The Pittsburgh Pirates have lost free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd. Byrd has reached an agreement on a two year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, according to multiple reports. The deal is likely to come in around $14-$16 million over two years. Byrd was an excellent addition for the Pirates hitting .318/.357/.486 in 30 regular season games and batted .364/.391/.591 in the post-season. The team is said to have had interest in Byrd but a two year deal was believed to have been a non-starter for the team. MORE FREE AGENCY BUZZ The Pirates are not engaged in any substantive contract negotiations at this point with A.J. Burnett. Talks between the two sides have been minimal, a Pirates source says. The ball is in Burnett’s court to jumpstart negotiations. The Pirates will not make an attempt to resign Justin Morneau, the team informed Morneau prior to free agency beginning.
A.J. Burnett made $16.5 million in 2013. The Pirates, though, only paid the 36 year old pitcher $8 million of his $16.5 million salary with the Yankees picking up $8.5 million of it. Are the Pirates ready to nearly double what they were paying Burnett last season? That’s the million dollar question when it comes to Burnett’s future with the team. Pirate officials are anticipating a tough negotiation with the Pirates already expecting Burnett to seek around $15 million per season. The team does not plan to make Burnett a qualifying offer of $14.1 million. Burnett has floated around the retirement talk but few are buying it and believe he will seek one last big pay day. How high the Pirates are willing to go will be interesting with some high ranking officials tired of Burnett’s act and there’s also talk of Burnett not being the great teammate behind theRead More »
PIRATES SELECT AUSTIN MEADOWS The Pittsburgh Pirates have selected Outfielder Austin Meadows (6-3, 200) of Grayson High School with the 9th overall selection in the MLB draft. Meadows hit .535 with 4 home runs, 28 RBIs, 14 doubles and 1 triple this year. Meadows is one of the best high school bats in the draft and a great value for the Pirates at No. 9. Keith Law had Meadows rated as the No.4 prospect on his draft board and Baseball America ranked Meadows No. 5.
A growing sentiment among the fan base and even some baseball pundits is picking up in that the Pirates continue to play without there best 25 players and those frustrations are likely to continue as the Pirates have designated Justin Wilson and Kyle McPherson for assignment, while activating struggling reliever Chad Qualls and Daniel McCutchen. Qualls shouldn’t be on the 25-man roster and has reached the point in his career where he’s no longer a viable MLB reliever. While McPherson was impressive last night, he deserves to be in the minors due to his lack of experience at Triple-A but Justin Wilson is one of the Pirates best 25 players and should be on the MLB roster, as he has the ability to be a big factor in the bullpen and flashed that ability with three strikeouts in one inning last night. McPherson and Wilson can now not be recalled forRead More »
MORNING PIRATES BUZZ — Erik Bedard (5-10, 4.55 ERA) making his first start in 11 days, had a rebound start last night, pitching into the seventh inning, and Andrew McCutchen homered for the fifth time in six games and the Pirates (50-40) beat the Colorado Rockies 6-2 on Tuesday night to become the fifth team with at least 50 wins. As the Pirates look to add another starter via trade, Bedard has earned himself at least one more start as he went 6 2/3 innings, allowing 5 hits and 1 earned run, earning his first win since June 8th. Bedard had much better command of his fastball, which has been an issue for him of late. — Andrew McCutchen (.374 – 22 HR – 65 RBI) belted his 22nd home run of the season with a bomb in the 4th inning, 448 feet, the longest home run of the seasonRead More »
The Pittsburgh Pirates failed to sign first round pick Mark Appel, the No. 8 overall pick, before today’s 5:00 p.m. deadline. The Pirates will be guaranteed the No. 9 pick in next years draft as compensation for not signing Appel. As a junior this year at Stanford University, Appel went 10-1 with a 2.27 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 15 starts, including five complete games. Appelâs 127 strikeouts ranked first among all Pac-12 pitchers, while he also struck out at least 10 batters in eight of his 10 starts. He also became the first Stanford 10-game winner since Jeff Gilmore in 2005. The right hander from Stanford is making a calculated risk but draft insiders Keith Law of ESPN and Jim Callis of Baseball America have both said that Appel will be the best player available in the 2013 draft. Appel was the No. 1 player on some draft boardsRead More »
By John Perrotto The Pirates are in position to do a couple of things they haven’t accomplished in two decades — have a winner season and make the postseason. They’ve done neither since 1992 but are willing to pull out all the stops to end both slides this season. “I would say the Pirates are the most active team on the trade market right now,” said an assistant general manager from a major-league team out of contention and willing to trade. “They’re calling everybody. They’re asking about everybody.” Pirates owner Bob Nutting has given general manager Neal Huntington the OK to add to the payroll in an attempt to improve a team that is 48-37 and leads the National League Central by one game over Cincinnati and 2 1/2 over St. Louis. The Pirates have the second-best record in the NL behind Washington and fourth-best mark in the major leagues.Read More »
PIRATES MID-TERM GRADES By John Perrotto Wednesday was Independence Day for the vast majority of Americans. For Pirates’ fans, though, it had to seem like Christmas. The Pirates took over sole possession of first place in the National League Central and moved nine games above .500 with a 45-36 record. It’s all pretty amazing stuff for a franchise that is on a run of 19 consecutive losing seasons, the worst streak in major North American professional sports. The Pirates also reached the midway point of their season Wednesday and the second half starts tonight when they host the Houston Astros at PNC Park. So, it seems like a good time to hand out first-semester grades for position players with at least 65 plate appearances, starting pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched and relievers with at least 20 innings pitched. HITTERS Pedro Alvarez (.237-15-48) — Give the Pirates credit forRead More »