Pirates Non-Tender Lastings Milledge

The Pirates have non-tendered Lastings Milledge, which probably won't have any long-term ramifications but which seems penny-wise, pound-foolish to me. Milledge has been disappointing relative to his pedigree, but at .277/.332/.380, he's hardly worthless, particularly since he hits lefties well. (He was, to be fair, a disaster against righties last year.) And he was only 25 in 2010, so there's some chance he improves. And he wouldn't have cost much in arbitration, probably somewhere between $1 million and $1.5 million.

So, given that the Pirates will have to pay the major-league minimum $400,000 to someone to occupy his roster spot anyway, they're basically giving up three years of control of a 25-year-old who isn't even all that bad so that they can save about $1 million, if that. Milledge doesn't have much power, and I don't think the signs are good that he'll ever develop any, but you never know, and $1 million is a tiny price to pay to find out. Non-tendering Milledge seems like the sort of gamble a team in the Pirates' position should avoid - and while I'm fine with their decision to settle with no-upside starter Jeff Karstens, the Bucs really shouldn't be spending on someone like Karstens if it prevents them from spending on Milledge.

The chances are that this move won't come back to bite the Pirates, but I still hate it. The one potential silver lining is that this makes it more likely that fellow righty Steve Pearce will win a bench job this year. I've wanted to see the Pirates make a role for Pearce for a long time, but this seems like a high price to pay to make that happen.

The Bucs tendered Joel Hanrahan and Ross Ohlendorf, settled with Ronny Cedeno, and dropped Argenis Diaz, Brian Burres and Donnie Veal from their 40-man roster. Diaz and Burres were pretty easy decisions, but I'm also surprised they dropped Veal, who made obvious progress this year. Veal went down with Tommy John surgery, but pitchers generally recover from that without too much of a problem. Maybe the Bucs know something we don't. Dejan Kovacevic notes that Veal is likely to sign a minor-league deal, though, so I guess that's fine.

The Bucs now have a bunch of roster spots available for Rule 5 picks, so that's fun, if nothing else. It would be interesting to see them take two picks, and at this stage, there's really no reason for them not to.

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