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Pirates Newsbeat

Monday, August 30, 2021

Pirates fire hitting coach Rick Eckstein

The Pittsburgh Pirates fired hitting coach Rick Eckstein, the team announced Monday.

“This was a difficult decision as we have a great deal of respect for Rick,” general manager Ben Cherington said in a statement. “Making the decision now gives us the opportunity to use the rest of the season to focus on improvements in our hitting program while also starting the process of looking for a replacement. We wish Rick all the best moving forward.”

Eckstein, 48, had been with the team for most of three seasons. He was hired in November 2018 after previous stints with the Angels and Nationals.

Through Sunday, the Pirates had hit only 101 home runs this season, 16 fewer than any other major-league team. They also rank last in OPS (.665) and 27th in batting average (.233).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 30, 2021 at 11:12 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, rick eckstein

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Gregory Polanco placed on waivers

The El Coffee Revolution is over.

Per Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic and other sources, the Pirates placed outfielder Gregory Polanco on outright waivers this evening.

To say that Polanco has been struggling is an understatement. His current slash line is .199/.278/.343, and he has the third-worst strikeout rate for National League right fielders at 26.7%. His defense has been borderline horrendous all season as well.

It’s a sad ending to Polanco’s Bucs career. He’s spent his entire professional career with the Pirates organization, having signed with them in 2009 at age 17, and was promising enough to have been given a five-year, $35 million contract in 2016. Unfortunately, he didn’t really live up to his potential, and he wasn’t the same after a 2019 shoulder injury. It was sort of a given that he’d be cut loose after this season, but obviously Ben Cherington decided to move up the timetable.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2021 at 07:52 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: gregory polanco, pirates

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Phils agree to Tyler Anderson deal

The Phillies are getting some badly needed starting pitching help before Friday’s Trade Deadline.

Multiple sources told MLB.com on Tuesday afternoon that the Phillies have agreed to a trade for Pirates left-hander Tyler Anderson, who is 5-8 with a 4.35 ERA in 18 starts. Pittsburgh is set to acquire right-hander Cristian Hernandez, who is the Phillies’ No. 29-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and catcher Abrahan Gutierrez. Both are Low-A players.

The teams haven’t confirmed a deal, which is pending physicals.

Anderson, who has pitched five or more innings in each of his 18 starts this season, was scheduled to start Tuesday night for the Pirates, but he was scratched, Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton told reporters.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 27, 2021 at 04:50 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, pirates, tyler anderson

Monday, July 26, 2021

New York Yankees acquire reliever Clay Holmes from Pittsburgh Pirates for 2 minor league infielders

The New York Yankees, facing some important decisions with Friday’s trade deadline looming, on Monday acquired right-handed reliever Clay Holmes from the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league infielders Diego Castillo and Hoy Park.

Holmes, 28, is 3-2 in 44 relief appearances with 44 strikeouts and 35 walks in 42 innings. He has held right-handed batters to a .173 average (17-for-98). Holmes is 5-7 with a 5.57 ERA over 91 games, including four starts, in four major league seasons.

Park, 25, appeared in one major league game, on July 16 against Boston. He is batting .307 with 10 doubles, 11 homers and 32 RBIs for Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 26, 2021 at 11:22 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: clay holmes, pirates, yankees

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Javy Baez fools Pirates into the dumbest baseball play of the season

With a runner on second, Baez hits a ball to Pirates third baseman Erik Gonzalez. The ball is fielded cleanly by Gonzalez, who throws it to first baseman Will Craig. Gonzalez’s throw takes Craig off the bag, so Craig decides he’ll just tag Baez instead.

Recognizing this, Baez starts running back toward home plate. He remains in the base path, so he hasn’t broken any rules. As Baez gets close to the plate, the runner who started on second sprints toward home to try and score. Craig throws the ball to the catcher, but is too late. The run scores, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

Baez, who was never tagged, begins to quickly sprint toward first base. In the confusion, no Pirates player is covering first. A member of the Pirates sprints over the first, but the throw from Pirates catcher Michael Perez is just slightly off target. Baez slides into first, but then quickly gets up and makes it all the way to second base.

The Cubs dugout — primarily Anthony Rizzo — erupted in cheers and laughter following the play.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2021 at 11:57 PM | 125 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pirates

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Bucs ‘70s star Rennie Stennett dies

Rennie Stennett, who set a Major League record that still stands by going 7-for-7 in a nine-inning game and played nine of his 11 seasons as a second baseman for the Pirates, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 72.

Stennett played for the Pirates from 1971-79, including for the World Series champions in ‘79. He did not play in the ‘71 postseason as Pittsburgh won the World Series that year.

“We are saddened by the loss of such a beloved member of the Pirates family. Rennie was a great player on the field, and an even better person off of it,” Pirates president Travis Williams said. “A member of our World Series championships in both 1971 and 1979 who remained a very active and cherished member of our Alumni Association, Rennie symbolized what it meant to be a Pittsburgh Pirate.”

Stennett was the leadoff batter when the Pirates fielded MLB’s first all-Black and Latino starting lineup in 1971. And he had hits in all seven of his at-bats in a 22-0 win against the Cubs at Wrigley Field in 1971. His first hit was off Chicago starter Rick Reuschel; his seventh was against Paul Reuschel, Rick’s brother.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 18, 2021 at 01:10 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, pirates, rennie stennett

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

MLB: Xavier Paul victim of identity hoax in ABL

Pirates outfielder Xavier Paul has become caught in the middle of an identity hoax that had officials with the Australian Baseball League expecting Paul’s arrival at the start of their season, which began earlier this month.

Problem was, Paul had never actually agreed to go.(...)

Posing as an agent, [Diamondbacks minor leaguer Breland] Brown offered the ABL a deal in which Paul would agree to play in Australia this offseason if Brown was also invited. The ABL accepted the agreement. Brown was assigned to play with the Sydney Blue Sox, while Paul was put on the Brisbane Bandits roster.

Last week, Paul was tipped off that his identity was being misused when he was alerted to Internet articles that mentioned he would be participating in the ABL. Around that time, Brisbane reached out to Paul to ask him why he had not yet arrived in Australia.

That set off an investigation by the ABL, which quickly discovered the hoax. Brown, who had not yet joined the Sydney team, was immediately taken off the Blue Sox roster. Paul has since been removed from the Brisbane roster as well.

This is just a strange, strange story. Brown is 26 and was playing in the independent leagues two seasons ago, so he must have been doing everything possible to get noticed by Major League teams.

Austin Posted: November 15, 2011 at 08:57 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pirates, Barajas agree to one-year deal

An aggressive pursuit of free agent Rod Barajas paid off Thursday for the Pirates, who were able to ink the veteran catcher to a one-year deal that includes as club option for 2013.

The addition of Barajas, 36, eliminates one item off the Pirates’ offseason to-do list, as the team needed to find a starting catcher for the 2012 season. General manager Neal Huntington confirmed that Barajas was signed to be the team’s No. 1 catcher.

Barajas will make $4 million in 2012, according to an industry source. His ‘13 club option is worth $3.5 million and does not include a buyout. A short-term commitment makes sense for the Pirates, who are hopeful that top catching prospect Tony Sanchez will be ready to ascend to the Majors in the next year or two.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 10, 2011 at 08:33 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

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