Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors

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

Pirates Interested In Antonio Bastardo

The market for Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo is heating up, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (via Twitter).  A source tells Salisbury that the Pirates are among the teams pursuing him.

Late last night, CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam reported that the Red Sox explored a deal with the Phillies that would have swapped Bastardo for prospect Sean Coyle.  Bastardo has a 3.36 ERA, 2.61 K/BB rate and an 11.6 K/9 in 216 2/3 IP out of the Philadelphia bullpen over the last four seasons. He’s been almost as equally effective against right-handed batters (holding them to a career .664 OPS) as he has against left-handed batters (career .621 OPS), though control has been an issue, as evidenced by his career 4.3 BB/9.


NL Central Rumors: Pirates, Lynn, Neshek, Reynolds

The Pirates seem willing to spend on relievers, as Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes.  “We have typically stayed away from large dollars in the bullpen,” Huntington said. “That said, we are evolving as a organization. We’ve got a little more to spend now. For the right guy, we can go a little bit beyond our comfort zone.”  More out of the NL Central..

  • There’s mutual interest between the Cardinals and Lance Lynn in discussing an extension this winter, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Yesterday, GM John Mozeliak inferred that he had a chat with someone from Excel Sports Management about Lynn.
  • Pat Neshek signed with the Astros earlier today, but he nearly joined the Pirates, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter).  The reliever was about to join the Bucs, but Houston upped their offer at the last second.  Neshek had eight two-year offers in front of him.
  • The Cardinals are not only interested in Rickie Weeks, they’re also looking at another ex-Brewer in Mark Reynolds, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter).  Reynolds, 31, hit .196/.287/.394 with 22 homers last season.
  • The Cardinals aren’t necessarily looking for a platoon partner to pair with Matt Adams, writes Goold.  “I believe we saw Matt Adams put together some fantastic at-bats against lefties in big situations,” manager Mike Matheny said Tuesday. “We can’t get too far away from the fact that this kid is still not really long into his career. Lumping him into this idea that he can’t hit lefthanded pitching isn’t really fair right now.

NL Notes: Hahn, Cardinals, Pirates, Phillies

The Padres would be willing to trade pitcher Jesse Hahn in order to add a hitter, Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown tweets. Hahn, 25, had a relatively promising rookie season with the Padres in 2014, posting a 3.07 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 73 1/3 innings, most of them in the starting rotation. Hahn also got plenty of ground ball outs in his rookie season and got impressive results with his changeup. While he likely wouldn’t lure a top hitter on his own, he would certainly have appeal for most potential trading partners. Here are more notes from the National League.

  • The Cardinals are looking for a right-handed first base option to pair with Matt Adams, but there’s a chance they might find that option within the organization, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com writes. One possibility would be to use Stephen Piscotty, a third baseman and the Cards’ top prospect. Xavier Scruggs, who hit .286/.370/.494 for Triple-A Memphis last season, is another possibility.
  • The Pirates lost Russell Martin earlier this offseason, but they’re currently satisfied with newly acquired Francisco Cervelli along with Chris Stewart at catcher, MLB.com’s Tom Singer writes. “Francisco was an aggressive get for us. We feel very comfortable with his defensive side, and we think his bat has an upside. If Opening Day were tomorrow, we’d feel very comfortable with our catching mix,” says GM Neal Huntington. That’s not surprising, given the lack of remaining options on the free agent market. The Pirates also have prospect Elias Diaz, who should be ready for the big leagues after another year or so in the minors.
  • Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg is ready for the team to rebuild, Ryan Lawrence of the Daily News writes. “[Y]ou have to start somewhere. Like the bullpen last year was young players that had to prove something,” says Sandberg. “They had energy and youth on their side and they were successful. To have that a little bit more on the field on a regular basis, and to get that process started building a new core group, I think that’s necessary.”


NL Central Notes: Pirates, Cueto, Lynn, Weeks

The Cubs’ signing of Jon Lester is the headline item out of the NL Central today, but here’s some other pertinent news from the division…

  • Now that the Pirates have re-signed Francisco Liriano, they’re probably not going to look for any more starting pitching and will instead focus on the bullpen, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (Twitter links).  The Bucs are willing to give a multiyear contract to a reliever “if it’s right guy-right deal situation.”
  • The Reds met with Johnny Cueto‘s agent today to explore a long-term extension, GM Walt Jocketty told reporters (including MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon).  “If it’s possible, I’m not sure it will be, I think it’s still something we have to take a look at as we explore every possibility,” Jocketty said.
  • Teams have reportedly been calling the Reds about Cueto and Aroldis Chapman, though Jocketty said that the Reds aren’t themselves shopping those pitchers.  “I don’t know where the Chapman stuff came from….I walked into the room today and asked our guys if there was anything on Chapman,” the GM said.  “I got three texts and a phone call this morning. I’ll listen to anything that makes sense. It was not something we initiated….I don’t consider, unless we get proposals from clubs, that it’s anything legitimate. It’s just inquiring.”
  • Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jen Langosch) that it’s “fair to say” that Lance Lynn‘s name came up during Mozeliak’s meeting today with an Excel Sports Management agent, as Lynn is an Excel client.  While Mozeliak didn’t comment on the meeting, Langosch wonders if the two sides could’ve discussed Lynn’s forthcoming arbitration eligibility or perhaps even a multiyear extension for the right-hander.
  • The Cardinals have some interest in Rickie Weeks, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets.  The Cards would use Weeks as a right-handed bench bat and possibly also as first base depth, which would require Weeks to learn a new position.
  • How quiet has this Winter Meetings been for the Brewers?  Haudricourt reports (Twitter link) that as of earlier tonight, the Crew had yet to personally meet with any agents or with representatives from another team.

Marlins Interested In Morse, Morneau

As the Marlins continue to look for upgrades at first base, the team is considering free agent Michael Morse and trade target Justin Morneau of the Rockies, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports on Twitter.  Miami is looking for a left-handed bat, but Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates does not seem like a fit.

Morse, 33 in March, enjoyed a strong season with the bat in 2014 with the World Series Champion Giants, batting .279/.336/.475 with 16 homers in 482 plate appearances despite playing in the cavernous AT&T Park.  Morse’s offensive contributions were 30 to 33 percent above league average, per park-adjust stats like OPS+ and wRC+.  Late last month, the Marlins were said to have lukewarm interest in Morse, but things have apparently picked up since then.  Last week we learned that the Orioles were showing strong interest in Morse.

Morneau, 33 (34 in May), enjoyed a bounce back year with the Rockies in 2014, batting .319/.364/.496 with 17 homers in 550 plate appearances.  He offers not only solid production but a palatable contract as well.  He’ll make $7.25MM next season (that’s including the extra $500K he earned by reaching 550 PA last season) along with a $750K buyout on a $9MM mutual option for 2016.


Central Rumors: Cabrera, Royals, Pirates, Cards

The Royals have interest in free agent Asdrubal Cabrera, according to MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes (via Twitter).  Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Royals have made Omar Infante available, so they could be viewing Cabrera as a potential upgrade. More from the Central divisions..

  • With Francisco Liriano back in the fold, the Pirates are seeking relief help and have some money to spend, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter).  The Bucs, he adds, are fans of Pat Neshek.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter) adds that the Pirates are checking the trade market for left-handed relief options.  As it stands, Tony Watson is their only proven lefty reliever after the Justin Wilson deal.
  • The Cardinals‘ primary focus is on finding a right-handed bat off the bench, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. St. Louis will turn their attention to finding a bargain fifth starter/long man type in January as protection for Carlos Martinez.
  • Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is making no secret of the fact that he’s going to wait until the New Year to find pitching, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I would be looking for someone who adds depth to what we already have,” Mozeliak said. “I’m not saying I’m searching for that. That might be the time if we might want to bring in an extra arm or two that we might do it. The way I like to think about it is I don’t know what it looks like. Basically, it’s what’s left.
  • In a chat with reporters yesterday, Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski stressed the importance of right-handers Joakim Soria and Bruce Rondon, indicating that he’s not about to make a major bullpen move, writes Chris Iott of MLive.com.

Quick Hits: Red Sox, Mariners, Uggla, Padres, Mets

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington indicates he wouldn’t hesitate to deal for a starter who is under contract for just one more year, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.  “I think there’s actual some real value in a guy who’s not signed long-term, if they fit in the rotation, because it gives you a chance to get to know him and see if it could be a fit…I don’t think we’d necessarily need a negotiation wind-down to consider (a deal for one).” Here’s more from around the Majors.

  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said he has received calls on every one of the M’s young relievers as well as shortstops Brad Miller and Chris Taylor, according to Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times (on Twitter).
  • Dan Uggla intends to make a comeback and five teams are interested, agent Terry Bross tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
  • Padres GM A.J. Preller is hard at work at the Winter Meetings, but he’s also taking the long view of the winter, writes Corey Brock of MLB.com.  “The offseason is a long offseason, and it doesn’t end with the Winter Meetings,” Preller cautioned. “In an ideal world, we get something done this week that improves the team. But, ultimately, it may not be this week or this month.
  • When asked if he’s talking trade with the Rangers, Padres GM A.J. Preller said “Honestly, we haven’t talked players yet today,” according to Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego (via Twitter).
  • The Pirates are working multiple angles, as Tom Singer of MLB.com writes.  “And it’s not just the top-tier free agents,” GM Neal Huntington said. “It’s also the guys who could be traded; a lot of pitchers are in their free-agent walk years, and there are various ongoing conversations in the industry. We’re engaged on a bunch of different fronts.”
  • Trading Dillon Gee would give the Mets flexibility this offseason, opines Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.  The Mets could still shop Jon Niese or Bartolo Colon, but GM Sandy Alderson says that he likes Niese’s left arm and team-friendly contract, and that he isn’t trying to trade Colon.
  • The Marlins are trying to fill one void without creating another, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.

Pirates Claim Josh Lindblom, Outright Angel Sanchez

The Pirates have claimed righty Josh Lindblom off waivers from the Athletics, Pittsburgh has announced. Oakland recently designated him for assignment.

In a corresponding move, the Bucs outrighted right-hander Angel Sanchez to Triple-A. Sanchez was claimed by Pittsburgh back in July. He has yet to appear above the Double-A level.

As for Lindblom, the 27-year-old saw just one MLB appearance last year. He tossed 84 minor league innings, working to a 5.79 ERA with 6.4 K/9 versus 2.8 BB/9. Lindblom has played in parts of four major league campaigns.


Quick Hits: Leake, Craig, Liriano, Masterson

Reds pitcher and regular MLBTR reader Mike Leake keeps track of offseason trade whispers but tries not to worry about them, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com writes.  “I’m curious. I check MLB Trade Rumors every day just to see what’s new,” says Leake, a potential trade candidate this winter. “There’s nothing you can do about it. You sit and wait and see if your name is thrown in a trade.” Leake notes that he would be happy to remain with the Reds, but would be understanding if they traded him.

  • If the Red Sox decide to deal Allen Craig, there will be interest despite his poor 2014 season, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  The Marlins and Brewers have had interest in the past, and one evaluator expresses confidence that Craig’s performance last season was derailed by injuries and not by a steep decline in ability.
  • Also from Cafardo, Francisco Liriano would be a good fit in either the NL or AL, but teams are concerned about giving him more than a three-year deal since he’s never been an innings-eater.  The Pirates remain interested in retaining him but not on a four-year contract.  Some executives feel the “tipping point” of Liriano’s market will be if at least one team is willing to give that fourth year, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets.
  • Liriano is one of the Pirates‘ top targets, sources tell Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  • Justin Masterson has received a lot of interest but no actual offers yet, Fangraphs’ David Laurila reports.  Laurila suggested in a recent column that Masterson could be a good candidate to be converted to relief pitching, though no teams have approached him with that idea and Masterson wouldn’t be interested if they did.
  • Also from Laurila’s piece, he talks to Burke Badenhop and the righty reliever said he felt he improved his free agent stock by posting strong numbers against left-handed batters in 2014.
  • Ichiro Suzuki‘s market is “not hot,” agent John Boggs tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).  Boggs is trying to push his client’s ability to play all three outfield spots and a bat that delivered a .284 average in 2014, hoping that teams won’t shy away because Ichiro is entering his age-41 season.
  • It would be surprising if the Rockies pulled off a blockbuster deal involving Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez during the Winter Meetings, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes.  “If I was a betting man, I sure wouldn’t put down money on a trade,” a Major League executive tells Saunders.  The likeliest scenario is that neither player is traded (if at all) until they’ve proven they’re healthy.

Quick Hits: Red Sox Pitching, Gregorius, Pirates, A’s

The Red Sox could avoid damaging, long term contracts to starting pitchers, suggests Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. There are as many as seven or eight high quality hurlers on the trade market with one year of club control. Boston can trade from its depth to acquire one of those names – like Jeff Samardzija – rather than commit big money to Jon Lester or assume Cole Hamels‘ contract.

  • Along a similar vein, the Red Sox don’t need Lester, writes Tony Massarotti of Boston.com. The Sox do need pitching and Lester is one of the best starters available. But the market is flooded with great substitutes. If the bidding on Lester goes beyond a reasonable comfort zone, why not look at a more affordable alternative?
  • The Pirates have at least $15MM to spend and would like to add a starting pitcher, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnett, and Vance Worley are the current rotation members with Charlie Morton expected to open the season on the disabled list. The club recently added Clayton Richard on a minor league deal for depth, and Pittsburgh is expected to finalize a deal with Radhames Liz soon. Both are viewed as insurance rather than an opening day rotation candidate. The club is keeping close tabs on Francisco Liriano and would like to re-sign him.
  • Didi Gregorius might not have the right psychology to thrive with the Yankees, opines Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic. McManaman spoke with a scout and ex-teammate who both said Gregorius can let things get to him. In the New York pressure cooker, that could be a problem. McManaman also criticizes Gregorius’ bat, but I’m more optimistic on that count. He hits relatively well (for a shortstop) against right-handed pitchers and his defense easily makes up for his other offensive shortcomings. He’s demonstrated surprising pop on occasion and a slightly fly-ball centric approach. Those should play very well at Yankee Stadium.
  • The A’s have a busy offseason ahead of them, writes Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area. Traditionally, they use the Winter Meetings to lay groundwork for future trades. A deal involving Brandon Moss is already in the works, and Samardzija is expected to receive plenty of attention. Oakland would like to find a shortstop with one of those two players. They may turn to the free agent market to add a right-handed reliever. Buy low candidates like Jason Grilli, Casey Janssen, Francisco Rodriguez, and Rafael Soriano fit the club’s modus operandi.