I'm getting a little tired of the Pedro Alvarez saga, but here's some of the latest news:
MLB's stance in the Sept. 10 arbitration hearing will be that [Royals first rounder Eric] Hosmer's agreement was completed after Alvarez. Thus, they will argue that the Pirates, with Coonelly having worked for MLB for a decade, were not granted a special favor with an extension past midnight....
Boras informed the union hours after the deadline of what he saw as a violation by the Pirates, but he did not do so in Hosmer's case because of his stance that the Kansas City deal was reached before the deadline. The union's position will be that MLB officials kept the Royals on hold on the phone, then waited until the Pirates were done to get back to them, just so another team would follow the Pirates and quash the perception of a special favor.
That's an interesting position, and it seems unlikely to fly. A few days ago, the Post-Gazette reported that the Texas Rangers received an extension in 2007 to sign first rounder Julio Borbon, and several sources have at least mentioned the possibility that the Washington Nationals received an extension to talk with 2008 first rounder Aaron Crow, who didn't end up signing. If Major League Baseball gave the Pirates some sort of special favor in allowing them extra time to sign Alvarez, then it must be awfully promiscuous with the special favor. To make this argument credibly, it would seem that the union will need very believable evidence that other teams requested extensions and were denied.
The article linked at the top of this post also reports that it will probably be "two tothree weeks" after the September 10th arbitration hearing before this is resolved. Alvarez wasn't going to suit up for the Pirates or any of their affiliates this season anyway, but this would seem to make it extremely unlikely that they'll be able to send him play to Fall or Winter ball.
Finally, the same article reports that there will likely be several callups today as rosters expand: Brian Bixler, Steve Pearce, Ross Ohlendorf, Craig Hansen, TJ Beam, a catcher (either Ronny Paulino or the newly-acquired Robinzon Diaz), one or more additional pitchers, and Luis Cruz.
Wait, Luis Cruz? I actually had to look him up to make sure I was thinking of the right guy. I was, but this is an odd pick, this year's equivalent of Carlos Maldonado. Maldonado was the career minor leaguer who the Pirates called up when rosters expanded in 2006, for no real reason than to reward him for being a good organizational soldier. Cruz appears to be an awful hitter and he racked up errors as Altoona's second baseman (for whatever that's worth; see the post below this one), but he managed to bat .328 for a month after being promoted to Indianapolis in late July, so for now, he'll be a Pirate. The 40-man roster is full, so someone will be kicked off the island to make room for him.