There's lots of interesting stuff in John Perrotto's column here, particularly the revelation that the Pirates were interested in acquiring Josh Beckett before he was traded to the Red Sox, but the Bucs wouldn't take on Mike Lowell's contract.
I'm searching for clues here as to how the Pirates' offseason will play out, and I'm not sure how to read this one. Should I read Littlefield's refusal to take Lowell's contract as evidence that although Littlefield was interested in acquiring a young potential superstar, he recognized the need to keep his eye on the prize and make sure to spend his resources on what the team needs most, which is hitting? Or is this just more evidence of the Pirates' cheapness? Or was Littlefield just tossing that nugget out to an unsuspecting beat writer in the hopes that it would convince fans that the Pirates were finally getting serious about winning?
Even leaving aside the Bucs' willingness to take Lowell's contract, though, I'm not sure how this deal could have happened unless the Pirates traded Jason Bay or Zach Duke. Hanley Ramirez, who the Red Sox were willing to trade, has more upside than any player the Pirates control except those two.