Results tagged ‘ Pirates ’

Rangers sign Fujikawa

The Rangers have signed free-agent right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa to a one-year deal with a club option for 2016, the club announced on Tuesday.

Texas also signed first baseman Kyle Blanks and infielder Tommy Field to Minor League deals with invitations to Major League Spring Training.

Fujikawa, 34, made his big league debut with the Cubs in 2013. Over two seasons in Chicago, he was limited to 27 total appearances due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in June 2013. He’s been effective when healthy, though, striking out 31 in 25 career innings.

Blanks, 28, split time with the Padres and A’s last season. He hit a combined .309 with two home runs in 26 games. In 260 career games in the big leauges, Blanks has a .234 average with 30 homers.

Field was in Triple-A in 2014 with both the Angels and Pirates organizations. The 27-year-old appeared in 33 games with the Rockies and Angels from 2011-12.

–Austin Laymance

Pirates miss out on Neshek, still seeking ‘pen help

Reliever Pat Neshek was believed to be near the top of the Pirates’ wish list prior to reportedly reaching a deal with the Astros on Wednesday. Considering the Pirates’ primary focus was on re-signing Francisco Liriano until late Tuesday, however, it’s unclear just how strongly, if at all, Pittsburgh actually pursued Neshek.

Either way, with Liriano now reportedly squared away, the club’s next objective is still to add another reliever, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The Pirates would prefer to add a left-hander after trading southpaw Justin Wilson to the Yankees earlier this offseason, but it’s not a requirement. Now that Wilson is out of the picture, the only left-hander currently slated to begin the year in Pittsburgh’s bullpen is Tony Watson.

With that in mind, the Pirates would certainly benefit from adding another lefty, though they aren’t going to limit their search for bullpen help stricly to southpaws. For the record, the list of remaining lefties on the free agent market includes Craig Breslow, Wesley Wright, Phil Coke, Neal Cotts and Wade LeBlanc.

– Paul Casella

Pirates expected to make push for Neshek

Now that the Pirates have accomplished their main offseason goal of re-signing starter Francisco Liriano, the club is expected to pursue free agent reliever Pat Neshek, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Neshek is coming off a dominant season in which he went 7-2 with a 1.87 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP over 71 appearances with the Cardinals. All of that came in a year in which he earned just $1 million after he had signed a Minor League contract with the Cards last February.

Fresh off his impressive 2014 campaign, the right-hander will undoubtedly be seeking a multi-year deal this time around. With Andrew Miller and David Robertson both off the boards, teams figure to start ramping up their pursuit of second-tier free agent relievers such as Neshek, Rafael Soriano, Francisco Rodriguez, Sergio Romo and Luke Gregerson.

– Paul Casella

Pirates reportedly re-sign Liriano

The Pirates have reportedly re-signed left-hander Francisco Liriano to a three-year, $39 million deal, according to multiple reports.

Re-signing Liriano was one of the Pirates’ top priorities this offseason and it appears as if they can now cross it off the list. It comes as no surpise that the Pirates made a push to get a deal in place prior to Jon Lester making his decision, which could come as soon as Tuesday. The teams that ultimately miss out on Lester will undoubtedly immediately begin to pursue backup options, some of which may have included Liriano.

Liriano, who is 23-18 with a 3.20 ERA over the last two years with the Pirates, was believed to be seeking a three- or four-year deal this offseason with an average annual value of at least $12 million. On that front, this deal appears to be a good fit for both sides.

– Paul Casella

Pirates get Cervelli from Yankees for Wilson

The Pirates might have their backup plan in the event they can’t re-sign free-agent catcher Russell Martin, acquiring Francisco Cervelli from the Yankees for left-handed reliever Justin Wilson on Wednesday night.

Cervelli, a right-handed batter, missed about two months with a hamstring strain last year but hit .301/.370/.432 with two home runs and 13 RBIs in 49 games, also playing a little first base. Eligible for arbitration for the first time going into his age-29 season, Cervelli is a lifetime .278/.348/.381 hitter.

The Pirates also have Chris Stewart, another former Yankee, and Tony Sanchez as options behind the plate if Martin goes elsewhere.

Wilson, 27, saw his ERA jump from 2.08 in 2013 to 4.20 this year, as the hard-throwing southpaw increased his strikeouts to 9.2 per nine innings but also saw his walks rise to 4.5 per nine. He still has one year remaining before he becomes arbitration-eligible.

– Andrew Simon

Lester scratched from start; trade talks continue

The Red Sox did nothing to diminish rumors that Jon Lester will be traded to a contender when they scratched him from Wednesday night’s start against the Blue Jays.

“Yeah, Brandon Workman will start tomorrow,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “In light of all the uncertainty surrounding Jon Lester, it’s probably in everyone’s best interests that he does not make that start, so Brandon will be recalled. There will be a corresponding move roster-wise at some point tomorrow.”

By scratching Lester from his Wednesday start, the Red Sox could increase the urgency of their suitors to sweeten their offer in advance of Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline.

Also, Lester becomes more attractive to a potential suitor if he can pitch immediately after a trade, rather than having to wait until Monday.

Numerous teams have talked to the Red Sox about Lester, and there was a lot of buzz about the Pirates on Tuesday. The Dodgers are another possible destination, though they’ve thus far been unwilling to part with the type of top prospects (Corey Seager, Joc Pederson) the Red Sox seek. The Marlins have also expressed interest, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network radio.

While Red Sox veterans were still hoping the lefty would stay, they were bracing for the possibility of his exit.

“Yeah, it’s tough,” said Dustin Pedroia, who came up with Lester through the farm system and has won a pair of World Series titles with him. “We’re not teammates – we’re family. It’s something you don’t like going through. It makes you feel worse. We don’t want to be in this position. I know a lot of guys feel that if you play up to your capability … we should be adding instead of subtracting. Hopefully he’s here.”

Disclaimer: No indication Rockies owner can be swayed into dealing Tulo … Still, team has to be prepared if talks occur

We preface everything here with the simple statement, based on conversations with sources inside and outside the Rockies organization:

Owner Dick Monfort has no interest in trading shortstop Troy Tulowitzki at Thursday afternoon’s non-waiver Trade Deadline. The belief that a healthy Rockies club, with an improved rotation and a bullpen overhaul, is a winner next season means odds are against Monfort moving Tulowitzki — signed for extreme riches through 2020 — this offseason.

But the way to not get caught off guard is to be prepared, even if you know nothing may happen.

In the days leading to the Trade Deadline, the Rockies are getting ready for the magic phone call, even if it’s not coming.

The Rockies spent much of Monday studying the Mets organization, looking at current Major Leaguers and prospects, and gauging the abilities of young pitchers who have not reached their arbitration years. Any Mets pitcher who is anyone, whether he is working in Queens – like National League Rookie of the Year candidate Jacob deGrom – or prospects such as righty Noah Syndergaard (No. 1 on the MLB.com Mets Top 20 Prospects list) or Rafael Montero (No. 6), the Rockies are prepared to discuss. If the names of numerous position players come up, the Rockies are prepared.

But here’s the thing. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson on Monday said it is “unlikely” the team will make any deal, and sources throughout the game are saying it’s unlikely anything serious will occur with the Rockies. And, as can’t be stated enough, it’s all fantasy unless Monfort changes his belief that the Rockies will win with Tulowitzki.

But that’s the way these things work. Oh, it’s not only the Mets. We hear the Rockies have beefed up their knowledge on the Cardinals and the Angels – two teams with the money and Major League-ready players to make the Rockies’ baseball people at least listen if they were to call – and a few other teams that may have interest. Speaking of which, since Tulowitzki’s showing up at Yankee Stadium Sunday sparked so many conspiracy theories, we are told the Yankees are not one of the teams that the Rockies believe have players it takes to pull off a Tulowizki deal.

There’s absolutely no indication either team will make that call before the deadline. Nonetheless, the Rockies want to have detailed information if talks ever begin.

Other fronts appear to be quiet, although there is interest.

• We identified the Pirates as a team that is taking a look at Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins, and now we’re told that 5-6 clubs are interested in Hawkins, knowing he can pitch in any situation. But two issues are making it hard to deal the 41-year-old reliever with the ageless right arm:

The Rockies believe his influence is strong enough on young players and young pitchers that they want to keep him around, even though the team is in last place.

The Rockies’ requirement for help at the start of next season, plus pitchers under club control applies to Hawkins. Teams in contention haven’t offered what the Rockies want.

• It’s doubtful the Rockies will move lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who has pitched better at Coors than any pitcher in their history. The Rockies have been listening when clubs inquire, but after it surfaced that the Rockies coveted Orioles righty Kevin Gausman and a whole haul of prospects, no other team’s interest made it to the rumor stage. Expect the Rockies to make the $14 million qualifying offer to De La Rosa, a free agent after this season, and use that as the basis for keeping him.

• While the Rockies have scouted lefty Brett Anderson since his return from a broken left index finger, but there are no active discussions. The Rockies are expected to pick up Anderson’s $12 million option for next season.

– Thomas Harding

Rockies Tulowitzki does not have no-trade clause; talks are intriguing if not imminent (Also, a look at many possible Rockies deals)

Tulo turn

Contrary to what has been repeated in many reports, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki does not have a no-trade clause — at least not at this point — in his contract.

Going strictly by the contract language (and consulting with sources with direct knowledge of the contract), if traded, Tulowitzki would receive a $2 million bonus from the club he would land with, and only then would a no-trade provision go into effect. That is in addition to the five years and $104 million, plus incentives and escalators, left on his deal.

Now, from the standpoint that Tulowitzki is one of the game’s most-respected players and someone who has been through thick and a lot of thin with the Rockies, it stands to reason that if such a decision were made the club would at least listen to Tulowitzki’s preferences — especially if there were places he didn’t want to go. However, he does not have that right within his contract, and he is not a 10-and-5 player (10 years in the Majors with the last five with the team).

All that said, the chances are low that Tulowitzki would be dealt by next Thursday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline. Tulowitzki has said all along he doesn’t expect a deadline deal, and the more likely scenario is he would meet with his family and club officials after the season and get an idea of the team’s direction before deciding whether to press for a trade. Sources around the Majors say Rockies owner Dick Monfort’s position with them is the same as it is publicly — he is not seeking a deadline deal, and there is no guarantee he wants to make a deal even after the season.

Tulowitzki’s being on the 15-day disabled list with a hip flexor strain also complicates the chance of a deal now.

By the way, Major League sources say the Rockies aren’t anywhere close to dealing outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, a sublime talent who has dealt with injuries the last two years.

Given that, current trade rumors are to be seen as laying the groundwork for talks after the season.

Those talks could become really interesting. Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote today that the Mets are interested in being players if the Rockies ever decided to deal Tulo or CarGo. Sherman names pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, plus outfielder Brandon Nimmo and infielder Dilson Herrera as players the Rockies like. Given the Rockies’ perpetual need and desire for young pitching, the names Syndergaard and Matz would make it hard for club officials to dismiss if talks were to become serious.

Of course, anything the Mets do is related to the Yankees. Sherman points out that Tulo’s love for Derek Jeter, the Yankees shortstop who must be replaced, and the fact the Rockies like the Yankees’ top pitching prospect, righty Luis Severino. And the Cardinals have been rumored as a possible trading partner since last winter.

In other developments:

–The same article by Sherman points out that the Rockies have had interest in Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and notes the Rockies have pieces the Yankees want – lefty starters Jorge De La Rosa and Brett Anderson, and catcher Wilin Rosario, who could preserve his bat and mitigate his defensive issues by being a designated hitter or playing another position. But we are told that the Rockies aren’t looking to deal Rosario before Thursday’s deadline.

But expect Rosario to be an offseason topic of conversation. The Rockies have been sticking with him, believing his power hitting can make up for defense that has been a work in progress ever since he was promoted from Double-A in 2011. However, the Rockies may be forced to re-think.

The pitching staff will continue to be young. Left-hander Tyler Matzek and right-handers such as Eddie Butler and Jon Gray (Matzek and Butler debuted this year, and Gray is on the radar) will be in the rotation sooner than later. Righties Jhoulys Chacin and Jordan Lyles have been around, but are in their 20s.

It might be time for a veteran catcher, or one with frontline all-around ability who is special at calling games, to trim the learning curve for the pitchers. Two examples come to mind: 1) Late in his career, Pudge Rodriguez went to the Marlins and later to the Tigers, teams that didn’t have recent histories of winning. He made a major difference to those young staffs, and the result was a World Series win wit the Marlins and a World Series appearance with the Tigers. 2) It’s hard to quantify but easy to appreciate the impact Russell Martin had last year with the Pirates, who ended a 20-year postseason drought with pitchers who needed help reaching their potential.

–The Rockies are in a quandary when it comes to dealing their own pitching. They want young pitching under club control, but what if the best bargaining chips are their own desirable pitchers.

The Rockies are listening to trade offers, but the price they’ve set with the Orioles shows that they’ll take only the cream of another team’s crop. But even if they receive pitchers with bright futures, is there any guarantee they’re going to have the present that De La Rosa has?

De La Rosa has been by far the Rockies’ best pitcher at Coors Field, and whether he qualifies as the best pitcher in club history is a growing debate. Dude is 42-14 at Coors Field. And he likes pitching there. After seeing top prospects — lefty Drew Pomeranz, now with the Athletics, is a clear example — flame out at Coors, who’s to say anyone else’s prospects are going to make it?

Maybe the Rockies take the plunge. Or maybe they are better off retaining De La Rosa, who is in the final year of his contract. The $11 million qualifying offer the Rockies would need to make to preserve the right to compensation in case3 he left is $3 million more than he is making. That could give them another year with De La Rosa, or it could be the basis for a longer-term deal for a pitcher who wants to be here.

–Everyone says the Rockies need starting pitching. Heck, the Rockies say it. That being the case, it’s puzzling to see lefty Brett Anderson’s name in possible trade reports, although teams would be sensible to check on his availability.

Anderson missed 16 starts with a broken left index finger, and injuries have been an issue throughout his career. But let’s look at his two starts since coming off the disabled list: 1) Clearly rusty and still with little experience at Coors Field, he gave up five runs in the first inning against the Twins at home in the final game before the All-Star break. But he got through six with just one additional run. 2) At Pittsburgh, lacking his best stuff, Anderson pitched with savvy and professionalism and held a lineup for a contending club to one run in seven innings.

Once again, do you trade this top-end ability for guys whose best may or may not arrive at all or may or may not arrive at Coors Field?

Of course, there is a money issue. Anderson has a $12 million club option for 2015, or a $1.5 million buyout. If the Rockies believe that they’re a good team that has been ruined by injuries, it stands to reason that they pay the money and hope to be healthy next season.

–Well, we’ve laid out how the Rockies are leaning against dealing Tulo and CarGo, are likely to wait until after the season to address the catching situation, and have plenty of reasons not to deal De La Rosa or Anderson. So where do they get the young pitching they crave?

They’ll listen when teams discuss outfielder Drew Stubbs. The Mariners are the hot rumor. They’ll also listen to offers for righty pitcher LaTroy Hawkins. But there will be debate about how much a team is willing to give up for Stubbs, whose home/road splits and low on-base percentage history are concerning, and Hawkins, who is fit and effective but also 41.

Still, being in a pennant race makes giving up valuable pitching prospects sound like a better idea. So we’ll see. If Stubbs or Hawkins don’t bring offers of top-level prospects, the Rockies still must listen. This year’s injuries exposed a startling lack of starting depth, and they have to get it from somewhere.

– Thomas Harding

Burnett signs with Phillies

Shortly after the news broke that Cole Hamels will not be available to start the season, the Phillies brought in some rotation help. The team has signed right-hander A.J. Burnett to a one-year deal, a source told MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki. 

It’s a blow to the Pirates rotation that helped lead the club last season to its first postseason berth since 1992, with Burnett expected for much of the offseason to return to Pittsburgh if he did not retire. But in the last couple weeks he had reportedly re-opened his free agency, and now lands with a different NL club.

Because the Pirates did not make him a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer, they will not receive a compensatory draft pick. FOXSports.com‘s Ken Rosenthal reported the deal is worth $16 million.

– Joey Nowak

Maholm with the Dodgers?

Lefty Paul Maholm has apparently landed with the Dodgers as multiple reports out of the team’s Spring Training camp — including from MLB.com‘s Ken Gurnick — have him spotted there, and with a locker in the clubhouse. 

Maholm, 31, was a free agent this winter after going 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA in Atlanta last season. The majority of his nine-year career came in Pittsburgh, along with stints with the Cubs and Braves.

He is 76-95 in his career with a 4.28 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.

– Joey Nowak

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 757 other followers