These 5 pitchers are now protected from being taken in the Rule 5 Draft.  Crotta had been eligible for drafting a year ago but was not taken.  The other four were going to be eligible for the first time this year.  Duke, LaRoche, and Young are expected to become free agents.Other notes:OF Brandon Moss, who was also a free agent, and C Eric Kratz (minor league free agent) have both signed contracts with the Philadelphia Phillies, and both are expected to be invited to spring training.Minor league free agent C Hector Gimenez has signed with the Dodgers.LHP Justin Thomas, who was removed from the 40-man roster earlier, has signed a minor league contract for 2011.  2B Greg Picart has also signed for 2011.  Others who were in the Pirates' organization in 2010 who are no...

To continue reading the rest of this article, subscribe to Pirates Prospects. Subscribers get access to every article on the site, along with all of our exclusive live coverage of the Pirates' minor league system, all for a very low monthly or yearly rate.

If you're already a member, you can log in below. If you think you're receiving this message in error, please e-mail tim@piratesprospects.com.