Pittsburgh Pirates – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-04-24T18:01:04Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Nick Burdi Diagnosed With Strained Biceps Tendon, Flexor Mass]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156850 2019-04-23T16:36:44Z 2019-04-23T16:36:29Z April 23: ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweets some encouraging news following Burdi’s MRI. While the imaging did reveal strains in the right-hander’s biceps tendon and flexor mass, there’s no break or complete tear of anything in Burdi’s arm. He’ll be sidelined for an indefinite period of time, but it seems that he may have avoided the need for another surgery.

April 22: Pirates reliever Nick Burdi was removed from his appearance tonight after suffering an apparent arm injury. After throwing a pitch, he immediately fell to the mound and grabbed his biceps in obvious pain.

There’s no indication as of yet as to the seriousness of the injury, but the clubhouse reaction left no more cause for optimism than did the scene that unfolded on the field. As MLB.com’s Adam Berry reports (Twitter links), Burdi’s teammates described the situation as “heartbreaking” and “heart-wrenching” to watch.

For now, the organization has said only that the 26-year-old is dealing with pain in the elbow/biceps area. The club’s director of sports medicine, Todd Tomczyk, added that he and his staff are still “gathering information” to make a “definitive diagnosis.”

When he went down this evening, Burdi was in the midst of a brutal outing. But he had also shown immense promise in his first ten appearances of the season, compiling an outlandish 17:2 K/BB ratio in 8 1/3 innings with a 20.1% swinging-strike rate. With a 97+ mph fastball paired with a vicious slider, Burdi has the tools of a potential late-inning stalwart.

The talent, though, has never really been in question. Burdi was plucked in the second round of the 2014 draft; his brother, Zack Burdi, went in the late first round two years later. Both were expected to move quickly into MLB bullpens, but unfortunately instead shared overlapping Tommy John rehab stints.

When the Twins left (Nick) Burdi unprotected in the 2017 Rule 5 draft, the Pirates pounced. They shipped international money to the Phillies, who used their position with the third overall selection to make the selection. Burdi spent much of 2018 rehabbing before briefly ascending to the majors late last year.

The Bucs still haven’t had Burdi on the active roster long enough to secure his rights permanently. He’s at 56 days of active service, 34 shy of the 90-day minimum. If this injury proves to require a lengthy absence, the Pirates can simply shift Burdi to the 60-day injured list, though roster pressures would nevertheless mount in the offseason. In that case, Burdi will still have accrued 2 full seasons of MLB service by the end of the 2019 campaign, though hardly in the manner he’d have hoped.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pirates Activate Gregory Polanco, Option Steven Brault]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156840 2019-04-23T01:23:16Z 2019-04-23T01:14:43Z We’re a smidge late on this one, as he’s already in action tonight, but it’s nevertheless worth highlighting that the Pirates have activated outfielder Gregory Polanco. To create active roster space, the club optioned Steven Brault.

When Polanco underwent surgery late last season with a torn shoulder labrum, it wasn’t entirely clear how long he’d be out. Indeed, that’s the sort of injury that can hamper a player even when he is back on the field.

As it turns out, Polanco was able to return to the majors at the early end of the estimates. (And he’s two-for-three with a walk already this evening.) That’s great news for his long-term outlook; clearly, he healed quickly and did not experience any setbacks or new issues during his rehab work.

It’s also critically important for the Bucs’ 2019 hopes. With Starling Marte now sidelined indefinitely, joining Corey Dickerson and Lonnie Chisenhall on the injured list, the outfield was badly in need of reinforcement.

The 27-year-old Polanco had an up-and-down showing in 2018, but ended the campaign with a career-best .254/.340/.499 slash and 23 long balls over 535 plate appearances. That’s the sort of output the Pittsburgh organization had long hoped to receive. Whether Polanco can pick up where he left off will have significant bearing on the Pirates’ ability to maintain a narrow early lead in a hotly contested NL Central.

As for Brault, he has been utilized mostly in a relief capacity of late but will be stretched out at Triple-A, manager Clint Hurdle told reporters including Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic (Twitter link). The 26-year-old hadn’t been used much at all in the early going. He is now sitting on 1.110 years of MLB service, meaning that he still needs 62 more days of MLB action this year to enter a new service class by season’s end.

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George Miller <![CDATA[Poll: Which Early-Season Surprises Are For Real?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156773 2019-04-22T04:26:40Z 2019-04-22T04:25:30Z As we approach the one-month mark of the young 2019 season, the MLB standings are starting to take shape, with fast starters trying to separate from the pack and rebuilding teams falling behind. With that said, the current slate of division leaders features some surprises. Notably, preseason favorites like the Yankees and Red Sox have encountered considerable adversity, while juggernauts like the Dodgers and Astros have thus far met expectations. Meanwhile, a number of teams that received less attention as potential contenders have found themselves climbing MLB’s rankings. Power surges in Seattle and Minnesota have carried the Mariners and Twins to the top of AL’s West and Central divisions, respectively. Elite run prevention in Pittsburgh has allowed the Pirates to flourish in the hyper-competitive NL Central. An injection of youthful energy has driven the Padres to within striking distance of the powerhouse Dodgers. Let’s examine these upstart clubs and look ahead to their outlook for the rest of the season.

The Mariners made headlines throughout the offseason, but often for the wrong reasons. General manager Jerry Dipoto spent the winter shipping off nearly every Major Leaguer with value, and now fields a team that only vaguely resembles the one that won 89 games in 2018. Edwin Diaz, Robinson Cano, Jean Segura, and James Paxton were all dealt to the East Coast. Last season’s iteration of the Mariners was notorious for its unsustainable first-half performance, repeatedly winning one-run games, often thanks to the heroics of Edwin Diaz. In 2019, the story is of a different flavor, though skeptics may once again challenge the sustainability of April’s returns. This year’s team is slugging home runs at a historic rate, including a streak of 20 games in which the team hit at least one round-tripper. The 2019 Mariners have belted 56 home runs, 12 more than the next closest team, the Dodgers. Tim Beckham and Domingo Santana are churning out extra-base hits, and Mitch Haniger is rising to stardom. Still, the Astros are looming, and a spot in the AL Wild Card will not come easy, with sleeping giants in the AL East working through early adversity–to say nothing of the undeniable Rays.

In a division that has all the makings of a bloodbath, many might have counted out the Pirates after an uninspired offseason: whereas rivals’ offseasons were highlighted by flashy additions like Paul Goldschmidt, Yasiel Puig, and Yasmani Grandal, the Pirates were quiet in the winter, with names like Lonnie Chisenhall and Erik Gonzalez headlining the team’s moves. However, it has quickly become clear that the 12-7 Pirates boast one of the Majors’ best pitching staffs. Behind Jameson Taillon, Trevor Williams has emerged as an automatic quality start every outing. Meanwhile, Joe Musgrove is showing off the dynamic stuff that made him the centerpiece in the Gerrit Cole trade, and Jordan Lyles has been a pleasant surprise to round out the rotation. Felipe Vazquez is dynamite in the late innings, and Richard Rodriguez showed promise last season as a high-leverage option, though the bullpen is somewhat shaky beyond that combination. On offense, things are less peachy, but Josh Bell is turning heads by coupling prodigious power with a keen batting eye. Again, the NL Central will provide no shortage of resistance, but a starting rotation of this caliber should keep the Pirates in more than their fair share of games.

With the last three seasons resembling a roller coaster ride, the Twins entered the offseason hoping to turn a corner. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine set out with essentially blank future payroll, capitalizing on that flexibility by bringing aboard veterans like Nelson Cruz, Marwin Gonzalez, and Jonathan Schoop to bolster a group of young position players that the Twins hope will be galvanized by rookie manager Rocco Baldelli. Jorge Polanco, fresh off a spring contract extension, has provided encouraging production from the shortstop position, and Eddie Rosario is blasting home runs at an impressive rate. Byron Buxton appears to have unlocked the potential that made him a top prospect, and Jose Berrios is entering bona fide ace territory. The pitching appears much improved from years’ past, with a bullpen headed by Taylor Rogers, who belongs in conversations with the league’s elite relief arms. This team may have the most attainable path to October baseball, playing in a weak division where their primary competition is the Indians, a team that has at times appeared vulnerable in 2019.

The Padres thrust themselves into the conversation for the postseason when general manager A.J. Preller and company added Manny Machado to the mix in a franchise-altering move. The team doubled down when the front office broke the mold by breaking camp with top prospects Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack on the Opening Day roster. Those moves have paid massive dividends thus far, with Tatis forcing his way into the national spotlight, displaying a five-tool skillset. The club’s rotation of young outfielders is launching homers, and the anonymous bullpen has quietly been one of the best in baseball dating back to last season. Meanwhile, with a host of young starters comprising the rotation, the possibility of a Dallas Keuchel addition remains on the table–a move that would emphatically declare the Friars’ intention to make a postseason push. At the top of the NL West, the Dodgers represent a daunting giant to topple, and the rest of the National League features no shortage of contending teams, but the Padres’ spunk might lead to meaningful autumn baseball for the first time in nearly a decade.

While there are months of baseball left to play, trades to be made, injuries to work around, and breakouts to emerge, the games played in March and April are no less important than those in September. Early-season results can lay the groundwork for what’s to come. Which of the aforementioned blossoming clubs are best positioned to sustain their success and exceed expectations?

(Poll link for app users)

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Pirates Notes: Marte, Dickerson, Polanco, Diaz, Stallings]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156735 2019-04-21T21:13:10Z 2019-04-21T21:11:07Z
  • Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington updated the media (including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) on the status of several injured Bucs players.  A collision between Starling Marte and Erik Gonzalez during Friday’s sent both men to the injured list, with Gonzalez on the 60-day IL with a broken collarbone and Marte to the 10-day IL with abdominal wall and quadriceps bruises.  While Marte has the shorter timeline on paper, Huntington wasn’t certain when Marte could be back in action.  Corey Dickerson isn’t yet ready for a minor league rehab assignment as he recovers from a shoulder strain, while Gregory Polanco (labrum surgery) could potentially make his season debut sometime this week.
    • Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington updated the media (including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) on the status of several injured Bucs players.  A collision between Starling Marte and Erik Gonzalez during Friday’s sent both men to the injured list, with Gonzalez on the 60-day IL with a broken collarbone and Marte to the 10-day IL with abdominal wall and quadriceps bruises.  While Marte has the shorter timeline on paper, Huntington wasn’t certain when Marte could be back in action.  Corey Dickerson isn’t yet ready for a minor league rehab assignment as he recovers from a shoulder strain, while Gregory Polanco (labrum surgery) could potentially make his season debut sometime this week.
    • In other Pirates injury news, the team placed catcher Jacob Stallings on the 10-day IL with a cervical neck strain.  Stallings’ roster spot will be filled by Einar Diaz, who was activated off the IL after recovering from a virus that sidelined him for two weeks’ worth of Spring Training action.
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    Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Injury/Rehab Notes: D. Duffy, Honeywell, Chisenhall]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156636 2019-04-20T20:48:29Z 2019-04-20T19:28:38Z Danny Duffy is scheduled to make what could be his final rehab appearance tonight for AA-Northwest Arkansas, writes the Kansas City Star’s Lynn Worthy. Though the 30-year-old had initially expressed interest in returning to the club as a reliever, GM Dayton Moore prefers the lefty return to a patchwork rotation: “That’s the natural question to ask for a lot of reasons as we’re looking for more consistency in our bullpen and you want to put quality arms in the back end, but we’ve gotta have guys that can start. We’ve gotta have guys that can go out there and set the tone every fifth day. We’ll be open-minded as we go forward.” Both units are again in shambles for a struggling Royals club, though the nightmare bullpen – last in the AL in all relevant park-adjusted metrics – is arguably in more dire need. Duffy’s 2018 season was his worst in years, but the eight-year MLB vet remains far and away the most talented arm on the 12-man Royal staff.

    In more injury and rehab news from around the game…

    • Rays top prospect Brent Honeywell, on the mend from a February 2018 Tommy John surgery, couldn’t make it through his first start in extended spring training without a setback, Eduardo Encina of the Tampa Bay Times was among those to report. The 24-year-old, who was on track for a late-May/early-June return to competition, felt soreness in his forearm, the same symptom that was a surgery precursor 14 months ago. The team was quick to note that it’s “fairly common” for TJ rehabbers to experience similar issues, though the thinly-veiled unease wasn’t hard to detect. Honeywell be shut down indefinitely for the time being, though there’s no word on whether or not the club will ask him to shelve his said-to-be arm-shredding screwball, which has baffled minor leaguers high and low throughout his professional tenure.
    • The Pirates lost another outfielder to injury yesterday in center fielder Starling Marte, the club’s fourth in an early-season string of maladies at the positions. Offseason acquisition Lonnie Chisenhall, though, is finally on the mend: the 30-year-old began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Indianapolis yesterday, and appears set to rejoin the club in the coming days.  The oft-injured lefty will apparently see time at third base and first base, in addition to the corner outfield spots, writes MLB.com’s Adam Berry, and will look to add his much-improved bat (128 wRC+ over his last 365 MLB PA) to a surging Pirate club.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Pirates Select Bryan Reynolds, Recall Cole Tucker, Place Starling Marte On 10-Day IL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156624 2019-04-20T18:48:27Z 2019-04-20T18:46:55Z 1:45 pm: Per a team release, Marte will hit the 10-day IL with an “abdominal wall contusion,” while Gonzalez will be placed on the 60-day IL with a fractured left clavicle.

    11:57 am:The Pirates have recalled shortstop Cole Tucker and selected the contract of outfielder Bryan Reynolds, adding both to the 25-man roster, the team announced. Reynolds will take the final remaining spot on Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster. There has been no corresponding roster moves announced, but it’s been widely speculated that Starling Marte and Erik Gonzalez may both be headed to the IL after their collision in last night’s ballgame.

    Fangraphs puts Tucker and Reynolds as the #5 and #9 ranked prospects, respectively. Both will be making their major league debuts after strong showings in Spring Training this year. Tucker, 22, hit .259/.333/.356 in Double-A last year, but he’s torn his way through the Arizona Fall League, Spring Training, and his first thirteen games with Triple-A Indianapolis so far this season, where he was hitting a robust .333/.415/.579 in 66 plate appearances.

    Reynolds, you may remember, joined the Pirates as part of the Andrew McCutchen trade. As MLB.com’s Adam Berry points out (via Twitter), the Pirates 25-man roster is now populated by the Pirates’ returns from the McCutchen and Gerrit Cole trades, with Michael Feliz being the only piece from either deal not currently in Pittsburgh. Kyle Crick recently returned from the injured list, Jason Martin is hitting .333/.391/.429 in limited playing time in left, Colin Moran platoons at third, and Joe Musgrove ably holds down a rotation spot for the Pirates.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tucker Unlikely To Be Up Before June?]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156439 2019-04-18T02:37:11Z 2019-04-18T02:37:11Z
  • The Pirates’ lack of a move to truly address shortstop this offseason has led to some early questions at the position, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette addresses in his latest mailbag column. Trade acquisition Erik Gonzalez is hitting just .217/.308/.304 through 54 plate appearances, while prospect Kevin Newman has made a pair of errors in 17 innings a year after grading poorly there in a small sample of 182 innings. Brink notes that Cole Tucker could be a consideration at some point, but he likely won’t be promoted until he’s past the potential cutoff for Super Two status in mid June. Brink also notes that moving Jung Ho Kang to shortstop and playing Colin Moran at third base full time doesn’t appear to be in the cards now. He goes on to look ahead to next year’s free-agent market as well as Tyler Glasnow’s success in Tampa Bay in a column that has plenty of interesting info for Buccos fans.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLB Announces Archer, Puig Suspensions]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=155856 2019-04-14T14:52:34Z 2019-04-14T14:52:10Z APRIL 14: Archer will begin serving his five-game suspension today, Adam Berry of MLB.com tweets.

    APRIL 9: Major League Baseball announced several suspensions today arising out of a review of Sunday’s bench-clearing brawl between the Pirates and Reds. You can take your own look at the incident in question right here.

    Pittsburgh right-hander Chris Archer was hit with a five-game ban, with the league determining that he intentionally threw at an opposing player (Derek Dietrich). Cincinnati outfielder Yasiel Puig received a two-game suspension while skipper David Bell will sit out one contest.

    All of the punishments also came with undisclosed fines. It is not yet clear whether Archer will appeal, but Puig and Bell are planning to begin serving their bans beginning with this evening’s contest.

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    Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Rehab Notes: Polanco, Kershaw, Taylor]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=155643 2019-04-06T21:09:49Z 2019-04-06T21:09:49Z A grueling seven-month rehab process is finally nearing its end for Gregory Polanco, reports MLB.com’s Adam Berry, as the Pirates outfielder is set to begin a rehab assignment tomorrow for High-A Bradenton. The initial rehab outlook for the torn labrum on Polanco’s left shoulder was seven to nine months, so even a full 20-day rehab stay will have him set to return on the short end of the timeframe. The 27-year-old’s imminent return will be manna from the proverbial heaven for the run-starved Pirates, who’ve already lost outfielders Corey Dickerson and Lonnie Chisenhall to injuries at the season’s outset. Polanco’s status as a perennial breakout candidate finally came to fruition last year, as the big lefty slashed a career-best .254/.340/.499 (123 wRC+) in 130 games before suffering the injury in early September. His hard-hit rate, which had dipped to a shockingly pedestrian 25.9% in 2017, jumped nearly nine percentage points, and the newfound plate discipline he exhibited reaped huge benefits.

    In further rehab news from around the game…

    • Clayton Kershaw’s dominant rehab performance on minor-league Opening Night doesn’t mean he’s ready for the show, writes Bill Plunkett of the OC Register. The three-time Cy Young award winner will need at least another rehab outing – this one in the 75-80 pitch range – before rejoining the big club in the coming weeks. Dampening the much-needed flames throughout the outing were the stadium’s radar gun readouts, which reportedly had the seven-time all-star sitting at a frightening 88-91 MPH with the fastball. A career-low 90.9 MPH average fastball velocity in ’18 led to the lefty’s lowest strikeout rate since his rookie season of 2008, and the once-untouchable ace was again vulnerable to the longball. The club may not need a halcyon Kershaw to contend for the pennant, and may not need him at all to run through a sloppy NL West. Still, even a compromised version of the lefty should be quite effective, and the Dodgers, who doubled down on their substantial investment this offseason, will continue to hold out out hope for the ace of seasons past.
    • Per Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic, Nationals outfielder Michael A. Taylor will play seven innings in a rehab game today. It’s good news for the Nationals, who expected the extra OF to miss “significant time” after he sprained his knee and hip mid-March. There seems to be precious little playing time in the Nats outfield for Taylor, who followed up a solid 2017 season with a .227/.287/.357 stinker last year. Strikeouts have long been an issue for the speedy centerfielder, who’s posted a K rate of 30% or higher in each of his four major-league seasons.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Pirates Place Kyle Crick On 10-Day IL, Recall OF Jason Martin]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=155598 2019-04-06T14:52:11Z 2019-04-06T13:40:42Z Yesterday, the Pirates placed right-hander Kyle Crick on the 10-day IL, retroactive to April 4th. Outfielder Jason Martin was recalled to take his place on the 25-man roster.

    Crick is suffering from right triceps tightness after making just two relief appearances this season. A former first round pick of the Giants, Crick joined the Pirates before last season as part of the Andrew McCutchen trade. While he may not be a household name, Crick was an effective piece for the Pittsburgh bullpen after being called up in mid-April.  Appearing in 64 games, Crick went 3-2 with a 2.39 ERA (3.14 FIP, 4.00 xFIP) across 60 1/3 innings – good for exactly 1.0 fWAR. He throws a 95.8 mph heater, augmented with a hard-driving sinker and a slow-down slider, effectively used to put away right-handed batters last season (44.4 K%, 50% whiff rate).

    He figured to serve in a primary setup role after tallying 16 holds last year, second on the team to only Edgar Santana, who is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Trade deadline acquisition Keone Kela will be relied upon even more heavily in his stead to set up closer Felipe Vasquez. Elsewhere in the pen, tule 5 pick Nick Burdi is getting looks early this season, while Richard Rodriguez will claim whatever high leverage innings aren’t taken by Kela/Vasquez. The Pirates bullpen was generally middle of the pack last season, finishing 14th in ERA, 12th in xFIP and 14th in fWAR.

    Taking Crick’s roster spot is outfielder Jason Martin, who will make his major league debut. Martin, 23, came over in the Gerrit Cole trade. He ranked 24th on Fangraphs’ list of top Pirates prospects coming into this season. With a roughly even split between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018, Martin hit a combined .274/.337/.429, though with a stark difference between the levels. After raking in Double-A to the tune of .325/.392/.522, Martin hit only .211/.270/.319 in Indianapolis. While he’s being pressed into duty with the big league club a little earlier than the Pirates likely hoped, he had a strong spring, and they are definitely in need of outfield depth after injures to Gregory Polanco, Lonnie Chisenhall and Corey Dickerson.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pirates Place Corey Dickerson On 10-Day IL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=155502 2019-04-04T20:39:42Z 2019-04-04T20:38:58Z The Pirates have placed outfielder Corey Dickerson on the 10-day injured list, per a club announcement. A right posterior shoulder strain is the cause of the placement.

    It’s not entirely clear what kind of absence is to be anticipated. Dickerson will cease throwing for at least ten days, according to Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic (Twitter link). Whether there’s any possibility of an activation after the minimum absence isn’t known.

    Righty Jordan Lyles was activated from his own season-opening IL stint to take the open roster spot. He’ll step into the rotation, but obviously won’t be much help to a lineup that is now missing another of its best bats.

    For now, the Bucs won’t add another outfielder to the active roster, preferring instead to lean on Melky Cabrera, JB Shuck and Pablo Reyes in the corners. Infielders Colin Moran and Kevin Newman are each getting some preparatory work in the outfield in case they’re needed, MLB.com’s Adam Berry notes on Twitter.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees Acquire Jake Barrett]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=155498 2019-04-05T00:10:12Z 2019-04-04T18:40:57Z The Yankees announced today that they have claimed righty Jake Barrett off waivers from the Pirates. Fellow right-hander Ben Heller was shifted to the 60-day injured  list while he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery.

    Barrett already spent the offseason bouncing between rosters; now he’s doing so again to open the season. He’ll start things off at Triple-A with the New York organization, where he’ll represent a depth option should a need arise in the big league pen.

    As we’ve now discussed several times in recent months, Barrett is looking to rediscover the form he showed back in 2016, when as a 24-year-old rookie, he gave the Diamondbacks 59 1/3 innings of 3.49 ERA ball with nearly a strikeout per inning. He’s posted a 5.03 ERA in 34 big league innings since that time and spent most of 2018 at Triple-A, pitching to a 2.87 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 over 53 1/3 innings.

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    Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Rays Acquire Aaron Slegers From Pirates]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=155047 2019-03-30T20:32:26Z 2019-03-30T20:19:33Z Per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays have acquired righty Aaron Slegers from the Pirates for cash considerations. To make room on the 40-man, Tampa has transferred lefty Anthony Banda to the 60-day IL.

    Slegers, 26, was designated for assignment Thursday by the Pirates after being claimed off waivers from Minnesota in January. At a towering 6 foot 10, Slegers stands as one of the tallest pitchers in MLB history; despite the relative enormity, though, he’s not a fireballer: the longtime Twin’s averaged just 90.3 MPH on the four-seam in his brief MLB career thus far.

    Deployed mostly as a starter during his six-year minor-league career with Minnesota, the Indiana product consistently struggled to miss bats, cratering to a caeeer-low 6.01 K/9 in 15 starts with Triple-A Rochester last season. He didn’t crack the organization’s top 30 prospects, per Baseball America, at any point during his tenure with the club.

    The Rays will assign Slegers to Triple-A Durham, the team announced immediately, where he’ll slot in with a host of capable others in offering starter (or post-opener) depth for the parent club.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pirates Place Lonnie Chisenhall On Injured List, Select Contract Of Melky Cabrera]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=154855 2019-03-28T19:35:34Z 2019-03-28T19:35:28Z 2:33pm: Bucs trainer Todd Tomczyk told reporters, including Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic (Twitter link), that it’s “inaccurate right now” to suggest Chisenhall will miss four-to-six weeks. The issue appears to be in his finger; for the time being, he’ll be shut down for ten days before being reevaluated.

    10:21am: The Pittsburgh org has now announced the rest of its roster moves, as MLB.com’s Adam Berry covers (Twitter links). Jordan Lyles will also open the season with an IL stint owing to discomfort in his right side. He’ll be joined there by fellow reliever Dovydas Neverauskas, catcher Elias Diaz, corner infielder/outfielder Jose Osuna, and Polanco.

    The club will indeed add Shuck, Cabrera, and lefty Francisco Liriano to the 40-man. To create roster space, righty Edgar Santana was placed on the 60-day IL while recovering from Tommy John surgery and the team designated relievers Jake Barrett and Aaron Slegers for assignment.

    10:09am: Pirates outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall has been diagnosed with a broken hand, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). He’s expected to miss four to six weeks of action to open the season. The team has also announced it’s Opening Day roster, which as expected includes veteran outfielder Melky Cabrera.

    It’s a tough-luck development for the 30-year-old, who was hit by a pitch late in camp. This is hardly the way he hoped to begin an effort at a bounceback season after an injury-marred pair of seasons.

    Chisenhall inked a one-year, $2.75MM deal with the Bucs over the winter. The hope was that he’d serve as the primary option in right field while Gregory Polanco is working back to full health. Instead, he’ll have to do the same before he can contribute.

    To open the year, at least, Cabrera will get a run instead in the corner outfield. It seems he’ll be joined in the mix by JB Shuck, another minor-league signee who spent camp with the Pittsburgh organization, though that has yet to be announced.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Pirates To Add Francisco Liriano, Melky Cabrera To Opening Day Roster]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=154179 2019-03-23T15:25:31Z 2019-03-23T14:56:02Z The Pirates have announced that left-hander Francisco Liriano and outfielder Melky Cabrera will be on the team’s 25-man roster for Opening Day.  (MLB.com’s Adam Berry was among those to report the news.)  Since both players are in camp on minor league contracts, the Bucs will still need to make some room on their 40-man roster.  Only one more spot will need to be created, as Edgar Santana is already headed for the 60-day injured list after undergoing Tommy John surgery last September.

    The news means that Liriano will officially make his return to the Pirates, after previously pitching for the club from 2013-16.  Liriano will become the primary left-handed option in the Pittsburgh bullpen, with closer Felipe Vazquez currently the only other southpaw projected by Roster Resource for the 25-man roster.  Steven Brault is the only other lefty on the 40-man roster, so Liriano clearly had opportunity to win himself a job.

    Liriano has primarily worked as a starter throughout his 13 years in the big leagues, and it’s possible he could still be some action as an emergency starter or long man for Pittsburgh this year.  At the moment, however, the 35-year-old looks to be primarily used against left-handed hitters, as Lirano has continued to excel against same-sided hitters in recent years even as his effectiveness against right-handed batters has declined.  In 2017, Liriano worked exclusively out of the bullpen for the Astros after a deadline trade from the Blue Jays, and Liriano served as a solid bullpen piece down the stretch and during Houston’s World Series run.

    With Gregory Polanco sidelined for the first part of the season, the Bucs were in need of extra outfield depth beyond starting center fielder Starling Marte and left fielder Corey Dickerson.  The switch-hitting Cabrera will balance out the left-handed hitting Lonnie Chisenhall in right field, and Cabrera could also spell Dickerson against some southpaws.  Cabrera isn’t far removed from a .296/.345/.455 performance over 646 PA with the White Sox in 2016, though the 34-year-old has been roughly a league-average hitter in 2015 and 2017-18.

    As per the terms of the two minor league contracts, Liriano will earn $1.8MM in guaranteed money for making the Pirates’ roster, while Cabrera will earn $1.15MM.  Both players also have more available in incentive bonuses.

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