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Report: Pirates Close to Deal with Jonathan Sanchez

 

It looks like the Pirates have found their contingency plan to Francisco Liriano in LHP Jonathan Sanchez.

Pirates fans will most likely remember Sanchez as the piece the Neal Huntington wanted from San Francisco in the Freddy Sanchez trade, but the Giants refused to part with him. That was in 2009 when a then 26-year old Sanchez was making a name for himself, thanks to tossing a no-hitter on July 10th. He would go on to post a 3.07 ERA in 33 starts the next year and looked like he was entering his prime.

But then things fell apart for Sanchez last season when he combined to go 1-9 with a 8.07 ERA over 64 2/3 innings.

If the deal, is in fact, a minor league deal, I don’t fault the Pirates for at least giving him a look. For four years between 2008 and 2011, Sanchez was an effective starting pitcher. He is now 30 years old and the Pirates find themselves in a very low-risk situation if they can sign him.

 
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Pirates Reach Revised Deal with Francisco Liriano

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported today that the Pirates and Francisco Liriano have agreed to terms on a two-year contract. Again.

Liriano and the Bucs agreed to a deal worth $12.75 million over two years earlier in December, but we found out it was being delayed when news broke that Liriano had broken his non-throwing arm.

The new deal still allows Liriano to make the agreed-upon $12.75 million over the two years unless he misses time in 2013 due to that specific injury. This is a very rare instance where a Major League contract is not fully guaranteed. So to recap, if Liriano doesn’t go on the disabled list this season due to the right arm injury, he will make the full amount of the contract. If he does, he makes less.

Liriano posted a 5.34 ERA over 156 2/3 innings last season between the Twins and White Sox. If healthy, he is expected to start the season on the Pirates’ rotation along with A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald, and most likely Jeff Karstens, with Jeff Locke and Kyle McPherson competing for a spot as well.

 
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Pirates, Gaby Sanchez Avoid Arbitration; Agree to Terms

 

Gaby Sanchez hit .241/.323/.397 with four home runs in 130 plate appearances after being acquired at last season’s trade deadline from Miami.

 
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Pirates Exchange Arbitration Figures with Neil Walker and James McDonald

Per Jon Heyman, the Pirates have exchanged arbitration figures with both Neil Walker and James McDonald [link and link].

According to Heyman, Walker filed at $3.6 million while the Pirates are offering $3 million.

McDonald filed at $3.4 million and the Pirates at $2.65 million.

Walker is a Super Two player, meaning this is the first of four arbitration eligible seasons. McDonald is in his first eligible season of the normal three that a player receives.

One would think the Pirates and Walker will settle things before going to an arbitration case since they are only $600,000 apart in their figures. McDonald and the Pirates are a little further apart, but still have time to figure out an amount.

Garrett Jones remains as the only arbitration eligible player to neither agree to terms nor exchange figures. Last year, the Pirates and Jones went to arbitration over a $250,000 difference, with the Pirates winning the case. Figures had to either be exchanged or an agreement reached by 1 PM ET today, so I’m sure something has happened and we just don’t know about it yet.

 
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Jeff Karstens and Pirates Agree to Terms

This is nice to see.

 

In an off season that has pretty much been the definition of “meh,” this is a move that makes some sense. Jeff Karstens, when healthy has been a very solid pitcher of the previous seasons and the Pirates are in need of some starting pitching.

In 19 games (15 starts) last season, Karstens posted a 3.97 ERA and 66:15 K:BB ratio over 90 2/3 innings. After starting the season on the disabled list due to right shoulder inflammation, his season was cut short thanks to a strained hip flexor muscle.

The deal is pending a physical and Karstens looks to make $2.5 to $3 million once the details are announced.

 
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Andrew McCutchen Wins Cover Vote for MLB 13: The Show

Pretty sure this will be the first time a Pittsburgh Pirate player will ever be on the cover of a video game. Pretty cool, actually. Andrew McCutchen wrote a thank you to all the fans who voted for him, too.

I am humbled and thrilled that you, the fans, have voted me as the cover athlete for MLB 13: The Show. It really is a dream come true for me to be on the cover of a video game, but even more, I wanted this for Pittsburgh, a city that has supported us through some rough times. You deserved this.

Seeing how the fans came out in full force for this all week long overwhelmed me. You voted non-stop at all hours of the day, and I cannot thank enough for that kind of support. Many of you lost Twitter followers, deprived yourselves of sleep and spent every free moment of your day voting on Twitter and Facebook. #MLB13Cutch became more than a hashtag – it became a movement. I owe that to all of you.

This vote showed me the sense of pride that the people of Pittsburgh have, along with all the other fans that supported me.

I cannot express enough how appreciative I am of your support, and how thankful I am that you chose me for this.

I can only promise all of you that I am going to continue to work my hardest to prove that you made the right choice and help bring the World Series trophy back to Pittsburgh.

Thank you.

Cutch

 
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