Are you a major league baseball player who is clearly on the decline? Were you cut by the Kansas City Royals last year but hate life without sports so much that you refuse to give up? Are bad knees keeping you from reaching even the easiest fly balls? Declining vision causing you to rack up strikeout after strikeout at the plate? Do you love fat women and cheap beer? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, congratulations! You've got what it takes to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008!
Benito Santiago, Jeromy Burnitz, Joe Randa, Chris Stynes, Raul Mondesi, Kenny Lofton, Reggie Sanders. In 1998, this wouldn't even a playoff team. Between 2002-2007 they were "veteran leadership" on one-year contracts with the Pittsburgh Pirates. These players were either seat warmers for prospects that never arrived (i.e. Tike Redman and Chris Duffy) or at very least trade-bait to bring back some AA prospects from teams that actually contended.
While some bounced back and prolonged their careers, others essentially made PNC Park their graveyard. Many a mediocre veteran has ended their career with a whimper in the Steel City. So far the Pirates have already signed #2BestSeller favorite and Devil Rays castaway Casey Fossum and 36-year-old Chris Gomez.
Here are the rest of 2008's candidates:
Doug Mientkiewicz -- In the span during which this article went from "draft" to "posted," the Pirates signed Mientkiewicz to a minor league contract. Here we have a player so nondescript that his only recognizable nickname, "eye-chart" comes from his unspellable last name. Look at that tubby bastard. He'll fit right in with the Pirates, having only hit 20 home runs over the past 3 seasons.
Odds of being signed: 6 to 5
Preston Wilson -- He's got a horrible injury history, was just released by the Cardinals and he had his best seasons at Coors Field. I can't figure out if this guy is a train wreck or a perfect candidate for the Pirates rehab program.
Odds: 5 to 1
Ryan Klesko -- Major injury? Check. Let go by a terrible team (the Giants)? Check. Lack of power? Check. However, after the Eye-Chart signing, there may be little room for a fifth terrible veteran as a corner infielder. However, Pittsburgh's hunting scene may be able to entice the avid sportsman, as herds of water buffalo are spotted in South Side every night.
Odds: 10 to 1