Brian Burress has re-signed with the Pirates on a minor-league contract after being non-tendered last month, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
Signed last offseason after being let go by the Orioles and Blue Jays, the 29-year-old left-hander had a 4.99 ERA and 45/34 K/BB ratio in 79 innings for the Pirates split between the rotation and bullpen.
His deal includes an invitation to spring training, where Burres will have to compete for a job.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com the Rays, Pirates, and Blue Jays are among the teams interested in free agent reliever Octavio Dotel.
Pittsburgh being in the mix is interesting, because the Pirates signed Dotel to a one-year, $3.5 million deal as a free agent last offseason and then traded him to the Dodgers on July 31 for James McDonald and Andrew Lambo. That was a pretty great return, so perhaps general manager Neal Huntington wants to give it a try again.
Dotel is 37 years old, sometimes struggles to keep the ball in the ballpark, and has lost a bit of velocity in recent years, but he still averaged 92 miles per hour with his fastball in 2010 and racked up 75 strikeouts in just 64 innings. He’s never averaged fewer than 10 strikeouts per nine innings in a full relief season.
Last offseason the Royals acquired Josh Fields from the White Sox along with Chris Getz in exchange for Mark Teahen, but after one injury wrecked season in Kansas City the former top prospect and 2004 first-round pick was non-tendered a few weeks ago.
Fields has latched on with the Pirates, agreeing to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training, where he’ll likely compete with fellow prospect bust Andy Marte for a bench job.
Fields showed lots of power as a 24-year-old rookie in 2007, hitting .244 with 23 homers and a .788 OPS in 418 plate appearances, but has managed just 10 homers since then while hitting .228 with a .649 OPS and ugly 102/29 K/BB ratio in 353 trips to the plate.
Continuing their offseason plan of stockpiling mediocre veterans, the Pirates have agreed to terms with first baseman Lyle Overbay on a one-year, $5 million contract.
Overbay spent the past five seasons in Toronto, but the Blue Jays made no attempt to re-sign the 33-year-old after he hit just .243 with a .329 on-base percentage and .433 slugging percentage in 154 games this year.
He has a sub-.800 OPS in three of the past four seasons, has slugged above .500 just once in his career, and has the third-lowest OPS among the 19 first basemen to receive at least 1,500 plate appearances since 2008.
Overbay starting at first base likely means Garrett Jones and Matt Diaz will platoon in one outfield corner, with Jose Tabata playing every day in the other corner. Pittsburgh was already said to be aggressively shopping catcher/outfielder Ryan Doumit following the Diaz signing, so with the addition of Overbay pushing Jones to the outfield full time trading Doumit now seems even more likely.
Earlier this week Pittsburgh added Matt Diaz to the outfield mix with a two-year, $4.25 million contract and now Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the Pirates “are trying hard to deal” Ryan Doumit despite general manager Neal Huntington calling him the team’s starting right fielder just a few days ago.
Doumit made 91 of his 111 starts at catcher this year, but Chris Snyder is slated to start behind the plate in 2011 and Doumit was seemingly set to platoon in right field while serving as his backup.
However, according to Langosch the Pirates are aggressively shopping Doumit and “have made it known to other general managers that the club is willing to eat some of his salary.” He’s owed $5.1 million in 2011 and the Pirates also hold 2012 and 2013 team options for a total of $15.5 million.
Not so long ago Doumit was a very promising young catcher with a big bat, but his shaky defense behind the plate hasn’t been as easy to live with while he hit just .251 with a .728 OPS over the past two seasons. He’s a switch-hitter who’s never had much success versus lefties, but a career line of .272/.336/.461 versus righties could make him a decent option if the Pirates foot around half the bill.