Jameson Taillon Will Get Second Opinion on Elbow

By Jason Shetler

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Jameson Taillon told Pirates Prospects Tim Williams that he will get a second opinion on his pitching elbow on Monday. A few days ago, Taillon experienced some discomfort in his elbow. He had an MRI done, which showed no ligament damage. The plan will be to have Taillon take a couple weeks off and then be re-evaluated to see if he’s ready to pitch. 

On Tuesday, the Pirates acquired Vance Worley from the Minnesota Twins. Worley could be used as an insurance policy in case Taillon is out for an extended period. 

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Pirates and Starling Marte Agree to Six-Year Extension

By Jason Shetler

Starling Marte

The Pirates have now locked up two/thirds of their outfield by agreeing to sign Starling Marte to a six-year extension worth $31 million, which will also include two club options. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the two sides were close to a deal, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports confirmed the agreement, and Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reported the amount of the extension.

Marte’s first full season in 2013 certainly did not disappoint. He gave the Pirates production at the top of the lineup that the club hadn’t seen in years, as he batted .280 with a .784 OPS, a 122 OPS+ and stole 41 bases in 135 games. He’s already established himself as one of the top defensive left fielders, posting a 10.2 UZR, a 1.8 dWAR, and finished runner-up for the Gold Glove award.

Just a great move all-around, as it shows the Pirates are committed to locking up their young talent, as well as knowing that Marte could become one of the best left fielders in all of baseball for years to come.

 

 

Pirates Acquire Vance Worley

By Jason Shetler

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The Pirates have announced that they have acquired pitcher Vance Worley from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for cash considerations.

Worley came up with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010 and was a regular in their rotation in 2011 and 2012. During his time in Philly, Worley posted a 3.50 ERA, a 1.35 WHIP and a 7.7 K/9 in 53 games pitched. Prior to last season, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins along with pitching prospect Trevor May for outfielder Ben Revere. Worley was the Twins Opening Day starter in 2013, but that was the only positive thing for him, as he put up a 7.21 ERA along with a 1.99 WHIP, and made just 10 starts, dealing with arm troubles. The Twins outrighted Worley this past week. 

The Pirates have said that Worley will report to minor league camp. I imagine he’ll stay in extended Spring Training and join the Indianapolis rotation at some point to provide depth. If Worley can keep himself healthy, it could turn out to be a good low-risk trade for the Bucs. 

 

 

 

 

 

Pirates Offered Starling Marte a Six-Year Extension

By Jason Shetler 

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There were reports over the weekend that the Pirates tried to extend Starling Marte on two different occasions during the offseason, but failed to reach a deal both times. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is now reporting that the Pirates offered a six-year extension to Marte. Heyman didn’t mention what the financial figures were.

The extension would have kept Marte in Pittsburgh through the 2020 season. It was going to cover his final minimum year, three arbitration years and two years of free agency. The Pirates were able to extend Andrew McCutchen to a six-year/$51.5 million deal prior to the 2012 season. The only difference is that McCutchen’s extension came the season before he became first time arbitration eligible, so the Pirates will have plenty of time to lock up Marte with his time frame. 

Pirates Reportedly Looking At Didi Gregorius

By Jason Shetler

According to FOX Sports Jon Morosi, the Pirates have had trade discussions involving Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius.

The 24-year-old Gregorius entered 2013 as a Baseball America Top 100 prospect. In his first full season for the Snakes, he batted .252 along with a .705 OPS in 103 games played. Defensively, he posted a -0.6 UZR and a 0.3 dWAR. Gregorius however does possess a strong arm and good range, so perhaps the accuracy on his throws have been an issue.

Despite the good performance at the plate from Jordy Mercer last season, he had his struggles in the field. If the Pirates were to bring in Gregorius, he could be an upgrade defensively at short. The move could also mean that Mercer would platoon at second base with Neil Walker, who continues to scuffle against left-handed pitching while Mercer has a 1.061 OPS vs southpaws.

Chris Owings has been named the Diamondbacks starting shortstop over Gregorius. There’s also been word that the Dbacks would like to add a starting pitcher with Patrick Corbin being lost for the season with Tommy John surgery, so a Gregorius trade seems very likely. The Pirates will have to part with one of their bullpen arms by the end of Spring Training. Jeanmar Gomez and Stolmy Pimentel have both been stretched out this Spring, so one of them could be a trade candidate to pitch in Arizona’s rotation.

 

 

 

 

 

Pirates Release Six Minor League Players

By Jason Shetler

According to John Dreker of Pirates Prospects, the Pirates have released six minor league players. Those players are pitchers Axel Diaz, Cesar Lopez, Eliecer Navarro, Elvin Ramirez, Kirk Singer and outfielder Carlos Mesa.

Diaz signed with the Pirates in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic. He spent three seasons in the organization where he posted a 4.48 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP and a 1.82 K/BB combined with the DSL Pirates, GCL Pirates and Jamestown.

Lopez was signed by the Pirates in 2010, and was the first Cuban pitcher signed under the Neal Huntington regime. He posted a 4.78 ERA along with a 1.15 WHIP and a 3.31 K/BB in three seasons with the GCL Pirates, State College, Jamestown, Bradenton and West Virginia. 

Navarro spent seven years in the Pirates system, and made it only as high as AA, posting a combined 3.28 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and a K/BB of 4.01 in 144 games pitched.

Ramirez was signed by the Pirates this past offseason. He pitched previously with the New York Mets and Los Angeles Angels, and spent some big league time with the Mets in 2012.

Singer was drafted by the Pirates in 2011 as a 29th round selection. He played the infield in 2011 and 2012 before converting to pitcher last season where he had a 5.84 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP in 11 appearances with the GCL Pirates and Bradenton.

Mesa played four seasons in the Pirates organization where he batted .222 and a .619 OPS in 206 games total with State College, West Virginia and Bradenton. He even appeared in two games with the Pirates during Spring Training.

Pirates Release Four Pitchers

By Jason Shetler

The Pirates announced the release of minor league pitchers Dalton Friend, Ethan Hollingsworth, Kevin Kleis and Zac Fuesser.

Friend was drafted by the Pirates as a 12th round selection in 2012. His first pro season, Friend posted a 2.45 ERA along with a 1.09 WHIP and a 4.25 K/BB in 18 games pitched for the State College Spikes. He missed all of 2013 with injury.

Hollingsworth was taken in the AAA Phase of the Rule 5 Draft prior to 2013 from the Kansas City Royals. He pitched in 26 games between Altoona and Indianapolis where he posted a 3.65 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and a K/BB of 2.52.

Kleis was selected by the Pirates in the 27th round of the 2010 MLB Draft. He spent four seasons in the organization, posting a 3.68 ERA, a 1.39 WHIP and a 1.69 K/BB in 50 games pitched total with the GCL Pirates, State College and Jamestown.

Fuesser was with the Pirates since 2009 when he was taken in the 34th round. He pitched five seasons in the system where he posted a 3.63 ERA, a 1.37 WHIP and a 2.28 K/BB in 120 games combined with the GCL Pirates, State College, West Virginia and Bradenton.