Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors

Pittsburgh Pirates trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

NL Central Notes: Reds, Hart, McKinney

The Reds have had “zero conversations” on theoretical August trade candidates Marlon Byrd, Skip Schumaker, Brayan Pena and Manny Parra, general manager Walt Jocketty tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. That said, the Cincinnati GM didn’t shut the door on activity over the next dozen days. “We just haven’t done much yet,” he explained.

Here’s more from the NL Central:

  • Pirates slugger Corey Hart is going to try one more time to make it back to the big leagues this season, Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The oft-injured Hart originally hit the DL with a shoulder issue but now also has a banged-up knee. He’ll begin a rehab assignment this week and look to return when rosters expand in September.
  • Cubs outfield prospect Billy McKinney is out for the rest of the season after suffering a hairline fracture when he fouled a ball off his right knee, as MLB.com’s Alex Smith writes. The 20-year-old has enjoyed another solid campaign, as he’s held his own (.285/.346/.420) since earning an early-season promotion to Double-A. Assuming there are no complications in his recovery, McKinney should have plenty of time to make it back to full strength and prepare for a full season of development in 2016.

Travis Snider Weighing Options; Pirates Among Teams With Interest

TODAY: Snider says that he is “talking with multiple teams, including the Pirates,” Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports on Twitter. The free agent added that he “hope[s] to have a decision made soon.”

YESTERDAY: On his radio show this morning, Pirates GM Neal Huntington confirmed that he has reached out to Travis Snider‘s camp and that there is some interest in a deal, Dan Zangrilli of 93.7 The Fan tweets.  Snider, of course, was with the Pirates from 2012 through 2014 before an offseason trade sent him to Baltimore.

Snider, 27, was designated for assignment by the Orioles earlier this month and was ultimately released on Saturday.  The Orioles acquired Snider as they sought to mix and match pieces to fill in for the departed Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis. There was never much hope of fully replicating their collective production, but the O’s have nevertheless largely been disappointed by their Opening Day corner outfield platoon, leading the team to add Gerardo Parra last month.

The 2014 season looked like something of a breakout for Snider as he slashed .264/.338/.438 with 13 home runs, seemingly making good on his former top-prospect ratings. But, he was not able to carry that forward in Baltimore, as his current .659 OPS attests.

NL Notes: Marlins, Ramirez, Brewers

The Marlins are expected to ramp up their use of analytics, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes, explaining that the organization may look to build out a full department for that purpose. Miami has been relying more on individual employees to provide statistical input, says Frisaro, but will seemingly aim for a more systematic approach.

More from the NL:

  • Miami has several needs to fill this offseason, especially in the pitching staff, Frisaro adds. But it’s not likely to go after big-name free agents. Instead, per the report, the Fish will probably aim for buy-low arms on the open market.
  • While he has yet to appear at first in a game, Pirates veteran Aramis Ramirez recently began working out at the unfamiliar position. As Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains, Pittsburgh has little to lose and plenty to gain from opening the possibility of utilizing Ramirez at first. With Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer nearing a return, the team would have a highly versatile array of infielders.
  • Outgoing Brewers GM Doug Melvin says he’s not yet sure what role he will play in the team’s search for his replacement, as Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports. Meanwhile, current assistant GM Gord Ash says he’s hopeful of staying with the organization as well, though he is waiting to see what role he might have moving forward.

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/13/15

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Righty Wilfredo Boscan has accepted his outright assignment with the Pirates‘ Triple-A affiliate, as he started for the club tonight. MLBTR’s Zach Links reported yesterday that Boscan had yet to decide whether to elect free agency, but he evidently turned down the chance to hit the open market. The 25-year-old has had a nice season in his first year with the Pittsburgh organization, putting up 94 2/3 innings of 3.33 ERA ball coming into today’s action. (That earned run average is on its way down as we speak: Boscan has thrown five scoreless frames as of publishing this post.)

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/12/15

Here are today’s minor moves, with the newest transactions at the top of the post…

  • The Pirates have outrighted right-hander Wilfredo Boscan to Triple-A.  According to MLB Trade Rumors’ Zach Links (via Twitter), Boscan can choose to reject this assignment since this is the second time he has been outrighted, and the Bucs are awaiting his decision.  Boscan, a nine-year minor league veteran, is still waiting to make his Major League debut despite three stints on Pittsburgh’s roster in 2015.  He was designated for assignment last week.
  • The Phillies selected the contract of left-hander Cesar Jimenez from Triple-A, the team announced.  Righty David Buchanan was optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding move.  Jimenez has been designated for assignment and outrighted three times in three seasons by Philadelphia, most recently in April.  He has a 2.67 ERA and 20 strikeouts over 33 2/3 IP with the Phillies since 2013, including two-thirds of an inning this season.
  • The Padres outrighted catcher Tim Federowicz to Triple-A, the team announced.  Federowicz was designated for assignment on August 1 following his reinstatement from the 60-day DL.  The veteran backstop suffered a meniscus tear during Spring Training and has been limited to just 18 minor league games in 2015.
  • Six players still remain in ‘DFA limbo,’ which you can see for yourself via the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker.

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/10/15

Baseball America’s Matt Eddy has rounded up all the most recent minor moves. Among the notable ones that have not yet appeared on MLBTR …

  • Righty Chin-hui Tsao has been outrighted by the Dodgers, per Eddy. The 34-year-old pitched briefly for the Dodgers in 2015 in his first big-league action since 2007 and probably didn’t help his case by allowing three homers in seven innings. He did, however, get fairly good results in the upper levels of the Dodgers’ minor league system this season, posting a 3.93 ERA, 11.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 34 1/3 innings of relief.
  • The Marlins signed right-hander Erik Cordier and released infielder Jordany Valdespin, per the report. The 29-year-old Cordier has only appeared in one big-league season (with the Giants, in 2014), but he’s frequently attracted interest from teams looking to fill out their Triple-A clubs, since he throws in the upper 90s and generates strikeouts. As one might expect from a Triple-A reliever with such a profile, though, he has control issues, walking 5.1 batters per nine innings in his minor league career. The Marlins outrighted Valdespin last month. He’s spent most of the season with Triple-A New Orleans, where he’s hit .293/.348/.387 while playing second base and all three outfield positions.
  • The Brewers released several minor leaguers, including lefty Michael Kirkman and infielder Donnie Murphy, Eddy adds. The 28-year-old Kirkman pitched parts of five seasons with the Rangers from 2010 through 2014, but he has only appeared in the minors in 2015, pitching 32 innings with the Brewers’ Triple-A team in Colorado Springs. He’s posted a 2.81 ERA with 9.6 K/9 but with a very high 7.9 BB/9. Murphy has hit .257/.352/.371 in 162 plate appearances with Colorado Springs, playing all four infield positions. He has appeared in parts of nine big-league seasons with the Royals, Athletics, Marlins, Cubs and Rangers, although he hasn’t played in the big leagues this year.
  • Also, the Red Sox have signed lefty Rich Hill out of the Atlantic League, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Hill, 35, pitched at Triple-A for the Nationals earlier in the season and posted a 2.91 ERA and 32 strikeouts over 21 2/3 innings, although he also walked 21 batters. The Nationals released him in June, and he made one start for the Long Island Ducks. Hill appeared in 16 games with the Angels and Yankees in 2014.
  • Pirates righty Vance Worley has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis, Cotillo adds on Twitter. Worley recently lost his roster spot when Pittsburgh added Joe Blanton. He’d have foregone the remainder of his $2.45MM salary by electing free agency. Worley has been fairly effective this season while pitching mostly in a swingman role (3.78 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 2.5 BB/9), so he could return to the Pirates when rosters expand in September.

Quick Hits: Rookies, Brewers, Glasnow, Angels

It’s still early August but the rookie class of 2015 is on the verge of becoming the most productive (via fWAR) first-year crop in the history of the game, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan writes.  The AstrosCarlos Correa leads the way, and Passan hears from two general managers who already rank Correa amongst the top 5-10 players in the game.  Rookie position players are generally outshining the rookie pitchers, though this season has still seen several impressive young arms like Noah Syndergaard, Joe Ross, Aaron Nola and Lance McCullers make their debuts.  Here’s more from around the baseball world as we wrap up the weekend…

  • The Brewers‘ midseason trades have heavily upgraded their farm system, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes.  Baseball America’s John Manuel is describes the Brew Crew’s improvements as “pretty amazing,” saying the team went “from a middle of the pack (farm) system to a top five or 10 system.”  Haudricourt breaks down the projected new top 10 prospects in the Brewers’ system.
  • With the Pirates lacking in rotation depth, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wonders if the team would consider calling up top prospect Tyler Glasnow.  The Bucs could break their pattern of being conservative with minor league promotions if it meant adding a premium arm for the playoff race, like how Gerrit Cole‘s call-up in 2013 helped carry the team into the postseason.  Glasnow, a consensus top-16 prospect (as per MLB.com, Baseball America and ESPN’s Keith Law) prior to the season, has a combined 2.41 ERA, 11.6 K/9 and 3.61 K/BB rate over 78 1/3 innings over three levels, though he’s made only two starts at Triple-A.
  • There’s a perception around the game that an experienced executive like Dave Dombrowski may not want to take the Angels‘ GM job given the perceived lack of power a GM would have with Arte Moreno and Mike Scioscia wielding most of the influence, The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin writes.  Then again, Shaikin notes, pundits said the same thing about the Orioles’ front office situation a few years ago prior to Dan Duquette’s hiring, and the O’s have since thrived.  Shaikin doesn’t think Dombrowski will end up in Anaheim, but rather could join the Blue Jays or the Mariners front office.

Pirates Outright Vance Worley

AUGUST 8: The Pirates have outrighted Worley to Triple-A Indianapolis, according to the MLB.com transactions page. The money remaining on Worley’s $2.45MM contract — modest, but still well above the league minimum — might have prevented other teams from making a claim. Either way, Worley has been relatively effective in his two years with the Pirates, and he’ll likely rejoin them in September, if not before.

JULY 30: The Pirates have designated righty Vance Worley for assignment, the club announced. His roster spot was needed after the club acquired Joe Blanton late yesterday.

Phillies teammates for three years, Worley and Blanton won’t have a chance to pitch together for a second Pennsylvania club. Both have experienced modest career resurgences, and now it’s Worley’s turn to see if he can find a new opportunity.

The 27-year-old Worley had a great year for Pittsburgh last year, with a 2.85 ERA over 110 2/3 innings earning him a $2.45MM arbitration payday. He’s been solid again in 2015 — he carries a 3.78 ERA over 69 innings, with 6.1 /9 against 2.5 BB/9 — but lost his rotation spot along the way. He could draw some interest from teams looking to add innings, though his salary may complicate things.

Pirates Designate Wilfredo Boscan For Assignment

The Pirates announced that they have designated right-hander Wilfredo Boscan for assignment. The move was necessitated by the fact that the Indians’ waiver claim of Deolis Guerra had to be rescinded due to inflammation in Guerra’s left knee. As such, Guerra will remain with the Pirates and be placed on the 15-day disabled list. That pushed Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster up to 41, and Boscan will be the odd man out.

Boscan, 25, hasn’t pitched for the Pirates in 2015 and in fact has never thrown a pitch in the big leagues despite being promoted to the Major League roster on three separate occasions this season. He’s tallied 94 2/3 innings a Triple-A this year, working to a 3.33 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9. The Venezuelan hurler was originally signed by the Rangers and has a career 4.04 ERA with 6.7 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 in 857 1/3 minor league innings.

Indians Rescind Claim Of Deolis Guerra; Michael Roth Accepts Outright

AUG. 7: The Indians announced that they have rescinded the waiver claim on Guerra after discovering a pre-existing left knee injury. He will remain property of the Pirates. Additionally, Cleveland announced that Roth has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A.

AUG. 5: The Indians announced that they have claimed right-hander Deolis Guerra off waivers from the Pirates and designated lefty Michael Roth for assignment.

Guerra, a one-time Top 100 prospect whose name may sound familiar, was one of four pieces sent from the Mets to the Twins in the 2008 Johan Santana blockbuster (he ranked as the game’s No. 35 prospect at the time, per Baseball America). The Venezuelan righty’s development stalled, however, and he spent seven seasons in the Twins’ minor league system before becoming a minor league free agent this winter and subsequently signing with the Pirates.

The now-26-year-old Guerra dominated with the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate, pitching to a 1.23 ERA with a 37-to-8 K/BB ratio in 36 2/3 innings before having his contract selected and making his big league debut. Guerra was terrific in his first seven outings, allowing just three runs with a 13-to-2 K/BB ratio in 13 innings, but he was torched in his final three appearances before being designated for assignment. In that brutal stretch, he was tagged for nine earned runs on 11 hits (three homers) in just 3 2/3 innings.

Roth, 25, hadn’t appeared in the Majors with Cleveland this season and had a 4.15 ERA with 5.5 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 in 115 innings with the team’s Triple-A affiliate. A former ninth-round pick by the Angels, Roth was quick to the Majors, debuting in 2013 after being selected in the 2012 draft. His inexperience showed in the Majors, though, as he posted a 7.79 ERA in 32 1/3 innings from 2013-14. His work at Triple-A this season, in fact, is his first experience at that level. He’d previously jumped from Rookie ball to Double-A to the Majors.