Pittsburgh Pirates Notes: Archer, Minors, International Signing
The Pittsburgh Pirates are coming back home to face the Chicago Cubs in their next series. Here are some notes from the organization.
The Pittsburgh Pirates just started what will surely be the deciding stretch of play that will determine what they do at this year’s trade deadline. They lost their first series to the Brewers and now will take on the Cubs for the next three games. Then the last series before the All-Star Break, the club will be home against the Brew Crew again. If these next two series do not help clear up the Bucs future, then after the break will help as well. The team opens up with the Cubs and the Cardinals in back-to-back series.
One question heading into these games is if Chris Archer will be a part of the team’s rotation or not. Archer left his last start with left hip discomfort. According to Adam Berry of MLB.com, the Bucs will reevaluate Archer in Pittsburgh today and then they will decide whether to place Archer on the Injury List. Berry said this in his update,
"“Right-hander Chris Archer, who exited Friday’s game early due to left hip discomfort, will be reevaluated when the Pirates are back in Pittsburgh on Monday. He said Friday night that he would not have a good feel for his status moving forward until it’s time to throw his between-starts bullpen session.”"
The Pittsburgh Pirates also released veteran utility man Nick Franklin. This roster move was reported by John Dreker of Pirates Prospects. Franklin was playing with Triple-A Indianapolis and was viewed as a potential emergency depth infielder but did not provide nearly any reason for him to be kept around. The former notable prospect hit a mere .193 in 136 plate attempts.
The other news that came out a few days ago was that the Pittsburgh Pirates signed a new international prospect. According to the CPBL Website (Taiwan’s professional league, upside 17-year-old shortstop prospect Zheng-Zong Zhe is going to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The deal is reportedly around $300,000, which will count against their 2018-2019 international bonus pool.
There is not a ton of information available on Zhe, but the Bucs must think highly of him to give him a six-figure bonus. He is a left-handed hitter who, obviously, throws with his right-hand being a shortstop. One unofficial report had him listed around 5’6”, but he could still grow some being just 17 years of age. Zhe is forgoing an opportunity to play in Taiwan’s professional league to try to be one of the few Taiwanese prospects to make it to the Major Leagues.