Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Rum Bunter Rumor Mill; Cole Hamels!?
The Pittsburgh Pirates have had a week with minor disappointment on the field, but there was a decent amount of action off the field as well. This is where we fill you in on all the transactions and rumors of the week in this edition of the Rum Bunter Rumor Mill.
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Should the Pirates target Cole Hamels?
In a recent article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pirates beat writer Travis Sawchik makes a compelling case for the Pirates adding an impact arm at the trade deadline this season. The biggest pitching name on the market this summer will probably be Cole Hamels, considering the state of the Philadelphia Phillies franchise and the fact that the team was actively shopping him this past offseason.
"Cole Hamels is the first big-name arm on the market, and the remaining length of his contract — four years — lines up with McCutchen’s remaining contract. Unlike a free agent, a trade this summer could allow the Pirates to add an impact arm on a shorter-term deal."
As Sawchik points out, Hamels has four years left on the six-year, $144 million deal he signed back in 2012. The remaining years are a huge positive for any team interested in Hamels, as is his status as one of the definitive aces in the game. Hamels owns a career 3.28 ERA, which is better than any current starting pitcher on the Pirates staff, and has pitched over 200 innings in a season six times. He also has three seasons of 200-plus strikeouts and was the MVP of the 2008 World Series. The Pirates don’t have a clear ace yet, and are banking on Gerrit Cole ascending to that level sooner rather than later.
On the negative side, Hamels is 31 years old and is owed an average of $24 million a year over the life of his contract. The Pirates don’t have a single player making over $13 million this season. That would be the biggest payroll commitment the Pirates have ever made to one player. This is not to mention that Hamels would likely cost at least two top prospects and a current major leaguer, if not more. The Pirates have the pieces to make that happen, but is the team willing to make such a move?
Francisco Liriano goes on paternity leave
Francisco Liriano became the proud father of his fourth child last Saturday and, in turn, was placed on the paternity leave list. Casey Sadler was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and started Saturday’s game.
But that didn’t last long, as Liriano only missed one start and was reinstated from the paternity leave list. Sadler was then optioned back to Indianapolis.
Stolmy Pimentel claimed by Texas Rangers
The Pirates had previously designated Stolmy Pimentel for assignment when he didn’t make the 25-man roster to start the season. Pimentel hadn’t made the most out of his time in the majors, as he owns a career 4.37 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. The Rangers decided to claim Pimentel off waivers. This makes sense because Jeff Banister is the manager of the Rangers and formerly the bench coach and longtime member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
Pedro Florimon clears waivers
Utility man Pedro Florimon was also designated for assignment before the final 25-man roster was decided upon at the end of spring training. Luckily for the Pirates, Florimon went unclaimed, and was outrighted to Indianapolis. Florimon will be a middle infield depth option for the Pirates moving forward.
Chris Stewart completes rehab assignment
Backup catcher Chris Stewart opened the season on the 15-day disabled list. Thursday night, Stewart completed his rehab assignment.
To make room for him on the 25-man roster, a move will have to be made. It could be Tony Sanchez if the Pirates don’t want to carry three catchers, or it could be a bullpen arm or a bench player.
Charlie Morton makes progress
Charlie Morton also opened the season on the 15-day disabled list. He’s trying to right the ship after having a rough spring training in which he had an 8.47 ERA over 17 innings pitched. He’s already pitched in a simulated game and is scheduled to pitch a few innings in an extended spring training game in Tampa on Saturday.
Andrew McCutchen suffering from lingering knee issues
Andrew McCutchen missed a lot of time in spring training due to lingering knee pain. It seems that this is an issue that rest won’t solve, and for which surgery isn’t an option. Cutch seems to be intent on playing through it; we’ll see how he holds up over the course of 162 games.
There were a lot of minor moves made by the Pittsburgh Pirates this week and some interesting rumors circulated. We’ll know soon enough who gets optioned to Indianapolis or designated for assignment to make room for Chris Stewart on the 25-man roster, and if/when Pimentel officially becomes a Ranger. Make sure to stay tuned next week for another edition of the Rum Bunter Rumor Mill!
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