Morning Report: The Pirates Have Even More Money to Spend This Offseason

It’s almost a guarantee that the Pirates are going to be spending some money this offseason. I don’t know how they’re going to spend, or how much they’re going to spend. But an early look at the projected payroll shows they have plenty of money available, and you’d have to go to great lengths to imagine that they won’t spend anything.

After the trades of David Freese and Adeiny Hechavarria (the latter of which didn’t impact the 2019 payroll), I have the Pirates projected at $72.9 M for 2019 heading into the offseason. That projection assumes that they will buy out the options of Jung Ho Kang and Josh Harrison, along with all expected raises. The buyout for Harrison seems almost certain after Neal Huntington made comments about how the team is looking to plan for the future in September, and looking to move beyond Harrison and Jordy Mercer.

If the Pirates spend to the $90 M range, they’ve got about $17 M this offseason. They’ve been up to the $100 M range at the start of the year in previous years, and that same level could give them close to $30 M this offseason. They’d have even more if they found a taker for Ivan Nova.

I’m guessing they’ll spend to at least $90 M, and with the TV deal expiring after 2019, they would be wise to spend a little more and try to go for a big season to try and parlay that into a bigger deal.

As for the current season, I have the Pirates at $88,465,790 right now after the trades and the September callups. The callups of the first five guys led to a projected increase of $713,226 for the remainder of the year. That offsets the savings they had this year from the Freese and Hechavarria deals.

There will be more players coming up. Recently demoted guys like Michael Feliz and Clay Holmes will be eligible to return in the next few days. There will be more players arriving after Indianapolis finishes their season.

The impact to this year’s payroll is minimal, and not really significant on its own. But the Pirates will likely end up around $90 M, which means it wouldn’t be crazy to expect them starting at that level next year, especially since they’ve finished at $90 M or higher in each of the last four seasons.

If that happens, they’ll have some money to spend, with not many places they need to spend it on, which could make things interesting this offseason.


The Pirates are in fourth place in their division, trailing by 14.5 games with 26 games left on the schedule. They trail the second wild card team by 9.5 games.

Indianapolis is a 1/2 game out of first place with two games left in their schedule. They do not own the tiebreaker. They are a in a three-way tie in the wild card race.

Altoona is in first place with a half game lead and two games left in their schedule. They clinched a playoff spot on Sunday.

Bradenton has been eliminated from the playoff race.

West Virginia has two games left in their schedule. They are tied for second place in the overall standings and would make the playoffs if they finish second, because Lakewood won both half titles. The Power have a better winning percentage due to Kannapolis (the team they’re tied with) playing four more games, so with just three games left, the two teams can not finish for a tie anymore. Kannapolis held the tie-breaker due to winning the season series.

Morgantown has been eliminated from the playoff race.

Bristol’s season has ended.

The GCL Pirates season ended.

The DSL Pirates1 season ended.

The DSL Pirates2 season ended.


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 5-3 to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night. Nick Kingham will get the start in place of Ivan Nova (family issues/away from team), coming off of his relief appearance on Thursday in which he threw a shutout inning. In his prior outing, he gave up one run over two innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Braves will counter with right-hander Julio Teheran, who has a 4.18 ERA in 146.1 innings, with 134 strikeouts and a 1.18 WHIP. He allowed one run over seven innings against the Pirates on August 22nd.

The minor league schedule includes just five teams and two regular season days still remaining. JT Brubaker starts a big game for Indianapolis in their playoff push. He had a 1.01 ERA in 26.2 innings last month. Logan Sendelbach makes his second start in place of the suspended Luis Escobar for the Altoona. West Virginia’s Oddy Nunez has allowed six runs over 24 innings in four starts since being demoted from High-A. Bradenton ends their season today with Pedro Vasquez making the final start. The seasons have ended for Bristol, the GCL and DSL Pirates.

MLB: Pittsburgh (66-70) @ Braves (75-60) 5:05 PM
Probable starter: Nick Kingham (4.92 ERA, 58:19 SO/BB, 64.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (72-66) vs Louisville (60-75) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: JT Brubaker (2.95 ERA, 93:35 SO/BB, 113.0 IP)

AA: Altoona (77-59) @ Bowie (66-70) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Logan Sendelbach (4.30 ERA, 46:39 SO/BB, 67.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (55-74) @ Tampa (70-66) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Pedro Vasquez (4.64 ERA, 13:8 SO/BB, 21.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (71-60) @ Charleston (62-72) 5:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Oddy Nunez (2.10 ERA, 20:7 SO/BB, 30.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (32-42) vs Mahoning Valley (40-33) 4:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Zach Spears (6.07 ERA, 30:19 SO/BB, 43.0 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (31-37) (season preview

GCL: Pirates (27-25) (season preview)

DSL: Pirates1 (32-40) (season preview)

DSL: Pirates2 (27-45) (season preview)


From Altoona, two hits from Ke’Bryan Hayes…



9/1: Pirates recall Nick Burdi, Jacob Stallings,Jose Osuna, Dovydas Neverauskas and Pablo Reyes. Release Sean Rodriguez.

9/1: Indianapolis activates Casey Sadler and Montana DuRapau from disabled list. Logan Ratledge promoted to Indianapolis.

8/31: Traded Adeiny Hechavarria to the Yankees for a PTBNL or cash considerations.

8/31: Traded David Freese to the Dodgers for Jesus Valdez.

8/31: Max Kranick activated from West Virginia disabled list. Drew Fischer placed on disabled list.

8/31: Ryan Peurifoy assigned to Bradenton.

8/30: Chris Sharpe activated from West Virginia disabled list. Ryan Peurifoy assigned to Bristol.

8/29: Pirates activate Jordy Mercer from disabled list. Sean Rodriguez designated for assignment.

8/29: Allen Montgomery and Joe Jacques promoted to Morgantown.

8/27: Cam Alldred and Nicholas Economos promoted from Morgantown to West Virginia

8/26: Pirates signed Luis Tejeda (his agreement was announced on July 2nd, officially signed August 26th).

8/26: Brad Case promoted to Morgantown.

8/26: Pirates suspend Luis Escobar and Yeudy Garcia. Blake Weiman and Elvis Escobar promoted to West Virginia.

8/26: Max Kranick placed on disabled list.

8/25: Pirates recall Nick Kingham. Clay Holmes optioned to Indianapolis. AJ Schugel sent outright to Indianapolis.

8/25: Dylan Busby placed on West Virginia disabled list. Ryan Valdes promoted from Morgantown.

8/25: Pirates release Pedro Castillo, Ronaldo Paulino, Ruben Gonzalez, Ivan Rosario, Matthew Mercedes, Rayvi Rodriguez and Eddy Vargas

8/24: Pirates sign Nick Mears.

8/24: Pirates activate Sean Rodriguez from disabled list.

8/24: Montana DuRapau placed on disabled list.

8/23: Michael Feliz optioned to Indianapolis.

8/23: Casey Sadler placed on Indianapolis disabled list. Montana DuRapau activated from DL.


Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus one transaction of note. On this date in 1972, the Pirates sold pitcher Bob Veale to the Boston Red Sox, ending his 11-year career in Pittsburgh. Veale was actually in AAA at the time of the deal. He didn’t pitch well in 1971 or early in 1972, but at one time he was a dominating pitcher when he was on his game. His 1,652 strikeouts are second in team history and he owns four of the top seven strikeout seasons in franchise history

Players born on this date include:

Gaby Sanchez, first baseman from 2012 until 2014. He had a .722 OPS in 309 games with the Pirates and he was slightly better over five seasons with the Marlins.

Yamid Haad, pinch-hitter for the Pirates on July 5, 1999. Signed as an amateur free agent by the Pirates out of Colombia, Haad was called up after Jason Kendall had his season-ending ankle injury in 1999. He grounded out to third base in his only at-bat. He was called up again later in the season when Keith Osik got hurt, but he never played. Haad made the majors briefly in 2005 with the Giants, his only other big league experience during his 14-year pro career.

Sean Lawrence, lefty pitcher for the 1998 team. He was a sixth round pick of the Pirates in the 1992 draft. Had a 7.32 ERA in 19.2 innings during that 1998 season, his only time in the majors.

Luke Walker, lefty pitcher during the 1965-66 seasons, then again from 1968 until 1973. Won 15 games during the 1970 season, then ten during the 1971 World Series winning season. Started game four of the Series, but couldn’t make it out of the first inning. Walker had a 3.47 ERA in 733.1 innings with the Pirates.

Ben Sankey, shortstop from 1929 until 1931. Hit .213 in 72 big league games, all with the Pirates. Played over 1,500 minor league games.




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