players will follow the money wherever it takes them, some players just don't want to play for a losing organization.

Still, the Pirates got decent value with this move. There's really nothing to complain about, until one considers the broader context.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Actually, the 2008 option is mutual. I don't know exactly what the conditions of the option are. The AP reports that Armas' 2008 salary can increase if he plays well in 2007. Again, I don't know what the conditions are.

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