Results tagged ‘ Pirates ’

Kang’s agent confident about deal with Pirates

Talking to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Alan Nero — the agent for Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kangsaid he is confident that his client will be able to reach a deal with the Pirates in the coming weeks.

The Pirates were granted exclusive negotiating rights with Kang after his KBO team, the Nexen Heroes, accepted Pittsburgh’s $5,002,015 bid on Dec. 20. In posting the winning bid, the Pirates received a 30-day window to come to an agreement with Kang. If the two sides do not reach a deal by Jan. 20, Kang would return to his KBO club and the Pirates’ bid would be returned.

Nero, however, doesn’t seem concerned about that possibility at this point.

“At this point, I feel confident we’ll come to an agreement,” Nero said on Wednesday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The process has been very positive. [General manager Neal Huntington] has tried very hard to basically come to the table with an offer.”

If he indeed reaches a deal, Kang could eventually battle Jordy Mercer for the Pirates’ starting shortstop job. The 27-year-old Kang posted an eye-popping .356/.459/.739 batting line with 40 home runs and 117 RBI in 117 games last season, albeit in the offensive-minded KBO. Though it remains unclear just how exactly Kang’s game will translate to the Majors, it sounds as if he’ll at least receive a chance in Pittsburgh in 2015.

— Paul Casella

Gaby Sanchez signs one-year deal in Japan

Former Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez has signed a one-year deal with Japan’s Rakuten Golden Eagles for the 2015 season. The deal is worth approximately $2.5 million plus performance-based incentives, according to the Associated Press.

The 31-year-old Sanchez was designated for assignment by the Pirates in December after struggling his way to a .229/.293/.385 slash line and just seven home runs over 123 games. Making the numbers all the more disappointing is the fact that the majority of his at-bats came in advantageous platoon situations.

Sanchez turned in back-to-back 19-homer seasons in 2010-11, but has tallied just seven home runs in each of the three seasons since. Though Sanchez could have potentially found a part-time gig with another Major League club this offseason, it’s unlikely that his contract would have come with any significant guarantees.

Instead, he elected to continue his career in Japan, though at just 31 years old, it’s possible that Sanchez returns to the Majors at some point down the road.

— Paul Casella

Pirates reportedly win bidding for Kang

The Pirates placed the winning bid for Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Pittsburgh will have an exclusive 30-day period to negotiate with Kang. The $5 million bid was the second highest for a Korean baseball player, trailing the $25.7 million bid the Dodgers posted for Hyun-Jin Ryu in 2012.

If the two sides agree to a deal, Kang’s former team, the Nexen Heroes, will receive the $5,002,015 bid. But if the two sides are unable to come to terms, Kang won’t be eligible to be posted again until Nov. 1.

Kang, 27, is coming off a strong offensive season, hitting .356 with 40 home runs and 117 RBIs in 117 games.

An industry source told the Yonhap News Agency that Kang and his agent, Alan Nero, are seeking a four-year contract worth $5 million a season, a three-year deal worth $5.5 million a year or a two-year deal worth $6 million per year.

-Austin Laymance

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

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