Pirates Sign Doug Mientkiewicz

As Jeremy points out in the diaries, the Bucs have signed first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz to a minor-league deal. He'd make $750,000 in base salary on the 25-man roster, plus up to another $750,000 in performance bonuses.

What I don't understand is why Mientkiewicz would agree to this. Unlike a lot of guys who sign minor league deals, he still should have some value - he posted a 107 OPS+ in the American League last year, he has some on-base skills, and his defense isn't terrible. So why would he sign with a team that has no obvious place for him? Unless the Pirates only carry six relievers - and I don't think that's likely, given that there's going to have to be a constant flow of pitchers to clean up messes left by Matt Morris, Zach Duke and the bullpen - there's really no place for Mientkiewicz on the bench. Chris Gomez and Ryan Doumit have spots, and so do either Ray Olmedo or Josh Wilson, and either Nate McLouth or Kevin Thompson (depending on whether McLouth or Nyjer Morgan wins the center field job). That leaves one spot, which the Pirates will presumably use for a backup catcher.

So Mientkiewicz only gets a spot if the Pirates are going to go with a small 'pen, or use Doumit as the backup catcher, or trade someone. Maybe they've told Mientkiewicz that one of these things is going to happen. Stay tuned.

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