The big news this week are the arb settlements. Everyone's status but LHP Tony Watson's has been settled. The Bucs are generally a “file and trail” club that doesn't negotiate after the arb deadline, but it's thought that Tony and the FO may still be talking turkey. There's not a huge gap – Watson filed for $6M and the Pirates countered at $5.6M (per Jon Heyman) so it should be negotiable.
Tony Watson pitching for a raise (2014 Topps Update)
Reaching deals before the 1PM Friday deadline for filing were SS Jordy Mercer, RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Juan Nicasio, RHP Jared Hughes, RHP Drew Hutchison and LHP Wade LeBlanc, who settled on his contract earlier in the off season. LHP Jeff Locke was non-tendered and signed off on a $3M agreement with Miami in December.
Cole, Nicasio and LeBlanc came in well under the expected price tag; the others were pretty much in the ballpark. The estimated salary costs per Matt Schwartz of MLB Trade Rumors were:
Tony Watson – $5.9M ($5.6-6.0M TBD; $3.5M in 2016)
Juan Nicasio – $4.6M (2017 – $3.65M; $3M in 2016)
Jared Hughes – $2.5M (2017 – $2.825M; $2.175 M in 2016)
Jordy Mercer – $4.0M (2017 – $4.325M; $2.075M in 2016)
Drew Hutchison – $2.2M (2017 – $2.3M; $2.2M in 2016)
Wade LeBlanc – $1.6M (2017 – $800K; $750K in 2016)
Gerrit Cole – $4.2M (2017 – $3.75M; $541K in 2016)
Other News & Notes:
Michael Klopman of Sports on Earth suggests three upgrades for the 2017 Pirates.
Brandon is on the comeback trail (2015 Topps)
Pittsburgh has invited 19 more players not on the 40-man roster to camp. Most are prospects (with the usual overload of catchers) and include old buds Casey Saddler and Brandon Cumpton. Prior NRI's announced were Ps Josh Lindblom, Dan Runzler & Jason Stoffel along with OF Eury Perez.
Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs has his list of the Bucs Top 21 Prospects and a pretty thorough report on each player.
The Twins have agreed to a minor-league deal with RHP Ryan Vogelsong. Vogey, 39, posted a 3-7/4.81 line in 24 appearances (14 starts) with the Pirates in 2016.
Reliever Trey Haley, 26, signed a minor league deal w/the Orioles. The Pirates signed him from the Cleveland organization last January and had a strong camp but was among the late cuts. He was sent to Indy where he didn't pan out with a 5.76 ERA and was removed from the 40-man in June. Haley had a fast-track resume prior to last season, so we'll see if he has a bounce-back in him.
Trey Haley is taking it to Texas (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
The Marlins signed C Ramon Cabrera to a minor league contract with an invite to camp. He was in the Pirates system until 2012 when he was traded to Detroit for P Andy Oliver. Ramon has spent some time with the Reds in the past two seasons, appearing in 56 games w/.264 BA.
Another guy who the Bucs may have had some interest in, RHP Tyson Ross, has signed with Texas for one-year/$6M with bonuses.
Pirates camp begins February 14th for pitchers and catchers; the rest of the squad is due in on the 17th.