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-P- First-round draft pick Brad Lincoln will probably sign soon.

-P- Pretty interesting chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis:

Q: Tell me the truth; would you have taken [Evan] Longoria at #3?

A:  Jim Callis: I would have taken Brad Lincoln No. 1 overall, so with him on the board, I would have taken him over Longoria. But Longoria was the best position guy in the draft, and he would have gone to the Pirates with the next pick if Tampa Bay had passed.

Q: The Pirates look like they got lucky with Lincoln falling to them; however, after that is there any reason to be optimistic about who they picked?

 A:  Jim Callis: Sure. Mike Felix is one of the best lefties in the draft. Shelby Ford is better than is stats look, as he was horrible for the first half of the season. He can hit. Jared Hughes, Patrick Bresnehan and Jim Negrych were all very good in the Cape last summer, as were Alex Presley and Steve MacFarland.

Hmm. Maybe this draft will turn out well.

-P- Here's a chat with the Stats Geek.

MPM: Do you think the Pirates have been too cautious with moving players through the minor leagues and promoting them to the Major League club? It seems like when the Pirates have a rookie they are usually 25 or 26. I like what the Nationals did last year with Ryan Zimmerman...

Stats Geek: They do get here late, don't they? ...You could make the argument that it's better to suck up so bad play to get them ready earlier. On the plus side, the pitchers have gotten here fairly quickly. There are only about 10 NL starters under the age of 24 who have been in the rotation all season, and four of them are Pirates.

The real issue here is not that the Pirates are moving players too slowly - they aren't - but that they don't have any Zimmerman-type players, big-time talents who can move quickly. Of the Pirates' current minor leaguers or recent promotions, who could have come more quickly? Zach Duke and Paul Maholm were moved aggressively. Jose Castillo was moved too aggressively. Ryan Doumit and Freddy Sanchez were hurt too often to arrive sooner. Jose Bautista was too Rule 5'd to arrive sooner. Of the minor leaguers, I can't think of one who's being held back stupidly. Brent Lillibridge and Tom Gorzelanny are about as close as it gets.

When Cam Bonifay was the GM, he promoted players like a man possessed, and the result was that the Bucs got one good season total out of an obviously talented trio of players in Aramis Ramirez, Jose Guillen and Bronson Arroyo, all of whom blossomed for other teams. The Pirates, as an organization, have a ton of problems, but promoting players too slowly isn't one of them.