LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Recapping yesterday, I thought one of the more interesting things Neal Huntington said was the club was extremely hesitant to commit 18 percent of payroll to one player.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – All is mostly quiet thus far on the Day 2 front of the Winter Meetings. Nothing new on the Pirates’ end as of 12:30 p.m. They are still interested in acquiring a 1B and still have much interest in James Loney.
One thing of interest actually occurred very early on Day 2. Continue reading Live updates from Day 2 of the Winter Meetings (updated 5:20 p.m.)
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.
SOUTH HILLS – Grantland’s Jonah Keri released his top 50 Trade Value rankings yesterday, which are always an entertaining and thought-provoking read. I know some readers discussed this in yesterday’s thread but I wanted to focus on it here.
SOUTH HILLS – Yahoo! columnist Jeff Passan reported last night that the Pirates are one of seven teams to have interest in Tampa Bay ace David Price. That would shake up fanfest, no? The Mariners are thought to have the most interest in the power left-hander.
Any team would have interest in a 28-year-old lefty, who is 71-39 in his career with a 3.38 ERA. Any team would have interest in a former No. 1 overall pick whose control has improved (1.3 walks per nine) and who has rare velocity for a lefty with a plus breaking ball.
They Rays are motivated to move him because he is two years from free agency and he could earn $30 million over the next two years in arbitration. The Rays moved another pitcher with two years of control remaining in James Shields last season.
SOUTH HILLS – According to ESPN the Pirates’ top free agent target is first baseman James Loney, which seems like a pretty natural fit. Loney is left-handed, and can be paired with Gaby Sanchez in a platoon, and Loney is also a good defender and above average athlete for first base. Those are all characteristics valued by the Pirates.
Clubs that have talked to #Pirates believe James Loney emerging as their top choice at 1B. Heard they've also asked on Adam Lind & Moreland
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 4, 2013
Others in this space and elsewhere (Tim Williams over at Pirates Prospects) have thought Loney would be a natural fit for the Pirates. The fit makes sense even if it’s more solid than exciting, and so to might the dollars if they come down:
SOUTH HILLS – Given the lack of quality starting pitchers available and the soaring costs of average starting pitching on the free agent market, and given that the entire baseball world knew the Tigers had placed Doug Fister on the trade market, it was stunning to see how little the Washington Nationals gave up to acquire the underrated right-handed pitcher. If Fister was on the free agent market this offseason, he might very well be the No. 1 free agent pitching option.
The Nationals gave up two fringe roster pieces in Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol and their No. 5 prospect in Robbie Ray. It’s a price many teams in baseball, including the Pirates, could have matched or exceeded.
You might not realize just how good Fister is since he’s been lost in the shadow of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.
SOUTH HILLS – At first glance, the Pirates’ acquisition of Chris Stewart seems inconsequential but it’s a savvy move that takes advantage of a remaining market inefficiency, and improves the backup catching position. (Backup catchers play a lot).
The trade means the Pirates now possess two of the top six pitch-framers in baseball, according to the pitch-framing leaderboard over at CBSSports.com. Dan Fox strikes again.
Stewart ranked second last season in runs saved via pitch-framing – the ability to turn borderline balls into strike calls – and Russell Martin ranked sixth. The Pirates really value this skill, which is a paramount reason they were so quick to jump on Martin last offseason. The Pirates were also worried that this market inefficiency would soon be exploited and adopted by most major league teams, but apparently it’s still lacking traction. (We’ll have to see who the PTBNL is before fully assessing the deal).