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Steve Pearce Rumors
The Pirates' bullpen might have a new look soon. According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, they're working on deals for three free agent relievers.
"Productive talks" with Octavio Dotel and D.J. Carrasco "could result in agreements soon," writes Kovacevic. The Pirates appear to be working on a minor league deal for Carrasco, which is surprising given his solid work in 93.3 innings for the White Sox last year. Pure speculation on my part, but perhaps Carrasco is lured to the Pirates by an opportunity to compete for the fifth starter job. Interesting side note: Carrasco and new Pirate Brian Bass ranked #1-2 in relief innings for all of MLB last year.
Dotel would be the big-ticket bullpen acquisition; he could have a shot at replacing Matt Capps as the Pirates' closer. I imagine Dotel won't get much more than $3MM, which would be half his '09 salary. That contract with the White Sox was signed in January of '08, a different time for free agents.
The third Pirates bullpen addition would be an unknown free agent right-hander on a big league deal. Kovacevic speculates on several names, and also rules out Kevin Gregg while noting past Pirates interest in Jamey Wright.
One consequence of adding two relievers on Major League deals would be the need to clear a pair of 40-man roster spots. Kovacevic speculates that Steve Pearce, Brian Bixler, and Delwyn Young could be on the bubble.
According to Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, the Pirates designated outfielder Craig Monroe for assignment after last night's game to make room on the roster for Steve Pearce. Monroe hit just .215-.287-.354 in 87 plate appearances for the Bucs.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette turned up a few more Pirates rumors:
- Though the Pirates would like to sign a right-handed power-hitting outfielder, GM Neal Huntington says Steve Pearce is a "viable option."
- It doesn’t look like the talks between the Yankees and Pirates about Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher are going to amount to anything.
- The Pirates would like to add a major league starter, but they are more likely to strengthen pitching in the upper levels of the minor leagues.
- Jason Lane has agreed to remain a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankee.
- Francisco Rodriguez would like to play nine more seasons. Four or five or those might come with his next contract, which may set a record for a reliever.
- Pirates prospect Steve Pearce is getting some time at first base in Triple A. Despite that development, Dejan Kovacevic says there is no Adam LaRoche trade chatter yet. LaRoche followed up his standard awful April with an .804 OPS in May.
- RotoAuthority looks at the fantasy studs of May.
- SI.com’s Jon Heyman speculates that it’d require at least two of a team’s best young players to get Matt Holliday.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the latest Pirates hot stove buzz.
- The Pirates and Adam LaRoche have reached an impasse in extension talks. LaRoche is set to reach free agency after the ’09 season; his free agency years have to be worth $10MM each. Kovacevic notes that the Pirates might be permanently done trying to sign LaRoche.
- Kovacevic reports "no recent movement" on a Matt Capps extension. Last time we checked, talks with Capps inexplicably fizzled after Manny Corpas signed a team-friendly deal with Colorado.
- Capps probably isn’t going anywhere, but LaRoche certainly could be traded. The presence of Major League-ready Steve Pearce may not be a factor since Pearce became a full-time outfielder this spring. Pearce is more likely to push Xavier Nady.
- In case you missed it, Kovacevic named his five Pirates most likely to be traded back on March 30th.
- Center fielder Chris Duffy didn’t make that list, but the Braves are still interested in him. He had surgery on his rotator cuff in August of last year and may be game-ready by month’s end.
I always enjoy Dejan Kovacevic’s Q&As for Pirates insight. Let’s take a look at today’s edition.
- Kovacevic suggests that the Pirates’ decision to option Steve Pearce already indicates nothing is cooking on the Xavier Nady trade front. Pearce is a classic blocked prospect, as described in an MLBTR piece by Aaron Shinsano. One blogger isn’t buying Neal Huntington’s comments on the topic of Nady.
- A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I found it odd that the Pirates’ talks with Matt Capps would fizzle because Manny Corpas‘ affordable deal raised the bar. Today Kovacevic adds that he doesn’t expect talks to be revived until after the season.
During 2007 Pirates prospect Steve Pearce hit a combined .333 with 31 home runs, 40 doubles, 113 RBI, and a .622 slugging percentage. The soon-to-be 25 year-old was named both Offensive Player of the Year by MiLB.com and the Topps Minor League Player of the Year. He ranks #43 on Kevin Goldstein’s Top 100 Prospects list for 2008 and received a callup last September. Yet, as of Monday he was reportedly sweating it when the team announced several cuts.
Pearce had played first base since he was drafted, but with the Pirates looking to locking up Adam LaRoche long term the team rerouted him to the outfield. The Pirates flirted with the transition late last year, giving Pearce 10 games in right prior to his call-up. Once in Pittsburgh he started 17 games in right field and only two at first. He hit .294/.342/.397 over 68 plate appearances; his bat appears nearly Major League ready.
Jason Bay and Xavier Nady await, each simmering on the hot stove. It’s a poorly guarded secret the Pirates would love to ditch Nady, but a recent chat with the Mets didn’t go anywhere. Bay was also the subject of several trade talks during the offseason and would likely come closer to fetching the young pitching prospects GM Neal Huntington craves (his short list is unlikely to include Scott Schoeneweis).
This all puts Huntington in a fairly comfortable position. He can afford to send Pearce back to Indy to get a few more reps at the new position while he waits for the right deal. But with Pearce’s bat looking to be big league ready, how long are Pirates fans willing to wait?