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Pirates Close to Deal with Burnitz

No! No no no no no. What a terrible, awful idea on so many levels. It's apparently for $12 million, about the same amount that Jeromy Burnitz was rumored to have signed for with Baltimore last week, which is too much under just about any circumstances.

Second, Burnitz is nowhere near the player Craig Wilson is at this point. Barring and injury or a trade (bye bye, Craig), he should have no starting job on the 2006 Pirates. He hit .258/.322/.435 in 2005, which is unacceptable for a starting corner outfielder and, as if I had to tell you, far worse than Craig Wilson. (Don't be fooled by Burnitz' homers; he didn't hit nearly enough of them to make up for his bad on-base percentage.) He apparently hit rather well in 2004, but that was in Colorado.

His batting averages the previous two years were .239 and .215. I don't usually put much stock in batting averages as a descriptor of what a player contributed, but 1) it's very difficult to contribute much of anything with a batting average of .215 and 2) as Burnitz' bat speed slows, he's pretty likely to approach .215 again during this contract.

It's hard to even see what the Pirates see in Burnitz. Like Wilson, he 'strikes out too much' and isn't the sort of contact-making hitter that the current Pirates management professes to love. What they probably like best about him is that he isn't Craig Wilson. The only way in which he's perhaps superior to Wilson at this point is his defense, which still isn't much better at this point and is, in my opinion, not very likely to be better at all this year, when Burnitz will be a year slower. Stephen Zielinski recently joked that if the Pirates couldn't trade or replace Craig Wilson, he'd worry that Dave Littlefield would assassinate Wilson. It's funny because it's almost true.

Burnitz played a fair amount of center field as recently as 2004, but he wasn't good there then and would probably not be an acceptable option there in 2006.

Check out what Dan Szymborski said when he thought the Orioles were signing Burnitz. I agree. I hate this team, or at least I hate Pirates' management. This is yet another awful signing by a team with no vision and no plan to win.