A busy couple of weeks of moves for the Buccos. The Bucs signed Ryan Church to a 1yr/1.5mil deal as a fourth outfielder. I like the move. Could be a good bench guy. He is a good fit for the Pirates. He hits left handed, something they desperately need. He also plays solid defense and could play everyday if Jeff Clement doesn't work out at first base and they have to move Garrett Jones there. He was often injured last season, splitting time between the Mets and Braves, combining to hit .273. Church only hit four homers last season, but did hit 15 in 2007 with Washington. Not a splashy type of signing, but teams need good bench guys also.
The Bucs also signed a couple relievers in D.J Carassco and Brenden Donnelly. Carrasco is 32 and will earn a 950k base salary if he makes the squad. He had a god year with the White Sox last season, posting a 3.76 era in 93.3 innings pitched. Intresting that Carrasco and Brian Bass (who also signed a minor league deal with the Bucs) were 1&2 in the majors last season in innings pitched by relievers.
Donnelly was signed to a major league deal for 1yr/1.35mil. He is a bit of a risk, coming off Tommy John surgery in 2007. He saw his first big league action since 07 last year with the Marlins and was very effective, posting an era under 1.5 in slightly over 25 innings pitched.
The Bucs are also very close to signing Octavio Dotel.
The Pirates also cleared a spot for Donelly on the 40 man roster by dealing Brian Bixler to the Indians for ss Jesus Brito. I don't know much about him but he is 22 and hit .353 combined between the Indians Rookie and Short Season teams.
I believe for Dotel to be signed, another spot on the 40 man must be cleared. The likely guy in my mind to be released or dealt is Steve Pearce.
Again, not big named relievers, but the bullpen should be a bit more reliable this season.
One funny note is that with the signings of Donnelly, Carrasco and Chris Jakubauskas- that gives the Bucs three pitchers that used to pitch in the Frontier League. Probably three too many.