The Bucs are among a number of teams interested in starter Tomo Ohka, the Post-Gazette reports.
I like this idea better than the idea of pursuing Jeff Suppan. Because Ohka doesn't have Suppan's postseason experience (which would be irrelevant with the Pirates anyway, even if it mattered) and because Ohka has always been an under-the-radar sort of guy, he should post Suppan-like results without commanding a Suppan-like price. I've always liked Ohka, but even I was surprised to learn that he has a 111 career ERA+. He's younger than Suppan and has better career numbers, although he's pitched less. He did have shoulder problems last season; I don't know if that will be a problem in the future or not.
The fact that there are apparently "seven or eight" teams after Ohka would seem to suggest that he's not going to be cheap, but I'm surprised so many teams want him. I'd still bet on him getting less than the Suppans and Adam Eatons of the world. Of course, he'd have no part of the Pirates' future plans, so in that sense, signing him would be kind of pointless, but Dave Littlefield has screwed this franchise up so badly that, at this point, I'd settle for them just doing something that isn't incredibly stupid. Ohka would be a clear upgrade for the Bucs and they might not have to break the bank to get him. That doesn't help them in 2009 or later, but if it prevents them from being completely unwatchable in 2007, I guess it's okay.