The Pirates lost out on Johnny Estrada yesterday, but another free-agent catcher should be added soon. The team is negotiating with Paul Bako, who spent all of last season with Baltimore, on a minor-league contract that would include an invitation to spring training. Bako, 35, batted .205 with a home run and eight RBIs in 60 games for the Orioles and has a .233 average over 10 seasons in the majors.You don't "negotiate" with someone like Paul Bako. You tell him "Paul, if you'd prefer to play baseball instead of working at warehouse or something this summer, you'll take the bus ticket we just mailed you and show up at spring training. No, meals will not be included."
I suppose of course that Bako could reject their offer -- some warehouses are quite tolerable and this is the Pirates we're talking about here -- which would mean that Pittsburgh would be unable to land two washed-up, castoff Braves catchers in the space of a couple of days.
Ozzie Virgil and Bruce Benedict: keep your cell phone with you this week.