Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors – Rum Bunter Rumor Mill – Vol. I
By Tyler Waite
Welcome to the first edition of the Pittsburgh Pirates Rum Bunter Rumor Mill, where once a week we’ll analyze the latest rumors circulating around the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. From trades to free agent signings to demotions and promotions, we’ll give you the hottest rumors and inside information from analysts, beat writers, media members, and the like, right here on Rum Bunter, from throughout the previous week.
There’s already been some moves made this week, and there’ll be more to come once spring training comes to an end. Players still have to be cut, and the 25-man roster still has to be finalized. First things first though:
Pirates trade for Hunter Morris
Hunter Morris, a 26-year-old first baseman, is a career minor leaguer, never having seen time in the majors to date. Morris was in the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, and has a career .272/.321/.478 line, which isn’t bad, yet has a 3.19 K/BB ratio, which is. Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes:
So, where does Morris fit into the picture? He’ll most likely be used as a depth option out of Triple-A. The Pirates don’t have many options at first base if there should be an injury to either Pedro Alvarez or Corey Hart, or if either doesn’t play well. Andrew Lambo is one option, but his poor play this spring for the second consecutive season may have led to the need for another option at first; the Pirates know they can never have enough depth.
Final Position Battles
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The end of spring training signifies position battles coming to an end. That means some players may be designated for assignment, while others will be optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The Pirates have a couple bullpen positions still yet to be decided and the final bench spot to be battled out (we’ve analyzed each battle this past week and where each one stands, just click the links!). Have there been any recent inclinations either way for where the players stand? Rob Biertempfel from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has a few ideas:
And this seems to be the overwhelming feeling many fans are getting. Minor league options come into play here, so the Pirates may want to keep Pedro Florimon and option Lambo to preserve depth. However, management may feel that they’ve given Stolmy Pimentel one too many opportunities, not to mention that he currently has a 4.91 ERA in 11 innings this spring. Luckily we’ll know the answers to these position battles by Monday.
One of pitching coach Ray Searage’s reclamation projects this year is Clayton Richard, who has been involved with a convoluted opt-out clause throughout the spring. Richard did have an opt-out clause in his contract, and it came into play when he was not placed on the Pirates’ 40-man roster by March 31st, yet he chose to decline it and stay with the Pirates organization.
Richard cited Edinson Volquez as a main reason why he chose to sign with the Pirates; Searage and company helped Volquez have arguably the best season of his career in 2014, to the tune of a 3.04 ERA, the starting nod in the NL Wild Card game, and a 2 year, $20 million deal with the Kansas City Royals. Richard clearly believes in Ray Searage, Jim Benedict, and company, and it’s highly likely Richard gets major league action at some point this season.
The Pirates always make moves that don’t generate a lot of attention, but the consequences of these moves often come to light at some point during the season. Pedro Florimon, Stolmy Pimentel, or Arquimedes Caminero could be traded, and Richard should see major league action at some point this season. We all saw how a bad bench hurt the Pirates towards the end of last season, and how important the bullpen has been the last two years. It’ll also be interesting to see if Hunter Morris breaks into the big leagues for the first time this year.
Tune in next week to see where the odd men out of the pen and bench end up and to keep posted on all of the latest Pittsburgh Pirates rumors and inside information!