Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Pirates have acquired prospect left-hander Jesse Biddle from the Phillies.
It's unclear what the Phillies will receive in return. Biddle had Tommy John surgery in October, so he'll be in rehab mode for all of 2016, but Pittsburgh is a nice landing spot for him given their penchant for turning pitchers around. While Biddle's career has veered off track, he's still just 24 years old.
SB Nation's Chris Cotillo hears that Bronson Arroyo is expected to make a decision on which team to sign with this week.
Arroyo has previously been connected to the Reds, Nationals and Marlins, and Cotillo says the Pirates and Padres are also interested in the veteran right-hander. The Nats are known to have extended a minor league contract offer, but with Arroyo hearing from that many clubs, perhaps he'll be able to squeeze a guaranteed, incentive-laden deal out of someone. The 38-year-old right-hander missed the entire 2015 season following Tommy John surgery.
Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio said Saturday that Trevor Cahill turned down a two-year contract offer from the Pirates to remain with the Cubs.
The right-hander would've slotted into the Pirates rotation had he gone that route, instead he opted to remain a part of the Cubs' bullpen where he excelled down the stretch in 2015. He would have been much more interesting in fantasy leagues had he taken the Pirates offer.
Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reports that the Pirates and free agent reliever Neftali Feliz have agreed to a one-year, $3.9 million contract.
Feliz struggled to the tune of a 6.38 ERA over 48 appearances between the Rangers and Tigers last season, but his secondary numbers weren't terrible and he saw an encouraging boost in velocity. It's a worthwhile gamble for Pittsburgh.
Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "gets the sense" the Pirates will not pursue starting pitchers commanding $10 million annual salaries including Scott Kazmir and Mike Leake.
Leake has never been on the Pirates' radar but Pittsburgh did meet with Kazmir's representatives at the Winter Meetings. Kazmir would be a great fit but it sounds like he's going to be out of the Pirates' price range. For now, they'll go into the season with a starting rotation of Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, Jon Niese, Jeff Locke and Allen Webster.
Sat, Dec 12, 2015 08:27:00 PM
Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that the Pirates "said no to Adam LaRoche at a discounted rate."
The White Sox also talked to the Mariners about LaRoche, but they also turned them down before making a trade for Adam Lind. The feeling is that Chicago will probably have to eat at least $8 million of the $13 million LaRoche is owed next season in order to trade him, and even then it might not be enough. The 36-year-old hit just .207 with 12 home runs in 2015.
Fri, Dec 11, 2015 12:35:00 PM
The Pirates are "closing in" on a deal with free agent Juan Nicasio, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Nicasio was non-tendered by the Dodgers earlier this month after posting a 3.86 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and 32 walks in 58 1/3 innings in 2015. The Pirates have a way with pitchers, though, so it's a nice buy-low opportunity for the club. Nicasio will likely have a middle relief role in Pittsburgh.
Thu, Dec 10, 2015 04:41:00 PM
Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Pirates are interested in Mat Latos.
Keep lining up those reclamation projects. Latos had a rough 4.95 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 116 1/3 innings this summer between the Marlins, Dodgers, and Angels, but Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage specializes in breathing new life into struggling pitchers. Latos has seemingly been around forever, but he's only 28 years old. It's worth a try on a low-base-salary, incentives-driven one-year contract.
Thu, Dec 10, 2015 12:17:00 PM
According to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Pirates have interest in Mike Napoli.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman suggested on Monday that this might be a fit. Pittsburgh non-tendered Pedro Alvarez last week and immediately began the search for a new starting first baseman, meeting with the Rangers about a possible Mitch Moreland trade and exploring the possibility of signing Dae Ho Lee out of South Korea. Napoli, 34, had a .734 OPS with 18 home runs and 50 RBI in 133 games this summer between Boston and Texas. He should come relatively cheap.
Thu, Dec 10, 2015 06:38:00 AM
Marc Carig of Newsday hears that the Mets and Pirates are "making progress" on a Jon Niese-Neil Walker swap.
It's unclear if the Angels are still involved in talks. The Pirates have had Walker on the block for a while and have prioritized pitching as part of the return. Walker is projected to make a little over $10 million in arbitration in 2016 while Niese is owed $9 million. It could be a good way to address each team's area of need.
Wed, Dec 9, 2015 03:17:00 PM
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Mets and Pirates have discussed a Jon Niese-for-Neil Walker swap.
The Angels have also talked to the Pirates about a trade for Walker and have pitching to deal, but Niese could be a good fit. The southpaw is owed $9 million in 2016, which is basically a wash with Walker's projected salary, while his contract also includes a $10 million club option for 2017 and an $11 million club option for 2018 (with a $500,000 buyout on each). The 29-year-old southpaw had a 4.13 ERA over 29 starts and four relief appearances this past season. If the Mets were to deal Niese, they could attempt to re-sign Bartolo Colon for the fifth spot in the rotation.
Wed, Dec 9, 2015 03:08:00 PM
Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review hears that it's likely the Pirates will have interest in Korean first baseman Dae-ho Lee.
Lee, 33, is a free agent, so he won't have to go through the posting process. He's expected to begin meeting with teams soon and could offer major league clubs a relatively cheap power option at first base. Lee batted .282/.368/.524 with 31 home runs while playing for the Fukuoka SoftBak Hawks last season.
Tue, Dec 8, 2015 05:19:00 PM
Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates have been in touch with the agent for free agent reliever Matt Thornton.
Antonio Bastardo is a free agent, so the Pirates would have a need for another left-hander assuming he signs elsewhere. However, Nesbitt hears that it's not a top priority right now. Thornton, 39, had a 2.18 ERA over 60 appearances this past season with the Nationals, but his strikeout rate decreased nearly five percent from 2014.
Tue, Dec 8, 2015 02:41:00 PM
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates have expressed interest in free agent right-hander Kyle Kendrick.
Kendrick is coming off a nightmare season with the Rockies where he posted a ghastly 6.32 ERA with 33 home runs allowed over 27 starts. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has helped turn around a number of pitchers, but this could be a tough case. On the bright side, it won't take much to sign him.
Tue, Dec 8, 2015 02:18:00 PM
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Rockies, Cardinals, Giants, and Pirates are among the teams interested in free agent Mark Reynolds.
As things stand right now, the Rockies and Pirates offer the best opportunity at making an impact. Reynolds batted .230/.315/.398 with 13 home runs over 432 plate appearances with the Cardinals in 2015 while mostly playing first base and third.
Tue, Dec 8, 2015 10:16:00 AM
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that the Brewers, Pirates and Rangers "could have some interest" in Jeff Francoeur.
That's if he doesn't re-sign with the Phillies, who want him back. Francoeur hit .258/.286/.433 with 13 homers for Philly in 2015 and is viewed as a positive clubhouse presence.
Mon, Dec 7, 2015 08:14:00 PM
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that five teams are in on Justin Masterson.
The Pirates are one of them, which had been previously reported. Masterson held an ugly 5.61 over 59 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in 2015 and had arthroscopic right shoulder surgery in September. He could be a nice bounce-back candidate in the right spot, though, and Pittsburgh would certainly qualify.
Mon, Dec 7, 2015 06:14:00 PM
According to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Pirates will meet with the representatives for Scott Kazmir at this week's Winter Meetings.
Kazmir makes all the sense in the world for the Bucs, but he's drawing free agent interest from close to a dozen teams and could ultimately be priced out of Pittsburgh's range. The meet-and-greet in Nashville should provide some clarity for the Pirates front office. Kazmir, 31, had a 3.10 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 155/59 K/BB ratio in 183 innings this past season between the Athletics and Astros.
Mon, Dec 7, 2015 01:54:00 PM
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News hears the Rangers and Pirates will meet this week in Nashville to discuss a possible Mitch Moreland trade.
Grant says the Bucs, "in previous conversations," have been interested in trying to work out a three-way trade that would land them a new starting first baseman. Moreland posted an impressive .812 OPS with 23 home runs and 85 RBI in 132 games this past season for Texas. He is scheduled to become a free agent after 2016.
Mon, Dec 7, 2015 12:41:00 PM
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Pirates have interest in Mike Napoli.
There are at-bats to be had at first base for the Pirates after they non-tendered Pedro Alvarez. Napoli makes some sense, although they already have Michael Morse as an option from the right side of the plate. Heyman lists the Marlins and Astros as other potential fits for Napoli.
Fri, Dec 4, 2015 12:42:00 PM