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Pirates notes: Cole, etc.

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Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

If it weren’t for Cole news, we’d have no news at all . . . .

The Yankees have signed C.C. Sabathia to a one-year contract. That theoretically leaves them with a rotation of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery, and no spot for Gerrit Cole. But following the Sabathia news, there was this:

And this:

So I guess a Cole trade could still happen.

There haven’t been any names attached in a non-speculative way other than Clint Frazier and now Torres. Miguel Andujar seems like a possibility. He’s always been regarded as having power potential and seemed to start growing into it this year, which he split between AA and AAA at age 22. He really suits the Pirates’ needs quite well.

The Pirates are getting some good performances in winter ball, for what it’s worth. After a bad start, Starling Marte is hitting like . . . Starling Marte. In Venezuela, Jose Osuna is playing third base and batting 324/377/521. Richard Rodriguez, who signed a minor league contract recently, is another guy who got off to a bad start in the Dominican, but he’s had nine straight scoreless outings, fanning 11 in 8.2 IP.

Speaking of which . . . the Pirates have signed remarkably few minor league free agents so far, just Rodriguez and outfielder Todd Cunningham. Well, they also re-signed right hander Casey Sadler and organizational infielder Alfredo Reyes. Typically, they’d have signed at least 6-8 MiL free agents by now. That’s good in the sense that they’re doing quite well at getting prospects to AAA, where they’re generally performing well. It’s the part after that they’re having trouble with.

Pirates Prospects is reporting (sub. req’d) that the Pirates have made their first international signing since Junior Vizcaino became their Director of International Scouting. They signed 18-year-old right hander Jordy Ortega out of the Dominican. Ortego doesn’t appear to have been a significant signing, so the Pirates probably still have over $1.7M left in their international bonus pool. Of course, the more noteworthy of the “freed” Braves prospects have all signed elsewhere, so the Pirates chose to stick with their practice and not compete financially for those players.

It remains to be seen whether the Pirates will depart from their policy of avoiding the top international prospects with the change in scouting directors. Rene Gayo was on record, before Neal Huntington became GM, as being opposed to giving out large bonuses, so it’s possible that their quantity-over-quality approach was more his doing than Huntington’s. It may be a while before we know. There’s a lot of lead time involved in international signings; the top prospects often are associated with specific teams long before they turn 16. Most of the top international prospects for the 2018-19 signing period are already linked with certain teams, none of them with the Pirates, as usual.

UPDATE: One more item —