The Pirates are hoping to strengthen their bullpen following the departures of John Grabow and Matt Capps by making offers to free agents Octavio Dotel and Kevin Gregg.
Both players are seeking two-year deals in the range of 5-6 million dollars annually. Sources are telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Pirates are only offering one-year deals.
Dotel, 36, was not offered salary arbitration, and is nearing an age where multi-year deals are reserved for the top performers. Dotel put up a 3.32 ERA this past season and still registers well in strikeouts-per-nine innings. While there were fluctuations in some of his advanced numbers between 2008 and 2009, he still has a few good years ahead of him. A two-year deal worth 9-10 million dollars total is a reasonable offer, especially for the Pirates if he choose them.
Gregg has drawn some interest this winter, particularly from the Orioles, but now the PIrates are stepping up their pursuits in need of a closer. Gregg had a pretty strong June and July, posting a cumulative 2.35 ERA in 27 appearances, but struggled mightily to finish the season with a 8.52 ERA in his final 22 appearances.
Gregg could view Pittsburgh as a one-year stop to rebuild his value as a closer to hit the market in 2010 as a 32-year old closer. It is possible the Tigers could make him an offer as well, especially because the back of their bullpen is rather uncertain.
Talks will probably heat up after the New Year.