The Pirates are among a dozen teams pursuing free agent Jeff Suppan, the St. Louis Cardinals’ best pitcher during their run to the World Series.
“There are a lot of teams reaching out, a tremendous amount of interest in Jeff,” Suppan’s agent, Scott Leventhal, said yesterday. “And Pittsburgh is one of those teams.”
That might surprise some, given that Suppan should command an annual salary in the range of $8 million-$9 million over a span of three or four years. But the Pirates have roughly $14 million to spend this off season, a figure that would rise to $17 million if they sever ties with Shawn Chacon, another right-handed starter.
Yes, that DOES surprise me. This is the first good free agent I’ve heard the Pirates name associated with in YEARS. Pittsburgh just hasn’t gone after any big names at all: the only money they have spent has been on some of their home grown talent (i.e. Jason Bay). However, this may signal a good change in the front office – the willingness to spend money to make the team better. A good farm system is vital, but that needs to be augmented with a good free agent on occasion – you just aren’t going to develop everything you will need.
Is this a sign that the Pirates are finally developing a team to be competitive? I sure hope so.
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