Take heart – the Pirates equipment trucks rolled out of PNC Park Monday to set up shop in Florida. Baseball is back in season and the news is starting to pick up…
Pittsburgh acquired INF Phil Gosselin from Arizona (they had just DFA'ed him) for RHP Frank Duncan. Gosselin is a utility guy who plays mainly 2B & the infield corners (he's not a S-Rod clone) with a good stick, hitting .277 last season and .283 lifetime. Phil has two options left, so the Bucs can stow him at Indy to start the campaign if he's not needed as JHK insurance; there are a handful of pretty bad outcomes possible in Kang's case. Duncan is a 25-year-old sinkerball tosser who went 12-8/2.34 between Altoona and Indy. While the jury is still out on his future ceiling, it appears Duncan was caught in a back-end logjam of prospects. It also looks like the out-of-options Alen Hanson is gonna have to step it up in camp. To clear a 40-man roster spot for Gosselin, the Pirates DFA'ed RHP Nefi Ogando.
Phil Gosselin (image via mlb.com)
The Pirates took on some bullpen depth by adding RHP Pat Light from the Twins for cash/PTBNL. Light, 25, is a hard-throwing but strike-challenged guy who made his MLB debut last season. The Pirates DFA'ed Lisalverto Bonilla; both pitchers (if Bonilla gets through waivers) are projected to start the year at AAA Indy.
Jung Ho Kang will stand trial on DUI charges on February 22nd in South Korea. So we'll see what the courts hand down, how the MLB/Pirates will treat his case (Treatment? Suspension? Both?) and if his third DUI will affect his work visa.
USA Today thinks the 2017 Buccos are an 81-81 team. PECOTA via Baseball Prospectus agrees; they have the Pirates at 80 wins. Reno touts have more faith; they set the Pirates over-under at 85-1/2 wins.
Cliff Corcoran of Sports on Earth takes a look at the new Pirate OF alignment and likes it. He also tosses in what he feels were the best Bucco outfields and the five best outfields of his time.
Fran will add some amore to the Italian team (image Player's Tribute Snapchat)
Bucco WBC participants and reserves: Andrew McCutchen (USA), Gregory Polanco & Starling Marte (Dominican), Fran Cervelli (Italy) and minor-league 3B Eric Wood (Canada) made team rosters. Ivan Nova is a pool pitcher for the Dominican and can join the roster after the opening round. Also eligible as pool pitchers are farmhands Luis Escobar (Colombia), Jared Lakind (Israel) and Sam Street (Australia).
Five Pirates made Baseball America'sTop 100 Prospect list: #6 OF Austin Meadows, #22 RHP Mitch Keller, #23 RHP Tyler Glasnow, #35 1B Josh Bell and #55 SS Kevin Newman.
Austin Meadows leads Pirate pups on the BA Top 100 list (photo MiLB Pipeline)
The Pirates and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine announced a naming-rights agreement for the club's spring training ballpark in Bradenton. The former McKechnie Field is now LECOM Park.
Free agent LHP Jon Niese held an open workout Wednesday for interested clubs to take a peek.
Jon Heyman tweeted that Jose Tabata signed a minor-league deal with KC that includes an invite to camp.
LHP Javier Lopez announced his retirement at age 39. He tossed for the Bucs in 2010, being flipped to the Giants at the deadline for John Bowser and Joe Martinez. He was on four World-Series champs, once for Boston and three times with the G-Men.