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The Pirates are in talks with Ryan Church

Dejan Kovacevic says that the Pirates have had “extensive conversations” with Ryan Church about coming to Pittsburgh. The idea would be for him to start a bit, but move quietly to a bench role if and when Jose Tabata can take over the position on a full time basis. If I’m Church I’d probably feel pretty comfortable about Tabata’s ability to do that not kicking in until 2011, so Pittsburgh may not be a bad place to be in 2010.

Church hit .273/.338/.384 with four home runs and 40 RBI in 359 at-bats between the Braves and Mets. Assuming the back problems he had last year were temporary -- as he claims they are despite the fact that no one I’ve ever known with back problems had them go away completely -- he’s capable of better than that. He’s a solid platoon guy who’s hit .287/.357/.460 against righties over the past three seasons and plays good defense in either corner.

Basically, he could be a good option as the sort of swingman the Pirates envision. Better than Rick Ankiel anyway, given the fact that he’d certainly want to start and play center in order to position himself for 2011.