Latest Pirates Buzz
*Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune-Review reports that contract talks for Neil Walker have cooled. A source told Biertempfel that the two sides currently are not engaged in discussions about a multi-year deal for Walker, but Biertempfel reports that the sides are likely to engage in talks again before spring training. The Pirates are said to be looking to make some noise before spring training in locking up at least one member of their young core.
The team was “deep in talks with Walker” in late August, when outfielder Jose Tabata signed a six-year, $14.75 million contract.
However, the team was trying to ink Walker to a bargain deal similar to Tabata. Something Walker and his agent Alan Hendricks is not going to go for. One industry source in the summer indicated that the Pirates were floating around numbers in the 5 year – $18 million range.
*MLB.com reported earlier this week that the Pirates have some level of interest in outfielder Josh Willingham and third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.
I touched based today with agent Matt Sosnickwho represents both players.
Sosnick refuted the report of the Pirates showing any interest in Willingham, telling me there’s “nothing to it”.
Willingham is eyeing a three year deal and while the Pirates will explore the market for a 4th outfielder, he doesn’t fit the profile.
Sosnick though did confirm that the Pirates have checked in on Kouzmanoff but said that he hasn’t heard from GM Neal Huntington in “sometime” regarding Kouzmanoff and that a couple other teams are showing much stronger interest.
The Pirates seeking a third baseman to battle Pedro Alvarez in spring training is well down on the list of their priorities.
*The Colorado Rockies are among the teams showing good interest in starter Paul Maholm. Colorado has been seen a logical landing spot for Maholm but the Rockies are not ready to move on Maholm as they have higher priorities such as Roy Oswalt.
*Agent Larry Renoylds believes there is some interest from the Pirates is discussing a long-term deal for closer Joel Hanrahan later this Winter. The Pirates though are waiting for the closer market to develop and could still entertain trade offers for Hanrahan as GM Neal Huntington has indicated he will listen on any player.
*Ryan Doumit expects to sign a one year deal worth more than $3 million per season in the next week or so. Doumit has received multiple offers and is looking for the best situation then hit the open market next off-season on a high note. All signs point to him signing in the American League.
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