Pirates fall short for Durbin, but still active
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The Pirates keep coming up second.
Their bid for free-agent starter Chad Durbin, formerly of the Detroit Tigers, was turned down today in favor of one made by the Philadelphia Phillies, according to an industry source. Terms of the contract agreement were not immediately known, but the Pirates and Phillies were the two finalists.
This came a week after the Pirates were the bridesmaid for free-agent reliever Luis Vizcaino, who agreed to terms with the Colorado Rockies for two years and $7.5 million.
Durbin, 30, was 8-7 with a 4.32 ERA last season, one in which he won a spot in the Tigers' rotation in the spring because of an injury to Kenny Rogers, then moved in and out while winding up with 19 starts.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington's clear focus in free agency is finding an experienced right-handed reliever, but not at the cost of offering what they feel is excessive term or salary.
A source confirmed yesterday that there have been "a couple" of talks regarding Octavio Dotel and "a few more" aimed at bringing Shawn Chacon back. But no one involved with the process sounds as if a deal on either front is likely, much less imminent. Most of the rest of the free-agent crop of relievers consists of pitchers 36 or older, and Huntington has shown negligible interest in that bracket.
Another possibility is Akinori Otsuka, a 35-year-old right-hander recently non-tendered earlier this month by the Texas Rangers. Elbow inflammation troubled him much of the second half of 2007, but his offseason rehabilitation has been promising.
The only starters the Pirates are known to have contacted are Matt Clement and Brett Tomko, but this, too, hardly seems a sweeping approach. Representatives for other pitchers likely to be in the same salary scales, including Mark Prior and Kris Benson, have not heard from Huntington.
NOTES -- The San Diego Padres last night agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with catcher Michael Barrett, avoiding arbitration and, in all likelihood, setting the stage for Barrett to be traded. The Pirates have expressed interest in Barrett. ... The Pirates' other various talks with San Diego are believed to be dormant. ... Although free-agent reliever Masumi Kuwata told Japanese reporters Monday that he has chosen the Pirates as his team for 2008, he told MLB.com yesterday that his contract is not complete. It will be a one-year, minor-league deal.
Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Published December 19, 2007 4:41 pm