The Latest Pirates Buzz
Photo: David Hague – Inside Pittsburgh Sports
Despite the Pedro Alvarez saga from the summer of 2008, Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington and super agent Scott Boras have a good relationship dating back to Huntington’s days in Cleveland.
Boras for the most part blames Pirates CEO Frank Coonelly for the Alvarez situation not Huntington.
This off-season Huntington is not shying away from Boras clients. In October it was reported by TIOPS baseball insider John Perrotto that the Pirates had an interest in Boras client Hank Blalock and later reported by Perrotto that pitcher Ron Villone, another Boras client, was of interest to Pittsburgh.
The Pirates interest in Boras clients is now up to four as the Pirates pursuit of outfielder Rick Ankiel has been no secret and Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported today that the Pirates have made an initial inquiry on Xavier Nady.
The Pirates renewed interest in Nady should not come as a surprise.
Nady enjoyed his time in Pittsburgh and some sources inside the organization claim that Nady was open to staying long-term.
Nady missed almost all of last season to Tommy John surgery on his elbow and like the Pirates always do, they’re exploring the possibility of getting Nady at a bargain price.
Looking into Nady though is a smart move by Neal Huntington. He can play RF and 1B.
*The Pirates will not sign Mets reliever J.J. Putz. The Pirates are among a number of teams expressing interest in Putz but the Pirates won’t come close to landing him.
The Pirates will likely sign a reliever from overseas such as Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi and a veteran like a Jamey Wright, Ron Villone or Rafael Perez if he becomes available.
The Pirates are looking for bargain basement deals on just about every player. They are active for sure but whether that amounts to “good signings” remains to be seen.
*The agent for short-stop Bobby Crosby has confirmed to me this afternoon that the Pirates are among 5-6 teams to inquire about Crosby.
Indications are Crosby is not interested in being a bench player. The Pirates have also been linked to utility man Jamey Carroll.
*Management is stressing for John Russell to make his team more aggressive next season. That’s one of the primary reasons Rick Ankiel is a top target for the Pirates.
Ankiel is believed to have drawn interest from up to 6 teams including the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners.
Pirates make additions to Baseball Operations Staff
The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced that Tyrone Brooks has been named Director of Baseball Operations, Mike Basso has been named Major League Scout and Toshi Nagahara has been named Assistant Athletic Trainer. The announcement was made by Pirates senior Vice President, General Manager Neal Huntington.
Brooks, 36, spent the last three seasons as a Professional Scout with the Cleveland Indians. Prior to joining the Cleveland organization, he spent 11 years working with the Atlanta Braves, most recently as their Director of Baseball Administration in 2006. He also served the club as its Director of Baseball Operations, Assistant Director of Player Personnel,Area Scouting Supervisor and Baseball Operations Assistant.
The 45-year-old Basso served the Blue Jays as their Manager at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2009 – his seventh season in theToronto organization. He was the club’s minor league coordinator of instruction in 2007 and 2008 after managing for four years (2003-06).
Prior to joining the Toronto organization, Basso spent seven seasons (1994-2000) as a coach and manager in the SanDiego farm system. He also worked for the Padres as their Advance Scout in 2001 and 2002. A catcher during his playing days, Basso was selected by San Diego in the 18th round of the 1986 June draft and spent nine seasons (1986-1994) in the Padres minor league system, advancing as high as the Triple-A level.
Nagahara will serve the Pirates as an Assistant Athletic Trainer and will be the primary interpreter for Japanese infielder Aki Iwamura. Nagahara spent the last two seasons in the same capacity with the Cleveland Indians. Prior to joining the Indians, he spent parts of four seasons in the Oakland organization from 2004-07 with Class-A Modesto and Triple-A Sacramento as a Strength & Conditioning Coach/Athletic Trainer.
In addition, the Pirates have promoted Kevan Graves to Assistant Director, Baseball Operations. Graves joined the organization as a baseball operations assistant in October, 2008.