Pirates Sign Outfielder Danny Ortiz and RHP Curtis Partch

According to Matt Eddy from Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed outfielder Danny Ortiz to a minor league deal. He was a 2008 draft pick of the Minnesota Twins, selected in the fourth round, who has spent the last two seasons in AAA. The 25-year-old(turns 26 in January) throws/hits left-handed and has moved around the outfield, playing all three positions often.

In 2015 in the International League, Ortiz hit .248/.295/.430 in 131 games, with 31 doubles and 17 homers. He had just 33 walks, which has been a weakness during his career, with 161 total over seven seasons. He doesn’t have much speed either, stealing 27 bases in 46 attempts during his career. He looks to be a AAA roster filler in the outfield, who is still young enough that the power is intriguing, but he has no Major League experience and obvious flaws, so he won’t be high on the depth chart at this point.

He is currently playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, where he is having a difficult time at the plate, hitting .163/.300/.204 over 16 games.

The Pirates also signed right-handed pitcher Curtis Partch out of the San Francisco Giants organization. The 28-year-old(29 in February) has played parts of two seasons in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds, posting a 4.75 ERA in 30.1 innings over 20 appearances. He has 22 strikeouts, but also walked 24 batters. In 2015, he spent the entire year with Sacramento in the high-offense Pacific Coast League, where he had a 3.53 ERA in 63.2 innings, with 81 strikeouts and 26 walks.

Partch looks to be bullpen depth for Indianapolis, but he does have a fastball that touches 97 mph and Baseball America says that he has the makings of a plus slider, so he could be an intriguing arm if that can fix his command issues, which were a lot worse in the majors than in the minors.

In other minor league free agent news, Junior Sosa has signed with the Miami Marlins. He was originally signed as a 17-year-old out of Venezuela by the Pirates and has been in the organization since March 2008.

  • I appreciate when the P2 writers take the time to respond to questions, but seriously it’s not required to defend the site for the perceived quality of acquired players. That’s the teams responsibility, and if you are a poster who doesn’t like the signings write the team.

    The negativity for the team during the off-season is really tiring to read over and over. Grandma used to say if you don’t have something reasonable to say then don’t say anything.

    NMR I get your point about development. Perhaps we can move on.
    BH I get your point we haven’t won a WS since 79. Ok True enough.

    If both of you agree we’ve made progress over the past 5 years, and haven’t yet regressed – then the only thing I hear is that your unhappy with progress which is silly.

    It’s unfortunate that your old and want a WS before you die, but guess what – we can all go at any time so we’re all hoping for a championship. This team will never likely spend what you want – so if that’s all your about then root for the Yankees or Angels or somebody else. It’s not going to happen here unfortunately.

    In the meantime, there is a team – management and players who have and continue to do exceptional work – rated only by wins per year. And always will be rated by that; Including BH the last win. So you have a right to gripe for about a week after that last game has been played and then please move on.

    Till then, lets let the P2 writers post the signings without challenging them to defend them every time.

    Thanks, and as always…… GO BUCSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

    • “It’s unfortunate that your old and want a WS before you die, but guess what – we can all go at any time so we’re all hoping for a championship.”

      No, what’s unfortunate is an education system that can’t manage to teach kids the difference between “your” and “you’re”.

      If you read what I write and come away with the impression that I’m always negative, you need to grow up and stop getting so damn defensive. I can walk and chew gum at the same time, and so can you. It’s completely possible to believe the *overall* body of work is good while still questioning individual decisions and processes. If you don’t wish to engage in that conversation, stop reading the comments.

  • Are these guys on the 40 man roster??

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    November 24, 2015 11:27 am

    World Series here we come! 🙂

  • Since this seems to be one of those general columns, I heard on MLB this morning something about Cleveland needing OF’s and willing to offer Carlos Carasco for the right player/package? If I heard that correctly, what can the Pirates put together to try to get this guy? I realize it may take a lot, but this CC and his style of pitching fits the Pirates perfectly.

    • Polanco.

      • Yeah, that trade timeline isn’t quite synched up though. If Meadows was ready that deal very well could happen.

        • Agreed…it would be a big risk in the near term.

          FWIW, I’d rather keep Bell at his natural position and use Polanco for a high upside SP or SS. I think Bell plus a backup could get 2 wins out of right field, essentially matching Polanco’s production, while the player received for him would add an additional couple wins over the guy he’s replacing. I also think Polanco is going to be a 4-win outfielder in a year or two, but that’s when Meadows comes into play.

          The Pirates have enough OF depth to get creative.

          • I was afraid that would be the consensus. Polanco is a kid with very high upside right now, and I am not sure I would make that trade at this time. NH tried to sign him long term last year, and will probably make another attempt this off-season.

            Marte signed his contract in Mar 2014, after just his first full season. If NH offers a contract that would equal the present numbers in the Marte contract – $3 mil in 2016, then $5, $7.5, $10, $11.5, then 2 CO years – does it get done?

            • Polanco absolutely does have high upside, but Carrasco has already actually produced *and* is signed to an insanely team-friendly contract. We’re essentially talking about Gerrit Cole being signed for just over $6m AAV over the next three years PLUS two team options, neither of which pay Carrasco more than $10m. Insanely valuable player. I’m not sure if Polanco even gets the deal done, as good as he is.

              As for extending Polanco himself, I can’t even really hazard a guess. I think it’s fairly clear that Huntington won’t be the one budging, which means it’s up to Gregory to decide how much risk he wants to take.

    • That same clip on MLB said Marte.

    • Would be awesome – but will not happen….
      Would not trade Marte – but would consider Bell or Polanco and a minor league arm outside the top 10 prospects.

  • Some of you are dilusional. Any HS arm will take yrs to be ready for the MAJOR LEAGUE level. And please do find an organization to root for where all 40 men on the 40 man roster are the impact, all star players you complain about. Even the richest organizations have players in that 34-40 range who are not going to ever be the game changers some of you all whine about. There’s no such thing as a 40 man roster for 40 players who are all every day players. Please…do find one. Send the link to the roster where we can all see it. I’m not a Huntington apologist…but when it comes to what he does yr in and yr out with his roster…I’m not going to complain about him wanting to keep some of his depth for that early April and May stretch of the season. 98 wins…and some of you continue to look for ways to try and knock him. I agree he’s done a horrible job…of not complaining enough and looking for a way into the NL East to get out of being in the same division as the Cards. Lol

    • I don’t think that’s fair. They spent a significant chunk of change in the draft on pitching. Where is it? Of the guys they traded Rudy Owens, Colton Cain, Vic Black, Adrian Sampson who turned out to be a good pitcher? How many guys had injuries/surgeries? Look at the starting staff the last couple years? Who was homegrown outside of Cole?

      Why the hell do people get so mad, calling a spade a spade?

      Aren’t they still trying to bring in pitchers from the outside because their own still aren’t ready?

      • If they don’t draft and develop some of those guys…how/why have they been able to trade them for valuable ML pieces? How can you just ignore what the farm has brought to the ML team?

      • What about Pounders, Brewer, ZVR, Jason Hursh, ZVR, Trent Stevenson, Nate Baker, Jon Sandfort, Quinton Miller? Procuring pitching talent from the draft is not easy.

      • People can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

        It’s completely possible to say that this management team has done an excellent job overall while still objectively acknowledging areas where they’ve failed.

        To date, they’ve failed to adequately draft and develop pitching, They have. And there’s simply no excusing or rationalizing that away.

        The fact that they’ve succeeded overall *in spite* of that failure is something they don’t get enough credit for.

    • Plus, those “fillers” can be DFA’ED without losing much. And you have to have this 5-6 player leeway to protect the prospects you have on the 40 man roster. If you fill up the 40 man with all your top prospects, where do you go when you want to sign a free agent or make a trade. Those good prospects would have to be dfa’ed and they would not get passed a lot of teams.

  • Did either get a spring training invite?

  • I give it 20 minutes until the usual guys post about how Huntington is wasting time signing these guys instead of Cespedes and Price…lol

    • You have to love those people who think the minor league teams can all play short-handed, as long as you sign someone big. Most armchair GM’s would be shocked to find out you need 25 players for Indianapolis because the five legit prospects there can’t handle nine positions on their own

      • Well obviously we just need better prospects who can handle those 9 positions at one time then…

        • Or the Pirates could actually develop a few of the hundred high school arms they’ve drafted such that most of the pen in Indy doesn’t have to be minor league vets. Crazy idea, I know.

          • I’ve seen the same people complain about losing Jim Benedict and complain about not being able to develop HS arms. Try to figure that one out. Do Benedict’s powers only work on free agents and college picks?

            It’s always a joy announcing minor league signings, then explaining that rosters need to be full in the minors and 30 MLB teams sign minor league players and 29 of those teams won’t win the World Series next year, but there is no correlation.

            • I keep seeing on other sites that we should get every rehab project out there because of Searage. The guy is only human and if he upgrades performances of only 25% of the players he would be able to start his own religion. I post at times to make light of this fact and its construed as a negative. I give out levity. I wholeheartedly agree that announcements are met with extreme criticism.

            • John,
              I understand that Indy and Altoona need to have a full compliment. But what I find troubling is that we don’t seem to be able to find ways to develop players with potential or maybe it is better said that the Bucs choose to develop them slowly.

              Osuna is a great example – he has hit at every level and COULD be a ML first baseman – but he ends up playing in the OF because the Bucs move Bell to 1st base.

              Frazier had a hard time getting on the field – but hit well and played reasonably well.

              My point is that we seem to have a hard time developing players that gets no easier when the BMTIBB chooses to clog up the roster with Florimons and Deckers and Knudsons and Rondons – NONE of whom will have any impact in the Majors NONE!

            • John, does Benedict draft these kids, too?

              It takes talent. Benedict & Searage have done a phenomenal job taking guys *with previous* big league success and turning them around, yet haven’t come close to the same success with kids the Pirates drafted themselves.

              You tell me what the variable is here.

          • LOL

            • Last reliever drafted and developed internally is?

              Seriously, let’s talk about this. Who was the last reliever, of any sort, to be drafted and developed by the Pittsburgh Pirates?

              I’m not talking about a top-of-the-rotation starters, or even a 4/5. I’m not talking about a shutdown reliever, or even a back end guy. I’m talking about the lowest level of talent to pitch in the big leagues. Your generic middle reliever. Who is it?

              I know the answer, and I cannot fathom how anyone who does as well could defend their *current* drafting and development of pitchers. That absolutely may change, but the situation as it stands is simply not good enough.

              • How about Tony Watson, though not ” generic “, and Jerrod Hughes ? Or Justin Wilson ?

                • Exactly! Drafted in 2007, 2006, and 2008 respectively.

                  It has been seven years since the Pirates have drafted a serviceable reliever. Seven.

      • Yep, cause the 4 other guys are in Birmingham seeing Dr James Andrews.

      • Or maybe, perhaps, some of us come to a Prospect site to hear we have gotten “Prospects”, not “suspects”.

        I think we all know that you need to fill the lower levels, but don’t expect some of us to be leaping out of our chairs at such titillating news as these signings.

        And we still need a new groundskeeper.

        • Can someone explain to me the groundskeeper line?
          I am new to this.

          • They fired Manny Lopez, who had been the heads groundkeeper at PNC and before that, Pirate City.

            • Why? I thought the field always looked great.
              Was it over the tarp monster thing?
              Was he the person under the tarp?

              We have a back up catcher we can trade to
              Boston for their groundskeeper.

              • The Trib and PG eluded to some complaints about the mounds from Pirates and visitors alike. I believe they said the tarp issue wasn’t a factor.

        • No one said anyone had to be excited, but correlating minor league signings to fill out rosters with failure elsewhere, happens every winter. We report all signings, so that means there are going to be a lot that end up being players that do nothing. If we stuck to just the actual prospects, we would miss some players who break out, while also providing a lot less information. The fact that the Pirates continue to have one of the best minor league systems in baseball, yet people complain that they don’t develop anyone, proves that fans have an unrealistic idea of the minors and that it could be a lot worse

          • Your reporting about “prospects” on a blog called “Pirate Prospects.” Is that a problem? I don’t think so. If you were not reporting about these prospects, you would not be doing your job, and this site would not be worth the money. John, I believe you and all the other reporters are doing a banged up job with the prospect reporting. If you didn’t report about small signings and that player has a break out year, everyone will be asking where he came from.

            • Exactly. If we didn’t talk about Ortiz here, then people would ask who he was over and over in comments. Plus, it’s not like a whole lot is going on right now. During the season, a signing like Ortiz would get buried fairly quick, but now there isn’t much else to talk about.

          • Unrealistic to expect a *single* reliever to be drafted and developed in the past seven years?

            Do tell me about realistic expectations, John.

            You’re right, there will *always* be guys who freak out about signing org guys, but there is absolutely a worthy point buried underneath. The Pirates aren’t just having to sign one or two of these guys as filler. The whole damn Indy bullpen will be these types. It’s completely fair to question parts of the system, parts of the draft, parts of the development, while also acknowledging the whole as a good product.

  • The BA site says we’ve also signed Curtis Partch, who isn’t someone I know anything about but who has put up some interesting stats as a AAA reliever the last couple of years (an 11.45 K/9 ratio as a reliever in the PCL last year, for example).

  • Glad to see Lloyd MAC get hired.

  • So should I get a jersey? ORTIZ