PITTSBURGH -- It appears as though the Pirates have turned to a familiar face to fill their hole at third base.According to published reports, the Bucs have come to terms with free agent Joe Randa on a one-year contract, pending a physical. Pirates GM Dave Littlefield, who does not discuss player transactions until they are official, declined to comment on whether or not the team had reached an agreement with the 36-year-old Randa. "We're continuing to pursue options as we look to upgrade at third base and right field," said Littlefield. Randa, known affectionately as "The Joker" because of his ubiquitous smile, was a fan favorite during his lone season with the Pirates in 1997. However, he was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 1997 expansion draft. In 10 big-league seasons with the Pirates, Padres, Reds, Royals and Tigers, Randa has compiled a .285 career batting average with 119 home runs and 711 RBIs. Randa hit a combined .276 with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs in 2005 while splitting the season between Cincinnati and San Diego. Randa's signing comes two weeks after the Pirates were snubbed by free agent third baseman Bill Mueller. Mueller inked a two-year, $9.5 million deal with the Dodgers on Dec. 15. By adding Randa, the Pirates will be able to use incumbent third baseman Freddy Sanchez in a utility role. Elsewhere, according to The Associated Press, the Bucs have inked former Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Giovanni Carrara to a Minor League contract.
The move reunites the right-hander -- at least in Spring Training -- with Pirates manager Jim Tracy, who also left the Dodgers after last season.
Carrara, an eight-year veteran, was 7-4 with a 3.93 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings last season. Carrara was removed from the Dodgers' roster in October and assigned outright to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Carrara, who will be 38 in March, is 29-17 with a 4.70 ERA in 288 games with five Major League clubs. He was 24-10 in four seasons with the Dodgers.
Ed Eagle is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.