Some recent Bucco news and notes as we approach the start of the Winter Meetings…
– The Pirates signed left-hander Clayton Richard to a minor league contract earlier this week. He’s battled injuries and multiple shoulder surgeries over the past few seasons, limiting his time on the mound. His last full season in the big leagues was 2012 with the Padres, when he led the league in starts (33)… but also hits allowed (228) and home runs (31) … which seems hard to do in San Diego, no? Richard is entering his age-31 season and was decent when healthy. He strikes out next to no one but induces plenty of ground balls (career 50%). Not a ton of risk here on a minor league deal, but maybe some time with the pitching gurus can turn things around for him.
– Speaking of the Padres, they signed Clint Barmes to a one-year, $1.3 million contract. Barmes, who will turn 36 in March, spent three years in the Burgh… His original 2/$10.5 contract was ugly in hindsight, and he just doesn’t have the bat to make consistent starts. He’s a good bench player though, especially with his solid glove work. Barmes was a hard worker and good guy, so we wish in the best in San Diego.
– As expected, the Bucs will head to the Winter Meetings with an eye on starting pitching. Also as expected, “retaining [Francisco Liriano] is Huntington’s top priority.” Something that’s written every year that doesn’t happen: “Huntington could look to make a big splash at Meetings.” Tom Singer notes that Allen Craig is a guy the Pirates could look at to play a little 1st base.
– MLB Trade Rumors’ arbitration estimates are always on point, but Mark Melancon‘s $7.6 million projection was a bit high due to his rare combination of holds and saves last season. Matt Swartz, creator of the model, analyzed a more accurate estimate for Melancon and guesses around $5.6-6.1 million could make sense.
– Grantland’s Jonah Keri released his MLB trade value rankings this week (Part I & Part II)… Buccos on the list: Gregory Polanco (45th), Starling Marte (38th), Gerrit Cole (33th), and obviously Andrew McCutchen (2nd).
– MLB.com released their top 50 draft prospects. Mt. Lebanon’s Ian Happ, a junior at the University of Cincinnati, ranks 16th. The switch-hitting Happ dominated the Cape Cod League the past two summers.
– PirateFest is coming up next weekend. Admission is free this year, but autograph lines are $20 (for charity). The list of current players scheduled to appear isn’t great (highlighted by Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, A.J. Burnett) … Travis Snider is getting married next weekend, so a lot of the team will be skipping ‘Fest for it.
Bummed about missing PFest 4 the first time in 8 years, though excited 2 be watching friend @Lunchboxhero45 on his Big Day the same weekend!
— Neil Walker (@NeilWalker18) November 26, 2014
Gonna be weird missing Pirates Fest this year but I'm excited to see my homeboy @Lunchboxhero45 on his big day!!
— Josh Harrison (@jhay_da_man) December 2, 2014
Hopefully we’ll have lots up on the site next week as the Winter Meetings unfold.
Photo: Denis Poroy/Getty