- Elias Diaz's mom was kidnapped in Venezuela.The situation is murky, and the Pirates said "We are all shocked and deeply concerned for Elias' mother, as well as for Elias and his entire family," in an official statement. "We have Elias' mom and Elias' entire family in our prayers. We are using all of the resources available at the Pirates and Major League Baseball to support Elias and his family during this incredibly difficult time. As we work with authorities on his mom's safe return, we will withhold further comment and ask that you please respect the family's need for privacy." Three days and no news yet...EDIT - Reports from Venezuela say that his mom has been rescued and six kidnappers arrested; great news for the Diaz family!
|Elias going through a nightmare scenario now - 2016 Donruss Signature|
- Pittsburgh signed Daniel Nava, 34, a lefty swinger who hit .301 w/Philly last year, to a minor league deal with an invite. He's played mostly left with some right and first mixed in. In seven big league years, he's hit .266 w/102 OPS+ and may be the fourth-outfielder bridge man the FO has been looking for.
- The Pirates officially added right-handed reliever Tyler Jones to list of NRIs for spring training. Jones, 28, averaged 10.7 strikeouts per nine for the NYY's Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre club last season and oddly, for a Bucco pickup, only walked three batters/nine innings. His line was a pedestrian 6-4-3, 4.38, in 44 outings from the pen.
- Baseball Prospectus has its PECOTA team and player projections (click on the team link for the players). Lotta ho-hum predicted for the Buccos.
- Chris Mitchell of Fangraphs has his Top 100 by KOTAH, which projects a player's WAR in his first six MLB seasons. The Bucs have a handful of guys on the list: #18 - 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes, #19 - IF Cole Tucker, #27 - OF Austin Meadows, #46 - RHP Mitch Keller, #57 - C Jacob Stallings, # 73 - OF Lolo Sanchez and # 89 - 3B Colin Moran.
- Fangraph's Eric Longenhagen & Kiley McDaniel have a list of players poised to join 2019's Top 100 Prospect gang - the Bucs are repped by IF Kevin Kramer, 3B Oneil Cruz and OF Lolo Sanchez.
|Kevin Kramer 2016 via MLB Pipeline|
- Geez, busy year for the dope detectives. Altoona 2B Mitchell Tolman received a 50-game suspension after a second positive test for a drug of abuse. He joins pitching prospects Nik Turley and Montana DuRapau on the suspended druggie list; hope this isn't becoming a thing in Buccoland after Starling lost half of last year and boozeput the skids to JHK's career.
- C Chris Stewart, 35, plans to attend the MLPBA spring camp for unsigned free agents, so Stewie hasn't hung 'em up yet despite being banged up for a couple of campaigns. The camp will reportedly be held at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, a 10-minute trip from the Pirates complex, starting on the 15th. So if the Bucs are sniffing at any FA's...
- Mike McKenry is coming back to Pittsburgh. The Fort, who retired as a player earlier in the year, will appear on AT&T SportsNet pre & post game shows as an analyst with Stan Savran, Rob King and Dan Potash. He'll replace the retired Teke Tekulve.
- The San Francisco Giants signed OF Eury Perez as a minor league FA; he played for Indy last year.
- Once-upon-a-time Bucco reliever John Axford signed an NRI deal with Toronto.
- Hey, they're finally making a Roberto Clemente movie!
|Neil Walker 2016 Topps insert|
- Neil Walker got some love as "Mr Reliable" from Fangraph's David Laurila, who noted about the only diff in The Kid over the years is that he's lost his toe-tap.
- The saga continues - the Pirates paid $10M in ballpark alterations and wanted reimbursed $4.5M of that amount by the Sports & Exhibition Authority. The SEA OK'ed $2.6M, saying some of the improvements weren't necessary but bling for the team. The club was not pleased and threatened court action, so we'll see how that ends up.
- Indianapolis has set up a pretty cool exhibition - they're going to host Notre Dame in mid-April at Victory Field. The Irish are about 150 miles north of Indy and the game should generate some Hoosier buzz for both clubs.
- The Cubs signed Yu Darvish, 31, to a six-year/$126M deal w/bonuses that could bring it up to $150M. The total package is actually pretty close to what the seers predicted that he'd get, even with the glacial FA market.
- The Giants will retire Barry Bonds’ #25 before their August 11th game against the Pirates at AT&T Park. Hopefully they won't have Cutch present it to him...