Pirates decision to cut ties with reliever Matt Capps not a surprise

 

The word “surprising” kept coming up in news reports of the Pirates failing to tender closer Matt Capps a contract by the midnight Saturday deadline, allowing him to become a free agent. However, it really wasn’t a surprise. The Pirates shopped Capps aggressively at the winter meetings last week in Indianapolis and there were clear signs they would cut him loose if he did not agree to a contract on their terms. While general manager Neal Huntington had said in September and again in December that he planned to tender Capps, he never said so definitively and always left a hint of doubt in his words. Huntington is firmly part of the new wave of general managers who take into account statistical analysis as much as they do scouting in making decisions. One of the tenets of the sabermetricians is to never to overpay for a reliever because you rarelyRead More »

Ohlendorf impressive in 2-1 loss

 

By John Perrotto ST. LOUIS _ During the final days of spring training, a scout from another National League team was asked to identify the Pirates player who impressed him the most during the exhibition season. He answered Ross Ohlendorf without hesitation after watching the big right-hander post a fine 2.55 ERA in Grapefruit League play. ‚ÄúYou can just see it all coming together for him,‚Äù the scout said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs a big, strong guy with a good arm and a good head on his shoulders. He looks better than I‚Äôve ever seen him before. I think he‚Äôs going to be a handful for opposing hitters this season.‚Äù Ohlendorf certainly looked that way in his first start of the regular season Thursday at Busch Stadium, though he took a tough 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals and Chris Carpenter, who combined with two relievers on a one-hitter. Ohlendorf allowed twoRead More »

Pirates GM Neal Huntington “still waiting for relievers to step up”

 

By John Perrotto_The focus of the Pirates’ spring training camp has been the starting rotation but the bullpen is even more unsettled with the April 6 opener at St. Louis less than two weeks away. The rotation is 60 percent set with left-handers Paul Maholm and Zach Duke assured of spots along with right-hander Ian Snell while two jobs remain open in a three-man competition between Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf and Virgil Vasquez. Conversely, less than half of the seven bullpen jobs have been filled as the Pirates are still looking for four relievers to fill in behind closer Matt Capps, left-handed set-up man John Grabow and right-handed set-up man Tyler Yates. “Quite frankly, we’re, still waiting for people to step up,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “Nobody has really distinguished themselves.” Left-hander Sean Burnett appeared to be all

Reliever Sean Burnett will be apart of the opening day roster

 

By John Perrotto_ Much of the focus in the Pirates’ spring training camp has been on sorting out the starting rotation and there are two open spots with a little less three weeks remaining before opening day. Right-handers Jason Davis, Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf and Virgil Vasquez are the candidates to join left-handers Paul Maholm and Zach Duke and right-hander Zach Duke. The smart money says that

Wednesday’s Spring Training Report

 

Brian Kelly Live from Bradenton Reports the following The buzz around Spring training continues to be Nate McLouth who signed a three year – $15.75 contract yesterday. Management has gone into spring training with a open mind regarding Prospect 3B Neil Walker. Walker begins Spring Training #2 on the Major League depth chart behind 3B Andy LaRoche. Laroche is expected to be the Pirates opening day starter at third but the Pirates are not very high on him. They were active in free agency pursuing a veteran third baseman. Good opportunity for Walker to make a strong impression in Spring Training for a potential callup by mid-season. Walker has fared well so far. Another very good day for the Pirates

Spring Training Report: Pirates avoid arbitration with McLouth

 

Updated: 8:02 a.m. The Pirates have signed outfielder Nate McLouth to a three year contract, avoiding arbitration. Last season, McLouth hit .276 with 26 home runs and 94 RBI. The Pirates have made an offer to lefty reliever Will Ohman according to Jerry Crasnik of ESPN. Crasnik writes “Ohman, 31, one of the top relievers left on baseball’s free agent market, has major league offers in hand from the Pittsburgh Pirates, Florida Marlins and San Diego Padres but plans to continue discussions with three contending teams before making a decision on his destination for 2009, his agent said Monday.” The Pirates offer is believed to be in the $1.1 million range. The Pirates also remain interested in starting pitcher Pedro Martinez. The Pirates are expected to keep a close eye on Martinez during the WBC and may make an official offer after the Classic is over. The Mets have shutRead More »

Spring Training Report

 

Pirates catchers and pitchers have already arrived to Bradenton and a number of position players have arrived early including 2008 1st round draft Pedro Alvarez. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus released his top 100 minor league prospects with Pedro Alvarez coming in as Goldstein‚Äôs #4 prospect. Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is rated as the top minor league prospect in the majors. Two other Pirates prospects received some recognition. Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen came in at #25 and outfielder Jose Tabata #91. Alvarez who showed up to minicamp 20 lbs over his normal playing weight (235) is in good shape as the official start of training camp begins on Tuesday. Alvarez has been running the base pads well and his bat speed is impressive for a power hitter.¬†The Pirates seem very excited to see how Alvarez performs in Spring Training games which begin on February 25th. It is very early but theRead More »