Notes: Chacon wants to return to Bucs
GM Huntington says club has interest in free agent righty
PITTSBURGH -- Shawn Chacon wants to return to Pittsburgh next season, and the Pirates want him back. However, that may be where the similarities on both ends end.
The possibility of bringing Chacon back next season will come down to the salary he and his agent, Dan Horwits, demand, as well as their desired length of the contract. Based on the earlier discussions Horwits had with former Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield, current GM Neal Huntington is concerned that the expectations by Chacon and by the Pirates organization may differ too much for a deal to be struck.
"There is interest," Huntington said. "We have not made a call yet. The conversations with Dave, from what I have been told, were more excessive in terms of both salary and years than we are willing to make."
Though Chacon filed for free agency on Tuesday, speaking through Horwits, the right-hander continued to express a desire to sign a multiyear deal with the Pirates. Horwits said he spoke to Littlefield two or three times during the summer to gauge the organization's interest in bringing back Chacon, but he has not heard from the Pirates front office since Littlefield's dismissal.
Neither side indicated what terms were expected by Chacon, who avoided arbitration last season when he agreed to a $3.825 million contract. As a result, he likely will require an increase in salary, putting his earnings close to the $5 million mark next season.
"We will always place a value on internal players," Huntington said. "Shawn did great things here, and we would love to have him return. However, we have to make decisions that are in the best interest of the Pirates, and we'll have to see where those conversations go."
The Pirates have exclusive negotiating rights with Chacon until Monday, Nov. 12.
Other roster moves: While it was not expected that the Pirates would pick up the $5 million mutual option on pitcher Tony Armas, Huntington said a decision has not yet been made regarding the club option on infielder Cesar Izturis.
It is unlikely the Pirates will exercise Izturis' $5.45 million option for 2008 if they plan on keeping Jack Wilson as their everyday shortstop. Wilson is set to make $6.5 million next season.
If the Pirates do not decide to exercise the option, they will owe Izturis, who was acquired from the Cubs last July, $300,000.
Coaches merry-go-round: Former Pirates coaches and personnel continue to accept positions with other clubs, with three more members doing so earlier this week.
After five years in the Pirates organization, including the last two as the team's hitting coach, Jeff Manto has joined the White Sox as a Minor League hitting coordinator. John Shelby, the team's first-base coach for the last two years, will serve as the first-base coach for the Orioles next season for manager Dave Trembley.
Also joining the Baltimore organization is Brian Graham, who worked as the Pirates' senior director of player development for six seasons. Graham, who worked for the Orioles in 2000, has been named a special assignments coach for the Minor Leagues.
Desert update: After 18 games with the Phoenix Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League, prospect Jason Delaney continues to lead the Pirates' AFL players with a .286 average and 11 RBIs. His batting average also is the second highest among all hitters on his team.
Playing alongside Delaney for the Desert Dogs are highly touted prospect Andrew McCutchen and center fielder Nyjer Morgan, both of whom have had somewhat of a slow start offensively. Though McCutchen is hitting a modest .250 and Morgan at a .220 clip through 18 games, the two have combined to steal 11 bases. McCutchen's six stolen bases are fourth best among all AFL players.
On the pitching end of things, 2002 10th-round pick Dave Davidson and 2006 fifth-round selection Patrick Bresnehan continue to impress. In seven appearances, Davidson has thrown 6 2/3 innings of scoreless ball, striking out four. Bresnehan has logged 4 1/3 scoreless innings in five relief appearances while limiting opponents to a meager .071 average.
Filing for free agency: Add catcher Carlos Maldonado to the list of Pirates players who have entered the free agency market. Maldonado was sent outright to Triple-A Indianapolis when the Pirates claimed left-handed pitcher Phil Dumatrait off waivers from the Reds last week. Maldonado refused the assignment, and as a result became a free agent.
The Pirates have already granted free agency to right-hander Marty McLeary, catcher Humberto Cota and utility man Don Kelly.
Bucs bits: Currently pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League, Sean Burnett followed up two relief appearances with two starts to end the month of October. In those two starts, Burnett limited the damage to one earned run and nine hits in 10 total innings. ... Despite going 0-for-4 on Thursday, Steve Pearce continues to put up strong numbers for Team USA. The first baseman/right fielder is hitting .308 with five extra-base hits in six games. ... After spending the majority of the 2007 season at Class A Lynchburg, outfielder Brad Corley currently ranks third in RBIs, with 17, among all players in the Hawaii Winter League. ... Pittsburgh farmhand Charles Benoit, a 10th-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, leads all Hawaii League pitchers with four wins. Benoit has made 10 relief appearances for the North Shore Honu, and he has allowed four runs in 16 innings.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.