Sunday, November 4, 2018

Weekend Notes: Hitting Coach Hired; 40-Man Shuffle; Fall Stars; Minor Moves; Freeser Signs w/LA, Ground Chuck Flirts

Over the weekend, some baseball stuff slipped in between football games:

  • The Pirates hired Rick Eckstein, 45, who was the Twins' minor league hitting coordinator for the past two seasons, as their new hitting coach. He was the Nats hitting coach from 2009-13, then spent two years at the University of Kentucky. Eckstein appears to be a fan of big data, fitting into the Buc mold, and used to working with young hitters. He's also former MLB infielder David's big bro.
  • RHP Chad Kuhl, who is on the 60-day DL, was put on the 40-man roster as required, bringing its count up to 37. He was the only Pirates player who had to be added; Edgar Santana, who is also on the 60-day DL, was never taken off the list. They have to stay on the roster until the season opens, when they can be removed again if roster room is needed. Both are out for the season following TJ surgery. As for the 40-man, it's looking good this year - there are three or four bubble guys on it to go with the three openings, so there's lots of wiggle room for deals, free agents and Rule 5 protection.
Ryan walks it off in September (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • C Ryan Lavarnway cleared waivers and elected free agency after being outrighted off the 40-man roster. 
  • SS Cole Tucker went 1-for-2 in the Arizona League Fall Star game with a double and run scored. RHP Blake Weiman gave up a single and got a strikeout in 2/3IP; he was charged with a run when the pitcher following him gave up a dinger with Weiman's runner aboard. The two Altoona Curve players were on the winning West club, which took a 7-6 decision.
  • The Pirates had some minor league defections due to MiLB free agency, per Pirates Prospects John Dreker. They are 3B Eric Wood & Wyatt Mathisen (2012-2nd rounder, taken as a C), catchers Jackson Williams & Jin-De Jhang, OF Daniel Nova (remember him in camp as a Cutch replacement before Corey D? He sat out the year with a bad back) and pitchers Damien Magnifico & Bo Schultz. They are not necessarily gone; the Pirates can re-sign any of them.
  • 3B David Freese signed a one-year deal with the LA Dodgers. He agreed to $4.5M plus a $500K buyout of his original $6M option.
  • RHP Charlie Morton wasn't given a $17.9M qualifying offer from the Astros, making him a free agent with a draft pick fee (but not a team's first selection) attached. In his last two years as an Astro, he went 29-10/3.36 in 55 starts w/10.4 K per nine innings.
  • For those who thought Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers were headed for a divorce, think again: Kershaw inked a deal with LA for three years/$93M with incentives.

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