The Pirates continue to amaze by claiming Aaron Thompson off of waivers. He is a pitcher that was drafted by the Marlins, traded to the Nationals, and now arrives with the Pirates. He will probably be in the AAA bullpen or perhaps the rotation of AA. To make room for him the Pirates designated for assignment Ledezma. Ledezma is the only lefty in the bullpen right now, so this is a bit of a shock. Plus it means that Chris Ledoux is still on the 40 man. Amazing. Ledezman had just re-signed earlier this year, so hopefully the Pirates will be able to keep him around.
They also made a minor trade, as in trading some minor leaguers. They get Corey Wimberly from the A's, a 27 year old utility infielder who has also played a little outfield for 23 year old Ryan Kelly. Kelly has pitched at the Low A level with a decent fastball, but with all the pitching talent coming through the system has no hope in the Pirate organization. Wimberly hit .284 at AAA with a nice 56 stolen bases. Clearly Wimberly is a possible major league back up if the Pirates decide against Ciraco. I fail to see how he fits in at a now crowded AAA infield unless the Pirates are planning on leaving at least one of their future stars (D'Arnaud or Mercer) in AA.
Garrett Atkins also signed a minor league deal with the Pirates. Atkins, a third baseman, hit well in the Rockies good year of 06 and again in 07, but has been miserable since. However he has real major league experience that the other candidates for back up third base do not have.
Now, it appears the Pirates are really planning on having some competition in camp to see who the back up in the infield are going to be. The Pirates might be leaning toward carrying a natural third base back up rather than using Neil Walker as the back up third base and going with an extra middle infielder to fill in at second. There are lots of choices for the Pirates to make this Spring, and that can only be a good thing.
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