Francisco Cervelli Reportedly Could be on the Move

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Kelley L. Cox – USA Today Sports

Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says that Francisco Cervelli’s name has been coming up in conversations with people he has talked to in the industry. 

Cervelli was acquired by the Pirates from the New York Yankees in November of 2014. The 2015 season for Cervelli, his first as a starting catcher, was very productive, as he posted a .370 on base percentage, which was second best among National League backstops behind only Buster Posey. He also put up a career best 3.2 WAR.

The Pirates and Cervelli agreed to an extension in May of 2016. Since then, he has seen frequent trips to the disabled list. When healthy, Cervelli can display good on base ability, while being a terrific pitch framer behind the plate. Given the injury history however, especially the past couple seasons, that certainly will affect his trade value. Not to mention that he is owed $22 million for the next two years.






Pirates to Consider Adding a Fourth Outfielder

By Jason Shetler

Pirates GM Neal Huntington says he is considering adding a fourth outfielder to the club, either by trade or free agency, this according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

After a strong 2016 season as the Bucs fourth outfielder, Matt Joyce signed a two-year deal with the Oakland Athletics last offseason. With Josh Bell replacing John Jaso as the first baseman, the Pirates opted to go with Jaso as the fourth outfield option to begin 2017.

Defensively, Jaso was a disaster as the fourth outfielder for the Pirates this year. Combined with left field and right field, he registered a UZR/150 of -15.0, along with -7 Defensive Runs Saved. During the month of September, Jordan Luplow, the 2017 Pirates Minor League Player of the Year, assumed those duties. The notion appears to be that Huntington wants to add a fourth outfielder so that Luplow can receive everyday at-bats with AAA Indianapolis.







Jared Hughes Among Relievers Pirates are Interested in

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Andy Lyons – Getty Images

According to Lance Lysowski of DK Pittsburgh Sports, Jared Hughes is among the free agent relievers that the Pirates have shown interest in.

Hughes first joined the Pirates in 2011 as a September call up. During his six seasons in Pittsburgh, he posted a 2.82 ERA, while being one of the most groundball heavy relievers in baseball, putting up a 62% groundball rate in 313 games pitched.

Following a subpar 2016 campaign, Hughes was released by the Pirates in Spring Training of this year. He signed on with the Milwaukee Brewers the first week of April. Hughes performed better in 2017, as he put up a 3.02 ERA, along with a 3.93 Fielding Independent Pitching and a groundball rate of 62% in 67 appearances. In a surprising move, the Brewers non-tendered Hughes a couple weeks ago.






Bucco Nation Poll Question

By Jason Shetler

Mets Interested in Josh Harrison

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Gene J. Puskar – AP

The Mets are expressing interest in Josh Harrison, this according to Mets beat writer Marc Carig.

The Pirates had Harrison on the trade block last offseason, but following back-to-back subpar seasons offensively in 2015 and 2016, there was virtually no interest, mainly due to the amount he was making on his extension.

Harrison bounced back this year, as he put up a .771 OPS, while hitting a career high 16 homers. His defense remained solid at second base, posting a 1.1 dWAR, along with six Defensive Runs Saved. Overall, he had a 3.3 WAR and was named an All-Star for the second time. Harrison will be owed around $10.2 million next season, with a 2019 club option worth $10.5 million. The Pirates and Mets aren’t strangers to making an offseason trade, as both sides made the Neil Walker/Jon Niese swap about this time two years ago.





Felipe Rivero to Sign an Extension?

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Joshua Sarner – Icon Sportswire

Felipe Rivero told reporters at PiratesFest that he would open to signing a long-term contract, and added that his agent, Francis Marquez, will meet with the Pirates on Monday at the Winter Meetings.

After being acquired by the Pirates from the Washington Nationals in the Mark Melancon deal around the 2016 trade deadline, Rivero emerged as one of the most dominant relievers in 2017, posting a 1.67 ERA, a 258 ERA+ and a WHIP of 0.89 in 73 appearances. Despite the stellar numbers, he was somehow not named an All-Star. 

Rivero enters this offseason as arbitration eligible for the first time. The Pirates made the obvious decision to tender him last week. Just recently, Rivero dropped super agent Scott Boras. The reputation with Boras is not letting his clients sign long-term extensions, especially with small market clubs, so the Pirates chances of extending Rivero just got significantly better.





Pirates Sign Richard Rodriguez

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Mitchell Layton – Getty Images

The Pirates have announced that pitcher Richard Rodriguez has been signed to a minor league contract. He also received an invite to big league Spring Training. 

Rodriguez was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Houston Astros in 2010. During the 2015 season, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in a cash deal. Rodriguez pitched most of 2017 with the Orioles AAA club Norfolk, where he put up a 2.42 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and a K/9 of 10.2 in 42 appearances (including one start). He also displayed good control, with a 2.3 BB/9. Rodriguez got his first taste of the bigs as a September call up, allowing nine runs in 5.2 innings for the O’s. AAA Indianapolis is likely where Rodriguez will begin 2018.