Pittsburgh Pirates – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-08-14T23:09:03Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rays To Acquire Shane Baz As PTBNL In Chris Archer Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=130531 2018-08-14T20:47:47Z 2018-08-14T19:25:30Z The Pirates have agreed to send top pitching prospect Shane Baz to the Rays as the player to be named later in last month’s Chris Archer blockbuster, reports John Dreker of PiratesProspects.com (via Twitter). That’ll make Tampa Bay’s total haul for Archer an impressive combination of Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and Baz, who was the Pirates’ first-round selection in the 2017 draft.

Shane Baz | Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Still just 19 years of age, Baz was among the top-ranked pitching prospects in the 2017 draft and signed with the Pirates for a $4.1MM bonus that was about $70K over his slot value at the time. At the time of the draft, Baz was the top prospect from the state of Texas and drew praise for a plus heater that could reach 98 mph as well as potential plus offerings in his cutter, slider and curveball. While No. 2 overall pick Hunter Greene was the top pitching prospect in the draft, Baseball America wrote in ’17 that Baz “has the ingredients to surpass Greene going forward due to his more potent breaking pitches.”

Baz is clearly still years away from impacting the Rays at the big league level. He spent his 2017 debut season pitching for the Pirates’ Rookie-level affiliate in the Gulf Coast League before moving to the Rookie-level Appalachian League in 2018. To this point, Baz has demonstrated the ability to miss bats but also some shaky control — as one might expect for a raw high school power pitcher making the transition to pro ball. Through 45 1/3 innings this season, Baz has logged a 3.97 ERA with 10.7 K/9 against 4.6 BB/9 with a whopping 62 percent ground-ball rate.

While Baz is as long-term a piece as the Rays could have received in their return for Archer, he adds another elite prospect to a rapidly improving Rays system. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranked Baz as the game’s No. 95 prospect on their recent midseason update, while Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs pegged him 110th overall. Baz will need to further refine his control and gain experience against more advanced competition, but he’s already a high-ceiling arm who could quickly improve his stock with improved control and/or a strong showing when he ultimately reaches full-season ball.

Chris Archer | Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Archer has gotten off to a shaky start for the Pirates since being traded, though he’s made all of two appearances to date. The inclusion of Baz undoubtedly stings for general manager Neal Huntington and his staff, who have to be disheartened to see the Cardinals surging back into the mix with a 6-game win streak and an overall 8-2 showing in their past 10 contests. Be that as it may, however, the Pirates’ acquisition of Archer was as much about the 2019 season and beyond as it was their pursuit of a Wild Card berth or a more unlikely NL Central crown in 2018. Archer gives the club an affordable mid-rotation option at worst and a potential front-of-the-rotation piece at best, and he comes with a contract that even the cost-conscious Pirates can afford for three years beyond the current season.

As was the case with the Cubs’ acquisition of Jose Quintana in 2017, that affordable contract proved immensely valuable on the trade market and netted a premium package of talent, even neither pitcher’s recent baseline run-prevention numbers were especially impressive. The Archer trade, like the Quintana trade before it, further serves as another data point that more traditional numbers (i.e. ERA) aren’t nearly as influential when evaluating players in this type of trade as they once were. For the Bucs, the allure of Archer’s K/BB numbers, his superior fielding-independent metrics and the fact that he can be affordably teamed with Jameson Taillon atop the rotation for years to come were enough to part with a package of three high-quality pieces — two of whom (Meadows and Glasnow) are able to immediately contribute to the Rays.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Marlins Acquire Chris Bostick]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=130410 2018-08-12T19:02:51Z 2018-08-12T18:53:40Z The Marlins have acquired utilityman Chris Bostick from the Pirates, Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).  Pittsburgh will receive cash considerations in the deal.  Bostick had been designated for assignment by the Bucs earlier this week.

Bostick’s Major League career consists of 20 games for Pittsburgh in 2017 and two games this season, with a .276/.382/.345 slash line over 34 total plate appearances.  Originally a 44th-round pick for the Athletics in the 2011 draft, Bostick will be joining the fifth different organization of his pro career.

The 25-year-old Rochester native has hit .271/.337/.416 with 60 homers and 122 steals (out of 176 chances) over 3491 PA in the minor leagues, though his greatest calling card might be versatility.  Bostick has spent much of his career as a second baseman, but has logged substantial time at third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Central Notes: Martin, Cutch, Bucs, Hamilton, Carpenter]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=130132 2018-08-09T18:46:02Z 2018-08-09T15:42:01Z The Indians announced today that recently acquired center fielder Leonys Martin is headed to the 10-day DL owing to a stomach ailment. It’s unclear at this point how long he’ll be sidelined, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian adds on Twitter. The club will surely hope the issue resolves itself in short order, as Martin is expected to play a significant role in the team’s outfield rotation down the stretch and into the postseason. The 30-year-old had been off to a productive start in his first six games in Cleveland.

Here’s more from the central divisions …

  • Bob Nightengale of USA Today took an interesting angle on the Pirates’ deadline moves recently, discussing them with former star Andrew McCutchen. The veteran outfielder, who was dealt to the Giants in the winter, said he was surprised that the Pittsburgh organization decided that this was the summer to push hard for improvements. It’s an interesting story, particularly for fans of these two clubs, in no small part because McCutchen discusses the feeling within the clubhouse of going through the trade deadline. Referring to his past experiences with the Bucs, he explained: “We felt we had a good team to compete, but then you see other teams making those moves, getting the key pieces to their team to make them stronger, and you feel like, “Dang, we’ve got to do something, too.'”
  • In a recent post with notes on several ballclubs, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic presents one potential explanation for the timing of the Pirates’ moves. (Subscription link.) He writes that an executive with another team posits that the acquisitions of Chris Archer and Keone Kela were driven in some part by the team’s slumping attendance. That’s not the case, per president Frank Coonelly, who says instead the swaps were made out of a “desire to improve the club for this 2018 stretch run and for the next several years.” Coonelly also cited prospect depth as a factor that enabled the maneuvers. That certainly seems to be a fair explanation, but there’s also little doubt that the team has an eye on the bottom line as well. As Rosenthal writes, perhaps there’s some evidence here of “the power of a disgruntled fan base to effect change.”
  • As Rosenthal further reports in that post, the Reds’ decisionmaking on center fielder Billy Hamilton continues to be influenced by the views of owner Bob Castellini, who has gone on record as a proponent of the exceedingly speedy but light-hitting player. Hamilton didn’t feature as a particularly likely August trade candidate regardless, though perhaps there’s some hypothetical plausibility to such a scenario. But the report suggests the organization may still be rather reluctant to part with the 27-year-old, who is set to enter his final season of arbitration eligibility after earning $4.6MM this year. Perhaps there’s still a way the front office can make this all work in a sensible manner. Hamilton, after all, is a useful MLB player — he’s a great defender and baserunner, and has at least been somewhat better historically against right-handed pitching — who is simply miscast in an everyday role. He could still make sense on what’s hoped to be a competitive 2019 roster, at least if the organization makes a supplemental addition in center and commits to leaning less heavily on Hamilton.
  • It seems like it was just yesterday we were preaching patience in response to chat questions from irate Cardinals fans about Matt Carpenter’s struggles. But a turnaround of this magnitude remains a surprise. As things stand, he’s among the most productive hitters in baseball — even including his meager opening performance — with a .281/.393/.598 slash and 31 home runs through 476 plate appearances. It’s a fascinating situation for a variety of reasons, to be sure. Carpenter himself evidently feels that way, too, as MLB.com’s Joe Trezza tweets. “It’s just not who I am,” says the 32-year-old Carpenter of his exploits. “It’s not who I was. It’s not the hitter I’ve ever been. I’m developing into somebody I’ve never dreamt of or tried to be like. I don’t have an explanation for it.”
Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Poll: Which Of These Tigers Is Most Likely To Be Traded?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=130049 2018-08-08T03:55:07Z 2018-08-08T03:55:53Z Earlier today, we learned that three prominent Detroit Tigers (Jose Iglesias, Francisco Liriano and Jordan Zimmerman) have cleared trade waivers, meaning that each is eligible to be traded at any time during the remainder of the season. For any of the three to be eligible for postseason play, he would need to be shipped off to another team before the end of the month.

Each of the three aforementioned players have varying levels of value in relation to their respective salaries for 2018 (and money owed beyond this season). However, it’s not hard to imagine any of the three as a plausible trade candidate; there are certainly plenty of contending teams who could use a shortstop or a starting pitcher. The Tigers would likely have to eat some of the remaining salary owed to any of these three players in the event an agreement is struck with a contending team, but I want to explore the plausibility of each player being dealt, not his overall contract value.

Jose Iglesias, SS- The bulk of Iglesias’ value is locked up in his defensive capabilities. Though he’s hit just .276/.306/.391 over the course of the 2018 season (a batting line that’s not too far off from his career averages), Iglesias owns a Fangraphs defensive rating of 13.7 due in part to the accrual of four Defensive Runs Saved and an Ultimate Zone Rating of 8.9 to this point on the year. That, combined with a below-average wRC+ of 88, has earned him a 2.2 fWAR mark- the highest of any player on this list. Infielders with Iglesias’ defensive capabilities are in short supply, so it’s easy to imagine there would be more than one suitor for the 28-year-old should the Tigers pay down some of his $6.3MM arbitration salary.

Francisco Liriano, LHP- Liriano’s served as a starter for the bulk of his career, and although he’s been largely unspectacular over the course of his 13-season MLB career, he’s shown flashes of brilliance. Most notably, Liriano put up a 3.26 ERA across the 2013-2015 seasons while with the Pirates, notching 9.58 K/9 against 3.78 BB/9 while managing a 52% ground ball rate. While it seems likely that those days are behind him, Liriano could still prove a useful asset to a contending team should he figure out how to regain some semblance of control (he’s walked more than five batters per nine innings on the season). It could be tough to find a taker, considering he owns a 4.37 ERA in 17 starts on the season that seems lucky when compared to his 5.23 FIP, but it’s worth mentioning that the Astros acquired him down the stretch last season in order to utilize him as a reliever, and there’s more than one team that might benefit from adding a lefty to its bullpen.

Jordan Zimmerman, RHP-  Zimmerman’s case is the most curious of these three, particularly considering the massive amount of money he’s owed beyond 2018 ($50MM) and the fact that he has a full no-trade clause as part of his contract with the Tigers. Still, after a pair of horrific seasons since signing with Detroit and an equally-rough start to the 2018 season, Zimmerman’s returned to some semblance of usefulness. In eight starts after coming off the disabled list on June 16th, the righty’s managed to compile 41 strikeouts against a stingy seven walks. The result has been a reasonable 3.91 ERA across 46 innings, and he’s lasted at least five innings in all but one of his eight contests. A pitcher of that caliber would certainly be useful to a number of contending teams looking for a fourth starter in October. The tricky part of any negotiation would be deciding upon exactly how much of Zimmerman’s remaining salary ought to be paid down, and that’s without even considering what it might take to convince him to waive his no-trade clause after he chose to sign with the Tigers in part due to Detroit’s geographic location.

It’s no certainty that any of these three will be dealt. But it’s not an impossibility that all three could be moved prior to August 31st, either. Who do you think is most likely to be on the move this season? Here’s a link to the poll for those using the app.

Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Pirates Claim Buddy Boshers, Designate Chris Bostick]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=130041 2018-08-07T22:29:44Z 2018-08-07T22:29:44Z The Pirates have claimed lefty reliever Buddy Boshers off waivers from the Astros. Paul Braverman (Communications Personnnel for the Fresno Grizzlies) originally announced the move, and the Astros have since confirmed.

Boshers, who has exactly 100 major league appearances to his name since his debut in 2013, has been stuck with the club’s Triple-A affiliate all season. There, he’s struck out an impressive 9.71 batters per nine innings against just 2.65 walks per nine across 41 appearances. The performance result is a 3.18 ERA (with a more ordinary 3.84 FIP), though that doesn’t entirely describe his value. Boshers has actually pitched 51 innings across those 41 appearances, implying he’s been relied upon to get more than three outs on several occasions.

The Pirates will be Boshers’ third team already this season. Though he began the year with the Twins, they barely waited half a month into 2018 before designating him for assignment (in order to make room for offseason signee Addison Reed). Though the Astros claimed him and used a 40-man roster spot to house him throughout the entire season, they evidently decided that he was either expendable or deserved a major-league opportunity elsewhere. Boshers has certainly proved that he warrants at least a chance to prove himself at the major league level once again.

Bostick, 25, made his major league debut only last season, when he collected eight hits and four walks in 32 plate appearances  while being hit by a pitch en route to a .406 OBP. Evidently the Pirates didn’t feel as though he’d be a useful piece this season, as they’ve given him just two major league at-bats in 2018 despite a respectable .295/.351/.436 batting line across 327 PA at the Triple-A level. Capable of playing second base and the outfield, it seems likely that the 5’10” right-handed hitter will latch on with another major league club following his placement on the waiver wire.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Pirates Acquire Adeiny Hechavarria]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=129954 2018-08-07T02:05:33Z 2018-08-07T00:04:11Z 7:04pm: Pittsburgh will only pay Hechavarria a pro-rated portion of the league-minimum salary, per Ron Blum of the Associated Press (via the AP’s Will Graves, on Twitter).

3:15pm: The Pirates have acquired shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from the Rays in exchange for right-hander Matt Seelinger, as per press releases from both teams.  Tampa Bay will also send the Bucs some money in the trade.

Hechavarria was designated for assignment last Wednesday, after the Rays couldn’t find a taker for him (and the approximately $1.9MM still owed to him in salary this season) before the trade deadline.  One would think the cash considerations headed from Tampa to Pittsburgh in the deal will cover most, if not all, of that remaining salary.  The Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin reported over the weekend that Hechavarria was thought to have cleared trade waivers, which appears to be the case.

Over 2920 career plate appearances with the Rays, Marlins, and Blue Jays, Hechavarria has only hit .255/.291/.344, only coming closest to being a league-average hitter when he posted a modest 92 OPS+ and 89 wRC+ during the 2015 season.  He has still provided value, however, thanks to consistently strong glovework at shortstop.  Hechavarria has declined a bit in this area in 2018 (+4 Defensive Runs Saved, 1.0 UZR/150), though he still boasts +23 DRS and a 2.7 UZR/150 over his career at short.

This represents an upgrade from longtime Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer, who has below-average defensive numbers over his career and is only a marginally better hitter with a career .257/.318/.384 slash line.  Mercer is also a free agent after the season, so this is the clearest sign yet that his long tenure in Pittsburgh is likely coming to an end.

The Pirates continue to be surprising buyers down the stretch, as the team has now acquired Hechavarria and Chris Archer in separate trades with the Rays, and also picked up reliever Keone Kela from the Rangers.  At 57-55, the Bucs are still on the outskirts of the playoff race, entering today 7.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central and five games out of a wild card position.  Archer and Kela are at least controlled beyond 2018, whereas Hechavarria is a free agent this winter and thus a pure rental for the Pirates.  The team does rank near the bottom of the league in both DRS (-47) and UZR/150 (-3.1) this season, so the Bucs could see this deal as a low-cost way of patching up a hole on defense.

Seelinger was a 28th-round pick for the Pirates in the 2017 draft, and he has posted a 2.44 ERA, 12.8 K/9, and 4.45 K/BB rate over 62 2/3 minor league innings.  Seelinger has pitched exclusively as a reliever in his pro career, and he’ll continue at the A-ball level with Tampa Bay’s affiliate in Bowling Green.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Huntington: "Nothing's Imminent" On PTBNLs In Archer/Kela Trades]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=129858 2018-08-06T01:29:22Z 2018-08-06T01:29:22Z
  • Also from Topkin’s piece, the player to be named later acquired by the Rays from the Pirates in the Chris Archer trade still isn’t known, and the mystery prospect may not change organizations until the minor league season ends.  Indeed, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said today during his radio show (hat tip to MLB.com’s Adam Berry) that “nothing’s imminent” about the players to be named later involved in the Archer trade and also in the trade with the Rangers for Keone Kela.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Neal Huntington Discusses Pirates' Pre-Deadline Thinking]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=129820 2018-08-05T19:00:32Z 2018-08-05T19:00:13Z
  • Prior to their midseason resurgence, the Pirates were leaning toward selling at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, general manager Neal Huntington told KDKA-FM on Sunday (via Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). However, the team never gave any thought to dealing two of its top controllable assets, right-hander Jameson Taillon or closer Felipe Vazquez. “When club hit rock bottom at seven (games) under (.500 on July 7),” Huntington said, “(we began to consider), ‘Maybe ‘18 isn’t our year. How do we strengthen ’19, ’20, and ‘21 moving on?’ (But) it was never a consideration to trade Felipe Vazquez, and trading Jameson Taillon was never a consideration for us.” The Pirates actually fell to eight games under .500 on July 7, but they then ripped off 15 wins in 19 games before July 31 and ended up as buyers, acquiring right-hander Chris Archer from the Rays and reliever Keone Kela from the Rangers.
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 8/4/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=129649 2018-08-05T03:02:34Z 2018-08-05T03:02:29Z We’ll use this post to keep track of some minor transactions throughout the day…


    • The Tigers have made their second minor deal of the day, this time acquiring righty Eric Villanueva from the Mets in exchange for cash considerations, Woodbery tweets. Villanueva, 20, had been with the Mets since they chose him out of Puerto Rico in the 30th round of the 2016 draft. During his time with the Mets, Villaneuva worked at the Rookie level and struggled to a 5.14 ERA with unsightly strikeout and walk rates (5.1 K/9, 11.2 BB/9) across 40 1/3 innings.


    • The Yankees have acquired infielder Gio Urshela from the Blue Jays in exchange for cash considerations; Conor Foley of the Scranton Times-Tribune was first to take note of the transaction, and the move has since been announced by both organizations. The Jays designated Urshela for assignment on June 26th, about seven weeks after they claimed him off waivers from the Indians. The 26-year-old is widely known for his highlight-reel defensive plays, although he’s also error-prone on the big stage; Urshela made four errors while with Cleveland during last year’s ALDS. His tepid bat has been what’s really held him back, though. Urshela’s career batting line is .225/.274/.315 across 499 plate appearances with Cleveland and Toronto.
    • The Indians announced that they’ve traded right-hander George Kontos to the Yankees in exchange for cash considerations; the Yankees in turn announced that the veteran has assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. The 33-year-old has pitched in parts of every MLB season since 2011, though he’s never shuffled around the league quite this much. Kontos began 2018 with the Pirates before being shipped to Cleveland, and will now head to his third team of the year. He’s earned himself a 4.68 ERA across 25 innings thus far, and his FIP (5.93) suggests he’s been lucky to attain even that mediocre mark. However, if he can return to the form of the 3.12 ERA hurler he’s been across his career on average, he could yet prove a useful piece for the Bombers.
    • The Tigers have acquired righty Christian Binford from the Orioles in exchange for cash considerations, per Evan Woodbery of MLive. Across 12 appearances this season (seven starts) with the O’s Double-A affiliate, Binford has pitched to a 4.95 ERA. While he’s walked just 1.28 batters per nine innings, he’s only managed to strike out a measly 5.59. However, his 4.35 xFIP suggests that he’s been slightly unlucky in terms of fly balls going for home runs. While Binford has remained at Double-A all season, he’s seen time at the minors’ highest level in each of the past two years (while with the Royals organization). In fact, prior to this season, the 25-year-old had never known any other organization outside of Kansas City, who selected him in the 30th round of the 2011 draft.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Snell, Dickerson, Fowler, Williams, Skaggs]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=129671 2018-08-04T21:49:32Z 2018-08-04T21:49:32Z As expected, the Rays have activated left-hander Blake Snell to start tonight’s game against the White Sox. The first-time All-Star will be on a limited pitch count following a two-week DL stint for left shoulder fatigue. Following a trade of Chris Archer to the Pirates, Snell looks like the only reliable starter in a Rays rotation that continues to see relievers open games more often than the starters themselves. Snell’s pre-injury performance, of course, was phenomenal; his 2.27 ERA would be more than a run lower than his career best season.

    Here are a few other disabled list transactions from around the league…

    • Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson has been activated after a short stint on the disabled list; he’d been sidelined with a left hamstring strain. They’ll surely be glad to have him back after the club traded away notable outfield depth in the form of Austin Meadows at the July 31st deadline. While he’s active, Dickerson won’t be starting today’s game against the Cardinals (though he’ll presumably be available off the bench).
    • As expected after last night’s newsCardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler will hit the DL after suffering a fractured foot. Fowler’s enduring a miserable season that’s by far his career worst; he’s managed to hit an absolutely wretched .180/.278/.298 across 334 plate appearances while playing middling outfield defense. Fangraphs rates him as being 1.2 wins below replacement level on the season after a 2.5 fWAR debut with the Cards last year.
    • Switch-hitting relief pitcher Taylor Williams is headed to the DL with right elbow soreness. It’s certainly bad news for a Brewers bullpen that’s seeing Corey Knebel struggle mightily of late. Williams has tossed 42 2/3 relief innings and managed to strike out 10.43 batters per nine innings, though he’s only managed to keep the ball on the ground 34.8% of the time and has walked a batter nearly every other inning on average. Williams is in the midst of his first full season in the majors after a 4 2/3 inning cup of coffee last year.
    • Angels hurler Tyler Skaggs is headed to the disabled list with a left adductor strain, the club has announced. Skaggs has described the injury as “extremely frustrating”, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. He apparently sustained it during his last start. In his stead, the Angels have called up right-hander Taylor Cole. The Angels, of course, have already seen their rotation annihilated by injuries this year, with Garrett Richards, Shohei Ohtani, J.C. Ramirez and Matt Shoemaker among the affected starters.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Jung Ho Kang Undergoes Wrist Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=129592 2018-08-03T18:18:54Z 2018-08-03T18:18:53Z 1:18pm: Kang did indeed have surgery to debride the cartilage in his wrist this morning, the Pirates announced. However, it’s not a guarantee that the injury will end his season. Per the team’s press release:

    “The Pirates are very appreciative that Dr. Birdsong was able to clear a time slot on his schedule to expedite the timing of the surgery.  The typical return to play from this type of surgery is four to six weeks.”

    11:51am: Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang will require season-ending surgery to repair his left wrist, according to Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. The operation is said to come with a three-month recovery period. Kang has been on the minor league disabled list with a wrist issue since late June.

    The 31-year-old Kang hasn’t played in the Majors since the 2016 season due to ongoing legal issues in his native South Korea. The former Nexen Heroes star was arrested and charged with his third DUI during the 2016-17 offseason, leaving him unable to secure a work visa and costing him the entire 2017 season as a result. Kang eventually acquired a visa and was ablt to return to the United States back in May. He spent a few weeks ramping up (but still on the restricted list) before being optioned to the minors in mid-June. He played in just seven Class-A Advanced games and nine Triple-A contests before incurring the injury.

    It seems possible, if not likely, that Kang’s injury will end his tenure with the Pirates organization. He’s earning a $3MM base salary in 2018 — though he wasn’t paid while on the restricted list earlier this season or in 2017 — and is under control for the 2019 campaign via a $5.5MM club option. That option comes with a modest $250K buyout, and it seems far likelier that the team will go that route than to roll the dice on a player who hasn’t set foot on a big league field since October 2016. It’d be somewhat of a surprise for any organization to exercise that option, but the cost-conscious Pirates, in particular, seem likely to take a pass.

    The question for Kang, then, will be whether his considerable off-field issues will prohibit him from receiving a look with any other big league organization. In addition to the DUI charges he faced in Seoul, Kang was also accused of sexual assault in Chicago back in the summer of 2016, though the allegations never led to any charges being filed.

    Kang did bat .273/.355/.483 with 36 home runs in 837 plate appearances as a member of the Pirates, so there’s at least reason to believe that with a mostly healthy offseason and a full Spring Training, he could be a productive on-field asset. If he were to get another opportunity, it seems likely that it’d come on a minor league pact with an invitation to 2019 Spring Training, though there will quite likely be some teams that decide to steer clear of Kang entirely, given those off-field issues and the long layoff between would-be MLB appearances.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pirates Acquire Chris Archer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=129323 2018-07-31T20:40:19Z 2018-07-31T19:58:36Z The Pirates have officially struck a trade to acquire starter Chris Archer from the Rays, as Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported (via Twitter). Talented young players Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow will both go to Tampa Bay, as Jim Bowden of The Athletic tweeted.

    There’s also a third player in the deal, as first noted by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). The identity is still not known — the announcement cites a player to be named later — but it’s said to be an asset “of real value,” per Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link).

    Today’s news brings an end to a long-running trade saga involving Archer. The talented right-hander has been viewed as a target for years, with rival organizations intrigued not only by his big innings and strikeout totals, but also his extremely valuable contract. He now becomes the latest quality starter to be traded away by the Rays organization.

    Archer inked a six-year, $25.5MM swap early in 2014. The agreement includes two option seasons at the end. While the very cheapest years have already gone into the books, there are some affordable campaigns remaining. Archer is earning just $6.25MM this year and $7.5MM next, followed by $9MM and $11MM club options that have a combined $2MM in buyouts.

    Those dollar amounts surely appealed to a Pirates organization that is always seeking value. But the team was motivated most by the chance to improve in the near-term. Archer will represent a significant new addition to the rotation. The 29-year-old has only a 4.31 ERA on the year, the third-straight season in which he has allowed more than four earned per nine, but continues to carry peripherals that suggest he’s significantly better.

    Of course, at some point the results will need to catch up to the metrics, and the Bucs are betting that’ll happen sooner than later. Archer is a quality asset regardless, but this deal was surely made based on the premise that he still can return to the higher standard he carried earlier in his career.

    Otherwise, it’s hard to imagine the Bucs parting with this haul of talent in return. Meadows is the headlining piece at this point, as the 23-year-old top prospect has now shown an ability to hit in the big leagues. While his numbers at Triple-A haven’t been quite as impressive of late, and he’s benefiting from a .345 BABIP, Meadows carries a .292/.327/.468 slash in his first 165 plate appearances at the game’s highest level.

    Glasnow, meanwhile, is soon to turn 25. He’s a big talent who has yet to fully harness his abilities. This year, Glasnow has functioned in a relief capacity, turning in 56 innings of 4.34 ERA ball with 11.6 K/9 against 5.5 BB/9 and a 56.0% groundball rate. While there’s still hope he’ll round into a MLB starter, perhaps that distinction won’t matter too much for a Rays team that no longer really seems to have a true starter on its roster at all.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Deadline Day Bullpen Rumors: Padres, Diekman, Halos]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=129264 2018-07-31T18:01:52Z 2018-07-31T18:01:52Z It’s a buyers’ market for bullpen help with just over two hours until the non-waiver trade deadline, as there’s a significant supply of arms thought to be available on the market. Here’s some of the latest chatter as contenders look to bolster their relief corps:

    • The Cubs had scouts on hand to watch the Padres — likely relievers Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen — last night, tweets Dennis Lin of The Athletic. Chicago was tied to Brad Ziegler recently but didn’t land the submariner, as he instead went to the D-backs recently. Lin’s colleague, Ken Rosenthal, tweets that the A’s also have interest in Stammen. Rosenthal also tweeted earlier today that the Pirates watched Yates before acquiring Keone Kela. The addition of Kela could take them out of that market, of course, but the Pirates could speculatively still be in the market for another arm. Both relievers are controlled beyond the 2018 season.
    • The Rangers have accelerated their efforts to move lefty reliever Jake Diekman, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Texas has already moved Cole Hamels, Jesse Chavez and Kela in the days leading up to the deadline, and Diekman represents perhaps the top remaining trade chip they have — certainly the top remaining rental, especially with Adrian Beltre unlikely to approve a deal. Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweeted recently that the Phillies have checked in on Diekman.
    • USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that the Angels are drawing “serious interest” in lefty Jose Alvarez and Blake Parker, though as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register pointed out earlier today, it’d be tough for the Halos to part with either controllable reliever (Twitter links). The Angels hope for better health and a return to contention in 2019, and each of Alvarez, Parker and Cam Bedrosian could factor prominently into those plans. Fletcher notes that perhaps the organization would be more apt to move one of those relievers if it meant landing a nar-MLB commodity at a thin position such as catcher.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pirates Moving Closer Deal For Chris Archer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=129179 2018-07-31T20:40:58Z 2018-07-31T18:00:16Z Rays righty Chris Archer has seemingly been in trade rumors for years; is this the day he finally gets dealt?  Here’s the latest…

     Earlier Updates

    • As this morning’s prior updates indicated, it seems that Archer is drawing the keenest interest from National League organizations. If he’s dealt, he’ll likely be changing leagues, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. He tabs the BravesBrewers, and Pirates as the likeliest organizations to work something out. Meanwhile, Jim Bowden of The Athletic tweets that the Dodgers are also in the picture.
    • The Pirates appear to be heavily involved in Archer’s market, at least as of last night, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link). Though the Bucs at one point appeared likely to function as a seller, they have rushed back into a competitive position and struck a deal last night to improve their late-inning relief unit. Of course, that swap and any others that might come to fruition will likely be for affordable, controllable assets. In that regard, Archer certainly makes for a potential fit.
    • Jon Morosi of MLB.com tweets that the Padres’ pursuit of Archer has “lost momentum.” That’s a notable development, given that San Diego has been perhaps the most prominently linked team to the Rays righty over the past few days. While the Friars obviously aren’t contending in 2018, the team has its sights set on contending in 2019 and beyond, and adding Archer right now could have been a forward-looking move that would’ve helped to alleviate the 40-man roster crunch San Diego will inevitably face when setting its 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 Draft this offseason.
    • Meanwhile, Jim Bowden of The Athletic tweets that the Braves and Brewers are still in pursuit of Archer. Bowden lists some of the other organizations that have been in contact of late, though it’s not clear which remain firmly engaged on the popular right-hander. The Atlanta and Milwaukee organizations have been connected to controllable starting pitching for quite some time, of course, so it’s no surprise to see them lurking on Archer. Whether the trade deadline will provide sufficient impetus for either team to finally complete talks on a quality rotation piece remains to be seen.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles, Brewers, Discussing Jonathan Schoop]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=129269 2018-07-31T20:41:53Z 2018-07-31T17:30:00Z 2:54pm: Talks between the O’s and Brewers are “very serious,” per ESPN’s Buster Olney. Rosenthal tweets that the two sides are close to a deal.

    2:40pm: In addition to an agreed-upon trade sending Gausman to the Braves, the Orioles are discussing Schoop with the Brewers, tweets Rosenthal.

    2:16pm: The Braves have been in contact with the Orioles regarding Gausman, tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Heyman tweets that Atlanta has been “working hard” to add a controllable starter.

    1:49pm: Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are discussing a trade of second baseman Jonathan Schoop and, potentially, Gausman (Twitter link).

    1:40pm: Dan Connolly of The Athletic tweets that the Orioles and the other team involved in the deal are reviewing medical reports. Jones is not being traded in the deal, he adds.

    1:28pm: Fancred’s Jon Heyman tweets that teams are “getting serious” with their offers on Gausman. He lists the Rockies, Braves and Brewers as teams in the mix. Crasnick tweets, meanwhile, that the Pirates are “out” on Gausman.

    1:10pm: The Orioles are “closing in” on yet another deal with just under two hours until the non-waiver trade deadline, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.

    It’s not clear from the report who’ll be changing hands, though the O’s have already moved their biggest rental chips in the form of Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Brad Brach. Adam Jones reportedly isn’t interested in waiving his 10-and-5 rights to approve a deal, which makes it tough to envision that he’s changing hands here.

    Meanwhile, previous reports have suggested that the Orioles have not yet had their asking prices met on more controllable pieces like Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy or Mychal Givens. Speculating a bit, though, veteran infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia would be one rental piece that the O’s could conceivably deal to a contender in need of a righty bat off the bench.