Saturday, February 2, 2019

Spring-On-The-Way Notes: Fringy Signings, Tenuous Tenure, Guys on the Move

Polar vortex to Pirate City...

  • The Pirates senior player? It's now CF Starling Marte (as noted by the Trib's Chris Adamski), who debuted in late 2012 and then RF Gregory Polanco, who reached the show in 2014. That pair, along with Fran Cervelli and Jung-Ho Kang, are the only remaining holdovers from the 2015 playoff club. Clint's had more tenure from his coaches than players - Uncle Ray has been with him from the start, along with Heberto Andrade and Euclides Rojas in the bullpen. Banny left and returned as an operations advisor, joining Nick Leyva, who we believe is still bumping around the front office.
On top of the seniority list... (image via Pirates)
  • RHP Brandon Maurer, a six-year MLB vet, signed a minor league/NRI deal with the Bucs. It's worth $1.5M at the MLB level w/$1.5M in extra incentives (based on appearances) and opt-out dates per's Jon Heyman. The 28-year-old Padres' ex-closer is 3-15-36/5.89 in the past three years, although he has peripherally averaged a K per inning and posted a 4.24 FIP in that span. Oddly, he's only had one season that his ERA has outperformed his FIP, and it's not close - his FIP is usually at least a run lower than ERA. He is a converted starter, but doesn't look like a risk to leave the pen as he hasn't started a game at any level since 2014 and looks like a depth/reclamation addition. 
  • Also signing a minor league contract w/NRI was OF JB Shuck, 31, who's played for five MLB teams in parts of six seasons, starting back in 2011, posting a .244 BA/73 OPS+ while manning all three pasture spots.The Pirates were busy, inking RHP Vicente Campos, 26, who had a cup of coffee w/Arizona, to a straight minor league deal. He once was a highly touted prospect who's been injury-bit but pitched well (and healthily) in the winter leagues. 
  • Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted that the Bucs aren't done checking the FA shelves, posting that the "...Pirates still looking at other OFs - Brandon Guyer, Cameron Maybin, etc. - on similar deals."
  • Forget the Freddy Galvis for SS thing. The Blue Jays announced that they signed him on a one-year/$4M deal that includes a $5.5M club option for 2020 with a $1M buyout if not tendered.
  • Oh, and LHP Wade Miley is off the boards, too - he went to the 'Stros on a one-year/$4.5M deal *sigh* 
Neil's got a new gig 2015 Elite
  • The Marlins signed 2B Neil Walker, 33, to one-year/$2M contract. The Pittsburgh Kid had a strong year after he went to the Mets in 2016, a solid campaign in 2017, and is ISO a bounce-back after a pretty weak 2018 season.
  • RHP Casey Sadler, who had signed a minor league deal with Tampa earlier in the year, got a camp invite this week. The 28-year-old, coming back from TJ surgery, worked at Indy last year (6-5/3.39) and had spent his nine-year pro career with the Pirates before heading south as a FA during the off season.
  • OF Bryce Brentz is back home. The Pirates bought him from Boston last year before the Corey Dickerson deal; he was a late cut by the Bucs in camp and was claimed by the Mets. He got into 55 AAA games as he got hurt in May - his career has been a litany of ouchies - and NY let him go at the end of the year. The 30-year-old was just re-signed by the BoSox; sometimes you can go home again.
  • LHP Zach Duke, 36, agreed to a deal with the Reds pending a physical. Another ex-Bucco lefty, Dan Runzler, who tossed eight times for the Bucs in 2017, signed a MiLB deal with the Red Sox after spending 2018 pitching in an indie league. He's also a bit on the gray side at 34, with parts of five big league seasons on his resume.
  • Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on 2/13 and position players on 2/18 *yay*

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