Pirates Prospects » News and Rumors http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Wed, 28 Jan 2015 01:58:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Travis Snider Traded to Orioles For Stephen Tarpley and a PTBNL http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/pirates-and-orioles-discussing-travis-snider-trade.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/pirates-and-orioles-discussing-travis-snider-trade.html#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 22:43:17 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=92559 Update 8:56 PM: There is a good write-up of Tarpley here on Fangraphs, including the fact that he has hit 97 MPH with his fastball and “a low 80’s curve that flashes plus”

Update 8:38 PM: The deal is done. Travis Snider to the Orioles for pitcher Stephen Tarpley and a player to be named later. Something we didn’t mention before with Tarpley is his impressive 1.95 GO/AO ratio. He also improved as the season went along, posting a 2.56 ERA in five August starts, after putting up a 7.36 ERA in his first five games.

Update 8:22 PM: Multiple Sources are reporting that the deal is done and one of the players returning to the Pirates is pitcher Stephen Tarpley. We posted information on Tarpley at the bottom of this article. His MiLB page can be found here.

According to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles are in the middle of trade talks that involve outfielder Travis Snider. It’s a trade the two teams looked into last year. According to Connolly’s sources, the deal isn’t done, but could involve two minor league players that aren’t on the 40-man roster. Check back for any updates.

UPDATE 5:53 PM: Connolly updated his own tweet and said that the deal could be done within the next day.

UPDATE 5:57 PM: Connolly says that it should be one or two minor leaguers, and that they’re not thought to be 40-man guys or top prospects.

UPDATE 6:00 PM: Thoughts from Tim Williams…

This is the second time that we’ve heard the Snider-to-Baltimore rumors. The first time came during the Winter Meetings, when the Pirates were rumored to be going after Brian Matusz. That same day they traded for Antonio Bastardo, filling their second lefty role in the bullpen, and the Snider talks died down.

The potential return, as described by Connolly, doesn’t sound appealing. Snider is coming off a huge second half, where he posted a .289/.353/.510 line in 224 plate appearances, with ten homers. He ranked third in wOBA and wRC+ for the Pirates in the second half of the season.

It’s no guarantee that Snider will repeat that success in 2015. But he’s relatively cheap (making $2.1 M in 2015), has one more year of control beyond the 2015 season, and is a great backup plan for the Pirates, adding to what is looking like a very strong bench.

Gregory Polanco is the starter in right field, putting Snider on the bench. However, Snider is around if Polanco continues to struggle adjusting to the majors. He is also an injury replacement for either Starling Marte or Andrew McCutchen. Marte is the bigger injury risk of the two, as he is constantly getting hit by pitches. If Snider’s second half was legit, then he’s a great backup if any of these scenarios play out.

Connolly says that the trade would likely come from Baltimore’s “solid minor league pitching core.” That’s where this doesn’t make sense. The Pirates also have a solid core of pitchers, especially in the upper levels. They currently project to have six potential starters in Indianapolis, once Jameson Taillon returns, which means that someone like Casey Sadler or Brandon Cumpton would get moved to the bullpen.

The Pirates need Snider’s depth in the majors more than they need an extra pitching prospect in the minors. The only way this would make sense is if they either received a better return than Connolly is describing, or if they believed that they could easily replace Snider in the majors, while getting an extra pitching prospect for him.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out, since right now there are a lot of possibilities.

UPDATE 6:25 PM: Connolly says that left-handed pitcher Steven Brault is a possibility if Snider gets traded.

Brault wasn’t in Baseball America’s top ten, and ranked as the 16th best prospect in John Sickel’s rankings. He received a C+ rating, borderline C, and was described as a potential back-end starter. He had good numbers in A-ball last year, and should make the jump to Double-A this year.

That, alone, doesn’t seem like it’s worth dealing Snider. The second player would have to be good to make such a deal worthwhile. And it appears that the Orioles are trying to get this done without giving up two players.

Update: 7:40 PM: Rob Biertempfel mentions two more names that he has heard as possibilities, both pitchers. The first is 21-year-old left-hander Stephen Tarpley, who had a 3.68 ERA in 66 innings this year with Aberdeen in the NYPL. He was a 3rd round draft pick of the Orioles in 2013. Tarpley was ranked as the 12th best prospect in the Orioles system by John Sickels.

The second name is an interesting one, Jon Keller, who is the older brother of Mitch Keller. The elder Keller is a 6’5″ righty, who had a 1.59 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 56.2 innings for Delmarva this year. The 22-year-old had an 0.94 WHIP in Low-A and made two late season appearances in High-A ball. The younger Keller was the second round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014 and signed for a $1,000,000 bonus.

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Jung Ho Kang Contract Details Include $750,000 in Potential Annual Performance Bonuses http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/jung-ho-kang-contract-details-include-750000-in-potential-annual-performance-bonuses.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/jung-ho-kang-contract-details-include-750000-in-potential-annual-performance-bonuses.html#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:50:26 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=92333 Yahoo Sports and the Associated Press has information on Jung Ho Kang’s salary breakdown and bonus structure. Kang signed a four-year, $11 M deal last Friday with the Pittsburgh Pirates, including a $5.5 M option for the 2019 season and a $250,000 buyout on that option.

Kang will receive $2.5 M per year in 2015 and 2016. He will receive $2.75 M in 2017 and $3 M in 2018. As for the performance bonuses, he could earn those based on plate appearances each year under the following structure.

**$75,000 for 475 plate appearances

**$100,000 each for 500, 525, and 550 plate appearances

**$175,000 for 575 plate appearances

**$200,000 for 600 plate appearances

That means if Kang becomes a full-time starter by 2016, he could earn up to $2 M more in bonuses from 2016-2019, which would be well worth the price if he is good enough to be a starter. He also can be reimbursed a maximum of $50,000 annually by the Pirates for round-trip business class tickets for his family from South Korea to the U.S., and he will be reimbursed up to $5,000 per year for shipping and other costs. The Pirates will also provide him with an interpreter.

The Pirates have also agreed to release Kang at the end of his contract, which would make him a free agent in 2020. That’s standard for players coming over from Japan, and in this case would mean that the Pirates wouldn’t get Kang’s sixth year of team control.

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Pirates Announce 2015 Minor League Coaching Staffs http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/pirates-announce-2015-minor-league-coaching-staffs.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/pirates-announce-2015-minor-league-coaching-staffs.html#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 20:27:52 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=92137 The Pittsburgh Pirates announced their 2015 minor league coaching staffs on Thursday. Lots of former Pirates players and also plenty of guys that made their living as catchers among the group of coaches named. There are also a lot of changes, though many are just moving from one team to another.

Indianapolis will be led by Dean Treanor for the fifth straight season. His hitting coach will be Butch Wynegar, while Stan Kyles takes care of the pitchers. Kyles was the pitching coach for Altoona the last two seasons. Wynegar has coached on and off in the minors since 1992, spending the last year eight seasons as the hitting coach for the Yankees AAA farm team in Scranton. He spent 13 seasons in the majors.

Altoona will be managed by Tom Prince. Kevin Riggs is the hitting coach and Justin Meccage will be the pitching coach. The entire Curve staff is new to the team this year. Meccage spent two years with State College and two years with Bradenton. Prince played seven seasons for the Pirates and has managed in their minor league system since 2004. He won a league title in the GCL in 2012 and led Bradenton to the playoffs last year.

Mike Ryan moves from West Virginia up to Bradenton to manage. His hitting coach is Ryan Long, and Scott Elarton will be his pitching coach. Elarton moves up from the GCL Pirates last year, his first season in the system. Long was the hitting coach for Altoona last year.

The West Virginia Power will be led by Brian Esposito, who will have Keoni De Renne returning as his hitting coach and Mark DiFelice as his pitching coach. Esposito managed Jamestown last year and DiFelice was his pitching coach.

The new West Virginia Black Bears(moved from Jamestown) will have Wyatt Toregas at the helm, Jonathan Prieto in charge of the hitters and Tom Filer taking care of the pitchers. Toregas was the Pirates video advance scout in 2014. He appeared in three games for the Pirates in 2011, then coached the next year in Indianapolis. Filer was the pitching coach for Indianapolis the last four years.

Bristol has Edgar Valera as the manager again, while Austin McClune makes the move from a player/coach that never played the last two years, to the team’s hitting coach. Jeff Johnson is the pitching coach. Johnson was the pitching coach for the Power the last two years. He also had the same job for Altoona in 2012 and before that he was with the Power from 2009 until 2011.

The GCL Pirates will have manager Milver Reyes, hitting coach Kory DeHaan and pitching coach Elvin Nina.

Finally, the DSL Pirates will be led by Mendy Lopez, while Osiel Flores is the hitting coach and Dan Urbina is the pitching coach. Urbina’s son Dan, pitched for Bristol last year.

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NRIs For Morel and Tabata, Kang Scouting Report, Harrison’s Future, Win Now vs Win Later http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/nris-for-morel-and-tabata-kang-scouting-report-harrisons-future-win-now-vs-win-later.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/nris-for-morel-and-tabata-kang-scouting-report-harrisons-future-win-now-vs-win-later.html#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 21:31:47 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=92107 The MLB.com transactions page has Brent Morel and Jose Tabata receiving invites to Spring Training. Earlier in the week we learned that Tabata was invited to camp. Morel isn’t a surprise, since he played in Pittsburgh last year, is still in their minor league system, and is currently participating in mini camp. The other day I uploaded the 2015 Spring Training tracker. Morel has now been added, giving the Pirates 20 NRIs and 61 players in camp.

Here are some other links and notes from this afternoon.

**Ben Badler from Baseball America was on MLB Network last night talking about Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang. You have to go to around the 2:45 mark in the video in that link before he starts on Kang and the first thing he mentions in the level of competition in Korea. Badler said that he profiles as an offensive-minded utility guy with average raw power. He also breaks down his swing and explains how it could work for him against better pitching.

**Neil Weinberg at FanGraphs looks at where Josh Harrison will go from here. Neil takes an interesting look, pointing out that Harrison was used as an emergency pitcher in 2013, which isn’t where you’d use a player of value, and followed that up with a five win season. The Steamer projections have Harrison with a 3.0 WAR going forward, which isn’t as good as his 2014 season, but definitely good enough for him to be a starter.

**Grant Brisbee has an interesting chart looking at teams who fall into the “Win Now” and “Win Later” categories. The Pirates are in the enviable position of being listed in both categories. The Red Sox, Padres, Nationals, Athletics, and Dodgers are the other teams in their range. As for the other NL Central teams, the Brewers are in Win Now mode; the Reds are one of two teams in the quadrant that no one wants to be in; the Cubs are slightly in the Win Now mode, but heavily in the Win Later section; and the Cardinals are heavily in the Win Now mode, but a little on the old side. As far as the NL Central goes, the Pirates rank second on this chart in both their chances to contend now, and their young talent.

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Buster Olney Ranks the Pirates With One of the Top Lineups, Bullpens, and Rotations http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/buster-olney-ranks-the-pirates-with-one-of-the-top-lineups-bullpens-and-rotations.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/buster-olney-ranks-the-pirates-with-one-of-the-top-lineups-bullpens-and-rotations.html#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 18:23:17 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=92103 The Pittsburgh Pirates have been getting some favorable ratings in Buster Olney’s rankings of all the MLB teams this week. So far, Olney has rated the top rotations, top bullpens and today he released the top lineups around the game. It hasn’t been covered yet, but the Pirates would also have to rank high among the top benches in the game once Jung-Ho Kang is officially signed.

The articles are for ESPN Insiders, so there is a subscription required. I’ll go over the three groups briefly. For the top rotation, the Pirates were just outside the top ten, getting the first nod in the honorable mentions. The only thing that kept them out according to Olney is that Gerrit Cole missed time last year. He believes they could be a top ten rotation with a full season from him.

Pittsburgh ranked eighth among the top bullpens in the game. Olney gives even more praise to the group of Mark Melancon, Jared Hughes and Tony Watson, calling them a trio that is “as good as there is in the NL”. If Antonio Bastardo can replace Justin Wilson and John Holdzkom can pitch well over a full season, they may even be better than the eighth best in baseball according to Olney. Only the Padres and Giants ranked higher among NL teams.

The lineup also ranked eighth in the game. Olney mentions how well the lineup did without Pedro Alvarez contributing much and he also notes the expected growth Gregory Polanco will have in his first full season. An interesting note is that only the Rockies and Nationals made the top ten among National League teams, putting the Pirates among the top three NL teams in two different categories. When you throw in the bench strength, they will be one of the best all-around teams in baseball and near the top of the National League.

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Jung-Ho Kang is Confident He Can Outplay Jordy Mercer at Shortstop http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/jung-ho-kang-is-confident-he-can-outplay-jordy-mercer-at-shortstop.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/jung-ho-kang-is-confident-he-can-outplay-jordy-mercer-at-shortstop.html#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 01:50:34 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=92062 Jung-Ho Kang held a press conference with the Korean media, prior to his flight to the U.S. The infielder talked about several topics, including mentioning that he would like to get a chance to compete with Jordy Mercer for the shortstop position. He also re-iterated his desire to square off against Aroldis Chapman, and said that he won’t be changing much in his game. There were also mixed reports on whether he has actually signed, with one tweet indicating he hasn’t signed yet, and another saying he just doesn’t know the details. Obviously he hasn’t “signed”, since he’s still in Korea, but it’s possible that he has agreed to terms. Here are the tweets from the press conference.


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All 12 Arbitration Eligible Pirates Players File on Tuesday http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/all-12-arbitration-eligible-pirates-player-file-on-tuesday.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/all-12-arbitration-eligible-pirates-player-file-on-tuesday.html#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 01:40:17 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=92056 All 12 arbitration eligible players from the Pittsburgh Pirates have officially filed for arbitration. The Pirates now have until Friday to either settle with the players or exchange figures. The Pirates have said that they have a “file and trial” system, where if the two sides exchange figures on Friday, they will take the players to a arbitration hearing.

The 12 players that filed are Mark Melancon, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Antonio Bastardo, Francisco Cervelli, Sean Rodriguez, Chris Stewart, Vance Worley, Tony Watson, Jared Hughes, Josh Harrison and Travis Snider. You can view the 2015 projected payroll here with estimated figures for each player.

In the recent past, the Pirates have gone to a hearing just twice since 2004. In 2011 they lost to Ross Ohlendorf and in 2012, they won their case against Garrett Jones. According to the numbers, 90% of cases are settled before a hearing so there is a good chance that all of the players will settle by Friday. If not, a date will be set for a hearing.

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Pirates Hire Jamey Carroll as Special Assistant to Baseball Operations http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/pirates-hire-jamey-carroll-as-special-assistant-to-baseball-operations.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/pirates-hire-jamey-carroll-as-special-assistant-to-baseball-operations.html#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:02:36 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=91993 The Pittsburgh Pirates have added former Major League infielder Jamey Carroll as a Special Assistant to the Baseball Operations Staff. Carroll spent 12 years in the majors, last playing in 2013 for the Kansas City Royals. He joins Kevin Young, who was hired for the same role earlier this off-season. The Pirates also added Grady Little as a Senior Advisor to Baseball Operations.

Carroll played 1276 games in his career, spending significant time at second base, third base and shortstop, getting in at least 264 games at each spot. His role will likely include working with infielders at those three positions.

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Jung-Ho Kang Leaving For Pittsburgh This Week to Potentially Finalize a Deal http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/jung-ho-kang-leaving-for-pittsburgh-this-week-to-potentially-finalize-a-deal.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/jung-ho-kang-leaving-for-pittsburgh-this-week-to-potentially-finalize-a-deal.html#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 12:03:23 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=91970 A report out of Korea last night, from Jung-Ho Kang’s club, says that the infielder will be heading to Pittsburgh on Wednesday in order to take a physical on Thursday. (h/t Bucs Dugout) Typically a physical is needed as the final step when a deal has been agreed upon. At the end of last week it was rumored that the Pirates were close to signing Kang, with Jon Morosi saying that an agreement could come by the middle of this week.

Jeeho Yoo says that if Kang does sign during this trip, he would remain in the U.S.

He likely wouldn’t be signed in time to participate in mini-camp this week in Bradenton, although coming to the U.S. early could allow the Pirates to get some extra work in with Kang before Spring Training starts.

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Jon Heyman Reports Pirates and Jung-Ho Kang Are Close to a Deal http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/jon-heyman-reports-pirates-and-jung-ho-kang-are-close-to-a-deal.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2015/01/jon-heyman-reports-pirates-and-jung-ho-kang-are-close-to-a-deal.html#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 20:09:14 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=91924 Jon Heyman is reporting that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang are close to a deal and it will likely be for four years. Early word said that Kang and his agent were seeking a deal worth $20 M over four seasons, which would be on top of the $5,002,015 bid the Pirates submitted to win the rights to negotiate with Kang.  Heyman says the Pirates “are amenable to the length of the deal as their interest is strong”.

UPDATE 3:20 PM: It sounds like the two sides won’t get anything done over the weekend as two sources are now reporting negotiations will now go into next week. If there are any updates, we will report them here.

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