Pirates Sign Garrett Atkins, And More Transactions

A couple of minor transactions on a day dominated by other sports news.

The Pirates have signed Garrett Atkins to a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invitation. Hey, why not? Yeah, the Indianapolis infield looks a bit crowded at this point, but this is a no-risk move.

They have also claimed LHP Aaron Thompson off waivers from Washington and designate Wil Ledezma for assignment.

EDIT: Of course, as soon as I post this, Jenifer Langosch is now reporting on her Twitter page that the Pirates have acquired IF Corey Wimberly from the A's, although no word on who is going to Oakland. Interestingly enough, Wimberly was the one who broke the story on his Twitter.

UPDATE by Charlie: Atkins apparently peaked at age 26 and has fallen off a cliff since then, but as minor-league signing, this is a good one - he's only a few years removed from posting a .965 OPS in Colorado, so there's no harm in making sure he can't get that back. Thompson is a former first-round pick, but his minor-league stats are unimpressive; maybe there's some upside in just moving him to the bullpen, but dumping Ledezma for him is disappointing, because I really think Ledezma can be a good big-league reliever right now.

Seriously, I don't understand the Pirates' ambivalence about Ledezma. I know he hasn't had the best career, but he struck out nearly 12 batters per nine innings at AAA last year and ten in the majors, all while adding velocity. There are no guarantees, obviously - maybe he flames out completely - but he looks to me like the very archetype of the reliever who figures things out late in his career.

Wimberly is a career minor-leaguer of no real distinction, so if the Pirates are trading for him, it's probably just one organizational guy for another. Wimberly seems really psyched to be a Pirate, though, so I'll be rooting for him.

UPDATE by Charlie (again): Class A reliever Ryan Kelly heads to the A's in the Wimberly trade. Kelly has posted some impressive peripherals, but has been moved through the minors very slowly. He's the sort of under-appreciated player with sexy stats that the A's love, but I'm not sure I've ever heard him described as an actual prospect - he went completely under the radar even on a relatively uninteresting West Virginia team. I'm not sure I would have traded him for Wimberly, but this is the kind of transaction that the Pirates' scouts would know more about than I would, and I don't think it matters much either way.

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