MLB Free Agency: Pirates Must Decide On Options Today, Kelly Shoppach A Possibility

The Pirates must decide on their team options for Paul Maholm, Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder and Ronny Cedeno today. Rob Biertempfel notes that, more or less as we've expected, the Pirates will probably decline the first three but exercise Cedeno's. 

Biertempfel also notes that if the Rays decline Kelly Shoppach's option (as I presume they will), he would be a potential target for the Pirates on the free-agent market. Shoppach would be a good addition if his ability to make contact hadn't totally deserted him in the past few years - he has power and plays reasonable defense, but his batting averages the last two years have been .196 and .176, and it's hard to be a valuable player overall when you do that. The anti-NH folk would have all kinds of fun if the Pirates went into April with a .176 hitter as their top option at catcher, and I can't say I'd blame them. Of course, there's also the chance that the Bucs could sign Shoppach and then have him back up Michael McKenry, but then your starting catcher is Michael McKenry. I wouldn't mind adding Shoppach, but the Pirates' hunt for a catcher shouldn't start and end there.

UPDATE: Via cocktailsfor2, the Pirates have "formally" told Snyder no thanks on the option, which means he's now a free agent.

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