Results tagged ‘ Pirates ’

12/17 Roundup

The pool of potential closers available on the free-agent market shrank on Tuesday, when the Hot Stove was focused on relief pitching.

The Orioles were on the hunt for a closer after trading Jim Johnson to the A’s earlier this offseason, and they now appear set to use some of the savings from that deal on Oakland’s former closer. Grant Balfour, who saved 38 games for the A’s in 2013, reportedly is in agreement on a two-year contract with Baltimore.

The Cubs also might have snatched up a new ninth-inning man after reaching a reported one-year pact with Jose Veras. That would leave Fernando Rodney, Joaquin Benoit, Rafael Betancourt and Chris Perez among a dwindling group of free agents with recent success as closers. The Padres appear to be targeting Benoit for an eighth-inning role in front of Huston Street.

In other news from around the league:

  • Highly touted Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka has informed his Nippon Professional Baseball club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, that he wants to be made available to Major League teams. But even with NPB and MLB having a new posting agreement in place, the Eagles do not have to post Tanaka, and it appears they might be reluctant to do so.
  • One club that figures to pursue Tanaka if he becomes available is Arizona, which is looking to add more starting pitching this offseason.
  • The Yankees are close to signing a pair of veteran players, reportedly reaching an agreement on a one-year deal with second baseman Brian Roberts and a two-year contract with left-handed reliever Matt Thornton. Meanwhile, New York still would like to add free agent Mark Reynolds but is facing competition from the Angels and Twins, among others, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network. Jeff Baker is another veteran bat drawing interest from the club, per the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.
  • The Braves’ search for additional starting pitching likely concluded with Monday’s signing of Gavin Floyd to a one-year contract, despite the fact that the righty won’t be ready until May as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. Atlanta had explored trades for the likes of the Rays’ David Price and the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija but found the asking prices too steep.
  • Our Tom Singer checks in on free-agent righty A.J. Burnett, who has yet to make a decision about whether to retire, return to the Pirates or perhaps pitch for another team. It’s a delay that is making things difficult for Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington.
  • After losing out on Juan Uribe, the Marlins continue to search for a third baseman. The club is looking at both free agents and trade possibilities.
  • The Mets’ top priority is to trade one of its first basemen, Ike Davis or Lucas Duda. The Brewers and Pirates are the two remaining clubs that seem like obvious trade partners for such a deal. Pittsburgh is interested in both Davis and the Rangers’ Mitch Moreland, according to Heyman.
  • The Cardinals’ recent signing of free-agent second baseman Mark Ellis likely will turn out to be their last significant move of the offseason, as GM John Mozeliak acknowledged on Tuesday.
  • On the other hand, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said his club still is looking hard at free agents, with the bullpen one area to address. Houston already has signed relievers Chad Qualls and Matt Albers.

– Andrew Simon

12/13 Roundup

Baseball’s Winter Meetings ended on Thursday, but that doesn’t mean the Hot Stove came to a halt on Friday.

Even with general managers, agents and media members gone from Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the action continued, and the free-agent market continued to grow thinner. A pair of players reportedly agreed to new contracts, with first baseman James Loney set to return to the Rays on a three-year deal and second baseman Omar Infante heading to Kansas City on a four-year agreement.

In other news from around the league:

  • The Yankees introduced new center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, making his seven-year, $153 million contract official.
  • Former Yankee Robinson Cano saw two pieces of lineup protection added to his new club, as the Mariners held an introductory press conference for Corey Hart and Logan Morrison. Those additions do not signal the end of Seattle’s offseason shopping, however.
  • The Rockies finalized their two-year agreement with first baseman Justin Morneau and also have reportedly signed lefty reliever Boone Logan to a three-year pact.
  • The Red Sox made their two-year deal with Mike Napoli official. Teammate David Ortiz, whose contract with  the Red Sox expires after the 2014 season, is looking for a one-year extension.
  • The Pirates announced a pair of one-year contracts, re-signing shortstop Clint Barmes and adding right-hander Edinson Volquez.
  • The Tigers announced their one-year agreement with reliever Joba Chamberlain.
  • Our Paul Hagen runs down the top names still available after the Winter Meetings.
  • With free-agent options dwindling, the Brewers could turn to the trade market to fill their need for a first baseman, our Adam McCalvy writes.
  • Might the Braves really trade stud closer Craig Kimbrel? Our Mark Bowman tackles that question in his latest inbox article.
  • Outfielder Jason Kubel, coming off a rough 2012 with the D-backs and Indians, is returning to the Twins after signing a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
  • The D-backs signed right-hander Daniel Hudson and catcher Henry Blanco to Minor League deals with Spring Training invites. Hudson, who hasn’t pitched since early ‘12 due to injury, was non-tendered earlier this month.
  • The Marlins continue to have interest in free-agent third baseman Juan Uribe, writes our Joe Frisaro.

– Andrew Simon

Report: Pirates sign Volquez

The Pirates have reached a one-year, $5 million agreement with free-agent right-hander Edinson Volquez, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and MLB Network, who adds that the deal is pending a physical.

Volquez split last season between the Padres and Dodgers, going 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA over 33 games, including 32 starts. The 30-year-old struggled with his control, walking 4.1 batters per nine innings, a rate below his career mark of 4.8.

In nine seasons with the Rangers, Reds, Padres and Dodgers, Volquez is 53-52 with a 4.75 ERA and 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

– Andrew Simon

Jones in, LoMo soon out in Miami?

Ken Rosenthal has reported the Marlins are close to signing first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones to a deal in Miami, possibly setting off a domino effect of other moves. Rosenthal says it likely means Mike Napoli won’t be coming to Miami, and there could be a deal imminent involving Logan Morrison

Jones lost his job in Pittsburgh down the stretch last season to Justin Morneau (who is reportedly about to settle down in Denver), and then was let go this winter by the Pirates.

– Joey Nowak

12/2 Roundup

The Nationals, looking to bounce back from last season’s disappointing finish, had been quiet this offseason — until Monday. That’s when general manager Mike Rizzo announced his entry into the Hot Stove conversation by pulling off a big trade with the Tigers.

Rizzo bolstered his rotation and replaced Dan Haren by acquiring another veteran right-hander, Doug Fister, in exchange for reserve infielder Steve Lombardozzi and young left-handers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray.

Monday also was the last day for teams to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players, with the deadline looming at midnight ET. Any non-tendered player immediately becomes a free agent and can sign with any club.

Among the players reportedly cut loose were pitchers John Axford of the Cardinals, Andrew Bailey of the Red Sox, Daniel Hudson of the D-backs, Jerome Williams and Tommy Hanson of the Angels, Jeremy Hefner of the Mets and Mitchell Boggs of the Rockies; catcher J.P. Arencibia of the Blue Jays; infielders Mat Gamel of the Cubs, Justin Turner of the Mets, Elliot Johnson and Paul Janish of the Braves, Jayson Nix of the Yankees and Chris Getz of the Royals; and outfielders Sam Fuld of the Rays and Ryan Kalish of the Red Sox.

In other news from around the league:

  • The A’s have added to their rotation by agreeing to a two-year deal with left-hander Scott Kazmir, who resurrected his career with the Indians this season.
  • The A’s also picked up a closer, with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network reporting that they sent second baseman Jemile Weeks to the Orioles for Jim Johnson.
  • The Blue Jays found a new starting catcher, agreeing to a two-year contract with free agent Dioner Navarro, who is coming off a strong offensive year with the Cubs.
  • Speaking of catchers, the Pirates swapped backups for starter Russell Martin, acquiring defensive specialist Chris Stewart from the Yankees and designating Michael McKenry for assignment.
  • The Yankees, meanwhile, announced their signing of slick-fielding shortstop Brendan Ryan to a two-year deal.
  • New York also has made a one-year offer to right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, according to ESPN New York. Kuroda is deciding between retirement or playing another season in the Majors or in his native Japan.
  • Free-agent outfielder Curtis Granderson could be an option for the Mets.
  • Sources told The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham that free-agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is unlikely to return to the Red Sox, with Rosenthal and others mentioning the Marlins among those currently in pursuit.
  • Veteran utility man Willie Bloomquist is heading back to Seattle after three years with Arizona.

– Andrew Simon

12/2 afternoon roundup

The Hot Stove was buzzing Monday morning and afternoon, as a handful of deals went down.

The headliner was left-hander Scott Kazmir agreeing to a two-year deal with the A’s.

 

Kazmir, who turns 30 in January, finished the season 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 158 innings for the Indians, who took a chance on the former first-round Draft pick via a Minor League deal shortly after the lefty finished a stint with the Sugar Land Skeeters in independent ball.

Before this year, Kazmir had last pitched in a Major League game in April 2011.

Other notes from Monday:

  • The Blue Jays and veteran catcher Dioner Navarro agreed to a two-year contract believed to be worth $8 million.
  • The Yankees sent catcher Chris Stewart to the Pirates for a player to be named later, which frees a roster space for the Yankees.
  • New York also officially announced a two-year contract with infielder Brendan Ryan reportedly worth $5 million with a mutual option for 2016. 
  • The Tigers agreed to a one-year, $1-million deal with infielder/outfielder Don Kelly.
  • The Rays, interested in a left-handed hitting first baseman, have talked with the Rangers about Mitch Moreland.
  • The Yankees have made an offer to right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, according to ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand. The Yanks offered Kuroda a qualifying offer ($14.1 million), which he turned down.

 

- Cash Kruth

 

Report: Yankees sending Stewart to Pirates

The Pirates are close to acquiring catcher Chris Stewart from the Yankees, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

The Yankees will receive cash considerations or a player to be named later, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

Stewart, who turns 32 in February, posted a .211/.293/.272 line in 109 games for the Yankees last season. He became expendable with New York’s signing of catcher Brian McCann in November.

- Cash Kruth

11/25 Roundup

The Rangers officially introduced Prince Fielder on Monday, five days after acquiring the slugging first baseman from the Tigers for Ian Kinsler.

The move likely doesn’t signify the end of the club’s offseason maneuvering, however. Our T.R. Sullivan writes that while the Rangers are not expected to go after free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano, they are looking to add another impact bat to their lineup, either at the top or in the middle.

One of those available big bats belongs to free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Speaking of Choo, our Mark Sheldon explores the question of whether the Reds could bring him back to Cincinnati, meeting his significant contract demands.

In other news from around the league:

  • Veteran right-handed pitcher Dan Haren officially came off the board on Monday, when the Dodgers announced his one-year contract.
  • After adding a center fielder (Peter Bourjos) and a shortstop (Jhonny Peralta) over the past week, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak didn’t close the door on his offseason shuffling but added that, “if the clock stopped today, we’d be pretty happy with our club.”
  • The Yankees’ signing of free-agent catcher Brian McCann signals the club’s aggressive intentions this offseason after falling short of the playoffs in 2013, writes MLB.com columnist Mike Bauman. Along those lines, a move for free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran could be on the way.
  • Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos addressed his team’s search for a starting pitcher, most notably the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija.
  • Veteran righty A.J. Burnett hasn’t decided if he will pitch in 2014, but if he does, the market could push him out of the Pirates’ price range.
  • The Tigers and free-agent reliever Brian Wilson are in “serious” negotiations, a source has told The Detroit News. It appears that Wilson, and not Joe Nathan, is Detroit’s primary target to fill its closer role.
  • Elsewhere in the American League Central, The Kansas City Star reported that the Royals are open to dealing from their bullpen depth, especially righty Aaron Crow or lefty Tim Collins.
  • There were a few minor trades executed on Monday, with the Padres swinging a three-player deal with the Pirates and swapping pitchers with the Orioles, while the A’s picked up a left-hander from the Nationals. The Pirates also cleared 40-man roster space by designating first baseman-outfielder Garrett Jones for assignment.
  • Our Doug Miller looks at what’s left on the free-agent market in The Week Ahead.
  • The Marlins are looking into signing catcher Dioner Navarro and pitcher Phil Hughes, according to the Miami Herald.

– Andrew Simon

Huntington will have to again get creative to bag Burnett

Neal Huntington went on the air [970ESPN] Friday night to explain why the Pirates did not make a qualifying offer to A.J. Burnett: The $14.1 million does not fit in the club’s payroll.

This is neither news — the Pirates have never had an eight-figure player, and even if they push their 2014 payroll into the $100 million range, the qualifying level would represent 14 percent of it — nor does it mean the Bucs will not be re-signing the pitcher, if ultimately he decides to keep pitching. The 36-year-old vet is still mulling over retirement.

It does probably mean Huntington will once again have to get creative. Burnett rightfully does not think he should take a significant cut in guaranteed salary after having the best strikeout ratio [9.8/9 innings] of NL starters while earning $16.5 million. The Yankees still picked up $8 million of that.

If Burnett has been sincere about not wishing to pitch anywhere else but Pittsburgh, and would be unwilling to do it at a reduced rate, he would be left with nowhere to go, right?

Not necessarily. No one has yet discussed this openly, but this is where Huntington could get creative:

Burnett is torn between his real family and the Pirates family? Neither professional pride — nor, for that matter, the union — would let him take a pay slash?

Burnett could satisfy both of those conditions by making a midseason return, a la Roger Clemens a few years back. That would allow Burnett  family time, and for the Bucs to shoehorn the prorated portion of an eight-figure salary into their budget. And, just in case a jolt is needed both in the clubhouse and at the gate, imagine the impact of a mid-June Burnett landing.

Norris drawing lots of interest as deadline nears

Astros pitcher Bud Norris continues to get interest from the Giants and Pirates with teams like the D-backs and Rangers also in the mix, MLB Network’s Peter Gammons reported on Twitter.

A source told MLB.com on Tuesday the D-backs, Orioles and Pirates were three of the teams showing the most interest in him.

Norris, 28, is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 21 starts and is on pace to throw 200 innings for the first time in his career. Norris is making $3 million this year in his first year of arbitration and would certainly be attractive to a team considering he’s under club control for two more seasons.

– Brian McTaggart

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