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Jim Furtado
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Pirates Newsbeat

Tuesday, February 14, 2023


While Diamond Sports Group appears set to default on $140 million in interest payments, a move which is expected to trigger a bankruptcy filing in the coming weeks, its 19 Bally Sports properties aren’t the only RSNs feeling a financial pinch. According to multiple league, finance and network sources, the three AT&T SportsNet brands in recent weeks have handed over lighter-than-expected envelopes to their respective MLB franchise partners.

An executive with direct knowledge of the RSNs’ financial dealings confirmed to Sportico that the AT&T outlets in Denver, Houston and Pittsburgh submitted their most recent rights payments to their MLB clubs in a timely fashion, although the disbursements were not commensurate with the contracted rates. The teams impacted by the shortfall are the Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates.

The precise amount of the funds withheld is not known but is said to be significant enough to have catalyzed concerns about the long-term viability of the three networks. According to one insider, the partial payments may be interpreted as a signal that new-ish owners Warner Bros. Discovery are eager to get out of the RSN business.


Friday, January 13, 2023

Sources: Andrew McCutchen returning to Pirates on 1-year deal

Andrew McCutchen is returning to the Pittsburgh Pirates, it appears.

The 36-year-old McCutchen, who was named the 2013 NL MVP when he was playing in Pittsburgh, has agreed to a contract with the Pirates for the upcoming season, sources have confirmed. The finalization of the deal is pending a physical examination.

A summer of milestones is likely ahead for McCutchen, who needs 52 more hits to achieve 2,000 in his career; eight more doubles to reach 400; 13 more homers to reach 300.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 13, 2023 at 10:42 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, pirates

Friday, January 06, 2023

Yankees eye Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds amid ‘unrealistic asks’

One interested team exec summed up the Pirates requests in two words: “unrealistic asks.” Another team’s exec says there’s nothing happening now but they hold hope for spring.

It’s not surprising the ask is high since the Pirates don’t seem especially interested in trading him as they hope to contend within the three years he has left. Plus, it would be difficult publicly. Perhaps, too, the Pirates don’t want to accede to trade demands, which they may fear will trigger a trend.

While sources say the Pirates offered over $75 million for six years with no team options, Reynolds’ camp originally mentioned the $168 million, eight-year deal Matt Olson received as a comp (though their request was lower than that). The Braves did sign Sean Murphy for $73 million over six years (plus a team option), and Murphy is in the same class as Olson. (The Reynolds camp would counter that that deal is low.)

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 06, 2023 at 12:08 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: bryan reynolds, pirates

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Sources: Pirates agree to 1-year deal with 42-year-old left-hander Rich Hill

Left-hander Rich Hill and the Pittsburgh Pirates are in agreement on a one-year, $8 million contract, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN, uniting Hill with his 12th big league team and setting him up to be the oldest player in Major League Baseball this season.

Hill, who turns 43 in March, carved out a role in recent years as a five-inning specialist. With the Boston Red Sox last season, he started 26 games and threw 124⅓ innings, posting a 4.27 ERA and putting up typically strong strikeout-to-walk numbers.

They signed the only player that was alive for the last time they won a pennant!

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 27, 2022 at 05:19 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, rich hill

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Pirates trade for utility man Connor Joe from Rockies

The Pirates have acquired outfielder Connor Joe from the Rockies in exchange for Minor League right-hander Nick Garcia, the team announced Sunday.

Joe slashed .238/.338/.359 with seven home runs and six steals in 111 games with Colorado last season. The 30-year-old played both corner outfield positions last season, spending 375 1/3 innings in left and 132 innings in right. He played 162 innings at first base as well.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 18, 2022 at 09:08 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: connor joe, pirates, rockies

Saturday, December 03, 2022

Sources: Bryan Reynolds requests trade from Pirates as his situation takes odd turn before Winter Meetings

Bryan Reynolds’ standing with the Pirates took an odd and unexpected turn on Saturday afternoon, as sources confirmed to the Post-Gazette that the outfielder has requested a trade.

The sticking point, of course, remains what happens now.

The Pirates can obviously acquiesce to the demand and trade Reynolds, who remains under contractual control through 2025. They can also decide to keep him and proceed with the offseason as normal. At this point, per a Pirates statement issued by a team spokesman shortly after the story broke, it’s the latter more than the former.

Describing the news as “disappointing,” the Pirates said Reynolds’ request will have “zero impact on our decision making in this offseason or in the future.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 03, 2022 at 04:18 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: bryan reynolds, pirates

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Pittsburgh Pirates, 1B Carlos Santana agree on 1-year, $6.7M deal

First baseman Carlos Santana and the Pittsburgh Pirates are in agreement on a one-year, $6.7 million contract, pending the results of a physical, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN.

Santana, 36, finished with a league-average OPS last year, hitting .202/.316/.376 between stints with the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals. But his expected numbers, based on how hard he hit the ball (an 81st-percentile exit velocity) and his elite walk rate (97th percentile), projected far better results, something that drove his market.

Further, nobody was shifted a higher percentage last year than Santana, who saw altered defense in 356 of his 362 left-handed batting appearances. With the ban of the shift coming in 2023, the switch-hitting Santana could see a significant benefit.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 26, 2022 at 10:28 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos santana, pirates

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Argument Against Oneil Cruz | RotoGraphs Fantasy Baseball

He’s too risky to draft early but he’s a high-reward player later in the draft.

jimfurtado Posted: November 23, 2022 at 08:19 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy, oneil cruz, pirates

Pirates infield evolution: Why GM Ben Cherington’s job is only halfway done - The Athletic

The Athletic is running a special of $1 a month for 12 months. You won’t get a better baseball return on your money. I highly recommend The Athletic, especially at this price. (I’m not getting anything for the recommendation.) Hopefully, however, The New York Times purchase won’t destroy the site.

jimfurtado Posted: November 23, 2022 at 07:37 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Pirates pick up first baseman Ji-Man Choi in trade with Rays

The Pittsburgh Pirates addressed one of their glaring weaknesses Thursday, acquiring first baseman Ji-Man Choi from the Tampa Bay Rays for a minor league pitcher.

Choi, 31, slashed .233/.341/.388 with 22 doubles, 11 home runs and 52 RBIs in 113 games with the Rays last season and ranked seventh among first baseman with plus-2 Outs Above Average.

The 6-foot-1, 260-pound native of South Korea has a career .239 batting average with 61 home runs and 225 RBIs in six major league seasons with the Los Angeles Angels (2016), New York Yankees (2017), Milwaukee Brewers (2018) and the Rays (2019-22).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 10, 2022 at 09:20 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: ji-man choi, pirates, rays

Sunday, October 23, 2022

When Jim Thorpe Almost Became a Pittsburgh Pirate

  When the AAU rejected Thorpe’s appeal, forfeited his amateur standing, and demanded the return of his gold medals, the attention shifted to his future in professional baseball.  He’d promised Barney Dreyfuss that he would sign with the Pirates, but that didn’t prevent other teams, including the New York Giants, from pursuing Thorpe.  Under John McGraw, the Giants had won the National League pennant the last two years and saw a great drawing card in Thorpe as they pursued their third straight pennant.  McGraw’s Giants made Thorpe his best offer.

It seemed unlikely that Dreyfuss would release Thorpe from his promise so he could sign with the Giants.  Since the Pirates won the World Series in 1909, the Giants, along with the Cubs, had been their chief rivals, but Dreyfuss had a personal reason for hating McGraw and the Giants.  Early in the 1905 season, Pirate player-manager Fred Clarke and McGraw got into a fistfight after McGraw taunted a Pirate pitcher.  When Dreyfuss complained about McGraw’s behavior, McGraw turned on Dreyfuss.

  In a game at the Polo Grounds, McGraw taunted Dreyfuss, greeting him with “Hey Barney,” and accusing him of everything from betting on games and reneging on his bets to controlling umpires through his friendship with National League Commissioner Harry Pulliam.  Dreyfuss was so enraged that he filed a formal protest, complaining that, “steps should be taken to prevent visitors to the Polo Grounds from insults from the said John J. McGraw.”  Dreyfuss lost his protest but he never forgot the humiliation he suffered at the hands of McGraw.

When Dreyfuss made little more than a token offer to Thorpe, McGraw stepped in and made a far more substantial offer, Dreyfuss, instead of matching McGraw’s offer, released Thorpe from his promise, even though Thorpe was willing to keep it and sign with the Pirates.  On February 1, 1913, with a great deal of fanfare, Thorpe entered the offices of the New York Giants and signed a professional contract.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 23, 2022 at 10:54 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jim thorpe, pirates

Sunday, October 16, 2022

The night the Pirates died: Pittsburgh baseball hasn’t recovered from Francisco Cabrera, Sid Bream and the Braves’ NLCS comeback

And now, for the three seasons from 1990 through 1992, there had been this young, dynamic, accomplished squad led by slugger Barry Bonds and ace righthander Doug Drabek. Each year, the Pirates had won the National League East. After falling short of reaching the World Series the first two years, and after losing three of the first four games of 1992 National League Championship Series to the Atlanta Braves, they had rallied to force a Game 7 and held a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth. They were three outs away from the champagne celebration that was waiting in their clubhouse.

“It was a defining moment for where the Pirates were headed,” Mark Madden told The Sporting News. He grew up on Pittsburgh sports, joined the staff of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and now hosts an afternoon sports talk program on 105.9 The X. “Everybody knew it was now or never, because the reality of keeping big-money players in Pittsburgh – it was so evident it wasn’t going to happen.”

Bob Pompeani was completing only the first of his four decades as sports anchor at the city’s powerful KDKA-TV, and he recognized a massive change in the Pittsburgh sports scene was inevitable.

“I knew we were all headed in this area where no one was going to be able to afford — or there was an unwillingness to afford — some of these guys. Specifically Bonds,” Pompeani told TSN. “So I think everyone knew this was a chip you had to cash in.”

Baseball had changed in an instant as that powerful team was being constructed by general manager Syd Thrift. On Dec. 10, 1988, the Yankees sold their local television rights for $500 million over 12 years to Madison Square Garden’s cable network. That was just short of $42 million a year. With the Cubs and Braves powered at the time by cable superstations, with the regional sports channel carrying the Pirates still not even a decade old, with the team owned by a consortium of Pittsburgh-area businesspeople because no one else wanted to buy it, there was no apparent appetite within management for competing in the free-agent market. In 1991, there were two teams with a $30 million payroll. In 1992, there were 15. And the divide between the big markets and smaller markets only has grown.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 16, 2022 at 06:50 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Monday, September 26, 2022

Pirates add Miguel Andújar after Yankees designate former Rookie of the Year runner-up for assignment

Andújar, now 27, not so long ago looked like an important long-term piece for the Yankees. In his rookie season of 2018, Andújar as a 23-year-old put up an OPS+ of 130 and tallied 27 home runs, 47 doubles, and 302 total bases in 149 games (and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Shohei Ohtani).

However, since that high point Andújar has struggled badly and battled major shoulder and wrist problems. Since the start of the 2019 season, Andújar has played in just 105 games at the MLB level, and over that span he’s batted .228/.255/.318 (55 OPS+) with eight home runs. In between stints with the Yankees, he’s managed solid to good numbers in the minors, but his inability to rediscover the skills he showed as a rookie ultimately spelled an end to Andújar’s time with the organization.

The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed Andújar off waivers Sunday, the team announced. The Pirates only have nine games to play this season, so the claim was likely made with an eye toward the 2023 roster. Pittsburgh has not had a set DH since trading away Daniel Vogelbach at the deadline. Andújar could fill the role next season at a low cost.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2022 at 12:21 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: miguel andujar, pirates, yankees

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

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