First Pitch: Free Agency Begins

MLB’s free agency period began at 12:01 AM EST, which means that players are now free to sign with other teams. For the Pirates, that means that Jason Grilli, Kevin Correia, and Chad Qualls are now free agents. Here are some other notes on free agency this year.

**The process for draft pick compensation has changed. There are no more Type A or Type B free agents. There are only qualifying offers of $13.3 M. If a team makes a player a qualifying offer, and the player signs elsewhere, the team gets a compensation pick. The signing team would forfeit their first round pick, rather than the old method of giving that pick to the former team.

**Nine players were tendered offers this year. Those players are Kyle Lohse, Adam LaRoche, Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Soriano, David Ortiz, Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, and Josh Hamilton. Ortiz already agreed to a deal with the Red Sox, so there are only eight players remaining.

**Only the top ten picks are protected. If the Pirates signed one of the above players, they’d forfeit the number 14 overall pick in the draft.

**Jon Heyman had a look at Russell Martin and the weak catching market today, noting the Pirates as a team in need of a catcher and a team that could spend on the position.

**In the next week we’ll take a look at the available free agents and potential trade candidates for each position of need for the Pirates.

Links and Notes

**Russell Martin Is a Symbol of the Weak Catching Market.

**Pirates Sign Dominican Third Baseman.

**Arizona Fall League Recap: 11/2.

**The Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game is tonight at 8 PM EST on the MLB Network. Vic Black will be participating in the event, representing the Pirates.

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Matt Beam

Would you trade Joel to the Bosox for Bryce Brentz and Daniel Bard?


Tim: Thank you for the update. One question about Jason Grilli – did the Pirates try to talk to him before the deadline or were they willing to just let him find a home elsewhere? I liked him a lot, but his stats went down at the end of the year. Did they feel his K/W would put him at a salary level beyond where we wanted to go?


If Sanchez can post some solid defense and at least a .650 OPS, I’d be ok with him and McKenry splitting time. sad thing is that a .650 OPS would be an improvement over Barajas

Actually, i think sanchez could be a little underrated at this point. Looking at his stats, the kid gets on base and might have found a power stroke in Indy.

While Napoli or even Martin would be nice, they probably aren’t going to happen.

i just realized that i couldn’t remember McKenry’s first name. I’m just used to calling him Fort all the time haha. Mike. that’s it.


Getting rid of Correia to me is a gamble, he was steady, but not spectacular. In the 2nd half he was as good as anyone on this staff.
The free agent class has very little to offer at any position, no sure cures, just a lot of money spending. The toughest position by far for the Pirates to fill is catching.
Unfortunately there is not one catcher on the free agent market that is a better value than the McHenry. The Fort at this point is a solid catcher and should improve with age. Anyone thinking they are going to find or trade for a catcher that catches every day is dreaming, there isn’t one and if the guy catches every day, they ought to fire the manager, they need to find someone to compliment McHenry.

Ian Rothermund

As far as catching is concerned, I’d be much more willing to part with some serious prospects to get the right long term option than to keep going year to year with glorified back-ups. As I see it, that’s really all the Pirates have access to via internal and free agent options. I’m still hopeful that Sanchez could pick it up and be at least average with the bat as far as catchers are concerned, but he hasn’t really shown or proven a lot since he broke his jaw to argue that he’s anywhere close to a sure thing.

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