LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Good morning, folks. Today on the menu is a special edition of Monday Morning Mop-Up Duty as esteemed colleague Rob Biertempfel be providing live Pirates-related updates here today and in this e-space throughout Winter Meetings.
The Pirates enter the meetings with a well-established list of needs. They’ve been one of the quietest potential 2014 playoff contenders to date.
*The Pirates really need a first baseman, preferably one who hits left-handed to pair with Gaby Sanchez. James Loney is thought to be among the Pirates’ top targets if not their top target here in Orlando.
*The Pirates are still awaiting word from AJ Burnett, and if Burnett is unwilling to return at a discounted price they would like to add a veteran arm. Sorry pipedreamers but David Price is a longshot more because of his projected arbitration costs (at least $26 million over the next two seasons) than anything else, but I don’t think the idea should be completely dismissed.
*Pirates GM Neal Huntington has told me the club is comfortable with the idea of Jordy Mercer as an everyday shortstop, Huntington said that doesn’t mean the club will not look at upgrading or supplementing the position, however.
*I don’t think right field is considered a priority position of need and I don’t think the club is considering a platoon partner for Pedro Alvarez.
The Pirates have been relatively quiet this offseason but were connected to a name early this morning on the first day of Winter Meetings here at the Dolphin and Swan Resort.
9:58 A.M. UPDATE:
Source tells me free agent pitcher Bronson Arroyo is very interested in #Pirates. I hear club is interested, too.
— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) December 9, 2013
ESPN’s Buster Olney also reported the Pirates will meet with Arroyo’s agent.
Arroyo is a bit of a surprise target since he does not fill some criteria prized by the Pirates: he does not get many ground balls, he does not strike out many batters, and his value is not at buy-low status. He’s also allowed 104 home runs over the last three seasons, though he would be helped by a change of parks. But what Arroyo does off is he is a durable innings eater, he doesn’t walk anyone and he’s regarded as a great clubhouse presence. Perhaps he could give Gerrit Cole, guitar lessons.
Arroyo went 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA (101 ERA+) and 1.15 WHIP in 202 innings across 32 starts last season. He thrown at least 199 innings in nine straight seasons.
Arroyo is reportedly seeking a two-year deal.
Here were his contract projections from CBSSports; Agent: 3 years, $36M.GM: 3 years, $30M. Me: 3 years, $35M.
That seems a bit steep to me. But if you’re willing to give Arroyo 10 per why not be open to paying Price … or Burnett?
I’ll be back with more updates later today so please check back.
10:53 a.m. UPDATE
Former Pirates right fielder Dave Parker was passed over by the Expansion Era committee for induction into the Hall of Fame. Parker was among a group of candidates who each received six or fewer votes. To get in the Hall, a candidate needed at least 12 of 16 votes from the committee.
Three former managers — Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre — were elected, all three unanimously. “It’s a stunner,” La Russa said of his election. Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement: “In careers of consistent excellence and incredible longevity, Bobby, Tony and Joe all left indelible impacts on our national pastime. For decades, these three individuals not only led great ballclubs, but instilled in their teams a brand of class and professionalism that baseball fans admired. It is fitting that Bobby, Tony and Joe will share our game’s highest honor together.”
The induction will be held July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y. Parker might get another shot at induction in three years, when the Expansion Era committee will next meet. Parker no longer is on the regular HOF ballot, which is voted upon by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
12:36 p.m. UPDATE
Cross Roy Halladay off any buy-low pitching wishlist you might have had. Halladay will retire after signing a one-day contract with the Blue Jays. Shoulder woes made for an abrupt end to the Halladay’s career.
12:56 p.m. UPDATE
Adam Lind had already been reported to be on the Pirates’ wishlist but FOX Sports adds Logan Morrison‘s name to that list.
Pirates discussing multiple trade options for first base vacancy, including Adam Lind and Logan Morrison, sources say. @FOXSports1
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 9, 2013
Morrison would make a lot of sense for the Pirates as a left-handed platoon partner who has upside. The Marlins signed Garrett Jones last week.
For his career Morrison has posted a .340 OBP and .446 slugging mark against right-handed pitching. But keep in mind he’s played in some awful home parks. And is a better road hitter (111 wRC+) than home hitter for his career (105), which is unusual.
1:16 P.M. UPDATE
If the Pirates want to leave Orlando with a big-ticket item, this guy is available
Report: Rangers willing to trade SS Elvis Andrus http://t.co/iaBoIdGjoS
— SI Wire (@SI_Wire) December 9, 2013
Andrus signed an 8-year, $120 million contract extension earlier this year, which is bit pricey for the Pirates but could also represent incredible value going forward.
2:11 p.m. UPDATE
I can confirm the Pirates contacted the Marlins last week about a possible trade for Logan Morrison, but my source described it as “mild interest, at least at this point.” No other names were tossed out, which would be the next step in setting up the framework for a trade.
3:17 p.m. UPDATE
One AL official believes the Pirates will try to deal from their bullpen surplus. Vin Mazzaro, Jeanmar Gomez, Stolmy Pimentel and Bryan Morris are out of club options.
5:45 p.m. UPDATE
Met with Neal Huntington a little while ago. The highlights:
*Right field is likely to be filled internally.
*Pirates are seeking first baseman, utility middle infielder and starting pitcher via trade or free agency. This list hasn’t changed since Oct. 10.
*The club is likely unwilling to sacrifice a draft pick for a free agent who has received a qualifying offer
*Huntington said the Pirates are still talking to AJ Burnett, who has still yet to make a decision.
*The Pirates will not be signing Tanaka (who thought they were?)
*Huntington feels the Pirates have a surpluses with relief pitching, stating pitching and prospect arms.