Pittsburgh Pirates – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-10-23T05:55:16Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Position Players Recently Electing Free Agency]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177772 2019-10-22T14:43:24Z 2019-10-22T12:06:20Z Since the conclusion of the regular season, a number of players have elected free agency. That right accrues to certain players who are outrighted off of a 40-man roster during or after the season — namely, those that have at least three years of MLB service and/or have previously been outrighted. Such players that accepted outright assignments during the season have the right to elect free agency instead at season’s end, provided they aren’t added back to the 40-man in the meantime.

Here are the position players that have recently taken to the open market, along with their now-former teams (via the International League and PCL transactions pages):

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Dylan A. Chase <![CDATA[Reviewing Ten Years Of Pirate Drafts]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177616 2019-10-20T03:21:49Z 2019-10-20T01:18:03Z
  • The Pirates are one of just three MLB teams to generate a cumulatively negative WAR rating from the pitchers they have drafted and developed over the past eight seasons–a fact that Rob Biertempfel turns a sour eye to in his piece for The Athletic (link). While poor trades, signing, and development have all played a role in the recently thin state of Pittsburgh pitching, the amateur draft, in Biertempfel’s estimation, is the fountainhead of GM Neal Huntington’s trouble. As the writer points out, the Rule IV draft is of critical importance to “small market” clubs like the Pirates, but the team has struggled to locate impact talent there in the last several years. Biertempfel, in a ten-year overview of Pirate drafts from 2008 to 2017, illustrates that Huntington has made some regrettable missteps in his time in the Pittsburgh war room. Notably, the club selected pitcher Brooks Pounders of the second round of the 2009 draft while Dallas Keuchel and Patrick Corbin were still available, and in 2012 the club failed to draft a single pitcher who would ultimately appear in a Pirates uniform.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Pirates Interested In Astros Bench Coach Joe Espada]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177597 2019-10-19T17:38:28Z 2019-10-19T17:35:48Z
  • Astros bench coach Joe Espada surely has enough on his plate ahead of tonight’s game 6, but he’s a man in high demand. The Pirates have joined the list of teams interested in interviewing Espada for their managerial vacancy, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). Espada has also received interest from the Giants and Cubs. The Cubs, for one, came away from their interview on Monday “exceptionally impressed” with Espada, per David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago (via Twitter).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Pirates’ Jason Martin Undergoes Shoulder Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177576 2019-10-19T04:08:57Z 2019-10-19T04:08:57Z Pirates outfielder Jason Martin underwent surgery to address a left shoulder labral tear, Adam Berry of MLB.com was among those to report. Martin is likely in line for a four- to six-month recovery period, which could be cutting it close for the start of the 2020 season.

    Next year will be the third in the Pittsburgh organization for Martin, whom the Pirates acquired from the Astros as part of the teams’ trade for right-hander Gerrit Cole in January 2018. As those who follow the game know, the Houston version of Cole has been a pitching demigod, someone who has a legitimate shot at a World Series title, AL Cy Young honors and a $200MM-plus payday in the coming weeks.

    Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, no one it received for Cole has come close to making a star-level impact. While righty Joe Musgrove has done respectable work from the Pirates’ rotation, third baseman Colin Moran has been merely a replacement-level performer, reliever Michael Feliz hasn’t developed into a late-game force and Martin has been almost nonexistent in the majors. An eighth-round pick of the Astros in 2013, Martin just wrapped up a difficult season divided between two levels. The 24-year-old hit .259/.312/.419 with eight home runs and nine stolen bases in 406 Triple-A plate appearances, leaving him with an 83 wRC+, and slashed .250/.325/.306 with a pair of steals in his first 40 PA in the bigs.

    Despite his struggles in 2019, a healthy Martin could vie for a role next year in an outfield facing some uncertainty as the winter approaches. Rookie sensation Bryan Reynolds is sure to be back in 2020, while Gregory Polanco’s set to return after an injury-wrecked campaign. On the other hand, Starling Marte looks like a trade candidate and Melky Cabrera is on his way to free agency.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Pirates To Interview Stubby Clapp]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177557 2019-10-19T02:36:17Z 2019-10-19T02:36:17Z The Pirates will interview Cardinals first base coach Stubby Clap for their open managerial job next week, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. He’ll be the third reported interview for the Pirates, who have already discussed the position with Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson and Twins bench coach Derek Shelton.

    [RELATED: MLBTR’s Managerial Search Tracker]

    Like Christenson and Shelton, the 46-year-old Clapp has no experience as a skipper at the sport’s highest level. Clapp, however, was eminently successful as the manager of the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in Memphis from 2017-18. He led the team to back-to-back Pacific Coast League titles in the role, earning PCL Manager of the Year honors as a rookie skipper. Understandably impressed, the Cardinals promoted Clapp to their big league staff last offseason, when the Rangers considered hiring him as their manager before turning to Chris Woodward.

    The Cardinals are once again at risk of losing Clapp, a member of the organization for a large portion of his time in professional baseball. The Canada native was a 36th-round pick of the Cardinals in 1996 who served as an infielder/outfielder with the organization through 2002. Clapp’s only experience as a major leaguer came over 26 plate appearances with the Cards in 2001.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[2020 Managerial Search Tracker]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177217 2019-10-23T05:55:16Z 2019-10-17T20:43:27Z Eight teams were looking for new skippers in October, and loads of potential candidates have been either rumored or directly connected to these job openings. We’ll do our best to keep things straight in this post….

    Angels

    Hired

    • Joe MaddonFormer Cubs/Rays manager, former Angels bench coach/interim manager

    Interviewed

    • John Farrell: Former Red Sox/Blue Jays manager
    • Buck Showalter: Former Orioles, Yankees, Rangers and Diamondbacks manager
    • Johnny Washington: Padres hitting coach

    Reportedly Received Consideration

    • Joe Espada: Astros bench coach
    • Joe Girardi: Former Yankees/Marlins manager
    • Eric Chavez: Angels special assistant

    Cubs

    Interviewing

    • Joe Espada: Astros bench coach
    • Joe Girardi: Former Yankees/Marlins manager
    • Gabe Kapler: Former Phillies manager, former Dodgers director of player development
    • Mark Loretta: Current Cubs bench coach
    • David Ross: Former Cubs/Red Sox catcher, current ESPN analyst
    • Will Venable: Current Cubs first base coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Those six are said to be the final remaining candidates.

    Giants

    Interviewing

    • Pedro Grifol: Royals quality control and catching coach
    • Gabe Kapler: Former Phillies manager, former Dodgers director of player development
    • Mark Kotsay: Athletics quality control coach, former Padres hitting coach & baseball operations special assistant
    • Hensley Meulens: Giants bench coach
    • Ron Wotus: Giants third base coach
    • Matt Quatraro: Rays bench coach, former Indians assistant hitting coach
    • Will Venable: Cubs first base coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Raul Ibanez: Dodgers special assistant
    • Mike Matheny: Former Cardinals manager
    • Joe Espada: Astros bench coach

    Mets

    Interviewing

    • Mike Bell: Diamondbacks director of player development
    • Carlos Beltran: Special assistant to Yankees GM, former MLB outfielder
    • Tim Bogar: Nationals first base coach
    • Joe Girardi: Former Yankees/Marlins manager
    • Eduardo Perez: ESPN analyst, former Astros bench coach, former Puerto Rican Winter League Manager of the Year
    • Skip Schumaker: Padres first base coach, former Padres baseball ops/player development assistant, former MLB utilityman
    • Derek Shelton: Twins bench coach, former Rays hitting coach
    • Luis Rojas: Mets quality control coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Buck Showalter: former Orioles/Yankees manager
    • Mike Matheny: Former Cardinals manager

    Padres

    Interviewing

    • Ron Washington: Braves third base coach, former Rangers manager
    • Brad Ausmus: former Angels/Tigers manager
    • Rod Barajas: Padres interim manager, former bench coach
    • Jayce Tingler: Rangers player development field coordinator
    • Bob Henley: Nationals third base coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Joe Maddon 
    • Mike Matheny: Former Cardinals manager

    Pirates

    Interviewing

    • Ryan Christenson: Athletics bench coach, former minor-league manager
    • Derek Shelton: Twins bench coach, former minor-league manager
    • Stubby Clapp: Cardinals first base coach, former minor-league manager

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Jeff Banister: Pirates special assistant; former Rangers manager, Pirates bench coach
    • Mike Bell: Diamondbacks director of player development
    • Derek Shelton: Twins bench coach, former Rays hitting coach
    • Mark Kotsay: Athletics quality control coach, former Padres hitting coach & baseball operations special assistant
    • Joe Espada: Astros bench coach

    Phillies

    Interviewing

    • Buck Showalter: Former Orioles, Yankees, Rangers and Diamondbacks manager
    • Joe Girardi: Former Yankees/Marlins manager
    • Dusty Baker: Special advisor to Giants; former Nationals/Reds/Cubs manager

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • No other reported names under consideration

    Royals

    Interviewing

    • Vance Wilson: Royals bullpen coach

    Reportedly Under Consideration

    • Pedro Grifol: Royals quality control and catching coach
    • Mike Matheny: Royals special advisor
    • Dale Sveum: Royals bench coach
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Pirates To Interview Derek Shelton For Managerial Opening]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177311 2019-10-16T01:55:45Z 2019-10-16T01:55:45Z The Pirates are set to interview Twins bench coach Derek Shelton this week for their managerial vacancy, reports LaVelle Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. We’d heard of Pittsburgh’s interest in Shelton, but all that was previously known was that Rocco Baldelli’s right-hand man had popped up on the Bucs’ radar. Shelton becomes the second known candidate to take the next step of interviewing with the Pirates, joining A’s bench coach Ryan Christenson.

    Shelton, 49, joins the 45-year-old Christenson as younger candidates to replace 62-year-old Clint Hurdle, who was fired at the end of the season. Neither Shelton nor Christenson has managed at the big league level before, although each has MLB coaching experience with successful small-market clubs, so perhaps there’s a thread emerging in the Bucs’ candidates. Shelton has been bench coach in Minnesota for two years, surviving the transition from Paul Molitor to Baldelli last offseason. Indeed, Shelton was on the radar for the head Twins’ position himself, although he ultimately elected to stay in Minneapolis after Baldelli got the job instead.

    Shelton is also slated to interview for the Mets’ managerial job this week. In addition to bench coaching, he’s got big league experience as a hitting coach, having served in that role in Cleveland and Tampa Bay for a decade. He does have some managerial experience as well, albeit at the lowest levels of the minors. Shelton managed three seasons in the Yankees’ farm system at the beginning of the century, although he’s quite a bit removed from his last time running a dugout.

    You can track all of the managerial rumors and interviews around baseball here.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Pirates Interested In Mark Kotsay]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177270 2019-10-15T04:03:43Z 2019-10-15T04:03:43Z
  • The Pirates have reached out to Athletics quality control coach Mark Kotsay to gauge his interest in managing the Bucs, Nubyjas Wilborn of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette relays. The 43-year-old Kotsay was a major league outfielder/first baseman from 1997-2013 who has since worked in coaching and front office roles between San Diego and Oakland. He interviewed for San Francisco’s managerial opening last week.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pirates To Interview Ryan Christenson For Managerial Opening]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177234 2019-10-14T23:30:36Z 2019-10-14T23:29:26Z The Pirates will interview Ryan Christenson for their managerial opening, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). It appears he’s the first known candidate for the Pittsburgh opening to hold a sit-down.

    Christenson, 45, saw action in six MLB campaigns after being drafted and developed by the A’s. He never gained much traction as a player in the majors, but he’s looking to do so on the coaching/managerial front after steadily re-ascending the Oakland farm system as a skipper.

    For the past two years, Christenson has served as bench coach to veteran Athletics manager Bob Melvin. Christenson could be seen as a possible eventual successor to Melvin, but the long-time helmsman remains under contract tin his role through 2021.

    There are, of course, other names connected with the Bucs’ opening. But it’s not clear which, if any, have scheduled formal discussions with the Pittsburgh brass.

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    Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[Sam Fuld Declines To Interview For Managerial Vacancies With Cubs, Mets, Pirates]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177209 2019-10-14T18:10:09Z 2019-10-14T18:10:09Z Former big league outfielder Sam Fuld, currently serving as the Phillies’ Major League player information coordinator, declined the opportunity to interview with the Cubs, Mets, and Pirates for their managerial vacancies, MLBTR has learned.  The 37-year-old Fuld, who had developed a bit of a cult following as an all-out player for the Cubs, Rays, A’s, and Twins from 2007-15, is quickly gaining a reputation as a future managerial candidate.  The Stanford graduate was hired by the Phillies two years ago shortly after they hired Gabe Kapler to manage.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Breen profiled Fuld last season, examining the manner in which he serves as a liaison between the club’s analytics department and the clubhouse. “I think a lot of the times, the information can get overwhelming. It’s hard to sift through and pick ’OK, what’s important for this game?” Rhys Hoskins said at the time. “To have Sam, he’s recently out of the game, kind of act as that bridge just makes it so much easier on us players.”

    Given his Stanford degree in economics and his work both within the clubhouse and interacting with the Phillies’ analytics and baseball operations departments, there’ll likely be multiple paths for Fuld to consider as he determines what trajectory best suits him.  Kapler, meanwhile, is set to interview with both the Giants and the Cubs after being dismissed as the Phillies’ manager.  The Phillies, Mets, Cubs, Angels, Giants, Padres, Royals, and Pirates all have managerial vacancies at present.

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    George Miller <![CDATA[Latest On Pirates’ Managerial Search]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=177138 2019-10-14T15:33:16Z 2019-10-13T21:41:20Z In what has perhaps been baseball’s most nebulous search for a new manager, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets some context on the Pirates’ hunt for Clint Hurdle’s replacement. Diamondbacks vice president of player development Mike Bell and Phillies player information coordinator Sam Fuld are both of interest to the Pirates. To be clear, though, there’s no indication that either will sit down for an interview, but the organization’s interest in each of some note. Add those two names to a list that also includes Twins bench coach Derek Shelton and former Rangers skipper Jeff Banister, both of whom were previously known to be in consideration.

    Both Bell and Fuld have been tied to managerial openings in the past, and Bell is currently reported to be a candidate with the Mets as well. Fuld is just 37 years old and played in the Majors as recently as 2015. He’s been in his current position in Philadelphia since late 2017, serving as a sort of liaison between the front office and players. In that sense, he seems to fit the mold of the industry’s ideal manager in 2019: young, inexperienced, analytically-inclined, a good communicator, and relatively cheap to boot. Fuld earned an interview last offseason with the Blue Jays, with The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reporting at the time that the young Fuld “made a strong impression” on Toronto brass, though he ultimately withdrew his name from consideration.

    Bell, meanwhile, will be recognized for his roots in a distinguished baseball family: his father Buddy Bell enjoyed a fine playing and managing career, while Mike’s brother David manages the Pirates’ division-rival Reds. He interviewed with the Orioles and Rangers last offseason, so teams have been eyeing him for a bit now. Bell has been with the Diamondbacks for more than a decade, previously serving as the director of player development before he was promoted to his current role three years ago. As such, he can claim at least some of the credit for the homegrown talent that has climbed through the Arizona ranks in recent years.

    It would seem that the Pirates are considering a wide variety of candidates to be the franchise’s first new manager since 2011; the organization doesn’t appear to be confining its search to a particular archetype or background, which could pay off as the team also seeks to fill out the remainder of the coaching staff. That seems a fair approach for a team that hasn’t had to undergo a managerial change in nearly a decade, especially considering the scrutiny under which general manager Neal Huntington has found himself of late. Pittsburgh is home to what may be the Majors’ most confounding managerial vacancy, with relatively little being reported regarding the organization’s hiring process. As details emerge, though, the Pirates job will certainly offer its fair share of intrigue to this offseason’s storylines.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Pirates Reportedly "Wide Open" In Search For Manager]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176932 2019-10-11T19:11:55Z 2019-10-11T05:26:03Z
  • Little is known about where the Pirates stand in their hunt for a manager, but they are at least “wide open” in their approach, according to Heyman. Pirates special assistant of baseball operations Jeff Banister and Twins bench coach Derek Shelton have been connected to the job more than any other potential candidates, Heyman notes. However, it’s unclear whether the Bucs have interviewed either of them or anyone else since they fired Clint Hurdle on Sept. 29.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[MLBTR Poll: Most Desirable Managerial Opening?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176878 2019-10-11T00:12:15Z 2019-10-11T00:12:15Z The Phillies fired Gabe Kapler on Thursday, leaving them as one of eight major league teams searching for a manager at the moment. Fellow National League clubs in the Padres, Mets, Pirates, Giants and Cubs are in the same position, while the Royals and Angels are seeking new skippers in the AL. The question is: Which team has the most desirable job?

    For starters, we can probably rule out the Pirates and Royals. Both teams have been hamstrung by low payrolls, with notoriously penny-pinching ownership holding back Pittsburgh and Kansas City (a team whose ownership is in transition) coming off its second 100-loss season in a row. Neither team looks as if it’ll contend in the immediate future, and the same may apply to the Giants, though they are a club with big-spending capabilities and promising president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi at the helm. On the other hand, the rest of the league’s manager-needy organizations look to have decent odds of pushing for relevance sooner than later.

    The Phillies just wrapped up their eighth consecutive non-playoff season, but with 81 wins, they weren’t exactly a basement dweller. Kapler’s successor will be taking over a team with big-time talent on hand (Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Aaron Nola, to name a few) and the spending power to amply address its most obvious weaknesses this offseason.

    Like the Phillies, the Padres have been suffering for too long. They’re fresh off their 13th straight year without a playoff berth, but they’re another team with front-line talent (Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Chris Paddack). Moreover, the Padres remain loaded on the farm, and owner Ron Fowler has made it clear it’s time to start winning in 2020.

    The Mets also have no shortage of top-line players, including ace Jacob deGrom and NL Rookie of the Year favorite Pete Alonso. However, their managerial position is probably the most pressure-packed of all the openings. Previous skipper Mickey Callaway oversaw an 86-win team in 2019, but he dealt with scrutiny from the media, fans and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen from start to finish.

    There’s also high expectations in Chicago, where even an exemplary record over five years wasn’t enough to keep Joe Maddon employed. The Cubs and president of baseball ops Theo Epstein gave Maddon the boot even though he helped them break a 108-year World Series drought in 2016 and led them to an overall 471-339 regular-season record with four playoff berths during his reign. But the Cubs, another financially well-off club with enviable high-end talent (Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Hendricks, for example), saw enough of Maddon after a late-season collapse and a non-playoff showing in 2019. Maddon’s replacement will be inheriting an 84-win team that will have playoff expectations for next year.

    The Angels, who seem like the favorites to land Maddon next, are another franchise with a sense of urgency to win in 2020. Despite the presence of the game’s best player, center fielder Mike Trout, they haven’t gone to the playoffs since 2014. The Halos haven’t even won a playoff game since October 2009, just a few months after drafting Trout.  With fourth-year general manager Billy Eppler set to enter the last season of his contract in 2020, it’s imperative for him to get this hire right (his previous selection of Brad Ausmus didn’t work out). Otherwise, he and the Angels’ next manager could be out a year from now.

    That’s a basic overview of where the sport’s manager-less teams stand heading into the offseason. There are more factors you could consider, of course. Which job looks the most appealing to you?

    (Poll link for app users)

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Finding A Match In A Starling Marte Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176687 2019-10-09T17:59:37Z 2019-10-09T17:59:37Z Pirates center fielder Starling Marte isn’t a perfect player, but he’s a very good one. And he’s now within two seasons of free agency, with the Bucs looking increasingly unlikely to contend before that time comes. The 31-year-old ought to have plenty of appeal, given that he can be controlled through 2021 for just $24MM (and perhaps issued a qualifying offer thereafter). Marte doesn’t draw walks and hasn’t quite reached the ceiling it once seemed he was headed for, but he’s a well-above-average hitter who runs the bases with aplomb and defends well. He has played like a first-division regular since cracking the majors and was his usual self in 2019 before a wrist injury ended his season.

    Beyond a neutral value perspective, the market particulars seem to line up well for the Pirates to achieve an appealing return. Free agent options are generally uninspiring. And there are plenty of teams that have good reason to show interest. Here are the most interesting possible suitors (in alphabetical order):

    • Blue Jays: It’s time to gain some traction in Toronto and a center field upgrade stands out as one major way to make gains. Teoscar Hernandez and Randal Grichuk held things down in marginal fashion in 2019 after the departure of another OBP-challenged player with pop, Kevin Pillar. There are loads of young position players on the Jays roster, but none stands out as a likely everyday option in center in the near term. The Toronto front office is going to need to make some tough calls on its talent, giving up on and/or trading away some players. With the Pirates always on the lookout for ways to add multiple affordable/controllable MLB assets in a single trade, perhaps there’s a match here.
    • Cubs: It may be tough to hammer things out with a division rival, but the Cubs have to consider a look here after watching Albert Almora stumble in 2019. The club may not have immense payroll flexibility but wouldn’t need all that much of it to go for Marte. And the Cubs are loaded up reasonably talented, relatively youthful position players that haven’t (yet?) established themselves as highly valuable big leaguers. If the Bucs take a shine to one or more of these players, it’s not too hard to imagine something coming together.
    • Mets: Even if you’re a big believer in the Mets’ top 2020 outfield options — Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, and Yoenis Cespedes, with Jeff McNeil also a factor depending upon other moves and needs — the roster feels like it’s missing a true center fielder. And the front office can’t afford to be timid. Many of the pieces needed to contend are there, but the club hasn’t made it into the postseason since 2016.
    • Phillies: While Odubel Herrera could be a factor when he is reinstated from his suspension, it’s not really clear at this point whether the Philadelphia organization will choose to carry him moving forward. Adam Haseley and Scott Kingery are options, but it’s tough to see the win-now Phils simply turning over the keys to either or both. Money isn’t an issue and this organization needs to put as many high-quality players on the roster as it can. Plus, the club has recently dealt for players in roughly similar contractual situations (J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura).
    • Rangers: The Texas organization can run Joey Gallo up the middle, which is quite a nice luxury, but probably prefers to limit the wear and tear to their star slugger. Better to plant him in a corner and install a regular center fielder. Delino DeShields Jr. isn’t that. With Willie Calhoun also an option in a corner, the Texas org could (but would not necessarily need to) utilize Nomar Mazara in this or another trade.
    • Reds: Though Nick Senzel is a possibility in center, he’s also a strong candidate to move back to his native second base. And though the Reds do have a few outfield bats, none profiles as an everyday guy up the middle. The club already dealt away top center field prospect Taylor Trammell and has made clear it’s planning to push hard for the postseason in 2020. Having made several deals for veterans in recent years, it stands to reason that the Reds will look closely at an intra-division swap for Marte.
    • White Sox: What’s that? Why yes, I also hear wunderkind Luis Robert banging on the door. But he may not open the year with the MLB club and it isn’t as if his value is tied inextricably to his ability to play up the middle. More importantly, the White Sox need another outfielder even if Robert and Eloy Jimenez occupy two of the spots for years to come. It’s nice to have some flexibility, and there are other possibilities in free agency, but Marte stands out as a potential impact addition that wouldn’t tie up loads of future payroll. With pressure building on the Chicago front office to produce winning baseball, it’s a possibility worth examining.
    • Other Possibilities: You have to begin getting creative from this point, but plenty of other teams could yet become involved. Several stand out, depending upon their particular views of their own situations. The Cardinals are another team with multiple options but no clear, immediate solution in center. It seems a bit unlikely but they’re arguably the most plausible of this bunch. The Giants need a center fielder, assuming they non-tender Kevin Pillar, but it feels early to push in trade chips for two seasons of Marte. Out in San Diego, there are possibilities — including the aforementioned Trammell, in the near future — but not much set in stone. And the Mariners are an opportunistic potential buyer now that they are trying to ramp up, though it seems likelier they’ll stick with internal options.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pirates Announce New TV Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=176315 2019-10-04T19:30:37Z 2019-10-04T19:30:37Z The Pirates have announced a multi-year extension of their television rights fees agreement with AT&T Sports Networks. Financial terms and the length of the pact weren’t released publicly.

    Clearly, the entities remain pleased with their relationship, as it has already lasted for over thirty years. Club president Frank Coonelly said that “the Pirates are extremely pleased” to carry on with the same essential framework.

    There are plans to expand coverage to ensure that fans can access all Bucs contests. Coonelly explained that “all 162 games will be telecast either by AT&T SportsNet or one of our national television partners and that nearly all of our home Spring Training games will now be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.”

    With a series of disappointing seasons, the Pirates have struggled to draw as many TV viewers. But it seems the sides still see a path to profitability. Putting a winner on the field would go a long way, though the Pirates are in an exceptionally tough roster situation and have overseen major year-over-year payroll reductions in each of the past three offseasons.

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