Player News - Pirates

Date: Team: Pos:

Pirates GM Neal Huntington told reporters that Jordan Luplow, Sean Rodriguez, and Adam Frazier are all battling for the open starting outfield spot.

Huntington said last week that he was still considering outside additions but also "comfortable" with those three leading into camp. Luplow, 24, is the most interesting of the group, as the 2014 third-round pick crushed Double-A and Triple-A pitching last year with a .907 OPS and 23 homers in 117 games. He struggled at the big-league level, but there were moments of intrigue there as well, and the sample size was small. He's going to have to rake this spring to earn a starting job, but his above-average power and improving feel for the barrel could make him a solid third outfielder.
Feb 14 - 10:12 PM

Daniel Hudson did not throw Wednesday in Pirates camp after spraining his right ankle while running.

The injury shouldn't sideline him for more than a couple of days. Hudson will be looking to bounce back in 2018 after registering a 4.38 ERA, 1.459 WHIP, and 66/33 K/BB ratio over 61 2/3 innings last season out of the Pirates' bullpen. He inked a two-year, $11 million free agent contract with Pittsburgh last winter.
Feb 14 - 12:54 PM

Updating a previous item, Elias Diaz has yet to report to Pirates' camp.

The original plan called for Diaz to arrive on Monday, but it's understandable that he's taking some extra time with his family after his mother was successfully rescued in Venezuela. He should be in camp soon.
Feb 13 - 12:48 PM

Elias Diaz is expected to report to Pirates' camp on Monday.

Diaz's mother, Ana Isabel Soto, was kidnapped in Venezuela last week, but fortunately she has been rescued and reunited with her family. Now that the scary episode is over, a relieved Diaz will join his team in the United States.
Feb 12 - 11:10 AM

MLB.com's Adam Berry writes that Joe Musgrove is expected to fill the Pirates' rotation spot vacated by Gerrit Cole.

Musgrove posted a 5.37 ERA over 25 starts and 1.26 ERA across 24 relief appearances with the Astros, but the Pirates believe he has the stuff to succeed as a starter over the long haul. The 25-year-old boasts a career 2.77 ERA in the minors and always had terrific control and groundball rates, so it's no surprise that the Pirates want to give him a long look as a starter. Musgrove will have to hold off Tyler Glasnow, Steven Brault and Nick Kingham for the final spot in Pittsburgh's rotation.
Source: MLB.com
Feb 9 - 1:18 PM

Gregory Polanco told Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he feels looser and leaner than ever before.

Polanco went on the disabled list three different times last season with left hamstring injuries and so he has tried to reshape his body this winter with intense daily workouts in the Dominican Republic. He has dropped a considerable amount of body fat and greatly improved his lower-body conditioning. The pictures in the story linked below are something to behold. The 26-year-old outfielder is looking like a strong bounceback candidate for the 2018 fantasy season. Polanco wound up batting just .251/.305/.391 with 11 home runs, 35 RBI, eight stolen bases, and 39 runs scored in 108 games last year.
Feb 8 - 12:51 PM

Pirates signed OF/1B Daniel Nava to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Nava had a strong season in limited playing time with the Phillies last year, hitting .301/.393/.421 in 80 games. He'll turn 35 years old on February 22 and has a career .737 OPS in his seven big-league seasons. Assuming he makes the team, he'll serve as a pinch-hitting option off the bench for the Pirates. He could get the occasional start against right-handed pitching.
Feb 6 - 3:16 PM

Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports that Phil Coke is attempting a comeback as a knuckleballer.

Coke, 35, spent last season in Japan, posting a 4.56 ERA over 23 2/3 innings for the Oriz Buffaloes. The veteran southpaw's last full season in the majors came back in 2014 with the Tigers. Obviously, it's a long shot that Coke ever amounts to much as a knuckleballer, but it sounds like he might be able to find a team willing to give him a shot.
Feb 5 - 7:12 PM

Pirates acquired LHP Josh Smoker from the Mets for LHP Daniel Zamora and cash considerations.

Smoker was designated for assignment by the Mets last week to clear a roster spot for Jose Reyes, who is returning on a one-year, $2 million deal. Smoker struggled to a 5.11 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in 56 1/3 innings last season with New York, but he holds an impressive 11.7 career K/9 at the major league level and could prove to be a decent low-cost pickup for Pittsburgh.
Jan 31 - 1:58 PM

Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that while the Mets continue to talk to the Pirates about Josh Harrison, a free agent addition is more likely.

In other words, not much has changed here. The Mets have been linked to Harrison for quite some time, but they are reluctant to give up talent from what is already a thin farm system. Brandon Nimmo has been mentioned as a trade possibility, but the Mets are lacking in outfield depth. The Mets are believed to considering a free agent pool consisting of Todd Frazier, Neil Walker, and Eduardo Nunez, but Puma writes that we might not see movement on that front until "the bigger names are off the board."
Jan 29 - 9:04 AM

Pirates LHP Nik Turley was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for performance-enhancing substance Ipamorelin.

Turley was just claimed off waivers from the Twins in November, and now his Pirates debut will have to wait. He made his major league debut in 2017, posting an ugly 11.21 ERA in 10 appearances. His suspension will begin at the start of the season.
Jan 27 - 5:22 PM

Pirates signed RHP John Stilson to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

The 27-year-old hurler spent the 2017 season in the Blue Jays' organization where he posted a 3.19 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 51/22 K/BB ratio over 53 2/3 innings. There's a chance he could compete for a spot in the Bucs' bullpen with a strong showing in the spring.
Jan 27 - 9:43 AM

Mets designated LHP Josh Smoker for assignment.

The move clears a spot on the 40-man roster for the re-signing of Jose Reyes. Smoker, 29, has struck out 93 over 71 2/3 relief innings in the majors but has also walked 36 and posted a 5.02 ERA. Still, as a hard-throwing lefty that misses bats, there should be interest in him on waivers.
Jan 26 - 4:49 PM

Peter Gammons hears from one MLB general manager that the Pirates could keep Josh Harrison into the season.

Harrison recently requested a trade after the deals involving Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen, but the Pirates don't necessarily have a sense of urgency to deal him. In fact, Gammons was told by the GM that the trade request could make it more likely he sticks around rather than settling for the best deal right now. Of course, this could all change if the right offer comes along. Harrison is owed $10 million in 2018, with a $10.5 million club option (or $1 million buyout) for 2019 and an $11.5 million club option (or $500,000 buyout) for 2020.
Jan 23 - 9:50 AM

Pirates signed C Ryan Lavarnway to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Lavarnway appeared in six games with the Athletics last season and batted .239/.327/.341 with six homers over 82 games at the Triple-A level. The 30-year-old will function as minor league catching depth.
Jan 23 - 9:10 AM


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