The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced that they’ve non-tendered Jeff Locke and Eric Fryer, and have tendered contracts for the 2017 season to every other available player on the 40-man roster.

The move with Locke isn’t a surprise, as he was designated for assignment earlier this week, signaling that his time was up with the Pirates. I wrote about that time on the team earlier this week. Fryer also isn’t a surprise, as I’ve had him projected to be non-tendered since the start of the off-season.

The one surprise was that the Pirates decided to tender a contract to Jared Hughes, who was coming off a down year, and projected to make $2.5 M in arbitration. The Pirates also have a few prospects in Triple-A such as Trevor Williams and Frank Duncan who can be ground ball specialists and middle relievers. However, when Hughes is at his best, he is one of the best ground ball pitchers in the game, and that’s a high bar for the prospects.

Hughes didn’t have his best sinker most of the year in 2016, but did get it back late. He had a 52% ground ball rate in the first half, compared to a 64.8% ground ball rate in the second half, finishing at 76.9% in the final month. His soft contact was also at its highest in September, and his hard contact went down in the second half, bottoming out in September. So if that’s a sign that he’s back to normal, then the Pirates have their ground ball specialist back, ready for situational work with men on base and one out.

There weren’t really any other surprises. Wade LeBlanc reached a pre-arb extension earlier today for one year and $800,000 to round out the moves.

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46 COMMENTS

  1. I’m confused as to why the Pirates need Robles. Right now the OF is stacked with a former MVP (coming off a down year that was still productive) and two young players who are both really, really good. Furthermore, we have a top prospect that is highly touted in AAA and almost ready. So why trade Cutch for another OF? And really Bell seems like a better OF than 1B as well. So there is no need for another OF. A want yes. I’d want top prospects and players at every position. But the Pirates need right now is a top starting pitcher. Not a Vogelsong, Locke or Niese but someone good who can pitch 200 innings. Chris Sale or someone like him would obviously be preferred. Right now the rotation is Cole, Kuhl and Taillon. 2 guys that are near rookies and Cole has looked a bit shaky at times despite being great. So that is a need.

  2. I had mentioned Worley earlier, and as it turns out, he was not tendered. Also, Jeff Manship is anther pitcher to look at. Such a macho sounding name too.

    • Certainly thinner than they were in July, but Cervelli is signed through 2019, Stewart has an option for 2018, Diaz controllable through 2023, and Jhang can probably make it as an offense-first backup. They should be ok for a while even if none of the lower-level guys pan out.

  3. Where’s BFiMD to ask why, if we were going to non-tender Fryer that they didn’t use his spot for E Wood?

    Btw, why let go of a perfectly good Fryer? Especially around the holidays?

    🙂

  4. Would love to see that Locke money go to a one year deal for Tyson Ross. He is going to be looking for a one year deal To rebuild value and there is no better place to be for that.

  5. Padres non tendered Tyson Ross. I know he has some injury problems but wow. Imagine alot of teams will be after him. Amazing the difference a year makes. A year ago he was basically untouchable.

  6. LLOYD would like to know opinions on this deal if one is imminent with the Nats:

    From Buccos:

    1. Cutch

    2. Watson

    From Nats:

    1. Joe Ross

    2. Reynaldo Lopez

    3. Victor Robles

  7. I don’t know if I like Chris Stewart over Fryer or Fryer over Stewart. I know the Pirates signed both Stewart and Francisco Cervelli to extensions this past season. But the question to me is were Stewart’s struggles this past season due to the injuries more than anything or is he really not as good as we thought pre-injury? Also are the injuries he’s had the past few years evidence that he’s injury-prone and really not worth the extension he received? Once Cervelli went down and Stewart got the majority of the starts this past season, it became pretty clear that Stewart isn’t a starter, or at least he can’t handle the workload as of yet. Deep down, I always knew the Pirates were going to go with Stewart over Fryer simply due to the fact that they had extended Stewart and Fryer was picked up on the waiver wire.

      • The Reason Diaz isn’t up i think is that if he comes up, it’s to start and not back up or share time.

        So last year when Cervelli went down, Diaz would’ve been called up to start, but the problem was he was hurt at the time. You don’t want a catcher who is going to be a starter to be on the bench riding the pine. You’d want him to continue to get regular playing time. Back up is just that — a back up to spell a starter. I mean you don’t call up Meadows to ride the pine in the same manner.

        • most positions i’d agree, but not catcher. he needs to work with the ml pitchers to gain familiarity with their style, pitches, etc. this cannot be done from aaa. very rarely does a catcher ever go from catching aaa to catching starting major leagues. there is a reason.

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