The acquisition of John McDonald, as puzzling as it is on the surface, tells me one thing: Neal Huntington expects these Pirates to be quite good, and to contend. To be the type of team that can benefit from the presence of a twice-a-week veteran like McDonald.
The GM may be overrating his team. Time will tell. But he has spent the offseason on the lookout for veterans for the bench. Neither Brandon Inge nor Brad Hawpe may pan out. So he is trying again.
Otherwise, the move would be hard to rationalize. It adds one more element to the one team area I’d already considered congested, with Jordy Mercer and Ivan De Jesus among those in the picture.
Having McDonald will allow Clint Hurdle to give Clint Barmes the breaks a 34-year-old shortstop might benefit from. The manager wasn’t comfortable taking Barmes’ glove off the field last season; the Bucs were 74-70 when he played, and 5-13 when he didn’t.
The move certainly does not appear to be popular among fans, some of whom have pointed out the Pirates now actually have THREE McDonalds:
James, John and Old.