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News Roundup

-P- The Pirates continue to be contenders... in the race to pay Jeff Suppan a whole lot of money. If this is where the Pirates' entire offseason budget is going to go, color me unimpressed. First and foremost, the Pirates need offense, and anyway, Suppan is very unlikely to continue to be a very effective starter if he plays with the Pirates. He doesn't strike batters out and he depends way too heavily on his defense. The Pirates shouldn't be shelling out $40 or $50 million to a pitcher who won't look good with their poor defense behind him.

-P- The Giants added another Padre (after already grabbing Dave Roberts and Bruce Bochy) by signing Ryan Klesko to a one-year, $1.75 million deal that could be worth up to $2 million more if Klesko stays on the field. Some Pirates fans worried that the Bucs would sign Klesko, and it's a good thing we didn't, but it's easy to forget that he posted a .399 OBP as recently as 2004. For the right team, Klesko can be a huge bargain at $1.75 million.

Unfortunately, the Giants aren't that team. They can't really play Klesko in the outfield because he's brutal and because they already have better players in Barry Bonds, Randy Winn and Dave Roberts to play there. Todd Linden could also use some playing time in the outfield. They could play Klesko at first base, where he's at least passable, but Rich Aurilia rightly will get the lion's share of the at bats there after his excellent season in 2006. The Giants' other first baseman, Mark Sweeney (yet another former Padre!), is a lefty like Klesko and is probably just as good as Klesko at this point. If I were running the Giants, I'd play Klesko or Sweeney at first and Aurilia at third against righties, only allowing the execrable Pedro Feliz to play against lefties. Given that the Giants recently agreed to pay Feliz $5 million in 2007, though, I doubt that's the conclusion they'll reach. Anyway, my point is that Klesko doesn't really make much sense for the Giants. Even as Bonds insurance, he's no good, because he's recently been one of the worst defensive outfielders I've ever seen.

-P- The Twins signed Rondell White to a one-year deal worth $2.75 million that includes an option and bonuses that could bring the total value of the deal to $8.5 million. White is a corner outfielder and DH who had a .276 OBP last year. Fans might be tempted to look for hope in the fact that he had a .424 OPS in the first half and an .892 OPS in the second, and that at least some of White's spectacularly poor play in the first half was due to recurring injury problems. But a .276 OBP from a 30-something player is still a .276 OBP from a 30-something player, and it's not safe to assume the injuries won't continue - one doesn't earn the nickname "Ron DL" for phonetic reasons alone. It must be tough for Terry Ryan to compete in the free agent market, but I'd still like to think a GM with his reputation should make transactions more inspired than this one.