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Alternatives to Casey

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.