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Pirates rumors: Don't look for big moves at Winter Meetings

Justin K. Aller

Pirates GM Neal Huntington just talked with reporters at the Winter Meetings.

-P- It sounds like we shouldn't expect any big moves:

"For us, biggest move we were going to make this offseason was catcher."

More on the Russell Martin signing:

Huntington said one big need, a catcher, was filled. "We paid for it, but we feel good about what we paid for it."

My guess is that, if the Pirates do make bigger moves, it will likely be with trades of players like Garrett Jones and Joel Hanrahan, not with free agent signings.

-P- It also sounds, though, like if the Pirates are going to get a starting pitcher, they won't be looking to give major-league deals to John Lannan types.

"We've got guys we like. It's a matter of finding upgrades."

What I take this to mean is that the Bucs, quite sensibly, won't be looking to sign someone like Lannan or Kevin Millwood and then hand that player a rotation job. It certainly wouldn't surprise me to see the Bucs sign a starter or two to a minor-league deal. (This is a distinction a lot of fans, especially really negative fans, never seem to see, as any routine signing of a minor-league free agent is greeted by grousing. If the Pirates pay John Lannan $3 million and hand him a rotation job, that's a problem. If they sign him to a minor-league contract, it's no big deal.)

-P- It doesn't sound like Gerrit Cole will be joining the rotation right away, not that we really expected him to.

-P- Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez will platoon at first base, as expected, with Jones also receiving some time in right field. (Although I don't know why the Pirates would bother playing him there with any regularity, unless Clint Robinson makes the team and plays first base against some righties. Jones and Sanchez should be on the field at the same time as little as possible.) Starling Marte and Travis Snider are the first options at corner outfield, as they should be, with Jose Tabata and Alex Presley on the outside looking in.

-P- The Pirates remain interested in signing Jason Grilli.

-P- Kyle McPherson has "shoulder fatigue," but he should be ready to go in Spring Training.