Bucs could turn to Nicasio in setup role

Bucs could turn to Nicasio in setup role

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- In February, Juan Nicasio reported to Spring Training with no set role. He opened the season in the rotation before ultimately sticking in the bullpen.

The Bucs already know where Nicasio will work next season -- out of the bullpen -- but it's less clear when he'll pitch. Nicasio's role is up in the air, dependent on whether Pittsburgh adds a more traditional setup man to replace free-agent right-hander Neftali Feliz.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates keeping open mind in hunt for hurlers

Pirates keeping open mind in hunt for hurlers

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Pirates' top priority this offseason is improving their rotation. Step one, general manager Neal Huntington quipped on Tuesday afternoon, is having a pitcher qualify for the ERA title next year after failing to do so this past season.

Step two?

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs, Nats could strike McCutchen deal

Previous Washington targets Melancon, Sale landed elsewhere at Meetings

Bucs, Nats could strike McCutchen deal

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Andrew McCutchen is still a Pirate, but that could change now that Mark Melancon and Chris Sale will not be Nationals.

The Red Sox made the biggest move of the offseason on Tuesday, acquiring former White Sox ace Sale for a haul of top prospects. On Monday, the Giants jump-started the run on closers by signing Melancon, the former Pirate, to a four-year, $62 million deal.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates have a surplus of southpaws in 'pen

Pirates have a surplus of southpaws in 'pen

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington often brings up manager Clint Hurdle's annual request for three left-handed relievers. As the Pirates' roster currently stands, Hurdle is in line to open the season with four lefties.

Tony Watson, Felipe Rivero and Antonio Bastardo are all under control for next season, and the Bucs on Friday retained Wade LeBlanc by signing him to a one-year deal with an option for 2018. Pittsburgh may choose to deal from that surplus, with the most likely move being Bastardo or even Watson, as both are free agents after next season.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dodgers reportedly showing interest in Cutch

Dodgers reportedly showing interest in Cutch

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The first day of the Winter Meetings brought a new round of rumors around the Pirates and Andrew McCutchen -- and perhaps a new suitor for Pittsburgh's franchise player.

The Dodgers have shown recent interest in McCutchen, MLB.com's Jon Morosi reported Monday morning. The Nationals have been viewed as the most likely landing spot for McCutchen, if the Pirates decide to deal him, but the Dodgers are also a logical fit given their resources and need for a right-handed hitter.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McCutchen commits to World Baseball Classic

McCutchen commits to World Baseball Classic

With the World Baseball Classic just a few months away, the rosters are beginning to take shape. More names surfaced Monday as the World Baseball Classic released an initial list of 30 players who are confirmed to be participating in the 2017 tournament.

Spanning 16 countries, the players include 24 Major League All-Stars, but the upcoming WBC, which will take place in March, provides a global stage for veterans and rising stars alike.

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

Bucs offering unique experiences in 'Play Ball' auction

Bids for meet and greet with Hurdle, autographed bat from Marte

Bucs offering unique experiences in 'Play Ball' auction

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- This year, proceeds from the "Play Ball" charity auction held during the Winter Meetings will go toward the renovation of a youth field in memory of Shannon Forde, the former Mets public relations employee who lost her battle with cancer earlier this year.

The Pirates have two items up for auction: a meet-and-greet with manager Clint Hurdle that also includes passes to watch batting practice from the field, plus an autographed bat and meet-and-greet session with Starling Marte.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

LeBlanc, Bucs strike one-year deal

Fryer non-tendered; Cole among 6 headed to arbitration

LeBlanc, Bucs strike one-year deal

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates officially parted ways with Jeff Locke before Friday's non-tender deadline, but they worked out a deal to keep another veteran southpaw in their bullpen.

Wade LeBlanc agreed to terms on a one-year contract with an option for 2018, the club announced. The deal is for $750,000 next season, an industry source told MLB.com, with a $1.25 million option for '18. Terms of the deal were first reported by Jon Heyman of MLB Network, but they have not been confirmed by the club.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

McCutchen trade wouldn't be white flag for Bucs

Pittsburgh could build long-term contender with right deal

McCutchen trade wouldn't be white flag for Bucs

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- General Manager Neal Huntington is open to trading Andrew McCutchen. That doesn't mean he's abandoning hopes of the Pirates returning to the postseason next season.

These issues are not mutually exclusive.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Terence Moore

McCutchen's down year was likely a fluke

Bench, F. Robinson just two examples of superstars who bounced back

McCutchen's down year was likely a fluke

You can wring your hands. You can shake your head. You can sigh all you want, but I'm shrugging over the Andrew McCutchen of 2016.

I remember the Johnny Bench of 1971.

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Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wood, Santana on Fall League's Top Prospects Team

Selected by AFL managers and coaches, the team recognizes 24 players who stood out

Wood, Santana on Fall League's Top Prospects Team

The 2016 Arizona Fall League came to an end on Nov. 19, when the Mesa Solar Sox, powered by a two-homer, 4-for-4 performance from Cubs top prospect Ian Happ, defeated the Surprise Saguaros, 6-1, in the championship game at Scottsdale Stadium.

Since then, MLBPipeline.com has broken down this year's impressive contingent of Fall League participants in different ways, highlighting the circuit's top performers and breakout prospects and even constructing an All-AFL Team.

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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.

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

New agreement includes change to home-field advantage in World Series

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

IRVING, Texas -- Major League Baseball's players and owners reached a tentative five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement through the 2021 season on Wednesday night. The parties will follow up today with a formal document, which then must be ratified by representatives of both sides. 

At 8:40 p.m. ET, an assortment of happy players, owners, lawyers and staffers poured from meeting rooms to exchange handshakes and hugs. That's how quickly 36 hours of round-the-clock negotiations ended, nearly four hours before today's deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET to reach a deal. Short of an agreement, the sport was faced with the best-case scenario of an extension or owners could have imposed a lockout.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates respond to Kang's DUI charge

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang was charged with leaving the scene of an accident after driving under the influence of alcohol in Seoul, South Korea, early Friday morning.

The accident and arrest reportedly took place at 2:48 a.m. Korea Standard Time. No one was injured in the accident, according to a report by the Korean Yonhap News Agency, and Kang was released from the Gangnam police station after he was charged.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates invite relievers Runzler, Stoffel to camp

Pirates invite relievers Runzler, Stoffel to camp

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates announced a pair of Minor League free-agent signings on Wednesday, bringing aboard left-hander Dan Runzler and right-hander Jason Stoffel and inviting both to Major League Spring Training camp.

Runzler, 31, pitched in 89 games for the Giants from 2009-12. The lefty reliever posted a 3.86 ERA in 72 1/3 innings, striking out 78 batters while walking 44 and allowing only two home runs.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Who will replace Rodriguez's versatility?

Bucs have internal options to take over super-sub role

Who will replace Rodriguez's versatility?

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' super-sub has moved on to Atlanta.

Sean Rodriguez, Pittsburgh's super-utility man the past two seasons, reportedly agreed last week to a two-year, $11.5 million contract with the Braves. Rodriguez batted .270 with a career-high .859 OPS and 18 homers in 140 games in 2016. It was a career year for the 31-year-old, who hit .228 with a .666 OPS from 2008-15, and that production may have priced out Pittsburgh.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs designate Locke for assignment

Pirates sign Bonilla to one-year contract

Bucs designate Locke for assignment

PITTSBURGH -- Jeff Locke's time with the Pirates came to an end Tuesday night, as the veteran left-hander was designated for assignment. Pittsburgh bumped Locke off its 40-man roster to make room for the signing of right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla.

If Locke isn't traded or signed elsewhere, he will be non-tendered before Friday's 11:59 p.m. ET deadline, making him a free agent. The 29-year-old was eligible for salary arbitration for the second year, and was projected to make $4.2 million next season, according to MLB Trade Rumors. After struggling through this past season, Locke was left without a clear spot in the Pirates' rotation or bullpen going forward.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Doc Emrick's first MLB game in booth was 'so perfect'

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Doc Emrick's first MLB game in booth was 'so perfect'

Back in July, a few months after calling a Pirates Spring Training game, Hockey Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike "Doc" Emrick called his very first regular-season baseball game. He joined Bob Costas in the MLB Network booth for his Pirates' 8-4 win over the Cubs on July 8. It'd been something of a bucket-list item for Emrick, and by all accounts it was a success -- you can listen for yourself in the clip above.

So, will he call another game in 2017, or sometime in the future?

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MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

The Next Big Leaguers: Pirates' Santana

A team-by-team look at future key contributors who starred in the 2016 Arizona Fall League

The Next Big Leaguers: Pirates' Santana

The Arizona Fall League always is loaded with talent, and it was stronger than usual in 2016. In the initial installment of MLBPipeline.com's "The Next Big Leaguers," which premieres Tuesday, we focused on five prospects: Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, Twins shortstop Nick Gordon, Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez, Red Sox infielder Yoan Moncada and Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres.

We could have spotlighted many more promising prospects if not limited by time constraints, and below we'll do exactly that.

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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.

Glasnow throws down between-the-legs dunk

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Glasnow throws down between-the-legs dunk

You probably know Tyler Glasnow as a current Pirates starter, the team's No. 1 prospect and the owner of one of baseball's very best dads. This offseason, however, allow us to introduce you to a different Glasnow -- one who is apparently Vince Carter in disguise.

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MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Right fit in right field? Data supports moving McCutchen

-28 Defensive Runs Saved in center was lowest in baseball

Right fit in right field? Data supports moving McCutchen

We'll probably be awash in Andrew McCutchen rumors all offseason long, wondering if and when the Pirates might move him to Los Angeles or Washington or Seattle or wherever they may find a fit. But what if that's not the move we ought to be talking about? What if the right move is simply a few dozen feet to his left? Might the Pirates really be better off with McCutchen in right field?

We first heard rumors about this earlier in November, and on the surface, the fit is odd. Right field, after all, is generally where the strongest outfield arms end up, and McCutchen isn't particularly known for the strength of his throwing arm. Using the Statcast™ "competitive throws" metric, McCutchen's average of 85.8 mph was far lower than Starling Marte's 97 mph (the best in baseball), and slightly lower than Gregory Polanco's 86.6 mph.

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After flooding, Bucs, Class A club aid W. Va. community

Pirates, Power help relief efforts during torrential downpour in summer

After flooding, Bucs, Class A club aid W. Va. community

PITTSBURGH -- Torrential downpours and flash floods pounded parts of West Virginia on June 23. The damage was catastrophic. 23 people were killed, hundreds of homes were destroyed and thousands of people were left without power.

When Ken Fogel saw the flooding, he knew the West Virginia Power had to help. So the Pirates' Class A affiliate, based in Charleston, went to work. They devised a plan that, with help from the Pirates, raised $50,000 toward flood relief efforts for the West Virginia region of the American Red Cross.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Unique bobbleheads highlight Bucs' promo slate

Unique bobbleheads highlight Bucs' promo slate

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates released their 2017 promotional schedule on Wednesday, highlighted by a depiction of a memorable moment that took place not on the field, but in the broadcast booth.

Pittsburgh's promotions and events schedule includes a "Bob Walk Chair-Tip Bobblechair," set to be given away on May 20. The item was inspired by the moment on June 29 when Walk, the former Pirates pitcher and current color commentator, tumbled backward out of his seat in the Bucs' booth. The accident was aired on ROOT Sports' telecast and went viral online.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Glasnow no sure thing for Pirates' rotation in 2017

Elite prospect must compete for a big league job in Spring Training

Glasnow no sure thing for Pirates' rotation in 2017

PITTSBURGH -- What's the plan for Tyler Glasnow?

The Pirates' top prospect made an up-and-down Major League debut this year, posting a 4.24 ERA in seven appearances (four starts and three relief outings) with 24 strikeouts and a 1.50 WHIP over 23 1/3 innings. He didn't stick in the Majors until mid-September, and even then his role was uncertain and his performance was uneven.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sources: Butera, Cervelli will play for Italy in WBC

Sources: Butera, Cervelli will play for Italy in WBC

Catchers Drew Butera and Francisco Cervelli have been added to Team Italy's roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic, sources told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

Both backstops previously played in the World Baseball Classic for Team Italy. Cervelli participated in 2009, while Butera played in 2013.

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

Bucs appear willing to listen to offers for Cutch

Pirates have reportedly fielded proposals from Mariners, Nationals

Bucs appear willing to listen to offers for Cutch

PITTSBURGH -- This weekend brought more Hot Stove smoke, but still no fire, around Andrew McCutchen.

The Mariners asked the Pirates about McCutchen earlier this offseason, MLB.com columnist Jon Morosi reported, but the talks "did not advance." This is the second reported instance showing McCutchen's apparent availability, as FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal first reported the Bucs talked to the Nationals this summer about a deal involving the five-time All-Star.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ex-Pirate Sanchez gets 1st shot on HOF ballot

Posada, Magglio, Wakefield among those seeking enshrinement in 2017

Ex-Pirate Sanchez gets 1st shot on HOF ballot

Soon, members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America will cast their ballots for the Hall of Fame's Class of 2017.

Among their choices will be returners who fell just shy of the 75-percent threshold in last year's voting, a group that includes Jeff Bagwell (71.6 percent), Tim Raines (69.8) and Trevor Hoffman (67.3). There also are a few high-profile newcomers. Vladimir Guerrero was a feared hitter with 449 homers and a National League MVP Award, Ivan Rodriguez is third all-time among catchers in wins above replacement (WAR), and Manny Ramirez hit 555 homers but also was suspended twice for his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

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Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Santana, Wood among Fall League's top breakout prospects

Santana, Wood among Fall League's top breakout prospects

The 25th season of the Arizona Fall League is now complete, and the silver anniversary edition of the league was one of the best in terms of top prospects and outstanding performances.

It wasn't just the elite-level prospects and the more known names who stood out, though it was certainly exciting to see the Gleyber Torreses of the world live up to, and exceed, expectations. But every year, the AFL helps the more under-the-radar types put themselves more firmly on the prospect map.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Holmes added to Pirates' 40-man roster

Holmes added to Pirates' 40-man roster

PITTSBURGH -- With most of their work done ahead of time, the Pirates saw fit to add only one player to their 40-man roster Friday.

The Bucs selected the contract of right-hander Clay Holmes, protecting him from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. Holmes, 23, is Pittsburgh's No. 11 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com. He was eligible for last year's Rule 5 Draft but, given his limited experience coming back from Tommy John surgery, went unselected. Evidently the Bucs were betting that wouldn't be the case this year.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.