In 2004, the mulleted-one Craig Wilson, seen here with two of his lady friends, led the Pirates with 29 homeruns. In 2005, he had an injury plagued year. So naturally, in 2006, the Buccos spend money they don't have on a K-machine RF and make Wilson a benchwarmer/trade-bait. Well, to the surprise of Dave Littlefield, Wilson has started the season .350-4-7 in 20 AB (thanks only to Sean Casey's bruised ribs).
Freddy Sanchez was a careers +.300 in the minor leagues in the Boston organization. The Pirates thought so much of him, they traded LH RP Scott Saurbeck (a personal favorite of mine because he came out of the bullpen to Pennywise tunes) and SP Jeff Suppan. Sanchez struggled with injuries in 2004, started 2005 on the bench, but became a starter for the last 2/3 of the season, playing mostly at 3B and putting up respectable nuimbers of .291-5-35. So naturally the Pirates signed Joe Randa for 4 million, with the theory being they needed power from the corner infielders. But Joe Randa has never hit over 16 HR in a season. He hit 13 in 92 games with Cincy, but only 4 after being traded to San Diego, whose park most resembles PNC.
Both of these players are having great beginnings, and given past performances, it is not unexpected. Hopefully, Sanchez will see more time at 3B. Problem is, teams do not want to pay a guy 4 million to platoon (ask the Phils what they are doing with D Bell.) As for Wilson, Jim Tracey said last night, "He's got himself a backer here. I've made him aware: 'You will find yourself on the field."' Great, information that would have been usefull 2 months ago, when Littlefield was wasting money on Burnitz!
In minor league news, Brad Eldred has 3 HR in 7 games, which I believe constitutes "corner infield power." Despite the goofy picture, Tom Gorzelanny has pitched 9 inning with 0 ER and Sean Burnett went 5 without giving up an ER in his only start. If Snell, Maholm, Santos continue to struggle, at least there are other options.