Here's Dave Littlefield with probably the most candid interview he's given since becoming the Pirates' GM. It appears in the Tribune-Review a week after the Trib and the Pirates announced a partnership, and as one poster put it in the comments, that can't be a coincidence.
Here's the most interesting stuff:
-Littlefield says Craig Wilson may start the year as a backup. This scares me a bit, since Littlefield also points to pre-2005 Tony Clark as an example of the sort of player he'll be thinking of acquiring. The thing about Clark's fine 2005 was that it was unexpected; it's dumb to give someone like Clark a starting job while expecting him to hit like that. Wilson has a much better chance of hitting 30 home runs next year than whoever Tony Clark's equivalent is this year, like Travis Lee, for example. The Pirates already tried to do this to Wilson by acquiring Randall Simon in 2003, and they tried to do it again by re-acquiring Simon and acquiring Raul Mondesi in 2004. It was bad enough that it happened twice. It shouldn't happen again. If they can get someone better than Wilson, fine - but trust me, in this market, they can't.
-Littlefield hems and haws a bit with regard to Ty Wigginton, but says outright that the team will likely use some combination of Freddy Sanchez and Rob Mackowiak at third. Wigginton almost certainly isn't coming back.
-Kip Wells is apparently trying very hard.
-The Pirates will likely go with a closer-by-committee next year, which seems fine with me, except I'm concerned that Littlefield thinks the Bucs need another pitcher to go along with Salomon Torres and Mike Gonzalez. Littlefield has overvalued players with closing experience in the past, so I'm worried he'll do it again, paying too much and giving high-leverage innings to an inferior pitcher.