Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors

Outrighted To Triple-A: Evan Meek

The latest outright assignments from around MLB... 

  • The Pirates outrighted right-hander Evan Meek to Triple-A Indianapolis, according to the team's website. Pittsburgh removed the 2010 All-Star from the 40-man roster one week ago, designating him for assignment. Meek, 29, made 12 relief appearances for this year’s Pirates team but spent most of this year with Indianapolis, where he posted a 2.74 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in 46 innings of relief work.

Pirates Eyeing Red Sox Relievers

The Pirates have been looking at Boston’s relievers as they aim to add to their bullpen for the final two weeks of the regular season, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter). The Pirates, now 73-72, are three games out of a playoff spot. However, they'd have to pass the Brewers and Dodgers then overtake the Cardinals to claim the National League's second Wild Card berth.

Now that rosters have expanded, the Red Sox have a 12-man bullpen. Vicente Padilla is about to hit free agency and could be available in a trade. The other Red Sox relievers are under team control beyond 2012 and might not be as available. The Pirates’ active roster currently includes 18 pitchers, including James McDonald who was recently moved from the rotation to the bullpen.

Quick Hits: A's, Pirates, Hurdle, Soriano

Sunday afternoon linkage..

  • There have been indications that commissioner Bud Selig might rule on the A's move to San Jose by the end of the year, but he may be considering a ruling that could challenge both the A's and Giants to fulfill certain criteria, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.  "I think there will be an effort to be Solomonesque," said someone who has spoken with Selig. "This is not a 'yes or no' sort of thing."
  • Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington says that manager Clint Hurdle's job is not in jeopardy despite the club's recent slide, according to Rob Biertempfel and Karen Price of the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review
  • Paul Swydan of Fangraphs believes that if Rafael Soriano opts out of his deal with the Yankees in search of a multi-year deal with an average value of $14MM per year, either he'll be disappointed or the team that signs him will be.  Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports opined that Soriano would be making a mistake if he cut the cord on his three-year, $35MM contract in search of a better deal.
  • The Nationals don't plan on celebrating when they officially clinch a playoff spot as the team has goals within reach more worthy of a champagne bottle, writes Amanda Comak of The Washington Times
  • Stephen Strasburg's season isn't completely over as he's staying involved with the team by playing catch and participating in a rehab program crafted by the Nationals, says Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post. Pitching coach Steve McCatty says the young ace has handled the transition better than outsiders may perceive. “I don’t think he’s ready for a straitjacket, if that’s what you’re getting at,” McCatty said. “… Stephen is doing fine. He’s handling it.

Daniel Seco contributed to this post.

NL Central Notes: Hart, Carpenter, Pirates

The Brewers continue their push for the second NL Wild Card spot as they look to win their series against Mets this afternoon at Miller Park. However, they will have to do so without Corey Hart. Hart has been sidelined for the last six games since he partially tore the plantar fascia, the connective tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot, in his left foot a week ago. Hart did running drills this morning, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, and all did not go well. Hart, who was able to run in a straight line but suffered discomfort when making stops and turns, said, "It’s a little frustrating. Today was the first day I tried to run the bases, and it didn’t go as planned.” Elsewhere from the NL Central:

Quick Hits: Pirates, Upton, Angels, Wright, Mets

Sunday night linkage..

  • “I don’t think it’s ever fair to speculate on people’s jobs ... My approach has always been to fully support the team we have in place, and when it’s time to make a change, we make a change," said Pirates owner Bob Nutting to Rob Biertempfel and Karen Price of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review when asked if there would be any front office or coaching staff changes after the season.
  • Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com surveyed four MLB execs about B.J. Upton's free agent outlook, and their estimates varied greatly. A National League GM predicted sees a three-year, $27MM deal for Upton while the other estimates ranged from four years at $50MM to five years at $70MM. The Rangers, Nationals, Phillies, Braves, Red Sox, Yankees, Reds, Giants, and Cubs are among the teams that could be in need of outfield help this winter.
  • Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto says he is not ready to call this year's team a disappointment, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Dipoto also declined to discuss what owner Arte Moreno might be feeling about this season after investing in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson over the winter and trading for Zack Greinke in July.
  • Dave Cameron of Fangraphs believes that the Mets should exercise David Wright's option rather than extend him given his second-half slump. By picking up his reasonably-priced $16MM option, the Mets could buy themselves more time and properly evaluate whether he is worth a hefty extension.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.

Barajas Willing To Take Less To Return To Pirates

The Pirates hold a $3.5MM option on Rod Barajas for 2013, but should they decline it, the catcher says that he would be willing to take less to stay in Pittsburgh, writes Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  Barajas is making $4MM this season and the option for next year doesn't call for a buyout if it's not exercised.

" I would like to be back here," the 37-year-old said. "If that means we have to try to figure something out, then absolutely."

The Pirates have not approached Barajas about whether they will pick up his option or if they'll look to negotiate a new deal.  General Manager Neal Huntington did not rule out Barajas returning in 2013 but also cautioned that the club is "not ready to commit to anything" at the moment.

Pittsburgh could turn to a pair of internal options - Michael McKenry and 2009 first-round pick Tony Sanchez - to fill in at catcher next season should they choose to look elsewhere.  Barajas is hitting just .197/.269/.324 with nine homers in 324 plate appearances this year.

Hanshin Tigers Eyeing Jeff Clement, Mauro Gomez

The Hanshin Tigers are looking at Jeff Clement and Mauro Gomez for next year, according to a Japanese report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (on Twitter). Both players were recently called up to the MLB level after successful minor league seasons. The Tigers are a Nippon Professional Baseball team based in Japan.

Clement has appeared in 12 games for the Pirates since the end of August after posting a .276/.340/.486 batting line with 16 home runs in 459 plate appearances at Triple-A. The CAA Sports client has a .219/.279/.374 batting line in parts of four MLB seasons.

Gomez, who signed with the Red Sox in February, has appeared in 22 games with Boston this year. The 28-year-old corner infielder has a .299/.342/.448 batting line in 73 MLB plate appearances. He spent most of the 2012 season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he posted a .310/.371/.589 in 426 plate appearances.

Pirates Designate Evan Meek For Assignment

The Pirates announced that they have designated right-hander Evan Meek for assignment. The move creates 40-man roster space for right-hander Rick VandenHurk, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Indianapolis. Pittsburgh also recalled infielder Chase d'Arnaud and right-hander Bryan Morris in related moves.

Meek, a 2010 All-Star, has been in the Pittsburgh organization since the Pirates selected him in the 2007 Rule 5 draft. He has spent time on the MLB roster in each of the last five seasons, and made 12 relief appearances in 2012. The 29-year-old spent most of this year with Triple-A Indianapolis, where he posted a 2.74 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in 46 innings of relief work. In five MLB seasons, he has a 3.34 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, a 52.1 % ground ball rate and an average fastball velocity of 94 mph.

NL Notes: Strasburg, Carpenter, Pirates

The first Sunday of the new NFL season has not gone unnoticed by MLB players. The Cubs are celebrating by wearing a NFL jersey of their choice on their flight from Pittsburgh to Houston tonight, reports Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com. But, like their season, the idea wasn't without its pitfalls. While Floridian Anthony Rizzo (Dolphins), Baltimore native Steve Clevenger (Ravens), and Virginian Shawn Camp (Redskins) came prepared, others were left to the mercy of jersey shopping in Pittsburgh. So, newly acquired Jason Berken, a Packers season-ticker holder, had to settle for a Steelers jersey. Enough of the gridiron and back to the diamond:

  • The Stephen Strasburg shutdown will test all of Nationals' intangibles: its confidence, cohesion, and just plain stubbornness, writes Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post
  • Jake Westbrook will miss his next start for the Cardinals with a right oblique injury. MLB.com's Jennifer Langosch reports Chris Carpenter is a possibility to replace Westbrook on Thursday. Carpenter, who has yet to pitch this year after undergoing surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in his right shoulder, is set to throw a simulatated game tomorrow, but Langosch says the team could switch the schedule should they want Carpenter to step in immediately.
  • The Pirates are still developing their offseason plans for Gerrit Cole, the first overall selection in the 2011 draft, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Sulia). "We've got to spend some time with him and see where we can place him," Biertempfel quoted GM Neal Huntington as saying. Cole was roughed up in his final Triple-A start (eight runs in just two innings), but Huntingon was philosophical, "The biggest lesson is, Triple-A (batters) can hit 100 mph (pitches). If you keep coming with 100 mph, they're going to keep hitting it. You've got to use all your pitches. Things snowballed on him, things got a little quick for him. He's going to be better for it.

Quick Hits: Marlins, Beinfest, Rasmus, Pirates

Sunday afternoon linkage..

  • Sources say that there is a growing expectation within the Marlins organization that Larry Beinfest will lose power and that Dan Jennings will gain influence and become the dominant advisory voice for owner Jeffery Loria, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com.  It also remains to be seen whether Beinfest would be fired outright or simply see a loss in decision-making power.  Sources also expect to see at least three other major changes made as well.
  • The Blue Jays' next big focus will be to sign Colby Rasmus to a multi-year contract, writes Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star.  The centerfielder is currently set to hit the open market after the 2014 season.  Recently, Ben Nicholson-Smith looked back on the trade that brought Rasmus to Toronto.
  • Bob Cohn of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review asks if the Pirates are truly smart spenders or just a frugal franchise.  A recent piece by Bloomberg Businessweek had the Bucs as one of the most efficient spenders in MLB over the last five years, but Cohn is quick to point out the club's overall performance during that span versus their current play.  Pittsburgh has gone 326-489 over the past five seasons, finishing last in the National League Central four times and fourth in 2011.

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