Some of the smaller Pittsburgh Pirates news items from Tuesday at the Winter Meetings.
Stephen Nesbitt reports that the Pirates have been in touch with left-handed reliever Matt Thornton. We mentioned in Monday’s notes that the Pirates are looking for a lefty in the bullpen to go along with Tony Watson. The only current option on the 40-man roster is Bobby LaFromboise, who has pitched just 11.2 innings in the majors over the last two seasons. Thornton made 60 appearances for the Nationals in 2015, posting a 2.18 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 41.1 innings. The 39-year-old held lefties to a .484 OPS last season and during his career, lefties have hit .231 against him. The Yankees signed him to a 2yr/$7M contract prior to the 2014 season.
#Pirates have been in touch with free-agent LHP Matt Thornton’s camp, per source. Lefty RP not their top priority right now, but is a need.
— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) December 8, 2015
Earlier this morning, Rob Biertempfel reported via video that the Pirates have a strong interest in bringing Sean Rodriguez back to serve in a utility role. His versatility works well at the end of the bench, but Rodriguez put up a .642 OPS in 2015 and has negative defensive value each of the last three years, so his value should be rather low, both on the market and to the team. He could be back for the right price and would be a good fit as the 25th man, as the Pirates used him at six different positions last year.
Travis Sawchik tweets that a source speculates that the Pirates are interested in first baseman Dae-ho Lee. He is huge, listed at 6’4″, 286 pounds. The 33-year-old has played in Korea and Japan since 2001. He has 323 homers in his career, including 31 this season, which was the fifth most in Japan. I included a video of all of his home runs from 2012 if you have ten minutes to watch him hit some dingers.
Source speculates Pirates are interested in former NPB/KBO first baseman Dae Ho Lee, who arrived in Nashville last night to meet with clubs
— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) December 8, 2015