PIRATES QUIETLY SHOPPING ALVAREZ
The rumblings of Pedro Alvarez not embracing a move to first base and not happy with the Pirates decision to make Josh Harrison their starting third baseman in 2015 were pretty much confirmed without Neal Huntington directly saying so in an appearance on MLB network Tuesday.
“Pedro is still committed to playing third base. He wants to play third base,” Huntington said.
Huntington later added that the plan “is for him to play first base,” as the Pirates at this point have no intentions of their being an open competition at third base.
The Pirates are said to fear a potential rift starting with Alvarez and the team has been “quietly” shopping Alvarez for a few weeks now to “specific” teams, one source put it.
— Francisco Liriano’s deal will become official once he passes a physical. “I think quite honestly if this comes to fruition, Francisco probably left money on the table to come back to Pittsburgh,” Huntington said on MLB Network. Huntington claimed that with the Pirates making playoffs the past two seasons, agents are coming to him, not the Pirates chasing players. “Not only is Francisco staying in Pittsburgh but we’re becoming a place where agents are calling us.”
— The Pirates are said to not be comfortable with the asking prices for a few other free agent starting pitchers, namely Edinson Volquez and Brett Anderson. Both are seeking $9-$10 million per season. It has the Pirates looking to address other needs.
— The Pirates see some similarities between Russell Martin two years ago and Francisco Cervelli. “Francisco receives well, blocks well,” Huntington said. “We think there’s some bat upside.”
— Huntington on A.J. Burnett: “We believe we’re going to see the A.J. from 2013”
— Tony Sanchez was released from his Winter Ball team after a horrid start to the season. He went 3-30 in 10 games.
— Huntington told reporters that Travis Snider has earned playing time at right field but the job is Gregory Polanco’s to lose going into spring training. “Going to give him every opportunity,” Huntington said of Polanco.