Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training News & Notes: February 18

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 22: Josh Harrison
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 22: Josh Harrison /

With the Pittsburgh Pirates first full squad workout of the spring now just a day away, here is a look at news and notes from Bradenton on Sunday

As the Pittsburgh Pirates prepare for their first full squad workout of Spring Training 2018, Pirate City is starting to fill up. Most of the players invited to Spring Training were in Bradenton before Sunday, but a few more arrived earlier today.

Second baseman Josh Harrison and catcher Elias Diaz arrived in Pirate City on Sunday.

After the Pirates traded Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole, Harrison asked the Pirates to trade him if their main focus is not currently on winning. On Sunday, Harrison stood by those comments.

When asked if he’s surprised he’s still a Pirate, Harrison told reporters no. He also expressed frustration with what he described as a lack of transparency from the Pirate front office and being unsure about the direction of the team.

Harrison said he has spoken with general manager Neal Huntington who has expressed to Harrison that the team wants to win. Harrison added that he told the following to Huntington, “at the end of the day, I said it’s about action not speaking.” Huntington also met with the media on Sunday and told them, as you would expect, that the Pirates plan to compete for a World Series Championship in 2018.

Throughout the offseason I have believed the Pirates should trade Harrison. In my opinion, the value he could bring them in a trade would be greater in the long run than the value he would bring to the 2018 Pirates would be. Harrison wanting to be traded only furthers this opinion of mine. The last thing a team that is looking to cultivate its young talent needs is a disgruntled veteran potentially creating a toxic situation in the clubhouse.

Luckily, the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Pirates had no such veterans when players such as Andrew McCutchen, Josh Harrison, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Starling Marte, etc. were cutting their teeth and growing into the players they would become. This allowed those players to create a happy and healthy clubhouse culture, which played a large role in the success of the 2013-2015 teams. The 2018 Pirates do not need to risk having that around their new young core.

For those who may have missed it, Diaz’s arrival was delayed due to his mother being kidnapped in his native Venezuela. Thankfully, his mother has since returned home safely. With Diaz being out of minor league options, barring injury this spring, he is a lock to start the season as Francisco Cervelli‘s backup.

Also on Sunday, there was live batting practice for the first time this spring. Pitchers that tossed live BP included new number one starter Jameson Taillon, Steven Brault who should make the team as a left-handed reliever, and the team’s best reliever Felipe Rivero.

Next: Corey Dickerson would be a low risk addition

That will do it for today. Make sure to stay tuned with Rum Bunter for news and notes on the Pittsburgh Pirates from Bradenton throughout Spring Training.