Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pirates Sign Jose Contreras

The Pirates have signed veteran right handed reliever Jose Contreras to a minor league deal. He reported to camp earlier today.

Contreras is coming off back-to-back seasons that have ended prematurely due to elbow problems, the latter resulting in Tommy John surgery, undergoing the procedure on June 20 last year. Bill Brink reported that he’s thrown off a mound three times so far as part of his rehabilitation process, however it would be unlikely if he will be seen in a Pirates uniform prior to June – given the usual 12 month rehab schedule.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Buried Treasure Exclusive Interview: Kirk Singer

By now, it's pretty clear what this series is about.  This is the fifth installment of an interview series that poses questions to members of the Pirates organization and gets answers back.  First was pitcher Michael Colla.  Outfielder Mel Rojas Jr. followed him.  Third was pitcher Zack Dodson. Fourth,  pitcher Mike Jefferson. Now, infielder Kirk Singer. Enjoy after the jump.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013 Draft: Under the Radar Prospects

Come June, MLB Draft headlines will be dominated by elite players and known names taken at the top first round.  Those players will be thrust into the spotlight, expected to provide their respective teams with wins, homeruns, and all-star appearances.  Many of them will but not all-stars are drafted in the first round of a draft.  Not every valuable major leaguer was a once a big-time draft prospect.  Some guys fly under-the-radar up until they are drafted, even on the way to a productive major league career.  The four guys profiled below are draft prospects who aren't considered elite draft prospects at this time. A strong spring could propel them into that stratosphere or they could be potential diamonds in the rough for a team to take in the later rounds come June.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hurdle To Sign Pirates Extension

The Pirates are close to extending Clint Hurdle to a contract extension for 2014, with an option for 2015. He was entering the final year of the three-year deal, so the extension buys perceived stability for Hurdle. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Buried Treasure Exclusive Interview: Mike Jefferson

By now, it's pretty clear what this series is about.  This is the fourth installment of an interview series that poses questions to members of the Pirates organization and gets answers back.  First was pitcher Michael Colla.  Outfielder Mel Rojas Jr. followed him.  Third was pitcher Zack Dodson. Next up, pitcher Mike Jefferson. Enjoy after the jump.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

More On Brandon Inge And A Dual-Platoon Infield Role

Yesterday I touched on how Brandon Inge appears to be the most likely non-roster invitee to break camp with the Pirates as could have value in the dual platoon role; his career numbers against southpaws could provide an upgrade over Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker when the club faces left-handed starting pitching.

A right-handed hitter that could produce at the plate on a part-time basis would allow the club to limit the exposure of both Alvarez and Walker against lefties while still allowing both players to attempt to improve upon their performances. It’s too early in their careers to give up on either player as a full time option; however giving either player the day off when the club faces a left-hander would likely improve the offense as a whole.

Francisco Liriano Hopes to Return in May

According to this ESPN article, the subject of most of the Pirates offseason drama, Francisco Liriano, hopes to be ready to pitch by May.  Liriano agreed to terms on a deal with the Pirates back in December, but was unable to take a physical due to a broken non-throwing arm.  The injury has been attributed to both a bathroom fall and Liriano's attempt to surprise his kids on Christmas by pounding on a door.  Basically, who knows what actually happened.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tyler Gaffney Back to Stanford

Human Beanball Magnet and Pirates 2012 draftee Tyler Gaffney has decided to hang up his baseball spikes for a pair football cleats.  The former Division-I football player will be re-enrolling at Stanford University, the school the Pirates drafted him out of in the 24th round last year.  That will put his professional baseball career officially on hold.

More Platoon Advantage Discussion As The Pirates Sign Brandon Inge

The Pirates have signed utility infielder/outfielder Brandon Inge to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training, making the former Tiger the 61st player in camp. 

Update: Next Man Up Depth Charts

Next Man Up Depth Charts have been updated 2/13/2013.

Thanks to Trogluddite, Buried Treasure has added the Next Man Up depth charts as a permanent fixture.   The charts are highlighted by a tab at the top of the page.  Currently there are two charts, one for positional players and one for pitchers. Links to each chart plus a key and explanation for the charts are below.  Enjoy!

Positional Players Depth Chart
Pitchers Depth Chart
About "Next Man Up" Depth Charts

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

#11 Pirates Prospect - Jose Osuna

Buried Treasure Top 30 Prospects
#11 - Jose Osuna

Measurables: 6'2, 213
Bats: R, Throws: R
Position: 1B
Acquired: IFA, 2009
Bonus: $250,000
DOB: 12/12/1992
Buried Treasure 2012 Top 20: Not Ranked

Crystal Ball: Future Trade Targets v. 1.0

This is the beginning of a series that identifies potential trade targets for the Pirates in the future. Explained is the reasoning behind why the Pirates should look to make a big splash in the trade market in the next few years. This version of the series includes Dylan Bundy, Manny Machado, and Chris Sale.  Immediately after the jump is the primer I will use for the entire series.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Francisco Liriano's Unique Deal Finally Official

Francisco Liriano has finally signed with the Pirates and his reconstructed contract is certainly unique. While Liriano can still earn the full $12.75M over two years that was agreed before Christmas, he’s now guaranteed just $1M over one year due to the injury to his non-pitching arm. In order to make room for Liriano on the 40-man roster, Vin Mazzaro was outrighted to Triple-A and will be a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Buried Treasure Exclusive Interview: Zack Dodson

By now, it's pretty clear what this series is about.  This is the third installment of an interview series that poses questions to members of the Pirates organization and gets answers back.  First was pitcher Michael Colla.  Outfielder Mel Rojas Jr. followed him.  Next up, pitcher Zack Dodson. Enjoy after the jump.

Industry Sources: Top Prospect Lists and Organizational Rankings

The last few weeks have been huge for prospecting.  Several top 100 lists, top 10 team lists, and organizational rankings have been published.  That includes lists and rankings from the major industry sources, Keith Law, John Sickels, Jonathon Mayo, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus among others.  Below is a sort of compilation, along with analysis, of those lists and rankings.  Format is by category.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Buried Treasure Exclusive Interview: Mel Rojas Jr.

In an effort to produce better and more unique content about the Pittsburgh Pirates, Buried Treasure has reached out to members of the Pirates organization for interviews.  The response was awesome, starting with our first volunteer, Pirates farmhand and pitcher Michael Colla. Moving into the future, the hope is to have more interviews similar to this one.  This particular interview is with our second volunteer, Mel Rojas Jr.  It's after the jump.  Enjoy!

Burnett with an "e"

Mention the name "Burnett" to any Pittsburgh Pirates fan, or most baseball fans for that matter, and the immediate reaction will be to discuss A.J. Burnett and with good reason. Burnett is coming off a bounce back season with the Pirates where he endeared himself to the vast majority of Pittsburgh baseball fans for his grit and his fierce demeanor. For years to come, he will be the "Burnett" when it comes to Pittsburgh baseball.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pirates Close To Adding Jonathan Sanchez

The Pirates are close to acquiring left-handed starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez according to Jon Heyman. While it’s unclear whether Sanchez fits in with the Bucs at this point, as well as whether he’s been signed to a major or minor league deal, it is certain that the Pirates will be buying low on a player that the Royals traded Melky Cabrera for last winter.

Reminder: Facebook Page and Twitter

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Also, please follow Buried Treasure's authors on Twitter. @CutchistheTruth and @JimmyCoverdale for the same updates. Thank you!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pirates News & Notes

We’ve approached the time of year when very little noteworthy news tends to happen. Teams are generally coming to terms to contracts with their arbitration eligible players and are gearing up to Spring Training. It is a little different this year, however, as there are still two marquee free agents available (Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse), buy-low candidates (most notably Roy Oswalt) as well as a wealth of arms available to fill 6th or 7th inning roles in the bullpen. Onto some Pirates related news and notes from the past few days:

Friday, February 1, 2013

International Pitching Prospects: Trend or Concidence

Quick, name the Pirates best pitching prospect brought into the organization via international free agency.  Luis Heredia probably came immediately to mind and that would fall in line with consensus view point used to answer the given challenge.   Then it gets difficult.  Name the second best pitching prospect for the Pirates acquired as an international teenager.