Pirates Prospects » News and Rumors http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Wed, 12 Nov 2014 05:00:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Cardinals Sign Dean Anna to a Major League Deal http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/cardinals-sign-dean-anna-to-a-mlb-deal.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/cardinals-sign-dean-anna-to-a-mlb-deal.html#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 21:02:11 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=90464 The St. Louis Cardinals have signed infielder Dean Anna to a Major League deal, according to Chad Jennings of LoHud.com (h/t MLBTR). Anna was claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2014 season, after spending some time in the majors with the New York Yankees. He can play shortstop, second, and third base, and has received good grades for his defense. He also has good numbers in his time at Triple-A, posting a .296/.385/.432 line.

Anna was eligible as a minor league free agent this off-season, after being outrighted off the Pirates’ 40-man roster. They have since added two utility players in Justin Sellers (acquired for cash) and Jake Elmore (waiver claim). It will be interesting to see how Anna compares to those two infielders this year. He does have two option years remaining, so there’s no guarantee he will play in the majors, even with the MLB deal. The significance of the deal is that it gives him a spot on the 40-man roster, which is rare for a minor league free agent to receive.

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Pirates Will Acquire a Catcher if Russell Martin Signs Elsewhere http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/pirates-will-acquire-a-catcher-if-russell-martin-signs-elsewhere.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/pirates-will-acquire-a-catcher-if-russell-martin-signs-elsewhere.html#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 17:00:03 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=90441 This morning on MLB Network, Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington was a guest on Hot Stove and had some interesting comments on the Pirates off-season plans, including their back-up plan if catcher Russell Martin doesn’t re-sign with the club. Below are some excerpts from the interview, which focused on the plan of attack this winter. Huntington is currently in Arizona attending the GM meetings.

The biggest revelation might answer some of the speculation as to whether the Pirates would feel comfortable going with a Chris Stewart/Tony Sanchez combo behind the plate in 2015 if Martin doesn’t sign. Huntington had this to say about re-signing Martin and their plan if they don’t:

“We recognize his impact that [Martin] has had over the last two years. Premium defensive catcher, leader, energy everyday and this year he went out and swung the bat as well as he has in a long time in his career. He had earned the opportunity to get to free agency and see what is out there for him. We are going to do everything we can that makes sense. It’s not just about retaining one player, it’s about building a championship club and sometimes the small markets have to let players go and sometimes large markets let players go because other teams are willing to pay more. If that happens, we will regroup, we will go acquire the best available catcher we can and then reallocate those resources to try to make the rest of our club stronger and try to get back to the postseason in 2015.”

From the sound of that quote, it doesn’t seem like the Pirates are looking at a Stewart/Sanchez combo in 2015 if Martin signs elsewhere. It’s clear that Martin is plan A for the right price, but plan B is someone outside the organization. That plan B would likely be someone who possesses strong defensive qualities, based on the signing of Martin and the acquisition of Stewart, both of whom struggled offensively before joining the Pirates, but were known for their pitch framing skills and ability to control the running game.

Huntington also talked about the possibility of bringing back Francisco Liriano and/or Edison Volquez. Again it sounds like they will be signed if the price is right, but if they have to move on, the feel comfortable in their ability to find a player they can turn around like they did with Volquez, Liriano and A.J. Burnett. You could also throw Vance Worley in there to a lesser extent. Huntington obviously learned something from the negotiations with Burnett last year and how they played out, which he feels may have cost him a chance to add a bat during the off-season, instead of waiting until mid-April when they got Ike Davis.

“We have to make sure we pay players for what we think they are going to do. We look at their projections, we look at our scouting reports. How many years do we think this player is going to continue to be productive,and then ultimately preference them out. Hopefully they fall in our order and if they don’t we are going to have to make some tough decisions. When do we move on, even if we don’t know necessarily if a player is going to come back. We can’t play the waiting game, we don’t want to get caught waiting for a player or two and have that player decide to go somewhere else late and we missed alternatives. We did that a year ago with A.J., we really wanted to keep A.J. around. He was not in a position to make a commitment to us in December, we went and got Edison Volquez. We wanted to spend some money at first base and right field, that never came about.”

The three free agents are all in play still, but it sounds like the Pirates aren’t relying on any of them to sign, which is obviously a smart plan. You don’t want to wait on anyone and lose your fallback plans in the process as well. If they go elsewhere, the money will be reallocated elsewhere (something he said twice during the interview) and while the catching might not be as strong without Martin, or the rotation with starters other than Volquez, and/or Liriano, the plan is to improve multiple areas to make the team stronger. Obviously, their direction will play out in the next couple months.

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Francisco Liriano and Russell Martin Reject Qualifying Offers http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/francisco-liriano-to-reject-the-qualifying-offer.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/francisco-liriano-to-reject-the-qualifying-offer.html#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 21:38:53 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=90410 We’re now less than half an hour away from the deadline for decisions on the qualifying offers, and it looks like Francisco Liriano has decided to reject his offer from the Pirates, according to Robert Murray of MLBDailyRumors.com.

Jon Morosi also adds that none of the 12 players who were issued a qualifying offer will accept.

It looks like the Pirates will be lined up for two comp picks after the first round of the 2015 draft, assuming they don’t bring back either one of Russell Martin or Francisco Liriano.

UPDATE 4:44 PM: Russell Martin has officially rejected his qualifying offer.

UPDATE 4:57 PM: Ken Rosenthal says that Liriano has declined the offer.

 

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Report: Russell Martin Looking For $75-80 M Over Five Years http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/report-russell-martin-looking-for-75-80-m-over-five-years.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/report-russell-martin-looking-for-75-80-m-over-five-years.html#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 15:44:11 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=90391 Russell Martin has been connected to four main teams so far — the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Last week we heard that he intended to meet with all of those teams. A report out of Toronto today gives us an idea of the contract he is seeking. Jeff Blair of Sportsnet reports that Martin is looking for five years and $75-80 M. That’s similar to what Brian McCann received last off-season, when he got five years and $85 M from the New York Yankees.

Blair also says that Martin has the desire to move out from behind the plate at some point. That would be an interesting thing to think about for the Pirates, although the only long-term spot I see him being able to play would be third base, or maybe first base, and he doesn’t really have the bat for either position.

The rumored range for Martin is close to the qualifying offer price of $15.3 M. Martin will be declining the qualifying offer today, which will give the Pirates a draft pick if he signs elsewhere. As for their chances of signing him, I think they have a chance if he signs a four-year deal at that average annual value. If a team like Chicago or Los Angeles is willing to take him on for a fifth year, then that might tip the scales away from the Pirates.

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Belief is That Francisco Liriano Will Decline His Qualifying Offer http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/belief-is-that-francisco-liriano-will-decline-his-qualifying-offer.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/belief-is-that-francisco-liriano-will-decline-his-qualifying-offer.html#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 15:35:54 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=90386 Nothing is official yet, but Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says that the belief is Francisco Liriano will decline his qualifying offer.

The part about the Pirates being wise probably is in reference to the belief that he was going to accept the deal. However, I think the Pirates were wise either way by making the offer. If Liriano accepts, then it wouldn’t have been a bad thing to have him back on a one-year deal, which has little long-term risk. I was never in the camp that thought he would decline, and if that does actually happen, then the Pirates will get a draft pick if he signs elsewhere. When your two options are getting a good pitcher at a rate that he would be worth, or getting a draft pick, then you don’t need to be that wise to make that decision.

UPDATE 12:05 PM: Ken Rosenthal has the following update.

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Russell Martin Will Reject His Qualifying Offer http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/russell-martin-will-reject-his-qualifying-offer.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/russell-martin-will-reject-his-qualifying-offer.html#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 03:50:07 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=90369 Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Russell Martin will reject his qualifying offer. This news really isn’t a surprise, since pretty much everyone knew Martin was never going to accept the deal. He’s set to receive a huge payday this off-season, getting four or five years, and likely around the same average annual value as the $15.3 M that the qualifying offer would have paid him.

Martin met with the Cubs this week. He is also being pursued by the Dodgers, Blue Jays, and the Pirates are trying to bring him back. Heyman also adds the Seattle Mariners to the list of potential suitors.

The Pirates will get a first round compensation pick in the 2015 draft if Martin signs elsewhere, which seems likely due to the fact that the Dodgers and Cubs both have the ability to spend much more than what the Pirates could spend.

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Francisco Liriano Still Deciding Whether to Accept Pirates Qualifying Offer http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/francisco-liriano-still-deciding-whether-to-accept-pirates-qualifying-offer.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/francisco-liriano-still-deciding-whether-to-accept-pirates-qualifying-offer.html#comments Sun, 09 Nov 2014 23:25:51 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=90363 According to Ken Rosenthal, Francisco Liriano is still deciding whether to accept the qualifying offer made by the Pittsburgh Pirates last week. Rosenthal says that the lefty is considering “several options.”

Obviously Liriano is still deciding, since we haven’t heard anything official either way. However, there’s a bit more to this situation. We haven’t heard an official announcement on Russell Martin, but there’s a 100% chance he is going to decline the offer. The move just hasn’t been made official yet. In Liriano’s case, there was some speculation that he could accept the offer, rather than potentially damaging his value on the open market. I’d imagine he has been talking to teams, trying to get a feel for what his market would be. We’ll find out tomorrow which avenue he decides.

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Russell Martin Meets With the Cubs, Talking to Four Teams http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/russell-martin-meets-with-the-cubs-talking-to-four-teams.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/russell-martin-meets-with-the-cubs-talking-to-four-teams.html#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 15:58:00 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=90326 Bruce Levine reports that Russell Martin met with the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, and that the catcher is talking with four clubs.

Earlier in the week we heard that the Cubs would be going after Martin. The Pirates are probably one of the four clubs Levine mentions. I’m not sure who the other two are, although I’d guess one of them is the Dodgers. Martin still hasn’t officially declined his qualifying offer, although I think that’s inevitable at this point.

UPDATE 11:48 AM: Levine writes that the Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Pirates are the other three teams that Martin and his agent will meet with.

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Pirates Announce Major League Coaching Staff Changes http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/pirates-announce-major-league-coaching-staff-changes.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/pirates-announce-major-league-coaching-staff-changes.html#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:26:27 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=90260 The Pittsburgh Pirates announced three coaching changes today, although none of them were the addition of a new bench coach. The Pirates switched Rick Sofield and Nick Leyva, moving Leyva to being the first base coach, and switching Sofield from first base to the third base coach. Leyva remains as the infield coach, and Sofield is still the outfield-baserunning coach.

The Pirates also added Brad Fischer to the Major League staff. No role was given for Fisher, other than major league coach. He was formerly the Pirates’ minor league field coordinator over the last three years. Prior to that, he was an Advisor to Player Development in 2011.

UPDATE: The Pirates won’t have a bench coach. Fischer joins Dave Jauss and Jeff Livesey as major league coaches.

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Cubs Will Target Russell Martin http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/cubs-will-target-russell-martin.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/11/cubs-will-target-russell-martin.html#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 21:11:12 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=90222 The Chicago Cubs will target free agent catcher Russell Martin, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Martin has been predicted to land with the Cubs on a few free agent lists, with one of them being the MLBTR predictions. The Cubs have a lot of money to spend, a young offense, and will need pitching and catching. Heyman says they could also target one of the top free agent starters.

Heyman also notes that the Dodgers are expected to be a player for Martin, and that the Pirates seem intent on “giving it their best shot” to try and retain the catcher. Heyman says that Martin is believed to be seeking a five year deal, and points out that Brian McCann ($85 M), Yadier Molina ($75 M), and Miguel Montero ($60 M) all received five year deals. With the Cubs and Dodgers involved, and Martin seeking five years, it might be very difficult for the Pirates to bring back their starting catcher.

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