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Pirates Sign Ruben Gotay

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The Pirates have signed infielder Ruben Gotay to a minor league deal. Gotay's more interesting than the usual minor league signing--he isn't old (he turned 26 in December), he was once a fairly good prospect (in the Royals' system), and he's actually been pretty helpful in the big leagues at times. (The Mets collapsed badly in 2007, but it would have been even worse without Gotay providing a temporary fix at second base.) He can play third in addition to second, and he's played handfuls of games at shortstop. He didn't hit particularly well for Atlanta last year, but he played so sparingly that I wouldn't read too much into that. He's a good bet to see action in Pittsburgh in 2009, and he's an upgrade over Luis Rivas (or, for that matter, Luis Cruz or Brian Bixler).

Nice signing--I've always wondered why Gotay never got more chances to start. That moment has probably passed, but he can be a totally competent spare infielder for a team that already has someone else to back up at shortstop. His defense is apparently pretty wretched, so he probably shouldn't start even if there's a trade, and I'd prefer the Pirates use as many bench spots as possible on corner players who can hit. But I wouldn't be broken up if Gotay made the team, and he should fill in capably as a utilityman if the Pirates trade an infielder.