Pittsburgh Pirates – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-09-21T20:02:47Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pirates Claim Carson Fulmer From Orioles]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=247095 2020-09-21T18:32:33Z 2020-09-21T18:32:33Z The Pirates announced Monday that for the second time this season, they’ve claimed right-hander Carson Fulmer off waivers. Pittsburgh claimed Fulmer off waivers from the Tigers in late August but lost him to the Orioles in early September before he ever pitched a game in Pittsburgh. Baltimore apparently tried to pass Fulmer through waivers themselves in order to retain him without committing a 40-man roster spot to him, but the Bucs put in a claim to bring him back.

Fulmer, 26, hasn’t lived up to the billing since being selected by the White Sox with the No. 8 overall pick back in 2015. At various points, the former Vanderbilt star was even considered a potential No. 1 overall pick, but he’s struggled in the upper minors with the ChiSox and been hit hard at virtually every point in his up-and-down Major League career.

To this point, Fulmer owns a woeful 6.34 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 5.9 BB/9 in 105 Major League innings. But there’s plenty of pedigree here, and he still possesses high-end spin rates on his heater and curveball. His time in the Orioles organization was brief but also encouraging, as Fulmer tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts and without a hit. He did walk two batters and plunk another one, however, so his longstanding control issues are still making themselves plainly evident.

Fulmer is out of minor league options, so the Pirates will have to carry him on the Opening Day roster next year or else attempt yet again to pass him through waivers in order to keep him around. He hasn’t even come close to going unclaimed at this point, so that might be unlikely. The Tigers had the top waiver priority when they claimed him from the White Sox on Opening Day, and the Pirates had the top claim priority when they plucked him from Detroit the first time around. Ten teams passed before the Orioles won their claim on him earlier this month, and the Pirates again claimed him with top priority this time around.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Pirates Announce Three Trades]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=246962 2020-09-20T20:17:01Z 2020-09-20T20:17:01Z The Pittsburgh Pirates announced a trio of trades today. The first deal completes their August deal for Austin Davis, which the Phillies announced earlier today. The Pirates sent right-hander Joel Cesar to Philadelphia to complete that transaction. Davis, 27, has 3 scoreless appearances since joining the Buccos.

The other two trades helped build the Pirates’ 2019-2020 international pool money. The Pirates sent left-hander Domingo Robles to the St. Louis Cardinals and right-hander Connor Loeprich to the Baltimore Orioles in separate trades for international pool money.

Robles, 22, signed with the Pirates on the first day of the international signing period in 2014. Across 5 seasons in the Pittsburgh system, Robles owns a 27-36 record with a 3.76 ERA and 6.4 K/9 to 2.1 BB/9. The Dominican southpaw made it as high as Double-A as a 21-year-old in 2019, going 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA across 103 innings. He was not among the Pirates top 42 prospects listed by Fangraphs at the start of 2020, nor the top 30 listed by Baseball America.

Loeprich turned 23-years-old this month, and he’ll now report to a new team in the Baltimore. Loeprich made it to High-A in 2019, though he spent the greater part of the year with Single-A Greensboro. In two seasons since being drafted out of St. Mary’s College of California, the 6’3″ right-hander sports a 3.68 ERA over 124 2/3 innings with 9.1 K/9 to 2.8 BB/9. Loeprich has largely worked out of the bullpen with only 8 starts out of 55 total minor-league appearances.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Pirates Place Kevin Newman On Injured List, Recall Jason Martin]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=246937 2020-09-20T18:56:03Z 2020-09-20T18:19:36Z The Pittsburgh Pirates have placed infielder Kevin Newman on the 10-day injured list after being hit by a pitch in last night’s ballgame. Jason Martin has been recalled to take his roster spot, the team announced.

Unfortunately, any injury at this point of the season is likely to be a season-ender. Newman suffered a contusion to the peroneal nerve of his left knee, per the team. The 27-year-old has split his time between both middle infield spots while struggling to make much progress at the dish. The righty owns a .224/.281/.276 triple slash across 172 plate appearances. Registering just a 54 wRC+ certainly classifies as a disappointment after hitting the 110 wRC+ mark last season while slashing .308/.353/.446 with 12 home runs. Newman is making hard contact a little more often than last season, though barrelling just one ball on the year. A year-over-year drop in batting average on balls in play from .333 to .250 certainly makes a difference, as does a diminished power output (ISO down from .138 to .051).

Martin won’t take over directly for Newman, but he could see time in left field as Adam Frazier moves into the infield. Jose Osuna and JT Riddle could also come off the bench to take more regular at-bats.

The 25-year-old Martin is 0 for 9 with a pair of walks over a few starts in centerfield this season. Martin came to the Pirates as part of the return for Gerrit Cole back in 2018, but he has yet to carve out a regular spot in the Pirates’ outfield rotation. He spent all of 2019 in Triple-A, but a .259/.312/.419 line wasn’t enough to secure regular playing time in a shortened 2020 season.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies Acquire Joel Cesar To Complete Austin Davis Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=246899 2020-09-20T16:29:04Z 2020-09-20T16:13:49Z The Phillies announced that right-hander Joel Cesar has been acquired from the Pirates.  Cesar acts as the player to be named later from the August 26 trade that sent Austin Davis to Pittsburgh.

Cesar was a member of the Pirates’ 2015-16 international signing class, and the righty has posted some solid results over four seasons on the farm.  Cesar has a 3.18 ERA, 2.06 K/BB rate, and 8.7 K/9 over 138 2/3 innings, working as a reliever in 87 of his 90 career games.

The 24-year-old has yet to pitch beyond the Double-A level, though a Triple-A assignment would have been likely had there been a 2020 minor league season.  Cesar wasn’t included in Pittsburgh’s 60-man player pool, though he’ll now join Philadelphia’s 60-man mix and report to the Phils’ alternate training site.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pirates Notes: Taillon, Crick]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=244571 2020-09-15T15:30:34Z 2020-09-15T15:21:15Z
  • Pirates righty Jameson Taillon chatted with reporters about the rehab of his second career Tommy John surgery and offered an optimistic outlook (link via MLB.com’s Adam Berry). Taillon is facing live hitters and said his elbow feels “amazing” at this point in the process. He’s worked with senior rehab coordinator A.J. Patrick, pitching coach Oscar Marin and bullpen coach Justin Meccage on what he believes to be a more mechanically sound delivery, Berry notes. Taillon acknowledged that changing the way he’s thrown since childhood is “tricky… But I came to the realization that two Tommy Johns kind of lets you know that what you’re doing isn’t working.” He also added that he’s seen his spin rate and spin efficiency increase — a reminder that pitchers are more data-focused than ever before in today’s game.
  • The Pirates placed righty Kyle Crick on the 10-day injured list with a lat strain, manager Derek Shelton announced to reporters yesterday (Twitter link via Mike Persak of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). The 27-year-old missed more than a month due to shoulder and lat discomfort earlier this season as well. Crick has pitched just 5 2/3 innings in 2020, and while he’s only surrendered one earned run with seven strikeouts, he’s given up another five unearned runs on seven hits and four walks. Crick hasn’t looked right in 2020, as he’s averaged just 91.3 mph on his four-seamer — a pitch that averaged 95.4 mph in 2019 and 96.4 mph in 2018. Crick was lights-out in 2018, but he’s struggled with control issues and now a velocity dip since that time. He still carries a 3.44 ERA and 4.32 FIP with 10.4 K/9 in 115 frames since coming over from the Giants in the Andrew McCutchen deal, but there are some visible red flags at the moment. Crick is controlled through 2023 and will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Pirates To Activate Mitch Keller From Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=244194 2020-09-13T17:04:27Z 2020-09-13T17:04:27Z The Pirates are set to activate right-hander Mitch Keller from the injured list in advance of tomorrow’s doubleheader against the Reds, manager Derek Shelton told reporters (including Adam Berry of MLB.com). He’ll get the start for one of those games.

    The 14-29 Pirates have long been buried in the National League’s postseason field. Nevertheless, it’ll be nice to get a handful of starts from Keller down the stretch, as the 24-year-old is a critical part of the organization’s future. The former top prospect only has a 6.63 ERA in his first 55.2 MLB innings, but his 3.77 FIP hints at the mid-rotation upside for which he’s long been lauded.

    While Keller entered 2020 looking like a potential breakout candidate, he’s been limited to just two starts by left side discomfort. Out since August 2, he’s now seemingly in line for three more starts to stake a claim to a spot in Pittsburgh’s 2021 rotation. There should be ample opportunity for Keller to pitch himself back into that mix. Joe Musgrove profiles as one of the league’s more likely trade candidates this offseason, while Chris Archer is a good bet to be cut loose on the heels of thoracic outlet surgery. Trevor Williams has struggled, while Chad Kuhl’s solid 3.38 ERA comes with much shakier peripherals.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Pirates Sign Int'l Prospect Eduardo Zapata]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=243974 2020-09-13T01:28:31Z 2020-09-13T01:28:31Z
  • The Pirates have signed Venezuelan right-hander Eduardo Zapata, John Dreker of Pirates Prospects reports (Twitter links).  Details on Zapata’s bonus aren’t known, though Dreker says the signing was made possible due to Pittsburgh’s acquisition of $243.3K in international pool money from the White Sox in last month’s trade that sent Jarrod Dyson to Chicago.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Injury Notes: Pham, Smyly, Turner, Pirates]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=243193 2020-09-10T05:00:35Z 2020-09-10T05:00:35Z Padres outfielder Tommy Pham is less than a month out from a broken hamate bone, but he’s making rapid progress. Pham resumed live on-field batting practice today, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports on Twitter. The 32-year-old had been off to a sluggish start to the year but will still have some time to make his presence felt as the Pads try to angle for postseason position.

    More injury updates from the National League …

    • The Giants are preparing to welcome back southpaw Drew Smyly tomorrow, manager Gabe Kapler tells reporters including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). It’ll be interesting to see what the veteran hurler can deliver down the stretch. Though he hasn’t been available for many innings, he turned in a few interesting outings that hinted at a resurgence.
    • While there’s little reason to rush, the Dodgers are close to activating rehabbing third baseman Justin Turner. Manager Dave Roberts told reporters including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register (Twitter link) that Turner still hasn’t put his tender hamstring through the full paces. Nevertheless, the club expects to have him active within the week, though Turner could initially function as a DH.
    • The Pirates provided a few pitching rehab updates, some more promising than others (via MLB.com’s Adam Berry, on Twitter). Mitch Keller (side injury) and Jameson Taillon (Tommy John) are each throwing sim games, while reliever Keone Kela is now participating in mound work. It’s still unclear how much MLB action each of those hurlers will be capable of late this year, but that’s generally encouraging news. The situation is different for fellow righty Yacksel Rios, who remains sidelined by shoulder woes. He was shut down after symptoms flared up.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Pirates Place Anthony Alford On 45-Day Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=242042 2020-09-09T14:08:34Z 2020-09-09T14:08:39Z TODAY: Alford underwent elbow surgery yesterday, the Pirates announced, and the outfielder “is projected to participate in full baseball activities in spring training 2021.”

    SEPTEMBER 6: Alford’s season is indeed over, as the Pirates announced they have placed him on the 45-day injured list. Outfielder Jason Martin is up from the alternate training site to replace him on the active roster.

    SEPTEMBER 5: Pirates outfielder Anthony Alford fractured his right elbow during tonight’s game, the team announced.  Alford suffered the injury during the third inning after crashing into the wall in pursuit of a Tucker Barnhart home run ball.

    While the severity of the injury has yet to be revealed, it certainly would seem that Alford’s 2020 season has come to an end.  The 26-year-old only recently joined the Pirates after being claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays, with Saturday’s contest with the Reds marking Alford’s fifth game in the black and gold.  The early returns from the change of scenery were promising, as Alford had three hits (including a home run) and a walk over his first 13 plate appearances as a Pirate.

    The elbow fracture is the latest in a series of injuries that have hampered Alford’s career and kept him from establishing himself as a Major League regular.  A highly-regarded prospect while in the Jays’ farm system, Alford hit a modest .265/.358/.393 over 2098 career plate appearances in the minors, then a .454 OPS over 75 PA for Toronto at the big league level from 2017-20.  The Blue Jays designated Alford for assignment in August, and Pittsburgh made the claim to give Alford a look as the Bucs continue to build for the future.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Claim Carson Fulmer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=241968 2020-09-05T22:11:20Z 2020-09-05T21:56:44Z The Orioles have claimed right-hander Carson Fulmer off waivers from the Pirates, the team announced.  The Fulmer move was one of a series of transactions made this afternoon by the O’s, who also called up righty David Hess from their alternate training site, sent right-hander Evan Phillips to the alternate site, and added infield prospect Rylan Bannon to the 60-man player pool.  This is all in addition to the most notable news of the day for the club, as breakout star Anthony Santander is headed to the injured list with a potentially season-ending injury.

    Fulmer will be joining his fourth organization in less than two months, as the 26-year-old has already been a waiver claim for both the Pirates and Tigers since being originally designated for assignment by the White Sox back on July 23.  Fulmer is out of options, which is why teams have been unable to just send him to their alternate training sites without another club pouncing on the right-hander on the waiver wire.  Within this whirlwind of movement, Fulmer has amassed 6 2/3 innings pitched this season, all with Detroit, with a 6.75 ERA.

    The eighth overall pick of the 2015 draft, Fulmer has yet to live up to expectations in the majors, with a career 6.57 ERA, 1.34 K/BB rate, and 8.0 K/9 over 101 1/3 career IP with the Tigers and White Sox.  Given his prospect pedigree and relatively young age, it isn’t hard to see why the Orioles (and other clubs) have been interested in taking a look at Fulmer as a potential post-hype breakout player.

    Bannon, 24, was an eight-round pick for the Orioles in the 2017 draft.  A product of Xavier University, Bannon has a .280/.375/.481 slash line and 43 home runs over 1234 career minor league plate appearances, which included 90 PA and 20 games with Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate in 2019.  It remains to be seen if the O’s have Bannon in mind for a September call-up, though he will provide depth as both a second baseman and third baseman if he does make his MLB debut this year.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pirates Add Quinn Priester To Player Pool]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=241053 2020-09-03T14:33:40Z 2020-09-03T14:30:50Z
  • The Pirates added 2019 first-rounder Quinn Priester to their player pool earlier this week, MLBTR has learned. The Illinois native was selected with the 18th overall pick in the 2019 draft and logged 36 2/3 innings between Rookie ball and short-season Class-A last year. Priester pitched to a 3.19 ERA in that time with a 41-to-14 K/BB ratio and a hefty 59.1 percent ground-ball rate. He’s considered to be one of the organization’s best two to three best pitching prospects.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Pirates Designate Carson Fulmer For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=240769 2020-09-02T20:51:32Z 2020-09-02T20:42:55Z The Pirates announced that they have designated right-hander Carson Fulmer for assignment. The club also reinstated righty Joe Musgrove from the injured list, reinstated outfielder Bryan Reynolds from the paternity list and optioned infielder/outfielder Jose Osuna.

    The Pirates are already the third team since July for Fulmer, who has gone from Chicago to Detroit to Pittsburgh in the past month-plus. Fulmer was once a highly regarded prospect, but it hasn’t translated to success in the majors for the 26-year-old, who owns a 6.57 ERA/6.33 FIP across 101 1/3 innings with the White Sox and Tigers. He hasn’t appeared in a big league game with the Pirates, who claimed him from the Tigers on Aug. 24, and could soon leave the organization. Fulmer’s out of options, though, so it’s possible no other team will take a chance on him.

    Musgrove, out since Aug. 11 with right triceps inflammation, is scheduled to start for the Pirates against the Cubs on Wednesday. Musgrove started 2020 poorly before his IL placement (6.75 ERA/6.83 FIP in 14 2/3 innings), but he was a capable starter for the Pirates from 2018-19 and could boost his trade value heading into the offseason with a strong finish. Musgrove nearly went from Pittsburgh to Toronto before Monday’s trade deadline, but the two sides couldn’t come together on a deal.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Socrates Brito Reportedly Opts Out Of Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=240480 2020-09-01T23:04:30Z 2020-09-01T23:04:56Z 6:04pm: Brito hasn’t officially made a decision yet, the Pirates announced (via Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). The Pirates did note there’s a “possibility” Brito will opt out.

    5:38pm: Pirates outfielder Socrates Brito has opted out of the season, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. Brito made the decision after his brother passed away of COVID-19.

    This isn’t the first time the coronavirus has affected Brito, who tested positive for the illness in early July. Brito was able to return to the Pirates shortly after, though, and the hope is that the 27-year-old will be able to get back on a major league diamond next season. The former Diamondback and Blue Jay, who joined the Pirates on a minor league contract last winter, has seen action in four big league seasons since he debuted in 2015. He didn’t make any appearances with the Pirates this year.

    Pittsburgh has now seen two of its players opt out of the season. Righty Hector Noesi previously decided not to play this year because of family concerns.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Pirates Promote Ke’Bryan Hayes]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=239398 2020-09-01T20:55:09Z 2020-09-01T20:55:55Z TODAY: The Pirates have officially called Hayes up, and also promoted recent waiver claim Anthony Alford to the active roster.  Southpaw Brandon Waddell and outfielder Jason Martin were optioned to the club’s alternate training site in corresponding moves.

    AUGUST 31: The Pirates will promote top third base prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes before their game against the Cubs on Tuesday, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Hayes’ promotion was slowed thanks in part to a positive coronavirus test in July.

    Now 23 years old, Hayes was a 2015 first-round pick (No. 32) who has established himself as a high-end major league prospect since the Pirates drafted him. In fact, Kiley McDaniel of ESPN (No. 26), FanGraphs (30), MLB.com (45), Keith Law of The Athletic (46) and Baseball America (59) recently placed Hayes among the game’s 60 best farmhands. McDaniel wrote that Hayes, the son of ex-major leaguer Charlie Hayes, possesses “plus speed, a plus arm and a potential 70 glove,” and if he proves to be a capable offensive player in the majors, the package could make him a star.

    So far, Hayes has not necessarily thrived against minor league pitching. He owns a .752 OPS in the minors, and in his most recent showing at the lower levels in 2019, he batted .265/.336/.415 (92 wRC+) with 10 home runs and 12 stolen bases across 480 Triple-A plate appearances. Still, his promotion makes for a rare bit of excitement in a Pittsburgh season that has largely been devoid of it.

    The Pirates are a major league-worst 10-21 and have received below-average production from the third base tandem of Erik Gonzalez and JT Riddle, two players who probably won’t be part of the solution over the long haul. Hayes, on the other hand, has a chance to emerge as a franchise cornerstone for years to come. Because the Pirates are waiting until Sept. 1 to call him up, he’ll miss out on Super Two status and won’t be on track to reach free agency until after 2026.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays, Pirates Came Close On Joe Musgrove Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=240114 2020-09-01T15:38:45Z 2020-09-01T15:38:45Z The Blue Jays and Pirates nearly completed a trade sending righty Joe Musgrove from Pittsburgh to Toronto prior to yesterday’s trade deadline, Robert Murray reports (via Twitter). That arrangement “fell apart at the eleventh hour,” however, and the Jays pivoted to acquire both Robbie Ray and Ross Stripling instead.

    Musgrove, 27, was a Jays draft pick back in 2011 (No. 46 overall) and has settled in as a solid rotation piece in Pittsburgh after coming over from the Astros in the Gerrit Cole trade. From 2018-19, Musgrove tossed 285 2/3 innings of 4.28 ERA ball with more promising secondary marks: 3.72 FIP, 8.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 0.94 HR/9, 44.9 percent ground-ball rate. He was hit hard in three starts this season, however, and was placed on the injured list early in August. He’s said to be nearing a return but remained on the IL through the deadline, which undoubtedly complicated negotiations as the two sides tried to align on value. He’s controlled through the 2022 season, so he’d have been a relatively long-term play for a Jays club that is emerging from a rebuilding effort.

    While it was a busy week for the Blue Jays, deadline season came and went without much activity from the last-place Pirates, due largely to injuries and underperformance up and down the roster. Also on the injured list for the Bucs was right-hander Keone Kela, who’d surely have been moved had he not recently sustained a forearm injury. Chris Archer, too, would’ve been a near-lock to be moved had he not undergone thoracic outlet surgery prior to the season.

    Over on the active roster, more established players like Josh Bell, Adam Frazier and Gregory Polanco have played so poorly that the Bucs would’ve needed to sell low and likely accept middling returns. Forcing a move with a lackluster return wasn’t something GM Ben Cherington and his staff considered.

    “We’d much rather hold than make trades that we’re not confident in that later come back and bite us,” Cherington tells Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Without getting into specifics, the GM acknowledged that he thought he was close to lining up on a couple deals that didn’t quite pan out in the end. Ultimately, the only player the Pirates traded was Jarrod Dyson, who went to the White Sox for $243K of international bonus pool space.

    While it was a frustrating deadline for many Pirates fans, there’s still ample opportunity down the road for Cherington and his staff to reshape the club. Kela is a free agent at season’s end, and Archer’s $11MM club option seems likely to be bought out for $250K rather than exercised. Injuries torpedoed trade possibilities for that pair, but the Bucs control each of Musgrove, Bell, Frazier, Polanco, Trevor Williams, Chad Kuhl and Richard Rodriguez through at least the 2022 season. If the team does ultimately opt for a larger-scale tear down, be it this winter or next summer, they’ll still have more than one season of control over each player to market to other clubs.

    As for the Jays, they didn’t get the two-plus years of Musgrove they apparently sought, but they did land two-plus years of Stripling. The 30-year-old has struggled through his past four appearances after an otherwise solid start to the year, but he has a strong track with the Dodgers, carrying a career 3.51 ERA and 3.60 FIP (387 innings) into the 2020 season. They also rolled the dice on another struggling but established NL West starter, Robbie Ray, adding him and Stripling to the already acquired Taijuan Walker — who was excellent in his Blue Jays debut over the weekend.

    It’s arguable that Musgrove would’ve been a more impactful addition than Stripling and/or Ray, and it’s worth wondering whether they’d have acquired either player had the Musgrove swap come together. Regardless, the Jays are positioned quite well to return to the postseason for the first time since the 2016 season. At 18-15, they’re a game back of the second place Yankees and currently leading the Tigers by a game and a half for the No. 8 seed in the American League.