Bucs add top prospect Meadows, trade Gift

Escobar, Agrazal also placed on club's 40-man roster

Bucs add top prospect Meadows, trade Gift

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates added three Minor Leaguers, including top prospect Austin Meadows, to their 40-man roster on Monday, protecting them from being selected in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. Pittsburgh also cut ties with shortstop Gift Ngoepe.

Facing an 8 p.m. ET deadline to set their roster, the Bucs traded Ngoepe -- the first African-born player to reach the Majors and a longtime favorite within the organization -- to the Blue Jays for cash or a player to be named. They also put right-handers Luis Escobar and Dario Agrazal on their 40-man roster. Now, the 29 other clubs can't select those three prospects in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 14, the final day of the Winter Meetings.

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

Pirates unveil 2018 promotional schedule

Club announces single-game tickets will go on sale Dec. 8

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates on Monday released their promotional schedule for next year and announced that single-game tickets for the 2018 season will go on sale Dec. 8.

Tickets for all home games, including the home opener on April 2, will be available at 10 a.m. ET on Dec. 8. There will be pre-sale opportunities for full-season ticket holders, half-season ticket holders and 20-game season ticket holders (10 a.m. on Tuesday), as well as pirates.com registered users, group leaders and more (Nov. 29).

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

Bonds makes sixth Hall of Fame ballot

Slugger received 53.8 percent of vote in 2017

Bonds makes sixth Hall of Fame ballot

PITTSBURGH -- The last three years, Barry Bonds has inched forward in the Hall of Fame voting. Is this the year he takes a big step into Cooperstown?

The 2018 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot released Monday includes Bonds, the Major Leagues' all-time home run leader, for the sixth time. He was listed on 53.8 percent of last year's ballots, up from 44.3 percent in 2016 and 36.8 in '15. He is the only former Pirate up for election into the Hall of Fame.

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

Taillon shares Best Moment for amazing return

Taillon shares Best Moment for amazing return

Every season has them, the rare moments when the numbers on the scoreboard seem to matter less. We're talking about the great moments that transcend baseball, the ones that pepper highlight reels for generations, more for their backstory and the impact they'll have on a player, a team, a community, going forward.

Those weren't in short supply in 2017, when powerful, inspirational stories were the talk of the league. June 12 in Pittsburgh wasn't just another game for the Pirates. It was the first start for Jameson Taillon since undergoing treatment for testicular cancer. Aug. 14 wasn't just Chad Bettis' first start of the year. Bettis also underwent treatment for testicular cancer, and that night marked the culmination of a triumphant comeback. Sept. 2 wasn't just another winning day for the eventual World Series champion Astros. It was the day they returned to Houston and helped lift the city from the hardships brought on by Hurricane Harvey.

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Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tumpane's heroics share Best Trending Topic

Tumpane's heroics share Best Trending Topic

It was a streak that seemed like it might never end. The Indians were firing on all cylinders, cruising to victory night in and night out.

Cleveland's pitching staff completed seven shutouts and the offense scored double digits six times as the club dominated during the 22-game stretch, outscoring its opponents 142-37.

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Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @basebollie. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs deciding who to protect from Rule 5 Draft

Top prospect Meadows will be added to 40-man roster by Monday's deadline

Bucs deciding who to protect from Rule 5 Draft

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have until 8 p.m. ET on Monday to protect eligible players from the Rule 5 Draft, forcing the front office to evaluate their farm system and 40-man roster.

That is the deadline for every Major League club to decide who is worthy of a spot on the 40-man roster and who will be left unprotected. Eligible players in the latter group can be selected by the other 29 teams in the annual Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 14 at the Winter Meetings.

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

Inbox: Do Pirates plan to stick with Polanco?

Beat reporter Adam Berry answers fans' questions

Inbox: Do Pirates plan to stick with Polanco?

The underachievement of Gregory Polanco is worrisome. How much patience will management show if there is no improvement?
-- Steve S., Port Charlotte, Fla.

Look no further than Polanco's contract and you'll understand he's a big part of the Pirates' long-term plan. He's going to get every available chance to succeed. In April 2016, the Bucs gave the outfielder a five-year, $35 million extension worth up to $58 million through 2023 if they pick up his options.

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

Source: Pirates may explore Walker return

Pittsburgh native spent first seven big league seasons with Bucs

Source: Pirates may explore Walker return

PITTSBURGH -- Could the Pittsburgh Kid come back home?

The Pirates have "some interest" in a reunion with free agent Neil Walker, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi on Wednesday. Walker, 32, was drafted and developed by the Pirates and spent seven seasons in the Majors with his hometown team before they dealt him to the Mets after the 2015 season.

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

Hill rakes in final game of AFL regular season

Hill rakes in final game of AFL regular season

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Logan Hill can head into the offseason full of confidence after leading Glendale to a 11-3 win over Salt River in the Arizona Fall League's regular-season finale on Thursday.

Hill did it all, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs, a run scored and a stolen base, as the Desert Dogs finished the season on a seven-game winning streak.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs open-minded about Kang returning in '18

Team hopeful infielder can return, but preparing for possibility he won't

Bucs open-minded about Kang returning in '18

The Pirates have watched Jung Ho Kang play winter ball, but they still don't know if they'll see him in Pittsburgh next year.

While Andrew McCutchen's status is the most intriguing plotline in Pittsburgh's offseason, few players could swing the Pirates' fortunes for next season like Kang. The 30-year-old third baseman remains on the restricted list, unpaid and unable to rejoin the Pirates following a DUI arrest last December in his native South Korea.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Bucs get Competitive Balance pick in 2018 Draft

Bucs get Competitive Balance pick in 2018 Draft

With the conclusion of the 2017 regular season, the preliminary order for the 2018 Draft took some shape, thanks to the reverse order of the standings. The Tigers and Giants finished tied with the worst record in the Major Leagues last season, but Detroit was awarded the No. 1 pick in the 2018 Draft by virtue of having a lower winning percentage in 2016.

After the Tigers and Giants, the next eight picks go to the Phillies, White Sox, Reds, Mets, Padres, Braves, A's and Pirates.

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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.

Bell finishes 3rd in NL Rookie of the Year voting

Bell finishes 3rd in NL Rookie of the Year voting

PITTSBURGH -- After his first full season in the Majors, Josh Bell headed into the offseason with valuable experience, a handful of rookie records and a sense of belonging. But he didn't take home any hardware.

Bell finished third to Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, who was revealed as the unanimous choice for the National League Rookie of the Year Award on Monday night. Bell finished behind Bellinger and Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong, who placed second.

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

Hearn dominates again in latest AFL outing

Hearn dominates again in latest AFL outing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Pirates No. 11 prospect Taylor Hearn stepped onto the mound for his third start for the Glendale Desert Dogs and dominated the Scottsdale Scorpions with three innings of one-hit baseball.

The lefty had good tailing action on his fastball, which forced five groundouts and two flyouts. He struck out one and totaled 37 pitches, 23 for strikes, to help Glendale defeat Scottsdale, 12-7, on Saturday at Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona Fall League action.

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Mitch Vareldzis is a senior sports journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Keller continues to dominate in Fall League

Keller continues to dominate in Fall League

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With the Arizona Fall League winding down, Mitch Keller is doing his part to end his time in the desert on a high note.

Keller, Pittsburgh's No. 2 prospect, turned in one of his better Fall League outings on Friday, as he allowed two hits, walked one and struck out a pair over four scoreless innings to help pace Glendale to a 3-1 victory over Scottsdale at Camelback Ranch.

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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.

Inbox: Why not Frazier at 2B, Harrison at 3B?

Beat reporter Adam Berry fields questions from Bucs fans

Inbox: Why not Frazier at 2B, Harrison at 3B?

Why does no one mention starting Adam Frazier at second base and Josh Harrison at third with David Freese being a fill-in?
-- Don M., Sarver, Pa.

I think you could see all three of them involved in a rotation at second and third base if Jung Ho Kang can't acquire a work visa and rejoin the Pirates.

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

Keller named AFL Pitcher of the Week

Keller named AFL Pitcher of the Week

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Less than two months after helping the Double-A Altoona Curve win an Eastern League title, Mitch Keller is quickly making a name for himself in the Arizona Fall League.

Keller -- ranked No. 2 in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and No. 18 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 -- was named the AFL Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday after pitching five innings of one-hit ball and allowing no runs in a winning effort against the Scottsdale Scorpions last Monday.

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Kyle Wilcox is a journalism graduate student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freese falls short of first Gold Glove Award

Honor goes to Rockies 3B Arenado for 5th straight year

Freese falls short of first Gold Glove Award

PITTSBURGH -- For the second straight year, David Freese was thrust into a nearly everyday role with the Pirates. After splitting time between first and third base in 2016, he settled in at third this season.

Freese was clearly back in his comfort zone, too, as he was one of three finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award for National League third basemen. He fell short of the honor, however, as the award went to Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado for the fifth straight year on Tuesday night.

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

Bucs going for improvement over acquisitions

Bucs going for improvement over acquisitions

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates made only two significant free-agent moves last offseason, re-signing starter Ivan Nova and adding reliever Daniel Hudson. What will this winter's Hot Stove season bring?

Pittsburgh isn't likely to get involved with any marquee free agents given its small-market budget. Even though the Pirates must improve across the board after back-to-back losing seasons, their roster isn't exactly littered with holes to fill. Nearly everyone is set to return -- and, they hope, bounce back.

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

Pirates claim lefty Turley off waivers

Pirates claim lefty Turley off waivers

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates added one left-hander to their roster and removed another on Monday, beginning the annual offseason shuffle on the day free agency officially opened.

The Bucs claimed lefty Nik Turley off waivers from the Twins and sent veteran Dan Runzler outright to Triple-A Indianapolis. Runzler, 32, will likely become a free agent.

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

Bucs exercise $14.5M option on McCutchen

Veteran was Pirates' most productive hitter in 2017

Bucs exercise $14.5M option on McCutchen

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' first major decision of the offseason was an easy one. For the time being, they're keeping Andrew McCutchen.

The Bucs on Friday announced they will exercise McCutchen's $14.5 million club option for 2018, his final year under team control. The alternative was to buy out McCutchen's option year for $1 million and make him a free agent.

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

Parker on Hall of Fame's Modern Era ballot

Garvey, John, Mattingly, Miller, Morris, Murphy, Parker, Simmons, Tiant, Trammell to be considered

Parker on Hall of Fame's Modern Era ballot

The Modern Baseball Era Committee, which is charged with the process of electing players into the National Baseball Hall of Fame through the Veterans Committee process, announced 10 candidates for election on Monday.

The candidates include nine players whose careers spanned a good chunk of the era from 1970-87, plus the late Marvin Miller, the MLB Players Association leader who put an indelible stamp on the game.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs officially extend coaches through 2019

GM: Talented staff remains committed to improvement

Bucs officially extend coaches through 2019

PITTSBURGH -- General manager Neal Huntington said before the Pirates' final game of the season that manager Clint Hurdle's entire coaching staff would return next season, and the club made it official on Thursday.

Pittsburgh's coaches will be in the dugout for the next two years after their contracts were extended through the 2019 season. That includes bench coach Tom Prince, coach Dave Jauss, first-base coach Kimera Bartee, third-base coach Joey Cora, hitting coach Jeff Branson, assistant hitting coach Jeff Livesey, pitching coach Ray Searage and bullpen coach Euclides Rojas. Bullpen catchers Heberto Andrade and Jordan Comadena will also return in 2018.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Keller among Fall Stars Game's top performers

Urias show range for West squad, Robles tabbed MVP in East's win

Keller among Fall Stars Game's top performers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Another Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game is in the books and, not surprisingly given the talent at Salt River Fields at one time on Saturday evening, there were a number of outstanding performances throughout the 4-2 East Stars victory.

It's obviously a tiny sample size, so there shouldn't be too much read into this Top 10 performers list, other than to say some prospects rose to the occasion in front of the largest crowd of the AFL season and on national TV.

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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.

Inbox: Should Bucs have dealt for S-Rod?

Beat reporter Adam Berry fields Pirates fans' questions

Inbox: Should Bucs have dealt for S-Rod?

Do you think trading for Sean Rodriguez was a good idea? We gave up a high-round pick with years of control for a guy who batted .167. Connor Joe or even another Minor Leaguer would have been worth a look instead.
-- Jack M., Elizabeth Township, Pa.

You almost have to throw out Rodriguez's numbers this year. He rushed back from an offseason car accident that caused extensive damage in his left shoulder. At the time of his surgery, he was expected to miss the entire season.

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

Young slugger answers Bell at first base

Record-breaking rookie season should lead to stability at position

Young slugger answers Bell at first base

PITTSBURGH -- For all the questions the Pirates faced throughout this frustrating season, one answer emerged. They finally found their first baseman.

Josh Bell was a bright spot during a mostly disappointing year. He had a slash line of .255/.334/.466 with 26 home runs and 90 RBIs and silenced three preseason criticisms. After left knee surgery in February, would he hold up physically during his first full Major League season? Could the Pirates trust him on defense? Would he hit for power?

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

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Keller fires five strong frames for Glendale

Keller fires five strong frames for Glendale

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Nearly two weeks ago, a pair of the Arizona Fall League's top right-handers squared off against each other. On Oct. 17, it was the Yankees' Albert Abreu who out-pitched the Pirates' Mitch Keller with five shutout innings. In a rematch on Monday, Keller made sure he evened up the score.

Keller, Pittsburgh's No. 2 prospect and No. 18 overall, put up five zeros of his own to help the Glendale Desert Dogs beat Abreu and the Scottsdale Scorpions, 3-2. "It's definitely something you think about, them being able to keep us off the board," Keller said about facing Abreu again. "It's going to be a really close game all the way. It adds a little into it."

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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.

Inbox: Any young power hitters on the way?

Beat reporter Adam Berry fields Pirates fans' questions

Inbox: Any young power hitters on the way?

It seems the Pirates have some good young arms on the Major and Minor League levels, but I check the Minor League stats and see very few bats coming our way. Do you think they will focus on this in the Draft, or have I overlooked someone with power in the Minors?
-- Randy H., Tuscola, Ill.

It's not as simple as focusing on hitters in the Draft, because it takes years for even the most advanced prospects to reach the Majors, and they still need to keep a steady stream of pitching running from the Draft to Pittsburgh.

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