Sunday was the official start of the Winter Meetings, but Monday was really when things got kicked off. We saw some big free agent signings, not by the Pirates, but around the league.
Overall, it was a quiet day for the Pirates. One of the most watched headlines heading into the meetings was Bryan Reynolds, and while there wasn’t a trade, a new team did jump into the apparent running.
There is no rush in trading Reynolds, and the Pirates would probably have to be incredibly overwhelmed by a deal to make anything happen right now. This is a good starting point to see how team’s view him right now, so they can continue planning for the season/future knowing what a possible return would look like.
Going off of Derek Shelton’s comments in his press conference at the meetings, it seems the Pirates would be perfectly okay going into the season with Reynolds on the roster, and don’t believe the trade request would lead to a distraction.
Speaking of Shelton, he talked to the media for a bit, with a few interesting things coming up.
– When asked if any of the other outfield positions have been solidified, outside of Reynolds, one of the first words Shelton said was “versatility” — which really shouldn’t be a surprise if you have followed the minors lately.
The Pirates have stressed positional flexibility, getting a lot of their prospects playing time away from their natural playing spot. Not only does that help the player, as it creates more opportunities for them to find playing time, it is also good for the team as it allows them to open things up more with the lineup.
So, when looking at how the team builds its roster, maybe there shouldn’t be as much stress when it comes to slotting players in certain positions, and instead try to construct the best 13 hitters collectively.
There are only a few players who should be ‘locked’ into a position. One of them Shelton alluded to (Ke’Bryan Hayes).
– Shelton brought up the potential impact of Carlos Santana in the locker room, especially with the Latin American players. The only thing I could think of was Jose Quintana, and what he did for the rotation. We started to see the results of that down the stretch, maybe that can happen for the second time in a row, except this time for some of the hitters.
– If there’s another player outside of Hayes that should be penciled into a specific position, it should be Oneil Cruz, and that’s the kind of feeling you got from Shelton during the press conference. They see him as a shortstop, and that sounds like what he’s focusing on in winter ball. There may be a time when we see Cruz move off the position, but until then, he will be the shortstop.
– Endy Rodriguez was brought up, and Shelton started with a simple ‘he’s really good’ before going in a little further. Also mentioned his limited experience above the High-A level, as well instantly put out there he’d start in the minors, which was probably the least surprising thing you’ll hear from the whole presser.
He recognized the talent, and with the way it sounds, if they had to pick a literal representation of what they are trying to do as far as developing players, Endy would probably be the face of that.
Tuesday will bring the first ever MLB draft lottery, and it will take place at 8:30 pm ET on the MLB Network. The Pirates are tied with the Nationals and Athletics with the highest odds of getting the first overall pick at 16.5%.
Highlight of the Day
Pirates Prospects Daily
By Tim Williams
I don’t know about you, but I can feel the Pirates’ plans shifting to a new phase, even if the Bryan Reynolds rumors probably aren’t helping matters.
I wrote about some of the changes I’ve seen over the last two years from the Pirates development system, and ultimately why I’m still here running this site, in today’s First Pitch. This is an article I’ve been thinking about for months, and it felt appropriate to run it today. Even with this long analysis that you won’t find anywhere else, there’s still so much that is incomplete, which justifies any skepticism you have with the plan.
Even the best laid plans can fail.
I do think the Pirates have a good plan, and I think they’re getting close to the point where that will become obvious. Ben Cherington said that they wanted to add in his press conference today, so there’s a chance things could become more obvious by the end of this offseason.
**The Toronto Blue Jays are the latest team to show interest in Bryan Reynolds. The Pirates continue to insist that they don’t want to trade Reynolds. I can see a lot of teams being connected to him with interest this week. Whether he’s traded is another subject.
**John Dreker has the latest Pirates winter league updates, where Tsung-Che Cheng made his debut in Puerto Rico, and Diego Castillo played his final game in Venezuela.
**Missed yesterday? Anthony previewed what to expect this week from the MLB Winter Meetings.
Song of the Day
Pirates Prospects Weekly
I finished this article today around noon, but didn’t like the way I originally had it wrapped up. By 2 PM, I was finishing my first full edit, after finishing the article. I decided to give it one more read.
By 3:30, I was finishing maybe my fourth read through. Around 4:30, I finally got to a point where I was comfortable publishing it. The end result is one of my favorite articles in a few months.
This week’s article drop will hit the site at noon on Tuesday.