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News Roundup: Steve Pearce at First?

-P- Dejan Kovacevic guesses that Steve Pearce will be the Pirates' first baseman next season. I think pigs will fly before Pearce gets 500 at bats in a season with the Bucs. They've had plenty of opportunities to find a position and some playing time for Pearce, and they've gone out of their way to avoid doing those things. If Adam LaRoche is traded in the next couple months, Pearce will probably be recalled, but even then I'd bet on him splitting time with Eric Hinske. He'll have to hit like crazy to become part of the picture in 2010.

That means the 2010 first baseman will probably be an outside hire. Here's the list of next offseason's free agents. Signing Nick Johnson to a lucrative short-term deal might be an interesting gamble; if he stays healthy, he'll hit, and if he does he could easily be turned into prospects later.

-P- Speaking of first base, Pedro Alvarez has hit .282 with three homers in his past ten games.

-P- With the recent departures of Romulo Sanchez, Dave Davidson and Jimmy Barthmaier from the 40-man roster, it's finally reaching the point where there aren't ten complete wastes of time clogging up the roster anymore. My guess is that the next to go next time the Pirates need a pitcher is Luis Cruz, who's hitting .242/.266/.319 at Indianapolis. I think the Bucs would probably be able to sneak him through waivers, too. If major league teams had 30-man rosters, he'd be a good addition purely as a defensive substitute, but a major league bench player has to be able to hit at least a little.

-P- Jason Kendall grabbed his 2,000th hit last night. It was a single (of course) up the middle.

-P- You think the Pirates' 12-24 Altoona team is bad? Ken Rosenthal quotes a scout saying that the Nationals' Class AA team in Harrisburg is "the worst Class AA team maybe in the history of baseball." Dave Williams is on that team. Rosenthal also quotes another scout describing the Giants' Pablo Sandoval as "Randall Simon with more ability."