We heard earlier this week that the Pittsburgh Pirates had a scout in attendance to watch A.J. Burnett last week. According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, they’re also one of the teams who have been connected to left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo. Salisbury also mentions the Royals, Tigers, and Blue Jays as other teams who have had scouts watching the reliever.
It seems like all of these teams are watching a lot of players in Philadelphia, and not just one specific person. As far as relievers go, Bastardo seems more appealing than Papelbon. He’s only making $2 M and is under control through the 2015 season. Meanwhile, Papelbon is making $13 M a year this year and in 2015, and has a vesting option for $13 M in 2016, which is guaranteed with 55 games finished next year, or 100 between 2014-15. I really don’t see the Pirates going after Papelbon, so Bastardo makes sense.
It’s interesting that they’re being connected to a left-hander. Jon Morosi connected them to Oliver Perez of the Diamondbacks, but that might have just been due to the past affiliation. If they’re going after a lefty, that either means they’re looking for a third lefty in the pen, or they’re looking for an upgrade over Justin Wilson, who has a 4.86 ERA this year, but a 3.52 FIP.