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Alternatives to Casey

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WTM wonders why the Pirates don't seem to look for diamonds in the rough instead of overpaying free agents like Jeromy Burnitz, Joe Randa and, soon, Sean Casey. I agree that the Bucs' efforts to find free talent have been lacking, and that "there isn't anyone else to play first" is A) wrong and B) a horrible reason to re-sign Casey. The Littlefield Bucs have been willing to use free or unwanted talent in major roles, but usually those players are over-the-hill veterans, not really players who might have a lot of upside. Jose Mesa was signed on a minor-league contract and made the Pirates' closer in 2004, although his previous experience as a closer had a lot to do with that. Rick White and Julian Tavarez are other examples.

The only examples I can think of that WTM might have mentioned would both be what WTM calls reclamation projects. One is Daryle Ward, a failed former top prospect who signed as a minor league free agent (although Ward only earned a job when major league free agents Raul Mondesi and Randall Simon didn't work out). Salomon Torres, another former top prospect, is the other.