A few Winter Meetings news and rumors:
-Jennifer Langosch tweets that Luis Cruz was claimed off of waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers. That clears a spot on the 40-man roster for the Pirates. The 40-man roster/payroll projection is updated with the move (I’m leaving the space as a potential Rule 5 pick for now).
-Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Pirates are interested in shortstop Adam Everett. Everett is like Bobby Crosby: strong defensively, but weak at the plate. Seems there is truth to the idea that the Pirates are looking to bring in someone to push Ronny Cedeno defensively.
-Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates top priority at the Winter Meetings is to find a left handed reliever. DK mentions two names we’ve heard already in Noah Lowry and Ron Villone, and mentions that Joe Beimel could be a distant possibility, although a possibility that is unconfirmed. Personally I like Will Ohman in the left handed relief market. The Pirates were interested in him last year, and he may come cheap coming off of a down season where he had injury issues (seems to be our theme this year).
-DK also reports that the Pirates may claim Texas reliever Willie Eyre. Eyre has pitched 145.1 innings in the majors, with a 5.14 ERA a 4.7 K/9, and a 3.7 BB/9. In 2009 he made 17 appearances with Texas, with a 4.50 ERA in 18 innings, plus a 4.0 K/9 and a 3.0 BB/9. A look at his game logs shows that Eyre only allowed a run in three of his 17 appearances. Two of those appearances were horrible (1.1 IP/3 ER, 0.1 IP/5 ER) which explains the spiked ERA. Eyre has a career 3.29 ERA in AAA with a 7.0 K/9 and a 3.5 BB/9. Last year he pitched 34.1 innings in AAA with a 2.10 ERA, a 6.6 K/9 and a 3.1 BB/9.
This brings up the need to clarify two issues:
1. Space for the Rule 5 Draft: With Luis Cruz being claimed, the Pirates have an open spot on the 40-man roster. Teams have until 5 PM EST, December 8th (tomorrow) to clear a space on the 40-man roster for a Rule 5 pick. So if Eyre was claimed and took Cruz’s spot, the Pirates would still have time to clear a spot for a pick in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday.
2. Waiver Order: There seems to be some confusion over the waiver process. Dejan Kovacevic reported that the Pirates had the second claim, behind the Washington Nationals. Many believe that a player coming from the American League, like Eyre, has to pass through the AL before he would start passing through the NL list. Really, it depends on timing.
MLB has three waiver periods. The most popular one is the August 1st through November 10th period. During this time, the club with the worst won-loss record in the current season has priority, although AL clubs have priority for AL players and likewise for NL clubs and NL players.
The second period is November 11th through April 30th. The waivers during this period are based on the previous season’s standings, regardless of leagues. The final period is May 1st through July 31st, in which the club with the worst won-loss record in the current season has priority, with no favor to either league.
Since we are in the second waiver period listed above, the Pirates would have the number two pick, as players don’t have to pass through their own league first at this point in the year to be claimed by a team in another league.