We have had a few rumors involving the Pirates during the course of the day. Nothing big enough for an individual article here, but worth mentioning due to the sources.
Jerry Crasnick is reporting that the Pirates could be one of the teams in on Jeff Francoeur if he doesn’t return to the Phillies. The Pirates don’t have a great fourth outfielder option right now, at least not one with much experience. With the outfield they have, you expect them to play almost everyday, so backup outfielder isn’t a huge concern right now. That being said, Francoeur has been around awhile, has some power and still has a cannon for an arm. He hit .258/.286/.433 in 119 games for the Phillies last year. That came with a huge home/road split like you usually see from Citizens Bank Park, with an .833 OPS at home and .619 on the road.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 8, 2015
This is one from Chris Cotillo we basically already knew, but it was put out there again, so it’s worth mentioning here. Antonio Bastardo left via free agency, leaving the Pirates without an experienced lefty behind Tony Watson in the bullpen. Bobby LaFromboise is still around, though the Pirates have given him just 11.2 innings in the majors over the last two seasons. You should expect them to bring someone else more experienced in for that second lefty role, especially if Watson ends up being the closer.
Teams involved in lefty relief market: MIN, HOU, BAL, PIT, SEA, ATL.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 8, 2015
Jeff Wilson from the Star-Telegram says that the Rangers have interest in Elias Diaz and the Pirates have interest in Mitch Moreland, but Texas wouldn’t trade Moreland straight up for Diaz. That’s okay because I don’t think the Pirates would make that offer considering Diaz has six years of control left and Moreland has one. Diaz was named the best defensive catcher in all of the minors earlier this off-season, plus he has a solid approach at the plate and isn’t far from being Major League-ready.
That’s not the type of prospect you give up for one year in return, especially not at first base if the Pirates think Josh Bell will be ready before September. Diaz has also received a lot of praise for his defense and work with pitchers this winter down in Venezuela. So I expect him to be an above-average defensive catcher in the majors, who could hit enough to start, or at minimum, be a solid backup for years to come.