When it's early January and pitchers and catchers are still a month away, sometimes there's nothing to do but speculate about free agents the Pirates probably aren't going to sign. I still find some of the discussion and the rumor mill interesting, because even if the Pirates don't end up signing anyone of significance it lends us some insight into what the front office thinks of certain players and what they may be trying to do.

This week, we've got a bunch of coal to feed the Rick Ankiel fire. On Tuesday, in his weekly chat, Frank Coonelly said this to a guy with the handle ankiel101:

We too like Rick Ankiel and what he can bring to a ballclub. We think that Rick is certainly a good candidate to have a rebound season in 2010 and have expressed our interest to his representative....

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