Tuesday Evening Rumors and Notes

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.

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.


  • Surprised Pedro’s name isn’t getting bandy about.

  • The Pirates are in on every 1st Baseman not named Christ Davis and every SP
    <10 million/year. geez! what a division the NL West is going to be! The 2 team central will be pretty good too between the Cubs and Cards.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 8, 2015 9:13 pm

    Dbacks get Shelby Miller, Cubs just unloaded Castro and got a pretty good bullpen arm in Adam Warren….

  • So last post for the night, and it’s a great buy low candidate which is what they like and NMR this one’s for you. 🙂
    Jesus Montero from Seattle… we don’t have the Jack connection anymore, but we still pulled off a trade last year with them so there is still some familiarity.
    Jesus Montero, 26 years old, is a young but somewhat experienced bat who plays ok D at 1b.
    Oh god but what about Josh Bell!!! Is there really ever any time that having too much talent is a bad thing? No. You could trade either player at any time really for the most part, or find other positions for them. Best case Josh gets a full year or two at AAA where he works on his defense and power hitting which he hasn’t really got down yet.
    So there it is. Montero to the Bucs, and all it cost was Tony Sanchez a similar player – it’s a fresh start trade for both players, and Tony being a 1st round selection doesn’t hurt the overall value for the deal to work. Good luck NH make it so.

  • Now there is long drop from Dansby to Kevin Newman, but after watching Newman at WV this year NH can feel free to put him in a deal to acquire a stud player… just saying I’m good with that. Won’t miss him at all.

  • HOLY SHIT Arizona paid a kings ransom for Miller! Dansby Swanson too!

    • Wow…that was a helluva trade for Atlanta.

    • How do you even know if Swanson will ever play in majors—-any idea how many 1st round picks are working at say home depot….Tony Sanchez is pretty close to helping you with plumbing supplies….D’backs are making some power moves

      • If your name isn’t Matt Bush, you have about a 100% chance of making MLB as an overall #1 pick. And you have an excellent chance of being very, very good.

        • Nothing is ever guaranteed—-the kid just took a 97 mph fastball to the chin…Time will tell, but either way giving up a prospect for a proven mlb caliber guy, who his 6-17 record would’ve been 17-6 if he was on any other team….Great trade for D’backs

          • Shelby Miller isn’t that good. JA Happ was arguably better in 2015. Even Scott Kazmir is better than Miller over the past 3 years.

            Would you give up an overall #1 draft pick and the top guy in your organization for either Happ or Kazmir? Not to mention throw in a comp pick and another useful infielder?

            Dumb trade. Massive overpay.

            • Are you seriously comparing a 25 yr old Miller, who could easily turn into an ace vs Happ and Kazmir??? Really

  • There was a lot of talk today on the radio that NH and PBC in general along with their “radio lackies” are really doing a propaganda rollout saying they’re in on Kasmir, etc – but really have no intention of actually pulling the trigger on a guy like that.
    Not sure how fair that is, as they have acquired a few guys, Martin, Cervelli, AJ… but a straight buy on a FA isn’t exactly common around these parts.
    It was also said to be arrogant, by NH, saying there was no chance to resign Walker because we can “backfill” his position. This one I’m a little more in agreement with… if you are building a championship team would you be looking to sign Walker or Sean Rodriquez? Now I get the difference of course, it’s about 8-9 million dollars – but what kind of talent wins championships? Kang, Mercer, Harrison… ok those are your starters – but losing Walker is taking a pretty healthy bat option out of the mix which will hurt the team unless you’re backup = Walker right? Again, long way to go this offseason, but that’s potentially a concern.

    • All depends on what the return for Walker is. They lose him in 2017 anyway because he is not quite good enough to extend.

  • Interested to see just how expensive that purchase was, but I’m not a big Shelby fan… we pounded him… very flat and straight fastball.
    He’s still a good pitcher, not killing him, but the talk was that it was going to take a big haul and that’s not what I think he is worth.

  • Diamondbacks get Shelby Miller

  • At this point the Cubs have signed Lackey and Zobrist – so they went from the youngest to averaging 35 years old… both are good but that’s a lot of coin for 35ers. They do get a very nice young pitcher but give up Castro to do it… Zobrist > Castro… yea but for 4 years? Not so sure about that. Lackey sucked a few years ago.

    I’m still not pumped about our approach yet as nothing has transpired yet, but the Chicago signings really aren’t killing me at all really.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 8, 2015 8:05 pm

    I like the idea of possibly getting the Korean first baseman – doesn’t cost prospects and would likely be for less money than what a Moreland may cost.
    I don’t like the idea of bringing back Rodriguez…if the team is genuinely concerned with payroll, why would you bring him back and pay him what would likely be a lot more than what it may cost to have someone like Gamache, Hansen, or Gift on the team? Its not like they would have to hit much to match Rodriguez’s production, and they would be considerably cheaper.
    BTW, the Cubs just got stronger – just signed Zobist for 4 years/$56m. Good for Zobrist – he’s a good player and a quality individual, but that’s a lot of money for a 34 year old utility player. We cannot match their spending, so we have to makeup ground with a combination of smart acquisitions combined with a sprinkling in of prospects who have higher upside. Signing guys like Rodriguez, Kendrick, and Reynolds is not going to get it done.

  • Cubs sign Zobrist for their utility man, Pirates want to sign Sean Rodriguez as their utility man. If that isn’t a microcosm of the differences between us and our competition, I don’t know what is. It’s honestly amazing sometimes that we can be so good. Credit to Huntington and his staff.

    • I’d say cut the team a break. They went out and got Kang last year to be the utility man. They will have an overabundance of Infielders this year as well.

      • Just talking financial realities here- our competition is not giving us any breaks. I give the Bucs plenty of credit for being able to still compete

  • Who was the 1B that PGH acquired from TEX few years back?

  • “Source speculates”. Do you need to be a “reliable”source to speculate? If the drunk next to you at the bar speculates and you report it, doesn’t that make him a “source”?

    Just bored. Shoes. Drop. Pleaaaaasse?

    • I have a source speculating that Prince Fielder is the BIG SURPRISE. Source knows Pirates have been in a lot of discussions with Rangers about 1Bmen and they want to calve salary so they can make more bad signings. Source “speculates” Diaz and Morse and A-baller with potential and Texas sends $15m.

      Source continues… Bush killed Kennedy! Developing story…..

  • Here are my thoughts on bringing back Sean Rodriguez.

    1) If anyone even suggests that he can play shortstop should be fired.
    2) His presence alone in the dugout might give pitchers something
    to further think about when pitchers throw up and in to McCutcheon
    or Marte.
    3) He’s pretty good with a tarp and we need a groundskeeper.

  • Lee certainly has some impressive power.

  • LLOYD says that Lee has Motumbo POWER!!!!
    Most of those dingers were on flat slowballs up over the plate or pitches down and in which is obviously his favorite hitting zone. Many of the bombs were off of lefties as well.
    I’m sure Neal’s boys have seen what he does on other pitches though and LLOYD trusts those fellers.
    Just for reference sake, 140 KPH = 86.992 MPH
    Thornton…….bring him on.
    Serpico…….bring him on as the 25th man.



  • I am not interested in anyone listed here, save for Thornton. I think Thornton is a good lefty. I cannot imagine that Lee will offer anything defensively better than Pedro, maybe slightly if at all. I really want a major defensive upgrade at first base, because I think that is the spot where major improvement on a 98 win team is possible.
    As for Rodriguez, regardless of his negative defensive metrics and horrendous OPS, I think he is an embarrassment to the organization for his antics. No thank you.

  • This guy makes John Kruk look like Richard Simmons. I love it. I mean what the hell if he crushes the ball and can play 1st a bit then he and Morse can share AB’s and whoever is hot plays and the other is a power pinch hitter. Lefty not required necessarily, just hit.

    Now on Sean, I love the guy, the attitude, the versatility – what I don’t like is that Clint feels obligated to start him. Thing is he should never start a game unless the starter is injured. Only injured, not tired, or for any other reason. He’s a hell of 25 man though when used properly. If he’d sign a 2 year deal for 3 million, I’d sign him… any more than that and I’d move on and let Alen Hanson be the utility guy.

  • Regarding S Rod –His defense was listed as negative on FG, but if you look at the breakdown he was at or above average in UZR at every position except SS. For his career he is above average at 2B and 1B, and about average at OF.

    I think he is a fine guy to have on the bench, as long as he’s not meant to be the best guy on the bench.

  • With the rumor out there about the Pirates having an interest in bringing Rodriguez back, I’m gonna take the rest of the night off. He’s the worst… Just, the worst.

    Try again tomorrow.

  • piraterican21
    December 8, 2015 5:26 pm

    those were a lot 86-90 mph fastballs up in the zone

  • Dae Ho Lee has some pretty impressive power, but holy cow, that dude steps way in the bucket sometimes.

    Also, he needs to work on his bat flips.

    Would be a worthwhile play, but I’d assume that meant we’d move on from Morse. It’d be redundant to have both.

    • HartHighPirate
      December 8, 2015 11:20 pm

      Perhaps at 6-4 286lbs the Steelers could use him. Doesn’t look fast enough for TE or Linebacker though.

      • SufferinBuccotash
        December 9, 2015 8:30 am

        If he can add another 30 pounds, they might finally have a decent replacement for Casey Hampton, though!

    • I saw the consistent step in the bucket as well. MLB pitchers would eat him up on the outside corner, it seems.

  • I’ve liked the idea of Lee…but didn’t realize he was such a chubber. Still, I can’t see him getting more than 3/16…so it’s a something to consider.

    S. Rod? How about ‘no’. Just…no. Please…no.

    Thornton? Sure, if he’s affordable.

    • Not sure what his weight has anything to do with his performance. Bartolo Colon…well I’m searching a kind word to use instead of fat haha…regardless he’s still a decent pitcher.

      • Colon isn’t expected to play solid defense. At nearly three hundred pounds, Lee’s going to have to get that mass in motion quickly to get to hard hit balls.

        I still like him as a first base option…but just didn’t realize he could legitimately challenge Luis Heredia to an eating contest.

        • I dont disagree, looked at his fielding numbers, doesnt seem to have many errors. But yeah, I get that concern. I’m sure NH will do his due diligence. If he’s serviceable fielding I think its worth taking a risk on him though.

          • Found this write-up on him:

            As Patrick Newman of NPBtracker jokingly put it, “Lee Dae-Ho is a big league caliber hitter. He is fat, though.”

            While he can and has played first base, he will never win any Gold Glove Awards. He will be passable, and might be better suited as a DH, given those defensive deficiencies and the wear-and-tear playing the field might take on his body.

        • Wabbit_Season
          December 9, 2015 9:08 am

          I’ve seen big men who were quick.


          • Wabbit_Season
            December 9, 2015 9:09 am

            How big was Willie Stargell?


            • terrygordon30
              December 9, 2015 1:32 pm

              I do not know what he was listed at, but reality wise, I would guess that he was pushing 250 at the end of his career with the Pirates

      • Couple blogs say he’s poor defensively, but haven’t seen any stats.

        I find it hard to believe he has any range.

  • 286 lbs!!! That’s a lot of sushi.