Around the Horn: 'Dream' outfield

McCutchen, Marte, Polanco return as Trio Grande

Around the Horn: 'Dream' outfield

With Spring Training just around the corner, it's time for an in-depth look at the Pirates' 2016 roster. This is the fourth of a six-part series checking in on each position. After covering their catchers, first basemen and infielders, let's look at the outfield.

PITTSBURGH -- This is about as simple as it gets. No new faces. No position battles. Just Andrew McCutchen flanked by Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco -- arguably the best outfield trio in the Majors.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Will Pirates add another lefty reliever?

Beat reporter Adam Berry answers questions from fans

Inbox: Will Pirates add another lefty reliever?

Are the Pirates going to sign any more left-handed relievers to accompany Tony Watson in the bullpen?
-- Daniel H., Indianapolis, Ind.

General manager Neal Huntington has said Pittsburgh would like to add another left-hander to replace Antonio Bastardo, but it's not going to sign one simply for the sake of doing so.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Around the Horn: Infielders

Kang keys Pirates' infield makeup entering spring

Around the Horn: Infielders

With Spring Training just around the corner, it's time for an in-depth look at the Pirates' 2016 roster. This is the third of a six-part series checking in on each position. After covering their catchers and first basemen, let's look at the rest of the infield.

PITTSBURGH -- As the offseason began, two questions hovered over the Pirates' infield: When will Jung Ho Kang be back, and will Neil Walker be back at all?

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates acquire lefty Biddle from Phillies

Pirates acquire lefty Biddle from Phillies

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates added a long-term reclamation project on Wednesday, acquiring former top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle from the Phillies. The left-hander will spend this year recovering from Tommy John surgery, but the Pirates hope to see him eventually reach his Major League potential in Pittsburgh.

The Pirates sent righty Yoervis Medina, a waiver claim who was recently outrighted, to the Phillies in exchange for Biddle. To make room for Biddle on the 40-man roster, the Pirates designated right-hander A.J. Schugel, another recent waiver claim, for assignment.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

South Africa adds Ngoepe to Classic roster

Pirates infielder to play for home country in qualifying round

South Africa adds Ngoepe to Classic roster

PITTSBURGH -- Gift Ngoepe hopes to proudly represent his home country of South Africa in the Majors soon. In the meantime, the Pirates' shortstop will continue to do so in the World Baseball Classic.

Ngoepe, 26, has been added to South Africa's roster for the World Baseball Classic qualifying round, to be played Feb. 11-14 at Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney, Australia. Ngoepe's South Africa team will compete against Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines for a spot in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, the fourth installment of the international tournament.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Huntington wants '08 Bay trade back

Huntington wants '08 Bay trade back

PITTSBURGH -- Neal Huntington has said it before, and he'll say it again: The worst trade the Pirates have made during his time as general manager came seconds before the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2008. That was when Pittsburgh sent Jason Bay to Boston as part of a three-team deal with the Red Sox and Dodgers, netting four prospects in return.

Leading up to the Deadline, the Pirates thought they'd wind up holding on to Bay, who had struggled the previous season and bounced back well in 2008. But they felt they couldn't pass up the deal in which they received Brandon Moss and reliever Craig Hansen from the Red Sox. Boston sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers, who shipped third-base prospect Andy LaRoche and right-hander Bryan Morris to Pittsburgh to complete the deal.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Longtime exec Brooks starts MLB job

New program to add diversity to coaching and baseball operations

Longtime exec Brooks starts MLB job

PITTSBURGH -- In November, Tyrone Brooks joined an advisory council created to address the issue of diversity in Major League Baseball. That was when he learned the league was looking for someone to run its newly created Front Office & Field Staff Diversity Pipeline Program. They were looking for someone with a passion for bringing people into the game and for connecting those already within the industry.

In other words, they were looking for Tyrone Brooks.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates place 5 prospects on 2016 Top 100 list

Right-hander Glasnow (No. 10), outfielder Meadows (No. 20) lead group

Pirates place 5 prospects on 2016 Top 100 list

PITTSBURGH -- All winter, the Pirates have talked about "bridging the gap" between their current core and the one on its way. You can see their foundation at PNC Park -- players such as Andrew McCutchen, Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco.

On Friday night, MLBPipeline's list of baseball's Top 100 Prospects offered a glimpse at the Pirates' future stars, some of whom could force their way into the big league picture as soon as this season. Pittsburgh placed five prospects on this year's list, all of them expected to play at Double-A or above in 2016.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates hire Block as play-by-play broadcaster

Former Brewers radio announcer has family ties to Pittsburgh area

Pirates hire Block as play-by-play broadcaster

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates on Saturday hired former Brewers announcer Joe Block as their new play-by-play broadcaster. Block will join current play-by-play man Greg Brown and color analysts Steve Blass, Bob Walk and John Wehner, rounding out the Pirates' five-man television and radio broadcast team.

The Pirates searched far and wide as they sought to replace Tim Neverett, who recently joined the broadcasting team of the Red Sox. According to team president Frank Coonelly, the club considered more than 225 applicants for the position. But they ultimately chose Block, who had been a Brewers radio play-by-play broadcaster since 2012.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Around the Horn: 1B still open Bucs question

Jaso likely for Opening Day, but host of others could factor in

Around the Horn: 1B still open Bucs question

With Spring Training less than a month away, it's time for an in-depth look at the Pirates' 2016 roster. This is the second of a six-part series checking in on their current and future options at each position. This one: First base.

PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen has been the Pirates' Opening Day center fielder each of the last six seasons. Each of those years, Pittsburgh has sent a different player to first base. There's no better way to say it: First base has been a revolving door for the Pirates.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Pirates have more moves coming?

Fans ask about roster makeup, future of Bucs closer role

Inbox: Pirates have more moves coming?

Do you see any more moves for the rotation and bench? -- Seth H., Ellwood City, Pa.

Earlier this week, I asked Pirates GM Neal Huntington where their roster stands with Spring Training drawing near.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Meadows makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 OF Prospects list

Twins' Buxton tops list, Rangers' Brinson and Mazara follow

Meadows makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 OF Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

For the third (and likely the last) time, this Top 10 -- the final by-position ranking unveiled prior to the Top 100 Prospects list -- is headed by the Twins' Byron Buxton. He may not have taken the world by storm during his big league debut, but neither did Mike Trout. And, let's face it, Buxton's tools across the board are unparalleled.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates name Jauss bench coach

Fischer remains on big league staff; three promoted in front office

Pirates name Jauss bench coach

PITTSBURGH -- After going all last season without a bench coach, the Pirates on Wednesday officially promoted the man who spent most of the year at manager Clint Hurdle's side.

The Pirates named Dave Jauss their bench coach, one of several promotions within their baseball operations department. Jauss was simply a "Major League coach" last season, but he essentially performed the duties of a bench coach all year, just without the title.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB tabs Brooks to head Diversity Pipeline Program

Former Pirates' director for baseball personnel founded Baseball Industry Network

MLB tabs Brooks to head Diversity Pipeline Program

In August 2009, Tyrone Brooks launched his personal Baseball Industry Network as a grapevine for people interested in careers in the game.

Brooks' "network" just became a little wider, as MLB's first senior director of the new Front Office & Field Staff Diversity Pipeline Program.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hayes makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 3B Prospects list

Rangers' Gallo grabs top spot, Boston's Devers leaps to No. 2

Hayes makes MLB Pipeline's Top 10 3B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Kris Bryant, Joey Gallo, Miguel Sano and Maikel Franco claimed four of the top five spots on last year's list of the top third-base prospects, and together they combined to hit 64 big league home runs in 2015. Gallo retained rookie eligibility and headlines this year's crop of top prospects at the hot corner, which, as a whole, stand out more for overall hitting ability than power. And as it's so often the case with young third basemen, only time will tell how many of these guys will be able to remain at the position long term.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Around the Horn: Pirates all set behind dish

Cervelli & Co. stock backstop for 2016 season and beyond

Around the Horn: Pirates all set behind dish

With Spring Training less than a month away, it's time for an in-depth look at the Pirates' 2016 roster. This is the first of a six-part series checking in on their current and future options at each position, starting with their catchers.

PITTSBURGH -- When Russell Martin became a free agent a little more than a year ago, the Pirates faced an uncertain future behind the plate. Fans at PNC Park screamed for general manager Neal Huntington to "re-sign Russ," only to watch Martin sign a five-year deal with Toronto.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Hanson cracks MLB Pipeline's Top 10 2B Prospects list

Boston's Moncada leads list, followed by Reds' Peraza at No. 2

Hanson cracks MLB Pipeline's Top 10 2B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

There has been quite a bit of turnover from last year to the 2016 edition of the Top 10 second-base prospects, with six new names joining the list, thanks to two graduations and four who dropped off the list.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pair of future Pirates stars can expect call in 2016

Nearing end of development, Glasnow, Taillon will open season one step from Majors

Pair of future Pirates stars can expect call in 2016

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Late last season, the Pirates' front office looked at the team's pitching staff and wondered if reinforcements were needed. Tyler Glasnow had dominated Double-A hitters, much like he did at every level before that, and he was pitching pretty well in Triple-A. Should the Bucs call up their top prospect?

General manager Neal Huntington admitted last week the Pirates had "legitimate discussions" about promoting Glasnow, baseball's seventh-ranked prospect according to MLBPipeline.com. They ultimately chose not to, leaving Glasnow in Triple-A. But Huntington will get a chance to make that call later this year.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Versatility key for Pirates' 2016 bullpen

Huntington likes idea of 'being able to go to multiple guys in multiple situations'

Versatility key for Pirates' 2016 bullpen

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates' bullpen in 2016 could be powerful, full of hard-throwing relievers. It could be deep, with former setup men pitching in the middle innings. But the key attribute the Bucs sought this offseason was versatility.

Pittsburgh has invested heavily in its 2016 bullpen, and there's a reason the Bucs have been so acutely focused on fortifying that part of their club. Gerrit Cole is the only member of the Pirates' projected Opening Day rotation who has pitched 200 innings in a season. Pittsburgh will need innings from pitchers other than Cole and Francisco Liriano, and it might have to get them from its bullpen.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

For this year only, Trade Deadline to be Aug. 1

Adjustment made because July 31 falls on a Sunday

For this year only, Trade Deadline to be Aug. 1

This is a leap year, and for Major League Baseball, it will mean a one-day leap in the annual non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The non-waiver Trade Deadline this season will be moved to Aug. 1 from the traditional July 31 -- which in 2016 falls on a Sunday. The deadline is 4 p.m. ET, and on July 31, there are seven games scheduled to begin between 1-1:30, five between 2-3:30 and three at 4. There are only eight games on Aug. 1, all of which are night games.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Bell cracks MLB Pipeline's Top 10 1B Prospects list

Astros' Reed sits atop list, followed by Bucs' Bell, Mets' Smith

Bell cracks MLB Pipeline's Top 10 1B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday, Jan. 29, on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

First and foremost, teams want power from their first basemen, and the players on MLBPipeline's Top 10 first-base prospects list deliver. Five of them have plus pop, led by A.J. Reed's 65 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale, and the other four all have average or better power. Four of the five best first basemen held the same status a year ago, with Bobby Bradley (Indians) the only newcomer on the upper half of the list.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McGuire, Diaz on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 Catching Prospects list

Cubs' Contreras tops list, Yanks' Sanchez leaps to No. 2

McGuire, Diaz on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 Catching Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday, Jan. 29, on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

MLBPipeline.com's list of the top 10 catching prospects last season featured six players who went on to reach the Major Leagues and become part of a legendary rookie class. Needless to say, the turnover at the position means this year's crop of top-ranked backstops has a much different look.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stewart, Bucs make 2-year deal official

Stewart, Bucs make 2-year deal official

Catcher Chris Stewart, who was to become a free agent after the 2016 season, will spend at least two more seasons in Pittsburgh after agreeing a two-year contract extension that the club announced Tuesday. The deal was reached last week, but not made official until after Stewart passed a physical.

The contract, which also includes an option year for 2018, will pay Stewart $1.35 million in '16 and $1.4 million in '17. The club option for '18 is worth $1.5 million with a $250,000 buyout.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Glasnow No. 2 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 RHP Prospects list

Giolito remains atop list, while Glasnow moves up to No. 2

Glasnow No. 2 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 RHP Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2016 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday, Jan. 29, on MLB.com. The Top 50 will be revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

The endless search for pitching means that most of baseball's top 10 right-handed pitching prospects were in high demand as amateurs. Five of the 10 hurlers were first-round picks and seven of them received a seven-figure bonus, with Jose De Leon (who signed for $35,000 as a 24th-rounder out of Southern University) the only one of the who emerged from obscurity.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates practicing patience with powerful Bell

No. 3 prospect's pop hasn't translated into game action, but Bucs believe it will

Pirates practicing patience with powerful Bell

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The sights and sounds produced by Josh Bell last week at Pirate City could go a long way toward easing Pittsburgh's concern about the Pirates' first baseman of the future.

Start with the sounds, particularly those of baseballs pounding off Pirate City's batting cage roof and rolling down to the ground, or perhaps that of Bell smacking line drives into the high left-field fence.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs claim righty Schugel off waivers

Bucs claim righty Schugel off waivers

ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates added to their pitching depth Tuesday by claiming right-hander A.J. Schugel off waivers from the Mariners. Schugel had been designated for assignment by Seattle on Jan. 12, just one month after the Mariners claimed him off waivers from Arizona.

Schugel, 26, made his Major League debut last season and logged nine innings over five relief appearances with the D-backs. He also made a combined 21 starts with the organization's Double-A and Triple-A affiliates in 2015.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harrison brothers host MLK Day Camp in Cincy

Harrison brothers host MLK Day Camp in Cincy

CINCINNATI -- Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison is still in the middle of a successful playing career and not ready to step into the world of coaching. But he's not waiting until retirement to share his knowledge of baseball with others, especially if it helps kids in his hometown while also benefiting families in need.

Harrison and older brother Vince Harrison, a coach in the D-backs organization, hosted the first day of their Harrison Brothers Martin Luther King Day Camp on Sunday. Gathered at the Southwest Ohio Baseball Academy and Training Center were 20 kids, ages 13-18, who received instruction from a dozen Major and Minor League players or coaches. On Monday, the instructors will work with aspiring players ages 7-12.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.