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Pirates Newsbeat

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Pirates sign No. 1 pick Paul Skenes to record $9.2M deal

Former LSU right-hander Paul Skenes, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft, signed a contract that includes a record $9.2 million signing bonus with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

Regarded as the best power pitching prospect since Stephen Strasburg, Skenes’ deal eclipses the previous rookie record deal between the Detroit Tigers and 2020 No. 1 pick Spencer Torkelson ($8.42 million).

Skenes’ scouting report includes a fastball clocked at 102 mph and a mid-80s slider that made him an ace during his time with the Tigers, going 12-2 with a 1.69 ERA in 19 starts in 2023. He was named National Player of the Year and National Pitcher of the Year before helping LSU prevail at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, where he earned CWS Most Outstanding Player honors.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 19, 2023 at 08:48 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: draft, paul skenes, pirates

Friday, June 23, 2023

Pirates to promote 2020 first-round pick Nick Gonzales to Major Leagues

The Pirates have recalled 2020 7th-overall pick Nick Gonzales from Triple-A Indianapolis to make his MLB debut in Miami. Jim Rosati of North Shore Nine was the first to break the news.

Gonzales, 24, owns a .257/.370/.450 slash line with 14 doubles, five triples, six home runs, 27 RBIs, and a .820 OPS in 57 games. A career .277 hitter in 811 MiLB at-bats, Gonzales is experiencing his healthiest season in the organization. He dealt with a heel injury in 2022 and a broken finger the year prior that cost him time.

The right-handed hitting Gonzales can play both middle infield positions and third base but is primarily a second baseman. Second has been a trouble spot for the Bucs in 2023, shuffling between Rodolfo Castro, Ji Hwan Bae, and Mark Mathias to fill the role.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 23, 2023 at 05:57 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: nick gonzales, pirates

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Pirates promoting catcher Henry Davis, the 2021 No. 1 overall pick, to majors for debut

When the Pittsburgh Pirates started Henry Davis at Double-A Altoona, the 2021 No. 1 overall draft pick promised to channel his disappointment into his play and force their hand.

“If you let that control how you play and if you let that control your conduct, shame on you,” Davis said in April. “But, if you say, ‘You know what? I’ll show them, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to be so good that there’s no choice but for me to be in Pittsburgh,’ I think that’s a great attitude.”

Davis did just that, and the Pirates are promoting the 23-year-old catcher to the majors Monday, a source confirmed to the Tribune-Review. The Pirates teased the news on Twitter, with a close-up photo of Davis.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 18, 2023 at 05:14 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: henry davis, pirates

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Pirates’ Drew Maggi makes ‘unbelievable’ MLB debut at 33

Drew Maggi’s long road to the major leagues culminated in his first career at-bat Wednesday night.

The 33-year-old infielder, who had played 1,155 games across 13 minor league seasons before getting called up by the Pirates earlier this week, appeared as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning, striking out in his lone at bat as Pittsburgh beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-1 at PNC Park.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 27, 2023 at 11:24 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: drew maggi, pirates

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

The Pirates are off to their best start since 1992. Should we take them seriously?

This isn’t the first time the Pirates have started strong, or at least strong-ish. Since 2000, the team has had a winning record after 23 games nine other times, the high mark coming with a 14-9 start in 2016. But only two of those seasons ended with a postseason appearance, and 2016 wasn’t one of them. But it’s certainly worth pointing out that the Pirates haven’t started a season 16-7 since 1992, the last year they made a serious run at a World Series. That isn’t necessarily something, but it’s definitely not nothing.

Despite their on-paper low-end mediocrity, the Pirates are getting it done, albeit against some not-so-intimidating opponents. Just four of their 16 wins have come against opponents with winning records. The other 12 came against the Reds, White Sox, Cardinals and Rockies. But teams can only play the opponents put before them by MLB schedulers, and even mediocre teams are supposed to beat the bad teams more often than not. And that’s how the Pirates have gotten where they are: taking advantage of — even if temporarily — weaker opponents. The point is to get it done, and the Pirates are getting it done.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 25, 2023 at 12:28 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Sources: Pirates, Bryan Reynolds reach agreement on long-term extension

After more twists and turns than a country road, with a process that seemed dead in the water only a few short months ago, the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds finally have a deal.

Multiple sources told the Post-Gazette on Tuesday that the two sides have come to an agreement on a long-term extension that will pay the outfielder $106.75 million over eight years. The deal includes a modified no-trade clause with a club option in 2031.

The deal involves a record amount of money for the Pirates, who last year signed Ke’Bryan Hayes to an eight-year, $70 million extension on opening day.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 25, 2023 at 11:56 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: bryan reynolds, pirates

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Derek Shelton extension: Pirates manager earns new deal as Pittsburgh continues hottest start in decades

Amid the team’s best start in three decades, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed manager Derek Shelton to a contract extension, GM Ben Cherington confirmed Saturday. Contract terms were not disclosed.

“I am very excited to have a chance to continue to work with him,” Cherington said (video). “I really believe that he’s the right person for the job. He’s worked tirelessly for over three years now to help put us in a stronger position to win. All of the work that goes into building our culture, the way we prepare for games, the way we treat each other, the relationships that we build. I think we’re starting to see the fruits of that labor.”

Shelton, 52, is in his fourth season with the Pirates and 2023 was the final guaranteed year on his contract. Pittsburgh enters play Saturday riding a five-game winning streak that has improved the club’s record to 14-7 record with a plus-22 run differential.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 23, 2023 at 11:36 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: derek shelton, pirates

Sunday, April 09, 2023

Oneil fractures ankle on collision, benches clear around him

Oneil Cruz, one of Pittsburgh’s foundational players with an unparalleled skill set, suffered a fractured left ankle after crashing into White Sox catcher Seby Zavala, a collision that resulted in tempers flaring and the benches clearing. Per manager Derek Shelton, Cruz is still being evaluated.

“It hurts a lot because he’s like my brother,” Rodolfo Castro said through team interpreter Stephen Morales. “It hurts the team, too. We all feel the pain.”

The injury occurred in the bottom of the sixth when Cruz attempted to score from third on Ke’Bryan Hayes’ weakly hit grounder right at Chicago’s Yoán Moncada. Cruz hustled down the line but didn’t begin to slide until he was several feet from home, causing him to awkwardly barrel into Zavala, who leapt to grab Moncada’s throw and tried to maintain a sliding lane. Cruz’s left leg bent awkwardly as he fell to the ground, and he instantly writhed in pain.

Despite Cruz being in obvious pain, Zavala yelled at Cruz as he rolled on the dirt, unable to move his left leg. Carlos Santana took exception and yelled at Zavala. The two approached one another, and Santana shoved Zavala in his chest protector, causing the benches and bullpens to clear. Santana and Zavala were quickly separated from one another, with White Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn wrapping Zavala in a hug and leading him away from the crowd. No players were ejected as a result of the altercation.

“[Cruz] wasn’t trying to hit [Zavala] on purpose,” Santana said. “It was a quick play. Everything was fast. I don’t like how [Zavala] screamed at [Cruz] when he got hurt. For me, I had to support my teammate.”


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 09, 2023 at 08:51 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: oneil cruz, pirates, white sox

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Castrovince: Counsell, Donnelly share special bond

Pretty great story. 

“Craig is part of our family,” Donnelly says.

It’s a family that lost a precious member far too soon, but has become spiritually strengthened by an event in 1997 that still, to this day, overwhelms those who hear about it. It’s a story that, as Counsell himself says, “screams Disney movie.”

“Anybody I’ve ever told the story to ... they’re blown away,” Counsell says. “You can bring people to tears just by telling the story.”

* * * * *

The story begins with five words that, when strung together, sound nothing short of nonsensical:

“The chicken runs at midnight.”

Guapo Posted: January 19, 2012 at 12:31 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: miami, pirates

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ryan Ludwick to join Reds

Puzzling strategy. With Ludwick, Chris Heisey, Drew Stubbs, and Jay Bruce, aren’t the Reds outfielders going to wilt in the hot sun due to their skin color?

Ryan Ludwick and the Cincinnati Reds agreed to a $2.5 million, one-year contract Monday, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday night because the deal was pending a physical and no announcement had been made by the team.

An All-Star in 2008 with St. Louis, the 33-year-old Ludwick was traded from San Diego to Pittsburgh at the July 31 deadline last season. He batted a combined .237 with 13 homers and 75 RBIs.

Ludwick could give the Reds the right-handed bat they’ve been seeking to complement lefty sluggers Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. He figures to see playing time in left field, a spot filled mostly by Chris Heisey down the stretch last season after Cincinnati traded Jonny Gomes to Washington in late July.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 17, 2012 at 12:07 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: padres, pirates, reds

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Bartolo Colon Agrees to Sign With Unknown Team

Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with an unknown club reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The right-hander wouldn’t divulge the team because he has not yet passed his physical.

Pretty sure it’s either the All-Stars or the Champs.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cubs sign Paul Maholm, reports Paul Maholm

It’s otherwise unconfirmed, but it seems like you should only need the one source when it’s actually the guy himself.

Just wanna say thank u to everyone that has cheered for me during my career as a Pirate. I loved my last six plus years in the city.

I hope to get to continue some things when I visit during the year and start some great things as I start my Cubs career.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 10, 2012 at 07:44 AM | 150 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pirates

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Kick Is Good!

Jack Wilson seems to be having fun on vacation.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 04, 2012 at 09:30 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, mariners, pirates

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sickels: Pittsburgh Pirates Top 20 Prospects for 2012

1) Gerrit Cole, RHP, Grade A: Cole can be enigmatic and sometimes gets hit harder than he should given the quality of his stuff, but he’s still a Grade A prospect. At his best he throws strikes with three excellent pitches, and I think he’ll get more consistent. Looked great in Arizona Fall League, except for the disaster in the Rising Stars game.

2) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Grade A-: They are being very careful with his workload. As he incorporates his secondary pitches more often and builds his stamina, I expect greater dominance. Still struck out more than a hitter per inning even with restrictions on secondary pitch use.

3) Josh Bell, OF, Grade B+: Switch-hitter, should develop 30+-homer power and a high OBP. Pure hitting skills solid too. We’ll have to see about his defense and I want some pro data, but I’m very optimistic about him.

4) Starling Marte, OF, Grade B: Borderline B+. Hit well in Double-A, starting to develop more power, despite poor strike zone judgment. Superior defense. Still raw, needs a year of Triple-A, a wide range of possible outcomes, could become an All-Star, a mediocre regular, or a fourth outfielder.

5) Robbie Grossman, OF, Grade B: If he had fulfilled his commitment to the University of Texas, 2011 would have been his draft year. I know he was repeating High-A, but a player jumping from the college ranks to High-A, hitting .294/.418/.451, then ripping up the Arizona Fall League would be getting an awful lot of praise, not skepticism. I also think that Grossman’s tools are better than commonly reported. I expect he’ll provide gap power with some speed and a high OBP, and that’s valuable.

Thanks to Bucco Barnald.

Repoz Posted: December 25, 2011 at 01:57 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, pirates, prospect reports, scouting

Friday, December 16, 2011

Kovacevic: Pirates still playing small ball

Totally fair if somewhat brutal assessment:

And I really can’t see where Huntington was coming from when he made these remarks to reporters last week in Dallas: “We’ll still look to find moves to make us better, but we feel like we’ve taken a big step forward, whether it’s bigger or smaller moves. We’ve put this organization in position to take another big step forward next year.”

Big, clearly, is a relative concept.

Mike Emeigh Posted: December 16, 2011 at 04:03 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, teams

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fangraphs: Clint Hurdle: Four Scouting Reports

Clint Hurdle makes some comments on the Bucs’ youngsters and offers some hints into his philosophy on developing young hitters:

“Everything starts with a thought. There are things that paralyze young hitters. It usually takes some experience and I think it usually takes more than 500 at bats. It’s closer to 900 minor league at bats and 1,500 big league at bats. It’s the ability to not focus so much on everything the pitcher has. They put too much emphasis on the four pitches the guy throws and not enough on the one they want to hit. That’s a transition I try to take good young hitters to.


Mike Emeigh Posted: December 15, 2011 at 01:34 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, prospect reports

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brewers trade McGehee to Pirates for Veras

Trade of potential non-tenders.

The Brewers acquired reliever Jose Veras from the Pirates for infielder Casey McGehee, the teams announced.

Pirates presumably want a hedge in the event that Alvarez’s development continues to stall - or possibly to move Pedro to first. Brewers continue to add bullpen pieces.

Mike Emeigh Posted: December 13, 2011 at 01:55 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, pirates

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Rule V Results

1.Astros take Rhiner Cruz from Mets.
2.Twins take Terry Doyle from White Sox.
3.Mariners take Lucas Luetge from Brewers.
4.Orioles take Ryan Flaherty from Cubs.
5.Royals take Cesar Cabral from Red Sox; traded to Yankees for cash.
6.Cubs take Lendy Castillo from Phillies.
8.Pirates take Gustavo Nunez from Tigers.
  21.Braves take Robert Fish from Angels.
22.Cardinals take Erik Komatsu from Nationals.
23.Red Sox take Marwin Gonzalez from Cubs.
  25.Diamondbacks take Brett Lorin from Pirates.
  29.Yankees take Brad Meyers from Nationals.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Pirates make $4.5 million deal with left-hander Bedard

The Pirates and free agent left-hander Erik Bedard agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract Wednesday, according to an industry source.
The Pirates will have to remove two players from the 40-man roster to make room for Bedard and Nate McLouth, who a source confirmed agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 07, 2011 at 08:47 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Pirates reportedly signing Betemit, McLouth

The return of Russ’s former favorite Pirate, plus a useful utility infielder:

Wilson Betemit, who the Royals sent to the Detroit Tigers in a midseason deal, has earned the interest of the Pirates while Nate McLouth could come back to the place where he was most successful.

Ken Rosenthal tweets that the McLouth deal is done pending a physical.

Mike Emeigh Posted: December 07, 2011 at 05:14 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

VIDEO: Vh1 Releases The New Baseball Wives Supertrailer!

The new series will follow the lives of five wives, ex-wives and girlfriends of professional Baseball players as they struggle to balance relationships, friendships and chaos. The Baseball Wives are: Anna Benson (wife of retired Arizona Diamondbacks’ Pitcher Kris Benson), Tanya Grace (ex-wife of retired Chicago Cubs’ First Baseman Mark Grace), Chantel Kendall (ex-wife of Kansas City Royals’ Jason Kendall), Brook Villone (wife of Ron Villone) and Jordana Lenz (linked to no particular athlete in particular – but I’m sure she has an MLB ex or two somewhere).

OsunaSakata Posted: November 29, 2011 at 11:56 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, cubs, mets, nationals, orioles, pirates, rockies, royals, television

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Joura: Reviewing my 33-year-old grudge against Richie Hebner

or…I Used To Spit on Your Grave Digger (mere zarchasm).

So then why all the disdain, from me and countless others, for poor Richie Hebner? If you were there, no explanation is needed but if you weren’t it’s not really that much of a mystery. Hebner committed the one Cardinal Sin of a ballplayer, one that if he was playing in the 21st Century, either he or his agent would have had the required media savvy to prevent from happening.

When the Mets traded for him, he made no secret that he didn’t want to be on the team.

...And then to the average fan, it seemed like Hebner just gave up. In retrospect, I have no doubt that it was merely a slump. But in 52 games and 194 PA, Hebner posted a .190/.281/.256 line. The Mets went 13-39 in that span and it should be pointed out that they won the first three games of Hebner’s slide. Over the previous two seasons, fans had been accustomed to seeing some rotten, uninspired play. But that stretch right after the All-Star break seemed even worse than what had become accepted as normal.

...Today is Richie Hebner’s birthday and he’s now 64 years old. Maybe it’s the influence of the McCartney song that references Hebner’s current age – “Indicate precisely what you mean to say…” – but it’s time to bury the hatchet and not directly in his back, either. I’ve hated this man I’ve never met for over 30 years now and I don’t want to do it anymore.

As my birthday present to this senior citizen, I’m taking Richie Hebner off of my personal “On Notice” board. Happy Birthday, Mr. Hebner – let’s both pretend that the 1979 baseball season never happened.

Repoz Posted: November 27, 2011 at 12:19 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: history, mets, phillies, pirates, sabermetrics

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kovacevic: Baseball sticks it to Pirates

Raise the Jolly Roger’s Amateur Draft Luxury Tax!

I asked Frank Coonelly, the Pirates’ president, what’s in this for them.

He cited a new draft feature that will award six bonus picks — Nos. 31-37 overall — to lower-revenue teams by way of a lottery, as well as a cap on international signings that’s staggered in inverse order of the standings. Both will be welcome.

Coonelly also was adamant that baseball wasn’t out to get his team.

“Is this everything the Pittsburgh Pirates hoped it would be? No,” he said. “But we don’t subscribe to the notion it was aimed at us. For one, this has been in the works a long time. For another, at the end of the day, if teams like the Yankees ever wanted to really flex their muscles in the draft, they could do it. This prevents that. We’ll continue to sign the players we draft.”

He then mentioned that the Pirates are still seeking a first baseman and a starting pitcher.

Don’t expect Albert Pujols.

Repoz Posted: November 23, 2011 at 10:47 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media, pirates, prospect reports

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects: Pittsburgh Pirates

I so wanted Dave Doorneweerd to make the bigs…

1. Gerrit Cole, rhp
2. Jameson Taillon, rhp
3. Josh Bell, of
4. Starling Marte, of
5. Luis Heredia, rhp
6. Kyle McPherson, rhp
7. Tony Sanchez, c
8. Robbie Grossman, of
9. Stetson Allie, rhp
10. Jeff Locke, lhp

The Pirates have used the strategy of exceeding MLB’s bonus recommendations in the later rounds to sign pitchers away from solid college commitments. While that has stocked the lower levels of the system with live arms, none is close to being ready to help the major league club. The heavy concentration on pitchers also has left Pittsburgh with few impact hitting prospects beyond Bell, who has a chance to be special but has yet to play in a professional game, and fellow outfielder Starling Marte.

Repoz Posted: November 22, 2011 at 02:51 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, pirates, prospect reports, scouting

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vernon history museum honors Danny Murtaugh

Sculptor Zenos Frudakis, known to Phillies fans for his statues of Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts at Citizens Bank Park, said Murtaugh’s face reminded him of some of the men he met as a child in Gary, Ind.

“I grew up in a steel town and the men who worked in the mills were like the men who worked in the mines,” he said. “They had strong faces — faces with strong features.

“This subject had a lot of character and integrity. It’s not exactly a pretty face — not like a Cary Grant face … I could almost envision him in a helmet as a conquistador or a general. In a way, he was kind of a conquering general with an army of baseball players he led into the field of battle on the baseball diamond.”

Jeez…why dontcha just say he looked like Roy Barcroft beaten to a ten-cent pulp with a studded Trejo meat stick.

Repoz Posted: November 21, 2011 at 10:57 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, memorabilia, pirates

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