Pirates Offseason Notes 11/9/15

21 weeks until Opening Day…

Recent Stuff on the Blog

— Last week’s Offseason Notes
Ranking the Free Agent Starting Pitchers
The Pirates & Tommy John Surgery
— Pages: Depth Chart / Payroll / Spray Charts / PITCHf/x

Byung-Ho Park Bidding

The big baseball news of the day revolves around Korean slugging first baseman Byung-Ho Park. A former teammate of Jung-Ho Kang with the Korean Baseball Organization’s Nexen Heroes, Park looked to follow in the current Pirate’s footsteps and make the jump to Major League Baseball this winter. With gaudy numbers in the hitter-friendly KBO (.343/.436/.714 with 53 HR in 2015), Park’s posting had been hyped for some time, and the Pirates were naturally connected by way of both Kang and their yearly revolving door at 1B. I didn’t want to get my hopes up for multiple reasons, mostly because the Korean posting system is a crapshoot (still a blind bid where the highest bidder gets to negotiate a contract with the player; no back-and-forth “bidding war”) and the Pirates have Josh Bell waiting in the wings for first base, most likely to be in Pittsburgh at some point in 2016.

Park’s bidding opened last week and ended on Friday. For whatever reason, the winning bidder was not to be announced until today (Monday), though it was reported that the winning bid was $12.85 million and teams slowly began to eliminate themselves through the media. By last night, only handful of teams had yet to be cut by process of elimination, including the tight-lipped Pirates.

Finally, former MLB/KBO pitcher C.J. Nitkowski dropped an early-morning Twitter bomb:

CJ Nitkowski Byung Ho Park Pirates

But… not so fast. It was too good to be true. Buster Olney shot down Nitkowski’s claim shortly after 8:00 am:

Continue reading “Pirates Offseason Notes 11/9/15”

Top Ten Pirates of the PNC Park Era: #7 Aramis Ramirez

6 years 559 542 76 316 .263 .747

Before being salary-dumped to the Chicago Cubs, Aramis Ramirez held down the hot corner for the Pirates for six seasons.  His first full season wasn’t until 2001, but it was a big one.  A-Ram slammed 34 homers and knocked in 112 runs while hitting .300 in 158 games.  His tremendous 2001 campaign is the main reason he’s on this list.  He followed up his monster season with a fairly disappointing year, but bounced back in 2003.  He nearly matched his 2002 numbers in the first half of 2003 and was traded, along with Kenny Lofton, to the Cubs in late July.  The Pirates received Bobby Hill, Jose Hernandez, and a minor leaguer in return, which resulted in a very lopsided trade.  A-Ram went on to have a successful stint on the North Side of Chicago and stayed in the NL Central when he signed with the Brewers in 2012.  Ramirez has probably been the best third baseman for the Bucs in the PNC Park era, despite just two full years with the team.  He’s gone on to be one of the more consistent third baggers in the NL, and is still producing at the plate.

Photo: terren in Virginia/Creative Commons