Now that Pirates fans have had some time to savor yesterday's prospect signing bonanza, they can turn their full attention to another pressing question:
Should the Pirates devote the bulk of their 2011 player acquisition money to signing draftees and international free agents or to signing Major League veteran free agents?
To my mind, the best feasible choice is obvious: Sign draftees and international free agents in 2011.
This may not always be the best feasible choice. There eventually will be an off-season when investing heavily in prospects is the less-than-best option. But that off-season awaits the arrival and subsequent success of additional minor league prospects in Pittsburgh. The team has to be ready for a strategically sound investment in the Major League free agent market.
Realistic championship contention will indicate the arrival of the time when the Pirates ought to test the Major League free agent market.
The Pirates project to be a sub-McClatchy Line team (fewer than 81 wins) in 2011 and any free agent the Pirates might sign will not change the character of the team sufficiently to push it over the .500 mark. At best, the Pirates could sign players of replacement quality who Neil Huntington might turn into prospects like Andrew Lambo and James McDonald! That plan sounds wonderful, but I would not want to yoke Huntington to a demand that requires a theft like that one every year.
Your choice might differ, and you can easily record your preference in the poll below.