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Link Roundup: 2/1/07

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-P- Via Primer, you need to read this interview with Adam LaRoche:

"It was pretty crazy; those fans were so into it," he said of the Pirates' FanFest. "I got to spend a little more time with the GM and the coaches, find out the direction they're going. It's going to be fun. It's not going to be easy. It's a real young team, definitely going to be a challenge. Their goal right now is about change, almost like their goal is to try to be a .500 team, then try get to playoffs later. They don't know whether it takes three years or five years.

"In my opinion, they need to get the .500 thing out of their heads and go for the playoffs"...

"It really is lot different, good and bad," LaRoche said. "They want to win, but I think nobody's real sure how to do it. They're looking for a couple of guys to come in and show them."

Jeez. LaRoche has been here two weeks, and he's already figured out what the Pirates' problems are. It doesn't sound like Dave Littlefield has managed to fill LaRoche with confidence.

Elsewhere in the article, LaRoche says some really nice things about Pirates fans, and has some choice words for Braves fans. This is a must-read. If LaRoche keeps being this candid, Littlefield is going to regret trading for him. And I mean that in the best possible way.

-P- Baseball America lists its Top 10 Pirates prospects.

After infusing so much youth into their big league roster, however, the Pirates now have a thin farm system with few premium prospects. Most of their younger players were drafted during Mickey White's three-year run as scouting director from 1999-2001, which included taking Snell in the 26th round in 2000 and Duke in the 20th round in 2001.

The players are going to have to sign a lot of guys to long-term deals if that "Projected 2010 Lineup" is going to come to fruition. Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez and Xavier Nady, who are all on the team, will be in their free agent years by then.

-P- Pat begins his 2007 preview with a post about Chris Duffy.

-P- An outsider's take on the Jack Wilson - Jose Castillo situation. Check out the rest of the blog, too, while, you're there. I thought this was pretty funny.

-P- Athletics Nation has a huge new interview with Billy Beane.

-P- The Nats signed Austin Kearns to an extension worth at least three years and $17.5 million. The deal buys out one, and possibly two, of Kearns' free agency years. Kearns was going to cost the Nats about $4 million this year in arbitration, so this is basically a two-year, $13.5 million deal with a $9 million option. Given Kearns' age and the current free agent climate, that sounds like a decent deal for both sides.