-P- Top Prospect Alert has a list of its top 100 prospects up. Andrew McCutchen is all the way up at #7. Neil Walker and Brad Lincoln are in the 70s. That's it, and it's not enough, but at least we have McCutchen to get excited about.
The application was submitted to the state in September, and receiving the available funds depends on a lease agreement needed by Jan. 1 with the National League team. Money will be used for improvements to the spring training practice and housing facility, Pirate City, and McKechnie Field, where the Pirates play their games in March, said City Clerk Carl Callahan.
Also, Callahan said, the money would be used to keep the Pirates in Bradenton and discourage a move to Arizona, where some teams have headed.
I don't know who pays for Spring Training facilities for other teams, so I probably shouldn't talk trash, but it's no surprise at all that the Pirates are depending on the government yet again.
-P- Here's a good post at OnlyBucs describing Dave Littlefield's history at the Winter Meetings. Summary: Don't expect good things to happen next week.
-P- The Pirates have announced the 2007 managers of their minor league affiliates. Basically, they're the same, except the rookie league managers are switching places (Tom Prince goes to Bradenton; Turner Ward heads to State College) and the full-season Class A managers are switching too (Gary Green goes to Hickory; Jeff Branson goes to Lynchburg). I don't know why the switching is done, but my guess is that it's to provide continuity for the players - Hickory had the most prospects of any Pirate affiliate last year, and many of those players (Brad Lincoln, Todd Redmond, Shelby Ford, Brad Corley, Justin Vaclavik) will likely be at Lynchburg next year.
-P- The Red Sox have signed Japanese lefty reliever Hideki Okajima to a two year contract. It's pretty frustrating to not know much of anything about how well these Japanese players are going to do, but for what it's worth, Okajima is 30 and had a 2.14 ERA and 63 Ks in 54.2 innings with the Nippon Ham FIghters last year.