Day one of the Winter Meetings is over, and it was pretty uneventful for most of the league. There were a lot of rumors — or for the Pirates there were actual rumors and topics to discuss — but nothing went down. That’s kind of expected after all of the moves that were made last week. A lot of the rumors today seemed to indicate that some moves could be made later this week. That was especially true with the first base market, which seemed very active today, with a lot of rumored discussions. I’ve rounded up all of the Pirates related rumors for first baseman below. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Pirates leave the Winter Meetings with a new first baseman.
The Rays and the Pirates seem to be the top teams going after Loney. Rays manager Joe Maddon isn’t optimistic about Loney returning, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
#Rays Maddon not optimistic on Loney returning: "He's in a position right now to probably go after the best contract he's ever going to get"
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 9, 2013
Last week there was a rumor saying Loney was emerging as the top choice for the Pirates. However, today most of the rumors surrounded trade options. It’s possible that the Pirates, and the Rays, are waiting for Loney’s price to drop. He was last seeking three years and $27-30 M total. Most of the market estimates I’ve seen have him work $7-7.5 M per year.
There was a lot of talk that the Marlins were on the verge of trading Morrison. MLBTR has a rundown of the rumors and the latest updates of all the teams who have been connected to him. The Pirates were connected to him today, with the interest reported as mild. The Rays were another team interested in Morrison, so it appears he’s the official alternate plan to Loney.
Tim Brown of Yahoo reports that the Angels are seeking Tyler Skaggs or Trevor Cahill from the Diamondbacks for Mark Trumbo.
If you had any hope that Trumbo wouldn’t cost Jameson Taillon, then you might want to think again. Personally I’d rather have Loney and Taillon, rather than just Trumbo.
The Pirates have been linked to Lind for the past week, although a report tonight out of Toronto said that the Blue Jays asked for Neil Walker in return. I’ve never been that high on Walker, but he has much more value than Lind when you consider that Walker is worth about a win more per year and would cost much less.
Ike Davis/Corey Hart
The Mets were exploring trades for Davis today, with four teams engaging them in trade discussions. No word on if the Pirates were one of those teams, although Milwaukee was named as one of them. That same link talks about how Corey Hart is also a possibility for the Brewers. They are one of about four teams who still need a first baseman.
Other Rumors and Links
**I’m finishing up the 2014 Prospect Guide this week, and submitting the order for the first shipment of books hopefully on Friday. You can still place your pre-orders here in order to ensure that your order goes out with the first shipment. I’ll have more announcements about the book later this week.
**The Pirates are Leaning Toward Staying In-House For Right Field. This is something I wrote about last week, as it looked pretty obvious after they acquired Jaff Decker and tendered a contract to Travis Snider. Neal Huntington didn’t rule out adding a right fielder, but did say they will be leaning toward the internal options.
**A.J. Burnett Still Undecided About Retirement. On a related note, the Pirates met with Bronson Arroyo’s agent. It seems that they’re looking for alternatives in case Burnett does opt for retirement. The Twins also met with Arroyo’s agent, and were pushing hard for him today.
**The Pirates Have Kept in Contact With Clint Barmes. They would be looking at him as a backup to Jordy Mercer. That wouldn’t be a bad move, since Barmes has been the best defensive shortstop in the majors over the last three seasons.
**Zack Thornton is an Option For the Astros in the Rule 5 Draft. A few weeks ago I wrote that I felt Thornton was the most likely to be selected from the Pirates. I’d say the chances are very good that he gets drafted by some team on Thursday, even if that team isn’t Houston.
**Winter Leagues: Polanco and Ramirez Lead Pirates Winter Class. John Dreker recaps the progress of all of the players in winter ball to date.
**From Sunday: Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Winter Meetings Preview. The Pirates haven’t added anyone yet, so that is still pretty relevant.
**From Sunday: When Will the Pirates Shed the Cheap Label? A lot of good discussion in the comments of this article.